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Monday 24 June 2013

Antibiotics - not such a wonder drug?

Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1929, and the long era of antibiotic treatment began. It has led to many different kinds of antibiotic, and most people would probably consider antibiotics to be ‘the wonder-drug of all wonder-drugs’. Certainly, that has been the way it has been presented over the decades, and it is still probably the way that most people would describe them.

Yet even in the 1970’s, antibiotics were creating enormous optimism. This is a statement made by a Dr Moreau (Griggs, p261).

          “If the competitive drug industry is allowed to continue the extraordinary achievements of the last sixty years, by 2036 nearly all the health obstacles to survival into extreme old age will have been overcome”.

This kind of optimism mirrored much of conventional medical propaganda - that there was a prospect of a successful medical answer to all medical problem - that science would soon invent drugs that would deal with all illness and disease. But it was antibiotics that seemed to attract most attention in this respect. The result has been that for generations we have been given an increasing amount of antibiotics for an increasing number of illnesses. They have also been given to the domestic animals we eat, and so have also been plentiful in the food chain.

It is well recognised even within conventional medicine that this ‘overdosing’ on antibiotics has become a problem. Doctors have been urged for years to reduce the number of prescriptions they write. The reason for concern is that over time we have become increasingly resistant to anti-biotics, and there has been a regular process of developing new and stronger forms when the older drugs have become ineffective.

The problem has been that whilst antibiotics kill the bacteria that live within our bodies associated with illness that they kill ‘good’ as well as ‘bad’ bacteria (although this kind of  ‘meritorious’ differentiation is probably bogus anyway). There is now evidence that the use, and over-use of antibiotics can cause many problems in health. More important, probably, is the fact that by killing bacteria, antibiotics actually undermine the balance of bacteriological activity within the body - and that this anti-biotic induced imbalance causes other health problems.

Most people believe that antibiotics are safe, and effective - largely because they have never been told otherwise. Yet antibiotics have been withdrawn from the market - even from the early years of development. Griggs (p288) reports on the history of one antibiotic. Chloromycetin was introduced and marketed in the US by the drug company Parke-Davis in 1949. It was hailed for its ability to treat typhoid, and other fairly rare diseases caused by ‘gram-negative’ bacteria. Yet reports began to arise about severe, and even fatal blood disorders.

          “By 1953 the FDA had issued strong warnings, recommending that it should only be used for the original small range of serious diseases. Fourteen years and several warnings later the dangers of chloramphemicol were give enormous publicity in the US press following a Senate hearing on drugs, and sales at last began to drop”.

Since that time there have been many reports that have shown that the effects of antibiotics are far from benign.

Yet the biggest failure of antibiotics has been the rise of superbugs such as MRSA and C-Diff. Bacteria and ‘germs’ have been attacked by antibiotics for decades and now they have fought back. They have adapted and mutated in ways that make them resistant to anti-biotic attack. The result has been described by Sarah Boseley, reporting in the Guardian on 17 January 2007.

Most of the drug companies, meanwhile, no longer have any interest in hunting down new antibiotics because it's not financially worthwhile. Roche has dropped antibiotic research, while GlaxoSmithKline, BristolMyersSquibb and Eli Lilly have all cut down. The only company to have entered the field is Novartis. "Virtually all the pharmaceutical companies that were interested in developing antibacterials have pulled out of research in the field," says Richard Wise, who heads the government's specialist advisory committee on antimicrobial resistance.

The reason given for the withdrawal of the drug companies is that they are no longer interested in developing new antibiotics. On one hand, it is now recognised that bacteria always become resistant to them, and so they do not have a sufficiently long life to justify the expense of developing them. On the other hand, there are more profitable areas for drug companies to research – into diseases such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and ulcers, and drugs such as Statins. These drugs are prescribed for a lifetime, whilst antibiotics are rarely taken for more than a few days at a time.

So whilst antibiotics were once believed to be conventional medicine's greatest achievement, they have ended not only in defeat, but entirely vanquished. The Conventional Medical Establishment appears to have given up the struggle, leaving the battlefield occupied only by MRSA, C-Diff and other bacterial superbugs. This is a staggering development that at some point will demand closer scrutiny - and any closer scrutiny can only serve to deny claims to the medical efficacy of Antibiotics.

Over time, we have become resistant to antibiotics, and new stronger forms of the drug have had to be developed in order to remain effective. Antibiotics kill bacteria that live within our bodies, and whilst for many years it was though that antibiotics were harmless, this has not proven to be true. It is now understood that they kill ‘good’ as well as ‘bad’ bacteria (although this kind of meritorious differentiation is probably bogus anyway. More important is the fact that by killing bacteria, antibiotics actually undermine the balance of bacteriological activity within the body – and that this causes other problems.

Yet the problems are probably worse than this. It is not difficult to find reports of anti-biotics that have caused serious problems.
  • Dr Mercola reported information from the American Journal of Epidemiology (15 November 2005) that new research from Scandinavia had indicated that the heavy use of antibiotics during childhood increased the likelihood of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), a cancer that affects the body's lymphatic system. The research compared over 3,000 patients with NHL with a similar number of healthy patients, and found a "striking" association between antibiotic use and NHL … especially for those who had been given antibiotics more than 10 times as children.
  • Dr Mercola published an article entitled “Ketek: why did the FDA approve this deadly antibiotic?” in May 2006, its source, Reuters 2 May 2006. It had been shown to cause “toxic effects such as liver damage”.  However, they reversed this decision and approved Ketek, based on the original data, and from a study that used ‘fabricated data’ that led to arrests and prison sentences.
  • Dr Mercola also published an article entitled “Another antibiotic found to be killing people” in March 2006. This report concerned the drug Tequin, which was reported as causing “potentially fatal swings in blood sugar”. This was based on article in the New England Journal of Medicine (1 March  2006), stating that “an examination of the medical records of almost 1.5 million people older than 65 showed that those who took Tequin had four times the risk of low blood sugar, and almost 17 times the risk of high blood sugar”, and that “those who took Tequin were also far more likely to be hospitalized for blood sugar problems”. It also said that a number of such patients died.
  • In March 2006, BBC News reported a Canadian study of 12,082 children that “suggested that those treated with antibiotics under the age of one year are twice as likely to develop asthma in childhood” It went on to say that researchers writing in the US journal ‘Chest’ found additional courses of antibiotics in the first year of life increased the risk of asthma further. It said that earlier studies on antibiotics showed that the drug “may affect the way the immune system works”.

Friday 21 June 2013

Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital, and 'Saving Money' by stopping the funding of Homeopathy?

The NHS would save huge amounts of money if they gave patients access to Homeopathy. Homeopathic treatment is less expensive than conventional medical treatment, and because it is more effective, it saves on future costs too.

The NHS spends only about £4 million on Homeopathy. This is a tiny amount, and certainly not enough to make any real effect on the burgeoning and crippling costs of conventional drugs and vaccines with an NHS dominated by the big pharmaceutical companies. Nor does it take into account the damage these drug and vaccines cause to our health through so-called 'adverse reactions', more accurately described as disease-inducing effects, or 'DIEs' of these so-called medicines.

This small sum is certainly far less than was envisaged when the NHS was inaugurated in 1947.

".... under the National Health Service Act, homeopathic institutions will be enabled to provide their own form of treatment and that the continuity of the characteristics of those institutions will be maintained...."
Robin Dowie, Postgraduate medical education and training: the system in England and Wales, (King Edward’s Hospital Fund for London, 28 May 1987). (and quoted in

So whilst millions of people in Britain use Homeopathy, and other complementary therapies, access to it has been increasingly restricted within the NHS bureaucracy, dominated as it is by the Conventional Medical (ConMed) Establishment. And even though demand for Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Osteopathy and other CAM therapies is rising year by year, this demand is being serviced privately, outside the NHS, for those people who can afford to consult CAM therapists.

The attack on Homeopathy within the NHS has been consistent, and increasingly hostile. The decision of NHS East Lothian to withdraw funding from CAM therapies, and particular, the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital, is just the latest such attack on funding. Apparently, they are doing so to save just £250,000, money that not only funded homeopathic remedies in the area, but also provided over 1,000 appoints each year. NHS Lothian tried to defend their decision by saying that a survey they conducted found 72% opposed to the funding, with 27% in favour. What they suggest is that health funding is a kind of 'winner takes all' system, that health freedom is unimportant. Perhaps they have not heard of 'Patient Choice' as the effect of their decision is to remove funding for medical treatment for over 1/4 of their population (and by virtue of their own, dodgy figures).

The British Homeopathy Association has vehemently opposed this decision.
"The BHA maintains that to cease funding the homeopathy service does not make sense economically, for the patients currently receiving homeopathic treatment are not going to disappear as many of them have chronic problems that have failed to respond to conventional treatment. Concerns have already been expressed by NHS Lothian itself that withdrawing funding for homeopathy will result in an increase in GP appointments, referrals to secondary care services and prescribing costs for conventional medicine".
All of which, of course, will cost more than they have saved by this short-sighted decision, made by people with a vested interest in the future of ConMed, drug-based medicine. Indeed, the savings just don't add up - as this assessment by a retired GP in the area clearly states. His assessment indicates that the savings produced could be as little as £80,000 per year, and he claims that the public are being misled by NHS Lothian.

There have been many opportunities to take advantages of the savings Homeopathy would bring to the NHS. When the Smallwood report was launched in 2005, Christopher Smallwood said that:
 "the weight of evidence we have examined suggest that CAM medicines could play a larger role in the delivery of healthcare, and help to fill recognised gaps in healthcare provision".
However, he also made it clear that many people could not afford to access these therapies privately, and that as a result, people in less well-off areas did not have access to such treatments.
"Complementary medicine remains out of reach for many low income families, those who would have found most benefit from its provision".
Smallwood called on the National Institute for Health and Clinical Evidence (NICE) to assess the cost-effectiveness of CAM therapies. Naturally, this was not done. NICE is, after all, as much part of the ConMed Establishment as the NHS itself - so the recommendation was ignored.

However, whenever patients are offered Homeopathy, it has been shown that they value it. A study undertaken at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital in 2005 showed that over 70% of patients with chronic diseases reported positive health changes after treatment. More than 6,500 patients took part in the 6-year study that focused on the treatment of Eczema, the Menopause, and Arthritis. With asthmatic children, 89% reported improvement following homeopathic treatment.

So what was the response of the ConMed Establishment to this evidence? The Lancet concluded, at about the same time, that using homeopathy was no better than taking dummy drugs! The ConMed Establishment seems to take little note of patient's wishes!

In a paper written by D. Reilly in 2006, entitled "The Evidence for Homeopathy", he reached the following conclusion, even though, as he states, he began his research being highly sceptical about its benefits.
"The evidence mosaic for homeopathy summarised here tends to reinforce clinicians and patients experience that this approach can make a valuable contribution to care..... Now reports from the Scottish Office Department of Health (see below), and the Working Party chaired by HRH Prince Charles (the Smallwood Report) have recommended further exploration of the integration of some complementary therapies, including homeopathy, more full into health care. They have called for more support for education and research in this area and recommended that providers 'endeavour to achieve a controlled exploration of the costs and benefits of integrating complementary medicine with conventional medicine... and should ensure that the service is accessible to all who need it".
The Scottish Office report, mentioned above, is also probably attracting dust on some remote and forgotten shelf. Reference to it are as follows:
A report by the National Medical Advisory Committee. Scottish Office Department of Health. November 1996. Complementary Medicine and the National Health Service. An examination of Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Chropractic and Osteopathy.

Another pilot study was undertaken in Northern Ireland, and evaluated by the Department of Health in 2008. The conclusion of this large exercise were again very positive, showing not only the benefit of CAM treatment to patients, but also the respite it gave to GP's.
"The feedback from patients was overwhelmingly positive, with patients welcoming quick access to expert care provided by a team of high quality and dedicated CAM practitioners. The interaction between patients and CAM practitioners also led to patients being provided with opportunity to learn and acquire self management strategies to manage, and further improve their health status.
The evaluation has also provided some evidence of a reduction in GP workload, with many of the participating GPs indicating that they were seeing their patients less often. Furthermore, the evaluation has also produced evidence that patients, following their treatment, were using less medication, as well as using other health services less often. This points to the potential of CAM for reducing costs within the health and social services in Northern Ireland. Finally, the overall project was delivered to more than 700 patients within the allocated project budget. This was a key objective at the outset.
Again, it is the last paragraph that should be noted by doctors, the NHS, the Department of Health, and the Government - if, of course, they are really interested in what patients actually want. And if they really want to reduce the costs of the NHS, of course. 

Effective medical therapies cost less because they help people overcome illness. CAM therapies heal, and so the costs of on-going health, and related social care costs, are reduced.
Homeopathy does not cause adverse reactions, they do not cause disease, so using it saves on the need to treat 'new' diseases, caused by the conventional vaccines and drugs used for the 'old' diseases!
Yet the advantage of Homeopathy is not just that it is safe and effective. It is also inexpensive. Why?

  • Homeopathy does not rely on expensive medical testing to seek diagnosis. 
  • Homeopathy can treat and cure disease successfully, and often permanently. 
  • Homeopathic Remedies cost the merest fraction of the cost of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines.
  • The effectiveness of Homeopathy can avoid or reduce the need for expensive surgical interventions. 
  • And, of course, Homeopathy does not cause new diseases that then need to be treated.

Perhaps this is why the ConMed Establishment is so afraid of Homeopathy, and works so hard to attack and condemn it, and to prevent patients gaining access to what many of them want. The Conventional Medical Establishment have a lot to lose!

The history of Homeopathy is a proud one. Once there were at least 14 Homeopathic Hospitals, and Homeopathy had a small, but important place within the NHS. Now even the remaining few are under threat. It is only patients who are suffering. It is only the taxpayer who is paying the bill. It is the Big Pharma drug companies, and their bellicose skeptic friends, who do not want to jeopardise their vested interests.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Open Letter to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health

This blog was originally published on 13th June 2013. They have now had my letter for over two weeks.

So does the MMR and DPT vaccines cause death?

The answer is - there is no answer - yet. Indeed, there is no reply from the Department of Health. Not even an acknowledgement of my letter.

What does this silence mean?

* They don't know the answer?
* They don't care?
* They hope that by staying quiet the question will go away?

The Original Blog, the Original Letter
Dear Mr Hunt

Information has been circulating recently about the ‘adverse reaction’ caused by by both the DPT and MMR vaccines. I refer to my blogs at:
The source of this information are the package inserts for both vaccines, and published on the internet by GSK and Merck at:
These inserts suggest that the diseases that emanating from the DPT vaccine, given routinely to all our children, include the following:
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • and many, many others.
Similarly, the diseases that can be caused by the MMR vaccine, also given routinely to our children, include the following:
  • Encephalitis
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • and death.
I would like to ask you the following questions regarding this information.
  1. Is the information contained in these manufacturers inserts correct?
  2. If the information is not correct, would you provide me with more accurate information?
  3. If the information is correct, can you tell me why is the public not being informed about these adverse reactions?
I am a wholehearted supporter of your government’s policy of ‘Patient Choice’, and I agree  absolutely with the key phrase in your department’s recent White Paper  which states:

“No decision about me without me”.

However, if patients are to be involved in such decision-making, for instance, whether parents should give their children either of these vaccines, everyone requires full, transparent and honest information in order to make a proper, informed choice. 

In respect to these two vaccines, the public are being told, regularly, by the Department of Health, the NHS, or by all our local GP’s, that these vaccines are ‘entirely safe’, and parents are constantly being urged to vaccinate their children - and this is being done, as far as I can see, without access to this information.

I look forward to receiving your response, and in the interests of openness and transparency, I can give you my assurance that your response will be attached to the blog on which I have published this open letter. 

Yours sincerely
Steve Scrutton

Please note that Mr Hunt's response to this open letter has been published on this blog at

Culling Badgers and TB

Domestic cows are contracting TB (tuberculosis). Responsibility for this has been attributed to the gentle badger, which carries the disease, and they are charged with the responsibility for passing it on to cattle.
  • The cows that contract TB are slaughtered. This, it is said, is the best way to eradicate the disease!
  • And farmers have been given permission to cull badgers in two areas of England, something that is already happening in several other parts of Europe.
Will this lethal medical strategy work? This is currently the subject of a lively political debate.

Farmers, who insist on feeding cows on grain rather than grass, keeping them confined indoors rather than in fields, and milking them to sheer exhaustion in the interests of productivity, think it will.

Those opposing the cull believe that the evidence, including the science, does not support the cull as an effective stratetgy. They claim that vaccination is the way forward. This position might, at best, be considered a triumph of hope over experience, given the damage conventional vaccines have had on us. I have visions of inattentive, wandering cows with Autism; and their young calves dying of 'sudden calf-death-syndrome'.

The government supports the cull, as usual supporting the views of the largest vested-interest involved in the debate. Scientists say the evidence suggests that culling will not work. And so all is confusion!

So please excuse me if I deviate somewhat from the political argument, and introduce a new topic to the general discussion on badger culling.

What sort of medical system advocates a policy of killing rather than a policy of treatment when an animal contracts a disease?

The answer is a failing system, and system of medicine that whilst claiming great competence, delivers little in the way of effective treatment of serious (and less serious) diseases. Conventional medical practice has a history of doing so. The most notable, perhaps, was the Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001, during which conventional medicine slaughtered millions of cows - as a treatment!

Now they acquiesce to the slaughter of badgers - because they have nothing else to offer. The conventional medical establishment tells us, so regularly and frequently, that ‘nothing else can be done’. Although what this actually means is that conventional medicine can do nothing more, for any other medical therapy to suggest that it can leads to them being lampooned, attacked, ridiculed and threatened by the ConMed Establishment, and even by the law, for doing so.

Not even humans are safe from butchery. Faced with the possibility of breast cancer, some women are now choosing to have their breasts removed, rather than face the prospect of relying on conventional medical treatment, in which many women, quite clearly, now have little confidence. And perhaps it is with some justification that, faced with a terminal illness, many people are now seeking legalisation to allow voluntary, or assisted euthanasia.

So let’s invite some lampooning from the supporters of Big Pharma drugs and vaccines! 

How exactly would a Homeopath, or an Alternative Therapist, approach the problem of TB (tuberculosis) in badgers. I see a classic homeopathic consultation, that starts from lifestyle factors, and moves on to treatment!

Alternative Therapist (AT). Are you eating a good, healthy, species-friendly diet?
Cow. No, I am being fed on corn, and I have little opportunity to eat grass

AT. Do you get adequate exercise?
Cow. No, I am kept in a confined space, and not allowed to wander far.

AT. Are you living in a healthy, natural environment?
Cow. No, I rarely if ever see a field. I have to live with many other cows. We are usually indoors now, but this is not a natural environment for us cattle.

AT. Are you under stress? Are you able to relax?
Cow. No. I am expected to provide ever increasing amounts of milk, and I am kept constantly in this state.

AT. Are you getting plenty of Vitamin D (several studies have shown that this is a preventative measure for TB).
Cow. No, it has never been suggested to me. I thought the best source of Vitamin D is sunshine, and I rarely see the sun now, of course.

AT. Has Homeopathic treatment, or any other treatment, ever been mentioned?
Cow. No.

AT. Have you ever been given any Homeopathic remedies, like Phosphorus been given to you?
Cow. Not to my knowledge, the farmer and his vet do not believe in such things, but he is always complaining about badgers.

So it's a precarious life being a cow, living increasingly unnatural lives, and relying as they do on conventional medical treatment. If they get ill, because of the life-style they are expected to endure, they are slaughtered!

And it is a precarious life for badgers too. Whether they carry TB or not, and whether they are troubled by it or not, they are accused of passing the disease to cows, and as a consequence, run the risk of being shot.

But then, as we see so often on this  blog, it is a precarious life being a human, contracting diseases that are often caused by conventional medical treatment, and treated by drugs and vaccines that are usually ineffective and dangerous to our future health. There is nothing we can do, we are told. Just keep taking the medicine.

Indeed, it’s a badgers life!