Search This Blog

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Why Homeopathy? If you are ill conventional medicine has so little to offer!

When I started to write my e-book, 'Why Homeopathy?', which involves comparing the conventional and homeopathic treatment of a variety of illnesses and diseases, I had to decide the best way of ascertaining what conventional medicine has to offer patients. I decided that the NHS website, 'NHS Choices' was the best way of doing so.

Why Homeopathy? now covers over 75 illness, from Acne to Whooping Cough, and the number of conditions is growing regularly. When writing each of these articles I have been astonished at the paucity of treatments available to conventional doctors. Indeed, there appears to be 4 main conventional medical responses to illness.
  • The illness is not important, and there is no need for treatment
In these illnesses, it is often clear that conventional medicine has no treatment to offer, and the importance of the condition is usually downplayed. There may be good life style advice, but no actual treatment. They are not life-threatening conditions, and it is often said, quite correctly, that they will normally go away within a few days, or a few weeks. Yet for patients they can be annoying and/or disruptive conditions for the patient - and conventional medicine has nothing to offer!
  • There is no treatment for the condition, but the condition can be ameliorated.
I have been surprised how NHS Choices often admits that there is no treatment available for particular conditions, and then offers drugs that can ''ameliorate' it. Often this 'amelioration' is provided by pain killing drugs, which does nothing to treat the condition that is causing the pain! Usually they are conditions that will last only a few weeks, or a few months, but during this time they can be debilitating and distressing for the patient. Yet conventional medicine has nothing to offer the patient.
  • The illness is treated with pharmaceutical drugs
The main response of conventional medicine to most illnesses is to offer pharmaceutical drugs. Often NHS Choices will outline the side effects of these drugs, although usually only the milder, less serious ones, and rarely do they give a full list of the known side effects. And usually the seriousness of the adverse drug reactions are downplayed. We are told that not many people get them, they go away once the drug is stopped, and (of course) the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
  • Operations
Most conventional treatment for most illnesses ends up on the operating table. Surgery is the 'when all else fails'  option for conventional medicine.

Never, in any of these four responses, is there any mention of alternative medical therapies, even for those conditions where it is admitted openly that there is no effective conventional treatment available.

The NHS is Britain's national health service, established in 1947 to offer the best treatment available to all patients. What it actually offers patients is just one type of medicine,. It has created a monopoly. If the monopoly medicine it offered was able to offer us effective and safe treatments for illness that might just be acceptable. But conventional medicine does no such thing.  The NHS Choices website shows that can offer four levels of treatment. Nothing. Next to nothing. Or something that is known to be potentially harmful to patients. Then it can offer surgical operations, largely as the treatment that has proceeded it has been ineffective.

Please do not take my word for this. It is my assessment. So look at my 'Why Homeopathy?' website. Or, regardless of where you live in the world, look at the NHS Choices website.

In Britain we spend over £100 billion annually on conventional medicine, that represents nearly 10% of all government spending. And yet the NHS, the monopoly supplier of conventional medicine, is on its knees, and demanding yet again a vast increase of resources.

  • No wonder it is difficult to get an appointment with a doctor! 
  • No wonder Accident and Emergency departments cannot cope with the demand! 
  • No wonder there is a shortage of hospital beds! 
  • No wonder waiting times for operations are increasing!

Conventional drug-based medicine has so little to offer us.

Statins. An attempted rehabilitation by Big Pharma?

Most new pharmaceutical drugs are heralded as 'wonder cures' or 'main bullets', none more so than Statin drugs. When drug companies found that statins reduced cholesterol, they invented a connection between cholesterol and the heart. So taking statins reduced cholesterol and our hearts would benefit. Yet finding any real link between cholesterol of heart disease is proving difficult to find, other than its ability to sell the drugs!

However, statins, had arrived, and pharmaceutical companies proceeded to invent yet another lie. They were, they said, entirely safe! Indeed they were so safe we should ALL be taking them! So prescriptions for statins rocketed, and the pharmaceutical cash registers sang their songs of profit. The  drug companies were delighted.

But then, as happens with all pharmaceutical 'wonder' drugs, problems began to emerge. Statin drugs were not 'entirely safe', although the drug companies, the drug regulators, our doctors, and the mainstream media, decided not to tell the general public. The usual mantra was recited. The benefits outweigh the advantages! But as the years passed, and the evidence increased, his was increasingly difficult to justify. Doubts began to multiply about just how bad cholesterol was for our health.

The situation took a serious turn for the worse in 2010 when a Nottingham university study was published in the British Medical Journal. It found that people taking Statin drugs have a higher risk of
  • liver dysfunction, 
  • kidney failure, 
  • muscle weakness,
  • cataracts. 
The study was a large one, covering over 2 million people in Britain. Yet the list of adverse reactions was even then not comprehensive. The link between Statin drugs and diabetes (now at epidemic levels and usually blamed on our diet) was now linked to this 'entirely safe' drug.

Worse was to follow. The FDA (the USA drug regulator) reported on its website in January 2015 that statins were also linked with memory loss, confusion and dementia. The FDA stated that "it has been been investigating reports of coagnitive impairment from statin use for several years" and that "the agency has reviewed databases that record reports of bad reactions to drugs and statin clinical trials that included assessments of cognitive function." The report stated that memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion spanned "all statin products and all age groups."

Even some doctors now became concerned, and there was an increasing reluctance to prescribe them. So the pharmaceutical industry began to worry about its profits. It needed to take action. And, as they normally do in such situations they turned to medical science to help them preserve their most successful and profitable drug.

Scientists were recruited, (very carefully as we will see) and they produced a report that was published in the Lancet on 1st September 2016. "to help clinicians, patients, and the public make informed decisions about statin therapy for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes."

Basically, the report said that the benefits of Statin drugs were being under-appreciated, and the side effects were being exaggerated. Indeed, they found that the RCT evidence of the benefits were strong, and that the adverse events attributed to statins were not actually caused by them!

These findings were reported without too much critical examination by the mainstream media, and no doubt many people were re-assured. After all, medical science had spoken!

Yet this is a typical response of the pharmaceutical industry when profitable drugs begin to decline, when patients become more resistant, when even doctors are no longer willing to take the reassurances of the drug companies at face value, and are increasingly reluctant to prescribe them.

               It has happened in exactly the same way with HRT, and I wrote about it recently (August 2016) in this blog.

               And it happened in exactly the same way with MMR, when the vaccine was linked with Autism in the early 2000's. I wrote about this in September 2015.
  • Find money for some more medical research on the drug. 
  • Select the 'scientists' who are prepared to produce a report that refutes the doubts, and supports the efficacy of the drug. 
  • Make sure that the academic foundations doing the work is well funded. 
  • And make sure that their media allies publicise the new research!
So how was this Lancet report funded? Within the report, tucked away, there is a rather long 'declaration of interests' statement. This confirms that the 'Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit' (CTSU) at the University of Oxford received grants from some of the largest pharmaceutical companies, including Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Schering, and Solvay. There followed a long list of 'declarations of interests' by each of the reports authors, all "governed by University of Oxford contracts that protect its independence", of course

Most media accounts of this report, if they bother to mention these conflicts of interest at all, do so only in passing. For instance, the BBC Article, reports almost exclusively on the 'good news' of the report, leaving just a few short sentences at the end to indicate that there are critics of the report. Fiona Godlee, editor of the British Medical Journal, is quoted as saying that:

          "This still does not address the calls for a thorough, independent review of the evidence of statins. This is especially important in view of the guidance which recommends that large numbers of healthy people should take a tablet every day."

Then, London cardiologist, Dr Assem Malhotra, is quoted as saying that:

          "There are serious question marks about the reliability of industry-sponsored studies on the side effects of statins, and essentially that's what this review is. And a lot of the scientists involved in the original studies were involved in this review. It is not an independent review."

The Huffington Post published an article in April 2016 by Dr Assem Malhotra, entitled "The Great Statin Con", and this is well worth reading as it contains more on his experience and criticism of Statin drugs. (And certainly the BBC is never likely to publish them)!

So only those people who bothered to read to the bottom, the small print, of the BBC article would have got this message. This is typical of BBC News, and the mainstream media generally. They exist to do the bidding of the conventional medical establishment!

And worse is likely to follow. This report will now be used by the media to stifle any further discussion. Medical science has spoken! No counter arguments will be allowed for several years, until the evidence of Statin harm becomes overwhelming, and impossible to ignore.

Meanwhile, patients who have not been properly informed, will continue to take Statin drugs; they will suffer their side effects,'the pharmaceutical companies will continue to profit from them; diabetes, dementia, and other statin 'side effects' will continue to increase; and the NHS will be moved another step towards bankruptcy!

Well, that's how the conventional medical establishment works!

Monday 19 September 2016

Watch the Failure of Conventional Medicine in just a few minutes

Conventional medicine, based on pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, if failing. Most of their drugs have been withdrawn or banned, most of those remaining either don't work or are harmful to patients or both, and they are so expensive they are bankrupting national health services throughout the developed world.

This is old news for readers of this blog. But now it is possible to watch conventional medicine failing in front of our eyes, in a video that takes just over 1 minute to play. The video can be found on this link.

           Stunning videos of evolution in action

     "What you’re seeing in the movie is a vivid depiction of a very real problem. Disease-causing bacteria and other microbes are increasingly evolving to resist our drugs; by 2050, these impervious infections could potentially kill ten million people a year. The problem of drug-resistant infections is terrifying but also abstract; by their nature, microbes are invisible to the naked eye, and the process by which they defy our drugs is even harder to visualise....... You’re seeing evolution in action. You’re watching living things facing down new challenges, dying, competing, thriving, invading, and adapting—all in a two-minute movie."

The root of the failure of conventional medicine lays in its methodology. It sets out to kill things, and to change the functioning of our body. Just look at the names given to pharmaceutical drugs.
  • Pain KILLERS
  • ANTI-depressants
  • Etc., etc.
The video show how the natural world fights back, how the common gut bacteria, E-Coli, is initially attacked, but then overcomes the ANTIbiotic drugs that are supposed to kill them. 

It is a video that highlights the problems faced by conventional medicine. E-Coli is just one bacteria amongst millions that can become a killer. And since the 1940's conventional medicine has been using ANTIbiotics to kill them. But it is now known that ANTIbiotics no longer work. Bacteria is fighting back. And conventional medicine is losing its most successful drug. As the article says, 

          "What you’re seeing in the movie is a vivid depiction of a very real problem. Disease-causing bacteria and other microbes are increasingly evolving to resist our drugs; by 2050, these impervious infections could potentially kill ten million people a year." 

For conventional medicine the problem of drug-resistant infections is becoming a terrifying prospect. They have nothing else to offer. When I tweeted this article earlier today it obtained a typical response (and the usual personal abuse) from several medical fundamentalists, that I am 'rejoicing' in this impending disaster! Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. My position can be summed up as follows:
  • people need to know that conventional, drug-based medicine, is failing.
  • everyone needs to realise that pharmaceutical drugs are vaccines are not the answer to illness and disease, and whatever the claims for ANTIbiotics and other drugs have been hitherto, they are failing, and pharmaceutical drug companies have no new 'solutions'.
  • we need have this information so that we can all move away from conventional drug treatment, and move to medical therapies that actually do work, and which can help us live with, and amongst bacteria that are an important part of our existence.
We also need to realise that whilst there are claims that ANTIbiotics have saved lives in the past, the problem with them is not just that they will be able to do so in the future. Few people, for instance, are aware of the damage they have caused to our health during the last 70 years. ANTIbiotics have had a devastating affect on the health of our stomachs because they kill both 'good' and 'bad' bacteria (although in truth we can live in harmony with both). 

Professor Martin Blaser, of the New York University, in his research "Stop the killing of beneficial bacteria" said this.

          "Early evidence from my lab and others hints that, sometimes, our friendly flora never fully recover.. . These long-term changes to the beneficial bacteria within people's bodies may even increase our susceptibility to infections and disease. Overuse of antibiotics could be fueling the dramatic increase in conditions such as obesity, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and asthma, which have more than doubled in many populations."

There is evidence that ANTIbiotics have caused a variety of diseases, all of them now running at epidemic proportions. These linked with the drug are:
  • Obesity
  • Diarrhoea
  • Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • NonHodgkins Lymphoma
  • Liver damage
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Heart disease
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Mental disorders
So the demise of ANTIbiotics will be no greater loss to human health than the demise of HRT, painKILLERS, ANTIdepressants, et al.

That is, they will not be a great loss as long as we realise, and we are told, that there are safer and more effective medical therapies available to us that will maintain our health from threats which are, in effect, only threats to those who continue to believe that conventional, drug-based medicine has any answers to ill-health.

Saturday 10 September 2016

A conversation with a medical fundamentalist

As readers of this blog will realise I don't engage in conversations with medical fundamentalists, for two main reasons. First, they have nothing useful to say on the health issues that are important to debate. And, like most fundamentalists, religious, medical or otherwise, their views are entirely fixed, unchanging, and unreasoning. There is also a third reason. They try to engage with me on Twitter, constantly, and invariably they are abusive. They are trolls. They are not interested in debate, only on propagating and enforcing their own views.

So how would a conversation with a medical fundamentalist go?

Homeopathy is a very effective medical therapy.
  • No, it's not! There is no evidence that homeopathy works! Only conventional medicine, and its pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, are based on science!
Yet many millions of people have been cured of all kinds of diseases for over 220 years, all over the world, so it must be effective.
  • No no-one has been cured by homeopathy! It is the placebo effect! They just thought they got better! There is no evidence that homeopathy works! Only conventional medicine is based on science!
But I have been cured with homeopathy. How do you explain that?
  • You are mistaken! You are lying! It is just the placebo effect!
But homeopaths throughout the world are curing sick people every day. Can all these people be mistaken? Are they all lying?
  • Yes, there is no evidence that homeopathy works! Only conventional medicine works because it is based on science! It is just the placebo effect!
But homeopathy works with animals and plants, how can that be a placebo effect?
  • That's all nonsense, there is no evidence that homeopathy works with either animals or plants! 
There are now nearly 500 studies that have demonstrated that homeopathy works, and here they are.
  • No, these a not proper studies! They do not prove anything, and I will no change my mind! There is no evidence that homeopathy works!
What sort of studies would demonstrate to you that homeopathy works?
  • RCT's, Randomised Controlled Tests. These are the 'Gold Standard' in scientific testing! And your studies are no good enough! There is no evidence that homeopathy works!
There are an increasing number of RCT's amongst the studies I have shown you. Why do you dismiss these?
  • They are not acceptable to me! All of them do not meet my criteria for acceptability! There is still no evidence that homeopathy works!
Is there not enough evidence, within the studies I have shown you, and patient experience through the last 220 years, to suggest that more research should be done on Homeopathy?
  • No! There is no evidence that homeopathy works! It cannot work! It is just the placebo effect! Homeopathy goes against all the known laws of science!
If RCT's are really so good, why is it that all conventional pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines have been tested, and pronounced to be effective and safe for patients, yet they have failed to pre-warn us about about the disease they have caused, and they serious harm they have done to patients?
  • (Silence)! Medical Fundamentalists never answer questions about the iatrogenic disease caused by pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines that they maintain are supported by their science.
This pharmaceutical drug, or this vaccine, which has been banned, or withdrawn, or about which there is increasing evidence that it is causing harm. Why is this, if conventional medicine is supposed to be 'scientific'?
  • (Silence)! Medical Fundamentalists may appear to support 'scientific' medicine, but they never explain or answer questions about either its ineffectiveness, or the harm it has consistently caused to patients.
Is not the first requirement of any medical therapy that first it should do no harm?
  • (An ongoing and almost deafening silence ensues)!
So would you, at least, agree that homeopathy is a safe form of medicine?
  • No, homeopathy is safe because there is no active ingredient! Remedies are no more than sugar pills! Homeopathy cannot work because no-one can explain its working mechanism! Homeopathy just cannot work!
Is it not the task of science to discover the working mechanism of Homeopathy?
  • There is no reason to look into this! As a scientist I know that homeopathy is against all the known laws of chemistry! So I know that it cannot work! And despite all the evidence you have given me I insist that I am right! And nothing will prove that I am wrong!
Okay, so we have different views, but we can at least agree that patients should have a choice of medical therapy when they are ill.
  • Certainly not, any money spent on homeopathy is a waste because it does not work. Homeopaths are quacks, charlatans, out to earn money from vulnerable, unsuspecting sick people.
Yet many people would want to choose homeopathy because they know it is both more effective, and safer. Would you deny them this choice?
  • Yes. By offering patients homeopathy you are causing them harm! There is no evidence that homeopathy works! Pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are supported by science! So by offering patients homeopathy you are denying them medicine that is based on science!
But conventional medicine has a long history of banned and withdrawn drugs and vaccines that have harmed patients. Medical science has not protected them. So how can denying patients a safe and effective medicine be dangerous when you recommend that they accept conventional medicine?
  • (Silence)!
So should everyone be forced to accept the medicine you advocate, despite the harm it has caused, and is causing to patients?
  • Yes, because pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are based on real science! As a result everyone should be forced to accept the drugs and vaccines I believe in! Moreover, I campaign to ban homeopathy from the NHS as there is no evidence that homeopathy works!
Of course this is not what a real conversation would be like with a mental fundamentalist. I have not included all the personal abuse that they engage in when 'discussing' health matters. But for anyone interested in what medical fundamentalist trolls have to say, I have written about this abuse in several blogs I have published in the past.

Iatrogenic Disease. A warning from a doctor

I am usually critical of doctors, not least because they are the people who give patients ineffective and unsafe pharmaceutical drugs. However, occasionally a doctor is prepared to raise his head above the parapet. Dr Des Spence is a GP in Glasgow, and a tutor at Glasgow University, and he published a blog, "Gabapentinoids - the new diazepam?" in the Pulse magazine (9 September 2016). He talks of the advice of 'experts' and 'media doctors', who tell doctors what to think "however mindless it might be".

          "We GPs are ‘seen’ to take on this advice, but then systematically ignore it. We won’t prescribe statins to everyone because it is irrational and stupid. We don’t accept that ‘pain is what the patients says it is’, because common sense dictates that it isn’t. Regrettably the infallibility of NICE and the deference shown to the ‘expert’ is creating overtreatment, medicalisation and iatrogenic harm. And iatrogenic harm is the worst of all  harms, for doctors are responsible and it is wholly preventable." (My emphasis).

A doctor who recognises the enormity of iatrogenic harm is an unusual doctor. This blog continually points out that the so-called 'side effects' of pharmaceutical drugs are for the patient new diseases, often diseases worse than the condition for which the drug is taken. My e-book, 'DIE's: The "Disease Inducing Effects" of Drugs and Vaccines' is looking at specific illnesses and diseases and examining the pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines known to cause the condition.

Dr Spence continues by comparing the use of the drug, Diazepam, and other benzodiazepine drugs (of which Valium and Librium are perhaps best known) "... peddled as a safe and effective treatment for anxiety by companies and experts alike", with Gabapentinoid drugs. He describes how, when he started work in the 1990s, he had struggled with the "consequences of ... thoughtless advice" that produced "herds of middle-aged patients zonked out and dependent on benzodiazepines", and that his surgeries were dominated with "dealing with the fall out of dependence and abuse", including "drug seeking behaviours, lies, confrontation, rebound agitation, insomnia  and withdrawal seizures. Just chaos".

Dr Spence says that it took the medical establishment decades to realise the psychological and physical harm that was caused (but fails to mention that Benzodiazipine drugs are still prescribed today)! He does mention, however, that doctors are still dealing with the 'radioactive consequences' of the "rapid, widespread and poorly controlled prescribing of benzodiazepines in the 1970s and 1980s".

And Dr Spence abhors the thought that the medical establishment has not learnt a lesson from the Benzodiazepine scandal. I have written about Benzodiazepine drugs elsewhere. But Dr Spence brings us up to date with what is happening in the doctors surgeries today with another class of drug, Gabapentinoids, which he thinks are equally harmful.

          "In the last five years my sensor has been off the scale with the gabapentinoids (gabapentin and pregabalin). Patients are actively seeking gabapentinoids using the familiar crude acting skills, that I had witnessed with benzodiazepines 20 years earlier. A cocktail of anger, tears and threats in equal measure. Constant requests for dose increases, fanciful stories of lost scripts and a tag team approach with friends who ‘corroborate’ stories. The signs and symptoms of a drug of abuse and stigmata of iatrogenic harm."

Gabapentinoids, of which the brand name Neurontin, is perhaps best known, is a drug used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, hot flashes, restless leg syndrome, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, post-herpetic neuralgia, and central neuropathic pain. It has a considerable number of known side effects, including sleepiness, dizziness, drowsiness, ataxia, peripheral oedema, tremor, sexual dysfunction, suicide, and aggressive behaviour. It was first approved in 1993.

We live in a society in which conventional medicine encourages us to take drugs for our health. The difference between taking drugs for health, and taking drugs for recreation is small. Gabapentinoids have been described as the ‘ideal psychotropic drug’, producing ‘great euphoria’, ‘disassociation’, ‘opiate buzz’, and other mind enhancing effects so loved by those who crave to such mind-changing, but addictive effects. So prescriptions for these drugs are apparently soaring, doubling in just three years. De Spence says that many doctors prescribe them 'freely and loosely' on the basis of specialist endorsement, even though he claims there are more effective and less harmful alternatives.

Pregabalin is already a controlled medication in the USA (and there is debate about controls in the UK), the research base for the benefits of gabapentinoids is of a short duration and in a small, defined population where as few as one in 10 benefit [7].

Dr Spence ends his blog with an important question, do we want "another benzodiazepines-style disaster all over again?" The answer is, of course, 'NO'. Yet will we get suffer another one? The answer, from past experience, is that if pharmaceutical companies can profit from selling a drug, they will pressurise governments, health authorities, and drug regulators to approve it, and the medical establishment will press doctors to prescribe it. And they will continue to do so until it harms so many people that the media can no longer ignore it, and its dangerousness can not longer be kept from us. It is the way that the conventional medical establishment works!

And it is not just Gabapentinoids that will cause such disasters, iatrogenic disease is being caused daily by a multitude of pharmaceutical drugs.