“Drugs make a well person sick. Why would they make a sick person well?” (Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.) The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol. 6, No. 8 September-October, 2006) "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A."
Copyright 2006 by Andrew W. Saul of http://www.doctoryourself.com , which now welcomes nearly two million visitors annually. Commercial use of the website or the contents of this Newsletter is strictly prohibited.
Disclaimer: In this issue, there are lots of reviews of some very important self-health books. Knowledge is power, and reading remains the most efficient way to get it.
LINUS PAULING OR LOCH NESS?
SUPPLEMENTS ARE ADEQUATELY REGULATED
MEDLINE BIAS HITS THE NEWS MEDIA
NUTRITION NOTES AND NEWS
“DOCTOR YOURSELF" at the NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD OF SINGAPORE
INDEPENDENT VITAMIN SAFETY REVIEW PANEL
1) CANCER: NUTRITION AND SURVIVAL
2) MEDICAL MAVERICKS, VOLUME III
3) BIG PHARMA
4) DEATH BY MODERN MEDICINE
PSYCHOLOGY TODAY DOES ALT MED
And: GOOD KNIGHT
IF YOU HAVE SEEN “NESSIE,” bring me a fin, or some scales. It will be an easier task than finding confirmed vitamin-caused deaths. This is not because they go unreported. Between DAWN (the Drug Abuse Warning Network); the American Association of Poison Control Centers; hospital and physician records; and the FDA’s open-arms invitation to report anything that might even POSSIBLY be a problem with a supplement, opportunities abound. The reason there is virtually no vitamin death data is because there are no vitamin-killed bodies. It’s just that simple. ( http://www.doctoryourself.com/testimony.htm )
There are those, especially in the pharmaceutical-advertising-supported media, who would like you to think that vitamins have no therapeutic value. In fact, they’d like you to think that nutritional supplements are downright dangerous.
Yet, if you search the National Library of Medicine’s MEDLINE index for “vitamin,” you will find more than 174,000 papers that discuss the subject. And there are plenty more that are not indexed on MEDLINE. Even so, a MEDLINE search for “vitamin therapy” yields over 54,000 citations; “vitamin therapeutics” produces 16,600.
A search for “vitamin contraindications” gets only 172 responses. A search for “vitamin death” will present you with papers on how vitamins prevent death.
My own personal search of the medical literature has failed to find one death proven to be caused by the public’s use of vitamin supplementation. If you find one, please send it on to me. Remember, please, that I am looking specifically for proven instances, not hearsay. I don’t want to hear of such-and-such person, doctor, reporter, website, or organization who makes a claim. Show me the coroner’s hard evidence.
TELL YOUR LAWMAKERS: SUPPLEMENTS ARE ADEQUATELY REGULATED ALREADY
“The Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 was intended to ensure consumer access to safe dietary supplements, e.g., herbs, minerals, and vitamins. It granted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considerable enforcement authority to regulate dietary supplement industry. This article discusses relevant components of the DSHEA, explains the division of regulatory responsibilities between the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and refutes the often cited allegation that the herb and dietary supplement industry are unregulated.” (Wollschlaeger B. The Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act and supplements: dietary and nutritional supplements need no more regulations. Int J Toxicol. 2003 Sep-Oct;22(5):387-90.) PMID: 14555412
TELL YOUR LAWMAKERS: IT’S DRUGS THAT ARE DANGEROUS
ASSOCIATED PRESS: DRUG ERRORS INJURE MORE THAN 1.5 MILLION A YEAR (July 20, 2006) “More than 1.5 million Americans are injured every year by drug errors in hospitals, nursing homes and doctor's offices, a count that doesn't even estimate patients' own medication mix-ups. . . (O)n average, a hospitalized patient is subject to at least one medication error per day.” Read the whole article at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13954142
MEDLINE BIAS HITS THE NEWS MEDIA “DRUG BUST,” by Alan Cassels. “Monopoly medicine squashes the alternatives.” See how, in this excellent, full-text article at http://www.commonground.ca/iss/0608181/cg181_Cassels.shtml
My editorial on Medline bias is featured in the August, 2006 “Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.”
NUTRITION NOTES AND NEWS:
CARROTS ‘R’ US?
Here’s a noncommercial website devoted entirely to carrot juice: http://www.carrotjuice.com/facts-carrotjuicebasics.html
And here’s a kitty cat (yes, mine) that eats unflavored raw carrot pulp: http://www.doctoryourself.com/cat1.html
ORTHOMOLECULAR HALL OF FAME
If you were not able to join us at the recent (May 2006) Third Annual Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame induction banquet in Vancouver, you might wish to read my presentation speeches now posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/OMHF2006.html
REPORT ON THE FIRST (2004) ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE HALL OF FAME:
http://www.searpubl.ca/2004meeting.htm HERPES, SHINGLES STOPPED BY VITAMIN C . . . 70 YEARS AGO http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/193x/dainow-ann_derm_syph_1936-s7-v7-n9-p817-eng.htm En francais: http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/193x/dainow-ann_derm_syph_1936-s7-v7-n9-p817.htm
GREAT VITAMIN C PIONEERS:
TWO OF MY LATEST BIOGRAPHIC PAPERS ARE NOW ONLINE
IRWIN STONE: Orthomolecular Innovator and Educator (J Orthomolecular Med, 2005. Vol 20, No 4, p 230-236) is now posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/stone.html
CLAUS JUNGEBLUT, M.D.: Polio Pioneer; Ascorbate Advocate, (J Orthomolecular Med, 2006. Vol 21, No 2) is posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/jungeblut.html
FISH OIL TREATS ADHD BETTER THAN RITALIN
”(A) study by the University of Adelaide in Australia found (that) when 130 children between the ages of 7 and 12 with ADHD were given fish oil capsules daily, behavior dramatically improved within three months. . . When the researchers compared their results to studies of Ritalin and Concerta for ADHD, they found that fish oils were more effective.” (The Daily Mail June 20, 2006; ABC News Online June 21, 2006) Read more at http://www.mercola.com/2006/jul/4/fish_oil_treats_adhd_better_than_ritalin.htm
CANCER AND VITAMIN C
”Vitamin C deficiency is common in patients with advanced cancer and the most important factors determining plasma levels are dietary intake and markers of the inflammatory response. Patients with low plasma concentrations of vitamin C have a shorter survival.” (Mayland CR, Bennett MI, Allan K. Vitamin C deficiency in cancer patients. Palliat Med. 2005 Jan;19(1):17-20.) “DOCTOR YOURSELF" at the NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD OF SINGAPORE Review by Sara Pek.
Are you often given a “needle in the rear end” when you visit the doctor? Have you been prescribed with medications and felt “high” when you have anxiety symptoms? If you do, you have the same encounters as Andrew Saul had with “conventional medicine.” Since he was young, he has felt that there is more to medicine than “silver-colored instruments and pain”.
In the book, “Doctor Yourself,” Andrew advocates nutritional therapy to prevent and treat many diverse ailments; from alcoholism, cancer, diabetes to PMS, schizophrenia and sleep disorders. He urges one to watch and adjust the diet for healthy living. As a natural healer, Andrew believes in cleansing and strengthening the body rather than by curing specific diseases. Holding high respect for nature, his personal experience with illness and recovery has led him to practice natural healing. He advises supplementing diet with mega doses of multivitamins (especially vitamin C) for wide range of health concerns from male fertility, immune dysfunction to longevity. The author is unafraid of the skeptics and detractors. He feels that natural healing is not about avoiding doctors but about not needing to go to the doctors. There is also advice on how one can look for and work with one’s physicians.
The book is easy to read despite quoting many scientific studies and research findings. The conversational style gives the reader vivid accounts of patient education and treatment by the healer. A point to note is that information in the book should not be taken as a substitute for consulting with health care professionals, especially for diagnosis of health problem.
A biologist and naturopathic teacher, Saul has recently published another book, “Fire Your Doctor!: How to be Independently Healthy.”
(End of review. Reprinted with the permission of the National Library Board, Singapore, June-July 2006. http://220.127.116.11:2000/Newsletter/issue_jun_jul06/reviews/bookreviews/health.asp )
For more reviews of “Doctor Yourself”: http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html To order an autographed copy: http://www.doctoryourself.com/order.html
NEW REVIEW OF “FIRE YOUR DOCTOR”
My newest book, “Fire Your Doctor!” was reviewed by the “Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients,” July 2006. The reviewer liked much of the book, but keenly disliked the title. Fair enough; I don’t especially like the Townsend’s title, because I think “patients” is demeaning. We are PEOPLE, not patients!
For more reviews of “Fire Your Doctor!” (one written by a university researcher, and one by a physician: http://www.doctoryourself.com/review.html To order an autographed copy: http://www.doctoryourself.com/order.html )
INDEPENDENT VITAMIN SAFETY REVIEW PANEL
An independent panel of university faculty, medical researchers, and physicians experienced in nutritional therapeutics says that vitamin supplements are exceptionally safe for the public. Specifically, Independent Vitamin Safety Review Panelists are all in agreement with http://www.doctoryourself.com/testimony.htm
The IVSRP consists of:
Abram Hoffer, MD Michael Janson, MD Thomas Levy, MD, JD Erik Paterson, MD
Woody R. McGinnis, MD
Allan N. Spreen, MD
Bo H. Jonsson, MD, PhD
Chris M Reading, MD
Bradford Weeks, MD
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, MD
Jerry Green, MD
Stephen Faulkner, MD
Klaus Wenzel, MD
Richard Huemer, MD
Jonathan Prousky, ND
Michael Friedman, ND
William B. Grant, PhD
Harold Foster, PhD
H. H. Nehrlich, PhD
Steve Hickey, PhD
Gert E. Schuitemaker, PhD
Andrew W. Saul, Chairman
Isn’t it good to know that more and more practicing physicians are coming forward in support of vitamins? Drawing on decades of actual experience with many thousands of patients, family doctors and specialists assert that vitamin supplements are safe and effective even in high doses. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v02n07.shtml
Vitamin-bashing news stories are typically based on studies with faulty design whose conclusions were preordained. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v02n06.shtml
A recent US National Institutes of Health report has attempted to cast doubt on food supplement safety. However, it is the dissenting opinion of the Independent Vitamin Safety Review Panel that 1) the NIH report is biased against nutritional supplementation, because 2) NIH's selection of panel members excluded professionals that advocate nutritional supplementation, and 3) the research NIH reviewed selectively excluded hundreds of studies supporting the safety and effectiveness of nutritional supplementation. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v02n05.shtml
The Vitamin Safety Review Panel rebuts the National Institutes of Health report. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v02n04.shtml
The most elementary of forensic arguments is, where are the bodies? http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v01n13.shtml
There is no evidence that vitamin C causes kidney stones. Indeed, in some cases, high doses may be curative. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v01n07.shtml
The evidence supporting vitamin E's efficacy in preventing and reversing heart disease is overwhelmingly positive. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v01n01.shtml
It is the conclusion of the Independent Vitamin Safety Review Panel that the US National Institutes of Health has ignored the benefits of vitamin supplementation, grossly overstated supposed risks, and in so doing, has both misinformed the public and harmed the public's health. More articles at http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml
To receive future news releases by the Independent Vitamin Safety Review Panel, please subscribe to the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service for free at http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html References: 1. Watson WA, Litovitz TL, Klein-Schwartz W, Rodgers GC Jr, Youniss J, Reid N, Rouse WG, Rembert RS, Borys D. 2003 annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System. Am J Emerg Med. 2004 Sep;22(5):335-404. 2. Testimony before the Government of Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, regarding nutritional supplement product safety (Ottawa, May 12, 2005). http://www.doctoryourself.com/testimony.htm
DEPRESSION AND TEMPER
W. H. writes: “My mouth literally dropped open when I read Dr. Hoffer's article on niacin therapy on your website. I quit smoking in 1987 at the age of 47, shortly afterwards I became a grouch in any definition of the word. My temper nearly got me fired from a very good job, and I went to many anger management classes mostly to show I was trying to help myself. After about two years a doctor diagnosed my hypertension and I started on medicine for my blood pressure. The stress and bursts of anger greatly tapered off almost immediately once my blood pressure got lowered. But, there were still serious incidents along with some increasing anxiety and depression. Another doctor had me on an anti-depression medication that almost turned me into a vegetable. Then we moved to Phoenix and bought a new house. The man we hired to install our window shades told me about various vitamins. I started vitamins and the last of my symptoms disappeared in just a few days. It didn't take very long for me to realize that niacin (B-3) was starting to stand out so I concentrated more one it. Sure enough after quite a few months of experimentation and charting the various brands of multi-vitamins it proved out that the niacin was doing me the greatest good. Today I started looking around again to see if I should increase my intake and then I stumbled across Dr. Hoffer's article quite accidentally. You and he have reinforced my own findings and I now think I'll get down to one of those health stores and carefully increase my daily intake.”
A. W. writes: “First of all, I want to thank you for making such a useful site, which is absolutely free. I am in Karachi, Pakistan. My elder brothers are doctors: one is in UK and the other is in USA. I was suffering from an indigestion problem for the last several years. By reading your site, I got some very important knowledge. I hope you continue to help people around the world. My best regards and best wishes always.” Doctor Yourself News Feature section:
EDUCATE YOURSELF! Reviews of Four Very Important Books
1) CANCER: NUTRITION AND SURVIVAL
Steve Hickey, PhD and Hilary Roberts, PhD (Lulu Press, 2005. Paperback, 295 pages. ISBN: 141166339X)
Reviewed by Andrew W. Saul
Many years ago, when I crossed the equator aboard ship, I caught myself in the act of half-looking for a line of floats, a dotted line, a marker of some sort, to indicate that the hemispheres had changed. Ridiculous, I confess. Yet, as we look outward at our shared biosphere, and inward at our common biochemistry, one may even wonder if our very skin is something of an arbitrary boundary between internal and external environments. Do our cells and tissues have their own microevolution, mirroring that of fishes and finches?
In their new book, Cancer: Nutrition and Survival, Drs. Steve Hickey and Hilary Roberts propose that “cancer is a consequence of our evolution from single-called to multi-called organisms” and that the “causes of the disease are explained according to a simple evolutionary model. . . Biological principles predict that cancer-killing substances should occur frequently in nature, and this is indeed the case.”
Simple explanation for cancer? Natural cures for cancer? One can almost hear orthodox oncologists lighting the straw beneath the stake as the authors make such near-heretical statements. But before anyone is torched, would-be judges had best take a look at the evidence. Hickey and Roberts certainly have. Cancer: Nutrition and Survival is one of the most tightly referenced books I have ever seen, with a staggering 1,148 citations. The book is well organized, appropriately illustrated, and briefly indexed. In a book this thorough, with so many subtopics and literature citations, an author index would be a good addition.
This is the book of choice to put into the hands of cancer patients who don’t know what their options really consist of. It is also my pick for any doctor who may certainly have heard of Linus Pauling, but refuses to read him. Pauling and cancer surgeon Ewan Cameron co-wrote their now-classic Cancer and Vitamin C back in 1979, which was last updated in 1993. Hickey and Roberts’ Cancer: Nutrition and Survival qualifies as a most worthy successor, with the advantage of being right up to date.
But it is much more than just a current review. Cancer: Nutrition and Survival has something of the Fantastic Voyage movie about it. In the first chapters, we are, in a manner of speaking, reduced in size for a virtual tour the body from the inside. That the authors enable us to visualize cellular biochemistry is a testament to their skill as scientists. That they can make it compelling is a testimony to their skill as writers. For me, the best part starts on page 106, as the book turns to nutritional solutions to cancer, and zeros in on the benefits of ascorbate therapy. The authors are well versed on the subject, having previously written the first-rate book Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C.
Only the rarest Hollywood movie sequel is better than the original. Hickey and Roberts may even have surpassed Cameron and Pauling. Says Abram Hoffer, who wrote Healing Cancer with Linus Pauling: ”The microevolutionary hypothesis of cancer is so simple and elegant; I wish I had thought of it first.” This is tantamount to praise from Caesar.
Roger J. Williams wrote, “When in doubt, use nutrition first.” There would seem to be few oncologists who practice accordingly. If Dr. Williams’ principle does not ring true to them, perhaps Pascal’s Wager will: Using ascorbate is more advantageous than not using it. It makes little sense to close the door on this and other available nutritional cancer therapies that, at the very least, improve quality and length of life and at best, save life.
Consider this book’s title. If more patients had better nutrition, they would have better survival. Napoleon is said to have declared that in the next life, doctors will have more lives to answer for then generals. The bad news is that it is too late for the dead to benefit from Cancer: Nutrition and Survival. The good news is that it is not too late for the living. Drs. Hickey and Roberts’ book needs to be widely read before any more lives are spent.
(Reprinted with permission from Saul AW. Review of Cancer: Nutrition and survival, by Steve Hickey and Hilary Roberts. J Orthomolecular Med, 2006. Vol 21, No 2.)
2) MEDICAL MAVERICKS, VOLUME III
by Hugh Desaix Riordan, M.D. Paperback, 237 pages plus bibliography. (Wichita, KS: Bio-Communications Press, 2005. ISBN 0942333136)
Reviewed by Andrew W. Saul
Like soldiers in battle, orthomolecular pioneers stand as warriors for their patients' health. The trailblazers of nutrition therapy, including Hugh Riordan, M.D., were warriors who stood up against medical dogma. Their stand continues today. For a warrior, it is not about living to enjoy the victory, but the mark you make in your time. Hugh Desaix Riordan has left an indelible impression, both in the journals and in the layperson's understanding and appreciation of orthomolecular medicine. One way he did so was through his three Medical Mavericks books, each a collection of article-length biographies of history's most important, and often most unorthodox, medical innovators.
Although people often fail to learn from history, Dr. Riordan is one doctor that clearly has. Hugh Riordan's joy in his subject permeates his writing, along with a generous selection of superb quotations and plentiful anecdotes. Mavericks III is so well written that you forget it is a history book. That is no small achievement for an author. Years of careful preparation make Medical Mavericks III a considerably larger work than either Medical Mavericks I or II. Although lacking an index, it is admirably presented including small but handsome grayscale photos of each of its individual subjects.
Mavericks III is also more confrontational than its two predecessors. Every physician or researcher profiled in Mavericks III is an uncompromising, outspoken orthomolecular nutrition advocate. That takes courage. Conventionally trained scientists who have embraced vitamin therapy know that they have forever crossed the Rubicon. As Hugh said, "'Orthomolecular' is not the answer to any questions posed in medical school." "Hugh relished a good fight," writes Dr. Abram Hoffer in the book's introduction. "He was challenged legally when he wanted to treat his patients with high-dose vitamins in the hospital. He won. Hugh was one of the medical mavericks who fought hard and consistently on behalf of orthomolecular concepts. In doing so, he became a member of an elite group."
While such a group is the topic of all the “Mavericks” books, in volume three, attention is specifically focused on the 20th century pioneers of nutritional medicine. Those profiled include Robert Cathcart III, Emanuel Cheraskin, Carl Ebnother, Ruth Harrell, Abram Hoffer, Masatoshi Kaneko, Linus Pauling, Carl Pfeiffer, Bernard Rimland, and Roger Williams. The book also includes a chapter on Dr. Riordan.
Perhaps the most personal tribute is offered to Dr. Fowler Border Poling, the brilliant but largely unknown practitioner who first introduced Hugh to nutritional medicine and became Hugh's mentor. Dr. Poling died in 1963 at age 48 as the result of a car accident. Hugh's affection for his great teacher fairly rushes from the pages:
"Dr. Fowler Poling was not afraid to defend his beliefs. He was also a man of supreme compassion and understanding. To this day, his daughter's last memory of her father was when the two of them stood in front of the picture window of their house one night, when the window acted as a reflecting mirror, and he practiced his daughter's cheerleading jumps with her. This was their last experience together before he died." Dr. Riordan adds: "One additional factor is helpful for the Truth to prevail: physical survival."
This statement is all the more touching considering Hugh's own untimely death at 72. I'd had a conversation with Hugh the very morning of the day he would die. He called to tell me he was just completing Mavericks III. Later that day, he had literally put his pen down when he collapsed, his last written words being these:
"What we learn from these superb observers and orthomolecular doers can literally change our lives for the better. That is why Medical Mavericks III has been written."
General George Patton said that the only proper way for a warrior to die is by the last bullet in the last battle. The last battle has already been fought, has already been won, for all those who know the healing power of nature and fully utilize the tools of nutritional medicine. For every physician who has verified this, for every patient who has experienced it, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann's words come to mind: "And when you get better, remember."
(Reprinted with permission from: Saul AW. Review of Medical mavericks, volume III, by Hugh Desaix Riordan. J Orthomolecular Med, 2005. Vol 20, No 3, p 214-215.)
3) BIG PHARMA by Jacky Law (London: Constable Publishing, 2006. Paperback, 266 pages with references, ISBN: 1845291395)
Reviewed by Michael Jolliffe, Doctor Yourself volunteer in the UK.
‘It’s official’, declares Jacky Law. ‘Big Pharma is bad for our health.’ More than twenty-five years as a health journalist and seven years as the associate editor of the pharmaceutical newsletter Scrip Magazine make Law amply credentialed to make such a judgment. With Big Pharma, she has offered the final contribution to a devastating triumvirate of books about the pharmaceutical industry that also includes Dr Marcia Angell’s “The Truth about Drug Companies” and Dr Carolyn Dean’s “Death by Modern Medicine.”
Yet, where Angell focuses on the collusion between Pharma and the medical profession to which they offer high-price junkets, and where Dean lays bare the enormous cost to human life of modern medical practice, Law’s book is all about the ‘medicines business’. Big Pharma unstitches the almost incalculable profitability, Machiavellian marketing practices and ‘sumo-style’ financial staying power that has culminated in the rise of the ‘druggernauts’. If you believe that you have an inkling of how truly, staggeringly gargantuan the pharmaceutical industry is, this book will make you think again. Could any other industry in the world send forth seventy thousand representatives to promote a single product within the first week of its release, as GlaxoSmithKline did to doctors with Advair in 2003?
Law is an astute and measured writer, preferring to let the facts speak for themselves, and indeed those facts read like a history of organised crime. Big Pharma re-examines in detail every eventuality that has brought towards the industry distrust, suspicion and sometimes disdain. From pricing controls that exploit poorer nations, the willingness of the FDA and Federal Government to act as crash-mats against heavy anti-Pharma lawsuits, judicial bribery, the dehumanising of science and healthcare, Vioxx, SSRIs (to which use ‘every single school shooting can be traced’), Baycol, disease-mongering, marketing dressed up as research, to the medicalisation of twelve million ‘ADHD’ children, so it continues. For these reasons and others, the book is not an easy one to read without becoming extremely irate; it would be difficult to find a more galling irony than that Prozac had been created with the intention that patients ‘could feel as though they were taking nothing more than a vitamin pill’.
Nevertheless, Law also draws a line under just how few new, active molecules are now being produced by the industry (only 20 in 2003) and how many are simply rehashed pills for brand new ills which, following the failure of genetic research and the biotech boom, could signal the end of its tenure as the world’s biggest industry. If there were a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual label for the pharmaceutical industry, its current condition would surely be under the heading ‘terminal ground rot’. One criticism to be leveled against the book is perhaps that these contents appear somewhat disorganised, as if the writer was still sorting her own opinions and thoughts as the work was created. This does not, however, detract from that within these sometimes-loose contents is an abundance of urgent facts.
Law dedicates the final third of the book to advocating a patient-led revolution, to bring down what she describes as ‘the Berlin Wall of health care’. The most telling point in this respect, ironically, is on the very first page: that drugs are the perfect ideological antidote to the imbalanced, channel-hopping, twenty-first century lifestyle, and that only when we begin to live more consciously and more healthily will we unbridle ourselves from the control that the pharmaceutical industry continues to exploit. In Law’s words, ‘the authority of healthcare systems around the world cannot help but crumble in the face of much more confident and articulate consumers’. Big Pharma will not change, so we must. This, also, is a call to action. Law, with cautious optimism, urges us to regain control of our doctors, our health and, consequently, our lives. To declare, in matters of health care, in matters of what we require and what we are prepared to pay for that ‘we are the masters’. This message alone justifies the status of Big Pharma as important reading.
4) DEATH BY MODERN MEDICINE
by Carolyn Dean, M.D., and Trueman Tuck (Belleville, ON: Matrix Verite, 2005. 378 pages, paperback. ISBN: 0-9737392-0-7)
Reviewed by Andrew W. Saul
Not even the juiciest crime novel has the word “death” on each and every single page. But Death by Modern Medicine does, and it is no work of fiction. There’s a coffin at the center of the book’s blood-red cover. The “T” in the title word “Death” is fashioned from a physician’s twin-serpent caduceus. The lining of the coffin illustration has another large caduceus emblazoned on it. Why? Because, says author Carolyn Dean, M.D., 7.8 million people died from modern medicine just in the years 1990 to 2000. She and coauthor Truman Tuck further assert that we are victims of a “medical system that in its short history of about eighty years, has managed to kill tens of millions.”
A book so devoid of subtlety in presentation had better be accurate and its content well-supported. This book is. With a total of nearly 30 pages of scientific references, Death by Modern Medicine in an expansion of Death by Medicine, a controversial paper Dr. Dean coauthored. (1) That paper, and the present book, glean and tabulate many a grim statistic from peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, and other highly reputable sources. Among the authors whose work is considered in detail is former NEJM editor-in-chief Marcia Angell, M.D., whose scholarly and scathing attack on the dangers of the pharmaceutical industry I have previously reviewed. (2) Another is respected Harvard health policy analyst Lucien L. Leape, M.D.. Dr. Leape was one of the first physicians to aggressively criticize the safety record of pharmaceutically-based medicine. In 1994, he estimated annual USA medical error deaths at 180,000. (3) Then, the very next year, JAMA published a study by Bates et al (4) which estimated that hospital injuries kill 280,000 per year.
Now, after considering nearly a dozen additional recognized sources reporting medical fatalities, Dean and colleagues set the actual annual death toll at over 780,000, a dreadful figure. Even if Dean’s estimate were to be criticized as high, it simply cannot be tossed aside. Her statistical sources are too good, and the subject is too important. If there has been a competent rebuttal of her work, I am yet to see it.
Death by Modern Medicine does not restrict blame to drugs and doctors. A variety of other topics including cancer research, health care bureaucracy, media bias, chemical pollution, and unhealthy diet and lifestyle, receive due attention in individual chapters. While the facts and figures are always clearly presented and easy to comprehend, there are so many that additional reader-friendly graphics, and an index, would be welcome additions. I think the next printing of the book should dispense with the final few pages, consisting of several mail-in forms that may serve to distract skeptics into questioning conflicts of interest.
Death by Modern Medicine is a very good book. As you read it, you can sense the unmistakable mark of a narrative that is as highly personal as it is professional. And, while it makes strong, sometimes severe assertions, it invariably backs them up with equally strong references.
Abram Hoffer, M.D., who provides the first of the book’s three physician-authored forewords, has probably written the best possible review: “Read this book.” That is good advice, and is advice that we can live with. Literally.
(Reprinted with permission from: Saul AW. Review of Death by modern medicine, by Carolyn Dean. J Orthomolecular Med, 2006. Vol 21, No 1, p 60-61.)
1. Null G, Dean C, Feldman M, Rasio D. Death by medicine. J Orthomolecular Med, 2005. 20: 1, 21-34. http://www.doctoryourself.com/deathmed.html 2. Saul AW. Review of The truth about the drug companies, by Marcia Angell. J Orthomolecular Med, 2005. Vol 20, No 2, p 120-122. http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v5n8.txt 3. Leape LL. Error in medicine. JAMA. 1994 Dec 21;272(23):1851-7.
4. Bates DW, Cullen DJ, Laird N, Petersen LA, Small SD, Servi D, Laffel G, Sweitzer BJ, Shea BF, Hallisey R, et al. Incidence of adverse drug events and potential adverse drug events. Implications for prevention. ADE Prevention Study Group. JAMA. 1995 Jul 5;274(1):29-34.
”PSYCHOLOGY TODAY” MAGAZINE ARTICLE ON ALTERNATIVE HEALTHCARE I was interviewed for the November-December, 2006 issue of Psychology Today. Should be fun.
SAUL KNIGHTED BY QUEEN ELIZABETH
This past June, yes, I was knighted. I hasten to add that it was by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the FIRST (not the current and genuine monarch, Elizabeth II) . . . and, uh, it was at a Renaissance Fair. Please address all future emails to Sir Andrew of Rochester. If you don’t already know that I am kidding, please, please unsubscribe.
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