Thursday, 29 March 2018

Is Food and Nutrition the full answer to sickness? What if our stomachs have been damaged?

As conventional medicine continues to fail, alternative medicine rises, and much emphasis is usually placed on the importance of good nutrition. Clearly, food is important to our health. Our diet is our fuel, it's what allows us to function properly at every level. Yet there is a problem, a limitation to this approach. Pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines can seriously damage our stomachs, often to the extent that our digestive system is unable to make good use of even the best food.

Let's begin, however, with emphasising the importance of food, diet and nutrition to us all. The magazine, What Doctors Don't Tell You (WDDTY) published an excellent article in March 2018, in which it outlined the benefits of food to the health of all our organs and bodily functions. This is a short summary of the advice given.

  • Headaches? Eat some fish, and ginger.
  • Stroke? Green tea is the thing
  • Eye Problems? Eat some carrots (yes your mother was right)!
  • Persistent Cough? Add some red peppers to your meal.
  • Breathing problems? Eat onions and tomatoes.
  • Bladder infection? Drink cranberry juice (and three pints of water).
  • Arthritis? Eat plenty of fatty fish.
  • Forgetful? Eat some oysters, dark chocolate, olive oil, green tea and spinach.
  • Can't sleep? Try honey.
  • Colds? Try some garlic.
  • Indigestion? Unzip a banana.
  • Menopausal? Put some fennel on your plate.
  • Diarrhoea? Eat an apple a day (once it's turned brown).
Without doubt nutrition is better than vaccines and drugs for maintaining good health, and for getting better when we are ill. Certainly good health does not come from a doctors prescription, and all the advice given above is sensible, sound, and to be recommended. 

Yet to benefit from good food we have to have a digestive system that is able to make use of it, to assimilate it, and to extract the goodness. In the modern world, too often, people do not have such a digestive system, not because of junk food, but because pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines have damaged it. Most drugs are taken by mouth, so most of them have an affect on our stomachs - it is their first port of call!

All pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines have side effects which I call DIE's - the Disease Inducing Effects. And over the last 200 years, particularly in the last 70 years, all forms of chronic disease has risen to epidemic proportions, rising almost exactly in line with our increased consumption of these drugs. All our organs and functions have suffered, not least the stomach -  from heartburn or acid reflux, bloating, indigestion, diarrhoea, constipation, 'abdominal migraine', to stomach cramps, gastritis, stomach ulcers, and ultimately to diseases like gastroenteritis, irritable bowel, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohns disease, and many other. Urinary tract infections are also known to emanate from a faulty stomach, and in recent years, even some mental and emotional problems have been linked to a damaged digestive system.

Which pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are implicated in damaging the stomach? I have written about this in my DIE's e-book, at this link. They include the following.
  • Antibiotic drugs
  • Antacid and Proton Pump Inhibitor drugs
  • Corticosteroid drugs, and other anti-inflammatory drugs, like painkillers
  • Vaccines (probably all vaccines)
  • Probably many other drugs too
So whist food and nutrition are absolutely central to good health, abandoning the use of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines is also an important part of good stomach health, the ability to utilise the goodness of good food. 

No-one is going to stay well, leave alone get better, without first identifying conventional medicine as an important cause of modern ill health, and then finding alternative (that is, safer and more effective) medical strategies to replace it.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Adderall. A dangerous pharmaceutical drug - so why do healthy students take it?

Adderall is a dangerous drug. It has been known for many years that it has life-threatening side effects (or DIE's as they should be known - for the distinction, click here). Yet many fit and healthy young students take them - as a study aid!

Why?

The Preppers and Survivalists Daily News website asked this question in March 2018. The Natural News website asked a similar question  8 years earlier, in July 2010. So nothing has changed!

Why?

Adderall is a drug used for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). It is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, two central nervous system stimulants that interfere with the chemicals in our brain, and the nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Yet, as the Natural News article said

                "Even though the side effects of .... Adderall are potentially deadly, many college students are now using the drug to increase energy levels and brain power in order to get good grades."

The drug is a potent cocktail of amphetamines, so it should be available only on prescription. Yet as Natural News reported "it is quite easy for students who do not necessarily have a disorder to obtain Adderall". So why do some students want to take it? It is used on ADHD patients to help them concentrate and focus. And of course this is exactly what students are expected to do in their studies.

Yet even back in 2010, the Patient Information Leaflet enclosed with Adderall stated that it could cause high blood pressure, anxiety, cocaine cravings, severe infections, heart attack, stroke, and even sudden death. Moreover, it is known to cause hallucinations and strange visions, hear voices, and even develop extreme psychosis! The drug was even pulled from the Canadian market in 2005 because 14 American children died from taking it, as prescribed, with another 12 children having strokes.

Yet nothing has happened, as the 2018 article feared to above indicates.

               "Adderall is one of the most popular drugs in America.... It has ... cruised under a dense fog of pharmaceutical justifications for almost a decade. ADD and ADHD diagnosis has grown and given way to mass prescribing of Adderall. Worse ... the black market for Adderall has grown enough to fill in any voids. Millenials are taking Adderall as if it were candy.

               "Known as a 'focus drug' that helps college students “cram for exams,” Adderall use is the second most used drug on college campuses (the first is marijuana)...... Between 2011 and 2015, standard corporate drug testing found a 44% increase in amphetamine use.

               "Adderall is an addictive drug, something that many college students don’t realize at the time of use.... They often aren’t aware of the dire state of withdrawal that is caused by stopping Adderall usage".

The Preppers and Survivalists article outlines that in 2009, the Scientific American reported that Adderall use, over a long period of time, could change a person’s brain dynamic so drastically that they often ended up depressed, anxious, and paranoid.

So why has the conventional medical establishment not moved to stop the use of Adderall? And why is it still being taken by students? The answer is simple.


The Preppers and Survivalist article comes up with a solution - but not a workable one.

               "We need to better educate parents who are constantly told that their children have ADHD and ADD. Teachers, school counsellors, and doctors, consistently seem to pressure parents into believing they need to drug their children. Some parents, of course, are just lazy and are looking for any easy solutions to their child’s behavioural issues. Often, behavioural issues are just the result of normal child behaviour. Pharmaceutical influence offers easy solutions. The problem is, parents, don’t realise that they are trading their child’s ultimate health for irreversible brain damage."

This is insufficient. It hasn't happened in the past, in won't happen in the future. Patents are not uneducated, nor are they lazy. Nor are students stupid. The fundamental problem is that we do not have access to, we are not being given the information we need. It is being kept from us. And we live in a society that has come to believe over the last 100 years that conventional medicine has the answers to all our health issues, that if we have a problem all we need to do is to 'pop a pill'.

Conventional medicine is often called 'scientific' medicine. But how can conventional medicine be 'scientific' if it relies on withholding important information, and not telling people the truth about the 'side effects of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines.

This is why nothing has happened over the last 8 years, and why nothing will happen over the next 8 years. Everyone needs to start asking questions, but not deluding ourselves that we can expect honest and straightforward answers from the sources we might expect to find them.

Adderall is no longer banned in Canada. The ban was quickly lifted, even though the drug got no safer, was no less addictive, and no more effective than it ever was. The pharmaceutical companies paid for their own 'scientific study' which, perhaps unsurprisingly, found that the drug was safe.

It is NOT safe. Doctors and Drug Regulators might say it is safe, and we might expect the mainstream media to tell us the truth - but they won't.

So we have to find the truth by ourselves. We can do so by reading the literature about this (and other pharmaceutical drugs) in sources that are still available to us. For example, the Drugs.Com website is now owned by a consortium of the major drug companies, but still has a webpage that deals with Adderall, and all its known side effects. Read it for yourself using this link.

And then, for goodness sake, stop taking it!




Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Drugs and the Health of Older People. Time for a Change?

NHS England has announced there is to be a pharmacist-led medicine review on 180,000 care home residents. The aim is to reduce the 'overmedication' of older people in care homes, and to reduce unnecessary hospital stays. The programme will require the recruitment an additional 240 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians costing £20 million.

In the late 1980's I managed two residential homes for older people. I remember being amazed at how many drugs the residents were taking, and despite this noticing that they never appeared to get better. By that time I had realised that conventional medicine was dangerous, but still hadn't realised that it was largely ineffective as well.

In announcing the review NHS England said that many residents in nursing and residential homes have "multiple long term conditions" and "take an average of seven medications daily". In order to justify spending £20 million there must indeed be a considerable amount of 'overmedication' going on, although the clear implication is that by reducing the drugs given to older people there will be fewer hospital admissions.

So the review recognises two things, if only tacitly. Older people have 'multiple long-term conditions' which drugs do not deal with effectively. And that the amount of drugs prescribed for older people lead to unnecessary hospital admissions.

When I began discussing the issue with staff, residents, their relatives, and doctors several conclusions were quickly reached.
  • the drugs were not making the residents better
  • no-one knew with any certainty what was an illness, and what was a side effect of a drug
  • no-one had any idea about the potential drug interactions, and what problems they were causing
So it was agreed that each resident should have a drug review, that residents, relatives, staff and doctors would be involved, and decisions would be made about whether the drugs were necessary. Within 3 months the drug round was reduced by over 50%. The result seemed to please everyone.
  • Residents and relatives could see no real difference in their health, except that many were brighter and more involved.
  • The medical round was shorter, so staff had less work to do!
  • Doctors, even those who had been sceptical to begin, were relieved that they no longer faced the pressure and expectation to prescribe drugs for every ill.
NHS England has trialled the policy. It reported that the trials, covering 37 care homes, had seen an annual drug cost saving of £249 per patient, across 37 care homes. They also reported a 21% reduction in emergency hospital admissions, and a 30% drop in ambulance call outs. So the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, is reported as saying this: 

               "There’s increasing evidence that our parents and their friends - a whole generation of people in their 70s, 80s and 90s - are being overmedicated in care homes, with bad results. Let’s face it- the policy of "a pill for every ill" is often causing frail older people more health problems than it’s solving."

What no-one recognises, or perhaps what conventional medicine refuses to recognise, is what I learnt nearly 30 years ago from my little medication review - that pharmaceutical drugs did not make older people better, and that the health of older people suffered as a direct result of unnecessary and unhelpful drugging.

It was at that time that I decided to abandon conventional medicine, to refuse to take pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, and to discover a safer, more effective medical therapy.

As conventional medicine sinks into abject failure, as its drug and vaccines fail, as drugging is making us sicker, and leading to epidemic of chronic disease, as the NHS cannot cope with the pressures all this produces on resources, everyone needs to do the same thing. And it is important to do so before becoming too old, and find themselves in residential and nursing care, taking a multitude of drugs that do not work, and through their side effects, make us sicker - and eventually contribute to our deaths.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Multiple Sclerosis. Another miracle cure? Or another dangerous blind alley?

Conventional medicine is always coming up with new miracle cures for diseases, and the latest in a treatment for MS, or multiple sclerosis. The media has, as usual, heralded this new treatment as "a game changer", with BBC News announcing

               "Doctors say a stem cell transplant could be a "game changer" for many patients with multiple sclerosis. Results from an international trial show that it was able to stop the disease and improve symptoms."

This is, indeed, good news - if it is true. According to the National MS Society, MS was first identified in the mid-19th century, and since then MS has probably become the most widespread disabling neurological condition of young adults around the world. According to this HealthLine article, there are an estimated 400,000 cases in the USA (with 200 new cases diagnosed every week), and 2.5 million cases throughout the world. And all this without there being any known cause!

The hopes of all these people will undoubtedly have been raised, and from the media coverage there appears to be no reason for these hopes not to be raised. But when the treatment is described it is more concerning. Conventional medicine is playing around with our immune system again - the immune system that is designed to keep us all healthy!
  • The treatment involves wiping out a patient's immune system using chemotherapy drugs. The immune system is destroyed, we are told, because it is already faulty.
  • The immune system is then "rebooted". Stem cells are taken from the patient's blood and bone marrow are re-infused. As these cells are unaffected by MS they rebuild the immune system.
So another disease, which now affects an unprecedented number of people, is likely to bite the dust. In a few years time MS will be an ex-disease. 2.5 million people will have had their immune system 'destroyed' and 'rebooted', and they will all be well again. That is, of course, if there is enough money to spend on tinkering with the 2.5 million immune systems. And if there are enough people who want to have their immune systems 'wiped out' and 're-infused'.

So I will publish this blog today, and wait to see the outcome of this breakthrough treatment.
Expect to hear from me again in a couple of years with up-to-date MS statistics!

But first, another suggestion for treatment, and one for prevention too.

Treatment
Homeopathy has been treating people with MS for as long as MS has been diagnosed, and it does so without having to 'destroy' or 'wipe out' anything, leave alone a system that is designed to keep us healthy. I have discussed this, and compared conventional and homeopathic treatment, in more detail on my 'Why Homeopathy?' website.

Prevention
As is so often the case, conventional medicine says that it does not know what causes MS, but states categorically that it is an 'autoimmune disease'. So something has affected our immune system, but doctors are unable to tell us exactly what it is that has done so. So could it possibly be something that conventional medicine has already done to interfere with our immune system? After all, there are pharmaceutical drugs that are designed to do just this. And there are drugs and vaccines that do so as a 'side effect', including those known to cause MS.

So perhaps the best answer to MS is to stop taking pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines altogether, and to use safer and more effective medical therapies instead. I, for one, would like to hold on to my immune system!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Acomplia. What happens to all the 'Wonder Drugs' and 'Miracle Cures' of conventional medicine?

Two quite distinct things can usually be guaranteed about conventional medicine.
  1. Medical science will regularly tell us about new wonder treatments, new miracle cures, that will transform the treatment of this or that disease - in a few years time.
  2. The rates and incidence of every chronic disease rises to epidemic levels, on a regular basis, and there is a crisis in its ability to cope with these levels of sickness.
They are, of course, mutually exclusive. If the first comes to fruition the second will not materialise. If the second materialises, the first cannot be true.

So let's look at one of these wonder drugs - Acomplia. Acomplia, or Rimonabant, is an obesity drug that works by reducing people's appetite for food. The Guardian confirmed in an article (mentioned again below) that the drug "was hailed as a wonder drug after the first bursts of publicity from its French manufacturer, Sanofi Aventis, because it not only promoted weight loss but was also said to help people stop smoking."

Patient hopes raised, then dashed!

In June 2007 the magazine, What Doctor's Don't Tell Us (WDDTY) outlined evidence that this drug, hailed as a new 'wonder' drug when it got a licence in Europe in June 2006, increased the risk of suicide. It said that the drug 'sailed through' the approval process in Europe, had been used in the UK for a year, whilst at the same time the FDA in the USA had not approved the drug.

Acomplia (called Zimulti in the USA) was hailed as a 'miracle drug for people who were seriously overweight. The WDDTY article said that one study discovered that one-third of people on the drug lost 10% of their body weight, and 60% lost a less impressive 5%. Apparently, what the study did not say was that everyone in the trial was also on a low-calorie diet, and virtually everyone put the weight back on once they stopped taking the drug.

The Guardian caught up with this story on 25th June 2008 ("Weight-loss drug banned in US gets NHS go-ahead"). It said that the drug, refused a licence in the US because of fears over depression (as well as suicide) had been approved by NICE for use in England and Wales - if only for severely overweight people. It said that a study published in the Lancet in November 2007 showed that patients on the drugs were 40% more likely to suffer mental health problems than those taking placebos. A NICE spokesman is quoted as saying

               "It is out there and it is being used. What we have done is put it in the context of how and when it should be used. It is very much last line."

So a new 'wonder drug' was reduced to a 'a last line' within two short years! The Telegraph also published the story on 25 June 2008, but did not mention that the drug had not been approved in the USA. It did say, however, that

               "In 2006 more than one million prescriptions were written for obesity drugs at a cost of £47.7m and this is expected to rise as a result of the new guidance. Doctors and campaigners welcomed the move saying it will improve the health of thousands of people".

Patient hopes raised, pharmaceutical profits raised!

Finally, and incredibly within 4 months of NICE clearing Acompia, and just over two years of being hailed a "wonder drug", it was withdrawn. The Daily Mail (24 October 2008) said that its use had been suspended "over concerns that it may be linked to suicide and sudden death". It said that 100,000 Britons had used the drug, and that 2.500 adverse reactions had been reported.

Patient hopes raised, but they suffer further health damage as a result!

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) commented that the drug had proved less effective in 'real life' than in clinical trials. Patient hopes raised in the 'science' laboratory but dashed in real life. So it had been decided to suspend the licence for Acomplia as:

               "New data from post-marketing experience and ongoing clinical trials indicated that serious psychiatric disorders may be more common than in the clinical trials".

So Acomplia demonstrates better than most pharmaceutical drugs the many aspects of the hopelessness of medical science and drug regulation, which in the interests of selling drugs raise hopes, but lead only to further patient damage.
  • The NHS resorts to a drug for a condition that would be better treated via life-style and dietary treatment.
  • The drug is significantly less effective than the trials (the medical 'science' funded by the pharmaceutical industry) suggested.
  • The full side effects of the drug remain unknown through all the 'scientific' drug testing, the regulator process, the licensing, and the prescription of the drug.
  • The side effects turn out to be considerably more serious than the original condition or illness.
  • And a drug thought to be unsafe in one country (the USA in this case) is considered to be perfectly 'safe' in others (indeed, most of Europe) - before it is withdrawn there too.
There is no such thing as a wonder drug, or a miracle cure, there never has been, and there probably never will be (on the basis that future performance is best predicted by past performance). So the next time the mainstream media, or your doctor tells you about a remarkable new treatment - run a mile, very, very quickly!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Surgical Operations. Miracle? Or Medical Failure

Although I speak much about 'the failure of conventional medicine' most people continue to point towards surgical operations as a 'success' that proves conventional medicine is not failing. However, this is not so. Or it is so only as long as we want to ignore what has usually proceeded the necessity of surgery. What follows was originally published in a chapter of my e-book on the failure of conventional medicine.

     "Surgical operations will always be a necessary part of any modern and effective health service. Great strides have been taken during the last 150 years in surgical skills. Operations are not necessarily ‘dangerous procedures’, and many are necessary, life-saving procedures. 

     However, the demand for surgery, and the amount of surgery actually undertaken, is far greater than it needs to be. This is allied to a medical system that is incapable of treating illness and diseases safely and effectively. Conventional drugs and vaccines are largely ineffective, they do not cure illness, and in addition they exacerbate it, they cause harm to patients. Conventional medicine is doing this on a regular and consistent basis. The outcome is that medical conditions actually get worse, until patients require more invasive, surgical intervention.

Organ Replacement
     The human body comes with a fully-equipped, fully-operational and integrated set of organs that have been carefully honed to support life, and to maintain good health. This changes when patients develop some form of organ disease. If a patient then seeks conventional medicine treatment they will initially receive some form of pharmaceutical medication. Indeed, organ failure and disease is often the direct result of pharmaceutical drug treatment. It is the drugs and vaccines doctors prescribed that causes it. Even common pharmaceutical drugs, such as painkillers and indigestion tablets, sold without a doctor’s prescription, can damage our organs, and they do so more often than we are told!

     When conventional drug treatment fails, if the organ continues to deteriorate, or when its function is significantly reduced, the condition can become life threatening. When this happens, conventional medicine will turn to surgery for a remedy. It will eventually seek to replace the diseased organ with another, taken from a donor. The number of organ replacement operations, and the number of organs that can be replaced, has increased rapidly over the last 50 years, as surgical techniques and procedures have made them viable.

     The surgeons who do these operations are without doubt brilliant technicians. Yet it should be forgotten that they are used only after pharmaceutical drug treatment has failed to treat the organ successfully, and/or has exacerbated organ failure.

Immunosuppressive drugs
     After the operation there is another problem. In order to stop the body rejecting the new organ, the patient has to take more drugs, and take them for the remainder of their lives in order that the new organ is not rejected by the body. These immosuppressive drugs can also have serious disease inducing effects. Their primary objective is interfere with the body’s immune system, which would otherwise reject the new organ. 

     This interference with the body's immune system leads to the body being unable to do its proper job, to protect itself from a multitude of threats it faces on a daily basis in its environment. So replacing an organ makes us more susceptible to a variety of autoimmune diseases, many now running at epidemic levels, for the rest of our lives.

Limb Replacement
     Limb replacement surgery has become commonplace. Indeed it is now often described as ’routine’ surgery. Limb replacement is required for people who have usually suffered some form of arthritic pain for a considerable amount of time. Conventional medicine has no effective treatment for arthritis and related diseases. Painkillers are used to temporarily reduce the pain, but the underlying condition remains. 

     Yet painkillers, especially when used over a long period of time, come with serious long-term health consequences. They cause harm to the body, they add to the toxicity the body has to cope with, and they create new diseases. But most of all, they do not deal with the arthritis, which gets progressively worse. More powerful painkillers are required, adding more toxicity, and so cause even more harm. One feature of painkillers is that they can actually worsen the condition that is causing the pain, so that ultimately the pain, and the deterioration of the joint, or joints, is actually made worse by the ‘treatment’ conventional medicine has offered! Eventually, the pain levels become unbearable, and surgery becomes the only, or the last resort. The natural limb is removed, and an artificial one replaces it. There are four main problems or issues arising from limb replacement procedure.

    1.   The fitting of this new limb may not be completely successful, and ‘complications’, such as blood loss, infection, wound breakdown, reactions to anaesthetic, and many other unforeseen consequences can happen from the surgery itself.

    2.    Drugs may have to be used, for example, such as Heparin to avoid deep-vein-thrombosis, for several weeks following the operation. Older people are particularly at risk of complications, and the side effects of the drugs used to reduce this. And of course limb replacement is often done for older people!

    3.   The new limb may not function properly, or the implanted device can fail, because of faulty design or manufacture, or it may not perform in the way it was designed.

    4.   As with organ transplantation, immunosuppressive drugs have to be taken following surgery, and antibiotic drug to deal with issues of infection following the operation. The side effects of any drug may be problematical because of a weakened state following the operation.

     Yet this is often not the end of the sequence. Conventional medicine rarely addresses the cause of the original condition that has damaged the limbs. The result is that many patients find that a single limb replacement leads to the same pain developing in other limbs, not previously affected. So after time, another limb is affected, again drugs fail to deal with it, and another limb becomes so painful that it, too, has to be surgically replaced. 

Surgical Replacement represents Medical Failure
     Undoubtedly, many patients benefit from limb and organ replacement surgery, through both the reduction of pain, improved energy and greater mobility. And without doubt they are brilliant technical achievements. But they are not achievements that ultimately improve our health in the longer term. We are all better off with our original limbs and organs, and maintaining them is the best option for every patient.


If the patient had been given safe and effective medical treatment, capable of dealing with the original condition, the need for a limb and organ replacement would not have arisen. So what the surgical replacement of limbs and organs represents is medical failure, not medical success. 

High Blood Pressure Drugs. Treatment by Numbers not by Patient

Many years ago I came across this article on hypertension (high blood pressure) which I reproduce in part here. Unfortunately I have no reference to either the original article, its author, or when it was published (probably in the 1990's) - but I will gladly add this if anyone can inform me about the details.

The article is not as relevant as it once was - it is considerably MORE relevant now as more and more patients are being given more and more pharmaceutical drugs than ever to reduce their blood pressure readings.

"Blood Pressure: Treating Numbers Instead of a Person"
"Authoritative advice for treating blood pressure has changed dramatically over the years. Forty years ago, the chapter on hypertension in Harrison's Textbook of Medicine stated:

               "Whatever the form of therapy selected, it must not be forgotten that the physician who treats hypertension is treating the patient as a whole, rather than the separate manifestations of a disease. The first principle of the therapy of hypertension is the knowledge of when to treat and when not to treat... A woman who has tolerated her diastolic pressure of 120 for 10 years without symptoms or deterioration does not need immediate treatment for hypertension. Marked elevation of systolic pressure, with little or no rise in diastolic, does not constitute an indication for depressor therapy. This is particularly true in the elderly or arteriosclerotic patient, even though the diastolic pressure may also be moderately elevated."

"Today, that would be grounds for malpractice! The chapter, which was written by John Merrill, a leading authority on hypertension from Harvard, goes on to emphasise that:

               "The physician must constantly weigh the value of making his patient 'blood pressure conscious' by a specific regimen and regular follow-up, against real need for any particular form of therapy. Above all, in treatment or prognostication, he must avoid engendering in the patient a fear of the disease which may be unwarranted in our present state of knowledge." 

"Contrast this with the current cookie cutter approach of treating numbers that are often meaningless instead of people. There is absolutely nothing new about pre-hypertension, which was previously referred to as "high normal" at levels higher than 120/80. This would still be a preferable description since nobody knows whether these individuals will go on to develop sustained hypertension or are at any significantly increased risk for its complications.

"All these new guidelines essentially accomplish are to convert 45 million healthy Americans into new patients by creating fear. This is precisely what the experts emphasized we should take pains never to do! How could so many doctors have been so wrong for so many years?

"Whatever happened to the Hippocratic dictum Primum non nocere (First of all, do no harm)? It used to be the primary concern of all doctors but seems to have now been sidelined or forgotten in the frenetic and impersonal pace of modern medical practice. The recommendations in this new Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7) are not very different from the first JNC report. This was published on 1977 following several studies showing that blood pressure could be lowered with thiazide diuretics. Subsequent JNC reports repeatedly recommended the use of diuretics as initial treatment based on additional reports demonstrating their efficacy.

"Despite this, the use of diuretics actually declined over the next decade or so, possibly because many went off patent and were no longer profitable. In addition, newer drugs were being vigorously promoted and the 1993 JNC 5 guidelines added angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta blockers as first-line therapy. Their sponsors argued that these more expensive drugs might be preferable since thiazide therapy could be associated with diabetes and abnormal heart rhythms, especially at higher doses. These medications had other side effects but it was claimed that they were more likely to reduce complications such as heart attacks and stroke."

The article continues, making this crucial point. "What is wrong is that physicians are treating a reading on a blood pressure machine in a cookbook fashion rather than the patient or the cause of the problem." It goes on to say that great care must be taken in making the readings. "At least two readings should be made at each visit separated by as much time as possible. Three sets of readings at least one week apart are advised before prescribing drugs that may have to be taken perpetually."

This is still rarely, if ever done. Harmful drugs are given to people on the basis of a single reading, without ever considering the individual patient, or what the blood pressure readings actually mean.

Now it's my turn!
I have just finished a page for my 'Why Homeopathy?' website on high blood pressure drugs, and the situation now is that doctors are prescribing a considerable number of pharmaceutical drugs for patients deemed to have high blood pressure - Diuretics, Beta Blockers, Calcium Channel Blockers, ACE Inhibitors, Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers, Alpha Blockers, Alpha 2 Receptor Agonists, Peripheral Adrenergic Inhibitors, and Vasodilator drugs. As outlined, all of these drugs have serious side effects but regardless of this the number of patients taking them has increased exponentially since the above article was written.

This is all done on the basis that people with high blood pressure suffer from a sickness, or at least they are in danger of a heart attack, or a stroke. Moreover, it is done on the basis of 'numbers', the numbers that come from mechanical readings of blood pressure rather than any indication that the patient is sick, or likely to be sick.

Moreover, the conventional medical establishment has continued to change the goalposts about what constitutes 'high' blood pressure, which means that many more millions of patients have been brought into the 'sick' category - and so prescribed drugs that can result in them contracting real sickness! This was said by the 'What Doctor's Don't Tell You' magazine in July 2003

               "What is a 'health condition' that ... needs drug intervention?  Well, it's pretty much what the medical profession defines it to be. Take, for example, the definition of high blood pressure, or hypertension. New guidelines from the National Institutes of Health in the USA have lowered the risk levels before drug therapy is called for.  From now on, in the States at least, 'normal' blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg, a pre-hypertensive state is 120/80 to 139/89, stage one hypertension-and this where the drugs now kick ion-is 140/90 to 159/99.  Under the old guidelines, 'normal' blood pressure was around 128/80 mm Hg, which is now pre-hypertensive.
"

The same magazine came up with the following 'myths' about high blood pressure in June 2006.
  • High blood pressure is a permanent condition - whereas it fluctuates widely throughout the day, and with personal circumstances
  • Any blood pressure that is 'high' is a danger - pointing out that for older people a high blood pressure is quite normal.
  • Blood pressure measurement is accurate - giving evidence for why it has been found to  be "medicine's crudest investigation".
  • ACE Inhibitor drugs, and then Calcium Channel Blocker drugs, are the answer to hypertension - when they most certainly are not!
  • And Diuretic drugs are safe - when my webpage here certainly demonstrates that they are not!
Blood pressure drugs are rarely needed, and never justified by blood pressure readings alone. Diet and exercise are better medicines! Patrick Halford recommends
  • Exercise every day, stop smoking, and lose weight if you need to.
  • Avoid excess salt, cut back on processed meats, cheeses, soups, tomato sauce, frozen meals, canned vegetables, and other foods high in sodium.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of purified water every day.
  • Get your B vitamins to lower homocysteine.
  • Ensure your diet is rich in antioxidants, eat lots of fruits, vegetables, fish, and seeds. 
  • In addition to eating plenty of mineral-rich vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds 
  • Eat fish, especially oily fish, for omega-3 fats, think fish. 
And there are most certainly safer treatments available, like homeopathy, as I have argued here in this 'Why Homeopathy? article. The answer is certainly not to take pharmaceutical drugs!

Postscript 8th March 2018
Just two days after posting this blog I discover news that conventional medicine is once more reducing the blood pressure readings that trigger the use of drugs. The information comes from the doctors e-magazine, Pulse. Many people will not have full access to this article, so here are some selected extracts.

               "The new US guidelines ..... decreased the threshold for stage one hypertension from an average systolic blood pressure of 140 to 130 mmHg, and from ≥160 to ≥140 mmHg for stage two."

               "Researchers said the changes could mean an extra 14% of people were diagnosed with hypertension, which would bring the total number to 46% of the country's population."

               "Current NICE guidelines define stage one hypertension as an average blood pressure of 135/85 mmHg or higher, and stage two as 150/95 mmHg or higher. It states that doctors should ‘offer antihypertensive drug treatment to people of any age with stage two hypertension’. If the UK were to follow the US example, many patients currently defined as having stage one and treated with lifestyle changes could be pushed into stage two and medicated.

Yet the article makes it clear that there is no clear scientific evidence supporting increased medication for this reason.

               ".... this comes as last year, a meta analysis of 24 studies found that the evidence for reducing blood pressure targets to below 140 mmHg in over-60s was inconsistent. The paper said that although lowering the targets could be beneficial, they could also be linked with a higher medication burden and an increased risk of short-term issues, such as hypotension."

Here the article seems to miss the point, this measure is not about improving health, it is about boasting drug sales! At least some doctors have recognised this, and the consequences of putting more people on antihypertensive drugs, in their comments on the article.

               "Big Pharma rubbing their hands with glee!"

Another points to the nonsense of medicine by numbers.

               "My blood pressure has always been over 130 since I first checked it as a medical student."

Another points to the health costs of increased drugging for high blood pressure, pointing to the....

               "..... increased side effects from medication that may not be needed and, no doubt, triggering CKD3 from the use of ACE inhibitors and even more costs to the annual medication budget. 

This doctor finishes with a question that even I would have hesitated to ask! But it is a question that raises an important question about conventional medicine, and sums up what this blog is about to a tee!

               "Do we really know what we are doing anymore? The days of being a normal healthy individual seem long gone!"









Sunday, 4 March 2018

22,000 people die every year in England as a result of medical errors. How many more die from pharmaceutical drugs that are NOT given in error?

It  has been estimated that up to 22,000 people die every year in England alone because of an error when prescribing or dispensing their medication.

Prevalence and Economic Burden of Medication Errors in the NHS in England. Report commissioned by the Policy Research Unit in Economics Evaluation of Health and Care Interventions, 2018

Not a matter that most doctors, the NHS, the government or the mainstream news media would want us to know, but reported in more honest media sources such as the magazine 'What Doctors Don't Tell You'.  The report stated that there were about 237 million medication mistakes happening each  year, although about 72% per cent of these were considered "harmless". This means that 26% have caused serious harm or even death. It was estimated that 66 million "clinically significant" errors happen every year and that these result in anything from 1,700 to 22,303 deaths. The report came to several conclusions:
  • Older people, prescribed multiple drugs in care homes, are the most vulnerable.
  • An 'error' is most likely in the prescribing of a heart drug, such as an anti-coagulant or an anti-platelet drug, or painkillers such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs). 
  • Around a third of all hospital admissions are due to an adverse reaction to one of these drugs, and gastrointestinal bleeds from the drugs are responsible for half of all the deaths being recorded.
The WDDTY article also says that the human cost is matched by the financial cost. The estimate is that it costs the UK taxpayer about £98.5 m every year in compensation claims, but that "this could be a gross underestimation and is based on the lowest number of cases causing permanent harm or death. If the highest estimate was used, pay-outs would be nearer to £2bn a year". Nor does this account to the money spent on unnecessary and avoidable hospital admissions.

Yet this study is looking ONLY at the consequences of medical MISTAKES!

It does NOT include the deaths, or the serious illnesses and diseases that pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are known to cause, when they are prescribed for patients appropriately!

And these figures are for England alone. They do not cover the rest of the UK. Or the rest of Europe. Or the USA and Canada. Or Australia and New Zealand. Or the rest of the world whose health care is dominated by conventional drug-based medicine!

All of which means that the conventional medical establishment, principally the pharmaceutical industry, has become one of the main killers in the world today. It is more reasons for all of us to avoiding visits to the doctor, not just because (s)he might make a mistake, but because conventional medicine is inherently unsafe.

Post Script
The day after writing this blog it was reported that the UK government will be compensating GP's with £30 million of public money to cover rises to their indemnity insurance for another year.

So if doctors do make mistakes in treating us, it is not the doctors, or their insurance that will pay compensation for the damage caused to patients, it is you and me - the general taxpayer.

I have blogged about this on several occasions

What happens when doctors harm patients?
What happens when doctors harm patients? (2)
Indemnity. What happens when doctors harm patients? (3)

I am now looking for car insurance that does not hold the account holder responsible for accidents, and home insurance that .......... well, you know what I mean. But it would seem that different rules apply for the conventional medical establishment!