/ Health

Had dodgy advice from a nutritional therapist? We have!

Have you ever visited a nutritional therapist? In this month’s Which? magazine we investigated the profession and found some worrying practices, such as therapists advising against going to your GP.

One therapist advised our researcher, who was posing as a cancer sufferer, against having conventional treatment (a lumpectomy and radiotherapy), saying that she should try for three to six months to rid herself of the cancer through diet (by cutting out sugar).

Nutritional therapy can be big business; therapists charge up to £80 for a consultation and often prescribe expensive supplements on top. So we wanted to investigate whether it was worth the money.

How our investigation worked

We asked five undercover researchers to each visit three therapists. Each researcher was provided with a scenario.

One researcher (in her early 30s) had been trying to conceive unsuccessfully for over a year. Two (in their 50s) had been suffering from severe tiredness for the past three months. And two women (in their 40s) had recently been diagnosed with DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma in Situ), the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer.

A panel of experts (a dietitian, a GP and a Professor of Pharmacology) then assessed recordings of the visits and any other information the therapists provided to the researchers, including prescriptions for supplements.

Are nutritional therapists worth the money?

Our expert panel concluded that visiting a nutritional therapist wasn’t worth the money – and in some cases could have actually endangered the health of the researcher. Six of the fifteen consultations were rated as ‘dangerous fails’.

This could have been down to a number of reasons:

  • The advice given by the therapist could have potentially harmed the researcher.
  • Therapists were diagnosing conditions without relevant testing (even though their Code of Practice says they shouldn’t diagnose).
  • Researchers were advised not to visit their GPs about the problem, recommending unproven testing such as hair mineral analysis, and the case above, advising against cancer treatment.

Of the remaining visits, eight were rated as ‘fails’ and only one was graded as a ‘borderline pass’. Our experts were disappointed by the advice given by therapists and concerned at their poor knowledge of the body and how it works.

The experts were also worried by some therapists using non-evidence-based testing to diagnose symptoms. These tests included iridology (studying the patterns, colour and other characteristics of the iris), hair mineral analysis and a researcher being given several liquids to hold in his mouth before being told he had a chromium deficiency.

Are the recommendations right?

Twelve of the therapists prescribed supplements to the researchers, costing up to £70 a month. Researchers were told not to buy them from Boots or other high street chemists as they weren’t ‘pure enough’ and you were effectively ‘flushing your money down the loo’. Instead, they were asked to buy them from the retailers recommended by the therapist.

Of course, there is benefit in following healthy dietary advice, but most of what was provided by the nutritional therapists is freely available on websites such as the NHS site.

Plus, most of the therapists in our investigation recommended quite restrictive diets that excluded several foods (predominantly dairy and wheat) and taking expensive supplements.

If you do have a medical condition that you are concerned about, your first port of call should be your GP. If necessary they can then refer you to a dietitian. We have contacted the British Association of Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) with our findings and concerns.

People who have visited nutritional therapists emailed us to say that they found the diets recommended to them difficult to maintain over a long time and eventually gave up.

Have you visited a nutritional therapist? What was your experience like – do any of these findings ring true or did you have a more positive experience?

Monika says:
19 January 2012

Alan – hey, WOW – that’s some pretty creative calculating! I hope BANT are drawing up a contract for you to work on their budgeting team based on your bizarre recommendations….
The point is – you missed mine – which is that it doesn’t matter how much each individual industry is worth (pharma or supplements – and let’s face it some of the pharmaceutical companies have already gained a sizeable chunk of the supplements market so they’re quite happy to hedge their bets on that one – contrary to what you may think NTs are not all starry eyed about supplements – but like drugs, they have their uses), it’s a market driven economy after all. My point is that if more spending went on research that addressed some of the main root causes of chronic disease, and the prevention and alleviation our health system (and health) might just possibly benefit.
Of course money needs to be spent on pharmaceutical research — gimme a break! – my point is that drug companies will always be happy to fund that kind of research (being in their interests) so it’s not an area that needs support to the same extent when it comes to CHRONIC disease. If you are genuinely interested in this issue recommendations from a report into research spending by the C3 (Collaborating for Health) group can be found here: http://bit.ly/wmI7Ee, I recommend you take a look, it is actually interesting. But your incessant provocative posts suggest your interests on this site lie more in point scoring than tackling chronic disease so I’ll just paste the final few lines of the conclusion:
“There are, as this report has demonstrated, significant challenges to be addressed – not least the
apparent under-investment in this critical area of research. Research can and will make a
contribution to the development of an understanding of the complex inter-relationship between
food and health. But without sustained commitment, it is likely to be impossible to establish a
coherent and strategic research agenda. The health statistics make a compelling case – complacency is neither justified, nor affordable.”
Whether you like it or not (evidently not) there are many trained NTs out here already applying the results of such research to the benefit of many.

Alan Henness says:
19 January 2012

Monika said:

“WOW – that’s some pretty creative calculating!”

Thanks! However, it’s pretty basic arithmetic. You decried the lack of available funds for research – I provided a practical solution to that problem. But I’m not sure why you should think it bizarre or even creative.

If you look back at my comments, I have said on several occasions that there certainly are some nutritionists who are not supplement sellers and who do base their advice on science and evidence. However, it’s clear that some nutritionists use diagnostic techniques that are not based in science or evidence. Because of this, they come to erroneous conclusions about someone’s health, and this is dangerous This includes iridology, hair mineral analysis and possibly that chromium deficiency test (although there is little information to come to a conclusion on what that was). If some nutritionists think these are valid diagnostic techniques then the onus is on them to provide the evidence. As far as I’m aware, there is none. If I am wrong, then would someone please cite the research that would change my mind? If there is no good research, why are nutritionists using such techniques?

“But your incessant provocative posts suggest your interests on this site lie more in point scoring than tackling chronic disease”

My comments here have been to try to have a reasoned discussion about the issues that Which? uncovered, but debates are continually sidetracked into asking who I am and wild guesses about my motives and most of the questions I have asked remain unanswered.

Thank you for that report – I have found the original pdf version of it (http://j.mp/xNMVSd) and will read it later.

Monika says:
20 January 2012

Alan –
– Your sense of humour is failing you – I assumed your suggestion was a joke. A million pounds won’t go far these days anyway. A change in attitude towards health prevention would go further.

Monika says:
20 January 2012

Correction: Before I get castigated for it – I meant to write “preventive health” – or “chronic disease prevention” – not “health prevention” …..


Concerning the small sample, I did the relevant statistical calculations in response to an enquiry on the first page of comments. If you think that I have got the statistics wrong. I’d be happy to see your own calculations.

Since it was my job to read the transcripts (a job that took five days work), I had exactly the same information as BANT. The fact that they denied any sort of wrong doing is a more serious indictment of BANT than anything that I could have written.

I think it is a pity that the full transcripts can’t be made public (though how many people would have the patience to read them is another question). Obviously to make them public would give a good idea who the therapists were. I doubt that they’d wish to be identified.

As I have said above, I would have been delighted if we had found that the therapists had given good advice. Sadly that is not what happened.

The fact that not only BANT, but most of the therapists who have replied on this blog, are unwilling to accept that anything wrong is precisely what shows there really is something wrong.

Chazza says:
19 January 2012

I am currently studying a degree in nutritional therapy. I have a very strong scientific background, this being my second degree, and this course is as tough if not tougher than my first due to the level of critique and analysis expected. I feel sad that this report tries to rubbish my 4 years of training. We have never been recommended to use tests such as iridology, and all our interventions are evidence based. Having not read the transcripts, and seeing the accusations of bias on your part, it is hard to see whether you have manipulated the findings to suit your cause. Of course it is wrong if a patient was told not to continue with treatment for cancer, and that is why it’s so important for the profession to develop and ensure all therapists are trained to a high standard. You can see for yourself the success stories.
I would add I had a place at medical school and turned it down, which I am now glad of. Of course there is a place for conventional medicine but surely you must agree preventative medicine through changing our worrying lifestyle, diet and dependence on prescription drugs is the future?

Perhaps it would be good practice to now do the same with NHS/mainstream practitioners.

The last time a reputable, independent body did this, the NHS Legal Authority issued them with an injunction to withhold publication. What does this tell us?

MrsF says:
19 January 2012

Which? why are you concentrating on the ‘fail’ element in your report? It would appear that this is the only angle you set out to look for- there is no reporting of the non-‘fails’, no mention of these therapists’ approaches, no attempts to consider the advice that was not deemed to have failed. Why not? Surely an unbiased evaluation would have made reference to these as well. I can only surmise Which? was only interested in adopting a sensationalist, headline-grabbing bias. That would certainly make me think twice before considering any future opinions and reports Which? chooses to publish.

John freeman says:
19 January 2012

I feel really sorry for these nutritional therapists. There seems no one to support them and make a formal stand.Its no good BANT using time as an exscuses, you should have done more to support your team. Antibiotic Alan seems to provoke a debate bordering on the personal […]

[Part of this comment has been removed my Mods – please remember not to make personal attacks on others]

Monika says:
19 January 2012

David – I haven’t done the stats on this discussion – I’m sure you will – but it seemed to me that most NTs are not in denial that some NTs are not up to scratch (ditto any profession).
The main gripe is the way the survey was conducted and results then used to create alarmist headlines that fuel the denigration an entire profession by people such as yourself.

…whereas, more than most NHS doctors are in denial of the poor quality of some or more of their fellows.

I agree, this was a poor piece of entrapment research reported in a way as to alarm.

Sarah says:
19 January 2012

“Why should that make the slightest difference to anything?
Can you address the issues raised by the Which? investigation? ”

Dear Al – it makes all the difference as you appear not to know what you a talking about.

“You could always try googling my name if you want to know who I am. There is no secret at all (though for best results it would be useful to spell my name correctly).

But it doesn’t really matter anyway. What matters is the advice that was given by the nutritional therapists. Do you think it was good advice?”

Dear Dave – i do apologise for spelling you name incorrectly, although i do like my version better. If who you are is no secret why not just tell me in the post? I don’t really want to google you. I cannot comment on whether the nutrition therapists gave good advice or not as no one knows if the allegations are true.

Thanks for responding

Alan Henness says:
19 January 2012

Sarah said:

“it makes all the difference as you appear not to know what you a talking about.”

If I have said something that you think is wrong, please highlight it so we can discuss it.

Nutritional Therapists undergo a long and extensive period of training. As a Complementary Practitioner myself I am often a “last resort” and my clients have spent many months at the Doctors surgery before trying an alternative. No-one forces clients to visit us or to make repeat appointments, which many do – because they feel better as a result. There is clearly a need otherwise we’d have no business.

Sarah says:
19 January 2012

Far too many polarised views here. NT is surely a complementary therapy, not necessarily alternative.

To the editors of which?: would it really have hurt to simply tell people to do their homework before selecting an NT, and provide input on how to start to look for a reputable one, rather than rubbishing the whole profession on the basis of a handful of examples?

Sarah says:
19 January 2012

Hear hear

Alan Henness says:
19 January 2012

Sarah said:

“To the editors of which?: would it really have hurt to simply tell people to do their homework before selecting an NT, and provide input on how to start to look for a reputable one, rather than rubbishing the whole profession on the basis of a handful of examples?”

An excellent idea, Sarah! (Although I can’t see that anyone has actually rubbished the whole profession.)

Can you say how a member of the public would find a reputable nutritionist?

Stefan says:
20 January 2012

@Alan Hennessen

“Can you say how a member of the public would find a reputable nutritionist?”

How about a recommendation from those who’ve been treated successfully? Simple really 🙂

Sarah says:
19 January 2012

It looks like Al is fed up with Chiropractors and has turned his attention to NT

“This has centred on trawling the websites of chiropractors and one individual, Alan Henness, has made complaints against over 500 individual chiropractors to the Statutory Regulator for chiropractors, the General Chiropractic Council (GCC).”

Full Article here http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/jun/19/chiropractic-bca-mca-singh

Sarah says:
19 January 2012

Alan Said:

If I have said something that you think is wrong, please highlight it so we can discuss it.

Dear Al – there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Alan Henness says:
19 January 2012

Sarah said:

“there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.”

I didn’t ask that you detail *everything* I said that you thought was wrong. One simple example will sufficet for the time being.

Sophia says:
19 January 2012

If the reported comments in the Which report are even 50% true, then the profession does NT need to look at standards. BANT are actually trying to do just that, by encouraging registration with the CNHC, by supporting accreditation of training courses by the NTC, and by its own programme of CPD. (No I don’t represent BANT)

But the bias of the ‘expert panel’ involved in this Which?Hunt is now evident – CCollins earlier described the CNHC as ‘OfQuack’ – hardly demonstrating an open minded approach! DC is well known as a self-appointed CAM-slayer.

Sadly the people who lose out are the patients – as they are denied a full picture of the best route back to health. And dietetics has hardly given a sparkling performance in their domain, as the dire situation with hospital food testifies.
And despite their repeated dismissal of nutritional therapy, the natural substances used by NT’s are of
great interest in the pharmaceutical industry – turmeric and resveratrol both being ‘re-engineered’ ready for patenting as – guess what – chemotherapy!! so they’re all right if they cost a lot and the oncologists get a lovely fee for organising a trial, but not if your local nutritional therapist suggests them.

Furthermore, DC asserted earlier that there was no evidence that diets or supplements had any effect once cancer is diagnosed, and that there is evidence of harm.
On this latter point I agree – some supplements may interfere with chemotherapy. For example anthracyclines have a tendency to cause cardiotoxicity and this may be exacerbated by iron supplements. A skilled practitioner of any discipline would check the evidence and make sure that any nutritional measures did not interfere with treatment.

On the first point, however, there is some published evidence of benefit for certain supplements:

1) Kwan et al.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Nov;130(1):195-205. Epub 2011 May 11.
Multivitamin use and breast cancer outcomes in women with early-stage breast cancer: the Life After Cancer Epidemiology study.
Kwan ML, Greenlee H, Lee VS, Castillo A, Gunderson EP, Habel LA, Kushi LH, Sweeney C, Tam EK, Caan BJ.
SourceDivision of Research, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, CA 94612, USA.

Little is known about the relation of multivitamin use to breast cancer outcomes. 2,236 women diagnosed from 1997 to 2000 with early-stage breast cancer (Stage I ≥ 1 cm, II, or IIIA) were enrolled about 2 years post-diagnosis, primarily from the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Cancer Registry (83%). Multivitamin use pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis was assessed via mailed questionnaire. Outcomes were ascertained yearly by self-report and verified by medical record review. Delayed-entry Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusting for sociodemographic, tumor, and lifestyle factors. Overall, 54 and 72% of the cohort reported using multivitamins pre- and post-diagnosis, respectively. A total of 380 recurrences, 212 breast cancer deaths, and 396 total deaths were confirmed. Compared to never use, multivitamin use after diagnosis was not associated with any outcome (recurrence HR = 0.92; 95% CI: 0.71, 1.20; total mortality HR = 0.92; 95% CI: 0.71, 1.19). Compared to never use, persistent use of multivitamins from pre- to post-diagnosis was associated with a non-significant decreased risk of recurrence (HR = 0.76; 95% CI: 0.54, 1.06) and total mortality (HR = 0.79; 95% CI: 0.56, 1.12). The protective associations were limited to women who had been treated by radiation only (P for trend = 0.048 and 0.083 for recurrence and total mortality, respectively) and both radiation and chemotherapy (P for trend = 0.015 and 0.095 for recurrence and total mortality, respectively). In stratified analyses, women who consistently used multivitamins before and after diagnosis and ate more fruits/vegetables (P for trend = 0.008) and were more physically active (P for trend = 0.034) had better overall survival. Multivitamin use along with practice of other health-promoting behaviors may be beneficial in improving breast cancer outcomes in select groups of survivors.

2) Fish oil supplement improved response to palliative chemotherapy
Cancer. 2011 Aug 15;117(16):3774-80. doi: 10.1002/cncr.25933. Epub 2011 Feb 15.
Supplementation with fish oil increases first-line chemotherapy efficacy in patients with advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer.
Murphy RA, Mourtzakis M, Chu QS, Baracos VE, Reiman T, Mazurak VC.
SourceDivision of Human Nutrition, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

BACKGROUND: Palliative chemotherapy is aimed at increasing survival and palliating symptoms. However, the response rate to first-line chemotherapy in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is less than 30%. Experimental studies have shown that supplementation with fish oil (FO) can increase chemotherapy efficacy without negatively affecting nontarget tissue. This study evaluated whether the combination of FO and chemotherapy (carboplatin with vinorelbine or gemcitabine) provided a benefit over standard of care (SOC) on response rate and clinical benefit from chemotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC.

METHODS: Forty-six patients completed the study, n = 31 in the SOC group and n = 15 in the FO group (2.5 g EPA + DHA/day). Response to chemotherapy was determined by clinical examination and imaging. Response rate was defined as the sum of complete response plus partial response, and clinical benefit was defined as the sum of complete response, partial response, and stable disease divided by the number of patients. Toxicities were graded by a nurse before each chemotherapy cycle. Survival was calculated 1 year after study enrollment.

RESULTS: Patients in the FO group had an increased response rate and greater clinical benefit compared with the SOC group (60.0% vs 25.8%, P = .008; 80.0% vs 41.9%, P = .02, respectively). The incidence of dose-limiting toxicity did not differ between groups (P = .46). One-year survival tended to be greater in the FO group (60.0% vs 38.7%; P = .15).

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with SOC, supplementation with FO results in increased chemotherapy efficacy without affecting the toxicity profile and may contribute to increased survival.

One simple question for the many NT people who have commented here.

Do any of you really believe that iridology or hair analysis are valid diagnostic methods?

Monika says:
20 January 2012

I think most of us who have been involved in the discussions have already said we are taught evidence based science.

Actually – I’lI be honest with you I don’t and I don’t use them. But I fully support Nutritional Therapy and truly believe that it is the way forward in health for the future – I wish that we could work closely with the medical profession, but until the industry is regulated properly (in the way the medical profession is) we will not be taken seriously as we have seen with the panel above. BANT, The NTC and the CNHC are working towards better regulation, but we need all NTs to HAVE to be registered not just the ones who are willing to be. It is vital that all NTs are beholden to a body to keep up CPD or keep up with the latest in the industry I think all well trained NTs would agree.
You are right to ask what we can do to improve our industry, however I get the feeling David from this report, your response and your website – in particular the article: Which? magazine: “…high street nutritional therapists are a waste of money”, which is NOT the correct title I think,
that you are extremely biased.
Do you have any proof or story or news article investigation where NT has killed someone? destroyed someones life? Ruined a nations health? Done something so despicable it deserves your derision and a website seeming dedicated to the negativities of all things natural therapy?
There are so many people that have benefited from NT and I am sure would be willing to give testimonials to that affect.

20 years go I suffered excruciatingly from abdominal pain and swollen bladder, I saw expert after expert had every test done. Eventually after 3 years of suffering I was referred to the top GI at a London Hospital. My appt was 5 minutes or less. He gave me a list of 12 foods that I could eat. Apparently these foods were statistically less likely to cause allergic reactions. The only 2 that I considered were Sweet potato and sunflower oil the rest as far as I was concerned were inedible to me. Bear with me. He did not advise me to approach this carefully and build up to it, he did not advise me to drink plenty of water, he did not advise me as to how I might feel. he just told me he would heal me and that I can pick any of the foods on the list. I went from a 6 a day coffee drinking, wine drinking, sugar consuming person to sweet potato and sunflower oil! The withdrawal symptoms were frightening and at one point my boyfriend called an ambulance.The pain in my head, and the sickness was horrendous for 4 days and I was expected to stay on this for at least a month maybe longer. After calling the consultant and asking what I could do to make this better he said nothing, he had no sympathy I was just to keep on the diet. I didn’t – I sacked him and decided to educate myself I read many books. I realised all the things I was doing wrong and stopped them. It was like a miracle as I never suffered again with the kinds of abdominal pain I had done previously. I didn’t become an NT until years later. Even though he was so obviously wrong and gave me such bad and dangerous advice, I don’t make out that all doctors are bad. The medical profession in this country is fantastic, the advances in medicine are wonderful and a reason for celebration. There are many negatives of course, overuse of medications are one of the main ones.

Now – I would NEVER advise a client to fast like he did. I now consider the advise he gave me dangerous. I am certain that many NT’s use their experiences to help their clients.

Its a pity that more heat than light has been generated here.

I am becoming increasingly concerned at the blind adherence of Which to the established medical establishments’ line on everything.

Sure, there are a lot of alternative quacks out there, but there are also so pretty useful practitioners. At the same time, whilst I have a good GP surgery locally, the local NHS hospital have been quite hopeless in establishing the exact cause of my medical problems.

A Homeopath diagnosed a wheat intolerance & fungal infection.

The NHS accepted that I had a yeast infection but refused to treat it as it was not important, so I had to treat it myself at my own cost. Result, constant bloating and discomfort gone.

The NHS accept that I am intolerant of wheat, but cannot offer any explaination as to why eating wheat makes me so hot that I can lie naked in a cold! room yet still pour with sweat for hours after eating wheat.

I would be much more impressed with Which they took on the NHS over its terrible lack of patient care in many areas. I know that patients in some NHS hospitals are starving because they cannot feed themselves and no-one in the hospital can be bothered to help them.

This is nothing to do with the medical establishment. It is to do with whether people got good advice or not, Do you believe that the advice was good or not?

Irina says:
20 January 2012

Dear David Colquhoun. With all the respect paid to your educational level and great personal investment in a science of pharmacology, shall I take a courage and bring to your attention this Editorial from Bentham Science, which shows up-to-date research conducted by pharmacologists. Here is a citation from “Recent Patents on Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery” (2011), 6 (1). It says:
” Recently, researchers in University of Alberta tested dichloroacetic acid (DCA) in cancer cells in vitro and in animal models. The dichloroacetate ion stimulates the activity of the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase by inhibiting the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase. Thus, it decreases lactic acid production by shifting the metabolism of pyruvate from glycolysis towards oxidation in the mitochondria. DCA appears to reawaken the mitochondria – and this in turn switches on
apoptosis – allowing the cancer cells to stop multiplying and die [36, 37, 40, 41].”

And one more: ” Many other substances have been developed which inhibit glycolysis, and such glycolytic inhibitors are currently the subject of intense research as anticancer agents [42]. Some glycolytic inhibitors currently being studied as anticancer treatments include SB-204990, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG), 3-bromopyruvate and dodecyl acetoacetate”.

I understand your position – this subject IS at the stage of the research, so you HAVE the right to say “not guilty until proven so”. But this is not a point! It may take up to 10 years of going trough bureaucratic and lobbyist’s barriers to be proven. And you as nobody else may know it.
An ordinary person would get more benefit for his/her health in order TO PREVENT CANCER, if “Which?” commented like “Despite giving unprofessional advice for the client about discontinuing anti-cancer treatment , the Nutritional Therapist, however, gave her/him valuable dietary advice on cutting off sugar (carbohydrates) intake (temporarily) as new pharmacological research shows promising results in developing drugs..(see citation). This statement would not harm anybody in our over-sized affluent society (apart from sugar industry of course), but would make them aware of watching their diet. People understand, they should be educated,they deserved to have knowledge in PREVENTION of cancer. This is probably what other bloggers meant under the term “bias”.

I fear that you should take with a pinch if salt any paper that’s published in Bentham Science, Their journals are on the list of “predatory publications” that will print almost anything when you’ve paid your $800. They were recently caught out publishing an entirely spoof paper, with a claim that it had been properly peer reviewed. See http://www.dcscience.net/?p=4873

In this case the question was not about prevention of cancer. It was about treating it once it had appeared. The advice to try a sugar-free diet for 3-6 months before going to a doctor was not dangerous because the diet was sugar-free, though there is no real evidence that that would help (bread, white or brown) provides plenty of sugar). It was dangerous because a 6 month delay might give time for the cancer to metastasize and once that has happened your chances of recovery are greatly reduced.

I notice only one response to my challenge to defend iridology as a method of diagnosis. Monika and Sam don’t seem to defend them. However the chair of BANT, Catherine Honeywell uses iridology in her own practice http://www.nutrimental.co.uk/iridology.html

Perhaps that is why BANT appears to be incapable of seeing any problems.

ente1 says:
20 January 2012

David – I do not believe that iridology is a valid method of diagnosis but (a) I don’t diagnose illnesses and (b) I am not all NTs

Do you condemn the entire medical profession because some GPs believe that homeopathy and accupuncture are valid alternative treatments and, indeed are sometimes qualified practitioners in their own right?

I don’t condemn something I know little or nothing about. My personal belief: the failing of modern science is that it thinks it already knows everything and anything outside that paradigm MUST be invalid and useless. You never know what knew knowledge comes to light in the next decades and centuries.

I don’t make that comment specifically about iridology – but in the way that such “esteemed” scientists go on these witch hunts and can be so closed minded, condeming, unaccepting, antagonistic, aggressive – not thinking that there are possibilities of things outside your knowledge base that is worthwhile and good. I suppose we could start getting into a discussion of the traditional male/female, yin/yang. Anyway – that’s getting a bit heavy and philosophical. Don’t mean it as any sort of personal attack – just think that sometimes scientists don’t see past their own small world

Patricia says:
20 January 2012

Having read all the conversations with interest and having not heard of the nightingale collaboration before, I took a look at their website. They have a focus of the month, which has not been updated since April 2011 – maybe they have run out of ideas, complaints or support – or maybe Alan should consider re channelling his valuable time.

Irina says:
20 January 2012

What website, Patricia?

Irina says:
20 January 2012

Patricia; “I took a look at their website”. I just wanted to know which website did Patricia mean? The comment went out without any reference, it is difficult to understand what she wanted to say.

dilys says:
20 January 2012

Caroline – I would like the name of this NT as I would love to be fully recovered from CFS

Marilyn Gilbert says:
20 January 2012

@ Dilys

I understand CFS as I have had it myself.

Something very interesting happened a few years ago, Israel doctors went on strike and guess what ?The mortality rates dropped !
I quote
Back in the year 2000, many Israeli doctors went out on strike for about three months. This coincided with a very real drop in mortality rates. The situation was reported in the British Medical Journal [1], and I remember reading the article at the time. Here are some quotes from it:
Industrial action by doctors in Israel seems to be good for their patients’ health. Death rates have dropped considerably in most of the country since physicians in public hospitals implemented a programme of sanctions three months ago, according to a survey of burial societies.

The Israel Medical Association began the action on 9 March [2000]… Since then, hundreds of thousands of visits to outpatient clinics have been cancelled or postponed along with tens of thousands of elective operations.

In the absence of official figures, the Jerusalem Post surveyed non-profit making Jewish burial societies, which perform funerals for the vast majority of Israelis, to find out whether the industrial action was affecting deaths in the country.

“The number of funerals we have performed has fallen drastically,” said Hananya Shahor, the veteran director of Jerusalem’s Kehilat Yerushalayim burial society. “This month, there were only 93 funerals compared with 153 in May 1999, 133 in the same month in 1998, and 139 in May 1997,” he said.

Meir Adler, manager of the Shamgar Funeral Parlour, which buries most other residents of Jerusalem, declared with much more certainty: “There definitely is a connection between the doctors’ sanctions and fewer deaths. We saw the same thing in 1983 [when the Israel Medical Association applied sanctions for four and a half months].”

Food for thought ?

Isabella says:
20 January 2012

Maybe it is not entirely relevant to the discussion but it looks to me as if David Colquhoun is smoking in his photo.