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7
IHCAN March 2017

Can Medicine be cured? It seems unlikely

“Since the 1980s, medical research has become a global business and driver of economies; it is the intellectual motor of the medical-industrial complex. It is seen by the general public as a worthy philanthropic endeavour, carried out by altruists motivated only by a thirst for truth and a passion to cure disease and save lives. Many charities collect money to fund this noble activity, and these bodies have themselves become a substantial business sector. There is a broad societal consensus that medical research is a good thing, and the more money spent on it the better. The many people who give money to these charities might be surprised too learn that the great majority of medical research is a waste of time and money.

“There are two reasons for this waste: first, the vast majority of it is badly carried out, and, second, research serves mainly the needs of the researchers and allied commercial interests”.

So writes consultant gastroenterologist Prof Seamus O’Mahony in a relentless critique of his own profession, a book just published called Can Medicine Be Cured? The Corruption of a Profession (see report, page 5).

Although O’Mahony has his blind spots, notably in dismissing some of the conditions we routinely have to deal with in clinic, his book is one of the most entertaining “required reads” we’ve come across.

Orthodox medicine is in a terrible state, dominated by Big Pharma and still obsessed with magic bullets, much of its published “evidence” heavily influenced by commercial interests, and still resolutely baffled by nutrition, supplements, plant medicines and the like.

Meanwhile, this issue – again – is packed with stories of true healing, ranging from Ben Brown’s summary of the incredible success supplements such as myo-inositol and cinnamon have in PCOS (page 10), to the research snippets proving the power of vitamins C and D, to Rebecca Smith’s inspiring psoriasis before and afters (page 9), to Jules Chandler’s exposition of how to wend a way through an apparently hugely complex case (page 52).

We’re in good shape. But as Prof O’Mahony says, “medicine” is heading for intensive care.

Is the end in sight for Bayer Monsanto’s killer chemical?

It started with a landmark court case in California, where a terminally ill groundsman was awarded £225m after a jury found Roundup weedkiller contributed to his cancer. There are other cases in the pipeline. Roundup, containing glyphosate, is the UK’s most widely-used weedkiller. Now an updated meta-analysis from a combined University of Washington and UC Berkeley team has found glyphosate increases risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 41% (see story, page 50).

Glyphosate is so widely used that it is now turning up everywhere – even in processed foods such as crackers and ice cream. Independent laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group have found it in 43 out of 45 samples of breakfast food products marketed to children made with conventionally grown oats, and it was found in about one-third of 16 samples made with organically grown oats.

SIMON MARTIN, EDITOR

Keep up with Simon on Twitter@simoncamedit

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