Thomas Lodi, An Oasis of Healing, cancer and threats of legal action

Apparently the company ‘An Oasis of Healing‘ has written to the excellent My Malignant Melanoma blog – asking that a blog about Thomas Lodi is removed and saying they will be “forced to take legal action” if the post is not removed. It therefore seems like a good time to look at some of the claims made by An Oasis of Healing (founded by Lodi).

The company claims to help “cancer patients and their families learn to re-establish health”. The first of the ‘three pillars’ of this is to “Stop Making Cancer“. On a fairly random basis, I’ll look at the evidence-base for their first five “Treatments that we use to help you Stop Making Cancer”:

  • “Living Foods”.  Not particularly useful for cancer.  Living foods like sprouting beans get killed when you chew them, swallow them and they go into your stomach and get digested.  They may be nutritious (and tasty), but so are lots of other foods.  Certain parasites like threadworms can survive inside us, but I wouldn’t call them living foods – and one would generally not eat them deliberately.
  • “Juicing”.  Not particularly useful for cancer.  Juice can be a nutritious and tasty drink, but it has no special anti-cancer properties.  We’re all for a healthy diet, but juice can be included or not depending on personal preference.
  • “Oral & IV Supplements”. It’s possible that supplements might be helpful if a patient is not getting the nutrients they need through diet etc.  There is also some interesting evidence on IV vitamin C for cancer – though any such “activity is almost certainly quite modest at best, and to achieve even such modest antitumor activity definitely requires incredibly high doses of ascorbate”. In other words – possibly of some use, but treatments like IV vitamin C have not been incorporated into evidence-based cancer treatment because the evidence isn’t there yet.
  • “Chelation Therapy”. The evidence indicates that this is worse than useless for cancer. As the University of California, San Diego Medical Center notes, there is not good evidence for chelation therapy “as a treatment option for anything other than heavy metal poisoning.” There are also significant risks to chelation therapy: “Reported side effects have included bone marrow damage, kidney failure, irregular heart rhythm, severe inflammation of injection sites, anemia and death.”
  • “Colon Hydrotherapy”. This is a joke, right? Having water pumped into your bum is about as effective against cancer as one might expect: useless.  Also, as Quackwatch notes, this procedure “has considerable potential for harm. The process can be very uncomfortable, since the presence of the tube can induce severe cramps and pain. If the equipment is not adequately sterilized between treatments, disease germs from one person’s large intestine can be transmitted to others. Several outbreaks of serious infections have been reported, including one in which contaminated equipment caused amebiasis in 36 people, 6 of whom died following bowel perforation. Cases of heart failure (from excessive fluid absorption into the bloodstream) and electrolyte imbalance have also been reported. Direct rectal perforation has also been reported.” Ouch.

This post has analysed five suggested ways to ‘stop making cancer’ from Lodi’s ‘An Oasis of Healing’. Two of these are worse than useless while two are potentially part of a healthy diet (though I don’t know why there is this focus on juice and living foods). IV vitamin C has some interesting evidence relating to its use, but the effects (if any) don’t seem that great and there’s certainly not enough evidence for this to be described as an evidence-based treatment.

Not good. Maybe the company’s time would have been better spent on putting together some evidence-based suggestions for cancer patients, rather than threatening a cancer patient?

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32 Comments

Filed under cancer, vitamin c

32 responses to “Thomas Lodi, An Oasis of Healing, cancer and threats of legal action

  1. Mark

    Interesting stuff, some absolutely ridiculous claims, Its pretty crazy how things like this can be published! I think by living foods they possibly meant the use of probiotics?

    Before I continue I am NOT defending or advocating the above book or treatment!

    I understand what you are trying to get at with the whole evidence based research thing, but in terms of functional medicine, it’s not linear like conventional medicine (disease-symptoms-treatment) which is relatively simple to quantify in comparison, for example the treatment of THE SYMPTOMS of eczema with corticosteroids (which in turn will have it’s own side effects), the medical intervention is to reduce the symptoms, the cause of the disease is left wanting.

    Functional medicine uses a wider perspective and integrated approach alongside conventional medicine to attempt to address the cause of the problem, with medical intervention where needed.
    Measuring a treatment system which isn’t based on this linear model, but a web of interlinking factors, to develop the full picture of the patients health status is much more difficult to replicate in the lab on a scale that is to be accepted by the scientific community.

    In isolation, functional medicine treatments are much less effective (but each individual one is evidence based), the treatment of the patient as a whole is the true focus, which means problems arise when attempting to quantify the treatment of X with Y. My point is trying to establish the complexity of the situation which makes it difficult to obtain the research which meets the ‘gold standard’ due to huge number of variables, for example:
    Individual differences, (especially with our current knowledge of epigenetics) makes it pretty clear we all react differently to environmental stimulus and our genes can be expressed with huge variation, we aren’t a blank slate of DNA that was once thought, so I for example may not be able to tolerate gluten, whereas you can, my point being, alternative treatments will vary, to narrow the treatment to saying “if the results are not viable in a population group then they are not valid”, this ignores the fact lots of variables are being addressed with treatment, to take away the flexibility of this treatment is to tow the party line with the medical industry and be back to square one. Medical intervention yes is of paramount importance for saving lives, a lot of the time they wouldn’t even need the intervention if the cause of the chronic disease was treated – ultimately saving lots of money and lots of time.

    • Interesting point about probiotics – I wouldn’t view them as food as such, but one could make that argument.

      In terms of your broader points, evidence-based medicine frequently addresses the cause of an illness: for example, if you catch a malignant melanoma early enough this can be removed (and lifestyle advice given) and the patient has a decent chance of living a long life. On the other hand, ‘alternative’ medicine often fails to do so: if a patient with malignant melanoma relies on nutrition, colonic irrigation, etc. instead of correct care then their outlook is poor :(

      Evidence-based medicine can and should take account of an individual’s circumstances. E.g. if someone in their 90s is diagnosed with the early stages of a slow-growing cancer, the treatment recommended may be quite different to what would be recommended to a teenager.

      Certainly, different treatments can interact in various ways – and this should be taken into account (interactions may be helpful or harmful, of course – for example, some supplements may hinder the working of chemotherapy). Individuals will respond (or fail to respond) to different treatments in different ways. However, there are still various ways in which treatments can be assessed – and there is a need to find out whether treatments help or harm patients. What I find particularly worrying is that many alternative treatments continue to be used even when there is good evidence that they are worse than useless.

  2. Mark

    Sorry if i’ve gone a little off topic, didn’t really know where else to put my thoughts!

  3. I have a relative who had a malignant melanoma removed in her late 20s. Two decades on she is fine.

    The reason? Her vigilance, insistence on being properly investigated, and a skilled surgeon. Plus advice to avoid the sun, follow up, and regular surveillance of her moles by her and the doctors.

    What would have happened if she had decided to trust probiotics, vitamin C and enemas…?

    I know what I think, which is that she would be long since dead.

    • Glad your relative is well. And, I think, the type of case which shows how mainstream medicine can effectively deal with the root of a problem.

      • Mark

        I would encourage you both to read my original post, you clearly both know little of functional medicine, fair enough, however ignorance is not an excuse. Jonhw I would encourage you to extensively reseach the field ( before you continue comment on others posts. You have washed over the points i have made. It seems your opinions (if they are yours at all) are a tidy little collection of internet info which you are happy to continue to churn out relatively unchallenged. Fair enough, its your blog!

        A few things to deal with:
        1. Interesting example you chose to compare, the implications of me clearly talking about functional medicine, you should already understand I am talking on the whole, about chronic disease and the prevention of. Even so, to provide your body with the resources it needs to reduce chances of developing skin cancer is common sense, particularly as we know with most disease there is not one cause, one gene which controls the expression of the condition. So it isn’t unfathemable that the role of antioxidants and other nutrients could potentially reduce the probability of developing this in terms of genetic potential.

        2.”evidence-based medicine frequently addresses the cause of an illness: for example, if you catch a malignant melanoma early enough this can be removed”
        I think you still havent grasped cause and effect, if you catch a malignant melanoma early enough, that is still a symptom, you are just treating the symptom early, prevention would be to stop the melanoma forming in the first place, which of course you have dived head first into realms which functional medicine does not claim to cure or prevent. It can however be used to reduce risk, as i previously stated.

        3. Firstly i’m glad your relative is ok!

        Please inform me when I said malignant melanoma should be treated with alternative medicine over conventional medicine?! You have thrown forward an extreme example which nobody claims they can ‘cure’ as such.
        Did i or did i not say: “Functional medicine uses a wider perspective and integrated approach alongside conventional medicine to attempt to address the cause of the problem, with medical intervention where needed.”
        Yes, WHERE NEEDED, melignant melanoma, clearly medical intervention is needed.

        4. “Evidence-based medicine can and should take account of an individual’s circumstances. E.g. if someone in their 90s is diagnosed with the early stages of a slow-growing cancer, the treatment recommended may be quite different to what would be recommended to a teenager.”

        Go on – please explain to me how the pharma companies differentiate drugs to take account of an individual’s circumstances…….
        Functional medicine takes into account many many factors to attempt to reduce the risk of disease, the symptoms of some diseases can be reduced very quickly others not.

        5.”Certainly, different treatments can interact in various ways – and this should be taken into account (interactions may be helpful or harmful, of course – for example, some supplements may hinder the working of chemotherapy).”

        Oh the irony, this works both ways, may types of medicine often also effects the absorption of nutrients. Chicken or the Egg?!

        I believe you also have to understand, all research is ultimately disproven, you have a very strange view on ‘knowledge’ where you bow to the research of anyone of authority, you don’t think this research isn’t biased?! I for one treat all research the same, i question each one and evaluate on it’s merits, i for some reason feel this may not be the case with you and others. As a generally ‘frowned upon’ profession the functional medicine research will alway be showed in a bad light, for example, Vit A and smokers increasing prevelance of cancer, no mention to the fact it is a synthetic form of Vit A used in isolation!!!If you have enough money and you can look for long enough you can always find research that ‘proves’ something! I love how we don’t question authority, AMAZING!Everything should always be questioned.

        Which supplements hinder chemotherapy may i ask? I don’t deny this, just out of interest.

        6.”What I find particularly worrying is that many alternative treatments continue to be used even when there is good evidence that they are worse than useless.”
        Please could you let me know which ones and I may be able to attempt to dispell some myths.

        Oh and before i forget: “What would have happened if she had decided to trust probiotics, vitamin C and enemas…?”

        This is a serious debate, please don’t throw words out for the sake of it, if you don’t know what you are talking about what is the point in saying it, i’m only going to call you on it. So here we go…… Who uses or claims to trust using only probiotics, Vitamin C and enemas to treat malignant melanoma in place of medical treatment????!!!!!!!!!!

        Look forward to your responses.

        • Jr.

          Hi,

          My father and grandfather were both fond of the sun, and they both had melanoma’s removed. My father’s was late stage 3, and he had two surgeries, the first took a walnut sized fragment of his back and the next, 4 days later at the Cleveland Clinic, took a grapefruit-sized half-sphere.

          He had many re-occurences over the rest of his life, all removed by a local plastic surgeon at stage 1, as he visited a dermatologist every 3 months, who identified new melanomas at a very early stage.

          To speak of nutritional supplements or dietary adjuncts or vitamin therapy in the context of a diagnosed cancer is sheer madness. Making up a new kind of medicine (“Functional”!) to contain unverified theories about “curing” melanoma with such treatments is cruel, immoral and illegal for good reason.

          My best friend’s wife is fighting stage 4 breast cancer hard, radiation and chemo, trying to survive long enough to see grandchildren. Her surgery was massively invasive, removing every lymph gland they could find. Her tumors were fast-growing, and her odds were not good. She’s still hanging in there after more than a year.

          Another friend turned to non-traditional
          treatments, she didn’t last 6 months. She was afraid of chemo and radiation, probably at least in part because of the evil work being done by non-doctors and displayed above.

          My Dad was diagnosed with CMML leukemia a couple of decades after his biggest scare with melanoma. He underwent grueling chemo in order to attempt to quality for a clinical study at a major research hospital. That worked, and so did the trial medication, but that first set of chemotherapy was really hard on a gjuy in his 70s.

          He died several years later from side-effects of his original chemo, which caused COPD, with his family around him. We were all proud of his fight, and grateful to his doctors and the reseachers who extended his life.

          Mark, there is nothing to know about your so-called “Functional Medicine” whatsoever. Taking care of one’s self while receiving real medical therapy, like surgery, chemo, radiation, newly developed drugs targeting specific genetic pathways in specific types of tumors, that’s common sense.

          Babbling about a different kind of medicine is ignorant and endangers people who need real scientifically based medicine.

          That’s the way it is.

          JR

        • Daniel

          Mark: “I believe you also have to understand, all research is ultimately disproven.”

          Ri-f*ing-diculous. So one day people will find out that gravity does not make things fall down and that smoking does in fact not increase your lung cancer risk?

          Alright, there is certainly research that is being invalidated, facts that were thought to be settled can sometimes also be overthrown. No doubt, science of whatever fashion will make mistakes and those will in time be corrected.

          In most cases, however, the progress of science does NOT mean the rejection, but the REFINEMENT of earlier knowledge.

          Example: “Smoking causes cancer” becomes “Smoking increases the risk by …%” and still later becomes “Smoking … cigarettes per day at age … for … year increases the lung cancer risk by …% for males/females/[add any demographic].”

          Please correct your perspective on research,
          sincerely,
          Daniel from Oslo

        • Mark

          Daniel, are you serious?

          “In most cases, however, the progress of science does NOT mean the rejection, but the REFINEMENT of earlier knowledge.”

          “So one day people will find out that gravity does not make things fall down and that smoking does in fact not increase your lung cancer risk?”

          You should probably grasp science first fella. None of these are fact, there is no fact, only probability. So one day isn’t inconceivable that we may have got something slightly wrong (as we consistantly do), i’m not arguing against gravity, just arguing against the morons who don’t really know anything and believe anything they are told.

          The thing with society at the moment is ‘science’ is turning into a bit of a religion, we like to ‘believe’ in science, makes all the wannabe bedroom scientists feel clever. There’s a fundamental problem really with regards to scientific claims: The ‘truth’ is already out there, all that really changes is our understanding of the truth, how we contsruct this truth. So for example the role of lactate in muscle fatigue, this was THE scientific answer about 10 years ago.Now it isn’t. So what changed? Did we evolve within those 10 years to irradicate the effect on lactate on muscle fatigue and develop a completely new system of muscle fatigue?!

          Well was that right or wrong? we do consistently get things WRONG, not just “REFINEMENT of earlier knowledge”. Thats the problem with the ‘realist’ views within science, “this is the truth now” 10 years later “no actually that was wrong, now this is the truth”.This can be dangerous, withn medicine and nutrition.

          So just for the record, I do trust science in some situations and not in others. I don’t believe you can just discredit anecdotal evidence, when scurvy suddenly stopped in sailors after eating oranges, did they need a P>0.05?

          I just don’t like how we have constructed the double blind placebo controlled study as the bible, yes it is excellent for the testing of drugs, but not for EVERYTHING else. We are not flexible enough.
          So yes, we have ‘constructed’ the truth that the double blind PCS is THE ONLY WAY.

          For example human behaviour, drugs and mental disorders. You cannot measure human behaviour effectively through quantitative methods. Simple as. Bias in quanti methods is huge, it may say it isn’t, but it is, quali methods however accept bias as part of the research.

          And with regards to the ‘cherry picked’ cochrane review you all seem to be so pleased with yourself at sniggering at, i’m referring to the fact that it is in fact a cochrane review, which has its own methods and biases. So this cochrane review basically says that anti-oxidants are dangerous, if you know science, you know the role of anti-oxidants within many many systems in the body.OK so don’t have an intake of any of those anti-oxidants then! I dont need a cochrane review to know that I need some of these vital vitamins and mineral!Sometimes you can use common sense to realise hmmmm where are the source of these anti-oxidants coming from?Fruit, veg and meat. Things we should all be eating. So NOT synthesised, isolated antioxidants, used in a ‘drug-like’ trial in high levels. What about the rest of the diet? It’s not simple the effect of one thing on another, we have a complex web of systems that all interact, its naive to isolate one system as an attempt to find the answers to disease.

        • Daniel

          Yes, Mark, I’m serious.

          The bulk of science is the refinement of previous knowledge.

          And cherry-picking cases where a) science was wrong or b) good knowledge was obtained without a rigorous protocol does NOT prove that one should light-heartedly abandon strict testing.

          I agree, RCTs are not everything. Anecdotes are a valuable source of inspiration, of getting ideas about how things might work. But in the end, the stuff has to be rigorously tested.

          This is not “science turning into religion”, this is simply acknowledging the fact that people easily fool themselves and that we need strategies to remove our bias. RCTs are specifically designed in that way. Anecdotes are not and are therefore by far less valuable than good studies.

          As for the scurvy thing, given that the condition is drastic and rather deadly and that the consumption of citrus fruit cured two out of two men within days in the original James Lind trial, that may well have had a p<0.05. Subsequent replications showed similarly successful results, and this is where "anecdote" turned into "evidence" – had the next handful of sailors died of their disease despite eating loads of oranges, Lind may well have discarded the theories.

          And this is what happens with self-proclaimed cancer healers. By chance some of their customers get better. (Just like sailors also managed to survive scurvy without oranges.) This is then immediately hailed as ultimate proof, all further research declared unnecessary.

          And this is ridiculous and dangerous.

          Daniel

        • Markr

          “strategies to remove our bias. RCTs are specifically designed in that way. Anecdotes are not and are therefore by far less valuable than good studies.”

          Wow, your ignorance knows no bounds, no bias in RCT’s!!!!! ha. Quantitative research on the whole is riddled with bias, but this is where we delve into philosophy, something people from a very old school science background will no doubt reject because it doesn’t have a hypothesis! People forget we ARE individuals, not a the mean of a population!

          “This is then immediately hailed as ultimate proof, all further research declared unnecessary.

          And this is ridiculous and dangerous.”

          I agree, but tell me how you would go about rigorously testing these methods in an RCT and i’ll give you a medal.

          The things is you’ve said RCTs are needed for rigour, but this system is completely inflexible. Please explain to me how test the effects of one drug on the symptoms of another is going to solve an underlying web of problems?

          http://cure4migraine.net/2010/02/the-functional-medicine-model-and-health-information-from-dr-mark-hyman-m-d/

          – Heres a better explanation of functional medicine by Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D.

          -I’d also suggest reading part of the textbook of functional medicine. Whether you like it or not, these things will be integrated into medicine, theres alot of evidence mounting so just keep an eye on it. It’s whether you can be bothered to open you eyes or just stick with an outdated method.

        • Daniel

          Alright, if you want to delve into semantics, I’ll admit that “removing” is too strong a word and change my sentence to: “RCTs are specifically designed to *minimize* our bias.”

          I will also accept that RCTs on e.g. “Colon Hydrotherapy” will be, well, difficult since it is hard to find a placebo treatment to compare it against.

          How did we even end up talking about RCTs… right, you put up that straw man (in your post from March 10) just to knock it down subsequently. Two separate responses there:

          1) Your view of RCTs is too narrow-minded and that is what I criticized – they can not only be used to test drugs, but practically any intervention where one can find convincing placebo treatments. Take for example acupuncture (placebo being “stage dagger” needles, or needles put “in the wrong places” where they should not have an effect) or Brain Gym exercises (the placebo being exercises that, according to Brain Gym theory, should not improve brain function).

          2) Admitting that RCTs will be difficult for some of Lodi’s more dramatic interventions, one must still not confuse wishful thinking and a priori plausibility with rigorous research. When Lodi claims “Fruit juice, sprouting beans and chelation prevent cancer” then he better darn well have some figures to back that up.

          And no, I don’t mean testimonies from happy believers who followed his plans and don’t yet have cancer.

        • markr

          No i don’t want to delve into semantics, I mean it doesn’t even reduce bias in many cases. There is no bias or conflicting interest in pharma companies carrying out RCTs on their own drugs? Thats unbelievably naive.

          You talk about RCT’s with accupuncture etc, but essentially that’s still a single treatment for a set of symptoms, the cause is still there. I’m sure some of you guys would rather someone continue to be ill than have someone get better through nutritional therapy! anecdotal evidence is there, RCTs are very hard to incorporate, because i’ve said, we’re all individuals, not a mean of a population, symptoms may be the similar across a number of people but have a completely different underlying pathology. Treat the cause not the symptoms, and with many chronic diseases all it takes is a bit of investigation to what is really going on. to reproduce an individualised treatment specific to the patients medical, family, and dietary history is difficult.

  4. Pingback: Alternative Healer Dr Thomas Lodi Threatens to Sue Blogging Cancer Patient « Anaximperator blog

    • Mark

      “To speak of nutritional supplements or dietary adjuncts or vitamin therapy in the context of a diagnosed cancer is sheer madness. Making up a new kind of medicine (“Functional”!) to contain unverified theories about “curing” melanoma with such treatments is cruel, immoral and illegal for good reason.”
      Completely agree with the curing part, please read my previous post. The last two responses regarding melanoma have their own agenda, understandable, a topic which has obviously caused great stress, so I am sorry for your loss.

      I don’t understand what the whole agenda is with replacing medicine with functional, I really hope anyone who does have these views are not able to continue to do so at risk to the public. Please do not see me as for alternative therapy and against the medical profession. I just look objectively at both, and identify the possible benefits of a combined approach. I often look at functional medicine and take a step back, sometimes people make valid points against its regulation, however nobody can change my opinion on the fundamental ideas behind it. Contrary to popular belief there are many who aren’t quacks, who have serious scientific backgrounds.

      Do I once claim “nutritional supplements or dietary adjuncts or vitamin therapy” can cure any form of cancer? No. Did i not infact also condemn the use of the “An oasis of Healing” as having “some absoultely ridiculous claims”?

      Also to apply the arguement most use on here, (John) please use evidence based research. JR the CASE STUDY examples you have used are completely irrelevenat. If I for example used a case study regarding reducing ESR, CRP, and other inflammatory markers (which went untreated through the NHS despite two major sugeries in 2 years, almost resulting in blood clots) through carefully considered dietary strategies (not ‘sugar pills?, vitamin therapy?), this would not be accepted as scientific evidence. So you also cannot accept your examples as scientific evidence applicable to anyone else. Please use evidence based research, thank you.

      “Mark, there is nothing to know about your so-called “Functional Medicine” whatsoever. Taking care of one’s self while receiving real medical therapy, like surgery, chemo, radiation, newly developed drugs targeting specific genetic pathways in specific types of tumors, that’s common sense.”

      At this stage of illness, specialist dieticians will yes be crucial in helping the management of the lifestyle of the patient. However it is the people who ‘slip through the net’ so to speak, sub-clinical conditions which eventually form in to clinical diagnosis are at the level in which something could be changed. Big debate over treatment of sub-clinical hypothyroidism, can often develop to clinical hypothyroidism, however if TSH levels are just outside of the clinically defined threshold of hypothyroidism then treatment is not given. Should that individual not be then sent to the dietician/or specialist? Something should be done surely to improve quality of life and prevent further disease, but its too expensive and time consuming to screen every person like that. Targets to meet, I know, i work in the nhs.
      I think you’d be suprised as to how many people it isn’t “common sense”, even with medical conditions.

      “Mark, there is nothing to know about your so-called “Functional Medicine” whatsoever.”
      “Babbling about a different kind of medicine is ignorant and endangers people who need real scientifically based medicine.”

      You are ignorant, I appreciate the medical world, i also accept it’s flaws, you however believe what you are told like a good little boy without question. Why don’t you spend the day on google scholar checking out scientific research to do with all things nutrition. You’ll find hundreds of double blind placebo controlled studies that functional medicine uses as a basis.

      You have a blinkered view of “the way it is”. I suggest you go back to the drawing board JR and do some research before you comment, you have NO idea what you are talking about, that is clear.

      • “You are ignorant, I appreciate the medical world, i also accept it’s flaws, you however believe what you are told like a good little boy without question. Why don’t you spend the day on google scholar checking out scientific research to do with all things nutrition. You’ll find hundreds of double blind placebo controlled studies that functional medicine uses as a basis.”

        As you might notice if you look at this site, we have analysed a number of the studies relating to nutrition. Unfortunately, systematic reviews of the research on many of the supplements often recommended in ‘alternative’ nutrition have frequently been less than inspiring: for example, a number of common antioxidant supplements either fail to affect or actually increase mortality. I’d be fascinated to know how ‘functional medicine’ practitioners have altered their recommendations following publications showing certain supplements to be useless or worse than useless: are these supplements still widely recommended?

        • Mark

          “for example, a number of common antioxidant supplements either fail to affect or actually increase mortality”
          Please let me know which ones.

          I think you place way too much focus on supplementation, this is last resort stuff (for me and hopefully others). First and foremost it is using food, if this is not possible (a wonderful thing called free will means its not as simple as prescribing a drug, it’s a lifestyle, people have complicated relationships with food and compliance to dietary management can also be complicated) supplementation is used in difficult situations and monitored carefully and not simply ‘take these for the rest of your life’. Communication with the GP is always recommended, especially if supplements are provided (by the way drug-nutrient interactions are part of practice and are considered). What about about supplements that are used in medicine? is this not the same fundamental principle, it certainly illustrates the importance.

          Let me paint a picture, you have an individual who will not eat fish, doesn’t like the taste or is vegan, or for whatever reason. Now I’m sure you know of the extensively recorded research regarding the omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and there functions in a multitude of processes. How do you get adequate omega-3 into the diet?
          What if someone doesn’t eat vegetables? Are you going to tell them to go against the experts group for vits and mins (department of health) guidelines and not meet RNIs?You cant forcefeed someone.

          “practitioners have altered their recommendations following publications showing certain supplements to be useless or worse than useless: are these supplements still widely recommended?”

          John, you need to tell me which ones and the research behind before i can respond to that, i can’t mind read.

          I’m also waiting for a few responses regarding my last posts, i’ll let you do a few days research before you do, you sure don’t know it off the top of your head!Still not accepting any of the other relevant and valid points i have made, so you choose to simply not comment on them, good objective mind you have there chap!

          I give credit where credit is due, and yes there are many flaws, but the fundamental principles are genuine, it’s not about this crackpot theory of money making and a fast buck (we’re not all holford’s). Some of us genuinely care and know the benefits when you can be a last resort for some people where all other avenues have failed.
          You however, do not accept any valid points, know little of the subject, and blindly follow Mr Goldacre.

          You enjoy picking the research that illustrates your point, what Goldacre calls ‘cherry picking’. Well why don’t you pick out all the faults with dietetic research, alot of our learning and basic priniciples are upon the same research/text books, we are talking about nutrition, just approached in a different manner. I’ll try to post some research for you to ‘review’, how you are qualified to do so is beyond me. And off topic why do you not tell people your status or occupation John, you say it isn’t relevant, but i bed to differ! Your just another dead opinion without status, according to many on here you need to get that medical or dietetics degree to be right!

          An ‘alternative’ idea is always going draw the internet folks in, gives otherwise insignificant people in the field ‘a voice’, reading new scientist doesn’t make you a scientist! As soon as someone with authority has an opinion people gather like rats, grow up, get your own arguements and your own opinion.

        • “John, you need to tell me which ones and the research behind before i can respond to that, i can’t mind read.”

          OK – for example, the Cochrane review on the topic http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/homepages/106568753/CD007176.pdf (part of the point of such reviews, by the way, is to prevent cherry picking).

          “I’m also waiting for a few responses regarding my last posts, i’ll let you do a few days research before you do, you sure don’t know it off the top of your head!Still not accepting any of the other relevant and valid points i have made, so you choose to simply not comment on them, good objective mind you have there chap!”

          I’ll respond to what I choose to, and not respond to what I choose not to – I do this blog in my own time, and have a free choice re what I write about. If questions aren’t interesting or I’m pushed for time, I may not respond. If you want a controlled discussion on topics of interest to you, set up your own blog.

        • Mark

          OK – for example, the Cochrane review on the topic http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/homepages/106568753/CD007176.pdf (part of the point of such reviews, by the way, is to prevent cherry picking).

          Nicely cherry picked review there!
          Yes I have that article, read the discussion, read the limitations, we go full circle to my original points (which the author also mentions), they do not understand the antioxidants interactions used in isolation and with the combinations used. Again you are driven by this isolated supplement use, which is completely not the point.

          So why would a GP tell a smoker to increase vitamin C intake, why are multivitamins used within the NHS? Funny that!Antioxidants are bad?I would encourage anyone to meet the RNI for the particular nutrient in question, I would not provide supplements to compromise safe upper limits of any nutrient and would reach these RNIs through food sources. Why do we have RNIs for such antioxidants if they have such a negative effect?!Not me, tell it to the department of health who set the RNIs.
          Just because in those particular studies they did not have a significant effect on the population to reduce disease, that simply rules out what they have studied in those combinations of antioxidant and those constituents of anti-oxidant.
          “Compliance with treatment was not reported.” Hmmm. So who complied with treatment? How does this effect results? How about absorption levels of the vitamins?How about one person who takes antioxidant supplements smokes and eats junk food, how will that effect results?

          Just a few points that can be made by critical evaluation for a few minutes, try it, you might like it. Its good to have your own thoughts you know.

          “I’ll respond to what I choose to, and not respond to what I choose not to – I do this blog in my own time, and have a free choice re what I write about. If questions aren’t interesting or I’m pushed for time, I may not respond. If you want a controlled discussion on topics of interest to you, set up your own blog.”

          ‘Aren’t interesting’ or out of your depth and can’t answer?Fair enough. Your choice. I dont want a controlled discussion, i want a discussion with someone with a different view to my own, nothing wrong with that.

          Isn’t the point of blog to put out your ideas to reach people and for them to respond? If its a one sided blog with only one sided opinions why do you allow such messages. Surely you want healthy debate?Whats the point in a group of people whipping themselves up into a one sided perspective of a situation. I for one encourage the views of Ben Goldacre etc, I dont understand why you are so scared.

          If you don’t want to be challenged then fair enough.

        • A cherry-picked Cochrane review? Were the criteria for inclusion inappropriate or not consistently applied, then? Of course supplements can be appropriate in particular situations – and doctors and dietitians will frequently recommend them. More broadly, though, the antioxidant hypothesis is looking extremely problematic.

          As for responding to questions, it’s not that I don’t want to be challenged – it’s the quality of the questions. For example, you ask “please explain to me how the pharma companies differentiate drugs to take account of an individual’s circumstances”. Firstly, this is misunderstanding what evidence-based medicine is – it’s not just about pharmaceuticals. It’s blindingly obvious that any vaguely competent doctor will give different treatment advice in some situations as opposed to others – for example, different types of antibiotics or pain relief are often suggested depending on how well they appear to be working, whether side effects crop up, whether they have any allergies, whether they are pregnant. Secondly, part of the reason why there are a range of treatments for most common conditions is (aside from big pharma tricks like me-too drugs) so that different treatments can be provided for different patients. To pick an example out of the air, to treat eczema there are (among other creams one can use) both steroid creams and topical immunosuppressants. Part of the sales pitch for immunosuppressants has that they can (helpfully) be used on parts of the body where steroid creams would be inappropriate.
          That’s why I’m not particularly inclined to answer that type of question – it’s not terribly interesting.

        • Mark

          “Firstly, this is misunderstanding what evidence-based medicine is – it’s not just about pharmaceuticals”

          Amen brother! Just as functional medicine is not just about supplements!

          Yeah fair enough that wasn’t an interesting question! I’ll give you that one!

          I havent deliberately set out to wind you up or anything, just it’s a very one sided arguement on this site at times. I do happen to think there are some well thought out points on here, but also many are frankly speculation at best. I’ll try and go through some other posts so I dont waffle on any longer on this one (i saw the comments policy re long posts!).

          Cheers, Mark.

        • OK – thanks. And I’ve certainly got no brief to advocate pharmaceutical use, although there are some situations where drugs are necessary.

  5. peter

    Cheers mark, someone talking some sense on this deluded website for once

    • Mark

      Oh and here’s a link to the NHS Evidence – complementary and alternative medicine site where you can find some research. All with ‘Centre for Reviews and Dissemination’ commentary. Mixture of findings (as with all research) some have clear implications, others dont. Happy reading!

      http://www.library.nhs.uk/CAM/

      • Mark

        Correction to the CAM site: some have clear implications, MANY others don’t!

        It’s only one resource though aye, lots more to check out!

  6. peter

    Functional medicine- Identify pathological influences, remove pathological influences, re establish homeostasis by maipulation of body systems and through change in environment that works with clients genitic potential (food, thoughts, air)

    Orthadox medicine – identify signs and symptoms, identify pathophysiology that leads to symptoms, manipulate biochemistry in order to reduce symptoms. Knock on effect of changing biochemistry ultimtely leads to unwanted changes in other chemical pathways leading further away from balance.

    • Medicine frequently addresses issues around healthy lifestyle etc. and offers non-drug interventions. Caricaturing “orthodox medicine” is not helpful.

  7. Previous Patient's Family

    Reading your posts have been very interesting. My comments don’t really relate to your thread, but I thought it would be an opportunity to share my insight. My mother was a patient at An Oasis of Healing and treated by Dr. Lodi. Unfortunately, his treatments did not work, and she passed away anyway after only 4 weeks of intensive treatment at the clinic. While I must agree that most Americans or people in general would benefit in a shift in their current eating/consumption habits to those proposed by Dr. Lodi, unfortunately by the time cancer patients turn to him for help, it is too late for many of them because the body has made the cancer and multiplied the cancer. Dr. Lodi’s principles do center around teaching your body to stop making cancer. This is something we need to be teaching the public before we are at an extreme state with cancer.

    Here’s a rundown of some of the treatments at Dr. Lodi’s clinic:
    Juice fast for 2 weeks (drinking only green juice to cleanse your body) – the clinic and patients smell like this green juice, doesn’t smell so appealing
    Switch to a completely raw foods diet (basically vegetables, sprouts, limited fruit since sugar is thought to encourage growth of cancer cells)
    Low-dose IPT (insulin potentiation therapy) chemotherapy
    Chelation
    Colon cleansing
    High dose IV vitamin C treatment
    Exercise therapy with Oxygen
    Sauna treatments
    Tons of herbal remedies (supplements)
    Recommended to discontinue use of traditional prescribed medications
    Your day is a 6-9 hour day each day which is very tiring for most. They make you think you are getting alot for your money but it is a lot of time-filling appointments. Dr. Lodi has a group session about once a week, and if you want an appointment to see him, you have to pay extra for that. I guess just like a hospital, you are charged for EVERYTHING, but don’t necessarily get something substantial in return. The only two treatments listed above that I feel might have some benefit are the IPT and the Vitamin C. I’m not sure since there’s not a lot of research to support it in mainstream cancer treatments.

    Yeah, looking back I think some of it has some healthful benefits, but you are paying a lot of money for all of these treatments. Our family spent nearly $25,000 in 4 weeks of treatment – most of it not reimbursable by insurance.

    There were a lot of things I liked about the principles he taught. But, I think it’s wrong that you spend $20k or more (most patients I met wiped out their entire savings) when you are potentially weeks away from dying. Dr. Lodi’s staff makes you think that their treatments WILL cure you. Although, Dr. Lodi would never say that – but he also doesn’t tell you the TRUTH about how dire your situation is.

    Also, I have tried to reach some of the patients we befriended via email and haven’t heard back from any of them – have any of them conquered their cancer or are they dead?

    Anyway, sorry for the deviation on your thread of messages, but wanted to shed a little light from a personal perspective. One thing that we never found when we were doing research on the Oasis of Healing was never heard any firsthand accounts from previous patients or families.

    • Thanks for your reply. I’m very sorry to hear about your mother.

    • Torn

      I am sorry that you lost your mother.

      I also lost my Aunt, who did treatment there until running out of money. she was there for almost over 3.5 months. If you would like to discuss- feel free to contact me at kinezoua26 at hotmail dot com

      We were there from Feb- June 2009

  8. Anna

    Hahahaha, calling a Cochrane review ‘cherry-picked’ – a joke, right?

  9. Thanks for the post and the “Excellent “rating, J!

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