The exquisitely crafted documentary about Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials Trilogy Imagine: Philip Pullman: Angels and Daemons aired on BBC1 on Monday 5 March 2018 provided a glimpse of this writer’s genius in inventing a fantasy Oxford, with brilliant literary devices about stepping stones to other worlds, people possessing their own animal as a type of persona / animus called a daemon, as well as an elite revolutionary group battling the Magisteria - holders of the Church’s power and authority. Philip Pullman, inspired by poets including Milton - Paradise Lost - and William Blake – Songs of Innocence - over his long and hard working life where he honed his story-telling craft as a schoolteacher, was able to exert a powerful influence through his fantastical books which vividly stimulate the imagination yet never satiate our permanent yearning for wonderful stories
Viewing this documentary inspired me to once again glimpse the holistic and integrated vision I have held for healthcare – conventional medicine working in partnership with complementary / alternative disciplines - which at this present time appears as fantastical and unachievable as that of the fantasy worlds of Philip Pullman. When I segued from my previous molecular biologist agricultural scientist career to researcher / author of health issues in the mid-1980s, initially motivated to help find answers to HIV/AIDS, it then seemed perfectly logical and rational that all the players in the healthcare field - physicians, research scientists, complementary practitioners - would work together to find solutions to the serious health conditions afflicting the world, including cancer, heart disease, and more currently mental health issues and Alzheimer’s. Naïve or what!
Now, some 25 years later, having become more steeped in the science, clinical knowledge, political and financial hierarchies encompassing the seemingly disparate universes of conventional and holistic medicine - with a gaping chasm separating the two, perhaps I am somewhat more cynical yet eternally hopeful.
This current Issue of Positive Health PH Online Issue 245 published 15 March 2018 features articles across the spectrum of Mind/Body/Emotions, NLP for Addictions, Relaxation, Fertility, Nutrition, Nutrigenomics, Omega-3 Benefits, Coping with the Norovirus, CraniolSacral Treatment, Medical Ozone for Knee Osteoarthritis, Orthodontic Treatment, Tips to Relieve Back Pain for Office Workers, Research Updates and Letters to the Editor.
Positive Health PH Online has gradually, over some 25 years, morphed from being a serious monthly magazine to a sizeable archive, a critical mass of thousands of clinical articles and research studies spanning the entire galaxy of health conditions and treatment approaches. On its own, this body of work isn’t the critical mass that will create the transformation to change the healthcare system; however, this work helps to illustrate and embody how such an integrated holistic healthcare system could work.
Except that, of course, the way healthcare works in the present is nothing like an integrated, work-together system. Conventional medicine, utilizes high-tech imaging devices to diagnose, surgical tools to operate, but uses the same size-fits-all formulaic blunt-end pharmaceutical drugs to treat all people with the same condition. This is not how it is supposed to be happening; as the so-called era of personalized medicine is meant to be arriving in the 21st century our own DNA fingerprints of our blood, lymph, tissues and tumours are meant to be able to fashion our own individualized drugs and body parts. But, as can be read in two books recently reviewed - On Smaller Dogs and Larger Life Questions by Kate Figes and Jacqueline’s Diary - When Cancer Came to Visit by Jacqueline Clara Shephard - these women experienced a catastrophic diagnosis of advanced cancer seemingly out of the blue, whereby the only choice of treatment for them to save their lives was the same old chemotherapy poisons from a previous century. Both women, Kate Figes and Jacqueline C Shephard used a multiplicity of other treatment modalities, including nutritional and herbal medicine oxygen therapy, healing and spiritual approaches, and are alive and well in the present.
Scientific progress is ever advancing; findings recently published in Nature Communications, describe in a new study led by Justin Lathia PhD, and Ofer Reizes PhD which have identified a never-before described survival pathway in cancer stem cells that may serve as a potential target for new triple-negative breast cancer therapies.
Research progress is not however limited to cancer; research published in The Lancet & Endocrinology demonstrated that that “Adult-onset diabetes consists of five types of disease that have different physiological and genetic profiles, rather than the traditional type 1 and 2 classification, say Scandinavian researchers, findings that could bring the promise of personalized medicine a step closer.”
1. Praveena S. Thiagarajan, Maksim Sinyuk, Soumya M. Turaga, Erin E. Mulkearns-Hubert, James S. Hale, Vinay Rao, Abeba Demelash, Caner Saygin, Arnab China, Tyler J. Alban, Masahiro Hitomi, Luke A. Torre-Healy, Alvaro G. Alvarado, Awad Jarrar, Andrew Wiechert, Valery Adorno-Cruz, Paul L. Fox, Benjamin C. Calhoun, Jun-Lin Guan, Huiping Liu, Ofer Reizes & Justin D. Lathia. Cx26 drives self-renewal in triple-negative breast cancer via interaction with NANOG and focal adhesion kinase. Nature Communications 9: 578. 2018. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-02938-1 . https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-02938-1
2. Emma Ahlqvist, PhD , Petter Storm, PhD , Annemari Käräjämäki, MD† , Mats Martinell, MD† , Mozhgan Dorkhan, PhD , Annelie Carlsson, PhD , Petter Vikman, PhD , Rashmi B Prasad, PhD , Dina Mansour Aly, MSc , Peter Almgren, MSc , Ylva Wessman, MSc , Nael Shaat, PhD , Peter Spégel, PhD , Prof Hindrik Mulder, PhD , Eero Lindholm, PhD , Prof Olle Melander, PhD , Ola Hansson, PhD , Ulf Malmqvist, PhD , Prof Åke Lernmark, PhD , Kaj Lahti, MD , Tom Forsén, PhD , Tiinamaija Tuomi, PhD , Anders H Rosengren, PhD , Prof Leif Groop, PhD' †Contributed equally. Novel subgroups of adult-onset diabetes and their association with outcomes: a data-driven cluster analysis of six variables. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology 6: 3: 157-258. Mar 2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(18)30051-2 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(18)30051-2/fulltext
3. Liam Davenport. Diabetes Consists of Five Types, Not Two, Say Researchers. Medscape Sunday, March 11, 2018. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/893305?src=soc_tw_180304_mscpedt_news_mdscp_diabetes&faf=1