This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

CAMHS won't see you now

helped patients lose

The debate on complementary therapies seems to revolve around the question of whether there is an evidence base for it or not but I believe this is the wrong question. The strength of conventional medicine is that it is excellent for the treatment of acute conditions and for accurate diagnosis, but its Achilles heel is that it has failed to cure virtually any chronic disease.

The reason for this has become increasingly obvious ­ drugs can modify risk factors and control symptoms but they do not and probably cannot cure chronic diseases. This means patients are locked into a system of treatment that often involves taking multiple drugs for long periods of time.

There are two prices to pay for this: one is that it is hugely expensive and the second is that it makes doctors extremely busy.

We must find a way out of this and it cannot be through pharmaceuticals. We must make looking for cures the priority. There have been recorded cases of cures for nearly every disease under the sun, but they have rarely been investigated and often been dismissed.

You won't find this sort of information in evidence-based trials but you will find it in the careful observations of health professionals (remember the story of Jenner and cowpox) ­ in other words you will find it in the much-maligned anecdote.

Unless we thoroughly investigate these observations we will be stuck in a frustrating world of an ever-increasing costs and workload.

We can't know where the cures will come from ­ perhaps from a new technology such as stem-cell research, perhaps from complementary medicine, but almost

certainly not from pharmaceuticals.

One cure for a chronic disease would be worth a 100 evidence-based trials merely showing symptom control.

For this reason we need to think in new ways, we need innovative therapies and we need the funding to investigate these so we can begin to treat chronic diseases effectively.

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say