Breaking news! The recent legal action brought about by the British Homeopathic Association, following the NHS’s decision to blacklist homeopathy, has been unsuccessful in using the courts to protect the service of their treatment. Despite the judge finding sufficient grounds for said judicial review, the case was dismissed regardless. Margaret Wyllie, BHA Chair, said, “the case highlighted how health bosses were unfairly manipulating the consultation process and making decisions about healthcare services without genuine patient engagement.” This comes at a time when the NHS is reaching crisis capacity and should be looking to all therapies that can reduce both cost and burden on severely limited resources - not to mention empowering patients to take control of their own health.
Reducing the need for chemotherapy
Toxic and damaging, the side effects from chemotherapy are notoriously devastating. Although commonly used in the treatment of most cancers, including breast cancer, it can actually increase the risk of metastasis, the growth and development of secondary tumours. However, a game changing new trial is set to radically alter treatment options for breast cancer sufferers. Twenty-one gene breast cancer assays, such as oncotype DX, are commonly used to predict the need for chemotherapy in patients diagnosed with early-stage oestrogen receptor positive (ER+) invasive breast cancer. In the past, women with a low score were not offered chemotherapy, whilst women with a mid- to high score were thought to benefit from its treatment. However, the trial found that in women aged 50 to 75 years with a score between 11 and 25 there was no significant difference in outcomes between those treated with chemotherapy and hormone therapy versus hormone therapy only. Hopefully these new findings pave the way for greater choice in the treatment of breast cancer, thereby reducing the risk of unnecessary damage from chemotherapy if it’s not 100% necessary.
Obesity cannot be healthy!
The term ‘healthy obesity’ is subject to increasing use. Designed initially to describe obese individuals who are not thought to be at risk of disease, but now used to defend being overweight and obese as a ‘new normal’. However, a recent study confirms that, even if metabolic function appears to be being maintained, obesity remains a high-risk for disease over the long-term. With obesity set to take over from smoking as the primary risk factor for developing cancer in the next 20 to 30 years, it is more important than ever for governments to take a fully integrated approach to health. One that’s based in preventative medicine to avert the current crisis from becoming the next evolutionary ‘bottleneck’ for human health.
Bayer/Monsanto merger set to proceed
The proposed unholy alliance between Bayer and Monsanto has crawled under yet another regulatory hurdle after being approved by the American Justice Department last week. The decision comes despite mounting concerns voiced by stakeholders in both Germany and the US, along with shareholders, in regard to the risks associated with the merger. The approval is dependent on the disposal of assets to German company BASF by Bayer - something that had already been agreed and formed part of the European Commission’s approval of the merger. Bayer has said it, “Plans to complete the acquisition of Monsanto on June, 7, following the receipt of all required approvals from regulatory authorities.” Subsequently, the Monsanto name will be dropped, allowing Bayer to disguise its activities, particularly in view of the lack of regulation of new GMO techniques that have little or no legislation. Scepticism remains over Bayer’s continued claims of sustainability and responsibility in agriculture. The future remains unclear, but the combined might of the two companies is unlikely to prove beneficial to either the environment, farmers or ourselves.
Is this the future of food?
As global populations continue to boom and land becomes ever more scarce for agricultural use, countries are being forced to explore a variety of alternative food production methods to meet growing demands. In Singapore, talks are taking place around a proposal to build a self-sustaining food city in the sea for farming fish and hydroponically grown vegetables. Whilst, in Korea, engineers are developing technology to 3D print food using carbohydrate and protein powders to create ‘phoods’. More and more countries are adopting westernised ways of eating, resulting in huge impacts on the environment as farming practices try to squeeze more and more out of less and less. Is this really good practice for the future of sustainability, or rather setting the scene to embolden a spiralling chronic disease crisis as we move away from our traditional diets and lifestyles?