HEALTH: I’ve been writing about the way the medical profession treats patients since the mid-1990s. As you might imagine, I’ve covered a variety of subjects, mainly for consumers (or as I like to call them — ‘patients who want to be informed’).
In the 1990s, the majority of my work was carried out for Lynne McTaggart’s What Doctors Don’t Tell You and its many spin-off publications. Analysed just how conventional medicine was treating common conditions, trying to get to the heart of why certain approaches were being taken, measuring their effectiveness and then exploring realistic alternatives if they delivered better results.
Inevitably, this led to me delving into the world of alternative medicine and a very successful spell as contributor to Proof! It was my work on this publication that led to me being shortlisted by the Medical Journalists’ Association for its ‘Freelance Journalist of The Year’ award in 2005.
Nominations were put forward by the MJA membership and those with the most nominations were put on to a shortlist. Members voted for journalists whose work they believed to be of a consistently high standard – specifically they were looking at good writing in a style appropriate to the readership; skill in communicating scientific and medical information accurately; good stories, well-researched; balance in presenting conflicting issues or debate; originality and humour.
EXPERTISE – explaining seemingly inexplicable medical theory and practice to the general public: This has been a theme throughout my career, but perhaps nowhere has it proved to be as valuable as it has in the world of health and medicine.
It has allowed me to get close to readers and learn about their problems first hand, but thanks to our approach always being empirical rather than sensational, it also led to a much more meaningful dialogue and ultimately won deep respect than would otherwise have been possible from the medical profession and the pharmaceutical community.
My publications tally includes the following:
- What Doctors Don’t Tell You: A monthly consumer newsletter, on sale in Britain as well as the US. But don’t be fooled into thinking WDDTY is yet another of those whingeing consumer publications. It’s not. This is a professional tome run by experienced journalists eager to inform the general public about their condition, and how it should be treated by the conventional medical and homeopathic professions.
- Proof!: This monthly Which? for alternative medicine was a breakthrough publication, using the same approach we’d adopted for evaluating conventional medicine. We took products apart to verify their claims, yet stayed close to readers to find out what worked for them, and what didn’t. The approach paid dividends. The more we revealed, the more readers spoke out.
- Guide To Women’s Health: This is one of a number of spin-off publications from WDDTY to which I contributed and edited. Examines the major conditions and illnesses throughout life, from contraception, to conception and giving birth, to menopause and old age. One of the first tomes to explain everything concisely, yet understandably.
- Men’s Health: As a kind of companion publication to the above tome, this was a subject largely ignored by the media. It broke new ground, making the point that men are more vulnerable to serious diseases than women. Just looking at the statistics, it’s surprising that men aren’t an endangered species already. As well as editing, I wrote the sections on the hernia, prostate cancer and hypertension.
- The WDDTY Good Sight Guide: A comprehensive guide to keeping your eyes healthy, and edited by me. We amassed an amazing amount of evidence showing the pitfalls of the orthodox approach to vision problems. The guide showed why vision loss is not inevitable with age. Growing old no longer means growing blind.
- The WDDTY Vaccination Handbook: The market was crying out for a no-nonsense guide to childhood and adult vaccines to help patients make informed choices, and we duly complied by dissecting all the study evidence available at the time. It wasn’t, we argued, that the vaccines didn’t work, but that they worked imperfectly, and at unacceptable cost to infant and child health. Again, the tome was edited by me.
- The WDDTY Dental Handbook: Edited by me, this booklet contained a distillation of all the evidence that WDDTY had amassed about the dangers of amalgam fillings and fluoride. Until this publication appeared, the British and American dental societies had steadfastly maintained that the mercury contained in amalgam fillings was perfectly safe.
- The WDDTY Good Supplement Guide: This was written and edited by me and was, as far as I’m aware, the first of its kind on the market. It benefited from the work we’d already carried out into vitamin and mineral supplementation on Proof! We looked at importance, natural sources, dosage, side-effects. You name it, we covered it to present a realistic assessment of the products available.