Dr William Roe (retired) of Nelson, New Zealand, the author of Science in Medical Practise (1984) in which he strongly criticises modern medicine, said this:

"By starting from a false premise, a superstructure has been created which is, to a not inconsiderable degree, an iatrogenic* fantasy. The primary function of medicine has been transformed from a service to patients to a vocation and avocation for medical and paramedical personnel; iatrogenic disease has become a major problem and medicine has become big business. An urgent need exists to correct this imbalance, to restore the art of medicine to its former status."

*Iatric: relating to medicine or physicians. Iatrogenic: induced by medical treatment.

Dr Maynard Murray, B.Sc MD, Fort Myers Florida, from his book Sea Energy Agriculture (1976):

"Are we kidding ourselves with longevity statistics and 'war against disease' statistics? You bet we are!

Our medical statistics equate the increasing in the average lifespan with good health. This kind of reasoning makes appealing newscopy, but it reminds me of the statistician who drowned in a river with an average depth of one foot. Such propaganda is deathly deceiving. This specious reasoning can lull us into a feeling of unwarranted wellbeing.

I promise not to belabor this negative approach much longer, but it seems we Americans, collectively, are a lot like the Mexican burro that requires a smack between the eyes with a two by four plank before attention is focussed . . ."

Dr Kasper Blond, of England (referring specifically to cancer):

"The problem of cancer must be considered as an insoluble medical problem because it is essentially a nutritional and social problem;* in other words, a problem of prevention.

Such a problem cannot be solved by animal experiments, vaccines and drugs. Statisticians, pathologists, biochemists and doctors cannot solve social problems."

*As are all the rest.

And finally to repeat the great Dr Alexis Carrel:

"Unless the doctors of today become the dieticians of tomorrow, then the dieticians of today will become the doctors of tomorrow."

The time that elapses between the introduction of an innovative idea and its general acceptance in society is called "the culture gap", and varies enormously with the amount of publicity the new idea receives. If a lot of money hinges on the outcome, powerful financial forces, motivated by either the promise of gain or the fear of loss, can either promote the idea or forcefully suppress it. Thus the culture gap in women's fashions may be only a few weeks, and in medicine perhaps a hundred years. But the latter gap nevertheless is closing as the following report indicates:

(Report by Longevity Magazine, June 1991)

The Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington, DC is waging an all-out war to scratch meat and dairy products from the four basic food groups, long billed as a healthy diet.

The report went on to say that "a wealth of studies" have linked meatless, low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fiber diets with low rates of cancer, heart disease and other life-shortening conditions, but that it may take several decades before the American public embraces a meatless diet. Dr Neal Barnard, President of the Physicians' Committee concluded: "But only twenty years ago, eating steak was an enviable sign of affluence. Now when people eat red meat, it's with a guilty conscience because they know it's bad for you."

Note: The diet recommended by the Physicians' Committee contains large quantities of grains and legumes and very little fruit, much the same as the Pritikin diet, and is therefore not recommended because of the adverse effects of too much emphasis on grains and legumes.

Nevertheless, the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine is to be commended for their breakaway from old, worn-out ideas and their adoption of a fresh new attitude. Alexis Carrel would be pleased.