A partnership between ANH-Intl and integrative cancer care charity Yes to Life under the banner NuHealth2 brought together in London 10 healthcare thought-leaders from around the world. These doctors, researchers and health experts were tasked with finding fresh ways to resolve the deepening crisis in mainstream healthcare.

One of the main purposes of the event was to focus on those elements of the healthcare crisis that are being insufficiently prioritised or are being deliberately avoided or brushed under the carpet — and then ponder solutions. These will be detailed and justified in a white paper that will be produced by the think tank by the middle of the year.

Think tank (left to right): Dr Rangan Chatterjee, Dr Vijay Murthy, Prof Karol Sikora, Dr Jonathan Wright, Ben van Ommen, Mike Ash, Smriti Singh, Dr Robin Youngson, Robert Verkerk PhD

Think tank deliberations (left to right): Dr Jonathan Wright, Ralph Moss PhD, Dr Vijay Murthy, Dr Rangan Chatterjee, Ben van Ommen PhD, Vivienne Lyfar-Cissé, Smriti Singh, Dr Robin Youngson, Robert Verkerk PhD

Synthesis

Each think tank member made a 20-minute TED talk-style presentation prior to entering into debates as part of the think tank. In chronological order of their contributions, the following top-line points were made:

Ben van Ommen PhD

Principal Scientist at TNO, (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek or Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research)

  • The importance of looking at the person from both a systems biology and epigenetic perspective and developing strategies that work compatibly with these processes rather than interfere with them. With a focus on type 2 diabetes and related metabolic diseases, Dr van Ommen showed that the strongest evidence for homeostatic control rests with dietary components.
  • Dr van Ommen showcased TNO’s work on the development of tools, that include ‘home test’ diagnostics based on blood spots, can be created to empower citizens, while also helping businesses to make profits responsibly

Dr Ben van Ommen

Dr Jonathan Wright

Director, Tahoma Clinic, USA

  • Dr Wright drew from 45 years of clinical experience showing how a raft of common conditions can be readily managed using straightforward protocols using dietary ingredients, foods and behavioural changes.
  • He showed how much of this data has long been known, but has not necessarily been subjected to randomised clinical trials and therefore is commonly ignored despite evidence that “it works” clinically. He stressed he has “learned the most from [his] patients.”

Dr Jonathan Wright

Michael Ash

Functional Medicine Practitioner, Managing Director, Nutri-Link and Nutri-Link Education

  • Mike Ash stressed that the emphasis should be on increasing health span more than it should be on life span
  • Drawing from his role in the Institute for Functional Medicine faculty, he made a powerful case for the functional medicine model
  • He also emphasised the need to consider the interdependence between bacteria and human beings and for healthcare professionals to learn how this relationship can be modulated to our advantage at very low cost

Michael Ash

Dr Vijayendra Murthy

Holistic health practitioner, academic and researcher in complementary and alternative medicine

  • Dr Murthy said that primary healthcare should be patient-driven, not just patient-centred
  • He explained that the devotion to methodology, rather than evidence has contributed to the major roadblock in terms of how lifestyle medicine is received
  • He also made a strong case for the need for alternate approaches to gathering evidence, including Comparative Effectiveness Research and clinical experience  

Dr Vijay Murthy

Prof Karol Sikora

Dean of Medicine, Buckingham University UK; Medical Director,
Cancer Partners UK

  • Prof Sikora very usefully identified four ‘boxes’ that are seminal to understanding both challenges and solutions for the healthcare system: technology, society, delivery of care and cost
  • He made a strong case of why it’s the last point on cost and who pays that’s the hardest pill to swallow – and emphasised that it should be a top priority to ensure that approaches that are shown to be effective and low in cost are delivered in preference to those that meet neither of these criteria

Prof Karol Sikora

Ralph Moss PhD

Principal, Cancer Decisions, USA

  • As a whistleblower whose conscience got the better of him, Dr Moss told his story about the cover-up about laetrile (‘vitamin B17’) and cancer while he worked in the public relations department of Sloan Kettering as a science writer in the 1970s. In the process, his communications have empowered millions around the world
  • He also has demonstrated how business kills innovation or understanding when it’s deemed to be counter to its interests and that you cannot consider healthcare options without taking into account the politics and business that controls it

 

Dr Ralph Moss

Dr Rangan Chatterjee

NHS general practitioner (GP) and functional medicine practitioner

  • Dr Chatterjee gave a fantastically frank account of the challenges faced by an open minded NHS GP that has been one of very few to use his own time and money to educate himself about nutrition and lifestyle medicine through the lens of functional medicine
  • He stressed that one of the greatest limitations faced by any GP was the lack of training in dealing with the underlying causes of disease which benefited greatly from dietary and lifestyle management
  • He showed how a GP could deal with the time constraints on consultation by altering practice management and building teams, not only among the health professionals, but also among patients

Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Dr Robin Youngson

Director, Hearts in Healthcare

  • Dr Youngson, motivated by his own personal experiences as well as those as doctor and anaesthetist, provided extensive evidence about the importance of compassion and empathy
  • He showed how this can transform physiology and neuronal development and how small doses of compassion can give benefits lasting weeks or months or longer
  • He said that he used to think that diseases cause suffering, but now he realises that suffering causes disease

Dr Robin Youngson

Smriti Singh

NHS, Regional Lead (London), Personal Health Budgets, NHS England

  • Ms Singh showed how personal health budgets could be expanded to give the patient more autonomy (Twitter #NHSPHB)
  • She was joined on-stage by a patient who discussed what difference autonomy can make to a person’s life and those around them

Smriti Singh

Vivienne Lyfar-Cissé PhD

Principal Clinical Biochemist, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust; Chair of the NHS BME (Black, Minority and Ethnic) Network

  • Dr Lyfar-Cissé described that even in the ever-changing NHS, there is a form of discrimination, which she later agreed is a form of medical apartheid) that means BME communities are not being heard or serviced in the same way as white populations. There are major issues both in terms of equalities for healthcare professionals within the NHS, as well as for patients receiving care
  • She showed that many of these problems can be traced to a lack of cultural competency, meaning that there is a lack of understanding of the social and cultural values and norms of affected communities

Dr Vivienne Lyfar-Cissé

Rob Verkerk PhD

Executive and scientific director, ANH-Intl

  • Dr Verkerk showed how pharmaceutical over-use and lack of effectiveness for chronic conditions was contributing to a massive, unnecessary burden on healthcare services worldwide
  • He argued that the financial and chronic disease crises in healthcare, along with a rising awareness of self-care and public disillusionment with the key tenets of the existing medical model mean that a tipping point is likely to be very close
  • Dr Verkerk revealed how a bottom-up and top-down strategy with extensive public support could provide the necessary momentum to reform healthcare systems. Such reform is needed urgently to greatly improve the resolution of underlying chronic diseases, deal better with a rapidly ageing demography and transform healthcare systems into ones that are sustainable

Robert Verkerk PhD, executive & scientific director, Alliance for Natural Health International

Outputs from NuHealth2

In the coming weeks we will be working hard with the think tank experts and selected additional experts to prepare a white paper for international release. Extensive video was recorded of the events, including separate interviews of speakers and attendees at the events, with a view to releasing video material and a documentary in due course.

We will keep you posted on all such releases!

Gallery

Robin Daly, co-organiser and facilitator

Robert Scott Bell, facilitator

Co-organisers and event managers, Adele Wolstenhulme, Michelle Hallworth and Meleni Aldridge, who were also responsible for the ‘food as medicine’ theme behind the day’s lunch and refreshments

After the close (minus Prof Sikora and Mike Ash) (left to right): Dr Rangan Chatterjee, Dr Vijay Murthy, Dr Vivienne Lyfar-Cissé, Ben van Ommen, Smriti Singh, Robin Daly, Robert Scott Bell, Dr Robin Youngson, Robert Verkerk PhD, Ralph Moss PhD

Part of the ‘Twitter-storm’ that occurred before, during and after the event

Robert Scott Bell outlining the content of his show that was broadcast live from the event

 

Our sincere thanks also go to:

We couldn’t have done it without you!

 

ANH-Europe Homepage

 

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