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23 October 2008

Dear Members and Friends of ACNEM,

We hope this e-news finds you well. In this issue:

Warm regards,
Stephen, Michelle and Kathryn

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The ACNEM Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on Thursday 6th November 2008 at 8.30pm at the Holiday Inn, 22 View Avenue, Surfers Paradise, 4217.

The AGM is a place to share with other members, contribute to discussion and direction of the Association, and to vote on special resolutions and nominations for the Board of Management.  We sincerely hope you can join us for the meeting and perhaps also for one of the training courses being held at the same venue between 5-8 November.

Nomination and proxy forms along with a formal notice of AGM are available here.

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Free Public Lecture

To coincide with the coming training event on the Gold Coast, ACNEM proudly presents an evening with Assoc Professor Ray Kearney, a free lecture for doctors and health professionals.

The Health Impacts of Fossil Fuels
This lecture will highlight the growing body of international and Australian scientific evidence of the risks posed to the public by traffic-related air pollution and the reasons why.

Assoc Prof Ray Kearney, OAM, until his retirement in 2006, was Associate Professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at the University of Sydney. He is a frequent keynote speaker at various national and international conferences and meetings, and lectures widely on health promotion and disease prevention.

Download the brochure here for more information

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Wednesday 5th November
7.30pm - 9.30pm

Holiday Inn Surfers Paradise
22 View Avenue
Surfers Paradise
Queensland 4217

Who should attend?
Doctors, health practitioners and interested members of the public.

Registration is essential to reserve your place. Please phone (03) 9597 0363, or send an email to

Primary Course in NEM, STPs on Cancer and Depression/Insomnia

November - Holiday Inn, Surfers Paradise

Our last training event for the year will be held at the Holiday Inn on the Gold Coast, 5 to 8 November.

Last 5 days for early bird - extended to Mon 27 October!

ACNEM is a fully accredited training provider for the 2008-2010 Triennium. All courses earn 40 Category 1 RACGP QA&CPD points. ACRRM points are now also applicable.

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Dr Matt Shelton lecturing
in the Primary Course

Holiday Inn location on
the Gold Coast

Editorial - Vitamin C - Here we go again

Reply to: "Vitamin C may reduce effect of chemotherapy"  Cancer Research. 2008, 68: 8031- 8038

From time to time there is a rush of blood to the head of some well meaning scientists and medical practitioners following more often than not, a limited or even non-physiologically relevant experiment with vitamin C.

This rush of blood inevitably produces a flurry of media reports, usually by people who do not have a total understanding of the chemistry, biochemistry and physiological mechanisms of vitamin C action in the body. This is most unfortunate because it inevitably produces confusion, not only with the general public, but also with many medically educated professionals. The following reply demonstrates the inadequacies of modern day research and its reporting.

Ian Dettman PhD

Summary of "Cancer Research" paper: "Results of the laboratory study by Dr Mark Heaney and colleagues at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center found that pre-treating cells with vitamin C resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in the cytotoxic properties of the anti-cancer drugs doxorubicin, cisplatin, vincristine, methotrexate, and imatinib.  With high doses of vitamin C reducing the efficacy of some of the drugs tested by as much as 70%"

Reply authors: Dr Joachim Fluhrer MBBS, Dr Ian Dettman PhD, Cliff Meakin BSc

Reply: "Vitamin C may assist the action of chemotherapy"

We are surprised that the researchers Heaney et al. have conducted an in vitro study into Vitamin C in combination with cytotoxic drugs using dehydroascorbic acid.  While dehydroascorbic acid is a significant form of the vitamin in vivo, and along with ascorbate is a form found in foods and transported by many cells, it is certainly not the principal form of Vitamin C in vivo.  The principal forms are ascorbate and its immediate oxidation product monodehydroascorbate, a redox pair that is recyclable and responsible for the majority of Vitamin C antioxidant activity in vivo (Buettner, 1993).  Dehydroascorbate is rapidly and actively recycled to ascorbate in vivo, because Vitamin C activity requires the reducing power of ascorbate (Wilson, 2002).  Dehydroascorbate should not at any time be the major form of Vitamin C in the body, it is unstable and rapidly broken down into toxic and non-toxic metabolites - were these measured in this in-vitro study? 

Much work has already been done to understand the dynamics of Vitamin C in cancer cell killing.  While there are several excellent publications in this area, three significant papers have thrown much light on the relationship between Vitamin C and cancer cell death and define the current thrust of research. These papers are published by Casciari et al (2001), Chen et al (2005) and Chen et al (2007).

The findings of these papers are essentially that:

  • Extracellular dehydroascorbate leads to intracellular ascorbate accumulation in the cells tested.
  • Extracellular ascorbate was effective at cell killing and extracellular dehydroascorbate was not effective.
  • Cancer cell killing was not mediated by intracellular ascorbate accumulation.
  • Cancer cell killing was most effective at high extracellular concentrations of ascorbate.

Based on the general direction of recent research, it is not surprising that Heaney et al did not find much effect from adding dehydroascorbate.  Even further, the micromolar extracellular concentrations used were significantly lower than the millimolar ascorbate concentrations found effective by Casciari et al and Chen et al.

In vitro and in vivo literature, including clinical trials and case reports that support the usefulness of Vitamin C in combination with cytotoxic drugs all use ascorbate as the drug tested, not dehydroascorbate.  Clearly Vitamin C has not been tested in trials against all chemotherapy agents for all cancers.  No drug has.  Add to this Vitamin C is a generic and somebody has to pay for the clinical research.  Despite these limitations, there are several clinical cases or studies, or in vitro studies published that show benefit from a combination of Vitamin C (as ascorbate) and various chemotherapy drugs.

We do not agree that the conclusion drawn by Heaney et al is correct, i.e. that Vitamin C antagonizes the cytotoxic effects of antineoplastic drugs.  Dehydroascorbic acid is not a suitable clinical pharmacological form of Vitamin C and it is confusing for it to be named Vitamin C in this context.  It is most definitely NOT the form of Vitamin C that is routinely used in a clinical setting and this study bears little resemblance to the typical use of Vitamin C in research.

Editor's note: This article has been abridged. The full article including references and a list of additional resources, along with an additional reply to "Fatal Vitamin C-associated acute renal failure" Anaesth Intensive Care: 2008, 36: 585 - 588 can be found in the ACNEM Journal which will be mailed to members in November.

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“Decision and intervention are the essence of action;
reflection and conjecture are the essence of thought;
and the art of medicine is the combining
the realms of action and thought in the service of others."

Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine

An evening in support of Mindd Foundation

Genvieve David, Ruth Evatt, Deborra-lee Jackman, Margaret Sixel, Kathryn Ritchie, Anne Southan, Jackie Vidor, Ingrid Vilatta & Valerie Williams invite you to an evening in support of Mindd Foundation and the mission to help every Australian child reach their full potential through effective Integrative Healthcare.

Tuesday November 11, 7-9:30 pm at the Justice & Police Museum, Circular Quay, Sydney.

  • Patterns of Modern Childhood Disease – Dr. Robyn Cosford
  • A Call for  Health & Education to Inform One Another – Kathryn Ritchie

Learn why ADHD, allergies, autism, asthma, learning delay, digestive disorders and much more are at epidemic levels, how they are all interrelated and why experts are predicting that the current generation of children will live shorter lives than their parents.

Most importantly, learn how these trends are reversible within a lifetime and what you can do to help every Australian enjoy good health and longevity.

The evening is designed to inform and motivate EVERYONE into some action.  With this in mind, can you please consider inviting those you know who are in a position to help in some way like school Principals, members of school boards, Corporate leaders and business owners, journalists, Government officials, friends who can help spread the word.

To view or download the e-invitation, please click here.

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Good Medical Practice - AMC Draft Code of Professional Conduct

In preparation for the introduction of national medical registration from July 2010, the Australian Medical Council - on behalf of all state and territory medical boards - is developing a national code of professional conduct for medical practitioners – Good Medical Practice.

The code aims to define clear, nationally consistent standards of practice. It will define the standards of practice that doctors are likely to be held accountable to in the national system after July 2010.

The Draft Code of Professional Conduct: Good Medical Practice, August 2008 is now available for public comment and consultation. All ACNEM doctors should be aware of this draft code and it's implications.

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2009 ACNEM Training Calendar
Please note these dates for your diary. Send an email to or call
(03) 9597 0363 to register your interest.

Please note, in 2009, training courses will be held from Thursday to Sunday instead of Wednesday to Saturday. There will also be two special "Clinical Training Programs" (CTPs), one on Chelation and the other on Injectable Nutrients. These CTPs will be special training programs held in clinical settings, dates to be advised.

March 12-15 Sydney
1. Primary Course in Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (4 days)
2. Infertility & Fertility, Pre-conception & Pregnancy (2 days 12-13 March)
3. Children & Adolescents - Nappies to P Plates (2 days, 14-15 March)

May 7-10 Adelaide
1. Primary Course in Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (4 days)
2. Metabolic Syndrome (2 days, 7-8 May)
3. Andropause & Menopause (2 days, 9-10 May)

September 17-20 Brisbane area
1. Primary Course in Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (4 days)
2. Thyroid & Adrenal (2 days, 17-18 September)
3. Pain Management & Musculoskeletal (2 days, 19-20 September)

November 19-22 Auckland
1. Primary Course in Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (4 days)
2. Metabolic Syndrome STP (2 days, 19-20 November)
3. Andropause & Menopause STP (2 days, 21-22 November)

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Latest News and Research

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“A healthy man is above all a man of this earth and he must therefore only live the life of this earth for the sake of order and completeness. But as soon as he falls ill, as soon as the normal earthly order of his organism is disturbed, the possibility of another world begins to become more apparent and the more ill he is the more closely he comes into touch with the other world.

Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment

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Other coming events

  • Natural Therapies & Natural Health Expo takes place on 30-31 October 2008 at The Camberwell Centre, 340 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Melbourne. Speakers in the Seminar program include Prof Avni Sali and our own CEO, Stephen Penman.

  • Profound Healing - Sustainable Wellbeing. The Gawler Foundation Annual Conference. Saturday & Sunday 15-16 November.

  • GPCE in Melbourne. ACNEM and AIMA will share a stand at the GPCE, 14-16 November 2008, Melbourne Exhibition Centre. We hope to see you there!

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E-news archive
We hope that you will find this e-newsletter to be a valuable and anticipated arrival in your inbox. Please send us content you would like to share with other members and friends of ACNEM, such as links to news items, the latest research, politics, and comic relief.

Previous E-news issues:

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