Let’s jump off the deep end again with the Breakspear Hospital. Previously, we saw Dr Jean Monro using unproven allergy tests with highly questionable electromagnetic ‘therapies’ to treat food allergies. Recap: the Breakspear have started to suggest they can treat Electrosensitives. They have been accused of using highly unorthodox treatments for a whole range of illnesses.
Next up, a way of ‘treating’ allergies with their neutralising vaccines. I’ll use their own words to describe what this is all about:
The technique employs intradermal skin tests of sequentially lower concentrations of antigens, until a wheal response that does not increase in size is obtained. This concentration of the antigen can then safely be used in regular low-dose desensitisation treatment.
So, basically, inject something that causes irritation at even lower doses until it stops effecting you and then daily inject you until you are cured. Could this possibly work? I guess there is some plausibility in that your body may begin to recognise something you were allergic too as being ‘normal’. But, I wish they had left it there. Unfortunately, Dr Monro wants to share some evidence with us and to speculate on mechanisms. And this is where we descend into Scooby Doo world.
The Breakspear web site has a page that explains how antigen injections work, but it is more of an analogy than an explanation. Something about peacekeeping forces. But, there is a link to what looks like a scientific paper. What fun!
Well, its not clear where this was published or how it was peer reviewed so it may not be a scientific paper after all. It is entitled “Biological Effects of Neutralising Vaccines: the Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields and the Concordance between the Two”. What have weak electromagnetic fields got to do with the price of fish? I am now seriously interested in where this is going.
It starts off with some ‘Method’ and references to previous researchers and describes how patients were injected with ever decreasing concentrations of ‘harmful’ foods. Lots of pretty graphs and I am beginning to get lost. Is it just me? Or is the paper starting to stop making sense? And the spookiness begins…
Obviously the solution had to be thawed before use and at this point serendipity played a part. Because the patients were eager to have their treatment, they began to hold vaccine tubes with frozen material in them. They began to evince symptoms similar to the symptoms they had when the material was injected. This was a puzzling phenomenon and it was thought that perhaps there had been a contaminant on the outside of the vials which were then washed and the patient given the vial to hold again. However, the same symptoms occurred, whether the material was frozen or thawed. It was then thought it was possible that they were reacting to cold, as it is known that cold can induce immunological responses, but the vaccines, when thawed and at room temperature, could have the same effect, even though contained in a vial.
So, let’s get this straight. Without injecting anything – just holding the vials, eager patients were still experiencing the same symptoms as if you had injected them? I am now getting scared…
The glass containers were sent to the National Physical Laboratory with the enquiry as to what could be transmitted through the glass of the vials. The response was that there were frequencies that could penetrate the glass of the vials within the range of radio wave frequencies.
Wow, the National Physical Laboratory told them that radio waves could pass through glass! I could have told them that, otherwise I could not listen to Radio 4 in my conservatory.
Some more experiments were done before Dr Monro comes to the conclusions that, “it was clear that the interactive effect was an electromagnetic one penetrating through meshes but screened by solid metal plates.”. Well, its either that or your experimental conditions are completely cock-a-hoop. But I guess, discovering completely new physics and biology is the much more reasonable explanation. No?
It’s not long before we get deep insights about the world,
Biological systems use the same atoms and molecules as physical systems, and life has evolved in an atmosphere flooded with electromagnetic radiation. Simply described, the earth is an electromagnet with North and South poles.
We live and learn.
I guess you can see where this is going. Ever increasing dilutions, magic explanations – the only answer is homeopathy. Yep – “In view of these observations, it was decided to investigate homoeopathic dilutions and their effects on patients.” Great.
And of course, homeopathic doses and holding vials in your hand all apeared to produce symptoms. And in conclusion? The ‘paper’ notes:
There is an absolute concordance between neutralising vaccines, electromagnetic fields and homoeopathy. Each impinges on recognition systems in the individual which have a final common pathway and can produce identical symptoms or nulify these symptoms. The response of these influences cannot be a cumbersome immunological action as recognised by antibody responses as the responses are very swift. It must therefore lie in the chemical sphere with such delicate mechanisms as the endorphin system or intracellular memory such as cytokines.
So there we have it. Did that make sense? Please leave comments if you can make head or tail of this gobbledegook.
Can you really not be struck off for this sort of insanity, or do you actually have to kill someone first?
Bloody hell. While there are legitimate ways of using desensitisation therapy (Dr Morris describes how desensitisation can be done properly) the procedure for doing this effectively is completely different from the type of thing apparently offered by Breakspear.
Moreover, desensitization is also only suitable for a limited subset of patients, and there are real risks involved (including anaphylactic shock and death – you’re injecting people with something they’re allergic to, after all). Morris therefore advises that “The injections should be given in the presence of a doctor and resuscitation equipment must always be available with adrenaline 1:1000, 0,5ml drawn up ready for injection. At each visit, the patient should be assessed for any intercurrent febrile illnesses, sudden increased exposure to the allergen or any delayed adverse reaction to the last injection. If there has been a problem, the next dose may need to be modified or omitted.”
I’m not sure how Breakspear would put these type of safeguard in place, given the rather crowded schedule of injections that they suggest. However, I really hope that they’ve found a way to do so…
You have clearly researched this subject. My question is : ‘Are you a sufferer of this condition? Have you exhausted all therapies available for this?’
Please let me know as I do not know where else to go, other than the ‘quack’ you describe in Dr. Monro.
The medical profession frowned on us when we chose to take our son to a homeopath, allthough they could not help him…with allergy related illnesses! Please advise me if you have an alternate solution!! I would love to hear!
I have now developed asthma, have to take multiple dosis of anti-histamine,have now developed food allergies, literally overnight! With no explanation from doctors. I have been to naturopaths, specialists… with no success. When I heard about Breakspear on Carteblanche I had a glimmer of hope. You seem to think it is false?
One the messages of this web site (I hope) is that there are many people out there that prey in the gap between what we know about healing and what we wish to be true about healing.
As humans, we have grown to know how to completely cure many illnesses and ease the suffering others. However, that knowledge is not absolute and all encompassing. There are those that promise to fill that gap with unconventional and alluring ‘cures’.
What do we do? Do we throw our money at them in the desperate hope that we have found the answer? Or do we step back for a moment and examine their claims and ask simple questions like ‘how do they know what they are claiming?’
The Breakspear hospital is making many claims but their explanations look rather weak. If they have found real solutions to difficult problems why do we not see greater support and substantial evidence?
I hope you find answers to your problems. My guess is though that the answers will not come from people who sound too good to be true.
The Breakspear Hospital and Dr Jean Munros techniques have shown clear improvements in my girlfriends health after a year of treatment. This has come after a clear decline for 4 years and absolutely no improvement through “conventional medicine” or homopathy. Perhaps, just perhaps the author of this article doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to comprehend the complexity of the techniques used. The treatment works, and believe me it’s not a placebo effect.
At least I have the intellectual capacity to punctuate.
Le Canard Noir,
The remark above has lost the credibility you had, to me.
Le Canard Noir, has clearly nothing constructive to offer here but criticism. There is no first hand experience, just speculation. He has clearly not met any of the numerous people helped by clinics like Breakspear.
I will make a speculation on the person who hides behind the name ‘Le Canard Noir’. There is obviously some kind of underlying reason why he writes with such dismissal. A person who perhaps has health issues and has been let down by numerous professionals. By reading his posts and seeing immature and unintelligent responses to people who challenge his unqualified remarks, it is clear to see he writes motivated by personal disappointment.
In a situation such as this where one is clearly voicing an opinion based on a unqualified background, others should look without prejudice and search for the results. The results in this case is the ever increasing success stories of cured patients that have been given their lives back by the Breakspear Hospital. The only negativity about Breakspear is not from patients but from people who have had no personal involvement with the Hospital.
I wish Le Canard all the best and I hope one day they offer the world something constructive from their part of the world in Toronto.
I don’t believe you have the knowledge, qualifiactions or actual experience of the place to comment on the Breakspear.
I have actually spent some time there recently, and met many people who have been helped by their allergy desensitisation work. There is nothing of the ‘quack’ about the place; it’s all very professional and frequented by many intelligent people, who are fed up with being fobbed off with steroid drugs by their GPs.
I know there are many ‘quacks’ in this world but this place doesn’t house any. To hide in the anonymity
of the internet is one thing, but to trash a place that is helping many thousands of allergy sufferers is quite another.
Steve also made some postive comments but all you can do is retort with a childish quip.
truthwillout – I merely point out that what is being talked about at Breakspear is nonsense. Make of that what you will. The emperor has no clothes.
Another childish quip…you are nowt but a one-trick-pony…
Back up your arguments with real experience of the places you trash and you might get some respect. Indeed I'm sure some of the places deserve your venom.
Whilst I was at the Breakspear I met a Professor no less, who had been all but cured of his long list of food allergies. There is no 'cure' for allergies other than immunisation and in the right hands it has proven results. The Breakspear's approach of finding allergen 'endpoints' that the body will accept seems perfectly sound and is already, after five days, providing much relief for me.
I have also learned of the respect Dr Munro & The Breakspear has amongst other doctors, especially with their allergy immunisation work. For me The Breakspear wasn't a place of last resort or a desperate last flaky attempt; it was a pragmatic and well researched solution to my problem.
I only have experience of The Breakspear's allergy work and can wholeheartedly recommend them. Also I found out after chatting to other patients, they do very good work with lymes desease sufferers as well, providing much relief to the growing problem.
Search the web, everywhere as I have, and this website is the only negative you will find amongst massive positive comment and praise.
Anonymous – I made no childish quip. My article merely notes that the Breakspear explains its treatments with what looks like bizarre pseudoscience.
The Bristol NHS Professional Executive Committee looked into the Breakspear a month or so ago and concluded,
“there is no medical or scientific consensus that the treatments offered by the Breakspear Hospital have a scientifically based rationale or an evidential base of effectiveness”
Despoite your claim, I am not the only person wondering if these treatments are effective. You may also note in my other articles further references that shed doubt on the claims made.
In general, if an unconventional therapist diagnoses you (with, say, multiple food allergies), then offers you a ‘cure’, and then pronounces you better, you would be wise to dig a little deeper.
Reference to the NHS report…
Reference to the University of Birmingham Aggresive Research Intelligence Facility
As you will read, Birmingham states that “Assessing the effectiveness of the Breakspear Hospital and its treatments is problematic.”
Thankyou for responding in a proper manner.
The first report you link to centres on MCS and not on simple Allergy desensitisation.
“….Although there are RCTs on simpler conditions like asthma, eczema and hay ever”
In my opinion The Breakspear’s main expertise is indeed in the area of Allergy desensitisation, and they have much evidence of success. I have met patients who have stopped using strong medication after treatment there.
The area of MCS is extremely complex (much more so than normal everyday allergies) and to some degree I am sure clinics like The Breakspear ‘run the gauntlet’ being at the forefront.
“MCS is a disabling, complex, poorly understood and controversial condition”
Sometimes that can be a lonely place to be, because until there are tangeable results they are [possibly quite rightly] open to critism.
However, I reiterate; the Breakspear in my recent experience offers real answers and real results for people with conventional allergies. Their ‘end point’ desensitisation treatment works and I have met many people on my visits who would testiment to that. I cannot speak for their other treatments because [like you] I have no first hand experience of them.
Perhaps I could put my concerns in a different way. Let us imagine another clinic called the Breaksword clinic. In this fictitious clinic they offer dubious diagnostic tests to tell people they have allergies and other ‘alternative’ diagnoses. The people that come to them have chronic illnesses that may well have a large psychosomatic component. The patients are at first relieved that someone is ‘taking them seriously’. Their GP was unable to provide quick answers to their complex problems. Suddenly someone ‘caring’ at Breaksword is giving them answers – for a fee.
And so the treatments begin. Lots of vitamins and minerals, injections to ‘desensitise’ them, special ‘new’ electro-therapies, lots of sciency sounding words, white coats, and a soothing break away from home. All for more money of course.
And maybe, life changes for this patient. Chronic illnesses do wax and wane. Maybe work is less stressful and maybe even the ‘diagnosis’ has given a psychological boost that allows them to tackle life with new vigour.
A cure! Fantastic.Better come back soon for some follow up – for a fee. Maybe in a year, there is a relapse. Maybe come back and we can boost your desensitising treatments – for a fee.
So, how do we tell the difference between the Breaksword and Breakspear clinics? And, I would say that it is quite hard. Breakspear may well be genuine. But there is no compelling evidence to suggest their treatments work. They use gobbledegook explanations for dubious looking treatments and treat illnesses they may not even exist – like electrosensitivity.
So, don’t you think it is a perfectly sensible course of action to question what is going on? To ask for the evidence? To query their weird explanations for stuff? I hope you can see my position.
There is nothing wrong with exposing frauds and cheats and quacks; it’s a good service to provide. And you make some valid points for the emotionally vulnerbale.
But you must listen when things aren’t quite so cynical and when there is something positive happening.
I was extremely sceptical before I went to The Breakspear, I didn’t know what I would find there. However, I was genuinely impressed.
I repeat that I cannot comment on some of their more
‘complimentary’/’experimental’ [or wackier!] treatments, and perhaps they would be better to concentrate on allergy desensitisation and leave the others treatments alone. But then someone has to push the boundaries don’t they?
The use of vaccines isn’t ‘quack medicine’ and The Breakspear’s methods are all fully regulated. The use of ‘end points’ creates a safe structure for the treatment.
Some of their funding is NHS and some patients I spoke to had testing covered by the NHS via their GPs.
I do feel however that The Breakspear could correlate some of their results and use real patients to further their reputation. Only then will people really listen and take note. So many success stories in life are lost beacuse once people are well they see no need to shout it from the roof tops, but I will continue to praise where I see fit.
I will update this forum now and then to let you know my progress, but as for now I am off steroid inhalers for the first time in years with no coughing, no red eyes, rashes or wheezing. All within a few days of starting my
treatment. Nothing else has ever achieved this. Thankyou Breakspear!
This may well be a “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy or the placebo effect (which can be surprisingly strong!) that Andy described earlier.
Testimonies are nice, but inherently biased. What Breakspear needs to do is to present proper numbers to prove they are better than placebo. As Andy said, it may well be that their methods work – but their explanations are dodgy and they don’t share unbiased success rates.
Agree totally with the last comment
My boyfriend has been spared a lifetime of steroid treatment from his GP by following The Breakspear’s allergy testing and desensitisation regime. This is their main area of expertise and they are one of the leading hospitals in Europe. They lead others follow it would appear.
In my opinion The Breakspear should be removed from this list.
“spared a lifetime of steroid treatment”
How do you know? Is he dead now?
Sorry, that was mean – but my point is: Please refrain from extrapolating from personal experience. It is a very human thing to attribute success to the most recent intentional ritual or treatment, but that does not prove that the treatment genuinely works.
It is very nice to hear that your boyfriend is better now, and I am crossing my fingers that he will stay so. But please keep in mind that it is rather difficult to find out with certainty that it was the treatment at Breakspear that made it happen, and not some other coincidental thing, the placebo effect of both of your expectations or even pure chance.
Breakspear saved my life by diagnosing allergies and Lyme disease. I have now been able to return to full-time work, thanks only to the desensitisation vaccines and the diagnosis of Lyme disease after 3 years of banging my head against the wall with the NHS. Sadly the 3 year time delay has caused me enormous problems in treating the Lyme disease, but thank goodness I found Breakspear otherwise I would still be chronically ill and undiagnosed. Without the vaccines, I wouldn’t be able to eat a normal diet, nor work in the presence of others (wearing perfume etc).
My only issue is that this treatment should be available on the NHS, as those who can’t afford to go to Breakspear are left up the creek without a paddle.
I also suffer from hyperallergies and am at risk of anaphylatic shock, but Breakspear is the ONLY place I would trust with my health in this regard due to their superior expertise in allergies and their desensitisation methods. The homeopathic dilutions are the safest way to desensitise hyperallergies, unlike NHS methods which do carry considerable risk.
It is irrelevant what others think of Breakspear who do not need their help, but I would hate for anyone to suffer needlessly who needs their help because of negative articles like these. Breakspear’s methods work, and can help those suffering with allergies of any kind. People travel from all over the world to Breakspear because they know too that the hospital is world-class and offers ground-breaking expertise that isn’t available elsewhere.
The road is bumpy for the seriously allergic, but without Breakspear it would be a tunnel without a light.
It is nice to see a regular stream of pro-Breakspear comments now. Completely unverifiable anonymous comments. How can I be sure it is not the Breakspear hospital posting these? Anyone like to provide some better evidence? verifiable?
I have been a patient of The Breakspear. I wish to remain anonymous – not because I am employed by them (!) or because I want to criticise or over-praise. It's just a better way of getting over one's experience without effecting any future relationships….
I suffer from quite a few allergies, nothing life threatening but all the usual annoying ones, like hay fever, dust allergy and some food allergies like mild nut and milk.
I had a long consulation with the doctor follwed by a session of skin prick allergy tests. When I arrived for the tests everything seemed alittle disorganised, nobody really told me where I should go and who I would be seeing. In fact all these tests are conducted along side many other people in a long row of special chairs so privacy isn't too high on the agenda! Anyway, after familiarisation everything improved and the nurses were very attentive. I then procedded with several days of testing; & some poor people were spending weeks there just in testing!
After analysing my allergy test results, a 'cocktail' of desensitising agents was prepared all ready for my departure. After a few days I started to notice improvements and required less medication especially for asthma. I think this form of desensitisation seems more successful with airborn allergens rather than food or animal – that's my experience anyway.
On to the no so good bit!
What nobody tells you is that no matter what success you may have allergy shots are not a real 'cure' as you have to thaw out the cocktail every day and inject yourself every day, not for a few weeks or a few months but for YEARS, or even FOREVER! When I summised this was the case I was shattered an it was because of this that I ceased my treatment after just two months. Within just a week my symptoms were back, perhaps not as bad as before but I just couldn't bear the thought of injecting myself an dthe ritual of thawing out test tubes every day for the rest of my life.
So basically, unless your allergies are extremely severe I cannot recommend The Breakspear, sadly it's just not for run of the mill alleries, it's just not worth the hassle. I have reverted to avoidence of the allergens as the best way to keep symptoms at bay.
I do think the clinic should warn patients before they enter into a contract that it could be forever – that's an awful long time.
In spite of my more negative comments I would like to stress that they are a dedicated team and that they do clearly help many people. But they need to tighten up their act somewhat.
Oooh, that is interesting. Are Breakspear really telling people they need to keep up treatments for life?
It is another warning bell that quackery is at work if the treatments requires constant ‘top ups’ even if the symptoms and illness have gone. Chiropractors are big on this.
This is not true!
I am also a breakspear patient. I am staying anonymous too, what difference does putting a name make really – if I was staff I could just as easily make one up! I very much doubt the staff would bother to come onto this website. They know what they do works, they don’t need to try to justify it to anyone. They’re fully booked at Breakspear every day, and the patients’ success stories speak for themselves… I however am concerned for those reading this and being put off from going to Breakspear, when it can offer the solution that they are looking for… My reason for staying anonymous is I will be explaining things, in my layman’s terms, the way I understand things. If any of the staff read this and I had got any tiny details wrong, I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself! But anyway, I digress!
The cocktails are not forever. Let me add to the previous ‘anon’s exlanation as it seems that you are possibly a little misinformed!
With each item you are tested for, you get an ‘end point’ as described. This is how it works. Let’s say, for example, you are testing for apple. So first of all, you would be given a 0.01ml dose of ‘apple’ injected under the skin, as a number ‘3’. Each item starts at a number 3 (for some reason!) – 3 is the highest concentrate. So if you then react to the ‘3’ of apple, after ten minutes, you will move onto number 4. Unless you have had a severe reaction to the number 3, e.g. a severe headache, as well as the skin’s reaction – in which case the attentive nurses will rush to you and go up early to the next dose. And so, if you are a ‘normal’, healthy person, you will not react to anything; you will be a ‘3’ for everything as your body will not see the point as an invasion.
This is how you end up with an ‘end point’ for each item. once you have 25 items, this is made into your cocktail, which is what you inject every day. Doing so, takes the pressure off your body as such, because it means that when you eat these foods the body is not expending energy on ‘reacting’ – this is how the Breakspear is so successful in treating ME patients, as what you are doing is stopping the body from having to expend so much energy as it does every time you are eating a certain food, or coming into contact with a certain chemical, etc. It also obviously stops allergic reactions, in those people who have them.
After 3 months of injecting, you have a follow up, where you are re-tested. The numbers will have all gone down, giving you scientific proof that it is working, as now the body can tolerate higher concentrations. You go home with your new cocktail of the new endpoints.
When you become one of the success stories of Breakspear, you’ll be feeling full of lots more energy and your endpoints will have all dropped down to 3s and 4s. At this point, your body is no longer overwhelmed, and you can handle substances as a ‘normal’ person should. You can choose to carry on ‘supporting’ the body by continuing to inject the endpoints of 3s and 4s, to ensure they don’t go up. But it is unneccessary and a matter of personal choice.
The fact is that Breakspear works. Not only this but their diagnostic expertise is second to none. If you know you are unwell but are constantly told by conventional medicine that there is nothing wrong with you, you’ve had a few blood tests but they’ve all come back negative and the doctors just want to throw drugs at you, or tell you it’s in your head and try to put you on antidepressants, get yourself to Breakspear. Get off this website and listen instead to the stories of anyone who’s been to Breakspear – I’ve never yet met anyone who has had their recommended treatment and regretted it.
The ONLY bad thing about Breakspear is that it is so expensive. I do believe that it should be available on the NHS. But having said that, they would need to expand, they’re always full as it is. There is one about to open in Melbourne actually, so this is a positive step forward!
Allergies are not necessarily “for ever”. They come and go.
“Unless you have had a severe reaction to the number 3, e.g. a severe headache, as well as the skin’s reaction – in which case the attentive nurses will rush to you and go up early to the next dose.”
If you react to something, they’ll inject you with more of it in a hurry? Did I read that right?
“The ONLY bad thing about Breakspear is that it is so expensive”? Hmm that’s one of the red flags that says “quackery” in my experience. Not always, but often. Far too often.
Trouble is, the symptoms never do really ‘go’, they are just suppressed whilst the desensitising agent is continually injected. For some people with extremely serious allergies that may just be ok, and a darn sight better than severe allergies 24/7.
But what bugged me was the fact that nobody actually told me that I would be injecting every day, FOREVER, and it’s not mentioned in any of the literarture. Maybe it is their achilles heel in some ways? Also, travel is a nightmare, having to carry frozen test tubes onto a flight isn’t easy!
Other desensitising reegimes work differently in that they seem to ‘challenge’ the immune system more by introducing alittle more allergen with evry jab. And it’s those regimes that seem to allow the patient to come off the shots after just a few months. Don’t know what success rates they have but it seemed a better approach.
Someone I know when to this clinic for allergy treatment and got thrush from the candida part of her mould allergy cocktail. They may be on the right track in some ways with desensitisation but there is obviously a long way to go before it’s perfected.
It is amazing how such a tiny introduction of a substance can affect the body both for good and unfortunately for bad….
I have decided that comments to this post should address the points raised in the post directly. Any comments that are simply unverifiable anecdotes will go, I am afraid. This is not stifling debate – it is focussing it on the issues raised, and not allowing this thread to become a string of unsubstantiated adverts.
Le Canard Noir,
In order to ascertain the legitimacy of any subject you need to approach it from as dispassionate and objective a point of view as possible. However, from the outset of your article your tone is one of derision. I read your piece eagerly because I was interested in an impartial opinion of Breakspear. I did not find it here.
If your object was to debunk an institution that purports to practice serious medicine, how can we take your argument seriously when you yourself fail to practice the basics of serious debate? Journalism (online or otherwise), like any writing, is never fully impartial but if you take on a very serious topic and expect to be taken seriously you must strive to leave personal agendas from clouding the argument.
Unfortunately, your tone and style (uses of terms as “Scooby Doo world” “what fun!” and your quip about Radio 4) beg the question of whether you are trying to entertain or explore truth?
Assuming you are trying to do both, it is – like ‘quack’ medicine – dangerous territory. You leave yourself open to being disregarded in terms of serious debate.
In this regard, you reveal yourself further in terms of your dealing with people’s responses to your article.
It becomes clear that your concern is to defend your position not engage in debate. You deride people’s responses or remove them altogether. In this manner I’m afraid you risk becoming what you profess to despise: a closed off set of ideas which defends itself irrespective of peer review.
Again, it is your tone and attitude that is revealing: criticising someone’s intelligence with regard to their punctuation and using terms like ‘oooh isn’t that interesting’ – is this serious debate? Is this the best way to help people evaluate something as important as the choices they make on their healthcare?
How can you expect us to doubt the seriousness of an institution if the person calling it into question fails to hold a serious and open debate?
If I could defend myself against the charge of not taking the subject seriously then I would say that it was the Breakspear that started it. It is difficult to debate sensibly with nonsense.
I have some experience of The Breakspear and briefly I feel qualified enough to comment.
They are passionate about what they are doing and they have great knowledge. However that isn’t enough because they build up people’s hopes too much and don’t disclose fully the facts before you are signed up… i.e. as previously mentioned you have to take thses shots everyday for possibly the rest of your life…this isn’t just a miracle course for a few months.
Also The Breakspear use ‘large desensitising cocktails’ of allergens, and there is some debate worldwide as to the effectiveness of so mnay items in one shot. In some respects whilst at The Breakspear you might be a guinea pig, an expensive one!
Essentially desensitisation IS the future but the science is far from perfected.
They may be passionate about what they are doing, but that doesn’t make it right. If I’m passionate about studying Star Trek physics, that will still not make it work in the real world.
“Desensitisation is the future but the science is far from perfected.” – Totally agree with you there. And it would be a big step forward if Breakspear could provide some actual science and not pseudoscientific, unproven mumbo-jumbo.
It’s a shame, actually.
The term ‘guinea pig’ came to my mind some time ago when I thought back on my experiences at the Nightingale hospital which was used before the Breakspear for this allergy tratment.
Seems to me that this little duck has an axe to grind for some reason. What does it matter to him if people want to spend their money getting well by alternative methods if they have found the nhs wanting? He/she/it seems neither objective nor particularly well informed. On the plus side, it gave us all a good laugh. So thanks for that.
Rrright, why would one engage Andy’s criticism when it is much easier to insinuate some evil personal motives instead?
Hint: This is not how science works. Science is about evidence. Breakspear doesn’t seem to have it, so they are telling beautiful, nonsensical stories in order to impress their customers. And that is dishonest.
I think if someone bothers to ask them, the breakspear will provide some independantly executed data to show the statistical significant improvement of their patients using low dose immunotherapy. Also, there is a long history of fully and carefullly conducted clinical trials, and many reviews of those trials, dating back to the 1970's about this technique, which is used all over the world, not just by the breakspear clinic.
As for your quack website, I hope that it can really expose those charletons, who misdiagnose people either with complementary therapies (I would suggest its worth investigating 'the lightening process' for ex) or with traditional medicine. But of course, that's not what this website is for. I fall between both camps, since I abhore blind studipity as practiced in traditional medicine, which fails many people with chronic illness, and also that which is 'predetary' from the complementary side too. I think your attack on the breakspear is illogical and not well thought out, since you have not bothered to do any useful research. Strange considering that you seem so set on 'evidence-based' medicine. I think this particular clinic as more important things to do, such as treating patients rejected and neglected by medicine, and keeping abreast of new medical knowledge. No one has died from the use of this technique in the UK. That's because its done with all appropriate safeguards and tests etc in place.
“I think if someone bothers to ask them,” If you read the article again, you will see that the NHS did. And Breakspear failed to provide the data.
Well if the hospital does have some data then they should publish it in a peer reviewed journal.
I find it odd that you attack me for being illogical since what I do above is simple point out that nonsense is being spoken. Its gobbledygook – and obvious gobbledygook.
The NHS offers no treatment for a lot of the illnesses dealt with by the breakspear. Your childish reply's just show's you to be an idiot, these people, whilst getting paid hansom offer people hope. What do you offer? Don't tell me my grammar's poor!
I won't tell you your grammar is poor. But I will tell you your thinking is poor. If the NHS does not offer these treatment for some illnesses is it because a) the NHS are too tight or b) the treatments are worthless? I have argued the latter and you have failed to address that.
I have read all your comments with interest as I have recently had my first visit to Breakspear.
So far the results of my blood tests correlate with symptoms I have been experiencing for years and indeed other blood test results I have already had in Ireland.
I did not bring any of my previous medical records with me as I didn’t want my GP to know I was getting a second opinion. This also prevented any bias in the tests I would undergo in Breakspear.
The Lab that carried out the tests for Breakspear (in my case anyway) was Acumen, with Dr John McLaren Howard as its director. The significance being that he developed the Mitochondrial Function Profile test that was developed at Biolab. To date the pathology test results seem above board to me and to family members who have microbiology qualifications.
It is expensive to attend Breakspear hospital and therefore a Patient Liason Officer discusses the cost of tests and treatments before you go ahead. However it is not anymore expensive (in my humble opinion) than other clinics, it’s just that the NHS only pays for it in certain instances (it has to be pre-approved from what I gather).
I used to live in the UK, and I really miss having the NHS. Now I spend on average €180 for a 10-20 minute appointment with a consultant.
So for me, the charges for a consultation in Breakspear are fairly standard if not better value than here (e.g.£120 consultation -lasts an hour), then again I do live in the “Rip-Off Republic” !
I have been treated at the Breakspear for the last year. Prior to this I had been blue lighted to A & E several times due to severe allergic reactions. My husband would go to work and constantly expected to be summoned home to care for our son whilst I was being carted off to hospital. My allergies were ruining our life. The desensitisation therapy that I have received at the Breakspear has turned my life around; I am now able to work, socialise and take exercise.
My husband and I both have a background as healthcare professionals and are horrified at the comments that dismiss the treatment given at the Breakspear as quackery – the Breakspear has succeeded for us where our local Foundation NHS Trust and PCT have failed. I would suggest that anyone who has not been treated at the Breakspear is not really licensed to comment.
I have to agree with the reply posted above.
This will seem cheeky, but as I can’t comment directly I will comment about somebody I know very well. She suffers from multiple allergies, and goes to the Breakspear for treatment.
I will say firstly: That I have seen her when taking the vaccines and I have seen her when she could not afford them. She definitely needs to continue taking them. They have helped her.
I think secondly, that whilst I appreciate that personal anecdotes don’t constitute proof – there is a clear distinction between asking for proof, and simply pouring scorn onto every comment that doesn’t support your claim that the Breakspear uses ‘quackery’ as you put it.
Surely it would be more productive to contact the Breakspear and arrange for a direct response to your concerns? You indicate a bias in your commentary.
I have no need to do so – anaphalaxia is NOT usually seen as a psychosomatic reaction! So whilst my friend is well and alive I will base my remarks on my observations. I may even try them myself.
Play with a baby using a ball and said baby will recognise the ball exists. But hide the ball under a blanket and it vanishes – to baby it has literally disappeared, out of sight out of mind.
As the baby’s brain grows he/she reaches a higher level of development, until finally he/she recognises that the ball has not disappeared, it is in fact under the blanket. A little extra maturity has shown the reality.
Please do not trash things that you have no knowledge or experience of, sadly all you do is show your own present ignorance.
This is a bit late, but thanks for the well-written article. I’ve just been reading the “paper” you linked to…a bit of fun on a boring afternoon =P
As a patient of the breakspear labelling dr munro as a quack is ignorant and misguided. She is a brilliant, and highly qualified doctor, who set up the allergy clinic in the 80’s so the treatment is far from in its infancy. The desenitization therapy is part of a number of treatments that they use at the breakspear. They treat people with complex immune disorders, allergys, and environmental illnesses.
These people have often been let down by the NHS, and left to live limited lives and often get progressivley worse. The vaccines have helped me personally and countless others in my situation. Just because you cant find a scientific causal realationship, doesnt mean it doesnt work. Science works on testing hunches through hypothesis, which is why so many scientific discoveries are actually happy accidents. Why some people show zealous faith in this process to the extent that they discount the vast number of people saying it has helped them I have no idea. After all before MRI scans people with MS were ‘crazy’, and at one time the world was considered to be round. If history shows us anything its that science gets its consistently wrong.
thats flat, not round –
If science gets so much stuff wrong, what method do you propose to ‘get things right’? Your own interpretation of your experiences?
Although I have briefly skimmed through the responses on here, I can only assume, as another suggests, that the writer of the “article” denigrating the achievements of Breakspear, & particularly those of Dr Munro, may have unfortunately suffered little success from medical professionals in the past. This, presumably, has led him to feel justified in this action. As the parent of someone who has suffered from CFS/ME for over 10 years with a great deal of support but few solutions from conventional medical professionals, I am delighted to note that, in a very short space of time, we have begun to see improvements in his health following the very actions Le Canard Noir is maligning. As others have stated, there is a possibility that he may require these antigens “for life”, but having actually lost any normality from the age of 10, we feel this may be a small price to pay!!!
I would like to contact anyone on this site who has benefited from Breakspear please??? I have daughter v ill now for 30 months and am considering this clinic. Any help advice /input etc would be greatly appreciated. thanking you in advance tara
This is a clinic that charges a lot of money to administer questionable therapies.
I can only suggest you discuss in detail with your GP any private approach you consider taking before handing over any money.
I wish you and your daughter well.
I have Crohns disease and would like to know has anyone with my illness had any sucess with treatments at Breakspear?
Le Canard Noir, let me start by saying that I greatly appreaciate your website, for the most part I find it amusing and informative. I’m replying here because I have also been a patient at the infamous Breakspear for the past 4 years (on the immunotherapy/desensitisation treatment that everyone here is talking about). I have to say that I feel very torn about the continuation of the treatment. I agree with you that many of their claims and treatments sound dubious (particularly the claim about the substance from the vials affecting the patients who were holding them – I’d not come accross this paper and it sounds very bizzare and nonsensical). However, everytime I’ve stopped the treatment (mainly because I have doubts about it) within a month or two my symptoms return : crippling muscle and joint paint and extreme fatigue. In fact the pain has been so bad today that out of desperation I’ve made an appointment to get a new batch of vaccines. What concerns me is that, if they indeed do work, I may have to take them for years (intially they did not make it clear to me that this might be the case). For the record, I don’t believe in homeopathy (I think it’s a load of hogwash) or most other “alternative” therapies for that matter. But I’ve seen so many doctors in a search for relief from my condition, and have met my fair share of genuine quacks (practitioners with the most bizzare theories, bordering on the delusional). The Breakspear also diagnosed me with “leaky gut”, which appears to be another disputed condition, though it does make some sense. When I started the treatment, I had IgE values of over 2000 (this is an index that denotes an strong immune reaction), and two years later this came down to almost normal levels (which my conventional allergy specialist thought was not possible). Now, of course, I can’t say for sure that this was due to the immnotherapy, the levels might have come down anyway. I once asked the doctor at the Breakspear why there are no conclusive studies (double-blind controlled trials) of their treatment, and she said that it was too expensive for them to undertake on their own and there’s not enough research funding for these treatments that are considered experimental (at best). Given the number of positive stories I’ve heard from those who have been treated there I think the NHS should at least fund some proper research or investigation of their methods. So, Le Canard Noir, I don’t blame you for dimissing the whole enterpise as quackery, I would have done so myself had I not experienced it. Like you said, the immunotherapy/desensitisation part sounds plausible, but the electro-magnetic stuff sound bonkers. I’m keeping an open mind about it, but like I said, I’m going back to them next week 🙂
Whoops, sorry about the formatting – it got lost when I reposted the comment… Hope it’s still readable.
As le canard noir is so vitriolic about the brakespear, I imagine he must have a medical or pharmaceutical background. Could he therefore be more constructive and give helpful advice as to what HE would do if he was a busy parent and constantly drained of energy and having to rest all the time.
Could he be honest and accept that patients who go to the brakespear have no alternative and are desperate and could he please stop being so clever and just give practical advice. And forget Doctors and Consultants, who have nothung to offer and very little sympathy.
From a hopeful patient.
I am a busy parent. I too get tired.
Whatever it is that will fill you with more energy, or allow you to better cope, it will not be pseudoscientific nonsense masquerading as real medicine.
Just because mainstream medicine may appear not to be able to help you, it does not mean that alternative medicine can. People may make bold claims, but we do not have to be mindless in accepting them.
Jane, it is a sad truth that we have no right to have all our medical problems fixed and medicine does not have all the answers. We must be smart enough to realise that there will always be people willing to exploit the desperate for money and do our best not to make ourselves easy targets for crooks, frauds, bullshitters and the deluded.
“medicine does not have all the answers.”
Careful BSM… Or you won’t get your Big Pharma shilling cheque this month.