Guest Editorial

Two virus newsmakers, Ebola in 2014 and measles in 2015, both appear to be on the wane. Ebola is notably having a drop in its fatality rate, and there is no apparent explanation. Physicians who work for the international medical group Doctors Without Borders have observed that a higher percentage of treated patients are surviving Ebola – 50% instead of a 40% survival seen in 2014. Although there is a greater organization administering hydration and other noncurative measures, workers do not believe that this explains the improved survival. Another explanation is that Ebola has evolved or mutated, making it a less fatal infection, but genomic sequencing has not substantiated this theory. Nevertheless, the reduced fatality rate is welcome news for Ebola workers who have been struggling to contain the infection in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

On the home front, the incidence of measles appears not to be explosively increasing, a major worry of US authorities. The question of measles vaccination remains a chief concern both medically and politically. Public health strategy is heavily supporting new legislation mandating greater vaccination compliance and less opportunity for opting out. However, many libertarian-minded individuals as well as natural-health advocates object vehemently to mandatory vaccination programs. The social media are replete with reports testifying to the ineffectiveness of vaccination and concern about its medical risks and complications. Legislative efforts in California, Oregon and Washington state all failed to increase mandatory vaccination rules.

Of particular concern to the readership of the Townsend Letter is the difficulty in being “open-minded” in this discussion; most parties are either all for or all against vaccination. Naturopathic physicians and integrative doctors should not be pigeonholed into making this an all-or-none position.

An Editorial Commentary for OIRF Supporters
Reprinted in THE BRIDGE Newsletter of OIRF
Published July 2015

Jonathan Collin, MD,
Editor in Chief
The Townsend Letter
© Copyright Issue #382, May 2015

About the author

Washington offer the ambience of the old-time country doc, emphasizing nutritional and functional medicine alternatives to manage chronic health conditions. Dr. Collin’s scheduling assures the patient the time to fully discuss their concerns, carefully balancing natural approaches with conventional medical care. His assessment focuses on the patient’s functional status including nutrient and hormone adequacy as well as toxic chemical burden. At the same time, Dr. Collin recognizes evidence-based treatment and imaging studies are essential to managing chronic illness. Finding that balance between conventional care and alternative medicine is Dr. Collin’s primary concern.

“The question I am always asked is how do you practice medicine and put out a magazine? I started the Townsend Letter as a hobby, a newsletter. Back in 1983, it was a bulletin board for doctors to share their pet therapies and mad-scientist ideas. When I realized that a publishing hobby could become quite an expense, I made the decision to make the letter into a magazine. Well, here it is 300 issues later, and the Townsend Letter is a fixture in the alternative medicine/naturopathic medical community. While our circulation holds to around 10,000, we have had well over 100,000 health professionals read our publication over the past 25 years.

My biggest shortcoming has been that the time to see patients, publish a magazine, and walk our Westie terrier, Bella, has meant less time for my wife and family, whom I thank for bearing with my workaholic ways.”

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