At 02:43 AM 2/16/2007, you wrote:
>First, let's look at what the study actually found, and then what
>the NYT actually said, which I reproduce below. Interesting, but
>hardly an "answer" to AIDS, in fact a fairly modest effect. But
>these results have been used by the quack and charlatan Matthias
>Rath to peddle vitamins in South Africa as a substitute for
>anti-viral therapy, see the second link I provide.
From the study itself:
"Multivitamins significantly reduced oral and gastrointestinal
manifestations of HIV disease. Other benefits included significant
reductions in reported fatigue, rash, and acute upper respiratory
Not exactly "a fairly modest effect". And if Matthias Rath is
"peddling vitamins in South Africa" at inexpensive costs, more power to him!
>Perhaps it is no suprise that Mitchel linked to the Duesberg HIV
>denial organization in a previous post. Duesberg and his crowd are
>responsible for a lot of AIDS deaths in South Africa, for their role
>in helping to justify the delays in providing effective therapies.
>Mitchel seems a sucker for anything that seems "alternative,"
>without really looking at the evidence or critically evaluating the
>information he posts. Balderdash, indeed. This is the no-brain left;
>add that to the poem, because all of those epithets are well deserved.
>July 1, 2004
>Daily Vitamin Can Thwart AIDS Progress, Study Says
>By DONALD G. MCNEIL JR.
>A simple daily vitamin pill can delay the progress of AIDS in
>H.I.V.-infected women, an eight-year study by Harvard researchers has found.
>Vitamins are by no means a cure or a substitute for antiretroviral
>therapy, the researchers said. But for malnourished women in Africa
>or Asia with little hope of getting better drugs, vitamins are a
>cheap, safe way of giving them extra months of life and a little
>less misery before they die, the study, which is being published
>today in The New England Journal of Medicine, suggested.
>''The study is important for developing countries, especially for
>pregnant and postpartum women, who are a nutritionally vulnerable
>group,'' said Dr. Lynne Mofenson, chief of the pediatric and
>maternal AIDS branch of the National Institute of Child Health and
>Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health.
>Dr. Richard G. Marlink, who helps run treatment programs in six
>African countries as director of the Harvard AIDS Institute and
>scientific adviser to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS
>Foundation, said the study would prompt him to recommend vitamins
>for his patients.
>''This is exciting because it costs literally pennies and can ward
>off the time when you need to begin treatment with expensive and
>toxic drugs,'' he said.
>The study, run by the Harvard School of Public Health and the
>medical school of Muhimbili University in Tanzania, followed 1,078
>women in Dar es Salaam between 1995 and 2003. The women were
>recruited when they were pregnant. They had no access to anti-AIDS
>cocktails, so H.I.V. infection meant a sentence of eventual death
>from tuberculosis, meningitis, pneumonia, Kaposi's sarcoma or other
>About six million people in poor countries are already sick enough
>to need antiretroviral drugs, the World Health Organization
>estimates, and another 25 million or more will need them soon. Only
>about 400,000 are getting them.
>Efforts to increase that number have gone slowly because of high
>drug prices, fights over patents, a lack of money from donors,
>reluctance by African leaders to admit that their nations have
>epidemics and the inability of shattered health care systems to
>muster enough doctors, nurses and laboratories to safely deliver the drugs.
>Vitamins costing less than $15 a year might prolong the lives of
>people waiting for rescue, the study concluded. The supplements do
>not attack the virus, but enhance the body's own immune system,
>allowing it to do so.
>The vitamins were specially made for the study ''but are quite easy
>to mass-produce,'' said its lead author, Wafaie W. Fawzi, a
>professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard. They contained
>about three times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E and 6
>to 10 times the allowance of C and B-complex vitamins.
>The supplements are not the first stopgap therapy proposed for the
>poor. In 2000, the World Health Organization advised that AIDS
>patients who were not on antiretrovirals get regular doses of
>cotrimoxazole, an antibiotic better known as Bactrim. That drug,
>which cost only about $8 a year in generic form, warded off
>secondary infections, which are often fatal. Largely because of the
>cost and the disorganization of African health care systems, that
>recommendation has not been widely adopted.
>The Tanzania study found that 30 percent fewer of the women who
>received the multivitamins died or progressed to full AIDS during
>the study than a group of women receiving a placebo. The counts of
>CD-4 cells, the immune system cells that the virus attacks, stayed
>somewhat higher in the group that took multivitamins. That group
>also had fewer incidents of thrush, throat ulcers, inflamed gums,
>nausea, rashes, fatigue and other debilitating side effects.
>Nonetheless, vitamins were no cure. About a quarter of the women who
>received them still died or reached full AIDS during the study, and
>without antiretroviral treatment, virtually all can be expected to
>die in the next few years.
>The study had to be changed twice in midstream for ethical reasons,
>Dr. Fawzi said.
>Vitamin A was dropped from the supplements because researchers found
>evidence that it increased the risk that mothers would pass the
>infection to their babies.
>Also, when the authors had early evidence that multivitamins
>prevented fetal death and premature births, they put all the women
>in the study on multivitamins until they delivered. After that, the
>mothers went back on their previous regimens, without doctors or
>patients knowing whether they were on a placebo.
>The study confirms what researchers have suspected since the
>epidemic's early days, Dr. Marlink said.
>Many AIDS researchers noticed that vitamin-deficient patients
>sickened faster than well-fed ones, he said, but Americans who were
>malnourished usually had other problems, like drug and alcohol
>abuse, that made it hard to blame poor nutrition for their rapid declines.
>Three years ago, Dr. Andrew Tomkins of the Institute for Child
>Health in London gave multivitamins or placebos to 481
>H.I.V.-infected men and women in Thailand. Although Dr. Tomkins
>followed the patients for less than a year, the group taking
>vitamins had ''significantly'' lower mortality, especially among
>those whose immune systems were weakest, he said.
>Dr. Tomkins called Dr. Fawzi's study ''particularly important''
>because many people are not yet in treatment despite the efforts of
>the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and ''it's going
>to be a long time before everybody is,'' he said.
>The women studied were poor but urban. Their diet was ''not very
>rich, but not suboptimal,'' he said, adding that rural women
>probably ate less well. But those who benefited from vitamins did so
>''regardless of whether they were undernourished or not,'' Dr. Fawzi said.
>On 2/16/07, Mitchel Cohen <<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>A Natural Answer to AIDS?
>On 1 July 2004, a landmark study by Harvard University
>was published in one of the world's leading medical journals,
>the New England Journal of Medicine, summed up
>the same day by the world's most influential and respected
>newspaper, the New York Times: 'The study found that
>daily doses of multivitamins slow down the disease and cut
>the risk of developing AIDS in half.'
>The question is why the people of South Africa have not been told about
>this. For actively promoting natural health approaches to AIDS, the
>South African government has continually been attacked by
>pharmaceutical interest groups and received no support at all from
>the medical establishment. The reason for this lack of support is
>obvious. Non-patentable natural therapies have very low profit
>margins, whereas patented synthetic pharmaceutical AIDS drugs are a
>multi-billion dollar business.
>It is high time that everyone in South Africa, whether affected by
>AIDS or not, knows the facts.
>1. The Harvard study, conducted in Tanzania over a period of eight
>years, involved more than a thousand HIV-positive pregnant women.
>It was a placebo controlled and double blind trial conforming to the
>highest standards. The study showed that inexpensive multivitamin
>treatment is more effective in staving off disease among HIV-positive
>women than any toxic AIDS drug. (NEMJ 2004 Jul 1;351(1):23-32)
>2. More than a decade ago, a study co-authored by two-time Nobel
>Prize winner Linus Pauling, published in another leading scientific
>journal, found that an optimal dose of vitamin C alone can block the
>replication of HIV by 99%. (Proceedings of the National Academy of
>Sciences of the United States of America 1990 Sep;87(18):7245-9)
>3. Every textbook of biochemistry recognises that vitamins and
>other micronutrients are the most decisive factor determining the
>optimum function of the immune system.
>4. Hundreds of studies have found that AZT is profoundly toxic to
>all cells of the human body, and particularly to the blood cells of our
>5. Numerous studies have found that children exposed to AZT in the
>womb suffer brain damage, neurological disorders, paralysis, spasticity,
>mental retardation, epilepsy, other serious diseases and early
>6. Incredibly, two weeks after the publication of the Harvard study,
>the Medicines Control Council proposed new regulations that will
>effectively prevent free access to life-saving vitamin therapy and
>information about it, and recommended that HIV-positive women
>take AZT during their pregnancies.
>Contributing Correspondent, Science
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