Tomato effect

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The tomato effect occurs when effective therapies for a condition are rejected, usually because they do not make sense in the context of the current understanding or theory of the disease in question. [1] The name refers to the fact that tomatoes were rejected as a food source by most North Americans until the end of the 19th century, because the prevailing belief at the time was that they were poisonous. [2] [3]

A parallel concern is Medical reversal . But, instead of changing theory producing a different result, it is new clinical trials or understanding of a disease. [4]


Tomatoes were becoming a staple food in Europe by 1560s, they were shunned in North America since they were considered poisonous until the 1820s. [2] Similarly, willow tree bark extract was ignored to provide relief of pain and fever, and it was not until the late 1800s with the commercial production of salicylate (also known as Aspirin) that this treatment was prescribed to patients. [2]

In 1753, it was established that scurvy can be treated with lemon juice. [5] Despite this knowledge, it was considered an imbalance of the humors until the mid 1800s. [6]

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Alternative medicine is any practice that aims to achieve the healing effects of medicine, but which lacks biological plausibility and is untested, untestable or proven ineffective. Complementary medicine (CM), complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integrated medicine or integrative medicine (IM), and holistic medicine are among many rebrandings of the same phenomenon. Alternative therapies share in common that they reside outside medical science, and rely on pseudoscience. Traditional practices become "alternative" when used outside their original settings without proper scientific explanation and evidence. Frequently used derogatory terms for the alternative are new-age or pseudo, with little distinction from quackery.

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is "the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients." The aim of EBM is to integrate the experience of the clinician, the values of the patient, and the best available scientific information to guide decision-making about clinical management. The term was originally used to describe an approach to teaching the practice of medicine and improving decisions by individual physicians about individual patients.

James Lind Scottish physician

James Lind was a Scottish doctor. He was a pioneer of naval hygiene in the Royal Navy. By conducting one of the first ever clinical trials, he developed the theory that citrus fruits cured scurvy.

Scurvy Human disease

Scurvy is a disease resulting from a lack of vitamin C. Early symptoms of deficiency include weakness, feeling tired and sore arms and legs. Without treatment, decreased red blood cells, gum disease, changes to hair, and bleeding from the skin may occur. As scurvy worsens there can be poor wound healing, personality changes, and finally death from infection or bleeding.

Vitamin C Nutrient in citrus fruits and other food

Vitamin C is a vitamin found in various foods and sold as a dietary supplement. It is used to prevent and treat scurvy. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters. It is required for the functioning of several enzymes and is important for immune system function. It also functions as an antioxidant.

Vitamin Nutrients required by organisms in small amounts

A vitamin is an organic molecule (or a set of molecules closely related chemically, i.e. vitamers) that is an essential micronutrient which an organism needs in small quantities for the proper functioning of its metabolism. Essential nutrients cannot be synthesized in the organism, either at all or not in sufficient quantities, and therefore must be obtained through the diet. Vitamin C can be synthesized by some species but not by others; it is not a vitamin in the first instance but is in the second. The term vitamin does not include the three other groups of essential nutrients: minerals, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids. Most vitamins are not single molecules, but groups of related molecules called vitamers. For example, there are eight vitamers of vitamin E: four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Some sources list fourteen vitamins, by including choline, but major health organizations list thirteen: vitamin A (as all-trans-retinol, all-trans-retinyl-esters, as well as all-trans-beta-carotene and other provitamin A carotenoids), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate), vitamin B12 (cobalamins), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin D (calciferols), vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols), and vitamin K (phylloquinone and menaquinones).

Orthomolecular medicine is a form of alternative medicine that aims to maintain human health through nutritional supplementation. The concept builds on the idea of an optimal nutritional environment in the body and suggests that diseases reflect deficiencies in this environment. Treatment for disease, according to this view, involves attempts to correct "imbalances or deficiencies based on individual biochemistry" by use of substances such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, trace elements and fatty acids. The notions behind orthomolecular medicine are not supported by sound medical evidence, and the therapy is not effective; even the validity of calling the orthomolecular approach a form of medicine has been questioned since the 1970s.

Gilbert Blane

Sir Gilbert Blane of Blanefield, 1st Baronet FRSE FRS MRCP was a Scottish physician who instituted health reform in the Royal Navy. He saw action against both the French and Spanish fleets, and later served as a Commissioner on the Sick and Wounded Board of the Admiralty.


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Medical research Wide array of research

Medical research, also known as experimental medicine, encompasses a wide array of research, extending from "basic research", – involving fundamental scientific principles that may apply to a preclinical understanding – to clinical research, which involves studies of people who may be subjects in clinical trials. Within this spectrum is applied research, or translational research, conducted to expand knowledge in the field of medicine.


Iatrochemistry is a branch of both chemistry and medicine. Having its roots in alchemy, iatrochemistry seeks to provide chemical solutions to diseases and medical ailments.

Microalbuminuria is a term to describe a moderate increase in the level of urine albumin. It occurs when the kidney leaks small amounts of albumin into the urine, in other words, when an abnormally high permeability for albumin in the glomerulus of the kidney occurs. Normally, the kidneys filter albumin, so if albumin is found in the urine, then it is a marker of kidney disease. The term microalbuminuria is now discouraged by Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes and has been replaced by moderately increased albuminuria.

A cure is a substance or procedure that ends a medical condition, such as a medication, a surgical operation, a change in lifestyle or even a philosophical mindset that helps end a person's sufferings; or the state of being healed, or cured. The medical condition could be a disease, mental illness, disability, or simply a condition a person considers socially undesirable, such as baldness or lack of breast tissue.

Lifestyle medicine is a branch of medicine dealing with research, prevention and treatment of disorders caused by lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical inactivity, and chronic stress. Lifestyle Medicine focuses on educating and motivating patients to change personal habits and behaviors around the use of a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connection. In the clinic, major barriers to lifestyle counseling are that physicians feel ill-prepared and are skeptical about their patients' receptivity.

Nutritional epidemiology

Nutritional epidemiology examines dietary and nutritional factors in relation to disease occurrence at a population level. Nutritional epidemiology is a relatively new field of medical research that studies the relationship between nutrition and health. It is a young discipline in epidemiology that is continuing to grow in relevance to present-day health concerns. Diet and physical activity are difficult to measure accurately, which may partly explain why nutrition has received less attention than other risk factors for disease in epidemiology. Nutritional epidemiology uses knowledge from nutritional science to aid in the understanding of human nutrition and the explanation of basic underlying mechanisms. Nutritional science information is also used in the development of nutritional epidemiological studies and interventions including clinical, case-control and cohort studies. Nutritional epidemiological methods have been developed to study the relationship between diet and disease. Findings from these studies impact public health as they guide the development of dietary recommendations including those tailored specifically for the prevention of certain diseases, conditions and cancers. It is argued by western researchers that nutritional epidemiology should be a core component in the training of all health and social service professions because of its increasing relevance and past successes in improving the health of the public worldwide. However, it is also argued that nutritional epidemiological studies yield unreliable findings as they rely on the role of diet in health and disease, which is known as an exposure that is susceptible to considerable measurement error.

Steven E. Nissen, is a cardiologist, researcher and patient advocate. He was chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Eliglustat is a treatment for Gaucher's disease discovered at the University of Michigan and developed by Genzyme Corp that was approved by the FDA August 2014. Commonly used as the tartrate salt, the compound is believed to work by inhibition of glucosylceramide synthase. According to an article in Journal of the American Medical Association the oral substrate reduction therapy resulted in "significant improvements in spleen volume, hemoglobin level, liver volume, and platelet count" in untreated adults with Gaucher disease Type 1.

Medical reversal refers to when a newer and methodologically superior clinical trial produces results that contradict existing clinical practice and the older trials on which it is based. This leads to an intervention that was widely used falling out of favor, because new evidence either demonstrates that it is ineffective or that its harms exceed its benefits. It is distinct from replacement, which occurs when a newly developed medical treatment supersedes an older, less effective one as the standard of care. Medical reversals are caused when a treatment is widely adopted even when there is not compelling evidence for its safety and effectiveness. For example, an intervention may be adopted because it "makes sense", or because there are observational studies supporting its putative benefits. Notable examples of medical reversals include hormone therapy, class 1C antiarrhythmic agents, and pulmonary artery catheters, all of which became less commonly used after trials found them to be either harmful or less effective than previously believed. The negative effects of such reversals include harm to patients who received the intervention when it was considered relatively safe and effective, as well as reducing public trust in medicine.


  1. Hausenblas, Heather (18 August 2014). "Does Physical Activity Show Signs of a Tomato Effect?". US News & World Report. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 Goodwin, James S. (11 May 1984). "The Tomato Effect". JAMA. 251 (18): 2387. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340420053025.
  3. Trowbridge, John Parks (2011). The Yeast Syndrome. Random House. p. 87.
  4. Prasad V, Cifu A (December 2011). "Medical reversal: why we must raise the bar before adopting new technologies". Yale J Biol Med. 84 (4): 471–8. PMC   3238324 . PMID   22180684.
  5. Bartholomew, M (2002-11-01). "James Lind's Treatise of the Scurvy (1753)". Postgraduate Medical Journal. 78 (925): 695–696. doi:10.1136/pmj.78.925.695. ISSN   0032-5473. PMC   1742547 . PMID   12496338.
  6. Jason, Mayberry (2004-01-01). "Scurvy and Vitamin C". Retrieved 2015-10-16.