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July 12, 2016
Matthew Thomas replies to Dr Rosmond Adams

Editor: I respond to an article published in the SEARCHLIGHT of 01/07/2016, entitled: MINISTRY OF HEALTH’S RESPONSE TO ARTICLE BY PHARMACIST MATTHEW THOMAS. The article is authored by Dr Rosmond Adams.

In his article, Dr Adams wrote: “As a local physician, lecturer of medicine, epidemiologist and a regional public health researcher, I feel compelled to write to dispel arguments put forward by one Mr Matthew Thomas in Tuesday’s publication of the SEARCHLIGHT newspaper, stating boldly that diabetes and hypertension are not caused by, nor are they linked to increased sugar and salt consumption respectively.”{{more}}

FALSEHOOD #1 Nowhere in that headline did Matthew Thomas use the term: “INCREASED SUGAR AND SALT CONSUMPTION.”


Dr Adams also wrote: “Matthew Thomas made these arguments in response to a statement by Jomo Thomas, in which Jomo stated that marijuana is less dangerous than sugar, owing to the number of persons who are suffering from amputations as a result of uncontrolled diabetes.”

FALSEHOOD #2 Nowhere in the quotation from Jomo Thomas’s article is the word “AMPUTATIONS” mentioned.

FACT #2 In reference to Jomo Thomas’s article of THE VINCENTIAN (17/06/2016), Matthew Thomas wrote: “Thousands suffer from diabetes (sugar) and hypertension (salt), but no right thinking person calls for a ban on salt and sugar.”

Dr Adams wrote: “I must say that I understand and I agree with Mr Thomas’s basic physiological analysis that the body needs sugar for cells to survive and that the cells also need salt (sodium) for many biological processes. However, what Mr Thomas failed to explain is what will happen when we consume excess of what the body requires.”

FALSEHOOD #3 Dr Adams stated: “Mr Thomas failed to explain what will happen when we consume excess of what the body requires.”

FACT #3 In the article, Matthew Thomas wrote: “An individual who consumes carbohydrates more regularly than normal, will always maintain a higher than normal blood sugar level and instead of depleting the stored glucose (glycogen) will be building up the reserve to the point of becoming obese. After a prolonged state of high blood sugar level and obesity, other mechanisms may come into play, causing the various cell walls to become resistant to insulin. In such a case, except the intake of carbohydrates is controlled and obesity reduced, the individual may become a diabetic.

“Researchers and scientists have concluded for years that diabetes is caused by one or more of the following factors: obesity, heredity, increasing age, emotional stress, autoimmune Beta cells damage, endocrine disease, insulin receptor defects, drugs (cortisone, estrogen, thyroid, phenytoin, diazoxide and thiazide diuretics) and post insulin-receptor defects.”

Dr Adams wrote: “Salt works on the kidneys to make the body hold on to more water. This extra stored water raises blood pressure and puts strain on the kidneys, arteries, heart and brain.”

In his article, Matthew Thomas wrote: “Hypertension occurs when the kidneys’ functions become abnormal. Several factors may cause this to happen. Approximately 90 per cent of all persons who have hypertension are said to have essential hypertension (of unknown origin). However, in most cases of essential hypertension, there is a strong hereditary tendency.”

On the topic of SODIUM RESTRICTION, Matthew Thomas, quoting from the Reference Text: CLINICAL PHARMACY AND THERAPEUTICS, wrote: “While there is a clear epidemiological evidence of a direct relationship between dietary sodium intake and blood pressure, severe dietary sodium restriction is usually not sustainable and is not needed.”

In his article, Matthew Thomas did not make any references to his personal experiences, on the topic, empirical or otherwise. He based his arguments on documented scientific facts that are in the domain of all. He listed as his source of reference, four renowned reference texts in the field of health sciences, namely: (1) Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, by Williams and Wilkins. (2) Medical Physiology by Guyton. (3) Remington’s Pharmaceutical Sciences. (4) Martindale – The Extra Pharmacopoeia. He avoided the use of high-level medical jargon and terminologies. He was quite conscious that he was not delivering a lecture or tutorial to a group of health scientists. His audience was the ordinary layperson.

Dr Adams has published: “Mr Matthew Thomas’ statement is not based on science and in my opinion constitutes professional irresponsibility. As a member of an allied health profession and one who is responsible for dispensing medication and advising patients, for him to make such a bold statement without any sound scientific evidence is misleading and can threaten the work that public officials in this country are doing.”

What is a PRECURSOR? In biochemistry, the term precursor refers specifically to a chemical compound preceding another in a Metabolic Pathway. If, according to Dr Adams, the consumption of sugar is a precursor to diabetes, then the logical conclusion is that anyone who consumes sugar will become a diabetic. The same scenario holds for salt and hypertension. The end product of the Glucose Metabolic Pathway is ENERGY. Diabetes does not form part of that metabolic pathway. It is not a substrate, metabolite or even a catalyst. Diabetes is a disease that may be formed as a result of a malfunctioning Glucose Metabolic Pathway.

For Dr Adams to make such a demeaning statement about me in the context of the article is maligning my character as a practising pharmacist and tantamount to slander.

Matthew Thomas holds a certificate In Teacher Education, from UWI, Cave Hill; 14 years of teaching experience both at the primary and post-primary levels; three years of Nursing Education and a Diploma in Pharmacy from the University of Guyana. He was a part-time lecturer in Pharmacology in the OECS /PAHO/WHO, Regional Family Nurse Practitioner Programme for five of the six years the programme lasted here. In 1982, he single handedly produced a National Drug Formulary on the advice of the then hospital administrator, John Mc Bride. It was the only one among the OECS and it served as a forerunner to the OECS DRUG FORMULARY. He is the first to open a self-service, air-conditioned pharmacy in St Vincent, offering a 12-hour service and a 24-hour prescription service. He has had 36 years as a practising pharmacist in SVG.

Dr Adam’s article in response to Matthew Thomas’ is base and is not a true reflection of Thomas’ argument on the topic. He has not been able to prove that the statement: THE CONSUMPTION OF SALT AND/OR SUGAR NEITHER PRECURSOR NOR CAUSE OF DIABETES OR HYPERTENSION is scientifically offensive. Was his response intended to deceive or was it to defame the author?

Matthew Thomas