Select Committee on Science and Technology Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Dr Jean Monro, Medical Director, Breakspear Hospital


  I am the Medical Director of the Breakspear Hospital, which is a private day hospital that treats patients for allergy and environmental sensitivities, run by the Breakspear Medical Group. We have treated over 14,000 patients since 1982.

  The precepts of environmental medicine include detailed attention to sources of exposure to potential trigger substances, individual assessment of nutritional status, and the reduction of the total burden of physical, chemical and biological stressors, using specialised techniques. A holistic approach to treatment, the avoidance of drug therapy where possible, dietary amendment and supplementation, specialised elimination diet and challenge protocols, measurement and correction of environmentally triggered alterations in gut permeability and intestinal flora, use of proven methods of detoxification, measurement of specific biochemical pathways, and a low-dose desensitising technique are all integral to the approach adopted at the Breakspear Hospital.

  Your call for evidence requires answers on different categories, as follows:


    (a)  Allergy/sensitivity explained. An account can be found on our website:

    (b)  Also annotated is an explanation of what is known as "the load phenomenon".

    (c)  The effects of ongoing allergy/sensitivity damage are discussed.

    (d)  The means of assessment by challenge, elimination and rotation diets.

    (e)  The phenomena of bipolarity and addiction are addressed.

  In my opinion, the incidence of allergy is rising because of a concomitant exposure of individuals to environmental chemicals: indoor and outdoor pollutants, drugs, and food contaminants. These can all be part of a provoking total load, which aggravates encounters with natural agents. No consideration of this is normally undertaken by medical professionals.


  Food allergy: This is traditionally treated by avoidance. However, low-dose immunotherapy has been shown to be extremely effective. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) has an extensive reference base.

  Chemical sensitivity: An increasing number of people report adverse effects from exposure to everyday amounts of common chemicals, for example perfume, paint, car exhaust fumes, which are tolerated by most people. The condition may develop after exposure to a large amount of a single chemical, or a low-level exposure to single or multiple agents. This is not acute toxicity, but is chemical sensitivity disorder. People afflicted often also develop adverse reactions to foods and inhaled particles.

  Biochemical individuality: Genomic variations result in different responses to foods, drugs and other agents, and must be considered.


    —  Low-dose immunotherapy.

    —  Nutritional support.

    —  Detoxification.

    —  Identification of possible infectious agents.

  These should all be pursued.


  The Paris Appeal has now been signed by many international scientific key figures and by the Standing Committee of European Doctors, which represents all medical governing bodies and medical organisations in the 25 EU Member States. [6]

  Amongst their nine principal recommendations are "the creation of a new medical specialty: environmental medicine".

  Chapter 5 relates to Obesity, Cancers and Allergies. Item R41 is entitled Allergy management. This stresses "... recognition of allergology as a medical speciality in the framework of environmental medicine".

  Section M163 states "Given the frequency and growing incidence of allergies, the complexity of etiological mechanisms, and the great number of diseases to treat specifically, the European Union and the Member States must contribute to acknowledging allergology as a fully-fledged medical specialty."


  Patients attending the Breakspear Hospital have often expressed the benefits of treatment offered to them here. We have undertaken market research surveys and an independent audit of patient satisfaction questionnaires, which have established the benefits.

6   Memorandum of the Paris Appeal-Environment and sustainable health; 9 November 2006, UNESCO, Paris. Back

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