Sam Smith confronts Barbara Wren.
Inside Out's investigation into a West Country nutritional college has found worrying evidence of teaching that could prove dangerous.
We also found that one graduate of the College of Natural Nutrition has agreed to pay a without liabilty, out of court £800,000 settlement to a woman who claims bad dietary advice left her brain damaged.
College Of Natural Nutrition graduate Barbara Nash, who runs her own practice near Oxford, has been accused of prescribing a hydration diet that allegedly left 47-year-old Dawn Page brain damaged.
Dawn Page - suffered organ failure.
The Pages say that within days of following Barbara Nash's advice on how to lose weight, Mrs Page was bed-ridden and vomiting.
Geoff Page told Inside Out: "What made things worse is when Ms Nash became aware of that combination of events, she advised Dawn to increase her intake to six pints of water a day."
The Pages believe this amount was enough, combined with the vomiting, to seriously upset Dawn's body chemistry so that she suffered organ failure, epilepsy and ultimately brain damage.
Barbara Nash’s insurers have now paid Dawn an £800,000 settlement, but with no admission of liability.
Barbara Nash maintains that Dawn misunderstood her advice.
Meanwhile Inside Out sent top London Dietician Catherine Collins to hear the College of Natural Nutrition’s principal, Barbara Wren, lecture.
What she heard shocked her:
Nash maintains that Dawn misunderstood her advice.
"I could not recommend that the level of knowledge, either nutritional or medical, is sufficient to treat a medical condition successfully or safely."
Inside Out also went undercover to one of Barbara Wren’s lectures, where she made claims to treat serious conditions including Crohn’s Disease and Schizophrenia.
One of Ms Wren’s most serious claims was to have successfully treated a friend’s thyroid cancer with a combination of an external compress of urine and castor oil and dietary advice.
It was a claim she repeated in the lecture that Catherine Collins attended. Ms Collins told Inside Out:
"I was thinking - why are you saying you can treat an aggressive tumour in the neck with an external compress? It was laughable if it wasn’t so serious."
College Principal Barbara Wren also advised her students to recommend massive doses of an Iodine supplement only available from pet stores, called Luguol’s Solution.
The doses recommended, according to Catherine Collins, could cause illness:
"The consequences of overdosing on iodine are that you will develop hyper-thyroidism, you become very twitched, your heart rate becomes very fast.
"In some people you could boost the production of thyroxin so much that it would cause you to become so ill you would need to be admitted to hospital".
Teaching methods under scrutiny
Inside Out wanted to ask Barbara Wren about her teaching methods.
We rang her, wrote to her and eventually even turned up at her house – but she was nowhere to be found.
Natural nutrition - sound advice?
So we decided to catch up with her on her way to giving another lecture.
Barbara denied having claimed to have cured her friend’s thyroid cancer, despite our evidence to the contrary, and refused to answer any of the other allegations we put to her.
And because anyone can call themselves a nutritional therapist, or even set up a college or school teaching nutritional therapy, Barbara can continue teaching almost whatever she wants.
Indeed after we confronted her, she repeated her advice about Iodine supplements to a classroom of her students.
last updated: 27/03/2009 at 12:15