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Award-winning entries 1997 - 2002
AAA Essay Competition

Each year, AAA invites entries on the subject of allergy from three categories of writer:  Cat. 1 - qualified medical practitioners,  Cat. 2 - members of other health care professions and Cat. 3 - members of the public.   Below is the list of award winning essays in 1997-2000.

Full texts may be ordered from the
address below.  Price 2.50 per essay, with cheque made payable to Action Against Allergy.  Please click here for details on how to enter this year's Essay Competition.  Entry is free.

AAA Essay Competition 2002

The judges were Dr Janice Joneja PhD, RDN, head of the Allergy Nutrition Research Programme, Vancouver Hospital & Health Sciences Centre, Canada (also a patron of Action Against Allergy),  and Mrs Jackie Bonella, trustee of Action Against Allergy.

Only one submission was given an award.  It was a Category 3 entry.

Ref 984.  Joining up the Dots by Lesley Williams.

The author suffers multiple chemical sensitivities and describes her experiences in trying to avoid all the environmental hazards which make her ill.  She makes practical suggestions for manufacturers and businesses which would substantially improve the quality of life for all those who suffer as she does..

AAA Essay Competition 2001
982 Why am I so ill? by Mrs Ann Snow
Winner, Cat 3

A human story about allergic illness, treatments and the search for improved health. For someone who had always taken her good health for granted, Ann had to face up to both chronic illness and the disbelief and helplessness of the medical profession. This is a chronicle of how she took responsibility for her own health and, by dint of detective work and some good fortune, took the long path back to a healthy life.

983 Food, Chemicals and the Current Crisis for our Health by Jennifer Richards
This essay addresses the crisis in our food and farming industry, and the health of crops, animals and humans with modern husbandry methods. This essay touches on the recent tragedies of BSE and Foot and Mouth and the risks inherent in our food, such as listeria, salmonella and campylobacter. What is safe today when it is produced in an increasingly toxic world? Fortunately there are beacons, such as the Soil Association and active consumers can support campaigns for safe food production.

AAA Essay Competition 2000
977  The Distortion of Evidence Relating to CFS by Dr Ellen Goudsmit.
Winner, Cat. 2
Sub-titled "It's medical science, Jim, but not as we know it!", with apologies to Startrek's Mr Spock, this essay is a fascinating exploration of how the illness called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the perception of those who suffer from it, has been disparaged by the medical profession.  Dr Goudsmit traces the systematic misrepresentation of what is a serious disease in medical literature and by experts.

980  Two Hundred Years of Treating Asthma, by Jennifer Worth.
Runner-up, Cat 2
This insight into a family history of treating asthma and eczema is a good read and full of women's wisdom.  There are methods of traditional treatment described in detail sufficient to try them out.  They worked then, when there was no alternative and very few drugs, and have merit today.

978 Multiple Chemical Sensitivity - an Expedient Myth by Ted Mellish.
Winner, Cat 3
The author throws a fresh life on "safe levels" of toxins as defined by the scientific world and accepted by the rest of the world and finds flaws in the thinking.  Persistent low doses, he concludes, may be just as dangerous as traumatic poisoning because the body is unaware of the infiltration.  There is no safe level for chemicals toxic to life.

979 How to Survive Happy and Healthy on a Very Restricted Diet by Jennifer Richards.
Joint runner-up, Cat 2
A regular contributor to our essay competition, the author has spent five years investigating and living with multiple food intolerances.  She highlights the problems, and the advantages of being well informed.  Useful for those who find themselves allergic to some of the staples to discover there are nourishing alternatives

981 Allergies and My Children by Carol Denning.
Joint runner-up, Cat 2
It's amazing how forgiving people are about the short-comings of doctors, was a comment made on this essay by one of the judges.  Carol fought her way past the unhelpfulness of experts and professionals and did her own homework to discover what best suited her food allergic children.  Mutual support with parents in similar predicaments was something else she had to find for herself.

AAA Essay Competition 1999
970 Making Scents of Perfume by Joan Byrne.

Winner, Cat.3
A shocking revelation of what's found in the world's favourite perfumes, this essay caused quite a stir.  Ingredients do not have to be listed so they remain secret.  It was only the author's reaction to scents that led her to investigate and discover that perfumes contain a list of toxic chemicals, many of which are considered hazardous as waste and are known to be carcinogenic, or to cause neurological disorders.  

971 Physicians must Diagnose, not Delay - why don't they?  by May Corner.
Runner-up, Cat. 3
Simple facts are not passed on to patients by specialists and consultants, even when it would contribute to an improvement in their condition.  Neither do they use the best diagnostic techniques when they could, nor do they credit alternative treatments and therapies.  The author uses her own experiences to illustrate the shortcomings of orthodox medicine.

AAA Essay Competition 1998
965 Neonatal Sensitisation to Latex   by Jennifer Worth
Special award for outstanding merit.
The author, a trained nurse, puts forward a thought-provoking hypothesis:  that allergic illness might be triggered in later life by very early exposure to latex in the delivery room.  Virtually every baby that comes into the world is received into hands clad in latex gloves, often powdered with corn starch to exacerbate the allergenic risks.  Jennifer's theory has gained widespread interest.

963 Food Allergies:  at last the Reason for the Large Number of 'Unconnected' Symptoms?  by Alan Hunter.
Winner, Cat 2
Discussion of the importance of the blood flow to the head and major organs in the body is the subject of this essay as the author proves that blood flow is restricted during allergic reaction, which can lead to diverse symptoms including arthritis and migraine.

959 Pride or Prejudice?  An Analysis of the Conflict Surrounding ME   by Ellen M Goudsmit
Runner up, Cat 2
Much of the problem has been created by language.  ME renamed chronic fatigue syndrome could be said to cover half the population and this caused scientists to overlook important clues.  Thus ME was considered by many in the medical profession as 'fatigue with attitude'., which resulted in years of negative publicity.  Ellen calls the term CFS a dustbin diagnosis, a dumping ground for those with unexplained fatigue, which has led to a lack of research and editorial bias.

964     A Stand Against Manipulation  by Sarah Crabtree
Winner Cat 3
Sarah joined the fight against the genetic modification for food over two years ago.  This is a chronicle of the action she took, mainly on behalf of her own allergic family members.  Inspired by the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson- written with foresight in 1962 - Sarah tells of her belief in the value of each and every one of us standing up to be counted.  In her essay she asks questions about the effects that chemicals in food may be having in the allergy epidemic.

960 The antidepressant: Saint or Sinner, Angel or Devil  by Jennifer Richards
Joint runner-up, Cat 3
 An analysis of the drugs prescribed and their effects, and a critique of the medical philosophy that pushes them.  The essay also includes a brief look at other therapies, including self-help and self-employment.  An invaluable insight into the perils and problems of depression and it treatment.

966 Understanding Allergy  by Brenda Sampson
Joint runner-up, Cat 3
Brenda is the organiser of the Allergy, Hyperactivity, ADD Association of New Zealand and has written books on nutrition.  This essay is clear examination of factors that contribute to an allergic reaction - stress, drinks, foods, chemicals in the environment, diet at critical points in life.

AAA Essay Competition 1997
950 Establishing the Underlying Causes of Allergy  by Fabienne Smith

Special Award for outstanding merit
The author challenges the misdiagnosis of allergy as a psychologically induced illness and emphasises the need for recognition of the real causes of allergy.  She explains simply the highly complex dysfunctions involved, which lead to inconsistent symptoms, difficulty in classification and from there to the harmful diagnosis of "all in the mind".  She highlights ground-breaking research that points the way to an accurate assessment of the causes of allergic illnesses, and a real hope of gaining acceptance for a valid causation theory for cell-mediated immune system dysfunction.

951 Not All in the Mind - how long can we afford to ignore the evidence?  Dr Theron Randolph and Dr Richard Mackarness remembered  by Tuula E. Tuormaa
Winner, Cat 2
Tuula briefly reviews the long history of allergy and its varied symptoms, making the point that many patients with underlying allergic disease are not proerly diagnosed but become prime recipients of psycho-therapy.  The lack of adequate research, particularly into reactions caused by foods, leaves vast gaps in the medical profession's knowledge.  The late Dr Richard Mackarness and Dr Theron Randolph said for years: that food and chemical allergy exists, but cannot be detected easily except through diet.

953 Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, a New Model, by Dr Ted Mellish
Runner-up, Cat. 2
Turning traditional thinking on its head, the author explores the premise that multiple chemical sensitivity is based on an insensitivity to the low doses of harmful chemicals purported to be safe.  The body fails to perceive the hostile nature of very low doses.  The detoxification system does not recognise the threat and does not kick in (as it would with a massive attack) allowing the chemicals down different pathways into the body to attack vulnerable parts of the system.

954 The Long-term Effects of Prescribed Psychotropic Drugs, from a User's Experience  by Jennifer Richards
Winner, Cat. 3
Harrowing evidence of what can happen to a patient diagnosed as having psychiatric illnesses.  The author bravely relates her long journey out of drug dependency to better health through attention to diet and a life action plan.  She now has a life unimaginably rich compared to what it was during her 20 years as a drugged invalid.

955 Can we Trust the Doctor to Know Best? by Carolyn Murray
Runner-up, Cat.3
The author's health was dramatically changed for the worse after taking the steroid contraceptive pill.  She was a healthy young mother of two children but on taking the pill she began to get migraines, allergies, yeast infection, abdominal discomfort - and no help from her GP even though the pill was known to encourage yeast infections such as thrush and candida.  Her health problems worsened and she was diagnosed  with "pseudo-seizures".  Slowly, however, she took control of her illness and through diet and supplements, found her way to better health, though not without severe setbacks.

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