Prof. Ian Brighthope

img_ian1Professor Ian Brighthope graduated in Agricultural Science in 1965. For the next three years he was involved in teaching and research. His research interests were in the fields of agriculture and veterinary nutrition, including the nutritional health of cattle, horses, sheep, dogs, pigs and poultry. His involvement in the design and implementation of field trials provided him with a deep respect for scientific methods, its strengths and its weaknesses. He was a Foundation Member of Agricultural Technologists of Australia, now renamed The Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology.

In 1969 he entered medical school at the University of New South Wales and following three pre-clinical years, completed his clinical studies at Monash University in Victoria, graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in1974. After completing his residency and a year of general medicine and anaesthetic practice, he travelled widely throughout Europe, North America and Asia searching for solutions to the problems created by the significant gaps he recognised in the normal medical training of doctors. This educational travel included a six month appointment as a ship surgeon with travel to many parts of the world. This travel and educational process to learn about all forms of medicine and healing has continued throughout his career. His interest in the implications of human nutrition and the environment in health and disease commenced in his undergraduate training in the 1960’s and as a doctor and has continued to develop throughout his career.

It was in the fields of plant and animal nutrition that Professor Brighthope became aware of the importance of optimum nutrition and the use of nutritional and biochemical supplementation in animal production, the treatment of animal dysfunction and the potential of this approach in the prevention and treatment of human disease. Also, the addition of agricultural and food processing chemicals to the food chain concerned him and this resulted in his investigating their harmful effects on on human health in general and in particular, the human nervous, immune and endocrine systems. Neglect of these areas of human care prompted him to adopt the nutritional medicine and environmental medicine approach in his medical practice, which was the first of its kind in Australia.

The Brighthope Clinic and Biocentre which developed in his medical clinic in the 1970’s specialized in Nutritional and Environmental Medicine with particular interests in psychiatric , learning and behaviour disorders, cancer patient care, heart disease, psychological disorders related to foods and chemicals, the chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, asthma, food and chemical sensitivities, auto-immune diseases, diabetes and the treatment of acute viral illnesses and other conditions with megadoses of intravenous Vitamin C.

The antioxidant and intravenous Vitamin C clinic under his management was the first of its kind in Australia. It has treated patients from all walks of life from all over the world. The Brighthope Clinic was the first Integrative Medicine Clinic in Australia in which modalities such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, intravenous nutritional therapies and others were integrated with mainstream and hospital medicine in the 1970’s. In the early 1980’s, he coined the term ‘Integrative Medicine’, which was initially registered as a business and publishing house. This term was adopted by the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association, which has become a significant force in changing the practice of orthodox medicine in Australia. Professor Brighthope was closely involved in the establishment of Integrative Medicine in Australia. Chelation therapy was started in the early 1980’s and continues to be of great clinical value to patients with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and many other disorders in which heavy metal burdens are a problem to their health and wellbeing.

It was the first Chelation Centre in Australia in which holistic detoxification programs were instituted in conjunction with megadose intravenous Vitamin C therapy. The approach to the management of many diseases in his centres was always based on science and frequently unique. These modalities are now taught to medical practitioners in Australia and are routinely practiced by appropriately trained medical practitioners.

Professor Brighthope pioneered the first post-graduate medical course in nutrition in Australia and remained on the faculty as one of its principle lecturers from 1980 until 2007. In August 2007 he was awarded the Inaugural ACNEM award in recognition of more than 25 years of outstanding service in the field of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine including 25 years as founding President of the College. He initiated the ACNEM fellowship program and examinations and plays a pivotal role in maintaining, as an official ambassador, ACNEM as the peak body in Nutritional and Environmental Medicine in Australia and Asia. A quality assurance and continuing medical education program is an integral part of the qualifying fellowship program. Professor Brighthope also initiated the formation of the Graduate School of Integrative Medicine at Swinburne University in 1996, at which he was honoured with a Full Professorship. This school has subsequently been succeeded by other programs. He is no longer associated with the university.

Professor Brighthope has published extensively and has appeared regularly in the media as an advocate of nutritional and environmental health. He is the author of 5 books and many scientific articles and reviews. His books have been endorsed by Linus Pauling – the only person to have ever been awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes. Professor Brighthope is also listed in the International Authors and Writers “Who’s Who”.

He has a very busy lecturing schedule to health professionals in Australia and Internationally. In addition, Professor Brighthope also consults for the manufacturing industry in nutrition and micronutrient supplementation and supervises and consults for various health resorts and specialist clinics, preventive medicine programs and sporting concerns. He and his companies have initiated and/or sponsored many major events in Nutritional Medicine in Australia for more than 25 years, including international and national conferences and University based research. The research programs have included the study of Vitamin E in Cancer, the Risk Factors in Breast Cancer, the attitudes of Medical Practioners to Complementary Therapies, the Antioxidant Activity of Polyphenols in Grapeseeds, Post-Antibiotic use of Probiotics and the use of SAMe in fibromyalgia and Depression. The most recent double-blind placebo controlled study proved the effectiveness of a specially prepared extract of Tumeric in the fast-acting relief of osteoarthritis. Research into the benefits of probiotics, trace elements, essential fatty acids and nutrient delivery systems continues as a result of Professor Brighthope’s interests in these areas. Professor Brighthope intermittently employs research Fellows at various campuses to assist with R and D. He is currently researching the interaction of nutraceuticals with human genes, the future of true health care.

Professor Brighthope has acted as an advocate of doctors practicing Complementary Medicine for over 25 years. He has had training and extensive experience in Crisis Management, Risk Management and Public Relations. He was President of the Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia from 2000 to 2003, the peak industry body for Complementary Medicines. He was also president at the time of the Pan Pharmaceutical recall, the largest recall of medicines in the world. He was responsible for the management of the many political, legal, insurance, regulatory and media issues caused by the world’s largest recall of pharmaceutical products. In September 2003 he delivered The Telstra address at the National Press Club titled “Complementary Health Care-Towards a Sustainable Health System”. The address was so well received that ABC television replayed it 5 times.

In 2007, after stepping down as President of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine for over 25 years, he was honoured with an inaugural annual award to recognize his contribution to health through the research, teaching and practice of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine.