The conclusion: nystatin did not reduce symptoms over 32 weeks any better than a placebo.
Nevertheless, the study was widely criticized largely because it only isolated one component of treatment the drug and did not take such vital factors as diet into account. The entry criteria for who was considered a proper candida patient was also muddy.
As the May issue of the Townsend letter for Doctors pointed out, not all 42 subjects had all 15 systemic symptoms at the start. "For enrollment, women were required to have only three of five clinical features thought to be especially common in candidiasis hypersensitivity syndrome," wrote Marjorie Crandall, founder of Yeast Consulting Services in California, who systematically attacked the study for a range of oversights. Subjects were only selected on anecdotal evidence, not after being tested; the number of subjects was too small to test the large number of treatment regiments used; few patients out of the batch experienced any one symptom, making it impossible to establish statistical significance. Self help remedies were not monitored; women given antibiotics or becoming pregnant two predisposing factors to yeast infections were not dropped from the study.
Despite numerous studies carried out privately by various physicians and researchers, to date, there has never been the kind of large scale double blind study that would entitle candida to enter the medical textbooks, says Dr William Crook, author of The Yeast Connection.
Part of the trouble is that most medical studies are conducted in America by drug companies or funded by the US government. But nystatin, the staple of candida control, is 40 years old and no longer patented. "Anybody can make it, so there's no money in it," says Crook.
In the meantime, many others will continue to suffer until the medical profession begins to take candida seriously, starting with all those supposedly insignificant chronic ailments like thrush women are always complaining about.
Doctors need to examine how their attitudes toward patients with immune system disorders will affect their eventual recovery. The latest research shows that a sense of hopelessness is one of the attitudes that most contributes to the advancement of immune compromised disease, says Dr Davies. "Once a patient is in a state of chronic candidiasis, the medical professionals who tend to pooh pooh that disease can actually have a negative healing effect." Getting somebody to take you seriously could literally be half the battle.