The late Dr Gordon R B Skinner MD, DSc, FRCPATH, FRCOG, founded the Vaccine Research Trust in 1982 and was the Honorary Chairman of the Trust where he directed the medical research program since its inception.
Judy retired, as a senior manager, from Marks and Spencer PLC in 2008 and brings 'big business', analytical, financial and people management skills to Vaccine Research Trust. She was delighted to be asked to become Chairman as she understands the importance of the work the Trust does and is motivated to ensure it continues.
The Trust is now running low on finance and we urgently need funds to help us continue vital research. Please make a donation or perhaps you would like to make us one of the dedicated charities for whom you raise funds.
Gordon Skinner was born in Glasgow in 1942 and attended Kelvinside Academy Grammar School where he was duxproxima accessit. Dr Skinner is widowed with a daughter Fiona and two sons Niall and David; his wife Janet was a school teacher who sadly passed away in December 2003.
He graduated in Medicine at the University of Glasgow in 1965 and following house jobs in Glasgow and Midlands of England specialised in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and later in Virology and in 1976 became Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology at the University of Birmingham with Consultant status at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Dr Skinner’s research portfolio for which he was awarded the prestigious Doctorate of Science by the University of Birmingham can be found in his CV.
His research has also extended to the clinical arena. Some fifteen years ago he was asked by colleagues to see patients who were considered to have myalgic encephalopathy or chronic fatigue syndrome or post viral syndrome or post viral fatigue on account of his interest in virus disease. He noted that a number of these patients had clinical features of hypothyroidism but had ‘normal’ levels of thyroid hormones which would lead most workers in the field to reject a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Dr Skinner has since treated and returned to health many patients who were clinically hypothyroid but had normal thyroid chemistry and has reported these results in a preliminary paper entitled “Clinical response to thyroxine sodium in clinically hypothyroid but biochemically euthyroid patients”. He is disappointed that many doctors have little enthusiasm or will to examine this critical shortfall in patient care which in part motivated his book “Diagnosis and Management of Hypothyroidism”. This book was written to draw attention of the medical profession to a major faux pas in the care of patients with hypothyroidism. This arises from the inexplicable refusal of the medical profession to recognise that patients can suffer from hypothyroidism when the thyroid chemistry is deemed to be ‘normal’ if the free thyroxine or the thyroid stimulating hormone lie between 95% reference intervals. There is a further problem that when a patient is diagnosed as hypothyroid many patients receive too low level of thyroid replacement through servile reliance on thyroid chemistry with (often) cavalier disregard of how the patient feels accompanied by an implicit and bizarre belief that a level of thyroid hormone is a better index of wellbeing than the patient’s own view of his/her wellbeing.
This situation has arisen from the mindless deification of ‘evidence-based medicine’ which usually means laboratory-based-medicine where one chooses the evidence which suits and ignores evidence which doesn’t suit. There is no evidence that the efficacy of thyroid replacement is better correlated with levels of thyroid chemistry than with the initial clinical picture nor clinical outcome and in a small pilot study the author has provided preliminary evidence of this assertion.
A second issue concerns use of a porcine thyroid extract (Armour Thyroid) which was used extensively in the United Kingdom until introduction of synthetic hormones but was removed from the British National Formulary for reasons which remain unclear. Dr Skinner argues that there is a place for this preparation in a number of patients and practitioners who use all three thyroid preparations namely thyroxine, triiodothyronine and natural thyroid extract (Armour Thyroid) have all seen patients who benefit from Armour Thyroid. It is often posited that the matter has not been put to placebo controlled trial which is true and there has never been a clinical trial comprising different preparations; it is therefore nothing short of presumptuous to proclaim blanket condemnation for a product on the bizarre assumption that if a comparison between this product and another product has never been made the more recently developed synthetic products are de facto more efficacious; proposition that the composition of recent batches of Armour Thyroid is not known seems unlikely given that the product has been under scrutiny for many years in both the United Kingdom and The United States.
Fiona was elected Chairman of the Trust in 2014 after the passing of her father and founder Dr Gordon Skinner. She stepped down at the end of 2015 so Judy could pick up the mantle and continue the good work.
She has a BA (hons) degree from Kings College London in Spanish and English.
Fiona has worked as a fundraiser for the Trust for the last 10 years and is committed to achieving its long term research goals that her father worked for all his life.
Rita qualified as a dentist in 1980 and has been practicing exclusively in the NHS ever since. She is married with two children and currently resides in Oxfordshire.
Dr. Evans met Dr. Skinner as a student and the two quickly became friends. Dr. Evans has great belief in Dr. Skinner's skills as a diagnostician in those with thyroid deficiency problems and admires the passion with which he approaches his work.
Dr. Evans became involved in overseeing the trust in the last decade, and greatly supports their ongoing projects. She is excited to move forwards with the trust over the coming years.
David has a degree in French and Business Information Technology Systems. When he is not
co-ordinating fund raising efforts for the Trust he works for CGI as a Business Consultant.
David is passionate about continuing the work that his father dedicated his life to and helping the Trust to support the work that the team is currently undertaking.
'Dr Gordon Skinner, the founder of Vaccine Research Trust, devoted the last 17 years of his remarkable medical career to the care of patients with clinical signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism but blood tests within the reference range. These patients suffer greatly due to the present Guidelines which consider blood tests as the only criteria for diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism. He diagnosed and treated patients on full clinical assessment, as well as blood tests, rather than blood tests alone and treated them with synthetic or natural thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
We have extensive data from Dr Skinner’s practice on the treatment of patients who are biochemically euthyroid but clinically hypothyroid. As the majority of clinicians only treat patients who have abnormal blood tests, information from Dr Skinner’s patients is vital in adding to knowledge towards better understanding of hypothyroidism in this group of patients. Experts in the field believe there is no other database in the world of such detailed information on the treatment of patients who are clinically hypothyroid but biochemically euthyroid. It is therefore essential to analyse and publish this information towards better education of future physicians in this specialty.
Privileged to act as Chairman of Trustees for VRT, I am determined to ensure that Dr Skinner’s critical work is analysed and published to help better understand this illness and alleviate untold suffering. His outstanding contribution to medical science should be acknowledged and will be of inestimable benefit to future generations.'
Afshan Ahmed is walking as part of the Rotary Club of Birmingham’s Best Foot Forward event to raise funds for Vaccine Research Trust on Sunday 21st August at the Chancellor’s Court, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham.
The Vaccine Research Trust has supported work into thyroid disease and we are on track with our proposed research programme. We continue to host students for work experience and offer help with university and job applications as well as practice interviews.
Please help us to continue this vital research and education activities by sponsoring me. Our work is entirely dependent on donations and grants and we could not continue without the support and generosity of our supporters.
You can donate directly on her fundraising page on www.justgiving.com/Afshan-Ahmad4
Gyro is no longer just an advertising company, it’s a super fit bunch of people all racing against the clock to support the Vaccine Research Trust – so it’s sure to be highly competitive!
The team would really appreciate any sponsorship and your support on the day, so why not come along to watch? You can sponsor them on
We would also love to invite you to our Village Fete. We have a full day of entertainment for the kids including a bouncy castle, face painting and treasure hunts. For the adults we’ll have a BBQ, tombola, raffle tickets with superb prizes including a holiday to Brittany, and cake and book sales galore. to remember and loads of fun.
Our friends at the Rotary Club of Birmingham are organising a charity walk:
Whether you’re young or old, able-bodied or someone with disabilities, travelling in a wheelchair, or being pushed in a buggy, people like you from all over the Birmingham’s
wide ranging community will be running, walking, jogging or wheeling around Chancellor’s Court.
Every lap you complete during the 12 hour event, will release some money from a ‘Prize Pot’ which will then be distributed to our three nominated charities in support of local good causes.
You can clock up as many laps as you like in one go, or you can return to the track throughout the 12 hour period, each lap being recorded by a personal chip given to you at the start of the event.
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
22 Alcester Road South, Birmingham, Birmingham B14 7PU, United Kingdom