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Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 1

Minnesota has recently become the 15th state in the U.S. to formally endorse the claims of a tiny group of naturopaths who portray themselves as physicians.* The bill , like the popular-media “CAM” reports that Steve Novella criticized on Wednesday, merely parrots what these naturopaths claim about themselves. It reveals no attempt to investigate or to judge the tenets of the field. The following excerpts present false assertions as though they were facts. I’ve underlined some of the more obvious examples:

“Naturopathic medicine” means a system of primary health care for the prevention, assessment, and treatment of human health conditions, injuries, and diseases

“Naturopathic physical medicine” includes, but is not limited to, the therapeutic use of the physical agents of air, water, heat, cold, sound, light, and electromagnetic nonionizing radiation and the physical modalities of electrotherapy, diathermy, ultraviolet light, hydrotherapy, massage, stretching, colon hydrotherapy, frequency specific microcurrent, electrical muscle stimulation, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and therapeutic exercise.

The practice of naturopathic medicine includes, but is not limited to, the following services: (1) ordering, administering, prescribing, or dispensing for preventive and therapeutic purposes: food, extracts of food, nutraceuticals, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, botanicals and their extracts, botanical medicines, herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines, dietary supplements and nonprescription drugs as defined by the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, glandulars, protomorphogens, lifestyle counseling, hypnotherapy, biofeedback, dietary therapy, electrotherapy, galvanic therapy, oxygen, therapeutic devices, barrier devices for contraception, and minor office procedures, including obtaining specimens to assess and treat disease

Unlike the Minnesota leglislators, I have substantial knowledge of the tenets and practices of “naturopathic physicians,” and I am capable of judging those tenets according to standards of reason, science, and modern, science-based medicine. Beginning with my stint on the Massachusetts Special Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medical Practitioners 6-8 years ago, I have spent years listening to “NDs,” reading their literature, and writing about them. I described a bit of my experience on that Commission in a post on Science-Based Medicine several weeks ago. I have continued to observe NDs’ cult-like behavior since then, and have seen no indication that they have begun to awaken from their collective, pseudoscientific stupor.

I won’t reiterate most of what I’ve written elsewhere. I’ll also try not to reiterate material about the Minnesota decision that has already been posted on other worthy blogs (including, and with references to the rest, here). Suffice it to say that I’ve heard every argument favoring licensure or registration of “educated” naturopaths—that is, of graduates of the now 6, on-campus, 4-year schools in North America. I’ve heard every argument claiming that these NDs are “scientifically” trained and that they are qualified to act as “primary care doctors,” which purportedly distinguishes them from “traditional” naturopaths (the matchbook crowd). I’ve heard every argument that they are capable of self-regulation, that their methods are “gentle” and “natural,” that they are experts in “nutrition” and “prevention,” that they “treat the cause, rather than the symptoms,” that they are experts in “natural remedies,” that their methods are supported by “10,000 citations to peer-reviewed literature providing standards of practice for natural medicine,” that their schools have responsible research programs, that they can be expected to make responsible recommendations about immunizations, that they attend responsible continuing education courses, that public demand for them is substantial and can only be satisfied by formal state recognition, and every other argument, ad nauseam. Each of these arguments is specious, as shown in excruciating detail here, herehere, here, here, here , here, and here, among other places.

For now I’ll make a few comments pertinent to the Minnesota bill and discuss a few points that are not likely to be apparent to most people. I’ll also add some information not easily found in the public domain: descriptions of 4-5 catastrophes in the past few years, attributable to “licensed naturopathic physicians” practicing according to their own standards of care; an annotated bibliography of responsible references and of a few irresponsible references; rigorous evidence that NDs are not the experts in “natural remedies” that they claim to be. It will require 2-3 postings to cover the material.

The Minnesota Bill: the Devil’s in the Details

To the uninitiated—including many medical doctors—the practices quoted above from the Minnesota bill probably sound bland and relatively benign, if a little kooky. Even if that were the extent of it, it wouldn’t do for the state to endorse such  practices, because they can’t replace effective treatments for real diseases. What isn’t readily apparent are the real meanings of many of the listed methods. References to various “electrical” entities appear several times, for example. To find out what these might be and be used for, it’s necessary to dig a little. The following passage is quoted from a naturopathic treatise on cancer of the prostate. It was written by Thomas Kruzel, the the “former Dean of Clinical Education and Chief Medical Officer at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Phoenix, Arizona”:

Electrical current in the form of positive galvanism, applied transrectally, has been used in the treatment of CAP [cancer of the prostate] as well as BPH [benign prostatic hypertrophy]. A steady current of 1 to 5 milliamps for 10 to 15 minutes creates an acidic environment within the prostate gland, oxygenating the tissues and increasing the white blood cell count. This treatment must be coupled with anticoagulant and antioxidant therapy. During and following a series of treatments, protomorphogen therapy helps the growth of healthy prostate tissue.

With natural treatment for CAP it is important to remember that the therapy will have its ups and downs…

Kruzel, according to his biography on the website of the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association, ”is also the past president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and was selected as Physician of the Year by the AANP in 2000.”

Another application to the body, electric, favored by NDs is “electrodiagnostic testing,” also known as “electroacupuncture according to Voll” (EAV), “electrodermal screening” (EDS), “bioelectric functions diagnosis” (BFD), “bio resonance therapy” (BRT), VegaTest, Bio-Path, “bio-energy regulatory technique” (BER), and more. The claims for this method, which consists of using a galvanometer to measure the skin’s (varying) resistance to a tiny electric current, are illustrated in the following listings from the AANP’s “Equipment for Sale” webpage from 2001 (the AANP no longer makes this public):

  • Clinic Closing, EAV Screening Device for Sale, A Listen System. Almost new. Complete with manuals, video, and text book. Increase your revenue while better serving your clients. Test for parasites, food and environmental sensitivities, candida, nutritional deficiencies and much more. Call 416-530-5956 for Samantha for more information. Asking $15,000 or best offer.
  • Biopath Listen System using electrodermal screening. A great way to test for allergies of all kinds. Excellent practice builder- $2500.
  • Vega Machine For Sale. VegaTest II complete with carrying case, extra hand electrode, instruction manual (Short Manual of Vega Test), test kits and 114 food vials. $2,000 for the whole kit and kaboodle. Remember, Vega units are no longer available in the United States. Save yourself the expense and hassle of importing a Vega unit (and avoid the possibility of having the unit confiscated at the border). Contact: Michele Goodwin, N.D. 555 Soquel Ave., Suite 260-H, Santa Cruz, CA 95062; (408) 459-9206 email: doctorg@cruzio.com
  • Are you interested in purchasing a relativley new AVITAR EAV diagnostic unit? This machine is state of the art EAV testing and is a good adjunctive source of revenue to a medical practice (We typically charge $100.00 per session). The machine is easy to use and office staff can be trained to use the machine effectively, while the doctor is seeing other patients. We are looking for someone to take over our lease. The monthly payments are about $260.00 (buy out cost is about $11000) We aleady have some equity invested. Contact Geoff at (425)820-4148

The reason that a naturopath might decide to ”avoid the possibility of having the unit confiscated at the border” is that the FDA has, for practical purposes, declared such devices illegal.

“Hydrotherapy” sounds harmless and possibly soothing, until you discover some of its uses:

…if you or a family member already has suffered from one or more strokes, a simple hydrotherapy technique may provide relief, and even minimize long term sequelae…One technique is to lower your body temperature, with a cold bath for example, as much as possible without inducing shivering as soon as possible after a stroke has occurred, or is suspected to have occured. The idea here is that if the stroke is ischemic (temporary restriction of oxygenated blood) the body naturally and preferentially preserves blood flow to the brain, so cooling the rest of the body will cause the blood to shunt rapidly to the brain. However, if the stroke is hemorrhagic, cooling the body rapidly will cause vasoconstriction, thereby helping to control the bleed. Another hydrotherapy technique with a similar rationale is to soak the feet in a hot foot bath, as soon as possible after the stroke has occurred, while applying a cold compress to the neck, face and scalp. If this technique can be applied as a stroke is happening, it may even abort the stroke. Make sure the ice-cold compress touches the skin over the carotid arteries under the jaw bone. Mustard paste or powder may be added to the foot bath to increase the heating effect. Make sure to continue this treatment for at least 20 minutes and keep adding hot water to the foot bath and make sure the cold compress stays really cold. Or, you may take a neutral bath that is neither freezing cold, nor warm. Immersion in water of neutral temperature is extremely soothing to the central nervous system.

It is now possible to genuinely abort some ischemic strokes if they are diagnosed and treated promptly. All strokes are potentially life-threatening, and are considered to be medical emergencies that require prompt and expert evaluation and supportive care. The treatments described above will do nothing to improve the outcomes of strokes, but are certain to delay competent diagnosis and treatment. They are recommended by “a graduate of Bastyr University in Seattle (class of 1992)…[who is]…the former senior editor of the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine (1989-96), the scientific, peer-reviewed journal of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians” (AANP: the national organization of “educated” naturopaths).

Hydrotherapy, garlic, and a version of oxygen, another seemingly benign substance listed in the Minnesota bill, are bases for the following asthma treatments, also recommended by the former senior editor of the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine:

Another useful Physical Medicine technique is that of Hydrotherapy…Placing a hot, wrung out towel over the chest can relax the breathing muscles and restore normal breathing. For an acute asthma attack try a steam inhalation (draping a towel over your head and a bowl of hot water) with a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the water. Be careful that the water is not so hot that the steam burns your face. Some doctors recommend taking baths with a cup or so of 3% hydrogen peroxide in the water to bring extra oxygen to the entire surface of the skin, thus making the lungs somewhat less oxygen hungry. This method can be performed preventively. Another technique for an acute attack is to drink some hot water with the juice of one clove of garlic.

That passage was written by a practitioner held in high esteem by her entire “profession,” and was promoted by the AANP in its “articles written by Naturopathic Physicians for the general public.” Those facts illustrate that NDs are neither scientifically trained nor competent to practice medicine: The amount of oxygen that can be absorbed through the skin is negligible, as anyone with even a passing knowledge of chemistry and physiology ought to know. Asthma is a serious disease, and an acute attack can be life-threatening. A delay caused by such nonsense would be foolish and dangerous. A real-death example, as I’ll discuss, has already occurred.

Another, more lucrative form of oxygen “therapy” has recently become popular among advocates of Implausible Health Claims (IMC): hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). It is a slippery form of quackery, because there are a few legitimate uses for the method, and most advocates of illegitimate uses hide behind those. As is true for almost any IMC, HBOT is becoming popular among NDs.

“Amino acids” sound benign and nutritious, to denizens of health food stores and veterans of high school biology classes. There is no value in taking them as “medicines,” however, unless one suffers from a frank deficiency, and guess what the term conceals? According to a recent press release from the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), the most conspicuous organization advocating “chelation therapy,”

Chelation therapy is a process in which a synthetic or man-made amino acid called EDTA is delivered intravenously.

By “EDTA,” the ACAM means disodium ethylenediamine-tetra-acetic acid (Na2EDTA), a dangerous drug that has no place in modern medical therapeutics. Naturopaths at the highest levels recommend “chelation therapy.” In 2003 the Oregon Board of Naturopathic Examiners listed an approved continuing education course taught by the ACAM entitled “Heavy Metal Detoxification,” a euphemism for chelation. The Oregon Naturopathic Formulary Compendium includes “EDTA.” At least one death has resulted, as will be discussed.

“Vitamins” are another category that would make most people yawn, unless they are aware of one of the euphemisms for Laetrile, the greatest health fraud in American history: “vitamin B17.” When I was on the Massachusetts Special Commission, the ND who was president of the Mass. Assoc. of Naturopathic Physicians stated, with an air of accomplishment, that she had worked at the Contreras Clinic in Mexico. She did not add that the clinic is a notorious Laetrile mill.

There is much more hidden agenda in the excerpts from the Minnesota bill, but I trust that the point has been made. I’ll offer a final couple of examples to introduce the next topic. If a doctor ever offers you “glandulars” or “protomorphogens” please turn around and run. Only when you’re safely away should you drop a dime to the state medical board…unless, of course, the “doctor” is a naturopath, because in that case the board will recognize the practice as a standard of care for “naturopathic medicine”—thus demonstrating exactly why there can’t be useful regulation of an irrational “health profession.”

Self-Regulation by Tiny Groups of Sectarians

Almost all trades and professions that are typically regulated—electricians, plumbers, nurses, MDs, etc.—are self-regulated. By that is meant that there is a regulatory board whose members are predominantly members of the relevant profession. If that initially sounds self-defeating, it is also inevitable: who, besides civil engineers, for example, would be qualified to comment on the standards of civil engineering? The Minnesota naturopathy bill is typical in that sense:

REGISTERED NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR ADVISORY COUNCIL.

Subdivision 1. Membership. The board shall appoint a seven-member Registered Naturopathic Doctor Advisory Council consisting of one public member as defined in section 214.02, five registered naturopathic doctors who are residents of the state, and one licensed physician or osteopath with expertise in natural medicine.

The most obvious problem with such a scheme, and what mainly distinguishes it from civil engineering and other boards, is that there can be no objective standards for fields that lack objective data to support their methods. Where are the state boards of astrologers or psychics? Next week I’ll present examples of ND-associated catastrophes that failed to elicit appropriate responses from regulatory boards.

A less-appreciated problem is that of self-regulation of a tiny group. In Minnesota there are barely 25 NDs who qualify for registration, and the state expects 5 of them to pass judgment upon the rest. There’s a good chance that any complaint sent to the Advisory Council will involve an ND that the council members already know, since they are all members of a tiny organization that, until now, was primarily concerned with political activism. How can they avoid conflicting interests? The other reason that self-regulating professions are at least somewhat capable of acting objectively, in addition to the existence of objective standards, is that most are large enough to guarantee independence in their board deliberations. In Massachusetts, for example, there are 30,000 MDs.

Title Protection and Government Handouts

A state board for a tiny group presents a tangential problem that the Minnesota electorate might have overlooked: who pays for it? Most professions pay for their own regulation through licensing fees. How will 25 NDs in Minnesota, each paying $200 for initial registration and $150 for annual renewal, support their board? They won’t, of course:

Sec. 13. APPROPRIATIONS.

(a) $8,000 in fiscal year 2009 is appropriated from the state government special revenue fund to the Board of Medical Practice for the registration of naturopathic doctors under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 147E.

(b) $25,000 in fiscal year 2009 is appropriated from the state government special revenue fund to the commissioner of health for the naturopathy work group. This is a onetime appropriation.

This bill, which is primarily a “title protection” bill (explaining why it has pissed off “traditional naturopaths“), is a real-life example of a government hand-out to a tiny, “special interest” group. What is the alternative? My opinion:

There will always be fanciful health claims that range from the relatively innocuous to the outright dangerous. Most of these will inevitably fall through the regulatory cracks, in spite of the best intentions of government. It would be impossible to regulate all of them, and unwise to try. Existing laws governing consumer fraud, assault, and the illegitimate practice of medicine should be invoked when necessary. Licensure and registration schemes, however well intentioned, tend to encourage illegitimate health practices, rather than to limit them.

The best way for government to help citizens make sense of nonstandard health claims, while respecting freedom of choice, is through education. We recommend that the legislature direct the Department of Public Health and the Office of Consumer Affairs to collaborate on an educational program. We recommend that in doing so, these agencies seek counsel not from advocates, but from experts. There are numerous experts in [Minnesota], covering every medical field, who could help with such a project. There are also organizations of experts who are familiar with nonstandard claims and have already applied scientific scrutiny to many of them…

 

*The Naturopathy Series:

  1. “CAL”: a Medico-Legal Parable
  2. Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 1
  3. Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 2
  4. Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 3
  5. Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 4
  6. Colorado is Nearer to Promoting Naturopathic Pseudomedicine—Aided by the Colorado Medical Society
  7. Naturopathy and Liberal Politics: Strange Bedfellows
  8. Open Letter to Dr. Josephine Briggs
  9. Smallpox and Pseudomedicine

Posted in: Health Fraud, Politics and Regulation, Vaccines

Leave a Comment (43) ↓

43 thoughts on “Another State Promotes the Pseudoscientific Cult that is “Naturopathic Medicine.” Part 1

  1. overshoot says:

    Whiplash:

    However, if the stroke is hemorrhagic, cooling the body rapidly will cause vasoconstriction, thereby helping to control the bleed.

    Eeep! Read that as “peripheral vasoconstriction, which raises cranial blood pressure — which is, as I recall, a great way to kill the patient.

    Placing a hot, wrung out towel over the chest can relax the breathing muscles and restore normal breathing. For an acute asthma attack try a steam inhalation (draping a towel over your head and a bowl of hot water) with a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the water.

    Well, sort of. Forget the oil of eucalyptus, but warmth and warm wet air are reliable symptomatic relief for asthma either as an adjunct or when better means aren’t available. You’d be shocked at how many asthmatics drive hours from town to ski areas where the air is thin, cold, and dry — but don’t bring their inhalers. Any relief while family brings the car is better than nothing.

    Talk about a mixed bag: we talk about “brain-killing woo” but some of it is, literally — and mixed in like raisins are a few bits of helpful technique left over from Maimonides.

  2. Joe says:

    I find this odd: http://www.mmaonline.net/News/NewsFullStory/tabid/2266/ArticleID/2541/CBModuleId/3348/Default.aspx
    “Naturopaths worried that a primary obstacle to the bill’s passage would be the objections of the Minnesota Medical Association. The MMA did object to allowing naturopaths to prescribe drugs and perform minor surgery. But when these measures were removed from the bill the MMA withdrew its opposition.”

    WHAT?!

  3. overshoot says:

    The MMA did object to allowing naturopaths to prescribe drugs and perform minor surgery. But when these measures were removed from the bill the MMA withdrew its opposition.”

    Pick your battles.

  4. Joe says:

    @overshoot, “Pick your battles.”

    Sad, but I get your point: “keep your powder dry” often works (consider the McCarthy hearings, when he was hoist by his own petard ). However, I think the MMA would be in a stronger position for licensure of the next fairy-tale treatment if they fought this to the last. Predictions are always difficult; especially about the future.

  5. daijiyobu says:

    One day, I dream, there will be a huge legal reckoning for AANP, AANMC, UBCNM and kind naturopathy,

    and I’m preparing the way, per

    http://aanpalliancesciencebasedclaim.blogspot.com/

    and per

    http://www.youtube.com/daijiyobu .

    Maybe, then, I can get some monetary compensation for the huge damages due to their ruse, and maybe, then, it will change their fraudulent self-descriptions so that others can make actually informed decisions about engagement with this ‘unethical sectarian pseudoscience.’

    -r.c.

  6. I enjoy your comments. I think you may enjoy reading this blog…

    georgeulett.blogspot.com

  7. Hermano says:

    It would serve the audience much better had the author carefully read the new Minnesota Statute 147E, instead of haranguing against the “hidden agendas” of naturopathic medicine.
    Everything said about the naturopathic medical profession’s regulation in Minnesota is false.
    The Statute 147E is very clear that the “Board” whose jurisdiction Minnesota registered naturopathic doctors fall under is:
    “Subd. 4. Board. “Board” means the Board of Medical Practice or its designee.”
    The very same Board that governs Minnesota’s medical doctors and is described in the Statute 147 of the Minnesota Code.
    The “Discipline and Reporting” section of the Statute 147E makes appropriate references:
    “Sec. 8. [147E.30] DISCIPLINE; REPORTING.
    For purposes of this chapter, registered naturopathic doctors and applicants are
    subject to sections 147.091 to 147.162.”
    Here are the names of the pertinent sections of the Board of Medical Practice Statute:

    # 147.091 — Grounds for disciplinary action.
    # 147.092 — Probable cause hearing; sexual misconduct.
    # 147.10 — Renumbered 147.081
    # 147.101 — Repealed, 1985 c 247 s 26
    # 147.11 — Repealed, 1985 c 247 s 26
    # 147.111 — Reporting obligations.
    # 147.12 — Repealed, 1985 c 247 s 26
    # 147.121 — Immunity.
    # 147.13 — Repealed, 1985 c 247 s 26
    # 147.131 — Physician cooperation.
    # 147.141 — Forms of disciplinary action.
    # 147.151 — Disciplinary record on judicial review.
    # 147.155 — Reports to the commissioner of health.
    # 147.16 — Repealed, 1985 c 247 s 26
    # 147.161 — Physician accountability.
    # 147.162 — Medical care facilities; exclusion.

    So much for making “a few comments pertinent to the Minnesota bill”
    The post has a sub title: “The Minnesota Bill: the Devil’s in the Details”.
    How very ironic.

  8. Hermano is either naive to such issues or is attempting to distract the discussion from the real point: what naturopaths do. The relevant passages in the Minnesota bill are these:

    Sec. 9. [147E.35] REGISTERED NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR ADVISORY COUNCIL.

    Subd. 3. Duties. The advisory council shall:

    (1) advise the board regarding standards for registered naturopathic doctors;

    (2) provide for distribution of information regarding registered naturopathic doctors standards;

    (3) advise the board on enforcement of sections 147.091 to 147.162;

    (4) review applications and recommend granting or denying registration or registration renewal;

    (5) advise the board on issues related to receiving and investigating complaints, conducting hearings, and imposing disciplinary action in relation to complaints against registered naturopathic doctors;

    (6) advise the board regarding approval of continuing education programs using the criteria in section 147E.25, subdivision 3…”

    The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice will plead innocent to knowledge of naturopathic “standards,” and look to the Naturopathic Doctor Advisory Council (“its designee”) for advice—exactly as stipulated in the bill. In that, it will conform to established precedent:

    A widely accepted rule of medical malpractice states that ‘a physician is entitled to have his treatment of his patient tested by the rules and principles of the school of medicine to which he belongs, and not by those of some other school.’ Although this rule is most often used as a basis for delineating different standards of care among conventional medical specialties, it has also been used to set standards for practitioners of alternative medicine in schools ranging from chiropractic to homeopathy, naturopathy (the resurgent remnants of the ‘drugless practitioners’ of an earlier era), and even Christian Science healing. An important rationale underlying school-specific standards is that, when a patient elects or gives informed consent to receive care from a particular practitioner, the patient is presumed to have also elected to be treated with an ordinary level of skill and care common to that practitioner’s field of practice.

    But courts have not applied a school-specific standard of care in situations where they do not recognize the school to which a defendant claims membership. How do judges make this decision? Licensure has thus far been the decisive piece of evidence in determining whether an identifiable school of medicine exists; the regulatory apparatus that accompanies licensure defines its scope. As one court stated: ‘Through the enactment of this legislation, the legislature has recognized the practice . . . as a separate and distinct health care discipline.’ ”

    —Studdert DM, Eisenberg DM, Miller FH, Curto DA, Kaptchuk TJ, Brennan TA. Medical malpractice implications of alternative medicine. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1610-5. Available at: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/280/18/1610#SEC3

    Thus “enactment of this legislation” serves not to protect the public from quacks, but to protect quacks from public scrutiny. In Part 2 I will present a disturbing example of this reality.

  9. Hermano says:

    I am in fact very naive about a great many thing,
    including debating, rhetoric, and logical fallacies.
    I do believe I have a capacity to learn, so if I err
    in any way, I would very much like a reply that
    identifies my error in more basic terms suited to
    someone new to discussions of this sort.
    I do not believe calling attention to the relevant
    sections of the Minnesota law K. Atwood completely misinterpreted
    is distracting from the subject which is this
    particular law, Statute 147E.
    I will try to follow the protocol set before me.
    First let’s get the pleasantries out of the way.
    Kimball Atwood is dogmatic, prejudiced, petty, dour, humorless, and a zealot.

    Now to elaborate on what I said earlier.
    The fact is Advisory Council is an advisory body, the
    governance is reserved for the Medical Board.
    I sincerely hope the Medical Board considers the input from
    the Advisory Council while it deliberates and decides on matters
    relevant to registered naturopathic doctors.

    Here are some examples regarding advisors. Over at the scienceblogs,
    people enjoy watching me flinging strawmen, I don’t know if the following
    examples qualify as straw man fallacies, if they do, I hope you enjoy them
    as much as others have.

    I hope the U.S. President listens to his advisors, ultimately
    the decisions he or she makes are his or her responsibility.
    The U.S. Congresspeople and Senators rely on their legislative
    assistants, many of whom yield considerable power, the voting record
    is the responsibility of the legislators themselves.
    The U.S. Supreme Court Justices have their incredibly bright clerks,
    yet these clerks do not cast decisions on cases before the court.

    Another example is “Massachusetts Special Commission on Complementary and
    Alternative Medical Practitioners, an ad hoc group whose purpose is to
    inform state legislators about naturopathy” which I will naively characterize
    as an advisory body on licensing NDs in Massachusetts.

    This advisory commission makes a recommendation to regulate naturopathic
    doctors, and 6 years later the Massachusetts naturopathic doctors are still not regulated
    and, I am told, never will be as long as the Mass. Medical Society is set
    against allowing them to be regulated.

    The truth is, being neither psychic or clairvoyant, I do not know how well the
    Medical Board will cooperate with the Advisory Council, only the time will show.

    Now, for the “real point: what naturopaths do”.
    Let me say more about myself, so I can disqualify myself right away.
    I am an advocate for regulating naturopathic doctors.
    I am neither a health care professional nor a professional scientist.
    The highlight of my scientific education has been getting, as an older student,
    one of few all “A”s at a challenging physics for engineers university sequence,
    not the physics lite gut many premeds take to keep their GPAs up.
    I do personally know many of the eligible for regulation naturopathic doctors,
    I have paid attention to those who actively opposed this legislation,
    watched and read about their tactics in Minnesota and other states,
    and I believe I gained an insight into the method behind their madness.

    It’s not really a compliment, so I hope it does not count against me as a logical fallacy
    of pandering to you, but as much as I find the proponents of rational skepticism
    irritating and overly zealous, I do not believe you have it in you to be
    as plain nasty and fight as dirty in the real world of politics
    as I saw the opponents of regulating naturopathic doctors do.
    I don’t think you have the capacity, or stomach, or whatever they have for inflicting
    maximum pain on their opponents.

    Having said all this, and mindful that K. Atwood’s already “heard every argument”
    I will not bore you any more!

    Best Regards.

  10. Harriet Hall says:

    Hermano,

    I can’t follow your arguments. Is it just me? If so, maybe you can explain it to me in simpler terms. I find it hard to believe that “Everything said about the naturopathic medical profession’s regulation in Minnesota is false.” and I don’t think you have given us evidence to support such a claim.

    Your comments about Dr. Atwood being “dogmatic, prejudiced, petty, dour, humorless, and a zealot.” are inappropriate and discourteous. Ad hominem attacks against the person say nothing about the validity of the person’s arguments, but they do say a great deal about the attacker.

  11. No Harriet. It isn’t just you. I can’t follow Hermano either, and unlike you, I am not an MD or a Skeptic. Neither am I a scientist.

    Hermano, you keep referring to naturoaths as “naturpathic doctors”. How much do you know about the “medicine” that naturopaths practice? Do you believe it is based on science or even good objective evidence as opposed to subjective, unverifiable stories? If you believe it is based on science or objective evidence, what do you base these conclusions on?

    You also mention how well you did in a university physics course for engineers that was so much more difficult than the physics courses many premed students take. Are you implying that engineers, physicists and perhaps you yourself are far better scientists than medical scientists? In my experience the majority of people from engineering and the “hard” sciences have a very difficult time dealing with medical science in which there are a great many unknown variables. I know chemists who share this veiw.

  12. DVMKurmes says:

    Hermano;

    I think you may not understand how medical boards work. They usually evaluate complaints against medical licenses based on a “standard of care” that can vary from state to state and even vary between local areas (the standard of care for a small, rural hospital may not be quite the same as for a large urban or regional medical center, etc.).
    Dr. Atwood’s point in this post is that Minnesota is allowing a small group of naturopaths to establish their own standard of care, which the medical board will then be required to follow when making decisions about complaints against licensees. It has been very rare for boards to revoke licenses for CAM practitioners in the past as has been documented in this blog and others including Quackometer, Respectful Insolence and Denialism. You might understand this post better if you spend some time in the archives of these blogs.

  13. weing says:

    That’s what I could make out too. Somehow, getting an A in physics for engineers makes him a smarter person than doctors and apparently also gives him a better insight into the legal system too. Also, someone, I haven’t figured out who, can get really dirty and nasty.

  14. Joe says:

    rjstan and weing,

    There was a chemistry professor in Indiana who regularly made the point in his introductory class that the more rigorous the science, the easier it is. Physicists and chemists can make precise calculations; whereas biologists and psychologists can only identify trends and statistical outcomes. He (and I) acknowledge that the less rigorous sciences are more difficult to master.

  15. wertys says:

    Can I start by saying that it’s nice to have a troller who isn’t called pec ?!?!

    Hermano,

    you need to be a bit more accurate and clear in your expression, but it strikes me that you are impressed by the seriousness and caring nature of NDs and you see no reason why simply caring hard enough and being really nice should not be accepted as legitimate medical practice.

    If you have evidence that these treatments work, as opposed to advocacy, opinion, invective or logical fallacy, please don’t keep it to yourself, but advance it to the scientific world…

  16. Stu says:

    Guys/gals, stop it. Hermano is not worth the effort. He’s done this several times now, and it’s really, really getting old.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/06/doctors_of_naturopathy_in_minnesota.php

  17. Hermano says:

    rjstan,
    I am careful not to refer to naturopathic doctors as ‘naturopath’
    not because they are not, but because title ‘naturopath’ is not protected in Minnesota.
    The existing Minnesota law, Statute 146A, allows anybody call herself naturopath and practice ‘naturopathy’ without any
    qualifications or requirements. The new law, 147E, does not change this, it reserves ‘naturopathic doctor’ title for the individuals who would have been eligible for licensing as ‘naturopathic physicians’ in states such as Arizona, Washington, and Oregon, and allows them to order lab tests, perform routine
    physical exams, and obtain malpractice insurance.
    Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturopathic_medicine describes two naturopathic camps thusly:
    “There are two groups in North America calling themselves “naturopaths” who have recently been engaged in legal battles. The term when originally coined by John Scheel, and popularized by Dr. Benedict Lust was to apply to those receiving an education in the basic medical sciences with an emphasis on natural therapies. This usage best describes modern day naturopathic physicians. In the absence of universal regulation of naturopathy, another group of practitioners (the so-called ‘traditional naturopaths’) has emerged. Additionally, a variety of health care professionals may incorporate naturopathic principles and modalities into their practice.”
    As I mentioned, I am not a doctor or scientist, nor am a lawyer.
    I have read Statute 147E several times, it is very short and easy to understand. This Statute is what ‘regulates’ naturopathic doctors in Minnesota.
    It is hilarious how Atwood in his comment brings up Eisenberg as an authority to deflect from his own ineptitude in reading a very short bill.
    Same Eisenberg Atwood attacks elsewhere for not being “sceptic” enough.
    Last week was my first exposure to pseudo-scepticism, and I am very sceptical in regard to it..
    In an earlier comment, when I mentioned the ‘hard’ freshman physics course I took when I recenly went back to school, that was just to show how limited my background is. I have great respect for MDs and scientists in general. I also respect individuals I know who went to naturopathic medical schools. Yes, their curriculum is science-based. Here is the Bastyr curriculum http://bastyr.edu/education/naturopath/degree_curriculum/4_year_track.asp(warning, there is a year of homeopathy)
    Please let me know what else besides homeopathy and hydrotherapy looks amiss:

    Curriculum for Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine 2007-2008
    Four-Year Track: Year I
    Quarter Cat. No. Course Title Credits Lec. L/C Tot.
    Fall BC5104 Biochemistry 1 4 4 0 44
    BC5107 Human Physiology 1 Lec/Lab 5.5 4 3 77
    BC5110 Histology* 5 4 2 66
    BC5122 Gross Human Anatomy 1 4.5 4 1 55
    BC5122L Gross Human Anatomy 1 Lab 1 0 2 22
    NM5113 Naturopathic Medicine in Historical Context 2 1 2 33
    NM5804 Clinic Entry 1 1 0 2 22

    Quarterly Total:
    23 17 12 319

    Winter BC5105 Biochemistry 2 4 4 0 44
    BC5108 Human Physiology 2 Lec/Lab 5.5 4 3 77
    BC5112 Embryology 3 3 0 33
    BC5123 Gross Human Anatomy 2 4.5 4 1 55
    BC5123L Gross Human Anatomy 2 Lab 1 0 2 22
    BC5142 Fundamentals of Research Design* 2 2 0 22
    NM5114 Fundamentals of Naturopathic Clinical Theory 2 1 2 33
    OM5120 Fundamental Principles of TCM* 3 3 0 33
    PM5301 Hydrotherapy/ Physiotherapy Lecture 2 2 0 22
    PM5305 Hydrotherapy/Physiotherapy Lab* 1 0 2 22

    Quarterly Total:
    28 23 10 363

    Spring BC5106 Biochemistry 3 4 4 0 44
    BC5109 Human Physiology 3 3 3 0 33
    BC5124 Gross Human Anatomy 3 4.5 4 1 55
    BC5124L Gross Human Anatomy 3 Lab 1 0 2 22
    BC5129 Neuroscience 5.5 4 3 77
    BO5301 Botanical Medicine 1 Lec/Lab 2 1.5 1** 26.5
    NM5115 Naturopathic Medicine in Global Context 2 1 2 33
    PM5310 Myofascial Analysis 1.5 0 3 33

    Quarterly Total:
    23.5 17.5 12 323.5
    *BC5110, BC5142, OM5120: Usually also offered in summer
    **Two hours every other week times five weeks

    Four-Year Track: Year II
    Quarter Cat. No. Course Title Credits Lec. L/C Tot.
    Fall BC6200 Human Pathology 1 4 4 0 44
    BC6204 Immunology* 4 4 0 44
    BO6301 Botanical Medicine 2 2 2 0 22
    HO6300 Homeopathy 1 2 2 0 22
    NM6210 Clinical Lab Diagnosis 1 3.5 2 3 55
    NM6221 Physical/Clinical Diagnosis 1 Lecture 2 2 0 22
    NM6221L Physical/Clinical Diagnosis 1 Lab 2 1 2 33
    PS6305 Naturopathic Counseling 1 3 3 0 33
    TR6310 Foods, Dietary Systems & Assessment 3 2 2 44

    Quarterly Total:
    25.5 22 7 319

    Winter BC6201 Human Pathology 2 4 4 0 44
    BC6209 Infectious Diseases** 5 5 0 55
    BO6302 Botanical Medicine 3 Lec 2 2 0 22
    HO6301 Homeopathy 2 3 3 0 33
    NM6211 Clinical Lab Diagnosis 2 3.5 2 3 55
    NM6222 Physical/Clinical Diagnosis 2 Lecture 2 2 0 22
    NM6222L Physical/Clinical Diagnosis 2 Lab 2 1 2 33
    PS6306 Naturopathic Counseling 2 3 3 0 33
    TR6311 Macro & Micronutrients 3 3 0 33

    Quarterly Total:
    27.5 25 5 330

    Spring BC6202 Human Pathology 3 4 4 0 44
    BO6303 Botanical Medicine Dispensary Lab* 1 0 2 22
    BC6305 Pharmacology ** 5 5 0 55
    HO6302 Homeopathy 3 3 3 0 33
    NM6212 Clinical Lab Diagnosis 3 3.5 2 3 55
    NM6223 Physical/Clinical Diagnosis 3 Lecture 2 2 0 22
    NM6223L Physical/Clinical Diagnosis 3 Lab 2 1 2 33
    NM6804 Clinic Entry 2 1 1 0 11
    NM8801 Preceptorship 1 1 0 4 44
    PM6300 Naturopathic Manipulation 1 2 2 0 22

    Quarterly Total:
    24.5 20 11 341
    *BC6204 and BO6303: Usually also offered in summer
    ** BC6209 and BC6305: Offered in winter and spring quarter
    Eligible to take NPLEX basic science exams after the successful completion of the second year.

    Four-Year Track: Year III
    Quarter Cat. No. Course Title Credits Lec. L/C Tot.
    Summer NM7325 Naturopathic Case Analysis & Mgmt 1 1.5 0 3 33
    NM7341 Cardiology 3 3 0 33
    NM7416 Minor Office Procedures* 3 3 0 33
    NM7417 Medical Procedures* 3 3 0 33

    Quarterly Subtotal:
    10.5 9 3 132
    1-2 Clinic Shifts** 2-4 0 4-8 44-88

    Fall BO7300 Botanical Medicine 4 Lec/Lab 2 1.5 1 26.5
    MW7320 Normal Maternity 3 3 0 33
    NM 7302 Gastroenterology*** 2 2 0 22
    NM 7307 EENT 2 2 0 22
    NM7313 Gynecology 3 3 0 33
    PM7301 Naturopathic Manipulation 2**** 3 3 0 33
    PM7305 Orthopedics 2 2 0 22
    PS7200 Psychological Assessment 2 2 0 22
    TR7411 Diet & Nutrient Therapy 1 3 3 0 33

    Quarterly Subtotal:
    22 21.5 1 246.5
    1-2 Clinic Shifts** 2-4 0 4-8 44-88

    Winter NM7101 Environmental Medicine 1.5 1.5 0 16.5
    NM7102 Public Health 1.5 1.5 0 16.5
    NM7115 Naturopathic Clinical Theory 2 1 1 0 11
    NM7304 Dermatology 2 2 0 22
    NM7306 Oncology 2 2 0 22
    NM7314 Pediatrics 1 2 2 0 22
    PM7302 Naturopathic Manipulation 3***** 3 3 0 33
    PM 7341 Sports Medicine/Therapeutic Exercise 2 2 0 22
    PS7203 Addictions & Disorders 2 2 0 22
    TR7412 Diet & Nutrient Therapy 2 3 3 0 33

    Quarterly Subtotal:
    20 20 0 220
    1-2 Clinic Shifts** 2-4 0 4-8 44-88

    Spring BO7301 Botanical Medicine 5 Lec/Lab 2 1.5 1 26.5
    NM7109 Practice Management 1 2 2 0 22
    NM7305 Clinical Ecology 2 2 0 22
    NM7311 Neurology 2 2 0 22
    NM7315 Pediatrics 2 2 2 0 22
    NM7320 Family Medicine 2 2 0 22
    NM7330 The Healing Systems 1 1 0 11
    PM7303 Naturopathic Manipulation 4****** 3 3 0 33
    PS7315 Naturopathic Counseling 3 2 2 0 22

    Quarterly Subtotal:
    18 17.5 1 202.5
    1-2 Clinic Shifts** 2-4 0 4-8 44-88
    * NM7341, NM7416 and NM7417: May also be offered in spring
    ** Students are assigned 6 shifts during their first year (4 quarters) in clinic.
    *** NM7302: Offered fall and spring.
    **** PM7301: One section usually offered in summer
    ***** PM7302: One section usually offered in fall
    ****** PM7303: One section usually offered in winter

    Four-Year Track: Year IV
    Quarter Cat. No. Course Title Credits Lec. L/C Tot.
    Summer NM8206 Radiographic Interpretation 1 Lecture*** 3 3 0 33
    NM8207 Radiographic Interpretation 1 Lab*** 1 0 2 22

    Quarterly Subtotal:
    4 3 2 55
    3-4 Clinic Shifts 6-8 0 12-16 132-176

    Fall NM8303 Geriatrics 2 2 0 22
    NM8308 Endocrinology** 3 3 0 33
    NM8312 Urology 1.5 1.5 0 16.5
    NM8325 Nat. Case Analysis & Mgmt 2: Grand Rounds*** 1 0 2 22
    NM8413 Adv’d Naturopathic Therapeutics 1 2 2 0 22

    Quarterly Subtotal:
    9.5 8.5 2 115.5
    3-4 Clinic Shifts 6-8 0 12-16 132-176

    Winter NM8101 Ethics**** 1 1 0 11
    NM8213 Diagnostic Imaging***** 2 2 0 22
    NM8309 Rheumatology 1.5 1.5 0 16.5
    NM8414 Adv’d Naturopathic Therapeutics 2 2 2 0 22
    NM8802 Preceptorship 2 1 0 4 44

    Quarterly Subtotal:
    7.5 6.5 4 115.5
    3-4 Clinic Shifts 6-8 0 12-16 132-176

    Spring NM8102 Jurisprudence 1 1 0 11
    NM8109 Practice Management 2 2 2 0 22
    NM8212 Radiographic Interpretation 2***** 3 3 0 33
    NM8314 Pulmonary Medicine 1.5 1.5 0 16.5
    NM8803 Preceptorship 3 1 0 4 44
    NM8844 Interim Patient Care****** 2 0 4 44

    Quarterly Subtotal:
    10.5 7.5 8 170.5
    3-4 Clinic Shifts 6-8 0 12-16 132-176
    *NM8206 and NM8207: Both offered summer and fall
    **NM8308: Offered fall and spring
    ***NM8325: Offered in fall, winter and spring
    ****NM8101: Offered fall and winter
    *****NM8212 and NM8213: Both offered winter and spring
    ******NM8844: Students are required to complete a total of 44 interim clinic hours. (Usually students staff the shifts they are assigned to in the quarter just ended.) Students register for and pay for this shift in their last quarter of attendance.

    Summary of Clinic Requirements: Naturopathic Medicine Program
    Quarter* Cat. No Course Title Credits Lec. L/C Tot.
    variable NM7820-29 Patient Care 1-10 20 0 40 440
    variable NM8801-3 Preceptorship 1-3 3 0 12 132
    variable NM8830-36 Patient Care 11-17 14 0 28 308
    variable NM8844 Interim Patient Care** 2 0 4 44
    variable PM7801-2 Physical Medicine 1-2 4 0 8 88
    variable PM8801-2 Physical Medicine 3-4 4 0 8 88

    Clinic Total:
    47 0 100 1100
    *Quarterly shift assignments are based on availability.

    Elective Requirements: Naturopathic Medicine Program
    Quarter Cat. No. Course Title Credits Lec. L/C Tot.
    variable variable Elective and Special Topics 15 15 0 165

    Elective Total:
    15 15 0 165

    Curriculum and course changes in the 2007-2008 Bastyr University Catalog are applicable to students entering during the 2007-2008 academic year. Please refer to the appropriate catalog if interested in curriculum and courses required for any other entering year.

    Total Requirements: Naturopathic Medicine Program
    The following requirements apply to all naturopathic medicine program tracks.
    Credits Lec. L/C Total
    Total Core Course Credits and Hours 249 218 62 3077
    Total Elective Credits and Hours 15 15 0 165
    Total Clinic Credits and Hours 47 0 100 1100
    Total Requirements 311 233 162 4342

  18. Harriet Hall says:

    Hermano,

    I still can’t understand what you are objecting to in Dr. Atwood’s description of the bill. What exactly do you think he mis-read?

    A list of courses taught in naturopathy schools is meaningless unless we know (1) what is actually taught in those courses and (2) whether the graduates of those schools understand and apply the scientific method in their practice. Even the best curriculum is no guarantee: there are M.D. graduates of regular medical schools who do not truly understand and apply the scientific method and who have fallen for all kinds of pseudoscientifc nonsense.

    Since you admit that you are not a doctor or a scientist, why do you think you are qualified to challenge the judgment of those of us who are? It is clear to science-based medical doctors that naturopathy follows science to some degree but embraces many treatments and philosophies that are not based on good science.

  19. Wow, have they cleaned up that site since I last looked at it! An unsuspecting person would really think they taught scientific there!

    Look at these:
    http://bastyr.edu/education/herbal/degree/training.asp
    QUOTE:
    Herbal Sciences

    A bachelor of science degree completion program* with a major in herbal sciences is designed to provide a thorough, scientifically rigorous and inspiring exploration of herbalism and its applications.
    snip
    Upon completion of this program, each student is uniquely qualified to enter the herbal industry or to pursue further education in a related field. Options include:

    * Herbal products representative
    * Quality assurance specialist
    * Herbal products manufacturer
    * Teacher/instructor
    * Researcher
    * Herbal products store owner or manager
    * Herb cultivator
    * Work in the health/wellness/supplements industry
    * Preparation for graduate studies in botany, horticulture, pharmacognosy, medicine, nursing or nutrition
    END QUOTE

    Herbal science? Do they mean botany, pharmacognosy, food science, agriculture? So now you need a special degree to own a health food store or clerk in one?

  20. Hermano says:

    I really do not know anything about this herbal science program.
    Now, the paper engineering majors just across Lake Washington from Bastyr at the University of Washington, they have to
    take that hard physics sequence the premeds often avoid.

  21. Harriet Hall says:

    Hermano,

    I don’t understand what you mean by “paper engineering majors” nor do I understand what the hard physics class has to do with anything.

    And I still don’t understand your objections to Dr. Atwood’s reading of the naturopathy bill.

    Please take pity on those of us who can’t read your mind and explain your points in clear, simple terms.

  22. In the midst of Hermano’s irrelevant, ad hominem invective is a legitimate question that might occur to anyone not familiar with regulatory precedent and its associated politics (ie, most people): why should the advisory role of the Minnesota Naturopathic Doctor Advisory Council be different from that of other “advisory” bodies?

    I answered that in large part above, particularly with regard to legal precedent. The “advisory” language in the bill was almost certainly a concession to organized medicine and/or an inevitable result of the “solution” (read: political dealing) to the problem of how such a small group could pay for its own board (answer: attach it to the board of a much larger group, and thus hide the fiscal reality).

    There is another point that I’ll try to summarize by recalling a proposal made (but quickly watered down) by a well-meaning member of our own commission who favored licensure but who knew little of either medicine or naturopathy: that a “Committee shall establish a scope of practice [for NDs] to include procedures and treatments that are based on peer-reviewed science/evidence based literature and studies.”

    Great, replied opponents to licensure. That would preclude homeopathy, AK, “detox” programs including fasting and enemas, iridology, chelation, hair analysis, “live cell analysis,” “bile acid assay,” “electrodiagnosis,” “tongue and pulse diagnosis,” hydrotherapy for virtually any specific indication, “vaginal depletion packs,” chiropractic-like “manual therapy,” acupuncture, most “natural remedies,” naturopathic (or other dubious) “diagnoses” such as “toxin overload,” “intestinal dysbiosis,” “immune system depression,” “chronic candidiasis,” “multiple food allergies,” “Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome,” and much more. In short, it would—you get the point.

    Now, consider what might happen if the Minnesota medical board actually tries to regulate NDs. A precedent that I’m aware of, having sat with the chairman of the Mass. medical board for many meetings, is the “regulation” of acupuncturists here. They are under the auspices of the medical board, but there is a separate committee that deals with acupuncture (I don’t have time at the moment to look up the statute; I don’t know if the word “advisory” is used). For issues pertaining to the practice of acupuncture (as opposed to, say, diddling patients), the chairman that I know (he is no longer the chairman) threw up his hands and asked “how do they expect us to comment on this?” An example of “this” was a TCMer with no training in modern medicine telling a patient that she had a thyroid problem by TCM diagnostic criteria even if not by “Western” criteria. The chairman wanted the acupuncture board divorced from the medical board so that the latter could not be held accountable. You can hardly blame him.

    There are other possible outcomes of the medical board trying to regulate NDs, of course, but it will be impossible to reconcile the standards of modern medical practice with the legal recognition of NDs. Thus the Advisory Council will almost certainly be the de facto ND board.

  23. Stu says:

    Kimball: kudos on the follow-up.

    Harriet: I meant what I said… attempting to engage this clown will drive you nuts.

  24. Hermano says:

    Harriett,
    I do not completely agree with Stu’s warning about asking me questions.
    There is a chance you may lose your mind.
    Sorry it happened to him. It might have been unrelated.
    He may be committing a classic post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy claiming talking to me and going crazy are related.
    What I said about the Minnesota Statute 147E is that the Board of Medical practice has the jurisdiction over the registered naturopathic doctors. That is a fact.
    Do you understand why these points by Atwood

    “Self-Regulation by Tiny Groups of Sectarians

    Almost all trades and professions that are typically regulated—electricians, plumbers, nurses, MDs, etc.—are self-regulated. By that is meant that there is a regulatory board whose members are predominantly members of the relevant profession. If that initially sounds self-defeating, it is also inevitable: who, besides civil engineers, for example, would be qualified to comment on the standards of civil engineering? The Minnesota naturopathy bill is typical in that sense:

    REGISTERED NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR ADVISORY COUNCIL.

    Subdivision 1. Membership. The board shall appoint a seven-member Registered Naturopathic Doctor Advisory Council consisting of one public member as defined in section 214.02, five registered naturopathic doctors who are residents of the state, and one licensed physician or osteopath with expertise in natural medicine.

    The most obvious problem with such a scheme, and what mainly distinguishes it from civil engineering and other boards, is that there can be no objective standards for fields that lack objective data to support their methods. Where are the state boards of astrologers or psychics? Next week I’ll present examples of ND-associated catastrophes that failed to elicit appropriate responses from regulatory boards.

    A less-appreciated problem is that of self-regulation of a tiny group. In Minnesota there are barely 25 NDs who qualify for registration, and the state expects 5 of them to pass judgment upon the rest. There’s a good chance that any complaint sent to the Advisory Council will involve an ND that the council members already know, since they are all members of a tiny organization that, until now, was primarily concerned with political activism. How can they avoid conflicting interests? The other reason that self-regulating professions are at least somewhat capable of acting objectively, in addition to the existence of objective standards, is that most are large enough to guarantee independence in their board deliberations. In Massachusetts, for example, there are 30,000 MDs.
    Title Protection and Government Handouts

    A state board for a tiny group presents a tangential problem that the Minnesota electorate might have overlooked: who pays for it? Most professions pay for their own regulation through licensing fees. How will 25 NDs in Minnesota, each paying $200 for initial registration and $150 for annual renewal, support their board? They won’t, of course:

    Sec. 13. APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) $8,000 in fiscal year 2009 is appropriated from the state government special revenue fund to the Board of Medical Practice for the registration of naturopathic doctors under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 147E.

    (b) $25,000 in fiscal year 2009 is appropriated from the state government special revenue fund to the commissioner of health for the naturopathy work group. This is a onetime appropriation.

    are in error?

    K. Atwood may say what he likes about an advisory body being “de facto” an independent board. The law is what it is, and will be until the legislators change it. Or the pseudo-sceptics overthrow the democratically elected government and declare martial law (this is a joke, a bad one) .

    The fact that registered naturopathic doctors came under the Medical Board was the center point of the brutal campaign waged against them by the opponents of this legislation.

    Here is an example:
    ” Dear Health Freedom Supporters:

    Why we want to oppose this bill:

    1. The original bill was introduced as a licensure bill for 25 naturopaths. Had this form of the bill been accepted and passed ALL PRACTITIONERS would have had to STOP their practice. This bill would have brought ALL natural health care modalities into the Medical Board control.
    2. This original bill was changed to a registration bill for these same 25 naturopaths. Although the bill is no longer licensure, it still contains the harmful language and lists all the modalities in the scope of practice. It is still bringing all modalities listed in the scope of practice to the Medical Board’s jurisdiction. When the registered naturopathic doctors seek licensure, the modalities in the scope of practice will have been under the Medical Board for x amount of years and it will be very difficult for an unlicensed professional to practice these modalities without being regulated by the Board of Medicine.
    3. Any practitioner with a Naturopathic Doctor or Diplomat diploma is at immediate risk of loosing the ability to use “N.D.” as their title unless the diploma was earned from one of the six schools listed in the bill.
    4. The intention of the original licensure bill was obvious. The 25 naturopaths wanted control of all natural health practices and modalities and they wanted to be regulated as doctors by the Medical Board. There has been no change in the direction of the intention of the registration bill. It, the registration bill, is just a small stepping stone back to the original goal to control and have a monopoly. ”

    The above was part of a broadly circulated appeal to bombast Minnesota legislators with emails and phone calls on the eve of the bill’s being voted in the Minnesota House of Representatives on May 7th, 2008.
    The exact origin of the above statement is http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_11852.cfm,
    courtesy of the Organic Consumers Association which claims 850,000 active members nationwide.
    That links now simply points to http://www.mnhlrp.org/action_alerts.html

    As far as ‘paper engineering’, I was making light of the previous question/comment about ‘herbal science’ at Bastyr.
    It is a real paper products specific chemical engineering major at UW in Seattle. It does not matter to this discussion, I’m sorry I mentioned it and I am sorry I mentioned the physics course.

  25. Harriet Hall says:

    Hermano,

    No, I don’t understand. I thought Dr. Atwood made perfect sense. Are you hung up on the fact that the law calls for an “advisory” body? As I understand it, it is supposed to advise the medical board that has the authority. The point is that the “advice” of such a body will naturally be advice that is not science-based. They will necessarily be advising about naturopathic practices that are not accepted by scientific medicine. Dr. Atwood has experience with how such advisory bodies work in practice.

    If the medical board really acted independently on science-based criteria, it would disregard the advice of naturopaths about any non-evidence-based treatment. It would prevent them from doing most of what they do and would leave them without a job. Do you think that’s going to happen? Not in the real world!

    You said “Everything said about the naturopathic medical profession’s regulation in Minnesota is false.” You haven’t shown that. As far as I can see, everything Dr. Atwood said was fact or reasonable assumptions based on the facts.

  26. weing says:

    Hermano,
    I got it. Why not put the NDs together with registered psychics? I am sure there are more than 20 in that state.

  27. Hermano says:

    Harriet,
    Are you insisting that the Board of Medical Practice does NOT regulate registered naturopathic doctors under the Statute 147E?
    Here are the relevant Statutes
    https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/laws/?id=348&doctype=Chapter&year=2008&type=0
    https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/revisor/pages/statute/statute_chapter_toc.php?year=2007&chapter=147

  28. weing says:

    Hermano,
    How can the Board of Medical Practice regulate registered psychics, psychic healers, psychic surgeons, etc?

  29. weing says:

    Hermano,
    Are you a physicist? How many courses have you taken in Alchemy? How many semesters have you studied the works of Paracelsus and Cornelius Agrippa? How can you say you aced physics without studying these researchers? Have you learned the secrets of transmutation of lead into gold?

  30. Hermano says:

    K. Atwood,

    Do you know why the N.D.s are not getting licensed in Massachusetts?

  31. wertys says:

    Hermano, are you sure you’re not related to Professor Joseph Obi ? as your prose style is quite similar…

  32. Hermano says:

    wertys,

    Could you please review what “ad hominem” and “deflection” mean?
    Is it something that defines Woo advocates?

  33. daijiyobu says:

    Someone [guess who?{I'll give you a hint - hermano!!!!}], has stated in a comment above, regarding naturopathic ‘medical’ schools:

    “yes, their curriculum is science-based.”

    I feel a duty, for the record, to answer that assessment on this page [since I am very knowledgeable in this area]:

    that label / that ND claim is PATENTLY false.

    For those interested, I’ve aggregated such ‘ND science claims’ at http://thesciencethataintscience.blogspot.com/ .

    The science coursework is merely a patina / veneer / imposture.

    The essentially naturopathic is essentially a sectarian belief set falsely claiming to be able to survive scientific scrutiny.

    I consider it racketeering, a ruse, an academic fraud: an unethical sectarian pseudoscience labeling itself scientific and not a certain belief set.

Comments are closed.