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Licensing Naturopaths: the triumph of politics over science

Naturopaths shouldn’t get too excited about having a special week in their honor. The U.S. House of Representatives gave watermelons a whole month. As between naturopathy and watermelons for my good health, I’ll go with the watermelons any day. You’ll soon understand why.

Today is not my usual blogging day. But when David Gorksi announced SBM’s celebration of Naturopathic Medicine Week, I volunteered an extra post to answer the question I am sure is on everyone’s mind: How in the heck do they get away with this stuff?

The answer lies in the creation of Naturopathic Medicine Week itself: politics. Just as Sen. Barbara Mikulski turned her credulous acceptance of naturopathy into a Senate Resolution and slipped it by her Senate colleagues, clueless legislators around the country are sponsoring bills to license naturopaths, in some cases as primary care physicians. And it’s not as if these legislators don’t know they are incorporating quackery into primary care. Practices such as naturopathic “organ repositioning” (an anatomical impossibility) and Mark Crislip noted, what little data there is suggests that naturopathic primary care is associated with worse outcomes. But evidence is not necessary in the political realm. And now the political process has given naturopaths an additional incentive for licensure. They argue that the Affordable Care Act mandates reimbursement for their services.

Naturopaths are far short of their goal even though licensing bills have been introduced repeatedly in many states, only to fail. Naturopaths are licensed in 17 states, but have full prescription rights in only two, Oregon and Washington. Florida, my home state, is still on their wish list but no bill was introduced this year. (Florida actually rescinded naturopathic licensing in the 1950s.) Inquiries were made, but either they couldn’t find a sponsor or backed down for other reasons. Perhaps they were deterred by the specter of their previous attempt, which resulted in a Florida House Committee report concluding that “the proposed licensure of naturopathic physicians would likely increase the risk of harm to the public.”

In 2013, licensing bills were introduced in 10 states. So far, the naturopaths are one and four.

Licensing bills failed in Arkansas, Maryland, Rhode Island and North Carolina, but are pending in six others, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Bills passed in the New York Senate and Pennsylvania House and are now pending in the other chamber. Key legislation expanding scope of practice or insurance coverage failed in Oregon, Alaska, Montana and Hawaii. In addition, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development recently took away their authority to use “prescriptive nutrients.”

Colorado: “I’ll be back!”

After numerous failed attempts over two decades, the Colorado legislature passed a naturopathic registration (but not licensing) bill. The naturopathic lobbyists weren’t exactly straight with the legislators in this process. Naturopaths handed out a chart purporting to demonstrate that their education is at least equal to that of medical doctors. As you can see, the chart is based on the false assumption that somehow hours of education equates with quality of education. (On this same basis, I can make the argument that high school and college are equivalent.) Even assuming that is a proper basis for comparison, the chart totally misrepresents medical education and training by leaving off the additional three years of residency family practice and internal medicine physicians must undergo before they can practice.

Actually, what this chart convincingly demonstrates is that a good part of naturopathic education is eaten up with topics like homeopathy (110 hours), botanical medicine (herbs and dietary supplements, 110 hours), and Chinese medicine (160 hours). This is most interesting considering advice just out from the American College of Medical Toxicology and the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology (“Physicians Specializing in the Care of Poisoned Patients”).

Don’t use homeopathic medications, non-vitamin dietary supplements or herbal supplements as treatments for disease or preventive health measures.

When two groups whose collective motto is “Physicians Specializing in the Care of Poisoned Patients” tell us not to take something I think we all should listen, don’t you? Unfortunately for naturopaths, this pretty much wipes out the standard naturopathic formulary. Not that it will have any effect whatsoever on actual naturopathic practice, as they eschew evidence-based medicine.

But having granted them the privilege of practicing naturopathic medicine, the Colorado legislature had to go back and pepper the bill with all sorts of limitations in an attempt to satisfy the objections of those who think NDs present a danger to public health. This resulted in a scope of practice that falls far short of that accorded MD primary care physicians:

  • naturopaths are not licensed to practice, they are simply registered
  • must advise patients they are not medical doctors
  • cannot describe themselves as “physicians,” naturopathy not described as “primary care”
  • no prescription drugs and no telling patients to discontinue their medications
  • no treatment of children under two without an elaborate process in place to ensure they are also seeing a pediatrician and get the recommended vaccinations
  • must advise patients to have a medical doctor and attempt to coordinate care with same
  • no obstetrics
  • no independent supervisory board, advisory board only consisting of 3 NDs, 3 MDs, one pharmacist and 2 public members

Thus, while NDs may think they are primary care physicians, the State of Colorado most certainly does not agree. Now, you’d think the average person might pause to wonder: if naturopaths are telling the truth about their education and practice, why all the restrictions? Maybe that should tell Coloradans something. They vow to return to expand their scope of practice, a cautionary tale for states wishing to test the waters by giving NDs a limited scope of practice.

Still, there is plenty of room for mischief and the Colorado NDs seem to be making the most of it, even though full implementation of the law was delayed until June, 2014. They are, despite all evidence that they shouldn’t, busy selling patients on the idea that homeopathy and dietary supplements are beneficial.

And they are testing, testing, testing to find illusory problems they can treat. They’re using provoked urine tests to identify the ubiquitous toxins NDs claim permeate our bodies so that they can treat this imagined toxic overload with chelating agents. Here’s what the “Physicians Specializing in the Care of Poisoned Patients” have to say on that subject:

Don’t administer a chelating agent prior to testing urine for metals, a practice referred to as “provoked” urine testing.

Don’t order heavy metal screening tests to assess non-specific symptoms in the absence of excessive exposure to metals.

Don’t recommend chelation except for documented metal intoxication which has been diagnosed using validated tests in appropriate biological samples.

Why?

Chelating drugs may have significant side effects, including dehydration, hypocalcaemia, kidney injury, liver enzyme elevations, hypotension, allergic reactions and essential mineral deficiencies. Inappropriate chelation, which may cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, risks these harms, as well as neurodevelopmental toxicity, teratogenicity and death.

Seems like a high price to pay for a problem that doesn’t exist.

But that’s not all. Colorado NDs are testing blood and saliva so they can diagnose and treat “adrenal fatigue,” another imaginary condition (as explained here by the Mayo Clinic) with dietary supplements and strict dietary regimens. They are testing for “food toxicity” because “if you have one or more these symptoms, there is a 95% probability you’ll benefit from a food toxicity test.” This is followed by an impressive list of symptoms that makes one wonder what wouldn’t be a symptom of “food toxicity.” They is “genomic testing to determine genetic need for specific nutrients,” another dubious test debunked by Quackwatch. They are testing blood to measure IgG response to a wide selection of foods which, in the alternative reality of alternative medicine, raises the possibility of digestive problems. (Scott Gavura: “These tests lack both a sound scientific rationale and evidence of effectiveness.”)

The Quack Full Employment Act

We can’t leave Colorado and head east without mentioning the Natural Health Care Consumer Protection Act, or, as I prefer to call it, the Quack Full Employment Act, which also made it through the legislature and was signed into law by the governor. Apparently, this was a sop thrown to the traditional naturopaths in exchange for their not opposing the naturopathic doctors getting their registration act passed. It allows traditional naturopaths to continue practicing without fear of being charged with practicing naturopathy without a license. Although they use many of the same methods, traditional naturopaths don’t make any claim they are able to practice primary care medicine.

The Quack Full Employment Act is another one of those “health freedom” laws designed to allow anyone to practice medicine. All you have to do is avoid claiming you are practicing medicine and using medical terms. You can use made-up terms, though, and made-up treatments. Here is my take on the bill before its unfortunate transformation into actual law:

Let’s put this all together and see just what would happen should this bill become law. Virtually anyone can set up shop without any education or training in health care whatsoever, or a worthless on-line certificate if they prefer, and practice complementary and alternative “health care and healing arts therapies and methods.” They can see anyone who walks in the door, no matter how sick. They can provide any unconventional disease diagnosis they want, including making up diseases and conditions that don’t exist. CAM practitioners can then proceed to practice virtually any “healing arts therapies and methods” they can dream up, including recommending various nostrums that they then sell to the consumer. They have no duty to provide informed consent, no education and training in recognizing the need to refer to a physician and no duty to refer to a physician. And even if the CAM practitioner is injuring his “clients” right and left, the medical board must sit on its hands and do nothing as long as the CAM practitioner complies with a few rules. The board has no authority whatsoever to step in and stop it. Unlike every licensed health care professional in Colorado, who must answer to a regulatory authority, the unlicensed practitioner answers to no one.

Now the takeover of Colorado by quackery is complete.

Organ repositioning: an update

Let’s zip across the country to Pennsylvania, where a bill to license naturopaths as primary care physicians passed the House and is now waiting to be assigned to a Senate committee. I covered the bill’s provisions in “Naturopathic Organ Repositioning Coming Soon to Pennsylvania?

One thing not mentioned in that post was the bill’s sponsor Rep. Mark Mustio’s statement touting the fact that Cancer Treatment Centers of America employs naturopaths, a subject David Gorski thoroughly explored on Monday. Someone might wish to point out to Rep. Mustio that what CTCA permits its NDs to do is far narrower than what this bill would allow. CTCA NDs are under the supervision of medical doctors and allowed a very limited input into patient care. Even the ND-friendly CTCA doesn’t allow them to see patients on their own and certainly not in the capacity of a primary care practitioner. In fact, they don’t even refer to them as “doctors” or “physicians” in their naturopathic medicine section. They are “naturopathic clinicians” who are part of “your overall care team.” And I don’t see any reference to CTCA’s offering organ repositioning, fasting, detoxification, magnetic therapy, and any number of other naturopathic treatments NDs would be licensed to use if this bill passes.

As was true in Colorado before their registration act was passed, Pennsylvania naturopaths are already practicing naturopathy even without a license to do so. Their websites offer a window on what naturopathic practice would be like if they are licensed, likely multiplied by many more naturopaths attracted to one of the few states where they can legally practice. And a bill licensing them as primary care practitioners would surely expand the liberties they are already taking with their, shall we say, questionable practices.

Here we find ourselves in familiar territory. Pennsylvania naturopaths are advising patients to take dietary supplements, botanicals, and homeopathic remedies for their medical conditions despite overwhelming evidence that this is inappropriate. They are also “detoxifying” patients with fasts, as well as colon hydrotherapy and detox foot bath. They offer “flower essences to “energetically address emotional and mental issues.” One Pennsylvania naturopath claims to treat almost 50 different diseases and conditions on her website, including cancer, endometriosis, glaucoma, thyroid disease and HIV/AIDS. (I am not sure how one gets away with this without a license to practice a health care profession.) Another purports to have expertise in advising parents about childhood vaccinations, including holding this “workshop” for parents, even though naturopaths cannot legally administer vaccinations and naturopathic care is associated with lower vaccination rates and greater incidence of certain vaccine-preventable diseases.

A recent graduate of Bastyr, a naturopathic “medical school,” is a certified BioEnergetic Medicine Practitioner, an honor bestowed by a company selling homeopathic remedies and dietary supplements. A BioEnergetic Assessment is described as “one of the most exciting tools in the field of integrative health care because of its flexibility in identifying a specific and wide range of energetic imbalances.” From the company’s substantial offering of homeopathic remedies, nutritionals (glandulars, herbal cleanse formulas, enzymes and such), and botannicals (e.g., “spagyrically processed Chinese botanical blends”), I offer these examples of what a BioEnergetic Medicine Practitioner might use, after a properly conducted BioEnergetic Assessment, one assumes.

Circulopath: a complex blend of homeopathic remedies specifically designed to target the increase of circulatory flow (blood, lymph and interstitial fluid) in the tissue, organs and systems of the body.

And:

Adaptopath: an essential homeopathic remedy for boosting underpowered healing strategies by enhancing the body’s ability to adapt to stress.

As well, this naturopath employs a “Cellular Expansion Practitioner” whose clients “receive gentle and nurturing energy to address a wide array of health issues, including chronic pain, headaches, depression, weight loss, anxiety and infertility.” I’m no biologist, but “cellular expansion” doesn’t sound like a good idea at all. What if the cells expand too much?

Keep all of this in mind as you contemplate the Pennsylvania licensing bill’s definition of “naturopathic medicine:”

A system of primary health care practiced by doctors of naturopathic medicine for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human health conditions, injuries and diseases.

In other words, these naturopaths would become “primary care” doctors whose scope of practice covers the diagnosis and treatment of all patients, no matter what age and no matter their disease or condition. Can you imagine someone who thinks a BioEnergetic Assessment is a proper diagnostic tool and homeopathic remedies can treat cardiovascular disease seeing a patient as his primary care doctor?

And a few more things . . .

During my almost year-long monitoring of naturopathic licensing bills it has become increasingly clear that legislators are willing to unleash healthcare practitioners on the public who have no business seeing patients on their own, if they have any business seeing patients at all. This appears to be caused by two things.

One, they don’t have sufficient understanding of even basic science, which would otherwise make them instantly suspicious of any bill that included, for example, “magnetic therapy” or “organ repositioning” as a treatment. After all, one doesn’t need to be an organic chemist to understand why homeopathy cannot and does not work. Heck, I never even took chemistry and I understand it.

Two, they haven’t done the least bit of independent research to determine whether licensing naturopaths is in the best interest of the public health, safety and welfare. These bills are obviously written by naturopathic lobbyists and reasons for their adoption, if any are given at all, simply parrot the party line about naturopaths attending “accredited four year graduate medical programs,” their supposed ability to practice primary care, their use of “natural” therapies to support the “body’s intrinsic healing abilities,” and so on. Their constituents deserve better.

Posted in: Cancer, Energy Medicine, Herbs & Supplements, Homeopathy, Legal, Naturopathy, Politics and Regulation, Traditional Chinese Medicine

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48 thoughts on “Licensing Naturopaths: the triumph of politics over science

  1. Its Bastyr not Baystyr.

    In more important news, a cartel of doctors and lawyers has been running a large scale disability scam, certifying anybody who walks in the door as a cripple eligible for disability checks.

    I am sure they learned how to do it at a reputable medical school, not some shady alternative place like “Baystyr”!

    Put allopaths and lawyers together and expect malarkey.

    1. windriven says:

      “Put allopaths and lawyers together and expect malarkey.”

      While naturopaths and other fast buck artists produce malarkey all on their own.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      The only place “Baystyr” appears on this page is in your comment.

      Also, the idea that naturopathy school is somehow a bastion of ethics (rather than a murder of the ignorant and deluded) is somewhat laughable. An ethical approach would be abandoning treatments that don’t work and testing modalities before using them – but then they would be doctors. Instead, naturopaths are trained to believe that nature cures (despite many poisons, genetic diseases and in fact most diseases being perfectly natural), adopting an enormous number of mutually contradictory approaches, and defining themselves negatively by criticizing real medicine instead of improving their own practices.

      Any profession or practitioner can be dishonest, but naturopathy systematically teaches dishonesty. Sure, they may believe that what they are teaching is true and useful, but if sincere belief were all that were necessary to make doctoring effective, we would still be bloodletting. Naturopaths are lying to their patients, and don’t even realize it.

      1. Chris says:

        Actually, WLU, it is in this sentence near the end of the article: “A recent graduate of Bastyr, a naturopathic “medical school,” is a certified BioEnergetic Medicine Practitioner, an honor bestowed by a company selling homeopathic remedies and dietary supplements.”

        It is an example of what kind of nonsense these folks are in to, and how they are really “Not a Doctor.”

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          I believe FBA was attempting to criticize the spellling, and it appears to be correctly spelled throughout.

  2. goodnightirene says:

    Something is wrong with the website–at least on my computer. The format is weird, any category I click produces the same page, and the comment box looks different as well.

    I’m sure I’m not describing this properly, but my computerese is limited. Wish I could fix this!

    1. windriven says:

      “Something is wrong with the website”

      It is the price we pay for not being in perpetual moderation. SBM dumped the WordPress jetpack and the gods of the internet were displeased. They beset the SBM site with imps and gremlins.

      I have it on good authority that Paul has slain a goat and will place its entrails on his keyboard at moonrise. The gods will be appeased and order will return.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Well that’s stupid, everyone knows you only sacrifice chcikens at moonrise. If you’re using a goat, you have to do it at dawn. And how will this appease the router goblins, and server gremlins? He should approach this holistically. First, take a broken RAM chip and put it into a bag of functional ram chips, and shake it…

        1. windriven says:

          Right you are. The problem is clearly a dearth of homeoflops!

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Well, given the number of citations involved I would say the use of homeoflops as a metric is questionable. Clearly kilocrislips is the way to go. Either homeoflops or petacrislips gives you orders of magnitude problems.

            You know, I can see why homeopaths do this, making up technobabble is fun.

  3. oldmanjenkins says:

    We need a Neil deGrasse Tyson type to go and speak before congress regarding the risks of such bills and the detriment to the health and safety of society that these measures pose. Some one who is able to articulate in a way that is both impassioned and evidence based. They need to hear from economists, and lawyers who will show how such a measure is more costly not only in dollars but lives. To discuss how science is not a popularity contest, and evidence is not a flimsy construct. That magical thinking in this realm is pathological. That just because a person “believes” something is so does not make it manifest. Dr Novella, Dr Gorski you guys available? Maybe even Dr. Goldacre, as well as Bill Nye, and Alan Alda. Heck lets get Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Dr Hall as well. Reason is under attack and only through an organized full frontal assault will this war be won!

    1. windriven says:

      Alan Alda? Really?

      1. oldmanjenkins says:

        Alan Alda is a big proponent of better communication from our scientific leaders in disseminating information to those who are not scientists. What once was the Stony Brook Center for Communicating Science is now the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.
        “The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science works to enhance understanding of science by helping train the next generation of scientists and health professionals to communicate more effectively with the public, public officials, the media, and others outside their own discipline.”
        http://www.centerforcommunicatingscience.org/

        1. windriven says:

          I wasn’t aware and I thank you for that information. I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised. Alda has always rubbed me the wrong way, often striking me as a sanctimonious ass whose one lasting contribution was portraying a sanctimonious ass on TV. This gives me pause to reassess.

          1. oldmanjenkins says:

            I too was not a fan. I had to reassess my opinion. He has taken this cause as his mantle and is very vested in its success. They (at Stony Brook) are addressing a real issues with scientists, as a lot lack the necessary skill to speak to those who are not of the discipline and get the information out in an effective manner. More specifically so that the talking heads can distort as little as possible the message they have. For many years scientists did not necessarily speak to others that were not themselves scientists. Now it is necessary with the attack on science and the anti-science stance some politicians have to better prepare future scientists (and current ones as well) how to effectively communicate their message to a broader audience. If this war on science is to be won it will be on the front line with scientists effectively opening a dialogue with elected officials as well as the media. As my father once told me “if you don’t say what you mean, you will never mean what you say.”

          2. oldmanjenkins says:

            From RationalWiki:
            “Though Kaku is a renowned physicist working on reconciling quantum mechanics and relativity through string theory he tends to be a bit of a crank who, somehow, has managed in recent years to appear as an expert on nearly every scientific documentary ranging from cosmology to the environment.”
            “…..In short, he may be brilliant, but he is embarrassing outside his field of (extreme) expertise.”
            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Michio_Kaku

        2. Alan Alda is a big proponent of better communication from our scientific leaders in disseminating information to those who are not scientists.

          Communication is not their forte. Most scientists and technicians I met have very poor presentation skills and cannot speak clearly. There are a few exceptions – I like listening to Michio Kaku for a laymans introduction to physics research. In medical sciences, we have Dr Mehmet Oz as spokesman for the masses :D

          1. oldmanjenkins says:

            You forgot to put j/k after Mehmet Oz. He speaks well but unfortunately what he says is woo. And as we know woo + woo does not equal science. As for Michio Kaku, while he is an eloquent speaker, he has a tendency to speak about things for which he has no training in. Just because you are a lettered person in one discipline does not give you cart blanch to speak about other topics (UFO’s, nuclear power to name just two) for which his critical thinking hat seems to be taken off. I have met very learned people in different disciplines that make dumb assumptions/assertions in others.

          2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Oz is less a spokesman, more a font of perfectly rational, mainstream advice mixed with systematic misinformation such that it’s impossible for most laypeople to disentangle the useful advice (lose weight, eat vegetables) from the crazy (if you’re sad about your parent’s death, see a medium!!!! GREEN COFFEE BEANS MELT FAT OFF YOUR FAT ASS AND YOU CAN EAT ALL THE ICE CREAM YOU WANT!!!!!).

            I’m sure you love Oz, your supplements must get a nice bump every time he recommends some useless product you happen to stock.

  4. windriven says:

    Let me be the first to say that I just love the new minimalist look of SBM! :-)

    Naturopathy is the residue of medicine; the leavings after the ore has been mined. The healing arts all began at the same place, a melange of herbs and superstitions and therapies that often enough did more harm than good.

    Medicine was teased out of that soup of miasmas and humors by careful application of the scientific method. Willow bark gave up acetyl salicylic acid. Treppaning gave way to neurosurgery. The cornucopia of drugs and therapies and interventions that have transformed the human condition all sprang from that basic good intention to ease the suffering of the injured and the ill.

    But if intentions were horses beggars would ride*. It took careful consistent application of the scientific method to separate the wheat of medicine from the chaff of nonsense: homeopathy, herbalism, prayer and their ilk.

    That anyone can look at the landscape of health care today and think that a return to prescientific jibber-jabber deserves the imprimatur of the State unmasks a vacuity of staggering breadth.

  5. goodnightirene says:

    It’s fixed!

    I don’t know how this relates to the info kindly posted in reply to my earlier entry, from Windriven (with follow up from LWU), but I’m just happy it’s fixed.

    Hopefully no chickens or goats were harmed in the process. :-) I happen to be particularly fond of chickens–and have nothing against goats either. I keep happy hens for eggs and would have a few pygmy goats if the City would see reason!

    1. Chris says:

      It still looks weird in FireFox, but is okay in Internet Explorer.

      1. Looks okay in Lynx.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I like chickens too, they’re delicious roasted, deep fried and grilled.

      SBM’s page keeps going in and out for me, sometimes fine and sometimes with that weird “all the content is there, but none of the context” display that happens when a page seems to choke partway through the loading.

    3. mousethatroared says:

      I’m not up on the conversation, but has it come to this? Are the SBM web developers sacrificing chickens and goats to appease the internet formatting gods? The horror!

      I’m currently on a mac w/safari and it’s back to normal for me.

  6. mousethatroared says:

    But Ipad with safari is misformatted…To whom it may concern, not that I’ complaining, just letting you all know. :)

    1. Chris says:

      On my financial/embroidery computer it looks fine on Google Chrome.

      Yes, I have an old Windows XP that my Brother embroidery software works on. It is old and expensive, but won’t work on Windows 7. When that computer dies, I will buy an embroidery machine that has a direct USB port and not a specialized card.

      And to make sure computer nerd spouse does not toss the old computer, I have all of our finances on it. Finances is something he prefers to ignore. He has to ask me if we can afford certain things. Fortunately for him I have only told our youngest the secrets to get into our accounts (she is a kindred cheap spirit, and is a very responsible college student, starting by living at home instead of paying for an apartment).

      Oh, SBM is still screwy on FireFox.

  7. Xerxes Croes says:

    Thank you for this article. I always love the articles on the nonsense that is Naturopathic Medicine. I am amazed that these people are on television, claiming that they have similar education to MDs/DOs – my impression of the most of them is that they are not that intelligent, use a lot of gobbledygook mixed with usually misunderstood biochemistry concepts and are oh so interested in having you not be a patient but rather a warrior against ‘conventional’ medicine. South Park had a great episode re Alternative Medicine and their BS: http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s04e07-cherokee-hair-tampons

    I live in Los Angeles, am planning to go to Medical School (MD or DO). My interest in combating alternative medicine is due to my partner who has had severe health issues and who used to be seduced by these silly alternative practitioners who had real interest in milking tons of dollars out of him while blaming him for ‘staying sick’ and ‘not believing in himself’ or ‘trusting the process’. I have developed a real anger and hatred towards these people and their silly adherents. My partner fortunately has gotten over all this alternative health nonsense and sees regular physicians now.

    Naturopathic ‘doctor’s’ scare the crap out of me – here an L.A. you have a major quack who appears on TV, whose sense of self-importance is nauseating (I actually believe most to be narcissists) look at the videos on how she tries to sell Naturopathic Medicine to misguided NCAM UCLA students (she actually ends up selling herself more than her silly education – her bloated sense of importance drips off and her resentment and hatred for Medicine is very clear: http://vimeo.com/18290808

    For more silliness and bloated sense of her non medical knowledge: http://vimeo.com/18290808

    yuck…

    1. Young CC Prof says:

      I don’t know about “not intelligent.” I know an ND, and by most measures he’s really very bright. He’s well read, has a good memory, good verbal skills, charismatic. His IQ is probably well above average.

      The only thing he lacks is high-level critical thinking skills. Whatever ability he was born with in that area, Bastyr systematically trained him out of it.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Was it Feynman who said “the easiest person to fool is yourself”? Bright people might have a disadvantage in that they can form more complicated rationalizations and resolutions of cognitive dissonance. It can be quite difficult to say “I was wrong”, particularly when you devoted years of your life, thousands of dollars, and an enormous amount of your identity into becoming a naturopath. Particularly particularly when your identity is wrapped up in “being a healer”, thus you rationalize your sacrifice with “at least I’m doing good”. I mean, you have to face wasting time and money on top of the fact that you’ve essentially been putting people’s health at risk for years. Add a dollop of reinforcement from patient gratification and apparent improvement and a soupcon of justified (but irrelevant) criticism of real medicine and what you’ve got is a nigh-perfect sanctimonious self-concept that would be nearly impossible to correct. Probably right up until you go to jail for manslaughter.

  8. oldmanjenkins says:

    @WilliamLawrenceUtridge
    “I’m sure you love Oz, your supplements must get a nice bump every time he recommends some useless product you happen to stock.”

    I don’t “stock” anything. Or where you referring to @FastBuckArtist as his name links to homeopathic nonsense. In that case if FBA’s hyperlink is purposeful then yes, I am sure there is a bump in stock turnover and much glee is exclaimed. And you are correct, Dr Oz is very adept at weaving SBM in with voo-doo “medicine.” So adept is he that theoretical physicists are stumped at how he is able to defy the laws they so regularly work with.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      My comment is aimed squarely at FBA, but unfortunately the threading doesn’t necessarily make this clear. It’d be nice if the “reply” feature automatically included a “in reply to…” bit of code.

  9. RobRN says:

    @FastBuckArtist – Comment #1:

    There may well be MDs running a scam BUT – Even if their treatments are not needed, they are likely not utilizing totally useless supplements, homeopathy, herbals, kinesiology, reiki, lymphatic massage, organ repositioning, etc. on the patients.

    1. They are not using herbals, they are using unnecessary surgery on healthy patients to milk Medicare and get practice time with the scalpel, using their MD license to gain trust of the gullible.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Yes, and the doctors fraudulently billing Medicare should be punished and put in jail.

        The thing about herbals is – they are either unproven, disproven, or part of conventional practice. Only the latter is ethical, yet all three types are still sold be people like you.

        Pointing to the failings in medicine doesn’t magically justify bilking people for worthless or unproven treatments, and that goes for CAM and investigational conventional treatments. CAM, however, is nothing but worthless or unproven treatments and feels no need to change this.

  10. RobRN says:

    @FBA: Herbals… Unregulated, never tested for efficacy or safety in a scientific manner, no idea of strength, no assurance of consistant quality, no assessment of contaminants, impossible to derive a dose/response curve – but NATURAL!

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      As natural as dying of cancer!

  11. Marion says:

    @oldmanjenkins

    Totally agree with you about Michio Kaku on the subject of UFOs.
    And, yes, there is tremendous garbage said on all sides of this complex issue.
    Still, I’ll take the word of Gary Heseltine, a British police officer, who has gathered sightings reports from just police officers alone, over that of Kaku any day.

    I get sickened by the absolute laziness of tv producers, who can’t put any more effort into their research (there are THOUSANDS of non-famous equally qualified physicists throughout this world to speak about physics), any time they do any sort of physics-related show. Invariably, Kaku says the same useless thing over & over & over again
    (“vibrating strings”), no matter how far-removed from many important, less glamorous, less “sexy”, more applied areas of physics (e.g. medical physics!) his beloved string theory is.

  12. Flower says:

    Some people believe that synthetic life (e.g. implanted nanorobots to improve our immunity) will make life more liveable and extend our natural lifespan.

    That’s the truly grotesque notion that ‘science’ is advancing.
    Cloning, harvesting organs from animals grown by first grafting human cells onto these poor beings, synthetic drugs, toxic metals and virus particles injected into us, mercury implanted into our teeth, and now implanted microchips and nano-particles zooming through our blood system…. Sounds like voo-doo medicine to me. Not much better than the past medical practices of blood-letting, treating syphyllis with mercury salves or removing a woman’s womb for being too rebellious.

    I’m sticking with organic, whole vegetarian foods, as well as herbal, mineral and vitamin supplements. Looking good so far.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Sounds like voo-doo medicine to me. Not much better than the past medical practices of blood-letting, treating syphyllis with mercury salves or removing a woman’s womb for being too rebellious.

      Sounds like you don’t really understand science. The most apparent difference between science, voodoo and past medical practices is testing; medical interventions are now given to at least one of two groups, and whichever shows improvements is considered evidence that the intervention tested is superior. That’s the rough definition of a basic clinical trial, though obviously it’s more complicated than that. I would suggest reading Snake Oil Science for a more comprehensive discussion of what goes into clinical trials and why each step is necessary. A genuine clinical trial is much more complicated, but conceptually it’s about who does better when given one of two tests; can you think of a reason why this wouldn’t actually reflect the reality of the situation? Past medicine was based exclusively on unteseted hypothesizing and authority, an approach only used in situations where no better evidence exists, and one that is made obselete in the face of actual evidence; opinions follow results, and experiments are replicated and extended to test for nuances, wrinkles and unexpected findings.

      I’m sticking with organic, whole vegetarian foods, as well as herbal, mineral and vitamin supplements. Looking good so far.

      What do you think about findings that organic food isn’t more nutritious than conventional? What do you think about it costing significantly more? What do you think about it being significantly more contaminated with dangerous strains of E. coli? What do you think about organic food requiring significantly more water and space compared to nonorganic? What do you think about all the forests that would need to be torn up and swamps that would need to be drained to feed people with organic produce? What do you think of the significant waste associated with organic food due to insect damage and stunted plants due to inadequate fertilizer? What do you think about the existence of an organic lobby that systematically lies about the benefits of its own products and spreads totally unjustified and unscientific fears about conventional produce and scientific advances like genetic modification?

      What do you think of the studies that show vitamins and supplements being associated with increased risk of death? Or that they’re just plain ineffective?

      What sort of evidence would be required to suggest that you might simply be wasting your money on supplements and organic food?

      And before you claim that “Big Pharma” is behind attacks on supplements – Big Pharma makes and sells vitamins. Often to the companies you buy them from.

      Also note that “Monsanto!” is not a counter-argument to organic food being flawed. Both “Monsanto!” and “Big Pharma!” are cognitive tricks people use to avoid thinking about information that challenges your preconceptions. Perhaps consider the possibility that your assumptions are wrong, that the task of feeding the world adequate amounts of healthy food is actually quite complicated and can’t simply be dumped into two convenient buckets of “organic is good” and “Monsanto is evil”. That’s a lazy way of protecting yourself from changing your mind. There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind.

  13. Flower says:

    You’re skirting around my issue with today’s medicine which is based on artificiality.

    As to snake oil, I’m afraid there goes that favourite argument of the orthodoxy:

    The following links to studies show that even snake oil may be beneficial to health (therapeutic properties of sea snake and boa constrictor lipids — snake oil! — for inflammation and infection) – unlike petrochemicals based synthetic medicines which impair the body’s ability to truly heal (eg. NSAID anti-inflammatories which degrade cartilage and thereby perpetuate the inflammation and joint destruction.

    Here are to snake oil studies:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19051590 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16847395
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18202534
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2328380

    And as for your glorified ‘gold standard’ RCTs, read the book, as I have done: Tarnished Gold – The Sickness of Evidence-based Medicine by Steve Hickey and Hilary Roberts.

    Furthermore, “…only 15% of medical interventions are supported by solid scientific evidence…(and)…only 1% of the articles in medical journals are scientifically sound…many treatments have never been assessed at all…” (Smith R. Where is the wisdom…? The poverty of medical evidence. Editorial. British Medical J 1991;303(Oct 5):798-799 )

    This suggests that 99% of published trials, or at least the reporting of them – cannot be relied on.

    “…only 5% of published papers reach minimum standards of scientific soundness and clinical relevance…” and that “…in most (medical) journals the figure is less than 1%”. (O’Donnell M. Evidenced-based illiteracy: Time to rescue “The Literature”. The Lancet 2000;335:489-491).

    “…Only 6% of drug advertising material is supported by evidence…” (British Medical Journal, February 28, 2004, p. 485 P Rome)
    Patients suffering adverse reactions to their prescribed medications, with around 20,000 deaths per year, take up one third of hospital beds in Australia. Since the US Medical system is in an even worse state, you’ll surely know your own stats are even more shameful.

    “…At least 80,000 hospitalisations related to medications occur in Australia each year. Between 32% and 69% of these are considered to be avoidable.” (Malpass et al. An analysis of Australian adverse drug events. J Qual Clin Prac 1999; 19: 27-30)

    In an extraordinary admission, a senior executive with UK drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has ‘confessed’ that the vast majority of prescription drugs don’t work. Dr Allen Roses, worldwide vice-president of genetics at GSK, has told a conference that over 90 per cent of all drugs work for only between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of patients. At the very bottom of the efficacy table are the cancer drugs, which work on only 25 per cent of patients. These are closely followed by Alzheimer’s drugs that work on just 30 per cent of people. Drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, incontinence, hepatitis C, and diabetes work on only half the patients, at best. The most effective drugs are the analgesics, which work for to 80 per cent of those who take them. (http://news.bbc.co)

    Also, Dishonesty in Medicine Revisited by H L Fred (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322888/pdf/20080300s00005p6.pdf)
    makes for an interesting read.

    And worse than the dishonesty (corruption) and bias is the autocratic culture within mainstream medicine – see this article:

    Deconstructing the evidence-based discourse in health sciences: truth, power and fascism, by Holmes D. et al, Int J Evid Based Healthc 2006; 4: 180–186
    http://dcscience.net/holmes-deconstruction-ebhc-06.pdf

    The nutrition of foods when first harvested depends on the soils they were grown on and the treatment during their growth time. If no artificial fertilisers and pesticides were used, then that alone makes these foods more nutritious.
    Any e coli present on vegetables are due to unsavoury spraying with waste from animal factories which is done in Europe and the US, not in other countries. Applying e coli waste to crops is NOT an argument against organic foods; we simply must stop making use of this method.

    Washing vegetables and soaking them in vinegar has been shown to kill all bacteria, incl e coli.

    Nothing compares to the wasteful farming techniques of animal factories. I’m a vegetarian and enjoy the fact that my way of eating saves the planet on water, land, artificial chemical use,…. I won’t go into all the vegetarian arguments which I’m sure you’re aware of – more plant-based protein grown per sq m than is possible with animal farming, etc.

    As to vitamins and other supplements being associated with increased risk of death, first: show me the bodies!

    (The Orthomolecular Medicine News Service invites submission of specific scientific evidence conclusively demonstrating death caused by a vitamin. If there were such proof, the media would have had it all over their front pages).

    Second, association is not causation.

    Third, I refer you back to the handful of texts I mentioned above – orthodox medicine is inherently dishonest. So this claim, being made to make you look good, will also be.

    What other evidence do I need, other than that I’m healthy, look and feel good (healthy, vital), to show me that I’m on the right track with my supplements and herbs?

    Did I mention Monsanto, etc. which you refer to in your last paragraph????

    By the way, you have NO idea where I obtain my supplements from :-))

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      You’re skirting around my issue with today’s medicine which is based on artificiality.

      So what if it’s artificial? The meaningful distinctions are “effective” or “ineffective. “Safe” or “unsafe”. St. John’s wort is natural, effective (for minor to moderate depression) and has adverse effects. Vat-grown insulin is artificial, effective and pretty safe. Death’s cap mushroom is natural, unsafe, and as far as I am aware, not an effective treatment for anything. Pretending natural is better completely ignores the fact that nature exists in competition, a large part of that competition is about killing other things before they kill you, and that’s not even discussing natural things like earthquakes, radon and lava that have no impact on evolution.

      unlike petrochemicals based synthetic medicines which impair the body’s ability to truly heal

      I’m pretty sure NSAIDs aren’t derived from oil – but even if so, what matters is their molecular structure, not where they are derived from. If your studies on snake oil are correct and they are helpful in humans (that’s pretty far away incidentally – two studies were in petri dishes, the other two in mice; you know what mice can eat by the ton? Thalidomide.) then rather than growing, killing and rendering snakes, we can probably trick a bacteria into synthesizing it en masse in vats. In fact, we can probably improve on it to make it more bioavailable or reduce adverse effects.

      You are citing a book that pretends clinical trials are the stopping point for medical testing. It isn’t. It’s the best we have right now and until we can develop molecular tests for individual patients to link outcomes more strongly to biology, it’s the best we have. Molecular medicine is still developing, it’s devilishly complex, but it will eventually be here. Claiming that medicine isn’t perfect now, so the solution is completely unproven remedies, are a logical fallacies (perfect solution and false dilemma).

      The four studies you cite are between 10 and 20 years old. That’s another logical fallacy – cherry picking. Not to mention, even if not all of medicine is unproven and untested, the solution is not to turn to a random series of completely untested substances merely because they are natural. These substances existed before the advent of modern medicine. They were ineffective, people died decades earlier than even an obese person with type II diabetes in a first world nation today.

      Deconstructing the evidence-based discourse in health sciences: truth, power and fascism,

      Here you go. Also, amusingly, your link to the full text version of that paper is to a site that cites it critically. Merely because postmodern scholars like to use fancy words to deny empirical science doesn’t make it true. It also has no proof, evidence or argument in support of your assertion that “natural is better”. In fact, very little of your citations do. They are yet another false dilemma. You are pointing to criticisms of scientific medicine (which are valid, scientific medicine needs to improve, your citations are (mostly) to articles that delve into that very improvement effort) and pretending if science-based medicine is has flaws, then somehow natural things are perfect, lack flaws and the answer. The reality is, medicine is indeed flawed, and improving, and nature is indifferent to our survival or suffering.

      Have you posted here before? Because your citations have appeared before and been addressed. Oddly, for someone so critical of modern medicine’s efforts to improve, you appear to be oddly lacking in such a drive yourself. It looks a lot more like you’re simply indulging in confirmation bias.

      The nutrition of foods when first harvested depends on the soils they were grown on and the treatment during their growth time. If no artificial fertilisers and pesticides were used, then that alone makes these foods more nutritious.
      Any e coli present on vegetables are due to unsavoury spraying with waste from animal factories which is done in Europe and the US, not in other countries. Applying e coli waste to crops is NOT an argument against organic foods; we simply must stop making use of this method.

      If a plant is stunted due to insufficient nitrogen in the soil, has fewer cells, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates, and fails to ripen, is it more nutritious? If it is eaten by worms and insects, if aphids suck out all the lymph and cause the leaves and fruits to wither, is it more nutritious? If pesticides cause no harm in the doses consumed by people once the food has been washed off, do they cause harm? You are assuming inherent harm which is unproven even at tiny doses, and ignoring all of the cancer-promoting chemicals found within food themselves.

      Your argument about E. coli is amusing since that’s essentially the argument I use for medicine – rather than demand perfection now, why not incrementally improve? Why the double-standard, why insist that medicine is fatally flawed but organic farming can be improved? Also, without the use of manure as fertilizer, where will farms get their nitrogen? A fatal flaw in organic farming is the inability to scale up – as you get bigger farms, as more become organic, sources of fertilizers and pest control becomes disproportionately difficult. You would have to graze billions more cattle or chickens or sheep, or compost metric tons of vegetation, just to get enough manure or soil to keep you crops sustainable. Or, you can use the Haber-Bosch process to pull nitrogen out of the atmosphere and fix it in a form readily available to plants in the form of molecules identical to those produced by bacteria in the soil.

      Nothing compares to the wasteful farming techniques of animal factories. I’m a vegetarian and enjoy the fact that my way of eating saves the planet on water, land, artificial chemical use,…. I won’t go into all the vegetarian arguments which I’m sure you’re aware of – more plant-based protein grown per sq m than is possible with animal farming, etc.

      This has nothing to do with the fact that organic farming is more wasteful, you’re changing the subject. Even if everyone switched to a plant-based organic diet, which isn’t going to happen, you would still need ten times the current farmland to produce enough organic food to feed 7 billion people. But hey, what if we killed all the poor people in the 3rd world and took their land, so you can have organic popcorn? That would work, right? And your next argument was going to be “well, the world is overpopulated”, right? Put those hands together!

      I also am concerned about animal raising, its environmental impacts and the resources required. That’s why I can’t wait for vat meat to become commercially viable.

      (The Orthomolecular Medicine News Service invites submission of specific scientific evidence conclusively demonstrating death caused by a vitamin. If there were such proof, the media would have had it all over their front pages).

      Google “Gary Null vitamin D overdose”, or go to What’s the Harm?. As far as acute toxicity goes, there have been deaths but the issue is really that of chronic toxicity. In controlled studies, giving people highly concentrated doses of vitamins (i.e. supplements) causes them to die faster of heart attacks, cancer and nonspecific causes. Paul Offit’s Do you believe in magic? discusses this in chapter 2.

      Third, I refer you back to the handful of texts I mentioned above – orthodox medicine is inherently dishonest. So this claim, being made to make you look good, will also be.

      Why is unorthodox medicine inherently honest? All you are doing here is asserting, and using a simple rule you invented for yourself to justify your decisions and avoid having to change your mind. You’re not being smart, you’re insulating yourself from information you don’t want to have to hear. Reality is complicated, your simple rules do not represent it accurately.

      What other evidence do I need, other than that I’m healthy, look and feel good (healthy, vital), to show me that I’m on the right track with my supplements and herbs?

      I don’t take herbs and supplements. I look and feel good. Can you show me you aren’t wasting time and money?

      People used the same argument for millennia to support bloodletting. At that time they had those same herbs, as well as truly organic food. They died in droves. Humans are terrible at establishing causality.

      Irrespective where you get your supplements, unless you are extracting them yourself, you are buying them from someone who is making a profit. The exact same damning accusation you make of drug companies and medicine – those same motivations exist for “natural” products. There’s just a lot less, essentially no, oversight, testing or systematic follow-up. Drug companies are delighted to make and sell vitamins to you directly, and to resellers. They’re essentially free money, since they don’t have to test a damned thing.

      How does the fact that someone sells “natural” substances eliminate profit motive, greed, ignorance, arrogance and self-interest from the equation? I would say it doesn’t.

  14. Flower says:

    Not that I wanted to engage in this topic – this post being about naturopaths – but since you brought it up here’s just one concern with regard to GMOs: The imbalance between studies into GMOs which are commissioned and funded by corporate interests vs those financed by independent parties.

    Says Prof Brian Wynne, associate director and co-principal investigator from 2002-2012 of the UK ESRC Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics, Cesagen, Lancaster University:

    “It is misleading and irresponsible for anyone to claim that there is a consensus on these important issues. Many salient questions remain open, while more are being discovered and reported by independent scientists in the international scientific literature. Indeed answering of some key public interest questions based on such research have been left neglected for years by the huge imbalance in research funding, against thorough biosafety research and in favour of the commercial-scientific promotion of the technology.”

    And Prof C. Vyvyan Howard, a medically qualified toxicopathologist based at the University of Ulster, said:

    “A substantial number of studies suggest that GM crops and foods can be toxic or allergenic. It is often claimed that millions of Americans eat GM foods with no ill effects. But as the US has no GMO labeling and no epidemiological studies have been carried out, there is no way of knowing whether the rising rates of chronic diseases seen in that country have anything to do with GM food consumption or not. Therefore this claim has no scientific basis.”

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      And Prof C. Vyvyan Howard, a medically qualified toxicopathologist based at the University of Ulster, said:

      You mean this Vyvyan Howard, who claims fluoride is a toxic health hazard against the scientific consensus of pretty much everyone? This Vyvyan Howard, author of a series of papers that Nature thinks should be withdrawn from the scientific record for flaws? Who hasn’t published since 2001? Why do you believe him and not the myriad scientists who actually work with gentically modified plants who say they are harmless? What about the broad consensus that GMO present no unique risks?

      Why are you worried about the addition of protein harmless to humans, in fact one consumed by humans now and used on organic produce (i.e. the Bt toxin) being integrated into a plant? Are you as concerned about the cross-breeding of plants to produce new strains, an act proven to cause harm while the use of GMO is not? And if you’re so concerned about the impact of Big Ag on GMO studies, why not advocate for the separate funding by independent bodies, such as the government or charities? And can you point to a study, not an exercise of the precautionary principle (what Drs. Wynne and Howard discuss), that demonstrates harm? How do you know organic food doesn’t cause significant harm?

      But you don’t care, you just want to keep talking about “nature” and “natural” as if they were meaningful. Nature doesn’t care if you live or die, and nature doesn’t exist to make you healthier or happier. The foods you eat now, the carefully grown organic corn, wheat, apples and bananas? They aren’t natural, they are heavily cross-bred and inbred by farmers over thousands of years to be the large, nutritious, less toxic versions we can now eat. Cauliflower didn’t even exist a thousand years ago. Nothing you eat is “natural”, unless you are hunting and gathering in primordial rainforests (and even then, be careful what continent you are on – South America is host to enormous forests of “crop trees” that have gone wild with the collapse of the civilizations that planted and tended them).

  15. Flower says:

    Why natural? Because the body’s intelligent mechanisms respond to natural cues when it comes to healing; factors that come into play incl chirality (eg alpha vs dl-alpha tocopherol, the latter being synthetic, with poor bioavailability). However, energetics of foods, as well as the level of processing (eg lack of enzymes in over-processed foods) also come into it, besides much more – too much to give adequate depth to here.

    In short, life and health is far more than the workings of complex chemical processes.

    Contrary to propaganda by the mainstream, the health of the planet and all its inhabitants has deteriorated, not improved due to drugs-based medicine over the past 70 odd years.

    When doctors went on strike in Israel in 1973, and in Britain and California in 1978, the death rate fell by between 35 and 50 per cent! (H Reusch, Naked Empress or the Great Medical Fraud).

    And if you look at the above-mentioned statistics from your own orthodox literature sources about the lack of evidence for the efficacy of synthetic drugs and the rampant fraud committed in the name of profits, then this alone should end this argument as to why natural over synthetic.

    In your heart you must know that “synthetic” is unattractive, fake, fraudulent.
    According to Plato, we intuitively know the archetypal essence of things – natural and fake, good and bad, etc ……

    Thankfully, more and more people are wising up and hopping off the medical treadmill, Even some of the major pharma companies are having to sack staff.

    Up until 2003, the drug industry raked in the highest profits, outdoing even commercial banks, oil and mining companies. (New Internationalist: Big Pharma: The Factss, 2003; Robinson, J. Prescription Games: Money, Ego, and Power Inside the Global Pharmaceutical Industry, 2001).

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Why natural? Because the body’s intelligent mechanisms respond to natural cues when it comes to healing; factors that come into play incl chirality (eg alpha vs dl-alpha tocopherol, the latter being synthetic, with poor bioavailability). However, energetics of foods, as well as the level of processing (eg lack of enzymes in over-processed foods) also come into it, besides much more – too much to give adequate depth to here.

      The “energy” in food comes from the calories. If you are talking about some sort of vitalist “energy”, which bears no resemblance to actual energy, then it’s just nonsense you have swallowed whole and uncritically from your instructors.

      The molecular receptors in the body respond to molecular cues. It does not matter where the molecule comes from, only that its shape matches, to a greater or lesser extent, the receptor it adheres to. Natural cobra venom will naturally dissolve flesh, and natural influenza will naturally make you die a natural death by filling your lungs with a natural fluid that naturally drowns you. Even assuming your chirality argument regards vitamin E is true, all it implies is an adjustment to the process to produce only a single-handed version (and Big Pharma is well-aware of this trick, producing medicines of a single chirality rather than the mix that usually results, and selling it at a premium). Of course, since vitamin E deficiency is vanishingly rare and the result of rare metabolic disorders, why does it matter?

      Enzymes are digested in the stomach, if you buy them in pill form they are an expensive form of protein. In food form, they are digested in the stomach and don’t add to the digestion of the food itself. “Live enzymes” is a claim made by many promoters of nonsense, but it’s still nonsense.

      Conventional mainstream advice is to limit the consumption of processed foods in favour of unprocessed and minimally processed fruits, vegetables and grains. Your advice adds nothing but a spurious gloss of babble over what people should be doing anyways per the USDA. Your “depth” is a depth of nonsense, a mile-deep well of shit is still a well of shit.

      In short, life and health is far more than the workings of complex chemical processes.

      In short, life is nothing but the interactions of complex chemical processes. If you examine the source documents of your claims, and trace them back to where they originally come from, you’ll find it comes down to misinterpretations of scientific literature, or nonsense simply made up out of thin air. Basically, a huckster is saying “trust me, the energy of food means you’ve got to buy my vitamins”, and you’re trusting them and buying his vitamins.

      Contrary to propaganda by the mainstream, the health of the planet and all its inhabitants has deteriorated, not improved due to drugs-based medicine over the past 70 odd years.
      When doctors went on strike in Israel in 1973, and in Britain and California in 1978, the death rate fell by between 35 and 50 per cent! (H Reusch, Naked Empress or the Great Medical Fraud).

      This book is favourably cited by whale.to, so you’ve basically lost. It’s a book from 1982, written by a novelist and race car driver, in pursuit of antivivisection (a laudable goal, but making him rather unqualified to judge such complex medical facts). Do you get all your medical advice from race car drivers, or do you also solicit the opinions of jockeys and plumbers? Do you get your automotive advice from farmers and your IT solutions from art historians? It’s published by a publishing house that supports laetrile, a great way to die of natural cyanide poisoning, and raw foodism. Do you repeat everything that is spoon-fed to you without checking the facts? Where is the independent documentation that this decrease in death rates actually occurred? How do you know it’s not, say, doctors being on strike meaning fewer death certificates being filled out? Can you find the original source for this assertion, because all I can see are an incestuous chain of citations and no independent proof.

      And if you look at the above-mentioned statistics from your own orthodox literature sources about the lack of evidence for the efficacy of synthetic drugs and the rampant fraud committed in the name of profits, then this alone should end this argument as to why natural over synthetic.

      There’s actually considerable evidence for the efficacy of synthetic drugs. Do you worry about smallpox? Science says you’re welcome. Ever had an operation without pain? Ditto.

      You haven’t really addressed the fraud found in natural manufacturers. For instance, the lack of proof for most “natural” cures, the complete lack of oversight and quality control over the contents of the bottles (do you know your bottle of echinacea actually contains any?), the contamination of Ayurvedic medicine by heavy metals, Chinese herbs with heavy metals as well as “dust, pollens, insects, rodents, parasites, microbes, fungi, mould, toxins, pesticides, toxic heavy metals and/or prescription drugs”. Apparently despite being “natural”, these natural products somehow manage to be toxic.

      In your heart you must know that “synthetic” is unattractive, fake, fraudulent.

      I know that “synthetic” can also mean “life-saving”. Tamoxifen is synthetic and prevents breast cancers from metastasizing. The fallacy that “natural” means safe is so common, it has a name – the naturalistic fallacy. The distinction is save/unsafe, and effective/ineffective. “Natural” is irrelevant, it’s an irrational marketing plan and a talking point used to sell unproven twigs, leaves and roots.

      According to Plato, we intuitively know the archetypal essence of things – natural and fake, good and bad, etc ……

      Really? You think platonic essences are real? What’s the platonic essence of a race? Isn’t “race” just an irrelevant human distinction? When did the common ancestor of a dog become a “dog” and cease being whatever came before “dog”? Is Pluto a planet or a large asteroid? What’s the platonic essence of a planet? What’s the platonic essence of a banana? Is it the kind I can buy at the grocery store? What about this wild “banana” which bears almost no resemblance to what we buy in a store? Which is more “natural”? Which is “better”? Is the one I buy in a grocery store “fake” or not?

      Platonic essences are fantasies, the imposition of human nature’s need for categories on an uncaring world. You’re being fooled by your own brain.

      Thankfully, more and more people are wising up and hopping off the medical treadmill, Even some of the major pharma companies are having to sack staff.

      Hopefully people hop on their treadmill and follow the advice of their doctors to get regular exercise (though jogging outdoors, volleyball, hiking and swimming also works just fine).

      And a note – those vitamins you love so much? Are manufactured by Big Pharma.

      Up until 2003, the drug industry raked in the highest profits, outdoing even commercial banks, oil and mining companies.

      So what? Is being profitable wrong? Are supplement manufacturers profitable? Does that make them good or bad? What about the fact that supplement manufacturers almost never test the compounds they sell for safety and efficacy? Is that a good thing? Why should we trust supplement manufacturers? Does the profit motive somehow disappear merely because you’re selling plants instead of pills (or, more normally, plants in pills)?

      Doesn’t that seem like a hypocritical double-standard to you? It does to me. But I’m whacky I guess.

  16. Jashar says:

    Wow when I read the drivel you call a blog I first just thought that I’d never get that 10 minutes back again…but reading further I became so angry with your laughable content when paired with the title of “Science-Based” that I had to comment. You are clearly not an actual doctor, as “real” docs tend to be more concerned with their patients and their care than with throwing stones and lobbing baseless insults at a profession which 1) you clearly don’t understand and 2) should be a complement to your own practice.

    If this blog is your idea of patient outreach, let me say that in my experience, this kind of childish whining rarely yields more clients. I have never seen something touted as “science-based” use less science than this blog. Finding individual examples of poor care is by no means a logical way of proving a general case, of which you seem so assured (ever hear of confirmation bias?). There are countless “quack” MD’s out there as you well know, but you don’t suggest that those people be the barometer for an entire profession. That’s like having a bad math teacher in middle school and concluding that all education is worthless. I would expect someone who seems so chummy with “science” to recognize the simple logical flaw that your entire blog falls prey to.

    Let me end, then, with this corollary: not all doctors who claim to like science are total idiots. Just you.

    1. Chris says:

      Jashar:

      You are clearly not an actual doctor, as “real” docs tend to be more concerned with their patients and their care than with throwing stones and lobbing baseless insults at a profession which 1) you clearly don’t understand and 2) should be a complement to your own practice.

      That is because she is a lawyer.

      You continue:

      If this blog is your idea of patient outreach,

      Here is an idea, actually read the article that you are posting a comment on. If you had done that, then you would have realized it was about the politics of legislation on given certain people rights beyond their education. Plus allowing them to provide unproven therapies at a price as if they are real medicine. And if you think homeopathy is real, there is a million dollars if you can prove it actually works.

      Essentially, if you want to be given prescription rights like those that have gone to medical school, then take and pass the US Medical Licensing Exam, plus do a full residency/internship at a teaching hospital.

      Though, before you attempt that, actually read the articles with comprehension before commenting.

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