Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Friday, March 11, 2005

Comments on Abele Memo and FSU Proposal

Comments on Abele Memo and FSU Proposal

1. The program description uses as it basis the fact that politicians established the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The scientific opinion, not the political one, is well described in the article written by Dr. Wallace Sampson the past editor of the “Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine”.

2. Clearly the NCCAM has not made a single scientific contribution despite hundreds of millions of dollars being spent.

3. An article published in the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine Volume 7 Number 2 is entitled, “Socially Harmful but Unapparent Effects of the NCCAM” This describes the type of non-scientific and dangerous research funded by NCCAM. This involves the Gonzalez Protocol in which patients with pancreatic cancer were “treated” by “150 vitamin and enzyme tablets and capsules along with 1-2 coffee enemas daily for 16 days followed by five days of rest”. The entire tragic story of the suffering and emotional devastation this unfortunate 45 year old male went through before he died a painful death is fully described in this article.

4. That an official of Florida State University would cite NCCAM as an example of why a school of chiropractic should be at Florida State University can only be described as inappropriate science. This, like the decision of the Florida legislature, for purely political reasons to mandate a school of chiropractic, point out exactly why politicians should not try to practice medicine. NCCAM was started by a politician related to a chiropractor.

5. Once again, not a significant scientific therapy has resulted from this misadventure of NCCAM.

6. The other argument has to do with low back pain. Chiropractic is a philosophical belief system on how to use spinal manipulation on everyone from newborn babies to senior citizens and on everyone who suffers from any ailment. It has nothing to do with low back pain. Scientific manual therapy is practiced by some physical therapists who find it of very limited and of short term benefit.

7. If the “real concern” is low back pain and if manual therapy has a small role to play, mostly mobilization using muscles and not manipulation, then spinal manipulation should be taught at an under-graduate level in a 2-3 weeks course in a school of physical therapy.

8. The Abele memo states that their wish is to be “scientific”. If one wishes to be “scientific” then the program should not be called “chiropractic”.

9. Is it the purpose of a University to create a five year nonscientific “doctorate” degree program?

10. The issue of the “subluxation” goes far beyond a journal. Subluxations are the mission statement of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Regulatory statutes of Florida governing chiropractic and the raison d’etre for all chiropractic schools.

11. There is the repeated use of the term “alternative medicine”. There is no such thing as an alternative medicine or an alternative science. The popularity and the right of people to select their own health choices have absolutely nothing to do with scientific merit.

12. Millions of people use homeopathic medications based on the theory that water has a memory. An ingredient is diluted to 1% of its original strength repeatedly. At six dilutions there is a molecule of the original dilution in six Olympic sized swimming pools. At 16 dilutions there is one molecule in all the oceans in a million earths. There is more urine from a shark swimming in the Atlantic Ocean than the ingredients on the bottle.

13. The proposal places chiropractic in the same group as “prayer, meditation, the use of natural products, chiropractic care, massage, yoga and diet-based therapies (another name for naturopathy). Does this mean that Florida State University should be offering five year doctorate degree programs for people wishes to be prayer doctors or yoga doctors?

14. The proposal talks about the many hours to be studied. For 50 years every chiropractic school in North America has been offering thousands of hours of “instruction” Nothing has changed. The graduates still believe in what is best called “quackery”.

15. The entire extensive proposal repeats the same basic arguments. It mentions no input whatsoever from the scientific medical community. It will teach neurology, radiology, physical therapy, nutrition, pediatrics, etc. but there are no neurologists, radiologists, physical therapists, dieticians, pediatricians or any other scientific input. It talks at length about buildings, hours of study and nothing about science.


1. SCIENCE OR POLITICIANS: Who decides how the human body works?

Can politicians without any medical training take a vote and decide what the best treatment for leukemia is? Can they decide that a black and white x-ray read by a chiropractor shows “subluxations” even though a fully trained radiologist with 14 years of training cannot see them?

1a. The Florida legislature, by telling a University it must have a school of “chiropractic” and not simply a school of manual physiotherapy, is saying that the spinal column, not the brain is where our intelligence originates. It is saying that neck manipulation is safe and effective. It is saying that colic and bed-wetting can be treated by spinal manipulation.

2. TYPE OF DEGREE: Is it the University or the politicians which tells a University what type of degree is to be granted, a bachelor, masters or a “doctorate”.

2a. The Florida legislature by telling the University they must grant a “doctorate” degree in chiropractic is putting the chiropractic belief system above the academic recognition given to all those who obtain a bachelor or a masters degree and are putting it on an equal level to those obtaining doctorates.

3. HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL: A University teaching those involved with health care must decide how best to train anyone called a “doctor” and who is to serve as a front line professional.

3a. The Florida legislature is telling the University that someone who has no hospital training, no scientific training in making a proper medical differential diagnosis is as qualified to work on a primary care basis as those who do have all those years of training.

The legislature is saying that the entire qualification system of specialization following graduation from Florida is open to chiropractors simply based on the “degree” and without any further contact with Florida State University.

4a. Would the Legislature allow someone to go to chiropractic school, call themselves a “doctor” and then decide they are specialized in pediatrics or radiology or neurology? Chiropractors who “graduate” from Florida State University would do additional private training in chiropractic and would then call themselves specialists in pediatrics, radiology, etc. just as they now do in their own private school. Now it would have University approval.

(Written by Dr. Ray Bellamy)
(Formatting of the Summary Points has been slightly altered for this blog, to make it easier to understand. - PL)