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).

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Referring Web Pages

Referring Web Pages for the last 24 hours:

Earlier I had the Truefresco script in the sidebar, but it often caused the sidebar to disappear.

Sometimes the URLs from sites that linked to this site were so long that they "pushed" the sidebar to the bottom of the page. Unfortunately I can't prevent this from happening. Therefore I have moved the Truefresco script to the bottom, where referring websites can be seen.

Please support them by visiting them. Just click the link.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

How Taxes Work . . . (humor)

.... and now for a change of pace .....;-)

How Taxes Work . . .

This is a VERY simple way to understand the tax laws. Read on -- it does make you think!!

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men — the poorest — would pay nothing; the fifth would pay $1, the sixth would pay $3, the seventh $7, the eighth $12, the ninth $18, and the tenth man — the richest — would pay $59.

That's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement — until one day, the owner threw them a curve (in tax language a tax cut).

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20." So now dinner for the ten only cost $80.00.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six — the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?"

The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, Then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being PAID to eat their meal. So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so the fifth man paid nothing, the sixth pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of his earlier $59. Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man who pointed to the tenth. "But he got $7!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man, "I only saved a dollar, too . . . It's unfair that he got seven times more than me!".

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man, "why should he get $7 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night he didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered, a little late what was very important. They were FIFTY-TWO DOLLARS short of paying the bill! Imagine that!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college instructors, is how the tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore. There are lots of good restaurants in Monaco and the Caribbean.

Where would that leave the rest? Unfortunately, most taxing authorities anywhere cannot seem to grasp this rather straightforward logic!

One version of this is found here.



> Hey, don't knock David. I get a mention on his site. It's in an article
> which suggests that I am part of the Illuminati.
> --
> Peter Bowditch
> The Millenium Project
> Australian Council Against Health Fraud

Hi Peter,

Just a quick off-list message. Strictly 4YEO!!


On that page is some information that shouldn't be out there! How on earth did David Icke find out about our "insider" connections? Here's what he writes, and it's out there for any idiot in cyberspace to read! :

"Bowditch also has a link to a restricted access discussion group that is only open to "approved" members. The discussion group, QuackbustersOfTheIlluminati, states its purpose as being: "This is a meeting place for the anti-alternative-medicine committee of the Illuminati, where we can meet and consider our attack on health freedom within the broader agenda of world domination." (16) It is not known what relationship Bowditch has with this group, why it is secretive or why it was formed."

Unfortunately Eve Hillary has also leaked that information about the existence of our QBOTI discussion group.....

BTW, have you gotten your decoder ring reprogrammed yet? I need to get mine taken care of. Something's wrong with it. I nearly ended up exposing my identity to some idiot CIA goofball at the airport. Their rings have a frequency that is pretty close to our's, and mine is malfunctioning, so it responded when he was within range. I approached him thinking he had a "package" for me, but he didn't know the right signal, so I drew back and disappeared as quickly as I could. The CIA is positively a nuisance. Their security is so slack! (Although, in this case, it turns out that my ring is the problem. It shouldn't have reacted to his ring.)

Let us ever remember one of the central pillars of our order, uttered by the Holy One Himself:

"The great strength of our order lies in its concealment. Let it never appear in any place in its own name, but always covered by another name and another occupation." -- Adam Weishaupt

The QBOTI group was intended to be top secret, and the fact that a number of top members of the HF list are also members there shouldn't be known. That Bolen calls us Quackbusters is just fine with me, as long as the Illuminati word isn't used.

Knowledge of our connections to the Bilderbergers, the Rockefeller Foundation, Big Pharma, the existence of the New World Order timeline, the real identity of 666 and the new Pope,......yes, all of this must be kept secret. If Ickes has cracked the QBOTI, then there must be a mole somewhere. We'll have to let the Enforcer take care of it.....

I'm somewhat worried about this one. What happens if Ron Law and Tim Bolen (or, god forbid, pests like Judith Alta, Ilena Rose, and Betty Martini) find out? Bolen always talks about the "New York ad agency". I was certain I could call his bluff on that one, because he simply *couldn't* know about our real connections with "Big Pharma".....but now I'm beginning to worry. Maybe he does have some proof! If Icke knows about QBOTI, then he's got connections in the NCAHF. I don't see any other way it could happen. Have you covered your tracks well? I live as usual, so no one would suspect that my monthly paycheck is padding a rather large bank account....;-) Even my wife has no idea. (This email gets deleted from my PC as soon as it's sent.)

Has there been some former NCAHF member who is so upset that they would risk "the final solution" for traitors? Since we know that that solution is worse than death (Saddam Hussein was an amateur! He knew nothing of Reptilian torture methods.), I can hardly imagine anyone would dare to reveal our true connections.

I guess I'm old fashioned, because - in my book - a secret society is a secret society is a secret society! Internal security is getting worse and worse these days. Even our beloved Masonic order is becoming more "open" these days! The even more secret orders like the Rosicrucians, the Knights Templar, the *true* and now living descendents of the Merovingians, and the Elders of Zion, as well as our friends in the Church of Satan, like Anton LaVey, John Kerry, George Bush, and their Skull and Bones club.....yes, all have gotten exposure in the media. What a mess! Before we know it the conspiracy theorists will be listing the NCAHF and Quackwatch in their lists of conspirators.

Man, I've just gotten some more gray hairs over this one. We'll have to arrange a quick meeting with the Boss. You know what I mean..... I fear that he's going to be very upset with you for getting exposed by Icke.

The internet will be the death of us yet. Nothing can be kept secret anymore! Our New Wold Order is being threatened. Fortunately Bill Gates (blessed be his name!) is donating money to vaccinate the kids of the world. What a stroke of genius. (The guys at the top really figured out a good one this time, and our very vocal opposition to anti-vaxers is the perfect cover. Those anti-vaxers are so dumb!) Thus a time bomb is being planted that will, in one fell swoop, bring us much nearer our goal. What is considered help will suddenly boost our position and power in the world one hundred fold. Let the games begin! Ha ha!

Bill's Windows project is brilliant. Give the masses something that works well enough to be used by nearly everyone. The "security issues" are of course a well planned cover. Using the internet, Windows, Internet Explorer, and Google, we will have access to nearly everyone's private data, and will be able to manipulate anyone who could be a threat. All the poor without internet connections don't count, since they aren't a threat anymore. Only the well-heeled, internet savvy, can be a threat, and through the use of Windows, their email conversations, backdoor worms and viruses, and even hacking (as primitive as that is), we can keep an eye on them and control them.

So the internet is both a boon and a bane. It can be used to expose us, but we still will be able to use it to deal with any fools who are a real threat. So far Icke isn't a serious threat, and Bolen, well, he's somewhat lower than a flea's hemorrhoid on our priority list. A minor nuisance who doesn't know what he's talking about. He really is totally ignorant of what makes the body work and the real nature of health and disease. Fortunately the New York ad agency is also a third degree cover. Even if it gets exposed, they'll probably figure they've gotten to the bottom of it all, when they will only have scratched the surface......;-)

Later buddy. Be careful......


Agent 52541yyt

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Chiropractic treatment of the neck can be a risk factor for stroke

Chiropractic treatment of the neck can be a risk factor for stroke

A retrospective study of stroke cases at two major academic medical centers, led by University of California, San Francisco neurologists, indicates that chiropractic manipulation of the neck can cause vertebral artery dissection, a tearing of the vertebral artery leading to the brain that causes stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Evidence from the study also suggests that spinal manipulative therapy may exacerbate pre-existing vertebral artery dissections.

The findings are published in the May 13 issue of Neurology. Several previously published studies have reported cases in which spinal manipulative therapy of the neck has preceded stroke by minutes or weeks in patients who subsequently developed vertebral artery dissections, but these studies were not designed to establish causation. The current study teased out the variables that could explain the onset of stroke -- including addressing the question of whether patients with spontaneous cervical arterial dissection seek spinal manipulative therapy because of neck pain or whether spinal manipulative therapy either causes dissection or exacerbates a pre-existing dissection – and determined that treatment is an independent risk factor.

The researchers reported that patients under age 60 who had strokes or transient ischemic attacks from tears in the vertebral artery were six times more likely to have had spinal manipulative therapy in the 30 days prior to their stroke than patients who had strokes from other causes. The patients tended to be otherwise healthier than most stroke patients, lacking such risk factors as diabetes, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

The number of chiropractic manipulations performed in the United States each year is in the millions, and the incidence of stroke from all causes is only 10 per 100,000, so we’re not talking about large numbers of victims. But rare incidences do happen, and physicians and patients should be aware of spinal manipulation therapy as a rare but potentially causal factor in stroke, said the first author of the study, Wade S. Smith, MD, PhD, UCSF associate professor of neurology and director of the UCSF Neurovascular Service at UCSF Medical Center.

Given this link, he said, physicians presented with patients displaying the neurological symptoms of stroke or TIA – particularly younger patients - should be alert to the possibility that dissection is the cause, so that they can institute presumptive treatment to prevent further strokes. Likewise, he said, chiropractic practitioners performing spinal manipulative therapy should warn patients of the risk of cervical artery dissection. In fact, he says patients should be screened by a physician for symptoms of pre-existing vertebral arterial dissection, such as TIA, before beginning therapy, and be told that a significant increase in neck pain or neurological signs or symptoms within 30 days following spinal manipulative therapy warrants immediate medical evaluation.

In their paper, the researchers propose that since spinal manipulative therapy is a medical procedure, practitioners should carry out a formal consent process, in which risk would be disclosed. Smith noted that physicians are expected to disclose any risk to patients regarding procedures or drug therapies.

The researchers were not able to determine whether particular neck manipulations cause the rare cases of vertebral arterial dissection, though there is evidence in the scientific literature, says Smith, that rapid movements over short distances are safer than quick movements over long distances.

(Scientists suspect that the vertebral artery is particularly vulnerable to mechanical dissection due to its horizontal course along the first cervical vertebra, where it can be compressed or placed under traction as the head is extended and rotated.)

Regardless, the tear in the artery causes the formation of a blood clot in the artery, either leading to the brain or in the brain itself, that blocks blood flow to the brain and leads to the often severe neurological impairment associated with stroke and TIA. Approximately 16 to 19 percent of strokes in young patients are attributed to spontaneous cervical arterial dissection, often accompanied by neck or head pain.

While most spontaneous cases do not have a clear cause, certain uncommon conditions, as well as trauma, can predispose people.

However, it has been unclear whether minor trauma or simple, self-initiated head and neck motions can produce dissection. In their study, the scientists reviewed all patients under age 60 at UCSF Medical Center and Stanford Medical Center stroke centers who developed cervical arterial dissection and stroke or TIA between 1995 and 2000. After excluding patients who either did not meet the criteria for the study or who declined to participate, the scientists examined the medical cases and conducted interviews with 51 dissection patients (mean age 41, +/- 10 years; 59 percent female) and 100 control patients (mean age 44 +/- 9 years; 58 percent female). Participants in the latter group, who had strokes not caused by dissection, were matched by gender and age, and were randomly selected.

Of this group, ten patients (seven dissection patients, three controls) were able to provide detailed information about the timing of spinal manipulative therapy and the timing of pain symptoms relative to stroke or TIA. Notably, the seven dissection patients received spinal manipulative therapy within 1.4 days of the neurovascular event, while the controls received it on average 8.4 days prior to stroke. Six of the dissection patients had their dissection in the vertebral artery, as opposed to other arteries leading to the brain.

Of these seven patients, four had substantial increase or new and different pain immediately following spinal manipulative therapy – in contrast to the three controls who said they experienced relief of their pain -- and all four had vertebral artery dissections. Two of the dissection patients had a stroke within seconds of receiving spinal manipulative therapy. Both of these patients had vertebral dissections.

These observations suggest that spinal manipulative therapy can directly produce dissection, says Smith. It is highly improbably that a young patient will have a stroke and have had spinal manipulative therapy within seconds purely by chance, given the relatively low frequency of both events.

The researchers cited several limitations of their study, such as the fact that the data was collected retrospectively from a population of patients who responded to solicitation, leaving room for variables in patient recollection, variation in the diagnostic work-ups and patient self selection. However, they noted, while a prospective study could reduce the potential for such biases, it might be difficult to obtain a large enough sample given the rarity of the disease.

In an accompanying editorial in Neurology, neurologists Linda S. Williams, MD, and Jose Biller, MD, noted the limitations of the study but wrote that the six-fold risk determined by the scientists must be taken seriously.

Moreover, they wrote, In the absence of randomized controlled trial evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of cervical manipulation, the best current evidence suggests that the small risk of dissection and stroke outweighs the benefit of this treatment modality for patients with acute neck pain.

Co-authors of the study were S. Claiborne Johnston, MD, PhD, UCSF associate professor of neurology and director of the UCSF Stroke Service, UCSF Medical Center; E.J. Skalabrin, MD, of the Department of Neurology, University of Utah; M. Weaver, MS, of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics Department; P. Azari, St. George’s University School of Medicine; G.W. Albers, MD, Department of Neurology, Stanford University and D.R. Gress, MD, of Lynchburg General Hospital

Chiropractic Tied to Rare Strokes

Chiropractic Tied to Rare Strokes

MONDAY, May 12 (HealthScoutNews) -- Letting a chiropractor near your neck could be asking for serious trouble.

A new study adds to evidence that people who undergo manipulation -- or "adjustment" -- of the high spine put themselves at risk of ruptured arteries that can lead to strokes.

The study found that stroke patients with torn arteries in the neck were six times more likely to have been to a chiropractor for an adjustment in the preceding month than those whose strokes happened for other reasons. A report on the findings appears in the May 13 issue of Neurology.

"There is a strong association between" neck manipulation and stroke, says study author Dr. Wade S. Smith, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco. "It's probably rare, but it's there."

Smith says he and his colleagues aren't saying people shouldn't go to chiropractors, or even that they should avoid neck manipulations entirely. The procedure probably accounts for at most one in every 1 million strokes among young people. "We're not looking at an epidemic problem here or a major scourge," Smith says.

However, many chiropractors fail to warn their patients about the possible complication, and neurologists don't always consider the link, either.

Dr. William Lauretti, a chiropractor and a delegate to the American Chiropractic Association, says he and his colleagues don't typically address the risk of strokes because it's so low and, from their perspective, unproved.

Lauretti says recent research on cadavers found the forces spinal manipulation puts on the neck arteries are weaker than those that accompany normal movement of the head, and much less than required to stretch the vessel. "A normal artery is really very tough and resilient," he says.

Splits, or dissections, of the neck arteries are believed to cause up to a fifth of all strokes in young people, or about two to three cases per 100,000.

Previous studies have suggested manipulation of the cervical spine (the seven highest vertebrae) can cause dissections.

In the new study, Smith's group looked for the link between spinal manipulation and strokes in men and women under age 60. They interviewed 51 who had suffered either a major stroke or a transient ischemic attack -- a form of "small" stroke -- following a split artery.

Seven of these patients, or 14 percent, said they'd been to a chiropractor the month before suffering their stroke. On the other hand, three of 100 men and women stroke patients who hadn't had a vessel rupture had seen a chiropractic recently.

Neck pain often precedes a dissection, and it's a main reason people go to a chiropractor -- raising the possibility that manipulations are unfairly blamed for the vessel damage.

But even after accounting for neck pain, the risk of dissection following spinal manipulation persisted. And more than half of the people who'd suffered a dissection after seeing a chiropractor said their neck pain had appeared or worsened during or after the spinal procedure.

Interestingly, Smith says, although previous studies have linked spinal manipulation with tears of the carotid arteries -- the main vessel in the head and neck -- his research didn't support that connection. All of the risk appeared to involve the vertebral artery, which threads up the spine and into the skull. That makes sense, he adds, because the vessel's walls are bent by twisting and turning of the head.

In addition to neck pain and spinal manipulation, infections also appeared to raise the risk of dissection, according to the study. Certain viruses may weaken blood vessels, making them vulnerable to tears, Smith says.

Dr. Vadim Beletsky, a stroke expert at the University of Western Ontario who has looked at the risks of chiropractic manipulation, believes the practice "may be dangerous and yes, it can cause a devastating stroke or death. However, we can't just forbid this method of treatment since some people are benefiting from it and regardless of stroke risks will continue to do so for decades."

As a middle measure, he says, "informed consent must be mandatory" when patients visit a chiropractor. "We have no right to interfere, but it is our duty to warn."

Stopping a contagion

Toronto Star
May 27, 2005. 01:00 AM

Editorial: Stopping a contagion

Public health officials battling a rubella outbreak in southern Ontario are doing the right thing by keeping children who have not been immunized out of school in areas at risk of the virus.

While it is unfortunate that some children feel stigmatized, public safety must come ahead of youthful sensitivities and the anti-immunization views of parents.

Some object to vaccination on religious grounds; others may have exaggerated worries about the risks posed by these shots, ignoring scientific evidence showing that going without immunization is more dangerous than receiving the needle.

This isn't just an academic debate. Lives are at risk when immunization is neglected. Rubella, in particular, is a threat to unborn children.

A vaccination exists to stop this virus in its tracks, yet a rubella outbreak in southwestern Ontario has infected well over 150 unimmunized children and put several pregnant women and their babies at risk.

Recently in Copetown, near Hamilton, health officials took action when a teacher appeared to have the virus. Thirty-five unvaccinated students were sent home with notes advising parents that they would not be allowed back until they could prove they had immunity against rubella or until the incubation period of the virus had passed without a fresh case. That means, if all goes well, they could return early next month.

If these children, and others in southwest Ontario, had been immunized, there would be no outbreak, no one would have missed school and no baby would be at risk of devastating birth defects. Unfortunately, some parents put other considerations ahead of public safety.

In view of that attitude, health officials must remain vigilant and be ready to crack down hard as soon as danger presents itself.

Ninth edition of The Skeptics' Circle

The Ninth edition of The Skeptics' Circle is up at St. Nate's Blog. There are some great posts.

Here are the categories he uses:

Ghosts, Aliens, Psychics and Stars
Bad Medicine
Rethinking What Happened
Proving What's Proven
Inbox Suckerpunch

Under Bad Medicine, my contribution from Confessions of a Quackbuster is this important matter, which needs to be attended to soon, since we don't know how long these films will be available:

Three Films You Must See about the dangers of chiropractic neck manipulation.

Anne of Anne's Anti-Quackery & Science Blog has two entries:

Is chiropractic really complete garbage? I was under the impression it was a legit medical thing.

The 20 Most Popular Herbal Medicines

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Conspiracy Theory Spreads Polio

A Conspiracy Theory Spreads Polio

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
May 24, 2005

[NY Sun title: "Conspiracy Spreads Polio"]

A worldwide campaign begun in 1988 to eradicate the polio infection was on the verge of success when, early in 2003, a conspiracy theory took hold of the Muslim population in northern Nigeria. That conspiracy theory has single-handedly returned polio to epidemic proportions.

The theory's source seems to be a physician and the president of Nigeria's Supreme Council for Shari'a Law, Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, 68. Dr. Ahmed, an Islamist, accuses Americans of lacing the vaccine with an anti-fertility agent that sterilizes children (or, in an alternate theory, it infects them with AIDS) and considers them, according to John Murphy of the Baltimore Sun, "the worst criminals on Earth … Even Hitler was not as evil as that."

This fear of polio vaccines caught on because of the war in Iraq, explained a doctor with the World Health Organization. "If America is fighting people in the Middle East," goes the Islamist logic, "the conclusion is that they are fighting Muslims." Local imams repeated and spread the sterilization theory, which won wide acceptance despite vocal assurances to the contrary from the WHO, the Nigerian government, and many Nigerian doctors and scientists.

Ibrahim Shekarau, governor of Kano, one of the three Nigerian states that refused the polio vaccine, justified the decision not to vaccinate on the grounds that "it is a lesser of two evils to sacrifice two, three, four, five, even ten children than allow hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of girl-children likely to be rendered infertile."

The Baltimore Sun offers the example of a young Nigerian mother who rejected the polio vaccine for her child. The child contracted polio, and the mother was asked if she regretted her decision. Unhesitatingly, she replied, "No, I would do the same." Villagers saw the vaccination program as a threat and on occasion "chased, threatened and assaulted vaccinators. Frustrated, some vaccination teams dumped thousands of doses of the vaccine rather than face angry villagers."

By mid-2004 the conspiracy theory had jumped to India, where a health worker noted that in one slum, "many poor and ignorant women regard the anti-polio drops as a deceptive strategy to control the birth rate."

Such phobia about the West infecting Muslims with diseases is nothing new. In a 1997 book, I surveyed some earlier accusations:

the British imported cholera and malaria to Egypt after World War II. A British midwife who trained in the Kabylia province of Algeria got accused by his angry Algerian supervisor of working in league with the "white-coated saboteurs passing their hands from vagina to vagina, infecting my heroic people with syphilis!" An unnamed enemy—presumably American—infiltrated deadly diseases into Iraq via maggot-ridden cigarettes. Israel transmitted cancer to Palestinians by getting them to take dangerous factory jobs or subjecting them to phosphorous searches.

The polio-vaccine conspiracy theory has had direct consequences: Sixteen countries where polio had been eradicated have in recent months reported outbreaks of the disease – twelve in Africa (Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Sudan, and Togo) and four in Asia (India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen). Yemen has had the largest polio outbreak, with more than 83 cases since April. The WHO calls this "a major epidemic."

The common element, the New York Times notes, is that incidents of polio are now located "almost exclusively in Muslim countries or regions." That's because, scientists hypothesize, the polio infection traveled from Nigeria in a uniquely Muslim way – via the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, which took place in January 2005. Testing confirms that all three Asian strains of the disease originated in northern Nigeria.

In response, the WHO is talking tough, as U.N. organizations too rarely do, complaining that Muslim governments have contributed a trivial US$3 million to the $4 billion anti-polio campaign and demanding more funds from them. David L. Heymann of the WHO also said: "It would be a good sign for Islamic countries to see other Islamic countries giving. But they've come in more slowly than we expected."

Additional money would help, yes, but more important is for Muslims themselves to argue against and defeat the conspiracy-theory mentality. This polio episode is but one example of how conspiracy theories originating in the Muslim world damage everyone, and Muslims first of all.

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A Scientific Look at Alternative Medicine

Excellent resources!:

On-line reading and handouts for
A Scientific Look at Alternative Medicine
Thomas J. Wheeler, Ph.D.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Louisville School of Medicine

Overview: science and pseudoscience; health fraud and quackery [reading, handout]

Chiropractic; osteopathy, massage [reading, handout]

Cancer and AIDS treatments; chelation therapy; allergy; arthritis; misc.[reading, handout]

Herbs; mind-body medicine [reading, handout]

Dietary supplements; weight loss [reading, handout]

Traditional Chinese medicine; Ayurvedic medicine [reading, handout]

Homeopathy, naturopathy, and other holistic approaches [reading, handout]

Faith healing; prayer; political developments [reading, handout]

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Procedure to melt fat just a dud, suit claims (mesotherapy)

Procedure to melt fat just a dud, suit claims
Dubious credentials: A Summit County woman says her unlicensed doctor created the treatment in his unsanitary basement

By Carey Hamilton
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Wanting to lose weight in her abdomen, Brooke Horan tried a relatively unknown procedure called mesotherapy, which involves injecting drugs and other substances into cellulite.

After receiving one treatment without side effects, the Summit County woman decided to allow Arnold Scott Devous, an acquaintance she believed to be a licensed Utah doctor, to practice his new technique on her.

Instead of shedding pounds, she says, she ended up with lumps and nodules on her stomach, hot flashes, heart palpitations, bruises and intense pain.

This week, she sued Devous in 3rd District Court, alleging he misrepresented his medical credentials and mixed his mesotherapy concoction in his basement.

Used in France for decades, mesotherapy is intended to shrink cellulite with injections that are typically a mix of vitamins and prescription drugs. The theory is that the injections to the mesoderm layer, where cellulite exists, improve blood flow and loosen fatty deposits.

There is no standard for the mixture or dosage, and mainstream doctors argue the therapy is unsupported by research.

The state of Utah does not regulate mesotherapy. But the Utah Department of Professional Licensing (DOPL), through its physician and nursing licensing board, is in the process of changing rules to allow only licensed physicians to perform it.

The few businesses currently offering mesotherapy in Utah include Surface Medical Spas in Park City and Layton, and Docere Clinics in Salt Lake City.

Harry Adelson, a naturopathic physician with an office in Sugar House, was trained in France by the French Society of Mesotherapy. He believes the procedure shows great success in treating pain and dissolving cellulite.

Most women have cellulite, with its distinctive dimpling caused by fat, just under the skin, that liposuction can't remove.

"Some people respond to mesotherapy very quickly; some don't," he said.

He charges between $200 and $400 per session. Generally, patients need four to 10 treatments.

Adelson will not reveal his exact concoction, protecting it as proprietary, but says it includes natural substances and medications.

Lawyer Matt Osborne, who is representing Horan, is wary of the practice.

"The scariest thing is the [Food and Drug Administration] hasn't approved mesotherapy, so nobody knows what mixing these drugs together will do," he said.

Horan was introduced to Devous by her husband, Justin Williams, who was interested in entering into business deals with him.

Williams also believed Devous was licensed to practice medicine in Utah.

"Our goal is to make a stand against this; it's not just monetary," Williams said. "I think there's some legitimate people out there who have legitimate formulations for mesotherapy, but the fact that a man was mixing it in his basement isn't right."

According to the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Salt Lake City, Devous "unlawfully mixed controlled substances together in the basement of his home in order to make the substance used in mesotherapy. Devous had absolutely no quality control or assurances when mixing the substance, and he mixed them in an unsanitary environment."

The lawsuit alleges Horan received 70 to 100 injections, which included local anesthetic Lidocaine and other medications, beginning in March 2004.

"I've had heart issues because of this," Horan said. "I just don't feel that it's right he did this procedure."

Because Devous is not a physician licensed by DOPL, he is barred from treating people with prescription drugs in Utah, said spokesman Clark Caras.

Devous voluntarily relinquished his medical license in Wyoming in 1983 after "diverting controlled substances." The license was revoked in 1990 and was later reinstated, according to that state's records.

Alan Matarasso, a plastic surgeon in Manhattan who recently wrote about mesotherapy for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said most plastic surgeons don't offer mesotherapy due to the unknowns.

"People are having things injected into them, and they don't know what the cocktail is or what the long-term effects are," Matarasso said.

"It's hard to endorse mesotherapy because we don't know what we're injecting or where the fat goes."

Adelson and others argue the pharmaceutical industry is unwilling to pay for studies of mesotherapy because the procedure uses a mixture of substances that likely can't be patented, and, therefore, would not be lucrative to produce.

Matarasso said that is no excuse.

"We need to make patient safety first," he said. "As plastic surgeons, we would certainly embrace something that is less invasive and can correct cellulite, but we need more information."

'Copeland's Cure': Medicine Show (homeopathy)

'Copeland's Cure': Medicine Show

Published: May 22, 2005

BRONCHITIS can be stopped in its tracks with a pack of Zithromax; but flu has to be endured. Or does it? Throughout the flu season, a homeopathic medicine with the mystical Latin name of Oscillococcinum flies off pharmacy shelves -- $20 million worth sold in 1996 alone. Its active ingredient is anas barbariae hepatis et cordis extractum. For English speakers, that's ''extract of the liver and heart of the wild duck,'' made into a kind of bouillon, filtered and freeze-dried, rehydrated, diluted and absorbed into tiny sugar pellets. Only one bird is needed to make a full year's global supply of these duck Tic-Tacs; which means there is about as much anas barbariae in a ton of this nostrum as there is Noilly Prat in an extra-dry martini. Why might this work?

As Natalie Robins explains in ''Copeland's Cure,'' her social history of the 150-year battle between conventional and alternative medicine in this country, the guiding principles of homeopathy are that ''like cures like'' and that small doses are better than big ones. These ideas are not bogus: after all, the vaccine for smallpox is made from a smidgen of the milder menace, cowpox. But why would a wisp of duck steam help a human? In the words of Michael Carlston, a homeopath whose work Robins consulted, ''We remain a long way from understanding how these extreme dilutions can directly create clinical effects.'' All that matters, he says, is that the patient get better. Ask someone who isn't a homeopath, and you'll get a different opinion. The Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann derided the notion that an undetectable molecule could have a therapeutic result as ''garbage physics''; other partisans of traditional medicine dismiss homeopathy as ''a masquerade fakery'' and ''pseudoscience.''

The two camps have been feuding since the get-go -- there was even a historic fistfight on the campus at Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1867. When the American Institute of Homeopathy was founded, in 1844, it was this country's first national medical organization. Three years later, rival doctors created the American Medical Association, and denounced homeopathy as a delusion practiced by unsavory foreign speculators ''who infest the land'' -- even though, at the time, both schools of medicine offered identical training. But apart from a few closing chapters that touch on current debates on alternative medicine (such as Oscillococcinum), Robins's curious book does not attempt to debunk or to defend either medical school of thought.

Her chief purpose is to explain the origins of homeopathy, and to show how a monomaniacal Midwestern doctor named Royal S. Copeland helped legitimize and popularize it. Robins, the author of ''Alien Ink: The FBI's War on Freedom of Expression,'' among other books, paints Copeland as a hero in his own mind; a well-meaning blowhard who promulgated his homeopathic vision over a long career that ultimately landed him in the United States Senate, where he earned the nickname General Exodus because congressmen fled in droves during his harangues. As an 11-year old boy in Dexter, Mich., in 1879, Copeland watched his grandmother save his father from a fatal fever by boiling ears of corn, packing them in linen, tucking them around him and sweating out the illness. The method -- using heat to cure a fever -- was homeopathic: like cures like. Copeland never forgot the lesson. With colorful examples like these, Robins shows how Americans' understanding of the physical world around and within them changed during Copeland's lifetime.

In the 19th century and well into the 20th, homeopathy and allopathy had a great deal in common. There were no microscopes, bacteria had yet to be discovered, the existence of viruses wasn't known; there were no X-rays, no M.R.I.'s, no penicillin. Aspirin tablets didn't go on the market until 1915 (the A.M.A. denounced the drug, comparing it to morphine). Luck and home remedies were what got most people through serious illnesses. Robins records Copeland's good-faith effort to save a poisoning victim in 1901. The patient was given raw eggs, enemas of turpentine, flax tea and hot milk and brandy, potassium salts, nitric acid, injections from a shrub called jaborandi, digitalis, marigold mouthwash, venom of the bushmaster snake, strychnia, dogbane and buttermilk. She did not get better.

Copeland's fortunes soon improved dramatically, however. In 1908, he moved to Manhattan, where he became head of the New York Homeopathic Medical College, and in 1918, he was appointed city health commissioner, just as the catastrophic Spanish influenza epidemic swept the country. As a preventive health measure, he advised New Yorkers to drink hot lemonade, and he put germ-blocking guards on his office phones. Copeland promoted his ideas in a syndicated newspaper column called ''Your Health'' and on a heavily advertised radio show; he also issued gramophone discs of his personal exercise program. Shameless self-promoter or no, he had sincere convictions, and his dedication was instrumental in strengthening the pure food and drug laws shortly before his death in 1938. That same year, with quaint derision, the A.M.A. declared homeopathy ''dead as a last year's bird nest.'' Which of us today, separated by a century from the folkloric, agricultural America that Copeland grew up in, knew that a bird's nest even had a life span?

Medical certainties, Robins shows, can't be separated from the people who hold them, or the times in which they live. And for all the advances of science, and for all the hopes of ailing humans today, who put their trust in echinacea or pine needles, streptomycin or stem cells, the role of doctors, whether conventional or alternative, will never be entirely separate from the role of faith healer -- at least not until somebody finds a cure for the flu that actually works.

Liesl Schillinger, an arts editor at The New Yorker, is a regular contributor to the Book Review.

Special SAT Edition to Conform to New Kansas State Board of Education Requirements

(author: unknown)

Special SAT Edition to Conform to New Kansas State Board of Education Requirements.

PART A: Science

1. A strain of bacteria, after repeated exposure to an antibiotic, develops a resistance to that antibiotic. This is an example of:

A. microevolution
B. microintelligent design
C. how the liberal media lies
D. why faith healing is better than secular medicine

2. Global temperatures have risen 1 degree F since 2004. This is due to:

A. the greenhouse effect
B. unsound science
C. the Clinton administration
D. gays

3. Scientific theories such as Evolution are:

A. ones which make predictions one can test against experimental data
B. They are only theories, not scientific at all! ! p;
C. Used by eastern liberal eggheads to oppress God-fearing white people.
D. tricks of Satan

PART B: Mathematics

1. Pi is:

A. the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter
B. three
C. I refuse to answer this question because some fruity liberal college professor probably made the whole thing up. Plus, we don't study this useless Pi stuff in Kansas schools.
D. Something Greek queers invented to make you homosexual against God's plan for you.

2. If dinosaurs first appeared 250 million years ago, and became extinct 185 million years later, how long ago did they become extinct?

A. 65 million years ago
B. There is no paleontological consensus that dinosaurs ever existed
C. 3500 years ago, during the Great Flood! , just as the Bible says!
D. However long ago it was th at they turned gay and lost their moral values

3. If you make $50,000 a year, and the flat income tax rate is 10%, how much money do you pay the IRS each year?

A. $5,000
B. Too much.
C. The federal govt. has no right to tax me and waste it on welfare mothers who have too many illegitimate kids and on black helicopters, and to lie to us about the aliens from outer space that everyone knows are out there in that secret place in the desert!
D. The IRS is part of the gay Mafia, anyway.

PART C: History

1. The US lost the Vietnam War because:

A. We ignored the history of Indochina and underestimated the determination of the enemy to free its country of all foreign outsiders.
B. liberals and the media wouldn't let Rambo do his job.
C. It was a tie, which mean! s we actually won.
D. Clinton made everyone in the Army turn gay and get married.

2. Who led the American army during the Revolutionary War?

A. George Washington
B. George W. Bush
C. Ronald Reagan
D. Jesus

3. Who betrayed the American army during the Revolutionary War?

A. Benedict Arnold
B. Bill Clinton
C. Hillary Clinton
D. The gays trying to violate "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

PART D: Literature

1. What is the greatest book ever written by an American?

A. The Great Gatsby
B. A Charge to Keep
C. Left Behind 2: Tribulation Force
D. The Bible

2. In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", Caesar is betrayed by:

A. Brutus
B. Clinton
C. the libe ral media
D. the gays trying to get married in Rome

3. In 1609, Galileo looked through a telescope and saw four small bodies orbiting Jupiter. This showed:

A. that not all celestial bodies orbit the Earth, and that the Earth is not necessarily at the center of the Universe
B. there is no astronomical consensus that anything orbits Jupiter
C. Galileo was a biased liberal
D. God loves Christian Americans the most, which is why the Earth IS the center of the universe!


Scoring is at the discretion of your local school board.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Chiropractors distort info negative to their practice

VOLUME 36, NO. 02, January 18, 2000

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: 'Chiropractors distort info negative to their practice'

Re: "Courts struggle with stroke-chiropractic link" (the Medical Post, Nov. 16).

As the mother of Laurie Jean Mathiason, who died of a stroke after a chiropractic manipulation in February 1998, I very much appreciate your article. Chiropractors often distort information negative to their practice and here again they are attempting to do so by referring to Dr. John Norris' study as "word of mouth" and by comparing their routine use of neck manipulation with medical or surgical treatment. Their distortion is that they use neck manipulation for everything and almost every time, while medical or surgical treatment will only be used after a true determination of the need to do so.

Even though a medical doctor may refer a patient to a chiropractor for lower back pain you must realize the chiropractor will manipulate the neck.

Laurie went to a chiropractor for low back pain. She went 21 times and had her neck manipulated on all 21 occasions. In fact, she had multiple neck manipulations on each occasion, except the last when one was enough to kill her.

In case you think this kind of result is rare, we know there are at least three other recent deaths in Canada and Dr. Norris' study is showing the frequency of chiropractic stroke in Canada. How can any physician refer a patient to a chiropractor knowing such a useless nonscientific and dangerous manipulation of the atlas and the axis joint will be a treatment for their patient?

I am sure the physicians of Canada place great value on their title "doctor." So does my family. In the next-to-last conversation I had with my daughter, when she told me how badly the chiropractor had hurt her, I told her I wanted her to see a doctor.

"Mom," she replied, "she (the chiropractor) is a doctor." A few hours later she was dead after having her vertebral artery punctured completely through by a chiropractic neck manipulation.

Lana Dale Lewis died seeking treatment for a migraine. I do not understand how a real medical doctor can refer a patient to a chiropractic who believes that upper cervical manipulation is a treatment for everything from ear infections to migraine headaches. I do not understand how real medical doctors who value their degree can refer a patient to a chiropractor who also claims to be a "doctor."

Chiropractors practise pediatric chiropractic and try to treat everything from colic to bed-wetting by spinal manipulation. The chiefs of pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society have basically labelled all this as useless and even dangerous. However, pediatric chiropractic is a $50 million dollar a year business in Canada and chiropractors are not likely to give up such a cash cow.

I do not understand why any physician would refer a patient to a chiropractor for any type of manual therapy when a perfectly safe and scientific alternative from orthopractic physiotherapists exists in the community. Stop accepting double talk.

Our new non-profit corporation, Laurie's Advocacy For Victims of Chiropractic Inc., wishes to make physicians aware they are exposing themselves to being included in a common lawsuit with a chiropractor in respect to any patient who suffers a stroke due to upper cervical neck manipulation by a chiropractor on the referral of a physician.

Chiropractic neck manipulation must stop so other innocent victims can be saved. Do not be the instrument that sends one of your patients to a chiropractic stroke. -- Sharon J. Mathiason, Saskatoon, Sask.

Neck Manipulation and Strokes: References

Nervous chiro customers....
Yes, even cartoonists are aware of the dangers of neck manipulation:

References: Neck Manipulation and Strokes

Chiropractic's Dirty Secret: Neck Manipulation and Strokes

Spinal manipulation: Its safety is uncertain
"One gets the impression that the risks of spinal manipulation are being played down, particularly by chiropractors. Perhaps the best indication that this is true are estimates of incidence rates based on assumptions, which are unproven at best and unrealistic at worse. One such assumption, for instance, is that 10% of actual complications will be reported. Our recent survey, however, demonstrated an under-reporting rate of 100%. This extreme level of underreporting obviously renders estimates nonsensical." -- Dr. Edzard Ernst, British professor of complementary medicine

Neck manipulation may cause strokes

Spin Doctors I: The Interactive Investigation

Spin Doctors II: Manipulating Children

Manipulation of the cervical spine: risks and benefits
“The literature does not demonstrate that the benefits of MCS outweigh the risks.”

The graphs are interesting, especially Figure 2, where the type of practitioner was adjusted according to the findings by Terrett. PTs were involved in less than 2% of all cases, with no deaths caused by PTs. DCs were involved in a little more than 60% of all cases, including 32 deaths.

Before adjusting the numbers according to the findings by Terrett, it looked like DCs were involved in more cases than was actually the case. The revised figures made DCs look a very little bit better, but were still far too high. A casual glance at these numbers could lead to the partially incorrect conclusion, that manipulation, when performed by a chiropractor, is much more dangerous than when performed by other practitioners. No, that would not be entirely correct. They should be seen more as a reflexion of the fact that manipulation is most often performed by DCs.

Regardless of who performs the manipulation - the more it gets done, the greater the risk. Sooner or later someone is going to get hurt. It needs to be used much more judiciously, by whoever it is that uses it, than most DCs use it today. If a PT or MD were to use spinal manipulation in precisely the same way, extent and frequency that DCs do, they would be exposing their patients to the same risks that chiropractic patients are exposed to every day. The statistics would then reveal more injuries from PTs and MDs.

While the technique itself is potentially problematic, the attitude of most chiropractors towards it makes it doubly so when applied by them.

Spinal manipulative therapy is an independent risk factor for vertebral artery dissection

Neurologic complications following chiropractic manipulation: a survey of California neurologists

Woman paralyzed by chiropractic neck manipulation

Chiropractic patient suffers stroke


Families Against Abusive Chiropractic Treatments (FAACT)

Diaphragmatic Paralysis Following Cervical Chiropractic Manipulation : Case Report and Review

Stroke victims five times more likely to have visited chiropractor

Horner's syndrome and dissection of the internal carotid artery after chiropractic manipulation of the neck.

Sudden neck movement and cervical artery dissection

Cervical manipulation: How risky is it?

Spontaneous vs Traumatic Arterial Dissection

"Chiropractors distort info negative to their practice" -- Sharon J. Mathiason (mother of a deceased victim)

Rand Finds Little Justification for Neck Manipulation

"A 1996 Rand report on The Appropriateness of Manipulation and Mobilization of the Cervical Spine (Coulter 1996) . . . concluded that only 11.1 percent of reported indications for cervical manipulation could be labeled appropriate. A patient who receives regular, frequent, and totally unnecessary neck manipulation is subjected to greater risk." -- Dr. Samuel Homola, DC., Skeptical Inquirer, Jan./Feb. 2001.

Complications of Cervical Manipulation

Deadly quacks: Neurologists have long protested the practice of 'highest neck manipulation,' which in some cases has resulted in lethal strokes

Chiropractic treatment of the neck can be a risk factor for stroke

Chiropractic Tied to Rare Strokes

Is chiropractic really complete garbage? I was under the impression it was a legit medical thing

What is worth knowing about the Chiropractic profession?


From a former chiropractor:

I have been doing a vascular surgery rotation for the past month, which is part of my postgraduate medical education. During my chiropractic training, when the subject of manipulation-induced stroke was brought up, we were reassured that "millions of chiropractic adjustments are made each year and only a few incidents of stroke have been reported following neck manipulation." I recently found that two of the patients on my vascular service that suffered a cerebrovascular accident (stroke) had undergone neck manipulation by a chiropractor, one the day that sympotms had begun and the other four days afterward. If indeed the incidence of stroke is rare, one M.D. would see a case of manipulation-induced CVA about every 10 years. But I believe I have seen two in the past month! I therefore urge my medical colleagues to question their patients regarding recent visits to a chiropractor/neck manipulation when confronted with patients that present with the neurologic symptoms of stroke. I also urge potential chiropractic patients to not allow their necks to be manipulated in any way. The risk-to-benefit ratio is much too high to warrant such a procedure.
-- Rob Alexander, M.D.



Chiropractic Index


Risks Related to Manipulation of the Cervical Spine: Consequences for Evidence Based Practice

Risks Related to Manipulation of the Cervical Spine:
Consequences for Evidence Based Practice

Precautionary Guidelines

1. Cervical manipulation, especially with rotation (the most commonly used method by chiropractors), should be considered a contraindicated technique.

2. Manipulation of the upper cervical spine - otherwise known as the "cervicocranium" (the occipito-atlanto-axial region) - should be considered absolutely contraindicated. (This is also the area of the neck most commonly manipulated by many chiropractors, most likely as a hangover from BJ Palmer's "Hole-In-One" theory.)

3. In principle these guidelines and cautions apply to all involved professions, since it is primarily the technique that is the problem, even though chiropractors are by far responsible for the greatest number of injuries, strokes, and deaths.

This is a logical consequence of their exaggerated and unwarranted self-confidence and erroneous education, combined with their historically and educationally conditioned overrating of the value of spinal manipulation as a whole.

4. All healthcare professions, including Emergency Room staff, must be alert to the possibility of injuries caused by spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). The patient's medical history should include questions about possible spinal manipulation within the last 30 days, at the very least.

Symptoms and injuries can include: headache, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, pain, strains, sprains, whiplash type injuries, Horner's syndrome, Wallenberg's syndrome, permanent or transient paralysis, blackouts, fainting, blod clots to the brain, and death.

Few of these consequences, especially deaths, are ever identified as results of previous SMT, since autopsies are rarely performed in these cases. Since strokes can occur up to a month - and even later - after manipulation of the cervical spine, a suspicion of any connection is rarely awakened.

5. When dealing with stroke cases, all MDs - be they general practitioners, specialists, pathologists, or coroners - should routinely examine the patient's (or deceased's) medical history (including interviews with relatives) for any cases of SMT within the previous 2-3 months, including number of times, since each repetition increases the risk.

If this isn't done, the real extent of SMT induced strokes and deaths will not be exposed, and it will be impossible to institute preventive measures in harmony with quality control principles.

6. Physical Therapists should encourage patients with such injuries to report them to their own doctors. (I can't be the only PT who has encountered patients with fractured spines, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, paralysis, stable fractures made unstable, severe sprains and strains, torn muscles, and unremitting headaches for years, all as a direct result of a specific chiropractic "adjustment". I have seen all of these injuries, but those who have died haven't come to me or their chiro, for obvious reasons.)

7. Whiplash patients should never receive cervical manipulation, especially in the acute phase. Hairline fractures are easily overseen on x-rays at this point in time. This may create a false sense of security, resulting in treatment which can destabilize otherwise stable fractures. Such fractures become visible after a short time, often within a few weeks *if* the x-ray is taken from precisely the right angle, which isn't necessarily one of the standard angles.

No more underreporting

The massive underreporting (nearly 100%) that is currently occurring must stop. Neurologists and Physical Therapists encounter these cases regularly, but may not be recognizing them. Awareness of the problem will help to bring far more cases to light. They should then be reported to centrally established centers in all lands.

In Canada the Canadian Stroke Consortium is attempting to uncover the real frequency of these injuries and deaths, since they are much more common than are indicated by chiropractic sources, where there is a vested interest to deny, ignore, and even cover-up, the problem.

No excuse for manipulation of the cervical spine (MCS)

There is no excuse (with rare exception) for the manipulation of the cervical spine (MCS), especially in light of several facts:

1. The majority of such manipulations are not indicated, especially when the problem is located elsewhere in the body. MCS in such cases constitutes gross malpractice and reckless endangerment.

2. The real problems in the neck, head, and upper extremities, for which treatment of the neck is properly indicated, can be treated

(a) without the use of MCS,

(b) using other methods,

(c) with longer lasting results, and

(d) with much less risk than is involved with MCS.

I hope that these precautionary guidelines will become widely disseminated, properly adapted, and then formally adopted by all medical professions which deal with the locomotor system.

For much more on this subject:

MUST SEE!: Dangers of chiropractic therapy

Cancer patients take their hopes to Tijuana

The following article gets right to the heart of much quackery - the selling of false hope - a most despicable activity. Taking advantage of people at the most awful point in their life, when they need true help, but instead get conned. Hulda Clark and her ilk are forms of life somewhat below pond scum.....

Why do people fall for it? They are desperate, and desperate people do irrational things, even though they are sometimes aware that they are acting irrationally.

They indulge in self-deception by claiming to believe things that they merely wish were true, even though they subconsciously know the belief is false. You see, mankind's capacity for deception and self-deception knows no limits.

The following Latin quote is far more true that many people are willing to admit:

Mundas vult decipi (The world wants to be deceived.)

How sad, how true, and how human. Can anyone of us be sure we wouldn't act just as irrationally if we had a gun to our head?



Cancer patients take their hopes to Tijuana
Border city is world alternative therapy centre

Jo Tuckman in Tijuana
Saturday May 21, 2005


Farooq Hussain had never thought of visiting Mexico before he was diagnosed with stage four cancer in March. Now the 32-year-old Leeds builder has come to this border city in search of treatment to save his life.

"I'm a desperate man trying to cling on to hope," he says with an embarrassed grin as he mulls the menu of unusual therapies at the Oasis of Hope clinic. "Everything I hear about here makes me think that could be for me, and then in the back of my mind I'm thinking it sounds too good to be true."

Tijuana is home to the largest concentration of cancer treatment centres offering unorthodox therapies anywhere in the world. More than 60 hospitals, clinics and semi-clandestine offices offer to cure or help control the disease in ways ranging from the unconventional to the controversial.

Some revolve around purported detoxification methods such as enemas or electrical therapy. Some concentrate on the immune system, while others claim to work on the blood. One is producing an anti-cancer "vaccine".

Most methods are discouraged by conventional medical science, which is why they are based in Tijuana, where health regulators rarely bother them.

Close on the US border, they mostly attract Americans, but also an increasing number of Britons, Australians and Japanese.

Many patients pay more than £20,000 for treatments that are promoted by anecdotal evidence of dramatic improvements or even total remission, but dismissed by oncologists as bad science relying on the placebo effect, the odd case of spontaneous remission and shameless quackery.

Complementary therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy may be gaining credibility as means to improve quality of life, but the backbone of accepted cancer treatments remains surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The sensitivity of the issue in Britain was underlined last year when Prince Charles was severely reprimanded by a leading cancer specialist after claiming a nutritionally based treatment called Gerson Therapy had helped put a woman he knew into remission. Gerson, like so much else, is available in Tijuana.

"The problem is that there is little or no evidence to support the claims of these treatments and some of them are potentially harmful," says Richard Sullivan, head of clinical programmes at Cancer Research UK. "The Tijuana clinics are essentially set up to deceive and it's a disgrace."

But it is hard for even purists like Dr Sullivan to reproach Mr Hussain for looking outside conventional methods after he was told two months ago that he had a soft tissue sarcoma in the thigh with metastasis in the lungs. He was given six months to a year to live, with the chance of an additional nine months if he responded well to chemotherapy.

"I was a wreck," remembered Mr. Hussain, who for the moment at least says he still feels relatively healthy apart from the pain in his leg from a 12cm (about 5in) tumour. "I'd lived my life a bit like I couldn't be arsed, but when something like that happens to you it changes a lot of things. I came to realise that I've got a lot to gain and nothing to lose."

His deeply determined wife, Jerry Malik, needed less time to find hope. She plugged into the internet, entered "cancer breakthroughs" into search engines, and plunged herself into the enormous amount of information out there about alternative treatments, all the while pushing her husband to believe that the end was not necessarily nigh. The 25-year-old customer liaison officer is confident that she has researched her topic well and subscribes to the argument from alternative practitioners that the medical establishment disapproves of their therapies because these threaten conventional drug company profits.

"The conventional doctors, they haven't really offered us anything, just chemo," she said. "I know that we probably won't find a cure, but if they can give him another 15 or 20 years we can live with that."

The couple were married five years ago and are clearly still very much in love, having weathered the family furore their relationship first caused because Mr Hussain had previously been married to Ms Malik's elder sister.

Now they receive constant calls from the extended family back in Leeds for updates on the treatment which they will pay for with donations from their many siblings, uncles and aunts.

Before coming to Tijuana the couple first explored Muslim faith healing. Immediately after the diagnosis they travelled around Pakistan for three weeks, visiting mosques and seeking spiritual guidance from holy men.

They have become much more devout, reading the Koran together and sharing an amazingly upbeat attitude most of the time which they say is rooted in their faith.

Once a patient is sure he or she wants to try unorthodox methods, making the final choice of which one can be bewildering.

Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary and alternative medicine at Exeter University, says many of these therapies are available in the UK but Britons are attracted to Tijuana "because the clinics there are famous".

In Tijuana there are some clear common themes, such as the removal of carcinogenic substances believed to be in the body and claims to be able to boost the immune system's ability to fight the disease.

Detoxification methods range from the widespread practice of coffee enemas to the exclusive Zapper developed by a particularly notorious Tijuana-based practitioner called Hulda Clark.

Part of the cure involves being hooked up to the Zapper, a low-voltage electrical device that Ms Clark claims kills the parasites which she insists cause all cancers.

Treatments on offer in Tijuana promising to strengthen the immune system range from drinking gallons of fruit juices to treating the patient's blood with ozone and ultraviolet light, which purportedly boosts white cell energy. Other therapies claim to act directly on the tumour.

At least one clinic says it can make vaccines from the cancerous cells, and with them trigger the malignancy to self-destruct. This is cutting-edge science at the big cancer research centres and there are doubts that any Tijuana doctor has the facilities to develop such a treatment.

In the end, Farooq Hussain and his wife were most convinced by the Issels treatment, which includes lots of fruit juice and coffee enemas three times a day, as well as ozone and UV blood treatment and intravenous application of an extract made from apricot pips.

The centrepiece of the month-long $40,000 (£21,900) treatment is the induction of extreme fevers, based on the theory that cancer cells are destroyed by the heat.

"I'm going to do everything I can now and if I find out that I am not going to be cured and that I am going to die, then at least I will know that I tried," said Mr Hussain.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

Friday, May 20, 2005

FDA warning letters to firms for marketing illicit "cure-all" products

FYI...The following are links to 5 recent FDA warning letters to firms for marketing illicit "cure-all" products:
(Note: links to firm websites follow the firm name)

2. Two Feathers, Inc. for "Healing Formula" (aka Compound X), which is promoted for the treatment and cure for cancer, tumors and venereal diseases.

3. Tropical Traditions for "Organic Virgin Coconut Oil," "Ampalaya," "Banaba," "Banaba PlusTM," and "Sambong," which are promoted for treatment of AIDS and other viral diseases,inflammatory bowel syndrome, congestive heart failure, diabetes and other serious diseases.

4. Priority One Nutritional Supplements for 13 products promoted with claims to treat multiple serious diseases:

5. Physician's Choice for multiple products promoted with disease claims on the firm's website and in firm catalogs.

6. Cell Quest for promoting CellQuest Liquid and CellQuest Gel with claims to prevent and halt malignant cell growth and others.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Anti-Immunization Press Reports in Australia 1993-1997

Anti-Immunization Press Reports in Australia 1993-1997

Julie-Anne Leask MPH, Research Officer and
Simon Chapman PhD, Associate Professor

Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
University of Sydney 2006


The eight themes we identified that coursed through the news reports formed a coherent narrative that can be summarised as follows:

Distillation: The Anti-Immunisation Argument in Australian Media

Vaccines are the modern equivalents of witches brews, brutally injected into babies pristine bodies. These concoctions are commodities promoted by the faceless, venal pharmaceutical industry which enjoys the support of governments and the medical profession. Doctors' professional arrogance and concern to close ranks in the face of damning evidence has not allowed them to acknowledge what is plain to see for anyone who takes the trouble to search: that vaccines maim and kill infants as the testimony of grieving parents shows us undeniably. Further, a whole host of allegedly mysterious illnesses and social problems are also caused by vaccines. The public has not been told this because it would cause the conspiracy between the drug industry and governments tounravel, with the general totalitarian agenda of government being the main casualty. There are many doctors who privately agree with this assessment but are either being ignored or gagged.

Those attempting to blow the whistle on this conspiracy are not quacks but scientifically literate and intrepid truth-tellers, motivated by their rapport with parents and their outrage at having discovered the extent of the conspiracy. Vaccines are poisons which are in every sense unnatural -- in contrast to pathways toward natural immunity such as homoeopathy and healthy living. Those advocating vaccines are urging us to expose our children to these witches' brews rather than choose healthy, natural lifestyles.


We have shown that the anti-immunization case received small news coverage compared to normative or overtly promotional articles on the value of immunization. The question for immunization advocates is; what makes such coverage memorable and potentially influential for the public? In attempting to understand the appeal of anti-immunization coverage it is instructive to first consider its appeal to those who publish it. News is not selected for whether it represents information as actually as possible. Journalists and editors selecting news are rarely qualified in any area of science or medicine and thus poorly positioned to judge whether the often elaborate quasi-scientific claims made by antiimmunizationists have any substance. Indeed, as we have shown, a core characteristic of much antiimmunization news is that it is self-consciously paradigm challenging. It positions itself as attractive precisely because of the forthright challenges it claims to lay, Galileo-like, at the door of the scientific church.

At the heart of anti-immunization discourse is an appeal to an individualistic ideology that upholds vigilance against the erosion of civil liberties, suspicion of authority figures and the prevention of disease through "natural" methods. By framing their arguments in this way anti-immunizationists locate their cause under a canopy of similar newsworthy issues that centre on the moral authority of the individual. For many this evokes a virtuous outlook that would contrast favourably with what they may see as an unquestioning compliance with the dictums of the medico-industrial axis. Armed with tragic case studies of children allegedly harmed by individualistic rejection of immunization orthodoxy can appear a rational and principled choice.

Furthermore, immunization requires that a parent take a small but active risk with their child for the benefit of disease prevention in the community and for future generations who face a world free of such diseases as has been the case with smallpox.16 Some may see the risk they are being asked to take as a risk that will bring little benefit to their child, with the arguments for vaccination embracing communitarian rather than individualistic values.

Trumpeting vaccination may only entrench opposition

The following alert is a good illustration of this definition:

True Believer Syndrome

"The true-believer syndrome merits study by science. What is it that compels a person, past all reason, to believe the unbelievable. How can an otherwise sane individual become so enamored of a fantasy, an imposture, that even after it's exposed in the bright light of day he still clings to it--indeed, clings to it all the harder? -- M. Lamar Keene

Trumpeting vaccination may only entrench opposition

Extolling the safety and benefits of childhood vaccinations may only serve to strengthen and entrench the positions of those philosophically opposed to them, says new research led by University of Toronto scientists.

"Changing attitudes about pediatric vaccination can be challenging," says Dr. Kumanan Wilson, professor of medicine and health policy, management and evaluation at U of T, internal medicine physician at Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, and lead author of the research. "Some parents have strongly held beliefs about the safety and benefits of vaccines and any attempts to try to change their minds may only strengthen their anti-vaccine sentiments."

Wilson and his colleagues from U of T and McMaster University sought to test the attitudes of people known to have views not supportive of vaccination. They randomly divided 97 participants into two study groups. One group received an evidence-based lecture on the benefits of polio vaccine while the other received a talk by a polio survivor. Participants completed surveys about their attitudes to vaccines before and after the presentations. "Before" surveys confirmed the researchers' initial hypothesis – these participants were generally non-supportive of vaccines with only nine per cent saying they would recommend the polio vaccine and six per cent saying they would recommend the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

However, analysis of the "after" surveys revealed surprising results – some respondents reported being even more opposed to vaccination. After seeing the presentations, 25 per cent reported being less likely to recommend the polio vaccine and 38 per cent were less likely to think polio was a serious problem.

"For some parents, concerns about vaccines are deeply held and physicians need to be aware of these findings when confronting parents who are strongly opposed to vaccination," warns Wilson. "Prolonged discussions may be counterproductive and could in fact damage the physician-patient relationship." The study appeared the April issue of Vaccine.

CONTACT: Dr. Kumanan Wilson, Department of Medicine, 416-340-3662,, or Janet Wong, U of T public affairs, 416-978-5949,

Consumer Health Digest #05-20 May 17, 2005

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Consumer Health Digest #05-20
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
May 17, 2005
Current # of subscribers: 10,291

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail
newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., and
cosponsored by NCAHF and Quackwatch. It
summarizes scientific reports; legislative
developments; enforcement actions; news reports;
Web site evaluations; recommended and
nonrecommended books; and other information
relevant to consumer protection and consumer


Swimmer wins lawsuit against multivitamin marketer.

Kicker Vencill, who
was suspended from competition after failing a
urine drug test, has won a $578,000 jury verdict
against Ultimate Nutrition. Documents in the case
indicate that the company's Super Complete
Capsules, which Vencill took, contained enough
androstenediol, androstenedione, and
norandrostenedione to cause him to test
"positive" for steroids. [Fox B. Banned swimmer
wins case over supplements. USA Today, May 13,


New questions raised about Gary Null's credentials.

Dr. Stephen Barrett has updated his exposé of
Gary Null, whom he considers to be "of the
nation's leading promoters of dubious treatment
for serious disease." In 1989, Null acquired a
Ph.D. in Human Nutrition and Public Health
Sciences from The Union Institute, which is
accredited but lets students select and chair
their own Ph.D. committee. In January 2005,
Null's attorney David Slater demanded that
Quackwatch remove a 1999 article which said that
Null's Ph.D. thesis was based on an invalid
diagnostic test and had "contributed nothing" to
the world's scientific literature. As evidence of
an alleged contribution, Slater stated that two
updated versions of the thesis were accepted for
publication in peer-reviewed journals. It turned
out, however, that the articles to which Slater
referred were published in 1981 and 1984 in
obscure journals and had multiple authors, and
that Null was not listed as lead author of either
one. When Barrett asked Slater to clarify the
time frames and authorship and to state where
Null got an "M.S." degree listed after his name
in the articles, Slater replied: "My client has
instructed me to cease all further communications
with you." Slater also declined to provide
information about the nature and timing of any
courses Null had had in nutrition and public
health. [Barrett S. A critical look at Gary
Null's activities and credentials. Quackwatch,
March 13, 2005]


Bogus Liberian medical school under attack.

Liberia's National Transitional Legislative
Assembly (NTLA) has voted 29-10 to ask the
Liberia's Justice Ministry to close down the St.
Luke School of Medicine and to freeze its assets
until the agency finishes investigating. The NTLA
also resolved that all medical degrees issued by
the St. Luke School of Medicine be nullified and
anyone found using said degrees be prosecuted.
[West J. NTLA orders 'bogus' St. Luke University
closed. Daily Observer, May 10, 2005]
Last year, Liberia's National Commission of High
Education announced:

"As regards the St. Luke Medical College,
evidence also shows that no such college exists
in Liberia; therefore, it cannot claim to have
obtained accreditation from the Commission. The
Commission also nullifies the existence of such
an institution in Liberia, until such time as all
pertinent requirements as noted above are met. It
therefore goes without saying that similar notice
is being sent our to all institutions which are
making claims similar to St. Regis and St. Luke
that have not met the requirements as herein
noted. [Roland I. Urgent disclaimer on the
illegal establishment and recognition of higher
education institutions in the Republic of
Liberia. "Liberian Embassy Web site, October

Liberia's Minister of Health, Dr. Peter Coleman,
has been suspended indefinitely by the Liberia
Medical and Dental Association for his alleged
involvement in the school's operation. [Brooks
JC. LMDA suspends Health Minister for "act
incompartable." The Liberian Times, May 18, 2005]


Prolotherapy practitioner surrenders medical license.

In December 2004, psychiatrist Anne-Francis
Nicol, M.D. signed a consent order with the Rhode
Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline
under which she settled charges of unprofessional
conduct by agreeing to surrender her medical
license for at least a year.
The order and various press reports state:

**In 2002, Nicol had signed a consent order to
serve one year of probation during which (a) her
practice would be monitored, (b) she would not
prescribe Schedule II and III controlled drugs,
and (c) she would undergo a clinical skills
evaluation at the Colorado Physicians Evaluation

**Before undergoing the evaluation, she
prescribed Schedule IV controlled drugs and
administered prolotherapy and without adequately
documenting what she had done. (Prolotherapy is a
nonstandard procedure that involves injecting
glucose and other substances into painful areas
in an attempt to relieve the pain.) During this
period, two patients under Nicol's care died of
overdoses of the drugs Darvon (a pain reliever)
and doxepin (an antidepressant).

**The Colorado evaluators found significant areas
in which she needed remedial education and
further training.

**Nicol can reapply for licensure if she
satisfactorily completes at least one year of
approved psychiatric residency training and is
favorably reevaluated by the Colorado Physicians
Evaluation Program.

In December 2003, a jury acquitted Nicol of
criminal charges of first-degree arson brought by
police who had accused her of trying to burn down
her former landlady's home.


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Stephen Barrett, M.D.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

NTLA Orders 'Bogus' St. Luke University Closed

NTLA Orders 'Bogus' St. Luke University Closed

Liberian Observer (Monrovia)
May 10, 2005
Posted to the web May 16, 2005

By James West

Lawmaking body of Liberia says it has established that the school of medicine is a fake medicine institute, has endangered the health of LIberians.

Following several weeks of investigation into its operations in Liberia, the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA) says the management of St. Luke School of Medicine has endangered the health of the public and should be turned over to the Justice Ministry for prosecution.

The transitional assembly said it has been established that St. Luke School of Medicine is a fake medical institute and is not a legal establishment.

The NTLA's Joint Committee on Health and Education which conducted the probe recommended to plenary that the purported medical school be closed down immediately and all banks be instructed to freeze their assets pending the conclusion of the Justice Ministry's inquiry.

The decision was reached following a vote during Plenary to have the Justice Ministry investigate and prosecute those concerned. Twenty- nine voted in favor while 10 voted against; none abstained.

At Plenary Tuesday, the transitional assembly's Chief Clerk Atty. James Kaba read the joint committee's recommendations: " the individuals who have committed the term of malfeascence, nonfeasance, perjury against the people of Liberia and participated in deceiving the public and putting the health of citizens in danger as ultimate objective, be turned over to the Ministry of Justice for further investigation and prosecution in consonance with due process of law for their crime committed against the state.

"That the Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Gerald Dolphin, be monitored not to leave the Republic of Liberia pending the decision of the Justice Ministry. This August Body declares him persona non grata;

"This August Body declares the alleged "Act" null and void. The Foreign Ministry of Liberia is instructed to cancel it effective immediately;

"The so called St. Luke School of Medicine be closed effective immediately and all banks must be instructed to freeze the assets pending the conclusion of the Justice Ministry's inquiry;

"All medical degrees issued by the St. Luke School of Medicine be nullified and anyone found using said degrees be prosecuted;

"The Board of Trustees of the St. Luke School of Medicine should be prosecuted in accordance with the Panel Code of the Republic of Liberia," the Atty. Kaba concluded.

According to the joint committee, the school graduated 30 medical doctors in four years, more then the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine of the University of Liberia.

The report named former Grand Kru County Senator Beatrice Sherman, Frank Teah, Lawrence Bestman, Charles Abdulai, Dr. Meimei Dukuly, and the Ministry of Health as members of the School's Board of Trustees.

Meanwhile, as the assembly voted to sanction the officials of the fake school, two assembly members, Thomas Nimley and Joseph Nagbe advanced notice for a Motion for Reconsideration. This indicates that the subject will be reintroduced at Plenary for further debate.

Liberian doctors in the Diaspora and Dr. Robert Kpoto blew the alarm and filed the complaint to the NTLA. The Indian Government had also requested its Consul General to verify the existence of the school in Liberia.

Copyright © 2005 Liberian Observer. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (