Respectful Insolence

Note: Parts of this post have appeared elsewhere, but not in this form.

If there’s one aspect of so-called “alternative medicine” and “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) is that its practitioners tout as being a huge advantage over what they often refer to sneeringly as “conventional” or “scientific” medicine is that — or so its practitioners claim — alt-med treats the “whole patient,” that it’s “wholistic” in a way that the evil reductionist “Western” science-based medicine can’t be. Supposedly, we reductionistic, unimaginative physicians only focus on disease and ignore the “whole patient.” Of course, to me this claim is belied by the hectoring to which my own primary care physician has subjected me about my horrible diet and lack of exercise on pretty much every visit I’ve had with her, but then maybe she’s an anomaly, along with PalMD and pretty much every other primary care doctor I’ve ever dealt with. Anecdotal experience, I know, but since alt-med mavens appear to value anecdotal evidence above pretty much all else I thought it appropriate to mention here. Also belying the claim of alt-med practitioners that they “individualize” treatments to their patients in a way that science-based medicine does not is the maddening tendency of various alt-med modalities to settle on just One True Cause of All Disease, be it liver flukes as the One True Cause of Cancer, heavy metal toxicity as the One True Cause of cancer, autism, and various other diseases, or “allergies,” acid, or obstruction of the flow of qi as the One True Cause of All Disease.

Given the claim of “wholism” that is such an advertising gimmick among many of the varieties of woo, I’m always interested when I see evidence that alt-med is imitating its envied and disliked reductionistic competition. True, this is nothing new, given how alt-med has tried to seek legitimacy by taking on the mantle of science-based medicine wherever it can. Examples include the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), various organizations that try to confer legitimacy to pseudoscience by providing “certification” in various flavors of woo, and moves to push state medical boards to go further than that and confer legally protected status to practitioners by actually licensing them. This latter tactic has been very successful in that many states now license acupuncturists, while some states even license naturopaths and “homeopathic physicians,” the latter of which I find quite amusing because the term perfectly encapsulates what must remain of such a physician’s medical training after being diluted to 30C with woo. The only difference is that, unlike what is claimed with homeopathy, diluting MD medical knowledge with woo does not make it stronger. In terms of naturopathy, though, one of the most alarming aspects of the infiltration of naturopaths into the health care system is that some states in the U.S. and provinces in Canada are seriously considering allowing them to prescribe real pharmaceutical medications, even though they lack the training and knowledge to use such drugs safely.

Imagine my combination of bemusement and alarm, then, when I learned of a new specialty of pseudoscience, namely the field of naturopathic oncology.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. (I know I was when I first encountered this specialty.)

Naturopathy versus science-based medicine

Before I discuss naturopathic oncology, it’s probably useful for me to do a quick recap of what naturopathy tends to believe about disease and use for therapies. If you want an idea of the sorts of woo that are considered “mainstream” by naturopaths, a perfect place to go is to the AANP blog, which discusses the upcomming AANP Convention in Portland, OR from August 11-15. According to the AANP blog this year’s woo-fest will be “one of the best gatherings to date.” Given that the speakers are listed in alphabetical order, I couldn’t help but notice immediately as I perused the list of speakers a talk by a naturopath named Mikhael Adams, BSc, ND, who will be giving a talk entitled Viruses & Pandemics in the 21 st Century: Truth or Dare and the Case for Nature Cure. His talk is described thusly:

This presentation will explore the researched and documented facts relating to viruses and pandemics in the modern age and the vaccinations offered to prevent them, as well the immense toxic burden the average human presents with and its effects on the immune system. Historically, Nature Cure has provided us with a template for repairing and maintaining the “self-healing” and “auto-regulating” mechanisms of our body. This presentation will focus on updated, detailed, effective, and successful “Nature Cure” for today’s chronic conditions.

Connoisseurs of CAM language will recognized immediately a number of code words and phrases in this paragraph, chief among them being the “immense toxic burden” and how it allegedly destroys our immune systems. It’s highly unlikely, of course, that Adams will present anything resembling actual scientific evidence to support his claims of an “immense toxic burden,” but previous experience tells me that it’s extremely likely that he will be laying down a swath of anti-vaccine propaganda, given his reference to “facts” relating to viruses, pandemics, and vaccinations, particularly given how deeply imbedded anti-vaccine beliefs are in naturopathy (only 20% of whom even recommend vaccination), coupled with the belief that uncharacterized (and often unnamed) “toxins” are responsible for most disease.

You’ll also notice that Adams is also a homeopath, and homeopathy is The One Quackery To Rule Them All. If you really want to get a feel for what kind of practitioner Mr. Adams is, though, you should check out the webpage of his group naturopathy practice, The Renascent Integral Health Center in Milton, Ontario, which describes its approach to patient care thusly:

The emphasis of treatment is placed on removing the blockages that keep the individual from being a self-healing, auto-regulating organism. Therapies are implemented that support the individual’s body, as it specifically responds to external stress, toxic challenges and energetic impressions held by the body, that have manifested into the current state of disease. Whether entering treatment at the centre, or having a Medical Intuitive Scan done by distance, the goal becomes to target disease by identifying and addressing the body’s underlying imbalances that have created its symptoms. To resolve the symptoms, Mikhael and Alison’s approaches go beyond the given diagnosis, to reinitiate the body’s ability to recognize the challenges it faces, and support its ability to resolve its state of disease.

It gets better. I didn’t really know for sure what Auricular Medicine or a “Medical Intuitive” scan is. Fortunately, Adams is happy to tell us, given that he has a “medical intuitive” on his staff, namely his wife Alison Feather Adams, who will “scan” you, either in person or over the phone, and tell you everything that’s wrong with you. Meanwhile, as best as I can figure it out, Auricular Medicine is reflexology, only with the “mappings” of various body parts and organs to the ears, rather than to the feet and hands. Here’s Adams’ description:

Auricular Medicine is an energetic reflex technique in which the pulse and filters are used to detect points on the ear. The points that show up on the ear can indicate the location of specific imbalances within the body. Through the use of filters we are able to identify specific dysfunctions within the body.

Auricular Medicine is a specialized field of Energetic Medicine…The Doctors in this clinic use Auricular Medicine as their key diagnostic tool and work with their clients to stimulate self-healing (vis medicatrix naturae) through assessment of the disease state, prevention of disease, evaluation of a client’s state of health, and treatment and care of client’s using means and substances that are in harmony with the client’s own self healing processes.

Auricular Medicine in conjunction with conventional medical tests can find and treat the cause of disease. Many conditions, acute and chronic, can be treated by Auricular Medicine.

I’m sure many diseases and conditions “can” be treated by Auricular Medicine. Whether they should be treated by Auricular Medicine or can be treated successfully with Auricular Medicine is another question entirely. I wonder if Adams uses Col. Niemtzow’s auricular acupuncture as well.

Perhaps my favorite talk at the AANP, at least judging by its title, will be the talk by Sharum Sharif, ND entitled Visual Homeopathy – Identifying a Person’s Constitutional Homeopathic Remedy in Minutes, which promises:

Patient and Hollywood videos will be used to demonstrate how to quickly identify a patient’s constitutional remedy by looking for simple behavioral cues and asking 2-5 questions. The presentation will be focused on the most common remedies accounting for the majority of the population of a general naturopathic clinic.

Who knew it was that easy? As a couple of questions, and pick out some water to treat your patient.

Overall, there appear to be at least seven homeopaths speaking. There’s also Matthew Baral, ND, who is a certified Defeat Autism Now! practitioner, and if there’s a richer source of autism and anti-vaccine quackery besides the roster of DAN! practitioners, I am unaware of it. There’s so much more than even this lengthy post can encompass. Woo that’s considered “mainstream” by the AANP is the environment from which the misbegotten specialty of “naturopathic oncology” sprang.

Naturopathic oncology

It’s not surprising that I first discovered the “discipline” of naturopathic oncology at the Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center, which is affiliated with the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. As a science-based physician and surgeon I really detest CTCA because it is expert at combining state-of-the-art science-based medicine with pseudoscience like naturopathy, chiropractic, and acupuncture, as well as scientifically tested modalities known not to be particularly helpful in the clinical management of cancer, such as chemotherapy resistance testing (which could be the topic of an entire post). Suffice it to say that the last of these was prominently featured in Suzanne Somers’ cancer book last year. In any case, CTCA covers a continuum from the boringly “conventional” (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation) to the questionable (chemotherapy resistance testing) to pure pseudoscience (naturopathy, acupuncture, homeopathy) mixing them together to the point where it is difficult, if not impossible, for the average patient to know which is science-based and which is not.

So what is naturopathic oncology? Apparently it’s an “emerging field” within naturopathy concerned with applying naturopathy to cancer. I don’t know about you, but to be an “emerging field” within naturopathy is akin to being an emerging new paranormal phenomenon in the field of parapsychology. But, then, I’m just one of those nasty, reductionistic, skeptical, scientific physicians, so what do I know? On the other hand, Kimball Atwood characterized naturopathy as a “pseudoscientific cult“; so maybe even Orac is not that nasty, at least not in comparison. Be that as it may, let’s take a look at a couple of definitions, written by naturopaths themselves. First, there’s the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP) (yes, there is an Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians). This is how OncANP defines “naturopathic oncology“:

Naturopathic oncology is the application of the art and science of naturopathic medicine to the field of cancer care and treatment. Naturopathic oncologists work both in hospital oncology settings and in private practices bringing their wisdom, perspective and experience to aid oncology treatment teams that seek the best positive outcomes for their patients.

It all sounds relatively benign; that is, unless you know what naturopathy is. OncANP tries to justify the “need” for naturopathic oncology thusly:

Aware that modern medicine has made little advance in its War on Cancer, many people with cancer choose to also include complementary and alternative medicine in their fight against cancer. They reach out and employ a wide range of therapies including meditation, prayer, acupuncture, herbal, botanical, nutritional, homeopathic, dietary and other holistic practices seeking benefit.

Naturopathic doctors and physicians are trained in accredited naturopathic medical schools in modern scientific nature cure. They are trained in both modern science and natural medicine. They emerge from their training well versed in the use of botanical medicine, homeopathy, diet, fasting, nutritional supplementation, orthomolecular medicine, psycho-immunology and other complementary and alternative medical techniques; they serve as capable guides for patients interested in exploring alternative medicine.

Those naturopathic doctors who choose to specialize in naturopathic oncology understand both the standard treatments employed by medical oncologists and how best to work with them in a collaborative model of cancer co-treatment. They are well aware of the multitude of ‘alternative therapies’ promoted to cure cancer and can help patients understand which might be useful and why.

Note the common CAM claim that we have made “little advance” in the War on Cancer used as a justification for offering pseudoscience. Most of the “therapies” offered are fairly benign, such as meditation and prayer, although I can’t figure out why meditation and prayer are represented as “therapies” rather than manifestations of religion. Of course, much of what else falls under rubric of “naturopathic medicine” and “naturopathic oncology” is pure pseudoscience, in particular, orthomolecular medicine, a construct popularized by the late Nobel Prize winner gone woo Linus Pauling, is pure quackery, advocating as it does megadoses of various vitamins and supplements. Given how late in his life Pauling had come to believe that megadoses of vitamin C would cure cancer (they don’t, alas), it’s not surprising that Pauling was attracted to this particular form of quackery.

Then there’s acupuncture, the Jack of All Trades in CAM. It’s one of those modalities that, it seems, can do anything. Treat pain? Acupuncture. Improve the success rate of in vitro fertilization? Acupuncture. Reduce menopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer requiring anti-estrogen therapy. Acupuncture. Got migraines? Acupuncture. Asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, sore throat, laryngitis, colds and flu? Acupuncture. Irritable bowel, colitis, constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, heartburn, food allergies, ulcers? Acupuncture. Cystitis, menstrual cramps, irregular or heavy periods, infertility, menopausal symptoms? Acupuncture.

Death? Maybe acupuncture can allow one to rise from the dead more effectively than Jesus. I think you get the idea.

Naturopathic oncologists even have their own board certification, just like real oncologists. They even put the letters after their name, FABNO, which stands for “Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology.” (Personally, I think it stands for “FAB? NO!”) Of course, given the panoply of dubious therapies, some of them contradictory to each other, that naturopaths use, I really wonder what the certifying test is like. When, for instance, do you choose megadoses of vitamin C over acupuncture or vice-versa? When do you choose live cell therapy over this supplement or that supplement? And what is the scientific evidence that any of it does cancer patients any good whatsoever? Especially homeopathy. (More on that in the next section.)

The mind boggles that this “specialty” has its own board certification. How long before naturopathic oncologists push for special privileges in the states that license naturopaths? It’s not even beyond my imagination to visualize them applying for, and getting, the prescribing power to administer chemotherapy along with their herbs, supplements, and other woo. Why would naturopathic oncologists even want this? Easy. For the same reason that naturopaths in general seem to be seeking prescribing power: Real drugs work, and if one mixes real drugs with naturopathy then patients will tend to attribute the success not to the evil pharmaceutical drug but rather to the naturopathic nostrum.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America, naturopathic oncology, and other woo

I’ve often complained about the infiltration of what sometimes refer to as “quackademic medicine” into medical academia. Quackademic medicine, as you recall, is the term we use to describe how so many medical schools have taken to studying fairy dust treatments like reiki and acupuncture as though they are science-based, often justifying this study with the rationale that they are “ancient” treatments and that lots of people use them. Promoters of pseudoscience have even managed to carve out a whole center at that bastion of science-based medicine, the crown jewel of the biomedical research effort of the United States the National Institutes of Health. That center is the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

While we’ve spent a lot of time on RI lamenting and doing my tiny part to combat the infiltration of pseudoscience into medical academia, we’ve spent comparatively little time on what is arguably an equally serious threat to science-based medicine. That is the infiltration of “integrative medicine” into private medical institutions that use integrative medicine as a marketing tool in order to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack. Arguably, no hospital chain has been more successful at this than The Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Over more than 20 years, CTCA has built up a network of hospitals in suburban Chicago, Philadelphia, Tulsa, and suburban Phoenix, as well as a network of physician practice groups in Seattle and elsewhere. CTCA was founded in 1988 after its founder’s mother lost her battle with cancer, its mission being to “change the face of cancer.” Unfortunately, at least in its hospitals it is succeeding, and not in a good way. This is how CTCA describes its founder, Richard J. Stephenson’s, mission to find treatment for his mother:

After his mother’s diagnosis, Mr. Stephenson embarked on a mission to find the most advanced and effective cancer treatments available. He hoped his efforts would enable his mother to recover and remain an integral, irreplaceable part of his life and the lives of his children.

The Stephensons were sorely disappointed by what they found. What were regarded as world-renowned cancer treatment facilities were singularly focused on the clinical and technical aspects of cancer treatment, ignoring the individual needs of the patient and the multi-faceted nature of the disease. Tragically Mrs. Stephenson did not live to watch her grandchildren grow and mature.

To keep his mother’s memory and spirit alive, Richard vowed to change the face of cancer care. He selected a group of outstanding oncologists and challenged them to find a way to deliver whole-person cancer treatment in a compassionate, nurturing environment.

Death from cancer is tragic; it’s often painful and slow, and the sense of helplessness and loss that accompany watching the decline of a loved one to cancer is sometimes more than a person can bear. Mr. Stephenson might have done more good if he had dedicated his grief to founding truly science-based cancer hospitals that had ingrained in their culture caring and the “human touch.” Unfortunately, he appears to have confused compassion and the human touch with “integrating” pseudoscience into science-based medicine. Instead of producing an institution that could really transform cancer care by preventing the tendency of large institutions to become impersonal, he’s created a Frankenstein monster cobbled together using a lot of perfectly sound science-based treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation with pure pseudoscience like naturopathy and traditional Chinese medicine bolted on like the head of the Frankenstein monster.

Let me show you what I mean. I happen to have a few quick-and-dirty rules of thumb that allow me to rapidly identify a practice that is full of woo. These are just my opinion, but I find them fairly useful. One of these rules of thumb states that, if a CAM practitioner offers “detox foot baths” as one of his services, he’s a quack until proven otherwise (and he’s unlikely to be proven otherwise if he’s actually sufficiently cynical or enough of a true believer to charge for quackery like “detox foot baths”). I haven’t seen a naturopathic oncologist, either at CTCA or elsewhere, offer detox foot baths (yet), but I have seen them offer homeopathy, and I’ve seen them advertise it at CTCA. In my opinion, homeopathy is rank quackery; there’s just no other way to put it. In fact, these are the treatments that the naturopaths at CTCA offer:

  • Nutritional supplements, including vitamins, minerals and amino acids
  • Botanical medicine (the use of herbs)
  • Homeopathic medicine
  • Hydrotherapy

I’m always irritated when I see nutrition co-opted this way. If you go to the nutrition page of CTCA, you’ll find a lot of verbiage that sounds perfectly reasonable and science-based (albeit with exaggerated claims that science-based physicians don’t pay any attention to nutrition). It’s also claimed that malnutrition is one of the main causes of cancer death, accounting for perhaps one third of them, which is one of those claims that is superficially true but also ignores the fact that many cancers cause cachexia (wasting syndrome) by mechanisms that are poorly understood. Cachexia can’t be reversed just by providing nutritional support, nor can it be so easily prevented. Worse, CTCA uses the term “superfoods,” which is a marketing term designed to make claims about various foods far beyond what science will support. Certainly, it’s not a medical or scientific term, and it’s particularly annoying when CTCA claims that “superfoods” actually “fortify the immune system,” as that’s the same trivially meaningless claim made by woo peddlers of all stripes. In any case, the claim that CTCA is any better than any other cancer center at nutrition falls apart when I see things like this on its website:

According to the National Cancer Institute, 20% to 40% of cancer patients die from causes related to malnutrition, not from the cancer itself. CTCA chef Kenny Wagnor suggests loading your diet with anti-oxidants, which are found in bright colored foods such as berries. Chef Wagnor prepares a blackberry strudel packed with tasty berries and pecans — a great combination of cancer fighting foods!

At the risk of annoying certain readers, I will point out the logical fallacy here: non sequitur. It does not follow from the observation that 20-40% of cancer deaths are related to malnutrition that eating lots of antioxidants will help you beat cancer. In fact, it’s controversial whether antioxidants help or hinder chemotherapy; it probably does one or the other depending on the tumor type and the chemotherapy. My pet peeve about how CAM practitioners abuse nutrition as being somehow “alternative” and not considered important by scientific medicine, note how CTCA naturopaths actually offer homeopathy to cancer patients. Yes, cancer patients are being given magic water in order to relieve the side effects of their cancer therapy.

The coopting of science-based modalities like nutrition at CTCA doesn’t end there. It’s everywhere. For instance, look at the CTCA webpage on Oncology Rehabilitation. In addition to standard physical and occupational therapy treatments, CTCA also offers:

  • Swedish Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Lymphedema Massage
  • Myofascial Release

I certainly don’t have any problem with Swedish massage. It’s not a “therapy” per se, but there’s little doubt that it makes patients feel better. Lymphedema massage, if done according to science-based principles and not according to some “alternative” medicine techniques, is a valid technique to try to reduce the lymphedema that can occur as a complication of lymph node dissections performed for breast cancer and melanoma. However, reflexology is pseudoscience, as is myofascial release. Once again, CTCA is “integrating” woo with science. This is not surprising, given that its entire website is permeated with what Dr. Atwood would call the Weasel Words of Woo. Here is an example from the Bone Cancer Treatment page:

Your body is designed to inherently establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent; nature heals through the response of the life force. The role of the naturopathic practitioner is to facilitate and augment this process, to identify and remove obstacles to your health and recovery, to help your body maintain its healthy equilibrium, and to support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment for you.

Note the vitalism inherent in this brief passage, in which nature heals through the “life force.” This is not science. It has no place in science-based medicine.

“Naturopathic oncology” versus science-based medicine

Given the vitalism and woo that permeate naturopathy in general, a small taste of which I just described above at the “official” yearly gathering of American naturopaths, it’s not surprising that “specialized” naturopathic oncologists, like naturopaths in general, are not too receptive to scientific testing of their “art.” Sure, they say they are, but when it comes right down to it, in contrast to science-based physicians, naturopaths can’t accept negative clinical trials. For example, take a look at what naturopath Timothy Birdsall, FABNO, who is Vice President of Integrative Medicine for CTCA, says about research finding that his favored therapies don’t work. In the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians’ blog, he wrote an essay earlier this month entitled The Problem With Research in response to clinical trial results showing that selenium doesn’t help patients with lung cancer. Here are some choice quotes:

To top it off, the reason I was out of the office last week was that I was attending the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the advisory body to NIH’s NCCAM. On that council, we have talked about just this issue — why do therapies which seem to make biological and physiological sense, which have some epidemiologic data to support their use, and which naturopathic physicians (and other alternatively-minded practitioners) have been using for decades (or much longer), seem to fail in double blind, randomized clinical trials?

We science-based physicians ask ourselves the very same question time and time again. Many are the seemingly plausible therapies that, when tested in humans, failed to show benefit in cancer. Here’s the difference: when we see therapies, no matter how plausible, that fail in randomized clinical trials, we abandon them. True, it may take more time than we’d like. The process may be messier than we like, as some physicians who are wedded to these therapies are reluctant to give them up when science doesn’t support them. We then move on to try to figure out where our understanding of the biology went wrong. But abandon them we do. We don’t blame science and the randomized clinical trial (RCT), as Birdsall does. First, he trots out the favored canard of CAM practitioners everywhere and argues that RCTs “answer simple, straightforward questions” and (presumably) his woo isn’t simple. Of course, the question of whether selenium can, as he believes, be useful in treating lung cancer is actually a pretty simple, straightforward question not unlike the question of whether a certain chemotherapy can prolong survival or increase the cure rate of a cancer. Instead of realizing that, Birdsall attacks science:

And so I began to ponder the question, “What’s wrong with research?” A part of me becomes enraged at the reductionistic, allopathic, biomedical model, which breaks things down into components so small that all synergism, all interdependence is stripped away, and then declares those components to be ineffective. Another part argues that the wrong component was selected, or was a synthetic form (although in the lung cancer study, they used selenium yeast). But ultimately, I find myself becoming offended because I believe that these therapies work… Whoa! Believe? OK, but where is the role for evidence? I used to believe that stress caused gastric ulcers. And then along came Helicobacter pylori, and I had to change my belief to match the evidence.

Note the standard attack on “reductionism” and “allopathy” and the “biochemical model.” Then note the irony as Birdsall, while declaring that naturopathic oncologists must become science-based and train the next generation of naturopaths to be “great scientists” (I spit up my iced tea when I read that line), he proposes in essence destroying science in order to save it for naturopathy — or, more precisely, to use it to legitimize naturopathy:

Third, we should collaborate with other professions and institutions to craft the research models necessary to adequately perform “whole systems” naturopathic research. There are examples of this type of approach already existing in the health systems research literature which can be adapted to our needs. In the end, we must create and validate the tools to dethrone the randomized controlled trial as the gold standard, and construct new ways to validate clinical approaches to health issues. Much as the homeopaths of 2+ centuries ago created the proving as a way to better understand and utilize their remedies, we must refuse to be limited by the way conventional medicine views health and disease.

I would argue that invoking the magical techniques of people who believe that diluting a remedy makes it stronger and that water remembers all the good bits that have been in it but forgets all the urine and poo (as Tim Minchin so hilariously put it) is not the way to argue for science. Of course, the short version of this is: If RCTs don’t show that naturopathy works, we need to dethrone RCTs and make up our own research methods. Yes, I know RCTs have problems and limitations, but those problems and limitations don’t include not being able to answer the question of whether selenium and antioxidants can improve survival in lung cancer patients.

Sadly, it’s not just academia that is under siege by unscientific medical philosphies and treatment systems. True, academia sets the stage and promotes the spread of pseudoscience-based medicine because it is medical academia that does the research and trains the next generation of physicians. However, most medical care in this country is still provided by private physicians and private hospitals, and some private hospitals like CTCA have discovered that “integrating” pseudoscience-based medicine with science-based medicine can be a recipe for success. As “alternative” medicine infiltrates academia more and more, I fear that the stigma for offering these therapies will decrease more and more, leading to more hospitals and clinics like CTCA.

Comments

  1. #1 Dan J
    July 26, 2010

    Wow! Lots to digest at once, but an excellent post, as usual. I’ll stick to my ABVD regimen chemotherapy, thank you very much. It’s working quite well in ridding my body of Hodgkins lymphoma, and I feel great. That’s something that I’ll bet “naturopathic oncology” could never do.

  2. #2 Denice Walter
    July 26, 2010

    “Orthomolecular medicine, psycho-immunology” sent my woo-detector to red alert- basically, “Mega-dosing on supplements cures all ills, physical and mental”, and “Bad thoughts- and feelings -lead to illness”, respectively.Pray tell, does ND school require Magical Thinking 101 as prerequisite?

  3. #3 sirhcton
    July 26, 2010

    This must be part of the reason some of my friends in the medical professions have been referring to CTCA as “cream skimmers.” In what way is their offering unproven or disproven CAM not preying on the vulnerable?

  4. #4 Sir Eccles
    July 26, 2010

    It’s the CTCA adverts on TV that freak me out the most.

  5. #5 Jarred C
    July 26, 2010

    (OT) Orac, I recently heard about this odd product called Think Gum, which is supposed to help a person concentrate better while in class or a meeting (http://thinkgum.com). I thought you’d like to take a look at it, and if it’s worthy enough, include it as your YFDOW.

    The website has great phrases like, “it works better if you use it long term compared to just occasionally” (buy more, and more often); and “chew it to increase concentration in class, and again to help recall the information.” It’s officially labeled as a dietary supplement (from the FAQ page).

  6. #6 Crommunist
    July 26, 2010

    @Jarred C

    I believe I’ve seen Think Gum in another form (start around 5:00, it makes its appearance at 5:45).

    Orac, there is a fantastic commercial done by the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, detailing some of the milestones of progress in one lifetime that have been made by science-based medicine. Anecdotes are sprinkled in, but cancer affects people, so they’re perhaps appropriate for the context. At any rate, this is where my mind goes to whenever anyone says that we haven’t made any progress, or when someone asks me “when are you guys going to find the cure?”

  7. #7 Paul Browne
    July 26, 2010

    Well if homeopathy is “The One Quackery To Rule Them All” then from what you’ve written above naturopathy must be “The One Quackery To Unite Them All”.

    It’s worrying to see that so many institutions are so willing to blur the division between scientific and unscientific (or anti-scientific) medicine. In future when people ask what harm giving creationism/ID a “fair hearing” in science education can do to science I’ll point them to what is happening in with continuing encroachment of woo into mainstream medicine.

    Very sad!

  8. #8 Todd W.
    July 26, 2010

    [snark]

    Proposed new name for OncANP:

    Naturopathic Oncologists Pretending Expertise, aka NOPE.

    [/snark]

  9. #9 Zombie
    July 26, 2010

    Glad to see you comment on the CTCA; I’ve seen their ads on TV and was wondering about the whiff of woo they give off.

  10. #10 Sastra
    July 26, 2010

    Thanks for this post.

    My elderly father has cancer, and no, it does not appear to be doing well on chemo. So he has decided to shop around for “alternative” therapies. Since my parents know I won’t approve, they’re being rather vague on what’s being tried, though it looks like acupuncture is on the list. As is “stress reduction.” I told them stress reduction is a good idea: it helps reduce stress.

    At this point, I’m making the choice to sit back and let my dad do what he wants without any argument on my part. But only if it looks like the ‘alternatives’ he’s trying fit the benign-and-useless category, and he doesn’t reject what his mainstream physicians are recommending. Supplement, not substitute, and no harm. If he starts talking about flying down to a clinic in Tijuana to get coffee enemas and goat-gland injections (or anything painful, dangerous, or outrageously expensive), then okay, I’m stepping in and bitching.

    Under the circumstances, not sure what else I ought to do. This is the problem with cancer quackery: you’re dealing with the desperate and, often, the terminal. You want such people happy, relaxed, hopeful, confident — and not engaged in battle.

  11. #11 jay.sweet
    July 26, 2010

    Mr. Stephenson might have done more good if he had dedicated his grief to founding truly science-based cancer hospitals that had ingrained in their culture caring and the “human touch.” Unfortunately, he appears to have confused compassion and the human touch with “integrating” pseudoscience into science-based medicine.

    These two sentences (perhaps in a more generalized form) should be shouted from the rooftops.

    There are important issues with which mainstream medicine, as currently practiced, legitimately has serious difficulties, many of them having to do with patient experience. If all of the energy that were poured into CAM were instead redirected towards addressing these difficulties head-on, imagine what good it could do! Imagine if we could take all the manhours wasted on homeopathy, and instead invest them in patient counseling, for instance?

    What a tragedy that so many woomeisters got their start by noticing a real problem, and then addressing it in such a wrongheaded way…

  12. #12 Sastra
    July 26, 2010

    Unfortunately, he appears to have confused compassion and the human touch with “integrating” pseudoscience into science-based medicine.

    I suspect that this confusion is partly based on the fact that pseudoscience often has some sort of underlying connection to “spirituality.” Science-based medicine has to fight the same myth that atheists have to fight: morality, ethics, and love belong in the domain of religion, and the natural world — and anything based in the natural world — is inherently empty, cruel, and without compassion.

  13. #13 Dangerous Bacon
    July 26, 2010

    A couple of questions raised by the above article:

    Is “wholistic” therapy better than the “holistic” kind, and if so is it the extra letter that makes the difference? (sort of like making it easier to defeat disease by breaking it up into “dis-ease” as is common in the world of alt med).

    Could the “medical intuitive scan” be combined with long-distance chiropractic adjustment as a wholistic two-fer? Can patients pay their bills intuitively instead of using cash money?

    Is it any accident that the naturopath being profiled is named Mikhael Adams? There must be something about that name, given that Mike Adams of NaturalNews is a well-known crazed woo shouter alt med proponent? Are there other alties running around out there named Miguel Adams, Mikkel Adams and so on? Is there a secret cloning project about which They don’t want us to know?

    Scary stuff.

  14. #14 pablo
    July 26, 2010

    On that council, we have talked about just this issue — why do therapies which seem to make
    biological and physiological sense

    Biological and physical sense? Homeopathy? Accupuncture?

    An a priori problem with most sCAM is that it doesn’t make a lick of sense!

  15. #15 JustaTech
    July 26, 2010

    I guess SCTWC is the reason all those cancer researchers and oncologists at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are always banging their heads on the wall and tearing at their lab coats. Isn’t it enough that we have to put up with Bastyr College being in the same city? I hate to think of a patient mistaking SCTWC for the SCCA and not getting real treatment.

  16. #16 Eric
    July 26, 2010

    What really makes CTCA pond scum isn’t their mixing of woo (you forgot hyperthermia – they LOVES them some hyperthermia) with chemo. It’s their insistence on being paid up front, in full, for the patient responsibility portion of an entire course of treatment and not being contracted to insurers, period.

    My late mom was a 20 year survivor of Stage IIIb breast cancer who then had a late recurrence with visceral and skeletal mets. She was treated in the community, and then hooked up with the Sandwich Spread Clinic, who treated her like so much more than the “cancer chick with mets” – they addressed pesky things like nutritional status and physical medicine and rehab and palliative care as concepts early in the process. The entire team caring for her made sure that what we were doing was both logical and respectful of the time she had left on the planet.

    One of mom’s “friends” suggested she should contact CTCA. I did so on her behalf. You cannot imagine the sleazy sales techniques these people use to prey on the vulnerable who have assets. It’s disgusting.

  17. #17 Michael Polidori
    July 26, 2010

    You are what you eat. Very simple.
    -
    However what we are “eating” includes drugs, vaccines, toxins from gene altered foods, toxins in conventionally produced foods, toxins in additives such as “natural” flavors & colors along with the artificial kind, toxic exposures through products/lifestyles (outgassing from household furniture, lead or cadmium in toys, too much indoor living). Can you think of a few?
    -
    Most pharmaceuticals are merely symptom relief, delaying-actions while your own body takes care of the problem. Antibiotics are useful, but for the most part as a result of a failure of our immunity to perform properly.
    -
    Many of these drugs side effects are temporary and benign, but some info is coming out now that is frightening. Some common ones thought to be benign, like tylenol, we now have lifetime dosage limits warnings. Is that factual or put out by someone trying to steal tylenol’s marketshare? We don’t know, but we do know the drug industry is filled with liars, thieves and murderers. Just look at Merck’s “successful” attempt to grab Naproxen’s market-share with the killer drug Vioxx.
    -
    We don’t attempt to find drug interactions with other drugs or conventional substances like FOOD. A few of those are found by alert doctors and/or patients during the “guinea pig” initial phase of drug release or good research/researchers during drug trials.
    -
    With the advent of drugs to turn off parts of our immune systems (enbrel, remicade, singulair & scores of others) we get an insight that other substances we commonly come into contact with may also affect not only our immune systems but other body functions as well. A short list? That paragraph of substances we are “eating” you read above. I’m sure you can think of many more
    -
    As a cancer surgeon the original poster has profited greatly from immune system impairments & “conventional” treatment such as surgery and the heinous chemotherapy. Far from benign, chemo will kill everything (including the patient) in the hope the cancer will die first.
    -
    The case of Daniel Hauser is compelling & leads to questions about medical authorities/procedures. There was a battle between the state & his parents where the state forced the chemo treatments for Daniel’s Hodgkins disease. I read he was pronounced cancer free in March 2010. I also read where the chemo was changed from the full dose to half dose when it was finally started, and then radiation was to be used to finish Daniel’s treatment. How advanced or accurate is medical science when the dose for chemo was halved without explanation, other than it made him sick the last time he was on it. No medical justification was given for reducing the dose, other than patient comfort, but at half dose the chemo and radiation is given credit for curing him? Something is not right with that scenario. the Chemo regimen is wrong by a factor of 50% or it wasn’t necessary to begin with. I also read where his parents continued the nutritional changes they wanted to soley rely on when the state forced their hand. Did the doctors reduce the chemo because they realized the tumor was in remission & they wanted to reduce the risk of killing Daniel? There is more to this story. Maybe I’ll spend a little more time digging.
    -
    What does the poster think of spontaneous remission?
    How about Bernie Siegel?
    Or the book “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie”?
    -
    Nutrition and exercise are what’s needed for maximum health and longevity. When we get to the point where our immune systems are impaired (by nutrition, genetics or toxins) and overwhelmed by an outside invader or cancer or we suffer a physical injury then we turn to a doctor.
    -
    Unfortunately, medicine is merely big business for the folks in charge of it, from what you are taught in med school, to forced vaccinations in the USA, to drugs (prescription or OTC) being the first line of defense against ANYTHING.
    -
    So entrenched are the parties profiting from our ill health that they manipulate our regulatory agencies to pass regulations or approve products that end up making us more prone to illness, sometimes directly making us ill or killing us
    -
    Vioxx is a horrific example of the practices going unchallenged and unpunished in today’s world, the perps protected by bribes of money or jobs.
    -
    Merck executives and scientists, to get Vioxx approved, reduce naproxen market share, hide the deaths and injuries it was causing, discourage peer review, destroy any credibility peer review has caused the following happened during the 10 years of the vioxx debacle (which continues today)
    1. Merck execs & scientists knew in 1996 vioxx had higher cardiac risks than naproxen without gastrointestinal benefit, but worked on the strategy & studies to get it through the regulatory process
    -
    2. Lied to NEJM & the FDA & in every peer review article they ever published on vioxx, claiming it was safer than maproxen with no evidence of increased cardiac risks
    -
    3. Used Alise Reicin to threatened doctors and scientists (Eric Topol & Steven Nissen of The Cleveland Clinic) who published vioxx cardiac risks in JAMA in 2000
    -
    4. Merck had a “Hit List” of doctors/scientists to discredit, undermine or get fired
    -
    5. Paid Elsevier to publish a FAKE journal promoting Merck products like vioxx and fosamax
    -
    6. In Australian Vioxx litigation Elsevier revealed it published 9 KNOWN FAKED peer reveiwed journals & was working on 13 more not yet published, for more than 20 Big Pharmas. This should have been a mortal blow for peer review & resulted in proper federal regulation of all pharmaceuticals. It did neither. Elsevier apologized and said it will never happen again, but all we have is the word of the criminals who committed the crime
    -
    And again no actions from the FDA, CDC, WHO, MHRA
    -
    7. While merck was killing 60000 & injuring 120,000 with vioxx, THE SAME MERCK PERSONNEL were overseeing the development and marketing of gardasil. Gardasil was promoted with false/misleading “research” and hawked by bribed doctors, scientists, politicians, regulators and political groups
    -
    8. merck partnered with Bristol Squibb on pargluva in 2004 the beginning of the end for Vioxx), but the work of Steven Nissen and Eric Topol stopped pargluva from entering the market. In 2005 when the FDA requested more information on safety data, after Topol/Nissen released the study exposing the lies/hazards about Pargluva, merck and bristol walked away from the FDA and each other.
    -
    9. The FDA never took punitive or criminal actions against merck for lying about these drugs or knowingly killing tens of thousands with them
    -
    10. With Gardasil merck lied and bribed it’s way through regulators, politicians, doctors/scientists, political organizations, many media reporters (including Jim Jehrer’s News Hour’s Margaret Warner and Jeffery Brown). they did that while they were killing with Vioxx and defending themselves from vioxx lawsuits. Gardasil is completely useless as a cancer vaccine or in preventing HPV infection
    -
    Merck slipped up and got caught. How many more Vioxx-Pargluva-Avandia-Gardasil-Cervarix-like propaganda machines are out there? The poster doesn’t know. Even he doesn’t have the audacity to say there aren’t any more known-useless and/or known-deadly drugs out there
    -
    Yet the poster would have us blindly trust the pharmaceutical medical and science community when there is no restraint or real regulation or unrestricted commentary coming from the FDA, MHRA, CDC, WHO or peer review
    -
    The original poster is a sociopathically literate pharmaceutical motormouth. Becaue of his unblinking support of Big Pharma’s bad science he is as heinous as the corporations and individuals he defends or turns to for info or assistance

  18. #18 Lawrence
    July 26, 2010

    Wow – the woo is strong with this one.

  19. #19 Scott
    July 26, 2010

    @ Michael:

    How about some actual evidence for any of your various claims?

  20. #20 Travis
    July 26, 2010

    Wow, amazing Michael. Who taught you to write? Slow down, write a few paragraphs of relevant points and actually justify them. As it stands your wall of text is a random “facts” and statements and is going to be nearly impossible to respond to in any way.

  21. #21 Scott
    July 26, 2010

    I would be particularly interested to know how you justify

    The original poster is a sociopathically literate pharmaceutical motormouth. Becaue of his unblinking support of Big Pharma’s bad science he is as heinous as the corporations and individuals he defends or turns to for info or assistance

    given that Orac routinely calls out Big Pharma when they are ACTUALLY guilty of bad science.

  22. #22 Ian
    July 26, 2010

    # of times Vioxx mentioned in comment #17: 14

    # of times Vioxx mentioned anywhere else (either in the post or other comments): 0

    Unoriginal troll lacks imagination.

  23. #23 daijiyobu
    July 26, 2010

    BTW, you will notice at the Pennsylvania Association of Naturopathic Physicians site that they are co-sponsored by CTCA (see http://www.panp.org/ ) .

    So, it’s quite a circle-jerk.

    Also, on their page that ‘justifies’ naturopathic licensure, and I kid you not, is the claim that licensure will aid in “fraud protection” and “quality assurance”(see http://www.panp.org/legislation ).

    -r.c.

  24. #24 Orac
    July 26, 2010

    Michael Polidori is obviously a newbie here. I’ve written about many of the things he rants about before, some multiple times.

  25. #25 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 26, 2010

    After 26 (!) paragraphs of drivel, Polidori says:

    The original poster is a sociopathically literate…motormouth.

    You should know, dude. Whadda marooooon.

  26. #26 k
    July 26, 2010

    An acquaintance (Stanford grad, no less) went to NCNM with a friend of mine and ended up taking a job at CTCA in Zion Illinois. Naturopaths cannot practice in Illinois (and most other Midwestern states) without MD/DO oversight. She couldn’t make enough to live on and pay student loans, so she left CTCA, moved to Seattle to go to nursing school at UW. At least she’s moving from the dark side of
    woo to the good force of medicine. Wish I
    could say the same about my friend.

  27. #27 Moloch
    July 26, 2010

    I thought the Cancer Treatment Centers of America was quackery since they always have advertisements during the Maury Povich show. Usually the bad science is strongest on TV during low-brow entertainment. I always see commercials for the iRenew bracelet on other like-minded shows, where I swear they are just seeing if people are gullible enough to buy it…

  28. #28 Matthew Cline
    July 26, 2010

    I’m not saying that homeopathy works, but the original homeopathic mixture (mother tincture), before being diluted away to ordinary water/ethanol, is more individualized than science based medicine can ever hope to be, since the ingredients the homeopath puts in will vary based upon patient’s personality.

    as well the immense toxic burden the average human presents

    So does he think that humans were healthier back during the pre-industrial days, or have humans suffered from “immense toxic burden” since the dawn of human history? Maybe we went wrong when we discovered fire some 500,000 years ago and started cooking our food? Hmmm, as far as Google can tell, Mikhael Adams isn’t a raw-foodist, so I guess not.

    @Michael Polidori:

    toxins from gene altered foods,

    So, you alter an organism’s genes (through means other than selective breeding), and *WHAM*, all of a sudden it starts producing toxins? How does that work?

    Antibiotics are useful, but for the most part as a result of a failure of our immunity to perform properly.

    So, in an optimally healthy human, the immune system will work with 100% effectiveness at keeping out infectious diseases? Even ones it’s never encountered before? Would sort of make the adaptive portion of the immune system unnecessary.

    (At least you aren’t a germ theory denier; those are particularly annoying to deal with)

    Far from benign, chemo will kill everything (including the patient) in the hope the cancer will die first.

    We already know this.

  29. #29 Composer99
    July 26, 2010

    @ Polidori:

    I suggest coming out from whatever cloud-cuckoo land you currently dwell in.

    Going on and on and on with what appears to be a written Gish gallop does not demonstrate that you have intelligence, insight, wisdom, or knowledge. Only pomposity, verbosity, and crankiness (as a descriptor, not an emotion, I might add).

  30. #30 Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD
    July 26, 2010

    @Polidori -

    Thank you for that informative post which has proven my beliefs about people who place Alternative Medicine above “Conventional” medicine. I’ll elaborate:

    When I was in my teens, I used to believe there was something to alternative medicine. I was very open minded, and coupled with that fact I had a poor understanding of biological science – even though I read everything I could about medicine and nursing. The more I learned and the more I realized I didn’t know, however, I researched. What struck me as impressive was the utter huberus and hypocritism of alternative medicine promoters and their “Heros”, like Buttar, Null, NaturalNews, Whale.to, and others like them. While modern medicine and the companies that provide their tools have done some very horrible things in the past in the name of science, eventually those get brought to light and the parties are punished in some form. Mengele and others got Death. Vioxx nearly ruined Merck. Elsevier lost a lot of credibility due to advertisements passed off as journals. But your attitude exemplifies the attitude of nearly everyone who believes “Alternative Medicine” holds the answer to everything – the poor knowledge of the human body and the “why” things do things, the self-confidence that you know more than someone who studied 12 to 14 years of their life to get to where they are, and the hundreds of thousands of Bachelor, Master, and PHD/MDs out there that research life science and medicine, and the belief that patients are to blame for everything that happens to them sickens me.

    In modern medicine, a good physician will accept that he doesn’t know everything – he/she will seek to learn and listen to their patients. They’ll realize they aren’t infallable, and even though mistakes are made (Humans make mistakes, Doctors/Nurses/Medics aren’t perfect or incompetent for them) they’ll generally learn from that. Good physicians will adapt their practices to new evidence that promotes or disproves a practice – for the good of their patients. Good Physicians always place patients above profit – in fact the rural area I grew up in they would regularly write off visits from patients who couldn’t afford to pay. Good physicians will seek to understand the biological processes behind their actions, and why certain diseases do what.

    AltMed doesn’t do that. AltMedders promote advice and ideas that fly in the face of what 200 years of biological science has discovered based on the notion that they know the one true reason for disease – often blaming it on the patient. When evidence comes out that decrys their practices or makes them false, they try to invent some form of word soup pseudoscience explanation, or worse – in the case of Null, Adams, and many others – they try to invent a vast conspiracy that doesn’t even make good sense once you think into it – and call others that disagree with them sheeple, or members of it. They make outlandish and false claims about modern medicine, and discourage their patients from being treated by proven methods. In the case of Daniel Hauser, as you like to mention, his cancer has nearly a 96%+ Remission rate with chemotherapy treatment at 5 years. It’s otherwise fatal if not treated. Altmedders tout such terrifying buzzwords as toxins, poisons, and energy imbalances, without any idea what they mean, or in some cases, what those toxins are. Altmedders take the idea that natural products are somehow better, despite the fact the medications they are often fighting against come from plant and animal sources and are highly purified into forms that would be impossible to achieve with the in-the-wild feature alone. They pretend that altmed interventions are without harm, when in reality the herbs and panceas that they produce can cause just as many interactions, and lethal/disfiguring harm as the medications they fight against. They pretend they want a “100% Safe Medication”, when in reality that goal is impossible due to the complex biochemical interactions that compounds undergo in the body. When they don’t do this, they invent forms of religious or mythical treatment that defraud and fleece people of their money, or hijack actual medical conditions that are rare or underreported, and use them to scare, defraud, and waste the time and energy of despirate patients.

    To me, that’s far more disgusting than any potential conspiracy that doesn’t exist – because it happens every day in America and the developed world.

    “Most pharmaceuticals are merely symptom relief, delaying-actions while your own body takes care of the problem. Antibiotics are useful, but for the most part as a result of a failure of our immunity to perform properly.”

    That’s vastly dumbing down what medications do. Take, for example, Insulin in Type I diabetes mellitis. The pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, and the unutilized glucose causes the symptoms of hyperglycemia. Insulin allows that to be utilized. While it does treat the symptoms, it also addresses the root cause of the illness – as the only way to cure this would be impractical and a massive risk to the patient’s life due to a transplant of the pancreas. In other cases, like ACE inhibitors, they modify the enzymes responsable for bodily functions that Angiotension causes. When a disease cannot be cured, controlling the symptoms also means that the pathophysiology of the disease is being controlled as well in medications. L-Dopa in Parkinsons, Adderall in ADD/ADHD, Vasopressin in DI, NSAIDS in inflammatory pain, etc. The reason they act on the symptoms is because they’re modifying a body process involved in the disease.

    “Many of these drugs side effects are temporary and benign, but some info is coming out now that is frightening. Some common ones thought to be benign, like tylenol, we now have lifetime dosage limits warnings. Is that factual or put out by someone trying to steal tylenol’s marketshare? We don’t know, but we do know the drug industry is filled with liars, thieves and murderers. Just look at Merck’s “successful” attempt to grab Naproxen’s market-share with the killer drug Vioxx.”

    Of course they have side effects, no drug is 100% safe, and because of genetic differences or idiopathy reactions, not all side effects can be predicted. Vancomycin is a good example of this. Vanc can cause SJS and Red-man syndrome if given too fast, and is very harsh on the veins – however, the infections is treats are lethal without it. Another good example of this is Digoxin. Digoxin is a “natural” compound that is utterly lethal if not watched closely, has a lot of side effects, and is hard to dose – but it’s lifesaving in certain conditions. It’s a trade off of risk vs benefit.

    To claim that the pharmaceutical industry is a wretched hive of sum and villany while Altmed is a bastion of Templaric good in the world is an utter lie.

    “We don’t attempt to find drug interactions with other drugs or conventional substances like FOOD. A few of those are found by alert doctors and/or patients during the “guinea pig” initial phase of drug release or good research/researchers during drug trials.”

    Dude, have you even read a PDR? Each drug has nearly two or three pages of what drugs interact with it, how they do it, and what to look for – the same with the inserts in the packages – it’s the reason you could break a foot by dropping the book on you. When I was in Paramedic school, before I could give any drug in clinicals I had to recite to the nurse precepting me the effects of hte drug, what interactions it could have, and what I needed to monitor for. In addition, animal studies and computer models can only go so far – human volunteers aren’t being forced to do anything, that’s why they’re volunteers – and these studies have massive oversight.

    “With the advent of drugs to turn off parts of our immune systems (enbrel, remicade, singulair & scores of others) we get an insight that other substances we commonly come into contact with may also affect not only our immune systems but other body functions as well. A short list? That paragraph of substances we are “eating” you read above. I’m sure you can think of many more”

    They don’t turn off the immune system, they modify the way it acts. Steroids stabilize mast cells and prevent catastrophic degranulation, enbreal and remicade modify the destructive effects of osteoclast stimulation on cartillege and joints. Singular helps treat bronchoconstriction and the inflammatory effects on mucosa.

    “Nutrition and exercise are what’s needed for maximum health and longevity. When we get to the point where our immune systems are impaired (by nutrition, genetics or toxins) and overwhelmed by an outside invader or cancer or we suffer a physical injury then we turn to a doctor.”

    Um, I know athletes who can run a 25 mile marathon who have dropped dead in the middle of walking down a hallway thanks to cardiovascular disease. Nutrition and fitness can only do so much – the body is a machine, and like any machine, it breaks down over time as we age. The immune system is only a small part of why things happen – and cancer has nothing to do with the immune system because it is a “SELF” cell. It eludes the immune system response by turning off telomeric death, and inactivating regions of the DNA that cause it to produce mediators and self-antigens that signal the cell is out of control and needs to die. Very few cancers have been treated by immunotherapy, and many of them are highly experimental science at the moment.

    “Unfortunately, medicine is merely big business for the folks in charge of it, from what you are taught in med school, to forced vaccinations in the USA, to drugs (prescription or OTC) being the first line of defense against ANYTHING.”

    Really! I was taught in every level of school I’ve been to that proactive health measures such as a good diet, exercise, and handwashing were the best first line of defense against everything, and that vaccines are the best things to get because they stimulate an immune response against otherwise overwhelming organisms that have evolved to evade the body’s defenses. Guess that’s another lie.

    “As a cancer surgeon the original poster has profited greatly from immune system impairments & “conventional” treatment such as surgery and the heinous chemotherapy. Far from benign, chemo will kill everything (including the patient) in the hope the cancer will die first.”

    While I’m sure Orac lives comfortably, it must be because he’s part of a vast make-them-sick conspiracy, not because he’s a gifted and skilled surgeon who does everything he can for his patients. Yep, that makes sense!

    “The original poster is a sociopathically literate pharmaceutical motormouth. Becaue of his unblinking support of Big Pharma’s bad science he is as heinous as the corporations and individuals he defends or turns to for info or assistance”

    And, pardon my Ad Hom here, you are a huberistic, self-righteous asshole that thinks anyone who reads this will be convinced by a rant that has nothing to back it up, and attempts to link Orac to defending events he has regularly blogged about and against Big Pharma on. Bravo, Sir.

  31. #31 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmoYFnyTIVCa94myyA_qwNPDWZgbdFBnzY
    July 26, 2010

    I wondered how long it would be before someone mentioned “toxins” (always unspecified), one of the surest signs of quackery.

    I don’t know about US defamation law, but I thought some of Polidori’s comments sailed pretty close to the wind. Perhaps having to endure such evidence-free rants is one of the prices one pays for freedom of speech.

    Zackoz

  32. #32 AJ
    July 26, 2010

    This reminds me of something I encountered this weekend. I was on a trip with a friend and her mother, to my friends Aunt and Uncle’s house. The mom was a self-avowed hippie, and from what I saw the aunt and uncle were, too.

    At the house I saw several things that bugged me- like many bottles of “Chinese herbs” lined up in the bathroom and everything labeled “organic.” The aunt was a doctor. The uncle joked about a light she used resembling the dermal regenerations on Star Trek, but the significance about that went over my head.

    Later, on the car ride home, I found out that the aunt was treating a friend with cancer with a “laser”. My friend’s mother went on on how traditional cancer treatments either were not working or had to harsh side-effects, so the magic light it was. She said that so far it was only being used for slight things, but was working wonderfully and that she hoped for a cure.

    I had to bite my tongue. I am quite vocal about my support for SBM and bug my friends about it all the time. But ranting about a relative of a friend is just not done. Because I know that if I had gotten started it would be bad. The only thing I could do was change the music. As I have and ungodly amount of music on my iPod I am usually in charge of the sound. So, I changed it from whatever was playing to Tim Minchin. I don’t think anyone picked up on that.

  33. #33 Art
    July 27, 2010

    It has been observed that financial institutions have shifted how they make money. Used to be they made money by helping you succeed. They, and you, were interested in outcomes. More recently they have shifted to making their money on volume. They are far less interested in whether you succeed. As long as they have a hand in the transaction they make money. No matter if you win, lose, or draw they make their money.

    CTCA has adopted much the same model. They make money through the volume of billable items. They are less interested in whether a treatment works than that they can bill for it. Success, remission or cure, may not be the most profitable, or desired, outcome. The optimum structure is one where the costs and profits are high and final settlement, death or cure, is timed to coincide with the patient’s, and their family’s, bank account being exhausted.

    Homeopathy, and other woo, fits this financial model very well. Cost are low and profit margins high. A mystical medical model also has advantages. It is dealing with unseen forces and your unlikely to be sued because you chose a green crystal instead of the blue one. Within the mystical system there is no such thing as malpractice. They also leave a good part of the responsibility on the patient. The unwritten rule is that if the patient believes strongly enough they will be cured. Proof of insufficient belief is evidenced by failure of the treatment.

  34. #34 Frameshift
    July 27, 2010

    Mr. Gearheart:

    *stands and applauds* BravO. Well said, and well done.

    “Auricular Medicine in conjunction with conventional medical tests can find and treat the cause of disease. Many conditions, acute and chronic, can be treated by Auricular Medicine.”

    Well, certainly, I’m sure you can find all sorts of interesting things with conventional tests. You know, the tests that actually work?

    And Orac, I’m concerned: how do you think that this will change the way medicine in general, and oncology specifically, is practiced if real physicians have to practice cheek-by-jowl with these quacks? I’m afraid it might undermine both the trust that people have in science-based medicine, as well as raise the blood pressure of many a real doctor out there.

  35. #35 Christophe Thill
    July 27, 2010

    Oh, I think I noticed a typo. The word “scan” appears several times in this articles (“Medical Intuitive Scan”, etc). Obviously it should be “scam”…

  36. #36 ScienceCat
    July 27, 2010

    Stages experienced when beginning studies in toxicology:
    (Personal anecdote, not to be considered the singular form of data ;), your mileage may vary. I’d be interested in finding out if ToxicologyCat went through a similar process. )

    1. Dawning realization (and horror) that just about everything including conventional, backyard, grown-without-pesticides vegetables is poisonous in some dose/concentration, that Mother Nature (the bitch!) really is out to get us and that almost everything causes or promotes cancer in some way shape or form… including oxygen.

    2. Gradual realization that a. I have to both breathe AND eat something and that b. I am not dead yet despite all the horrible chemicals in broccoli and onions and c. hmm, amazingly! people in general are living longer despite (or because of?) all the natural and anthropogenic chemical hazards out there and d. that maybe the reason that people seem to be dying from cancer than in the not-so-good-old-days is possibly due to better diagnosis and a distinct lack of dying at age 2 from typhoid. Realization that trading a small increase in lifetime cancer risk (usually at an age that would make our ancestors green with envy) from evil trihalomethanes in drinking water is a very small price to pay for not becoming infected with deadly waterborne diseases.

    3. Gradual loss of the ability to even raise heart rate when someone pushes the “OMG Toxins!” button. New sense of respect for evolution, omnivore liver function, and DNA repair mechanisms. Feelings of superhuman detoxification ability (tempered by humility at the discovery that orangutans can eat Strychnos spp. fruit even though we can’t). Rediscovery that a lot of plant chemical warfare agents are extremely tasty. Decision made to exploit plant chemical warfare agents# for own nefarious purposes (curries, hot salsas, advanced horseradishing and mustarding, high-test chocolatarianism).

    4. Gradual increase in irritation at anyone who uses “toxins” instead of “toxicants”, except where the substances under discussion actually *are* toxins (most of which are fascinating evidence of Mother Nature being a bitch again). Increasing tendency to become pendantic on this point until the tipping point is reached and ennui sets in.

    5. Dawning realization that some people *enjoy* panicking over the fact that life is a risky business, that there is no such thing as “proven to be nontoxic” in the strictest sense of the term, that there is no such thing as perfect safety, and that (unfortunately) these people tend to infect some of the normally sane people around them with their panic. Increased internal conflict between wanting to provide reassurance that modern life is pretty darned great, actually, and as safe as it has ever been in human history, (war zones excepted)… and the selfish desire to put head under the pillow until the noisy screaming people go away.

    Cheers and thanks for reading the vent.
    # note – not suitable for actual felines

  37. #37 Medicien Man
    July 29, 2010

    I think the Cancer Centers of America is a great place. If you do not like how they do business or mediceine then go soemwhere else. It’s that simple. I would rather have anything than chemo or radiation. There other alternatives to big pharma’s mass production of killer medicien.

  38. #38 Chris
    July 29, 2010

    So Medicien Man/”Dr.” whatever when are you going to tell me with real evidence your sure fire cure for Type 1 Diabetes? It has been several months, and all you produced were commercial websites advertising crap (and with wishy washy claims about helping Type 2 Diabetes, which is not the same thing).

    While you are looking for real evidence to answer the challenge you posed to me, do tell us what supports your statement: “There other alternatives to big pharma’s mass production of killer medicien.”

  39. #39 Medicien man
    July 29, 2010

    Hi stalker man Chris. Those “commercial websites advertising crap” as you called it, was part of my answer. i cannot help it if you did not read it or accept it or even look at it. I said what my answer was. Read already.

    Yes I would love to tell what supports my statement. Unfortunately, I do not think this server will handle that much information. See Wellness Resources, natural News, Lifesoure 4 Life, and about two thousand other related sites/articles/research. I have to warn you that it will consume your time reading the millions of pages of information out there. Better hurry up and read it before our dicator and his cohorts in the FDA (Fascist Drug Aministration) ban it.

    Ever tried Human Growth Hormone? It does wonder for many ailment including type two diabetes. I am not sure if it will help with type I or not. If you look hard enough you can find HGH releasers and your own amino acids to make your own HGH. Just like you can make colloidal silver at home, you could possibly make HGH. it would be a challenge, but then again designing and making your own ozone generator and orgone generator is difficult too. Trying to find specific value parts without buying in bulk is very difficult. But is pays off when you do. Then again, Oxygen Elelments from Global Health Trax will do just as well.

  40. #40 Chris
    July 29, 2010

    Dude, how can I stalk you when I normally comment on this blog? It is like you driving all the way across town, see me at my local library (where I go to several times a week) and point to me and call me a stalker for asking your for the time, or to please stop blocking the aisle.

    For “evidence” you have only listed websites that invoke Scopie’s Law:

    In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to, Natural News, Rense, etc as a credible source loses you the argument immediately …and gets you laughed out of the room.

    They are not real sources of evidence. Total fail.

    You have not answered the question to any kind of reasonable fashion. Plus, you issued the challenge, so you are expected to provide the actual answer. Not to tell me to look for it! So again, you fail.

    And you are being laughed at for your idiot claim that a regular of this blog is “stalking” you, that you claim there is actual facts at Natural News (dude, do you even read this blog?), and continue to post absolute nonsense like colloidal silver, etc with random spelling.

  41. #41 Chris
    July 29, 2010

    Oh, and yes, Mr. Idiot Troll with the several silly ‘nyms, I will always remind you of that challenge and your total failure to answer it with real evidence. And a reminder, I am not stalking you when you come to the blog that I visit everyday.

    And a blog that you don’t even read. That is evidenced in that fact that you even brought up Mike Adams’ Natural News, a “newsletter” that has been frequently shredded with insolence by Orac.

  42. #42 Medicien man
    July 29, 2010

    In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to, Natural News, Rense, etc as a credible source loses you the argument immediately …and gets you laughed out of the room.

    ——

    Really? That’s okay. Any discussion of evolution, vaccines, global warming, and so forth get YOU laughed at on our websites. We do not take YOUR sources at great cedibility either. So I guess you are just SOL if you seek answer from me becuase I already told you where to find them. I believe Natural news and Wellness Resources and a great many other far more than I trust the government or liberals in science. I’ll take my chances by staying away from your deadly medicien and just do what workd best for me. How’s that?

    Peer reviewed sources? Who are the peers involved and what is their motive? Everyone has a bias these days and with Obama in office and his unconstitutional and highly treasonous HELLthcare bill, I surely do not trust your so called peer reviewed stuff. there is no telling what information was purposefully left out of the study and results. I don’t trust your sources any more than you trust mine. Sorry dude, I guess you are SOL.

  43. #43 Medicien man
    July 29, 2010

    Orac cannot shred the truth for it will destroy you all, henceforth thou shall not defy natural news.

    If you hate Natural news so much, then why do spend so much time there reading their headlines? Same goes with FOX News – the only credible news oganization still alive in the civoilized world. All the rest are just left wing propogandists ready to stand behind their dictator, ooops. I mean president.

    Troll? You vampire! You werewolf! You dwarf! You pixie!

    I will not let you cross my bridge unless you pay toll to the troll. Pay up sucker.

  44. #44 Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD
    July 29, 2010

    @42,43 – Person who doesn’t utilize spellcheck very often.

    “Really? That’s okay. Any discussion of evolution, vaccines, global warming, and so forth get YOU laughed at on our websites. We do not take YOUR sources at great cedibility either. So I guess you are just SOL if you seek answer from me becuase I already told you where to find them. I believe Natural news and Wellness Resources and a great many other far more than I trust the government or liberals in science. I’ll take my chances by staying away from your deadly medicien and just do what workd best for me. How’s that? ”

    Not sure if serious. Poes Law, and all.

    You can believe all you want that it’s true. Delusion is disbelief of the obvious in face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It’s easier to believe in some nefarious conspiracy theory which at it’s core is flawed when you take into account the nature of humans and their behavior, and realize that it takes a certain amount of bigotism to believe than it is to change your belief against your mores and values. It also requires a certain amount of arrogance to believe that you can see what billions of other cant, and yet – somehow – THEY haven’t come to silence you.

    “Peer reviewed sources? Who are the peers involved and what is their motive? Everyone has a bias these days and with Obama in office and his unconstitutional and highly treasonous HELLthcare bill, I surely do not trust your so called peer reviewed stuff. there is no telling what information was purposefully left out of the study and results. I don’t trust your sources any more than you trust mine. Sorry dude, I guess you are SOL. ”

    Yes. Clearly Europe must have somehow sold their souls to the Great Satan below the earth with their Healthcare bills, just look at the third world conditions they live in – oh, wait. The definition of insantiy is doing the same thing over-and-over and expecting a different result. Medicare and Medicaid are failing systems that were never designed to be used the way they are now.

    You can distrust all you want what people who are far smarter than you are I have developed – but unless there’s a legitimate reason to distrust it, it’s just mindless rhetoric. You’ve yet to present any evidence to the contrary other than ranting banter.

    “Orac cannot shred the truth for it will destroy you all, henceforth thou shall not defy natural news.

    If you hate Natural news so much, then why do spend so much time there reading their headlines? Same goes with FOX News – the only credible news oganization still alive in the civoilized world. All the rest are just left wing propogandists ready to stand behind their dictator, ooops. I mean president.

    Troll? You vampire! You werewolf! You dwarf! You pixie!

    I will not let you cross my bridge unless you pay toll to the troll. Pay up sucker. ”

    The reason we spend so much time debunking and discouraging people from reading NaturalNews isn’t so much as they are wrong about things, or at best misleading – it’s just another case of tabloid journalism – it’s because of their absolute stance that anything stated against them is part of some non-existant nefarious medicopharmicogovernmental industrial complex that makes no sense at all, and anyone who disagrees with them somehow recieves a check from Big Pharma alien overlords every month. At best, their health information is based on misinformation and misquotation of facts, and at worse, it’s sensationalist drivel with nothing to back it up and poor advice. Some of the advice is downright dangerous and illegal – not because it’s somehow keeping someone from making profits – but because it doesn’t work, and at very worst can lessen the life and quality of life of someone. Add to that the fact that when they are called out on this, they resort to wild personal attacks and accusations of everything from Pedophilia to baby-sacrifice and cohorting with Satan, it’s hard to take anything they say personally.

    The simple fact is you’ve convinced yourself that you’re so much not one of the sheeple and you can see through their nefarious conspiracy that in reality you’ve become one of the sheeple, being lead towards an imaginary boogyman. The simple fact of the matter is if political parties and their elect were interested in what was best for society, they’d stop listening to 99% of their constituents in the first place as they’re either the same extreme rightest who believes The gubament black helicopters are going to take their guns and force their women to interbread with the darkies, or th same extreme leftist who believes that everything natural is somehow better and that republicans are Nazis. The same goes with news agencies.

  45. #45 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 29, 2010

    Ever tried Human Growth Hormone? It does wonder for many ailment including type two diabetes.

    It does wonders, all right. HGH supplements increase the risk of developing diabetes mellitus.

  46. #46 Chris
    July 29, 2010

    Wow, you are an idiot.

    Then choose science that is from another country or from when one of the George Bush’s were president. If you have a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, give it. Don’t go posting random websites that are commercial sites selling the stuff.

    I don’t even read the Natural News headlines, I just know that Mike Adams has no qualifications nor credibility. Just like I know you are a clueless blowhard without credibility who does not even read the articles you where you post your silly fact free comments.

    And your silly websites don’t actually use facts, just opinions. Which is why you thought Desiree Jennings had the H1N1 vaccine (twice!), instead of the regular influenza vaccine last August (it was even reported on Fox news which vaccine it was, and you still got it wrong!).

    Which is why they resort to the tactics you have just used, insults instead of discussion. You claimed to have a “a remedy that will be equal to or better than big pharma can deliver (in most cases)”, and also “There other alternatives to big pharma’s mass production of killer medicien.” Yet you presented absolutely nothing but wild ass guesses.

    You made claims, but you have never once backed them up.

    So either put up, or shut up.

  47. #47 Chris
    July 29, 2010

    Last post was directed at Medicien Man/Medicine Man/”Dr. Smart”/”I.M. Smart/soon to be “Blue Man” … Not Bruce.

  48. #48 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 30, 2010

    Medicien man:

    You’re just an amateur: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSo0duY7-9s

    Chris:

    I kind of figured that’s who you meant (although I can be an idiot at times)

  49. #49 Chris
    July 30, 2010

    I should probably tell the idiot who does not read this blog and is unaware of links are targets of this blog that I have a reason for my bitterness.

    Yesterday, (Wednesday, the 28th of July 2010) I participated in the grave side service for a family member who subscribed to the tenants of “Medicien Man”s beliefs, Apparently being part of the “me too!” forums was not enough for her. So she waited for her mother to go out of town (she lived in her mother’s basement) to sit in her car with it running… committing suicide.

    Looking over her records, we see her unhealthy thoughts were amplified by the online communities. Including the absolutely worthless health advisers like “Medicien Man”…. I wonder how many other patients they drove to suicide?

  50. #50 triskelethecat
    July 30, 2010

    @Chris: what I want to know is when did you change your sex? (LOL)

    Since medicien man (btw…is he French or just a bad speller?) calls you “stalker MAN”…is he implying you are a man or that you are a stalker of a man?

    So sorry to read about your family member. You are in my thoughts. (((hugs))

  51. #51 Todd W.
    July 30, 2010

    @Chris

    Sorry for your loss. Like triskelethecat, my thoughts are with you.

  52. #52 DW
    July 30, 2010

    @ Chris. I’m very sorry to hear of your loss. One common attribute of web woo: demonization of psychiatry, psychology, and above all, meds for psychiatric conditions. A recent screed of Adams (I pointed out) contained a reference to the work of CCHR as being a *good* thing. I doubt that many who decry the usage of anti-psychotics have ever witnessed how a person who experiences psychosis *lives* or studied the “complications” of the illness. Similarly, the major effect of SSRI’s discussed by these critics appears to be suicide rather than the effects the drug was designed to address. Ingesting mountains of orthomolecularly-correct B vites will not cure schizophrenia and exercising for hours daily and becoming a vegan will not banish depression. Often I wonder if the inability to weigh costs/benefits is a prerequisite of woo-mongering.

  53. #53 Scott
    July 30, 2010

    Chris, I’ll join the others in expressing my condolences. May your family draw strength from each other in your time of grief.

    Unfortunately, given how strong a streak of “blame the victim” runs through CAM, I’m not terribly surprised. When a person is in a vulnerable state, telling them that their problems are their own fault for not avoiding “toxins” diligently enough, or not spending enough money on “supplements”, or not believing strongly enough in the crystals, or having the effrontery to seek REAL medical advice – well, nothing good can come of it.

  54. #54 Chris
    July 30, 2010

    Thanks all. Yes, Scott and DW, that is exactly what I noticed.

    triskelethecat, that particular troll is bad at spelling, and really just drops buy and does not read this blog.

  55. #55 Medicien man
    July 30, 2010

    Ooooh. I ticked off the vampire Chris. I gave you all the info I could. Now, one more time for the audience … I CANNOT HELP IT IF YOU DO NOT ACCEPT IT!

    H1N1? Gimme a break. A false pandemic in the making. Just another man made emergency. I for one did not take that killer vaccine. Many who did ended up paralyzed and some even died. I guess the FDA was really on top of things. I generally do not take these silly vaccines. Who cares what you or your Orac fellow thinks of natural news, or any other site. You do your thing and I’ll do mine. As for me, I do just fine without your killer/autism/paralysis vaccines. Good day my stalker friend.

  56. #56 Chris
    July 30, 2010

    So who ended up paralyzed and dead from the vaccine? It was not the Redskin cheerleader, Desiree Jennings. It was reported on Fox News that her reaction was from the seasonal vaccine last August. I see you did not read anything written on this blog about that, or the links of where you made that stupid mistake and were corrected multiple times.

    Yeah, I saw your info. It was empty and useless, just like your news sources (exactly how many people were paralyzed by a vaccine?). And just like the space between your ears.

    Every time I see you post here I will remind you of how lacking your are in facts, intelligence and integrity. That is not stalking, but pointing out exactly that you will not learn. You are a racist, sexist, uneducated, clueless jerk who is probably also very mentally ill.

    Typically I try to be generous to the mentally ill, but you have no redeeming qualities. So just stop coming here if you don’t like that we won’t believe your empty fact free rants.

  57. #57 Medicien man
    July 30, 2010

    Every time I see you post here I will remind you of how lacking your are in facts, intelligence and integrity. I will keep coming here anyway. NAH NAH (tongue sticking out). Now, go shop in a turd thrift store and ignore me already.

    Now, for the not so annoying people here …

    Here are some alternatives to chemo and radiation. they are guarunteed to work, but neither is chemo and radiation. Pay attention Chris and stop puckering already:

    Indole-3-carbinol, Coriolus versicolor (Trametes versicolor),Maitake (Grifola frondosal), Proteolytic enzymes, Astragales (Astragalus membranaceus), Curcumin, Essiac, Selenium , Graviola , Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), Cat’s Claw, Green Tea , Noni, Olive Leaf Extract, Resveratrol, Flaxseed Oil , 7-Keto .

    There are a few others that are questionable. I’ll take my chances my these remedies rather than some FDA endorsed super poison.

    Now, Chris. Independently research these names that i have given you. Cancer is a result of a disease, not a disease itself. It is the result of a failed immune system. Fix the immune system and you cure the cancer. If you hit cancer with random chemo and radiation, it usually comes back becuase the root of the problem was not solved. You only attacked the result of the disease, not the disease itself.

    Now go boil some eggs and take a nap and think about it with an open mind. Firget all you peer reviewed stuff and government endorsed mediciens, etc, and just read for yourself. THINK, for yourself as a private individual sovereign citizen. Do not let government or anything else get involved in your mind. Learn on your own. Now, get busy and let me know what you find out.

  58. #58 squirrelelite
    July 30, 2010

    @Medicien man,

    Sorry, but before I put my life on the line, I want to see more than undocumented claims and vapid “guarantees”.

    My sister-in-law was diagnosed seven months ago with sarcoidal renal cell carcinoma. In addition to standard therapy (one round of chemotherapy), she tried several remedies including at least one on your guarantee list, Essiac Tea. Actually I think she drank quite a lot of it.

    Unfortunately, she died last week.

    Where should I refer her children to collect on that “guarantee”?

  59. #59 Chris
    July 31, 2010

    Vapid empty headed idiot posted:

    Indole-3-carbinol, Coriolus versicolor (Trametes versicolor),Maitake (Grifola frondosal), Proteolytic enzymes, Astragales (Astragalus membranaceus), Curcumin, Essiac, Selenium , Graviola , Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), Cat’s Claw, Green Tea , Noni, Olive Leaf Extract, Resveratrol, Flaxseed Oil , 7-Keto .

    A list of ingredients is not evidence.

    Vacuum inside skull idiot posted:

    Cancer is a result of a disease, not a disease itself. It is the result of a failed immune system.

    There is no one cancer. The immune system is a complicated system can go wrong. The virus hepatitis B can cause cancer, so one way to prevent it is the HepB vaccine.

    Illiterate fool posted:

    Firget all you peer reviewed stuff and government endorsed mediciens, etc, and just read for yourself. THINK, for yourself as a private individual sovereign citizen.

    Science is independent of any government system. It is done all around the world, and real science is replicated independently. You can barely read, write and remember basic facts. You are beholden to alt-med websites that all have a hand in your pocket (like the commercial supplement sites that claim had the evidence I asked for!). You obviously have not had an independent thought in your entire life. Nor have you actually read a full book.

    You need to be committed.

  60. #60 Chris
    July 31, 2010

    squirrelelite, I see we have something in common with alt-med causing death. My deepest sympathies to your family’s loss.

    We are not alone: http://whatstheharm.net/alternativemedicine.html

  61. #61 squirrelelite
    July 31, 2010

    Thanks, Chris.

    The type of cancer she had has a bad prognosis with few good treatment options. She did get one round of chemotherapy and the tumor shrank somewhat, but then it metastasized to the lungs and she didn’t last long after that.

    Somehow, when I read mm’s vapid assertions last night, the only appropriate response seemed to be simple honest anger.

    Thanks again for your sympathy.

  62. #62 Kristen
    July 31, 2010

    squirrelelite and Chris

    Very sorry for your respective losses:

    It is especially horrible when cancer leaves children without a mother/father.

    Chris,

    I know this makes some you read here on RI sound even more loathsome. The fact that people will cause so much pain, suffering and death just to make money is nauseating.

  63. #63 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 31, 2010

    Every time I see you post here I will remind you of how lacking your are in facts, intelligence and integrity. I will keep coming here anyway. NAH NAH (tongue sticking out). Now, go shop in a turd thrift store and ignore me already.

    Whereas MM’s facts, intelligence and integrity are obvious.

    Now, Chris. Independently research these names that i have given you.

    Why should we do your work for you, you lazy slob?

    Cancer is a result of a disease, not a disease itself.

    Untrue. It is a host of diseases resulting from mutation. Immune system failure can allow cancers to proliferate and spread, however, they are not the cause. Reference – any pathology textbook.

    and think about it with an open mind… Do not let government or anything else get involved in your mind.

    Uhh, isn’t that the definition of a CLOSED mind?

  64. #64 Matthew Cline
    August 1, 2010

    @Medicine Man:

    Same goes with FOX News – the only credible news oganization still alive in the civoilized world.

    I suppose it’s only a matter of time before Fox News exposes vaccination for the liberal plot it is?

  65. #65 Chris
    August 1, 2010

    The silly thing is that FOX news accurately reported that Desiree Jennings claimed an adverse reaction to the normal seasonal influenza vaccine last August. Yet, the silly MM troll keeps saying she suffered from the H1N1 vaccine!

    He is a clueless close minded tool.

  66. #66 daijiyobu
    August 1, 2010

    Orac, by the way, I just became aware of this Bastyr press release dated August 2010 (see http://bastyrcenter.org/content/view/1983/ ) which mentions naturopathy’s other cancer partner, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center:

    “NIH Grants 3.1 Million for Research into Integrative Breast Cancer Treatment [...] the grant, awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), will officially fund a project entitled ‘Breast Cancer Integrative Oncology: Prospective Matched Controlled Outcomes Study.’”

    Never mind that studies aren’t ENTITLED. I believe people are entitled.

    Here’s some BCNH naturopathy absurdity: BCNH stating that homeopathy works via vitalism (see http://bastyrcenter.org/content/view/856/ ), and then telling us that naturopathy is firmly science-based (see http://bastyrcenter.org/content/category/4/142/155/ ).

    I believe taxpayers are entitled not to by fertilizing this nonsense.

    -r.c.

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  68. #68 Scottynuke
    August 6, 2010

    Spam bot is spamming… *L*

  69. #69 PRN
    August 7, 2010

    Pauling remains experimentally unchallenged on important points:
    1. Moertel WAS a media hungry fraud who repeatedly reneged on many promises of cooperation and review across a dozen years. Moertel refused, both before and after, to address Pauling’s requests for important measurements, like blood levels to distinguish IV and oral use, partly done by NIDDK 20 years later, and other minimal control data. Moertel did not use Cameron and Pauling’s oral formula, either.

    2. After forty years and over a 100 fake tests later, even Pauling’s lowest vitamin C cold recommendation remains UNTESTED by big medicine: take 1-2 gm every hour at the very first tickle, until you forget to take it.

    3. Pauling did not advocate vitamin C as a sole cure for cancer, but rather as a useful agent. Both Klenner and Pauling were looking for better cidal agents to match with vitamin C. Vitamin C’s oxidative mechanism, discovered in the 1930s or 40s, mentioned by Klenner in the 1950s, was re-presented almost verbatim in the NIDDK paper, post-2001.
    Even retards recognize the anti-histamine effects of vitamin C. Histamine is known as a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). How come vitamin C as an anti-VEGF agent against cancer is such a mystery?

    If I tested above average for CD15s or CA19-9 with any metastatic or advanced epithelial cancer, I would want to consider anti-VEGF agents like IV vitamin C and cimetidine to be added into my whole routine, even if they don’t cost $4000-10,000 per treatment month.

  70. #70 Stacy
    August 24, 2010

    This was an interesting read. I think treating the whole body is not a cut down to western medicine. I am choosing to be treated with both. Going through chemo or radiation tears the immune system down. Why not use natural means such as nutrition and supplements to build it up? I think it is simply choice. One is not better than the other but I think combining them is great. I also think having mind body treatment is wonderful for people going through so much. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just think we should all be respectful of the fact that someone with cancer should never feel bad about the choice they make. People are different and so different choices and options are encouraging to me.

  71. #71 Chris
    August 25, 2010

    Stacy, what do you mean by “western” medicine? Would you include the DTaP and varicella vaccines as “eastern” because they were both developed in Japan?

    Also, nutrition is not alternative. Any good oncology center would be remiss if they did not focus on patient nutrition. One of the reasons that anti-nausea has been an issue in cancer treatment is so that patients can eat, and that their diet be healthy.

    By the way, supplements are not natural. They are as much a pharmaceutical as any chemotherapy drug. Don’t be fooled, even if they can be sold over the counter. Plus you can even overdose on supplements (just ask Gary Null).

  72. #72 Barry
    September 12, 2010

    Does the author have any financial interests that, other than holding an MD, bias his or her views?

  73. #73 Chris
    September 12, 2010

    Barry, try reading the Disclaimer link that is in the upper left hand corner of this page, under the picture of the clear plastic box with blinking lights and the words that say “Who (or what) is Orac?”

    And if that fails to answer your question, read up about the Pharma Shill Gambit.

  74. #74 Toni
    October 2, 2010

    It is so interesting that there are so many people starving pr facing malnutrition in the world, even in the west..

  75. #75 John
    October 27, 2010

    It’s pretty amazing that homeopthic therapies are such quackery…..

    Let me see here
    MD Anderson, the gold standard in cancer care, yup, use holistic medicine
    Mayo Clinic, yes they use alternative treatments.
    Duke University medical, ah…there it is to, integrated medicine.

    For someone who practices such a ‘scientifc’ approach to all you do, you sure are blind to the research that is out that. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you are currently losing patients and revenue to hospitals that employ some kind of integrated therapy (is it wrong for a cancer patient to believe that something IN ADDITION to regular medicine can help them). Perhaps if you dig your heels in the ground more firmly, you can stop any progress in any field that you don’t agree with. In all, i’ll just assume you’re a bitter old practicioner and will soon be passed on for a younger physician with the knowledge that he doesn’t know everything and will have a more open mind to things that can help. good luck to you.

  76. #76 Chris
    October 27, 2010

    Hmmmm… just another necromancer offering up silly assertions. Nothing to see here, move along.

  77. #77 Todd W.
    October 27, 2010

    @John

    Perhaps you could post links to some of this “research that is out there”?

  78. #78 Scott
    October 27, 2010

    Well, there *is* research that suggests things like naturopathy or homeopathy work as anything other than a placebo. It’s just vastly outweighed by the much larger body of much higher-quality evidence that shows that they don’t.

    I suspect John’s subscribing to the “there’s an article in some journal which suggests it, therefore it’s definitely true!” school of analysis.

  79. #79 T. Bruce McNeely
    October 27, 2010

    It’s pretty amazing that homeopthic therapies are such quackery…..

    Let me see here
    MD Anderson, the gold standard in cancer care, yup, use holistic medicine
    Mayo Clinic, yes they use alternative treatments.
    Duke University medical, ah…there it is to, integrated medicine.

    Funny, I don’t see homeopathy in your list of examples.
    What exactly do each of these places offer?
    If they do offer homeopathy, what is their justification?
    If they don’t, why?

    Oh yes, before you start whining – the claimant has the obligation to present the evidence.

  80. #80 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 28, 2010

    Since John is obviously a drive-by-poster, let’s just state the truth. None of those cancer centers use homeopathy. They do use “integrative medicine” for stress-reduction and to improve quality of life, something that the “integrative medicine” modalities they do use are shown to offer. But the use of these modalities is not used in place of conventional treatment; it is palliative* relief only. See the OP re: massage, for example.

    *Using the WHO definition: “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.”

  81. #81 Jane
    November 25, 2010

    Given that traditional medical offices cannot yet get their computers to talk to other computers, for example, all the while assuring patients that their care will be coordinated, (and not by people, but via computer), it is no surprise that this Cancer Centers of America business attracts so many people. (I only tonight heard about them; find their offerings too good to be true, and was looking for more information).

    I imagine you would not want people to pray, either, as that, too, is magical. I say that whatever does no harm, (including financial harm), is good.

    Disagreements amongst physicians regarding diagnosis and treatment are ongoing and heated. Throw in government rulings, and you find yourself running outdoors to find some burdock root.

    Instead of bashing any institution that appears to offer a truly integrated team and approach, (and I am not supporting the Cancer Centers here – I do not know any facts about them), why not push to have traditional medical offices and hospitals get their acts together — even getting to see an accredited breast ultrasound technician, for example, is difficult. Having to go from pillar to post – hundreds of miles from one specialist to another, is difficult. While there ARE scientific alternatives to mammography – another example – it is only by luck that you ever hear about them. How about scientific alternatives to the barbaric practice of wire localization breast biopsy, etc.?

    Sorry about the above being incoherent. Terror stemming from current disease and countless traditional medicine screwups will do that to you.

  82. #82 Paula
    February 2, 2011

    Wow! What else do you not belive in. Traditional medicine concerning cancer is a big failure. There should be a cure by now! Instead cancer has no cure and people are dropping like flies!

  83. #83 Orac
    February 2, 2011

    Yawn. Another resurrection of an old post. You did notice that this post is more than six months old, didn’t you?

    Anyway, it’s my general policy when a troll tries to ressurect a comment thread older than three months is to shut down the thread.