Respectful Insolence

Contrary to what you might think, the longer I do this blogging thing, it doesn’t necessarily get easier. The reason, of course, is that after more than nine years of near daily posts there are days when it’s really hard to come up with something that really gets me fired up to do the hard work it takes to write. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t days when the thought going through my head goes something like, “Another bit of idiocy by antivaccinationists? How many times have I seen this before.” But sometimes, as much as I sometimes think I’ve seen it all with respect to quackery, there will float across my radar screen something I’ve never heard of before (or, occasionally, something I have heard of—and maybe even blogged about—but had forgotten about). This is just one of those moments. I thought I had heard of pretty much every major form of quackery devised by the credulous and warmed minds of human beings, but this is a new one on me. It’s also a new on on me that practitioners of “alternative medicine” release press releases like this, to announce that they have been “certified” in a new form of quackery, but apparently they do. Actually, this press release doesn’t even announce that. Rather, it announces that a physician who apparently threw away reason to become a homeopath, is going to do the studies that will result in his becoming certified in a new form of quackery that I don’t recall having heard of before.

Witness Dr. Edward Kondrot announcing in a press release that he will become the First American Doctor to Become Certified in Chromatotherapy:

Adding to his long list of certifications, Dr. Edward Kondrot is taking on a new certification process to become the first American to become certified in chromatotherapy. Beginning February 8, 2014, he will be traveling to Paris one weekend every other month for two years in order to study to become certified in chromatotherapy. Dr. Kondrot will study under the direction of Dr. Christian Agrapart. The new therapy techniques will be used to further assist in treating chronic eye diseases.

“I’m very excited about this new venture and in having the opportunity to study with Dr. Agrapart,” explains Dr. Edward Kondrot, founder of the Healing The Eye & Wellness Center. He is also the president of the Arizona Homeopathic and Integrative Medical Association, and the clinic director of Integrative Medicine of the American Medical College of Homeopathy. “The treatments have been successfully used in France for quite some time. Now it’s time that they are made available to the people in America who need them.”

My first thought was, again: Why on earth would you issue a press release to announce that you’re about to embark on a course of study that involves going to Paris six times a year for two years, other than to rub your competitors’ faces in the fact that you are going to Paris six times a year? My second thought was: what the hell is chromatotherapy and who the hell is Dr. Christian Agrapart? Wonder no more! When I learn about a new form of quackery with which I’m not familiar, I teach myself what it is, and after I teach myself what it is, I share that new knowledge with you. Don’t thank me. It’s what I live for.

First off, it didn’t take me much Googling at all to find out who Dr. Christian Agrapart is. He’s apparently the president of something called the International Light Association. From that it didn’t take me long to find that chromatotherapy (or chromatothérapie in French) is a “herapeutic method using references wavelength units called « colors ».” I further learned that There are two types of chromatotherapy:

  • Luminous Chromatotherapy: it is achieved by sending colored luminous rays, obtained by a white light going through filters selecting in the visible part specific wavelengths, perceived by the naked eye as « colors ».
  • Molecular Chromatotherapy: it uses the same wavelengths that the « colored » luminous Chromatotherapy but coming not from the light but from the matter.

Talk about your proverbial distinction without a difference. Where do they get the white light from? Probably “matter,” as in various filaments (like tungsten) with an electrical current run through them. Be that as it may, chromatotherapy appears to be a very French form of woo. At least, its founder is French, and it seems not to be particularly popular in the US. The major practitioners of this particular quackery appear to be mainly French, which is perhaps why Dr. Kondrot is so proud of being the first American to be trained in this particular bit of nonsense. He shouldn’t be, but he is. But, then, he is a homeopath. In any case, there’s a woo-tastic description of chromatotherapy After having read the various articles that make up the description, I’ve come to the conclusion that the entire rationale for shining various colors of light into the eyes to “heal” boils down to two things;

  • Life can emit bioluminescence.
  • All life depends upon light
  • The eyes are the window to the soul.

Therefore, Dr. Agrapart and his fellow chromatotherapists seem to conclude, shining colored light into the eyes can improve health and cure all manner of diseases up to and including cancer. Think I’m exaggerating? Well, then, let’s take a look at some key passages:

Health and well being are commonly thought of as a form or emanation of light — or “glow.” Walt Whitman, for instance, defined health as a “radiance that cannot be described.” “Glowing” physical health is primarily a function of the power of our “inner sun” and our glow seems to increase as our awareness expands. At full illumination, this radiance becomes visible to the naked eye, which is why great artists are often likened to “stars,” and saints are traditionally depicted as being surrounded by brilliant halos, and described as “illumined.”

And then this one, which will be offensive to blind people and their families:

All biological life is composed of, and dependent on, light. That is why “solar system” means, “derived from light.” When Nobel Laureate Albert Szent- Gyorgyi said, “All the energy we take into our bodies is derived from the sun,” he literally meant that light is the nourishment for life. The human body is a biological light receptor, the eyes are transparent biological windows designed to receive and emit light, and all physiological functions are light dependent. This becomes evident when observing individuals deprived of sight. In 1856, Wimmer, an ophthalmologist at Munich’s Royal Institution for the Blind wrote, “The whole appearance of a blind person…bears the markings of…retarded growth…and…pallor… But this underdeveloped…state disappears…and the organism seems to grow younger when vision is restored…”

One wonders what scientific evidence was used to come to these conclusions, one does. I’m unaware of evidence showing that the whole appearance of a blind person shows evidence of retarded growth. Be that as it may, the “reasoning” for this therapy of shining light in the eyes appears to derive from this:

The transformative power of light is founded on a simple principle: life and light are the same energy, in two states of existence — form and formlessness. In its formed, or “frozen” state, light energy composes all the matter in the universe — everything that we can see, touch, or measure. Yet, from a scientific perspective, this fundamental building block of what we call reality is invisible, formless and without attributes. It cannot be directly perceived or measured.

Added to this are lots of blathering concepts about how Eastern mystics believed that the colors of the rainbow corresponded the “body’s energy centers” or to the chakras and are thus “directly related to the attainment of optimal health and consciousness. In other words, it’s a chain of “reasoning” that leads to the idea that specific colors can be used to treat specific conditions. Frequently there’s a bunch of science-y sounding gobbledygook about how colors vibrate at different frequencies and therefore these different frequencies can therefore treat disease, with each color having specific properties with respect to promoting health and treating disease. For instance, it is claimed that violet can “treat melancholy, hysteria, delusions and alcohol addiction” and that blue can “cool down” fever, high blood pressure, headaches, aggression, and hysteria. Amusing is the warning never to treat cancer with red “because this color will stimulate cell growth!” Good to know, I guess, if you’re a quack.

It gets worse than that, however. According to Agrapart, chromatotherapy can be used to treat various eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, which, even though it’s completely wrong, at least makes a superficial sort of sense. However, apparently he also believes that chromatotherapy can also be used to treat autoimmune diseases, which makes no sense at all. Particularly amusing are all the ways that chromatotherapy, more commonly referred to, at least in this country, as light therapy, can be coupled to acupuncture points.

But what about Kondrot? I’ve already said he’s a homeopath, which means that by definition he is susceptible to at best dubious treatments and is not into what we like to refer to as science-based medicine. If he were, he wouldn’t be a “homeopathic ophthalmologist.” His website doesn’t provide any reasons to make me doubt that assessment, either. There’s an article claiming that an intranasal laser can reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, because, apparently, shining light in up the nose has so much to do with how the brain as a hole works and impacts a person’s higher cognitive functions. What evidence is presented for this claim? Anecdotes are there, of course, as well as preliminary studies that are high. And you can begin this treatment today, all for the low, low price of $449, which is $50 off the regular price of $499!

No wonder Dr. Kondrot bills himself as the “world’s leading Homeopathic Ophthalmologist who devotes his practice to traditional and alternative therapies for the treatment of eye disease.” First of all, I didn’t know there was such a specialty as homeopathic ophthalmology. But how does that jibe with his attending the IV World Oxygen and Ozone Congress last September, where:

Topics on ozone’s positive effect on Cancer, Heart disease, Obesity and metabolic disease, Chronic fatigue, Non healing ulcers, Disc pain, Infections, Ulcer stomach disease, Dentistry and more.

Dr. Robert Rowen was not able to attend and I was honored when he asked me to give his presentation called Triple oxidation in the treatment of cancer. The triad of triple oxidation are: Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation, Major Autohemotherapy (Mixing Blood with Ozone and re-infusing back into the body), Minor AutoHemotherapy (Injecting small amounts of blood mixed with ozone into specific tissues of the body, and Direct Intravenous Gas ( Injecting small amounts of ozone gas directly into the veins)

Wow. Ozone therapy is quackery, pure and simple, particularly the variety in which the blood is removed and then oxygenated with ozone before being reinfused. And, assuming that Dr. Kondrot went to medical school, he should know that (1) the amount of oxygen dissolved in the blood is very little compared to the amount carried bound to hemoglobin in red blood cells and (2) injecting gas, even small amounts, directly into veins puts the patient at risk for air embolism, depending on how much is injected. What I can’t figure out is what ozone therapy has to do with either homeopathy or ophthalmology.

On the other hand, Dr. Kendrot believes that the cause of most eye disease isn’t aging, trauma, diabetes, hypertension, or all the other usual suspects that result in chronic eye problems and sometimes even blindness. Of course not! He believes the biggest contributor to eye disease is….drum roll please….big pharma and “suppression” caused by modern medicines, including:

  • Antibiotics for conjunctivitis
  • Treatment of chronic blepharitis
  • Steroid eye drops
  • Cataract surgery
  • Laser surgery and injections for retinal disease

To which he adds:

Why? The disease is being treated with opposites and this causes the disease to be pushed deeper in the body. This will result in a more serious eye problem

Earlier on in his essay, Dr. Kendrot lays down this howler:

Homeopathic treatment is based on true laws of healing. True laws do not change over time. When I studied homeopathy I used the same text books that were used over 250 years ago. These homeopathic laws of healing have not changed unlike modern medicine which changes treatment methods every year. Are we benefiting from these modern approaches? I do not think so, in fact as a whole, eye disease, especially macular degeneration and glaucoma are increasing.

The laws of homeopathy haven’t changed in 250 years? You say that as though it were a good thing. Also, Samuel Hahnemann didn’t come up with his laws of homeopathy 250 years ago. He was first known to practice his method in the 1790s and didn’t actually use the term “homeopathy” until his essay his essay Indications of the Homeopathic Employment of Medicines in Ordinary Practice, published in Hufeland’s Journal in 1807. But, hey, what’s a decade or two (or three) among friends?

In any case, to Dr. Kendrot the reason that the number of patients with age-related eye disease including cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration is increasing is because “modern medicine” is not because the population is aging, meaning that more people are at risk for such diseases, or because more people have conditions that predispose to such diseases of the eye, like diabetes or hypertension. Oh, no! It’s big pharma pushing its evil non-homeopathic drugs on people.

Dr. Kendrot’s website is a fairly “target-rich” environment; so I think I’ll say no more, other than to point out that there is one homeopathic product there that might work for its stated indication. Shocking? Not at all! It’s homeopathic eye drops for dry eye. Of course, it won’t work because of the homeopathy or all the vitamins and other stuff. It’ll work because it’s water, particularly if it’s saline. At least, it’ll work for a little while.

As for the rest of Kendrot’s stuff, well, it’s a mixture of homeopathy, which as we all know is pseudoscience, and a lot of other nonsense. It’s always sad to see a real MD fall to such lows.

Comments

  1. #1 Julian Frost
    February 5, 2014

    [T]he eyes are transparent biological windows designed to receive and emit light…

    Dr. Agrapart seems to think that we are like the fictional character Cyclops from the X-Men.

  2. #2 Chris Hickie
    February 5, 2014

    Offensive on so many levels. (1) woo quack doctor from my home state. Too damn much woo in AZ. (2) Photons are photons. Once you’ve created a photon, it doesn’t matter at all where it came (that would be this “molecular” vs “luminous” garbage). (3) “All life depends on light.” No. Critters at undersea vents way down in the ocean live in total darkness–no light (visible) needed. (4) This reminds me of some “virtual scanning” rubbish I came across recently by some another quack (Dr. E. Ewiing–http://www.montaguediagnostics.co.uk/uploads/Main/VirtualScanningBookReview.pdf), wherein somehow you can diagnose and treat by shining light into your eyes (woe to you without eyes–you are untreatable by this quackery).

  3. #3 Irène Delse
    February 5, 2014

    I hadn’t heard of Dr. (sigh) Agrapart, but I must say that as a French person, I find him and his unscientific gobbledygook deeply embarrassing. I don’t get the fascination homeopathy exerts here, even among medical practitioners and researchers. I mean, really, between Jacques Benveniste, of ‘water memory’ fame, and the inventor of oscillococcinum (a substance that doesn’t even exist!), we already had more than our share of homeo-quacks. If only they could publish in diluted form!

    At least the ‘homeopathic eye-drops for dry eye’ is good for a laugh. I bet it costs more than the good old saline drops my oh-so-Western reductionist GP gave me, though!

  4. #4 incitatus
    February 5, 2014

    to quote the greta philosopher B. Bunny, what a maroon. There seems little limit to the number of ways that the equivalence of mass and energy can be turned into polished horrse hockey. I wonder if Einstein should have, in additon to the general and special relativity papers, have published the Ëxtra Special” relativity, written in crayon with finger painted illustrations.

  5. #5 incitatus
    February 5, 2014

    apologies for spelling by the way. joint disorder. i am basically thwacking the keyboard with my fists. this may be coming across……

  6. #6 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 5, 2014

    That which holds the image of an angel becomes an angel.

  7. #7 palindrom
    February 5, 2014

    I found today’s humorous high spot to be the ideal of intranasal laser therapy. Next time I have to give a talk I think I’ll just stand there and shine the laser pointer up my nose. I’m sure it’ll make me feel much better!

    Also, one can be almost certain without looking it up that Szent-Gyorgi was referring to the fact that almost all life on earth depends on photosynthesis. Except for those wacky colonies around deep-ocean thermal vents, of course.

  8. #8 incitatus
    February 5, 2014

    well if we are doing british sci fi there was a saphire and steel story about an evil creature trapped in photographs. maybe thats what causes dis-ease

  9. #9 incitatus
    February 5, 2014

    palindrom- there is something of a meme at the moment for introducing things into the wrong orifice and expecting magic. Lets face it the Gerson therapy erm…fundamentally mistakes where coffee should go. These people http://valkee.com/en/ shine light into your ears, I await with interest what a woomeister wishes to fire up their urethral meatus to induce health…..

  10. #10 AntipodeanChic
    Where access to electricity has finally been restored...
    February 5, 2014

    Having read & attempted to understand the “Journal of Light” – I must confess to never having seen such a confluence of crank magnetism & offensiveness in such a short document. Maybe I just don’t get out enough – or it could be that I’m chronically light-deprived? ;)

    Perhaps something has been lost in translation?
    I don’t know, but the Bates Method (as earnestly practiced by a friend of a friend of mine) is about the craziest vision-related nonsense I’d ever heard of. Thank you Orac! If not for having read this I’m afraid I’d be completely out the loop.

  11. #11 LW
    February 5, 2014

    references wavelength units called « colors »

    Maybe it’s just early morning but that cracked me up. So pretentious and yet so … obvious.

    Also, how does shining a laser pointer up your nose become “homeopathic”? I’m pretty sure lasers did not exist in 1807.

    Also, if using the laser to treat eye disease (which is *very* effective for some diseases) “causes the disease to be pushed deeper in the body”, why doesn’t shining a laser up the nose do the same? Speaking of treating by opposites — I don’t know about his nose, but the inside of mine neither receives nor emits a lot of light.

  12. #12 cakesphere
    February 5, 2014

    The only thing that shining a laser pointer up my nose would do is greatly confuse my cat.

  13. #13 Denice Walter
    February 5, 2014

    If you think about it, using ‘light’ as a vehicle for selling woo-centric ideas and services makes perfect sense:
    light has been an effective symbol in both religious and intellectual pursuits for ages across many cultures: “I am the way, the light”,”the light of reason”, revelations”dawn” upon us and we are “enlightened”: we “see the light” and are instructed to “walk in the light.” Many more references exist in philosophy, literature and art as well.

    Woo focuses on the spiritual rather than the basely material : light is incorporeal but is visible thus serving as a reminder of the immaterial world in everyday life – in fact it ‘illuminates’ the physical, much as the soul enlivens and elevates the body** beyond its grossly earthy origins.

    New Age wisdom includes phrases like “beings of light”,”light workers” and “bathed in light” to signify the spiritual person’s special status: their auras also bear witness to those with the “vision” to percieve.

    Of course, we’re often characterised as being of the ‘Dark side’-
    which doesn’t exactly jive with that Illuminati meme but hey, you weren’t expecting consistency here,were you?

    ** in their parlance

  14. #14 Nanea Taylor
    53.5°N, 10°E
    February 5, 2014

    “When I studied homeopathy I used the same text books that were used over 250 years ago.”

    So according to Dr Kondrot, he used German Textbooks, written in a dated style that makes it difficult to read even for someone like me who has an advanced degree in German Lit.

    (she says while noting that the first edition of Hahnemann’s Organon was printed in 1810, first English ed. 1813)

    If he’s lying about how he acquired his background knowledge, why would anyone want to believe anything else he has to offer in terms of expertise? I mean, even noted adherents of quacks and complimentary woo should be able to read and solve basic maths problems.

  15. #15 RobRN
    February 5, 2014

    Add in iridology to chromatotherapy & homeopathic eye drops and you’d have quite the woo trifecta! Also – in REAL ophthalmology, there are FDA mandated sterility requirements for eye drops – Shouldn’t this apply to homeopathic eye drops too?

  16. #16 oldmanjenkins
    February 5, 2014

    Oh, the “Walt Whitman” gambit by “Dr” Kondrot….wait is there such a thing?

    “When Nobel Laureate Albert Szent- Gyorgyi said, “All the energy we take into our bodies is derived from the sun,” ” Well I would garner to say that when Szent-Gyorgi said this he meant it in the general sense from a macro perspective as the plants that are eaten by the herbivores that we eat acquire their energy/food from the sun. But as homo sapiens, we do not acquire sustenance from the sun directly.

    This people who are promoting woo such as this need to be charged with medical malfeasance.

  17. #17 Jen Phillips
    February 5, 2014

    Oh, so beyond offensive. I won’t be sharing that one with the Usher syndrome community. Ugh.

    Hell, there’s a guy right here in the US “curing” people of retinal degeneration with acupuncture. Slightly less off-the deep end of AltMed, I guess, but still nonsense. I blogged about the one shitty study that was published with his methods a few months ago and now receive frequent marketing emails from Dr. Andy about how he’s miraculously restoring sight to hundreds, etc. He was on Dr. Oz recently, as well, completing the circle that joins all quacks.

  18. #18 MI Dawn
    February 5, 2014

    Sad…looking at his posted biography, he attended Hahnemann Med school and then did an eye residency (not an MD…but a 2 year surgical residency? Normal for ophthalmology?) then 10 years later did the homeoplathic woo side. Now at age 63 or so (based on year he graduated from med school – if he did the usual HS/college/med school 4 years each thing) he’s going really deep into woo.

    And he had some respectable surgical articles, too, back in the early days….

  19. #19 TBruce
    February 5, 2014
  20. #20 Shay
    February 5, 2014

    @cakesphere: Shine a laser up your nose and mine would go after it.

    You know, props to Whitman, he was a great poet *, but I’m not aware that he had any scientific or medical training other than his experience during the American Civil War in Army hospitals (and based on my reading in military medical history, 1860′s hospital OJT fell far short of what would be considered acceptable even 50 years later. It’s a miracle any of the patients survived and can be credited to the resilience of the average 18-19 year old male).

    Citing Whitman’s definition of health and expecting it to carry any weight is absurd. He probably would have thought it absurd.

    (*Cavalry Crossing A Ford — personal favorite).

  21. #21 Rich Woods
    Not Paris
    February 5, 2014

    @Orac:

    Rather, it announces that a physician who apparently threw away reason to become a homeopath, is going to do the studies that will result in his becoming certified in a new form of quackery that I don’t recall having heard of before.

    Don’t worry — I bet Kondrot hadn’t ever heard of it before a few days ago. Yet he’s now convinced that spending 24 days in Paris over the course of two years will easily provide enough time for him to become a master of the art.

    @LW #11:

    Also, how does shining a laser pointer up your nose become “homeopathic”?

    Well, if the laser emits only a single coherent photon…

  22. #22 puppygod
    February 5, 2014

    The human body is a biological light receptor, the eyes are transparent biological windows designed to receive and emit light,…

    Did anybody ever observed actual emission of light through eyes? I mean apart from infrared radiation – if we count photons outside of visible light wavelenghts, then all bets are off and thermonuclear weapons are overflowing with life…

  23. #23 Calli Arcale
    February 5, 2014

    Mephistopheles — on that note, the Ood Cast did a hilarious skit about Doctor Who characters in unlikely professions (after seeing Strax working as a nurse). One of them was the Weeping Angel Optometrist.

    “Now, if you could just open your left eye and try very hard not to bli . . . . .”

    “Sorry about that. Got quantum-locked. Occupational hazard, I suppose.”

    Others included the Empty Child Egyptologist, the Dalek working for Aardman Animations, and, my favorite, the Silent Driving Instructor. Really, one of their best skeches.

  24. #24 Eric Lund
    February 5, 2014

    Why on earth would you issue a press release to announce that you’re about to embark on a course of study that involves going to Paris six times a year for two years, other than to rub your competitors’ faces in the fact that you are going to Paris six times a year?

    Because you’re making a bid for the Upper Class Twit of the Year award. </satsq>

    Yet, from a scientific perspective, this fundamental building block of what we call reality is invisible, formless and without attributes. It cannot be directly perceived or measured.

    This would be news to a number of physicists who build and use devices capable of counting photons. These photons also have attributes like spin and polarization.

  25. #25 Anthony
    February 5, 2014

    Hey, there actually is an argument for modern medicine increasing the number of people with eye problems: by keeping people alive longer, it increases the amount of time they have to develop eye problems.

  26. #26 Andreas Johansson
    February 5, 2014

    That is why “solar system” means, “derived from light.”

    WTF?

  27. #27 Roadstergal
    February 5, 2014

    I’m just going to be grateful he missed the chance to bastardize Sagan’s ‘star stuff’ quote.

  28. #28 Denice Walter
    February 5, 2014

    Or “we are all made of stars’…

    -btw- I doubt the “upper class” part.

  29. #29 squirrelelite
    February 5, 2014

    Re: the Walt Whitman gambit,

    I noticed in Wikipedia

    Whitman published a series of ten editorials, called “Sun-Down Papers—From the Desk of a Schoolmaster”, in three newspapers between the winter of 1840 and July 1841. In these essays, he adopted a constructed persona, a technique he would employ throughout his career.[32]

    So, perhaps any time a commenter claims someone else’s comment is wrong or irrelevant because they didn’t comment on their own real name, we should call that the Walt Whitman gambit???

  30. #30 herr doktor bimler
    February 5, 2014

    “When Nobel Laureate Albert Szent- Gyorgyi said, “All the energy we take into our bodies is derived from the sun,” ” Well I would garner to say that when Szent-Gyorgi said this he meant it in the general sense

    You are too trusting. The citation is made up. Even though it is a perfectly reasonable statement in that sense, and Szent-Györgyi might well have said similar things, the human centipede of Internet quotations seems to select for fictions.

    Some people in the chromatherapy scam specifically cite Szent-Györgyi’s 1960 essay “Introduction to a submolecular biology”. Or in some cases they claim to be paraphrasing his opinions.

  31. #31 herr doktor bimler
    February 5, 2014

    Well, if the laser emits only a single coherent photon…

    At least two photons to cohere…
    They would still provide more coherence than in the rest of chromatotherapy.

  32. #32 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 5, 2014

    You can’t have a self-coherent photon?

  33. #33 Narad
    February 5, 2014
    That is why “solar system” means, “derived from light.”

    WTF?

    Surely the solar plexus (viz., manipura, the third chakra, «yellow»)* was so named because of its radiating nerve fibers. Perhaps navel-gazing is simply mistargeted.

    * I refuse to use a word space in lieu of a thin space. This anatomical structure invariably calls to mind Logan’s World.

  34. #34 Narad
    February 5, 2014

    You know, props to Whitman, he was a great poet

    The Prelude, which a misguided section of my undergraduate education attempted to force me to read, was enough for me to permanently classify Whitman as the Homer Winslow of poetry.

  35. #35 Shay
    February 5, 2014

    I like Homer Winslow, too.

  36. #36 Shay
    February 5, 2014

    Argh….Narad, see what you made me do?

  37. #37 Derek
    February 5, 2014

    “shining light in up the nose has so much to do with how the brain as a hole works and impacts a person’s higher cognitive functions”
    An elegant typo there, Orac, and the “brain as a hole” might well apply both to the good Dr. Kondrot and to the people who subject themselves to his “treatment”.

  38. #38 Old Rockin' Dave
    February 5, 2014

    I’ve got the perfect name for Dr. Kondrot’s practice. He should call it “CF Eye Care”.
    Just a note about that ancient comment about the appearance of the blind:
    “In 1856, Wimmer, an ophthalmologist at Munich’s Royal Institution for the Blind wrote, “The whole appearance of a blind person…bears the markings of…retarded growth…and…pallor”.
    Way back in those enlightened days of 1856, and especially in Germany (Aktion T4 didn’t come out of nowhere), handicapped and disabled people in a family were usually a source of shame, and they would be kept away from public view. In addition, without any of the aids to the blind we take for granted now, shut up in the house was likely often the safest place for them. Small surprise then if they tended to pallor. As well, the congenitally blind often are unable to model the posture of the sighted, and can be uncertain of their surroundings, making for an appearance that the ignorant and cruel might conflate with simple-mindedness. It is utterly shameful in the 21st Century for anyone in the West, let alone a physician, to put any credence or find any value in such ignorant garbage.

  39. #39 Narad
    February 5, 2014

    Argh….Narad, see what you made me do?

    I do tend to confuse him at this point with Homer Price.

  40. #40 Sastra
    February 5, 2014

    This sounds strangely familiar — and old. 19th century.

    TBruce’s link at #19 — Dinshah P. Ghadiali and his Spectro-Chrome Device was, if I’m not mistaken, part of a fad which began sometime in the mid 1800′s and involved basking in colored lights in order to restore health and wellness — in the nude, usually. I remember reading an article (or chapter) which described and showed pictures of some of the special spas and rooms which were constructed in people’s own homes.

    The reasoning was along the line of the b.s. cited in the OP and Denice Walter #13. It didn’t sound as unscientific then as now — though of course it was still science & spirituality.

    I wish I could remember where I read it. I’m guessing Martin Gardner because it was the sort of thing he’d write about — but it could have been some other skeptic.

  41. #41 Old Rockin' Dave
    Lying in a burnt-out basement with the yellow moon in my eyes...
    February 5, 2014

    Looking at my previous comment I see my mistake. Wimmer said “retarded growth” and not “mental retardation” as my snow-blinded eyes sent to my brain. My point still stands, because circumstances of the time would have made vigorous physical activity very difficult for the blind, and so they would tend to some degree of muscular atrophy.

  42. #42 Sastra
    February 5, 2014

    By the way, I did just now find mention of Ghadiali and other light therapy proponents in Gardner’s famous Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. It’s in his chapter on “Medical Quacks.” He mentions a General Augustus J. Pleasanton who in 1861 published something on his discovery that “sunlight shining through blue glass had curative properties.” Others followed with similar discoveries.

    Although I’d read this book, it’s not the same article I was thinking of. That was more extensive and had pictures.

  43. #43 Ken
    February 5, 2014

    Oh dear, I was just about to paint the living room. Now I have to make sure the color I choose doesn’t cause hemorrhoids or psoriasis. Does anyone have a table matching Pantone number to medical effect?

  44. #44 palindrom
    February 5, 2014

    All this Homer Winslow stuff reminds me, of course, of the greatest Homer of all — not that Iliad guy, of course, but the inestimable, and all too ponderable, Homer Simpson.

    “I wish I’d paid more attention to that wheelchair guy!”

  45. #45 Narad
    February 5, 2014

    Does anyone have a table matching Pantone number to medical effect?

    I am told by the Interwebs that Pantone 1905 C is a 96% match to Baker–Miller Pink. I’m not sure whether this is what was being referred to in The Andromeda Strain.

  46. #46 Beana
    February 5, 2014

    Wasn’t this a ‘Law and Order’ episode?

  47. #47 Peter Dugdale
    February 6, 2014

    “It’s always sad to see a real MD fall to such lows.”
    In Germany, it’s getting very difficult to find a general practitioner who doesn’t offer (alongside conventional treatment) some form of woo.

  48. #48 Helianthus
    February 6, 2014

    The triad of triple oxidation

    On one hand, let’s avoid “acidic” food, free radicals and stress in all forms.
    On the other hand, let’s oxidize everything!
    Couldn’t these people get their story straight?

    chromatotherapy appears to be a very French form of woo

    I kept saying it since I lived in North America. Whatever thing the Americans can do, we French can do it too. And conversely and reciprocally.
    Especially true if it is something stupid.
    Confirmation bias lead me sometimes to believe we can do the stupid better.

  49. #49 Tunip
    In the wet
    February 6, 2014

    I’ve spent the past twenty years working in theatre lighting. Day in day out I’ve stared at coloured light, if this woo had anything at all to it by now my colleagues and myself should be the healthiest, most mentally well adjusted people around (hint, we’re not).

  50. #50 The Smith of Lie
    February 6, 2014

    Considering the way the Chromatherapeutic crowd uses the (supposed) quote of Albert Szent- Gyorgyi, one could wish they take it to the logical conclusion and start trying to draw sustenance through eyes only. Though considering continued survival of Bretharians it sadly seems doubtful they’d keep to it steadfastly enough to provide preffered evolutionary outcome.

  51. #51 Lurker
    February 6, 2014

    And there I was so sure that Orac made a booboo and posted his April Fool’s Day blog a couple of months early…

    Incitatus @ 9: Speaking of light, and putting things in improper places: I have here a hand-held, high-intensity, pure white LED device that I’m told can ease the discomfort of haemorrhoidal tissues when applied to the affected area. Yes, that would be “putting a flashlight up one’s arse,” and I do think someone should get on that quack’s blog and suggest it in all due seriousity.

    Tungsten filament light has no healing properties (true), and a) it’s “artificial light” (true) and b) it’s slightly yellowish light (also true), whereas Pure Sunlight is both a) “all natural” (true) and b) “pure white light” (also true). And there you also see how five truths can add up to a lie, or at least a fraud.

    When I saw the phrase “homeopathic opthalmology and chromatotherapy,” the first thing that came to mind was “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” aka “Three Adjectives and a Noun.” I wonder if this is some kind of “law of woo,” whereby quacks add lots of adjectives to each of their nouns, to make the nouns seem so much more healthy and vital?

    Someone should investigate this Dr. Agrapart fellow, to see if he isn’t a secret shill for an airline or three. Fly from the USA to Paris for a weekend every two months?, when one or two longer visits could provide even better indoctrination?

    There is however one thing that anyone concerned with health should see in Paris, which is the guided tour of the Paris sewer system: a marvel of engineering that, perhaps more than anything this side of clean drinking water and vaccinations, contributed to the health, well-being, and longevity, of Parisians. Maybe someone ought to produce a homeopathic remedy from the waters down there, to confer longevity or something…?

  52. #52 NumberWang
    February 6, 2014

    Hmmmm, don’t I remember something from school about the suns spectra actually peaking in the ‘green’ frequencies? Either way, we all know that white light is just a mixture of all the other colours. Maybe using white light to treat an illness is the same as saying “Take ALL the pills. Something might work”

  53. #53 MVP
    February 6, 2014

    #11 “how does shining a laser pointer up your nose become “homeopathic”? ”
    Shouldn’t one first point the laser at water, then use the water…

  54. #54 The Smith of Lie
    February 6, 2014

    #11 “how does shining a laser pointer up your nose become “homeopathic”? ”
    Shouldn’t one first point the laser at water, then use the water…

    Well, if one was to shine a dilluted laser into one’s eye, it would make homepathic sense. After all, shining laser directly into the eye may cause blindness. “Logic” dictates that dilluting it (no, I don’t know how to dillute laser, but I am not Certified Doctor of Homeopathy, you can’t expect such professional knowledge from me) to increase potency should heal the eyesight. Or burn away whatever you point it at (again, increased potency), which would be admittedly cooler.

  55. #55 Helianthus
    February 6, 2014

    #11 “how does shining a laser pointer up your nose become “homeopathic”? ”

    I don’t know how to dillute laser

    After due consideration, I propose the following protocol:

    1 – have the laser be reflected on transparent glass. Since 99.9+% of the photons will go through, the laser will be nicely diluted.
    It could help to start with a defocused laser, for extra dilution.

    2 – have an array of 5 to 10 more glass panels like this to rebound the laser into the nose of the patient.
    Maybe use only M7 potency, i.e. 7 glass mirrors. Better not overdo it and make the laser so potent it blasts the patient’s brain off.

    3 – as the light enter the nose of the patient, whack the patient on the head with your holy book of choice.
    In a pinch, a local phonebook will do.

    Synchronicity is very important, so if possible have Wally West on retinue. If not, just keep hitting until you got it right.
    Preliminary data suggests this protocol is not very effective against headaches or baldness.

  56. #56 Helianthus
    February 6, 2014

    Almost forgot:
    Be sure your patient’s nose is some distance away from your array before smacking him.

    By the way, anyone has a crowbar?

  57. #57 Lurker
    February 6, 2014

    And there I was so sure that Orac made a booboo and posted his April Fool’s Day blog a couple of months early…

    Incitatus @ 9: Speaking of light, and putting things in improper places: I have here a hand-held, high-intensity, pure white LED device that might ease the discomfort of haemorrhoidal tissues when applied to the affected area. Yes, that would be ‘putting a flashlight up one’s arse,’ and it would be ‘interesting’ if someone got on that quack’s blog and suggested it.

    Tungsten filament light has no healing properties (true), and a) it’s ‘artificial light’ (true) and b) it’s a slightly yellowish colour (also true). Whereas ‘Pure Sunlight’ is both a) ‘all natural’ (true) and b) ‘pure white light’ (also true). There now, five truths that add up to a lie, or at least a fraud.

    Are there any magical health benefits ‘old fluorescent blue’ and ‘street light ochre,’ and what happens to someone who stares at flickering multicoloured neon shop signs? Or do they just cause a headache that can be cured homeopathically by staring briefly at the Moon?

    When I saw the phrase “homeopathic opthalmology and chromatotherapy,” the first thing that came to mind was ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ aka ‘Three Adjectives and a Noun.’ Could there be some kind of ‘law of woo,’ whereby quacks add lots of adjectives to each of their nouns, to make the nouns seem so much more healthy and full of vital forces?

  58. #58 lurker
    February 6, 2014

    Sorry for the double post. First time I got a ‘service unavailable’ error and thought it didn’t go through; tried it again with edits a few hours later and it went through normally, with the result seen.

  59. #59 sheepmilker
    February 6, 2014

    Helianthus @55 it’s early in the day where I am, but you win today’s internetz!

  60. #60 Calli Arcale
    February 6, 2014

    Old Rockin’ Dave:

    My point still stands, because circumstances of the time would have made vigorous physical activity very difficult for the blind, and so they would tend to some degree of muscular atrophy.

    They also probably weren’t as well fed, I’m afraid, which would also lead to stunting.

  61. #61 Imr90
    February 6, 2014

    “Why on earth would you issue a press release to announce that you’re about to embark on a course of study that involves going to Paris six times a year for two years?”

    Perhaps because you are trying to establish a credible case with the IRS for six tax-deductible trips to Paris each year? Or am I being too cynical?

  62. #62 jrkrideau
    February 6, 2014

    @61 Imr90
    My thought exactly. Should be completely deducable is my guess.

    What seems weird is the good doctor does not seem to reference the use of light in one of the few treatements that seem to work (for Seasonal Affective Disorder)

  63. #63 herr doktor bimler
    February 6, 2014

    “Three Adjectives and a Noun.” I wonder if this is some kind of “law of woo,” whereby quacks add lots of adjectives to each of their nouns, to make the nouns seem so much more healthy and vital?

    “Homepathic antioxidant colloidal silver” does not yet seem to exist, so there’s a niche waiting for the minions.

  64. #64 Narad
    February 6, 2014

    have the laser be reflected on transparent glass. Since 99.9+% of the photons will go through, the laser will be nicely diluted

    You’re going to have a hard time finding glass with 0.1% reflectance, plus the reflected light is going to suffer from speckle. I suspect what you’d want to do is chain cavities but decohere the beam between each one to mimic succussion. Somebody get HDB on the blower.

  65. #65 LW
    February 6, 2014

    Why mimic succussion? Just bang on the apparatus with your Bible. Or your head maybe, while contemplating how stupid homeopathy is.