America’s quack: Dr. Mehmet Oz

Sometimes, when you’re blogging, serendipity strikes. Sometimes this takes the form of having something appear related to something you just blogged about. Yesterday, I discussed one of the biggest supporters of quackery on the Internet, Mike Adams, a.k.a. the Health Ranger, proprietor of NaturalNews.com, one of the quackiest, if not the quackiest site, on the Internet, NaturalNews.com. This time around, I was simply using one of Adams’ wonderfully incoherent defenses of alternative medicine thinking to demonstrate how much magical thinking exists at the core of alternative medicine and how akin to religion those beliefs can be.

Here’s where the serendipity comes in. Yesterday morning after I got up, as is my wont I checked my e-mail to see what had arrived overnight. Because I subscribe to a number of quack and antivaccine mailing lists to provide me with blog fodder, I happen to subscribe to Mike Adams NaturalNews.com mailing list. What to my wondering—a better word is probably “despairing”—eyes should appear but this: “Health Ranger appearing today on famous TV doctor’s show to discuss toxic heavy metals,” which lead to this: Health Ranger appears on Doctor Oz show to discuss toxic heavy metals in superfoods.

My jaw dropped. My eye started twitching. Just when I thought that Dr. Oz couldn’t go any lower, couldn’t invite a bigger quack on his show to fawn over and publicize, couldn’t sell out more to the forces of quackery, he does. I mean, seriously. Joe Mercola, who’s been on Dr. Oz’s show on multiple occasions, has nothing on this guy, and at least Joe Mercola has an actual medical degree. True, that could make Mercola more dangerous in the long run, but he’s got it. Indeed, when Dr. Oz first invited Mercola on his show, as quacky as Mercola is, I figured he’d never invite Mike Adams on his show too, because Mercola can at least walk the walk of seeming to be medically authoritative while Adams is an out and out conspiracy loon. How wrong I was! In fact, when I recently quipped that Dr. Oz’s evolution into Mike Adams was continuing apace less than two weeks ago, never did I imagine that the two would be teaming up to promote Adams’ mercenary attack on his competitors in which he tests their products for “heavy metal” toxins and then publicizes the results in order to undermine their sales in favor of his own “clean superfoods.” But Oz did.

So, my heart was heavy and my brain dreading what I knew I would have to do last night. I would have to watch the Mike Adams segment on a DVR’d Dr. Oz Show, because I didn’t want to wait a couple of days for the segment to show up on Dr. Oz’s website. (Fear not, when the link goes live I’ll add it to this post. ADDENDUM: The links are live. See ADDENDUM.) And watch it I did. Fortunately, it was relatively brief, but sometimes the briefest pain is the most intense. As expected, it was a fawning puff piece, painting Adams as a “whistleblower” (he’s nothing of the sort; he’s a supplement entrepreneur), as someone who “bucks conventional wisdom” and “researches the truth” in his “quest to be ahead of the curve.” We also learn that Adams is someone whose website gets 7 million unique visits per month, which makes Mike Adams the Dr. Oz of the quackosphere. Adams is even described—with a straight face, even!—as an “activist researcher,” complete with background shots of him allegedly working in his laboratory.

Somehow, I can’t help but mention at this point this video of Adams in his lab that he released a couple of days ago in an article entitled Health Ranger releases expanded video tour of ICP-MS food research lab and shares passion for Clean Food Movement. The link can also be accessed here, as it has been pointed out to me that there seems to be some sort of redirect funkiness going on such that clicking on a link to NaturalNews.com from here results in a different page coming up, even though the URL is correct.

This video is hilarious in that Adams seems to be practically screaming, “Hey, look at me! I’m not a fake! I’m a real scientist! There’s no green screen here!” Seriously, he takes half the video demonstrating that he isn’t sitting in front of a green screen and that his scientific instruments are real. Of course, no one’s really questioned whether his instruments are real. We question whether he has the first clue how to use them properly, and certainly there’s nothing in the video to suggest that he does. Hilariously, he goes on and on about how he has a “real lab,” at one point saying that, if this wasn’t a real lab, then his numbers wouldn’t be real. Of course, he seems oblivious to how much of a non sequitur that is. That could certainly be a real lab, and Adams’ numbers could still just as easily not be real.

In fact, looking at him fumbling with various instruments, I asked myself why Adams went to all the trouble to put a lab together like this when it would have been a lot less trouble and almost certainly a lot cheaper just to send the samples he wanted to test to a reputable lab to do the mass spectroscopy. The answer that seems most likely to me is that all that equipment (which is really not very much) is all there for show, and that the show is far more important than actually getting accurate measurements. If Adams wanted to convince me that he could run an actual mass spectroscopy assay and produce accurate results, he could accomplish that by videotaping a real analytical chemist watching him do a complete assay, from start to finish, from sample preparation and the running of standards to running the samples and analyzing the data. I predict that Adams will never show us this. Instead we get silly videos in which he throws things around to prove there’s no “green screen” and says that “everyone who’s tried to refute our numbers has failed, which is funny because I haven’t seen any independent laboratories confirming Adams’ findings.

In any case, the contempt Adams has for his audience is palpable, as he shows rows of sample tubes as though that would be enough to show that he knows what he’s doing, while blathering on and on about doing “real science.” In reality, even if he is getting numbers that are accurate he’s functioning as no more than a technician doing measurements, not a scientist designing experiments to test hypotheses. He’s also apparently working with nitric acid, which is a scary thought. I certainly wouldn’t want to be anywhere near him when he’s “working,” having once accidentally splashed myself with aqua regia (1:3 ratio of concentrated nitric and hydrochloric acids) in college. Even though it was just a couple of tiny drops, it ate right through my lab coat, and I still bear two small scars on my arm from the burns. I learned my lesson, and nothing like that ever happened again, which is why I won’t go near someone who is working with dangerous chemicals but clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.

In any case, a lot of nonsense and kissing of Adams’ posterior are packed into Dr. Oz’s brief segment with him. I never knew Oz could do a colonoscopy with his face, but he’s certainly made sure that Adams doesn’t have a single suspicious polyp all the way up to his terminal ileum. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist. That’s doctor humor there.) Oz begins by pointing out how he frequently gets an “earful” from his mother-in-law about what the “Health Ranger” wrote, which is unfortunate. Adams is very popular. The segment then goes on and on about how Adams is adored by the alternative health set but “reviled” by scientists. Given how far down the rabbit hole of quackery Adams has gone, it’s not surprising that it never occurs to him that there are very good reasons why scientists and physicians who support science-based medicine revile Adams. He promotes pseudoscience. He’s the Kevin Trudeau of his generation, now that Kevin Trudeau is going to jail. His business model is basically the same.

What’s not known by many people is that Adams got his start selling a Y2K scam, basically a “preparedness site.” Indeed, it’s been a consistent pattern throughout his entire misbegotten “career” to use fear mongering to sell product or to sell himself. He did it with Y2K. He did it with Fukushima. Oh, and he also made a lot of money selling spam software.

Obviously, Adams’ next money making scheme is to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about supplements, the better to sell his “clean” superfoods, supplements, and other products. His appearance on Dr. Oz’s show is clearly designed to promote his brand, and promote it he did, with Oz’s enthusiastic help. The segment had a scary title about “poison in America’s food.” There was plenty of conspiracy-mongering about companies trying to shut him down and the FDA being clueless, with Adams finding cadmium, tungsten, lead, and arsenic in all sorts of samples. Perhaps the most hilarious part was when Oz included aluminum in a list of metals that “shouldn’t be in food.” I thought Oz was supposed to be a doctor, and a doctor should know that aluminum is ubiquitous in the environment. Of course it’s in our foods. There’s lots of aluminum in food, and at the levels typically seen it’s safe. Surely, as a doctor, Dr. Oz should know that, shouldn’t he? But instead, he lumped aluminum in with cadmium, lead, and tungsten. In fact, we need certain metals to survive, like iron, for instance.

Perhaps the key example of how intellectually dishonest Dr. Oz’s approach is comes later in the segment when he discusses how Adams has analyzed various protein powders derived from rice. To be fair, Adams did say something that is probably true, namely that metal levels in such products that come from China were much higher than in products from the US. In any case, these rice protein extracts were said to contain “alarming levels” of lead, cadmium, and tungsten, and Dr. Oz stoked alarm almost as well as Mike Adams can by telling his audience that there are no standards for cadmium in food. It’s not true, of course. The FDA does have guidelines for lead and cadmium (among other metals) in foods, and the FDA has established Provisional Daily Total Tolerable Intakes (PDTTI) for several at risk groups. What Oz decides to focus on is the legal limit for lead declared by California Proposition 65, which is 0.5 μg/d. This is shown graphically, with Oz standing in front of two bars declaring that the rice protein powder is 20 times higher. What does that mean? Who knows? One can assume that he means that if one were to eat a certain amount of rice powder considered a day’s intake you’d get 10 μg of lead, but it’s not at all clear.

Oz finishes the segment by referring viewers to Mike Adams’ test results. Naturally, I couldn’t resist moseying on over to take a look. For lead, I saw concentrations ranging from around 0.05 ppm to 0.533 ppm. For comparison, the action level for lead in drinking water is 0.15 mg/L, or 0.15 ppm. Of course, food and water aren’t exactly comparable. So some of those powders have concerning levels of lead? Probably. That’s assuming you trust Adams’ numbers, which I do not.

In any case, by having a scammer like Mike Adams on his show and representing him as some sort of “whistleblower” and “food safety activist” is akin to having Andrew Wakefield on a show and portraying him as a “vaccine safety activist.” Adams is no such thing. By supporting Adams, Oz has become a scammer himself. I highly doubt that Oz’s producers are so ignorant or incompetent as not to be aware of Adams’ background, his appearances on Alex Jones’ network, and his conspiracy mongering rivals that of Jones himself. They didn’t care and chose to ignore the blindingly obviously unsavory elements in Adams’ past and present schtick, all in search of providing bread and circuses to their readers and thus bringing ratings to the show.

You might wonder what Dr. Oz thinks of all the criticism. In fact, I wondered the same thing myself last year when Michael Specter wrote a highly critical article for The New Yorker about Dr. Mehmet Oz. Of course, Oz doesn’t care about what a nobody blogger like myself or even P.Z. Myers (who, as popular as his blog might be, is still small potatoes compared to Oz’s reach with his television show) might say about him. But apparently he does care when a major magazine says something bad about him. I learned this when I found out over the weekend that Dr. Oz had been interviewed by Larry King for Ora.TV:

So that’s where Larry King ended up. Who knew?

In the segment above, King asks Dr. Oz how he would respond to the criticism Specter leveled at him in his article. Although he takes pains to say that parts of the article were “fair” and reasonable, Dr. Oz doesn’t look too happy about the question. In response, he then goes on to construct a false dichotomy, portraying Specter as “biased” in favor of the position that you should have strong scientific evidence to support a medical statement before making it in front of millions of people—as if that were a bad thing. Oz then tries to take the high ground by claiming that there are a lot of things that we don’t have a lot of evidence for (true) and that all he does is to do what every doctor does and extrapolate, “jumping to the next level” to give you “advice you can use.” Oz claims it’s the “extrapolation” from where “we know we are safe to where you need advice” that defines the art of medicine. As far as it goes, that’s not entirely unreasonable. The science of medicine is the scientific body of knowledge that tells us what treatments work, which ones do not, and which ones are uncertain. The art of medicine is applying that science, that knowledge base, to individual patients in order to treat them. That is the real personalization of medicine, not the “integration” of quackery like naturopathy, homeopathy, or traditional Chinese medicine into science-based medicine. In his response, Dr. Oz reminds me very much of Dr. David Katz.

I recently described how David Katz posits a false dichotomy: Either embrace quackery or be less than a “holistic” physician. In other words, the argument is that a doctor must embrace the quackery that is “complementary and alternative medicine” or “integrative medicine” if one wishes to take care of the “whole patient.” In just the same way, Oz is more than implying that one can’t properly extrapolate scientific evidence and clinical trial data to patients who might not “fit” without embracing quackery. Let’s put it this way. Dr. Oz has aired shows in which he has promoted quacks like Joseph Mercola (and now Mike Adams), enthusiastically recommended The One Quackery To Rule Them All (homeopathy) to his viewers, promoted faith healing quackery, and even suggested that faith healers like John Edward and the “Long Island MediumTheresa Caputo can be therapeutic counsellors after losses. More recently, Oz has tried to fan the flames of a discredited link between cell phones and cancer. If there’s a quackery out there, Dr. Oz has probably embraced it on his show, the only exception being (mostly) antivaccine quackery, and even then he’s definitely a bit squishy on the issue, thanks to his reiki master wife. Dr. Oz would have you believe that these are “extrapolations” but the only thing they are “extrapolations” from is reality—in exactly the wrong direction.

King finishes by asking Oz to respond to the idea that doctors should be optimists and that no doctor should tell a patient that he is terminal, because “no one knows.” To this, Oz responds that we “actually have to be more than just optimists, but irrational optimists.” Well, Dr. Oz has the irrational part down cold, at least when he’s on his television show. Sadly, my original quip about him becoming more like Mike Adams turned out to be more true than I could ever have imagined.

ADDENDUM: Holy hell. The links to the Mike Adams segments, The Whistleblower Who Found Poison in America’s Food are live (part 1, part 2, part 3). I warn you. It’s truly painful to watch.

Comments

  1. #1 novalox
    May 21, 2014

    @pfft

    Again, thank you for admitting that you are here only to troll and that the regulars here more more intelligent than you can ever hope to attain.

    @anon

    And why should we believe dr whitaker, who believes that over 100% of people will have autism one day?

    And also, what legitimate research does dr whitaker cite in that screed of his?

  2. #2 madder
    May 21, 2014

    This is one of the least worthwhile trolls we’ve had around here in a long time. It flatly refuses to defend its positions: at the first challenge, it either flits to another topic or insists that it didn’t mean what it said. Its has one goal: to keep discussion impossible. Trying to engage with it is like trying to nail down greased snot.

  3. #3 Pfft!
    May 21, 2014

    Greased snot, shitwit….. All awesomely genius comments. You all just keep suckling at the FDA teet as you pump yourselves up with unproven vaccines and idiot pills. Have a nice day! 😉

    Oh, and @novalox….ritalin.

    Google for the day: “cognitive dissonance”

  4. #4 Militant Agnostic
    May 21, 2014

    madder

    Trying to engage with it is like trying to nail down greased snot.

    But more disgusting. But we should all know better than attempt to engage with anyone who uses the word “gubment”.

    Novalox

    And why should we believe dr whitaker, who believes that over 100% of people will have autism one day?

    Julian Whitaker for when you want turn the crazy up to 11.

  5. #5 Narad
    May 21, 2014

    Corn SUGAR…my bad.

    More fail.

  6. #6 Chris,
    May 21, 2014

    anon: “#182 Off topic- Of course you will disagree”

    Well, that is because you have a reading comprehension issue. Print out this part of my comment: “Provide PubMed indexed studies by qualified reputable researchers that the shingles vaccine has unreasonable risk.”

    Then take it to someone who understands written English and how to use the dictionary for the words “PubMed”, “indexed”, “studies”, “qualified”, “reputable”, “researchers”, “unreasonable” and “risk.” Let them explain the level of evidence that is being requested.

    Then about your silly Dr. Whitaker link. He is neither reputable, qualified and his website is not PubMed indexed. He is, in fact, a buffoon. His debate with Dr. Steven Novella was hilarious (especially the silly graph):
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/battling-antivaccinationists-at-freedomfest/

    A wee bit of advice: stay away from doctors who have a sales link on their website.

  7. #7 Chris,
    May 21, 2014

    Pfft!: “Jeez @Chris, do you do ANYTHING? Are you simply that lazy? God forbid, I hope you’re not a doctor. It’s not classified or unknown that vitamin C therapy is being used.”

    When you make a claim then you need to do the work to support that claim with verifiable evidence. You are the one who makes claims, and when challenged go and change the subject.

  8. #8 Narad
    May 21, 2014

    He is, in fact, a buffoon. His debate with Dr. Steven Novella was hilarious (especially the silly graph)

    Well, you’ve got to give him one thing: it’s more conservative than Wakefield’s claim of 50% prevalence by 2025.

  9. #9 Appalled
    May 21, 2014

    I can understand if you are science-based doctors or just plain scientists who refuse to allow any thinking about supplements or alternative health solutions. You are entitled to feel that way. However, to attempt to summarily discredit Dr. Oz with this article and all your following comments is just offensive. He is an educated, licensed surgeon and physician. There is viable laboratory evidence that many supplements, non-surgical techniques and non-prescription substances do have health benefits. Omega-3 supplements is a perfect example, something Dr. Oz recommends frequently. I can also understand if you have no love of or respect for Mike Adams or what he does, however, his findings are not wrong on this topic. Yes, the human body does contain and need some metals such as iron, and yes, Dr. Oz did tout the idea of cooking in a cast iron skillet to get more iron into your diet, BUT lead, cadmium, tungsten, and aluminum are NOT such substances, and therefore, the Mike Adams segment that reported on supplements and products sold in the U.S. with toxic levels of these substances is valuable information. WHY are you opposed to the public being warned about this? I will note also that, c0nc0rdance, in your effort to discredit Dr. Oz with your flurry of information about your undergrad research on metals, you mentioned only healthy and necessary metals, NOT the unhealthy, toxic metals that were actually discussed in the segment with Mike Adams. Do each of you honestly believe that NO natural substances are of value to human health and relative in treating patients and preventing disease? THAT is what’s dishonest here.

  10. #10 novalox
    May 21, 2014

    @appalled

    So, any credible evidence or citations for your assertions?

    Because I see a lot of assertions, not little evidence to support those views.

  11. #11 Chris,
    May 21, 2014

    Appalled, why don’t you tell exactly why we should believe Mike Adams. You can start by giving us evidence that he knows what he is doing in his “lab.”

    “Do each of you honestly believe that NO natural substances are of value to human health and relative in treating patients and preventing disease? ”

    Where does that say that in the above article?

  12. #12 Narad
    May 21, 2014

    BUT lead, cadmium, tungsten, and aluminum are NOT such substances

    Perhaps you can do Adams’ job for him, then, and come up with something resembling a basis for this bit. It sure isn’t vague mumbling about Fallon.

    Then again, given that you seem to be under the impression that Mikey demonstrated “toxic levels” of aluminum (or anything, really), I won’t be holding my breath.

  13. #13 Woo Fighter
    May 21, 2014

    Appalled,

    Oz discredited himself by featuring psychics, medical intuitives, homeopathy, Burzynski and the never-ending weight loss miracle du jour on his show. And of course Oz recommends reiki, or faith healing, which his wife just happens to make a living selling.

    Just his support of homeopathy alone is enough to discredit him as a man of science. Add in all the psychic crap he promotes and he’s now a certifiable loon. He’s an embarrassment to the many real science-based doctors working their butts off.

    I wouldn’t trust him to put a Band-Aid on me, let alone perform heart surgery with a voodoo wizard (a reiki “practitioner”) present in his operating room.

    No one is saying he doesn’t dole out sensible information on occasion. But sadly that’s happening less and less often in favour of psychics and weight loss miracles. He needs eyeballs and that means catering to the lowest common denominator. He has to ensure his $12 million a year TV gig isn’t jeopardized by, you know, science.

  14. #14 TBruce
    May 21, 2014

    We are experiencing an infestation of really low-class trolls around here. Take Fart-Noise (please!). We desperately need to upgrade: http://fremont.com/about/fremonttroll-html/

    Now, that’s a troll!

  15. #15 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    May 21, 2014

    We are experiencing an infestation of really low-class trolls around here. Take Fart-Noise (please!). We desperately need to upgrade: http://fremont.com/about/fremonttroll-html/

    Now, that’s a troll!

    Thanks TBruce! From 1985-1990 I lived in the apartment building they had to be standing in front of to take those pictures. I got to see the guy drive the VW in there and take the engine out (why waste it?) before covering it with cement. I was in the process of moving out, so I didn’t see the whole process.

    This is where the Aurora Bridge leaves the ground—the famous “George Washington Bridge*” that Warren Beatty saw someone being killed on from atop the Space Needle in Parallax View. (Impossible, BTW.)

    In further history, about 8 years after this, a passenger shot a bus driver southbound on Aurora, it careened left, over the Jersey barrier and the guardrail, and landed on top of this apartment building. I always said: “Someday a truck is going to land on us” (never said a bus)—but I always assumed it would be a northbound truck!

    *Believe it or not, if you look at a map, that is its official name, but I guarantee you not one person in 1,000 in Seattle knows that.

  16. #16 anon
    May 21, 2014
  17. #17 Chris,
    May 21, 2014

    anon: “#182 From the NEJM re shingles incidence”

    Again with the reading fail. The question was “Provide PubMed indexed studies by qualified reputable researchers that the shingles vaccine has unreasonable risk.”

    Where in that opinion piece did they mention an “unreasonable risk”?

    So there may be a low incidence, but it could be a world of hurt if you are one of the unlucky ones. So why is the vaccine so terrible you’d take the small risk of getting shingles over a wee jab in the arm? Are you afraid of needles? Does this also apply to ten year tetanus boosters?

  18. #18 Narad
    May 22, 2014

    Greased snot, shіtwit….. All awesomely genius comments. You all just keep suckling at the FDA teet [sic] as you pump yourselves up with unproven vaccines and idiot pills. Have a nice day!

    “The decision to be in bad faith does not dare to speak its name; it believes itself and does not believe itself in bad faith; it believes itself and does not believe itself in good faith. It is this which from the upsurge of bad faith, determines the later attitude and, as it were, the Weltanschauung of bad faith.

    “Bad faith does not hold the norms and criteria of truth as they are accepted by the critical thought of good faith. What it decides first, in fact, is the nature of truth. With bad faith appears a method of thinking, a type of being which is like that of objects; the ontological characteristic of the world of bad faith with which the subject suddenly surrounds himself is this: that here being is what it is not, and is not what it is. Consequently a peculiar type of evidence appears; non-persuasive evidence. Bad faith apprehends evidence but it is resigned in advance to not being fulfilled by this evidence, to not being persuaded and transformed into good faith. It makes itself humble and modest; it is not ignorant, it says, that faith is decision and that after each intuition, it must decide and will what it is. Thus bad faith in its primitive project and in its coming into the world decides on the exact nature of its requirements. It stands forth in the firm resolution not to demand too much, to count itself satisfied when it is barely persuaded, to force itself in decisions to adhere to uncertain truths. This original project of bad faith is a decision in bad faith on the nature of faith. Let us understand clearly that there is no question of a reflective, voluntary decision, but of a spontaneous determination of our being.”

  19. #19 novalox
    May 22, 2014

    @pfft

    One thing, don’t project your mental issues to others, and also, thanks for admitting that you suffer from cognitive dissonance.

  20. #20 anon
    May 22, 2014

    I would respect orac’s opinions more if they were related to his field. If he is so brilliant why is he not researching breast cancer-and the interplay of genes and environment etc instead of wasting his time on this blog. This blog is repetitive, boring. It only courts the few regular cult members and I doubt anyone in medicine reads it. It may even hurt his chances at getting grants. What serious Dr. spends so much time blogging?The message -Alt Med is bad, SBM is good; any alt med doctor is a quack, etc etc. I am an artist but at least I can be objective and know when I am biased.

  21. #21 Helianthus
    May 22, 2014

    @ Appalled

    Do each of you honestly believe that NO natural substances are of value to human health

    When I eat an apple, I call it a natural substance.
    When I pop up a pill, I call it a pill.
    I find it dishonest to treat a supplement as common food. Or call it natural while it’s the result of a number of industrial processes of compounds of dubious provenance.

    Now, about natural substances being used as medication: there are plenty of them already in use by mainstream medicine. Salicylate. Morphine. Digitaline. Insuline. Taxol. And hundreds more.
    Heck, I have no trouble adding all of the vitamins you are so fond of.
    But with mainstream medicine/pharma, the vendors have to do a modicum of effort of prove their stuff is somewhat useful; at the mimimum, they are liable about the actual content of their pills.
    Yeah, there should more control, but that’s our point: we should go up, not down.

    With the alt-meds, all we have is some clown looking to sell his stuff and pretending he knows which end of his instrument is receiving the sample.

  22. #22 TBruce
    May 22, 2014

    I doubt anyone in medicine reads it

    What am I, Dr. Chopped Liver? Pay attention, there’s plenty of MDs, RNs and other medical types commenting.

    BTW, you don’t actually HAVE to read this blog. You may now bugger off. Bye.

  23. #23 Denice Walter
    May 22, 2014

    @ anon:

    In case you haven’t read about him, Orac IS a cancer researcher as well as a surgeon and he also teaches medicine. He writes as a hobby but it is purposeful: his writng promotes SBM and critical thinking.

    I got involved because I saw and heard too many charlatans misinforming the public and profiting while their adoring fans may have missed a chance at getting REAL help- this is especially apparent in the areas of cancer, hiv/aids, ASDs and mental health. They scare patients away from realistic therapies and substitute old wives’ tales and nonsense which they make up as they go along. AND before you say, “It’s all pharma based”, not all of those SB therapies are meds: especially for ASDs and mental health.

    When you read about alt med advocates, you’ll find that many of them have no reasonable background in medicine or psychology: they just say whatever they like and persuade desperate people to follow their advice.

    There’s something horribly unfair about that- it misuses people’s trust as well as possibly harming them. I think that educated people are obligated in calling out those who mislead the public for profit.

  24. #24 anon
    May 22, 2014

    Obnoxious
    Rantings
    Aggrieved
    Crock

  25. #25 Darwy
    Røde grøde...you know the drill
    May 22, 2014

    Poor anon. It must be difficult feeling so inadequate.

  26. #26 anon
    May 22, 2014

    #223 Point taken -but the people you are talking about who look for dubious cures etc won’t read this blog. It has a imited base and most of it is a platform for strutting egos. Ironically, I learned more about alt med on this blog then any where else -It’s my go to reference to see what’s happening in the alt med world. I have limited patience for nonsense and a lot of it is but I am really amazed that you spend so much time listening to Gary Null just to denigrate him.I have yet to read any helpful link you posted- you do however post brilliant witticisms (and they are very clever I must admit)

  27. #27 Helianthus
    May 22, 2014

    @ anon

    I am an artist but at least I can be objective and know when I am biased.

    It’s funny. According to you, Orac, as a mere surgeon/scientist, cannot provide good opinions on health-related matters, but another doctor, Dr Oz, can. Even better, an anonymous poster (you) is qualified to determine if Orac is qualified or not, while insisting on not having itself a medical or scientific background.

    Local evidence suggests you still have a bit of walk to do toward objectivity.

    Also, if the above is a fair example of your artistic originality, better keep your day job.

  28. #28 Denice Walter
    May 22, 2014

    @ anon:

    Information has a way of travelling around and educating people JUST like the garbage memes posted/ discussed by charlatans do. There is also a trend factor involved. We work in mysterious ways. And we know it.

    And I thank you for your kind words.
    And for the record: I encourage people to investigate awful nonsense prior to finding reasonable sources-
    “Swine before pearls”.

  29. #29 Calli Arcale
    May 22, 2014

    Anon:

    I am an artist but at least I can be objective and know when I am biased.

    It’s a pity you do nothing with the knowledge, but evidently revel in the bias. You are quite happy to take Dr Oz’s word based on his credentials alone; that you do not give Orac the same respect suggests that it isn’t really the credentials that impress you. It’s that Oz plays to your personal bias. That’s normal; it’s called being a fan. But don’t mistake it for a persuasive argument.

  30. #30 Calli Arcale
    May 22, 2014

    Pfft:

    I will give the benefit of the doubt that you didn’t see my original post.

    That’s gracious of you, but in fact I did read your original post and was responding to it.

    I’ve never once stated that alternative therapies are superior to conventional.

    You sure implied it.

    In fact I mentioned to someone else that a balance of the two would be perfect.

    That would seem to be at odds with your words in your original post: “If you have doubts, I ask you this: how many people have died taking big pharma drugs vs the number of people who have died taking supplements pushed by those so-called “quacks””

    You think there should be a 50/50 balance, even though you believe pharmaceutical drugs are more dangerous? I notice also you did not respond to me pointing out that we only have higher adverse response rates for mainstream medicine because we’re only reliably *counting* adverse reactions for mainstream medicine. Alternative treatment failures and side effects are almost never reported at all, so it is very naive to think this makes them safer.

    My original post alluded to the hypocrisy of those who would denigrate people like Mike Adams, Joseph Mercola, and Mehmet Oz as quacks simply because of the way they make their living, as if deviating beyond mainstream is taboo and shouldn’t be meddled with.

    You are reading far more into Orac’s post than is actually there. Orac has never claimed that deviating from the mainstream is taboo. The point is that lying to patients in order to get them to buy your product is unethical, and it surprises me that anyone has a problem with that.

    My original point to you still stands. You are calling Orac hypocritical for calling out Adams et al for behavior that you’ve just said is wrong when mainstream medicine does it. If you have a problem with mainstream medicine deceiving people, why is it wrong for Orac to criticize Dr Oz for doing the same?

    There is hypocrisy on display here, that’s to be sure. However, I think you’ll find it more clearly if you look in the mirror.

  31. #31 anon
    May 22, 2014

    #227 I do not accept everything Dr Oz says- you made that assumption. But I don’t see Dr. Oz calling Orac a quack and I doubt he would do that. He would respect his work and realize Orac has “issues”. Dr Oz may rely too much on a “trusted” team gathering material for his TV show which is also entertainment. He is, however, promoting healthy eating and exercise (SBM). Good points were made on heavy metal contamination.

  32. #32 anon
    May 22, 2014

    When did “healer” become a “robodoc”?
    I do want a trained “robodoc” in the ER though!!
    I thought there was the “art ” and “science” of medicine. If I was dying I would want Dr. Oz at my bedside not Orac hovering and saying, well, I think she has a couple of more hours.

  33. #33 incitatus
    May 22, 2014

    #232 anon if you were listening to Dr Oz the chances of you dying would be sadly very much higher

  34. #34 Lawrence
    May 22, 2014

    @anon – I’d prefer Orac, who would give me actual factual information regarding my condition & treatment options (in the circumstances) rather than useless platitudes at best or pushing unscientific “alternative” treatment options at worst….since Dr. Oz’s wife is a Reiki Master (and Dr. Oz has pushed Reiki on his show) it is fair to say he’s a quack…..

  35. #35 Chris,
    May 22, 2014

    “If I was dying I would want Dr. Oz at my bedside not Orac hovering and saying, well, I think she has a couple of more hours.”

    Even though Dr. Oz is a cardiac surgeon? Wouldn’t you want a doctor trained and had done a residency in for the reason you are in a death bed? Or perhaps a hospice nurse?

    Though you might be more careful of where you get medical advice. It does not bode well that you linked to a website of a doctor who did not complete his residency, and probably has not kept up with any real Continuing Medical Education since 1972.

    Also it is bad form to try to tell a blogger what to write, and how he should spend his spare time.

    “But I don’t see Dr. Oz calling Orac a quack and I doubt he would do that.”

    Actually Dr. Oz has done far worse in his treatment of Dr. Steven Novella: “Again, the real problem was that Dr. Oz controlled the framing of the discussion and made many fallacious points at the end that I was given no opportunity to respond to.”

  36. #36 Chris,
    May 22, 2014

    TBruce: “Now, that’s a troll!”

    It is even on “Troll Avenue.” While that street was having some work done I had to take this picture: Troll Ave Closed Ahead.

  37. #37 Dangerous Bacon
    May 22, 2014

    Seeing as how anon is contemptuous of this blog and those who post on it and how it’s a waste of time etc., it’s surprising that anon is repetitively posting on it for no apparent reason other than to bait regulars.

    I would have more respect for anon if he/she was out there researching cures.

  38. #38 Chris,
    May 22, 2014

    Especially since she did call Dr. Oz a quack in her first post. She still has not come up with a good explanation with actual evidence that the shingles vaccine is quackery.

  39. #39 anon
    May 22, 2014

    #238 A mistake calling Dr Oz on this. It works but I resent the aggressive pushing of vaccines that I feel I don’t need.( I’m 70) I may be wrong but that’s my decision.
    I have over 50 relatives, I come from a large extended family (chalk it up to fortunate genes) who never had any adverse effects from VPDs.

  40. #40 Lawrence
    May 22, 2014

    @anon – good for you….unfortunately there are lots of other people (including ancestors of mine) who suffered horribly from VPDs…..

  41. #41 anon
    May 22, 2014

    Chemo is hell but it cures. But not my friend who had the best treatment at Anderson.
    5 years of hellish effects and false hopes. The chemo destroyed his intestinal tract. A primer on chemo-www.cancer.stanford.edu/information/cancerTreatment/methods/managing_effects/organs.html
    Who wouldn’t want to try to prevent cancer and want to investigate possible environmental causes and just maybe heavy metals?

  42. #43 incitatus
    May 22, 2014

    and many people are doing just that. However risible twits like Mike Adams for example make a mockery of this process. If Oz the great and powerful was supporting anything like a rational program of research then fine. there seems to be no evidence that he is.

  43. #45 Lawrence
    May 22, 2014

    @anon – I have multiple friends who are alive today & very healthy because of current Cancer treatments…which aren’t just chemo….Cancer survival rates today are better than they’ve ever been….I think modern medicine is doing something right.

  44. #46 anon
    May 22, 2014

    #245 It would be better to research why they got cancer in the first place.
    Dr. Oz’s show is geared to the donuts and coffee, Big Mac eaters crowd. He is trying to get them to improve their diet and add exercise daily for the most part. It is not a science tutorial.
    The old adage “you are what you eat” seems to be true for the most part. Good genes did not help my cookie monster of a cousin my age in poor health because she refuses to change her eating habits and relies on SBM to bail her out.

  45. #47 Lawrence
    May 22, 2014

    @anon – so where does Homeopathy & Reiki come into play? Those are just two “treatments” that he has highlighted that have no scientific basis whatsoever…..and as to why people get Cancer – whoa, I guess no researcher ever thought of that….heck, I mean, I might just might not be able to find any of the thousands of research studies that have been done to determine causes for Cancer…….

    Just in case you don’t get the sarcasm in that statement….it is indeed sarcasm…

  46. #48 JGC
    May 22, 2014

    Uhhh,…anon? With respect to yor cousin, you do understand that changing one’s eating habits to improve one’s health falls entirely within the realm of science based medical intervention and doesn’t constitute alternative medicine to any degree?

  47. #49 Narad
    May 22, 2014

    Dr. Oz’s show is geared to the donuts and coffee, Big Mac eaters crowd.

    There’s something you don’t hear every day. The program targets exactly the same audience that Oprah did – that’s why it’s found at the same times.

  48. #50 Chris,
    May 22, 2014

    anon: “It works but I resent the aggressive pushing of vaccines that I feel I don’t need.( I’m 70) I may be wrong but that’s my decision.”

    Who is forcing you to get vaccinated? Your doctor? Is he/she also being annoying by reminding you to get a tetanus booster?

    “Who wouldn’t want to try to prevent cancer and want to investigate possible environmental causes and just maybe heavy metals?”

    Well, let’s see what has been done. First there has been a steady campaign to get folks to avoid tobacco products for fifty years. Then there have been warnings about the dangers of sun overexposure related to skin cancer for the last several decades. Also there is a vaccine to prevent liver cancer due to hepatitis b, and another vaccine to prevent several cancers caused by human papillomavirus.

    Are those things quackery? What about this list of preventative measures:
    http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/initiatives/prevention/strategy/report.html

    And the quip about heavy metals. Do you know why the removed lead from gasoline and paints? Why there are warnings on environmental mercury? Try reading the above report.

    “He is trying to get them to improve their diet and add exercise daily for the most part. It is not a science tutorial.”

    Just like every other qualified medical physician on this continent. He is not special in that regard. See the above link.

    Why are we not allowed to criticize him for promoting nonsense like homeopathy, crazy diets, acupuncture and a dubious salesman like Mike Adams?

  49. #51 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 22, 2014

    anon said

    It would be better to research why they got cancer in the first place.

    And such research happens. However, I’m not sure it’s very comforting for someone with, say, lung cancer to be told “we can’t cure you but we know what likely caused it.”

    There’s room for researching both the causes and treatments.

  50. #52 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 22, 2014

    You know what? If Mike Adams really does find excessively high levels of heavy metals, known carcinogens, radioisotopes, or poisons in supplements – and these are confirmed – then good for him. Nice job.

    Of course, that’s only one more issue for the poorly regulated and apparently badly run supplements industry. Other issues include deceptive or fraudulent sales practices, inconsistent contents, wildly varying dosages, and unsubstantiated claims of efficacy.

  51. #53 incitatus
    May 22, 2014

    #252 if he finds them he has a long way to go to convince anyone else he has found them. repeat as you say but he hasnt published any calibration data which is something we have to do in order to be believed.
    and anon, I can only refer you to the way the comedian Bernard Manning completed the phrase “If you are what you eat…” though i warn those who google the language is…coarse.

  52. #54 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 22, 2014

    What, you want him to show the equipment is properly calibrated, his samples aren’t contaminated at the lab, and that he’s running the tests competently?

    You, incitatus, set a high bar.

    Fortunately, the higher the bar the easier the limbo.

  53. […] Here’s an entire section on chemtrails. Here’s Adams claiming high doses of Vitamin C will “eliminate cancerous tumors” (something his lawyers deny he ever said). Here’s Adams claiming the Aurora theater shooting was a false flag operation. Adams attacks “AIDS myths.” Adams on President Obama’s birth certificate (stored at archive.org as original post has been removed by Adams.) Another one of his removed posts combines both Sandy Hook and the 9/11 attacks into a big ball of conspiracy. If you need any additional convincing of Adams’ lack of scientific credentials, there’s always his appearance on Dr. Mehmet Oz’s TV show. […]

  54. […] gem from one of the quackiest of the quacks, Mike Adams, a.k.a. The Health Ranger, a.k.a., “I’m a real scientist, dammit!” It’s a post entitled EXCLUSIVE: Natural News tests flu vaccine for heavy metals, […]

  55. […] promotional visits but über-quack Joe Mercola; recommending homeopathy as a cure all; and even taking seriously one of the quackiest quacks on the Internet, New World Order conspiracy theorist, former Y2K […]

  56. […] almost feel sorry for “America’s Quack,” Dr. Mehmet Oz. Well, not […]

  57. […] one big reason why I dropped my reticence towards using the term with Dr. Oz and dubbed him “America’s quack.” As I pointed out, having a scammer like Mike Adams on his show and representing him as some […]

  58. […] “superfoods” and supplements, an endeavor that landed him on Dr. Mehmet Oz’s show, where he hyped up fears of toxic heavy metals in a variety of supplements. It was truly depressing to behold, because Oz, as a physician, should understand what a fetid pile […]

  59. #61 Jeffrey P. Colin
    United States
    July 22, 2014

    I do not like Dr. Oz at all. But, your post suggested that he is not a real doctor. He actually is an Ivy League educated Medical Doctor. http://asp.cumc.columbia.edu/facdb/profile_list.asp?uni=mco2&DepAffil=Surgery Again, the man is a full fledged quack, but please do not associate those that encourage diet, nutrition, and the use of natural substances to encourage better health with him. UCLA and a number of other medical schools, including Harvard med, offer training to Medical Doctors in the use of natural substances as preventative, and as treatments for some medical conditions. While there is an over abundance of false claims about the efficacy of natural treatments, some natural/alternative treatments have been properly studied, and shown to be effective, when used properly, and monitored by qualified physicians. I really cringe at “all or nothing” evaluations of trains of thought because they appear just a unfounded as those who believe in quackery. Just a thought to keep in mind.

  60. #62 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    July 22, 2014

    …some natural/alternative treatments have been properly studied, and shown to be effective, when used properly, and monitored by qualified physicians.

    Please name an alternative therapy not used by mainstream medicine that has been shown to be safe and effective when used as directed, and provide the best two citations that you think show that therapy to be safe and effective.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.