Among quacks, epigenetics is the new quantum theory.
I know I've said that before, but it's worth saying again in response to a new quack I've just discovered, courtesy of an article in The Daily
Epigenetics. She's talking about epigenetics. Of course, she keeps using that word. I do not think it means what she thinks it means. Indeed, if what's in this article is a taste of what's in her book Younger: The Breakthrough Programme To Reset Our Genes And Reverse Ageing, it looks as though we have another misguided doc who thinks that epigenetics means that wishing makes it so and that we can easily "reprogram our genes" with whatever woo they are selling. In fact, it turns out that this article is an excerpt from that very book, which means that, yes, presumably this is a taste of what's in the book, designed (of course) to sell it and published by The Fail because, well, it's the sort of sciencey-sounding tripe they love, a bunch of extrapolation and misinterpretation of preclinical and very early clinical evidence, all gussied up with "epigenetics" and how saunas (and other things) can "reset your genes" to make you live longer. I'll get to the saunas in a moment. First, let's take a look at Dr. Gottfried.
Oddly enough, I had never heard of Sara Gottfried before, but it didn't take long to find her website, where she bills herself as "Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD." Now, whenever I see a doctor using both "Dr." before and "MD" after her name, I can't help but think that she's really trying too hard to impress, because, really, you only need to use one or the other, not both, to communicate to people that you're a physician. (I also can't help but think of the title of this movie.) Then I read her bio on her website, and—hoo, boy—is this woman full of herself. She describes herself as having been the 4 “F’s” – frazzled, frumpy, fat, and "you can imagine the fourth 'F.'" But don't worry about it. She fixed herself and turned her fix into The Gottfried Protocol. I don't know about you, but whenever I see a doctor naming a treatment protocol after herself, I'm just dying to deflate the ego, particularly when she says without clinical trial evidence that it's "worked gloriously well on the 10,000+ people I’ve seen in the past 10 years."
What she describes in her protocol sounds very much like the epitome of "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) or "integrative medicine" in that it rebrands simple, uncontroversial interventions as somehow being "alternative" or, in Gottfried's case, revolutionary. Interventions such as eating healthy food, spending quality time with her husband and making time for her best friend, and hanging out with her daughters become the "Gottfried protocol." Of course, there's more to it than that. (Isn't there always?) Gottfried slathers on a bit of the quack's favorite gambit of telling each patient she's unique and individual:
I’m a gynecologist, but I don’t treat problems. I don’t even treat symptoms: I specialize in root cause analysis because I know – and evidence shows – that the greatest health transformations are triggered when you address the root cause, not the signs.
Rather than treating problems or symptoms, I treat people. I treat women. I see women – and what I see every day is that each woman is a special snowflake. Sometimes I prescribe supplements that fill nutritional gaps that you might have. Sometimes I prescribe an iPhone app that helps you connect to your heart. Sometimes I prescribe botanical therapies with a very low risk profile. Sometimes I prescribe bio-identical hormones. Many times I prescribe all of the above. With every patient I see, I consider her unique context, physiology and preferences…and then invent a treatment plan to promote maximum health and happiness. It’s not one method fits all. It’s not fix-’em-up-and-send-’em-home. It’s a mission.
My mission at The Gottfried Institute – and in life – is to help women feel sexy, vital and balanced from their cells to their souls.
You know, the term "special snowflake" is usually used to make fun of people who think they are so special and unique that the universe should cater to them. This is the first time I've actually seen an alternative medicine doc actually use the term unironically to describe her patients. But it fits! Maybe she's inadvertently saying something about what she does and who her patients are without realizing it. In any case, this is the same sort of patter that alternative medicine docs of all stripes, be they homeopaths, naturopaths, "functional medicine" followers and their touting of the "biochemical individuality" of each patient, or practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)use to lure the marks in. You're special! You're an individual! I cater to you and develop a treatment plan based on your special snowflakeness!
It turns out that Younger isn't the first book by Gottfried. (Of course it isn't.) She's also written The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep and Sex Drive; Lose Weight; Feel Focused, Vital, and Energized Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol and (of course!) The Hormone Reset Diet: Heal Your Metabolism to Lose Up to 15 Pounds in 21 Days. I've noticed that "hormone balancing" is a favorite dubious treatment plan. Indeed, whenever you hear a doc like Gottfried say "hormone balancing," substitute the word "humor" for "hormone," and you'll be closer to the truth. What's really going on here is the appeal to "balance" in pseudoscientific medicine, in which the reason you don't feel good or are sick is that something in your body is "out of balance." TCM, based as it is on ancient Eastern religious beliefs more than any sort of science, is based on the same idea, that something "out of balance" in your body causes disease, be it dampness/dryness, heat/cold, etc. Add a little functional medicine, in which many hormone levels are checked, thus virtually guaranteeing that one or more "abnormalities" will be found to "treat," and that's what we're looking at here. If you don't believe me, consider that Gottfried likes to use terms like "biohacking my hormones" to describe her "journey" to wellness.
If you have any doubt how dubious what Gottlieb is selling is, simply consider this. She uncritically advocates "detoxification":
Detox is nutrient rehab. Detoxing means cleaning out the body, removing toxins, clearing out your jammed hormone receptors, and resetting key hormones. Most simply, detox is a tool of functional medicine: remove the obstacles to radical health, and add in the factors that support you. We accumulate junk mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually on a daily basis.
Heavy metals such as mercury and lead and toxic chemicals can build up in our bodies and cause a number of issues, including increasing our risk to certain diseases and making us resistant to weight loss. We are constantly exposed to these heavy metals and toxic chemicals in our environment: Mercury can get into our bodies by way of fish, particularly large fish and shellfish; medications, such as thiazide diuretics, prescribed for high blood pressure; vaccines, which may contain thimerosal, a mercury compound used as a preservative; and dental fillings.
Furthermore, we can be exposed to lead and other toxic chemicals in our drinking water, as seen by the recent lead poisoning case in Flint, Michigan, and reports by the Natural Resource Defense Council about rocket fuel (perchlorate) and atrazine contamination of our drinking water.2 (Perchlorate is a toxic chemical used in making rocket fuel and explosives, and atrazine is a pesticide and a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it interferes with our hormones, even at extremely low levels.)
Detoxing can help our bodies get rid of the inevitable buildup of heavy metals and toxic chemicals that happens in modern life. It can flip the switch toward healing and repair.
Great. She's parroting antivaccine pseudoscience, too, namely that bit about vaccines and thimerosal, which has been absent from childhood vaccines for 15 years and isn't even in most flu vaccines any more. In any case, as I've pointed out time and time again, whenever you hear a doctor promoting "detox," that doctor is promoting quackery, because "detox" is unnecessary. Basically, it's nothing more than a form of ritual purification gussied up with scientific and pseudoscientific language. Oh, and fear of modernity and, above all, chemicals.
But back to The Fail article, which I've neglected too long as I've wandered off through Dr. Gottlieb's website:
The female body is magnificent, but it doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty or an owner’s manual.
However, as a doctor — a gynaecologist and hormone specialist — I am fascinated by the role that our genes play and the power that we have to change them.
I believe it’s all about finding the genetic switches that control metabolism, weight, disease and ageing and am convinced that by turning your good genes on and your bad genes off, you can prevent ageing no matter how old you are.
This last statement is so ridiculous that I laughed out loud when I read it. (I hope no one around me was disturbed. I am at a medical meeting, and it was between sessions that I was catching up on blog reading.) Nothing prevents aging. Now, eating a healthy diet and exercising, not being overweight, not smoking, and not abusing alcohol, among other things, will help mitigate or slow down the deterioration of the body and prevent the adverse consequences that derive from smoking, drinking, being overweight, and leading a sedentary lifestyle, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease, but your body is still aging and deteriorating in ways that time mandates and can't be prevented. OK, OK, maybe I'm being a bit pedantic, but this is the problem. Gottfried is overselling what can be done and, strictly speaking, nothing prevents aging per se.
This overpromising on aging is all a relatively minor issue compared to what Gottfried starts blathering about later in the article. For example:
Regular sessions in a sauna give the body a shock of heat, which appears to help reset its fine-tuning mechanisms, including DNA.
A sauna activates the longevity gene FOXO3, which turns on genes for stress resilience, production of disease-fighting antioxidants, maintenance of proteins (to keep muscles strong), DNA repair (prevents mutations) and tumour killing.
So using a sauna is handy as we get older because it seems to boost exactly the genes that become less effective with age.
In addition to turning on other important genes, FOXO3 helps you make something called ‘heat-shock proteins’.
These work to ensure proteins in your body are folded like a fitted sheet, not bunched up and wrinkled. Poorly folded proteins clump together and cause damage in the form of furred-up arteries, heart failure and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Heat-shock proteins also work to counteract ‘oxidative stress’ — the natural rusting process that happens to the body over time. Studies show when you make more FOXO3 (because you are genetically predisposed to do so or because you enjoy a regular session in the sauna), you triple your chance of living to 100. Even if you have a sauna only once every couple of months your heart will benefit.
This is what we in the biz refer to as taking findings in basic science and epidemiology and running with them to the point that you run off of a cliff.
FOXO3 is actually an interesting gene. It encodes the transcription factor forkhead box O-3 (FoxO3). Transcription factors are proteins that bind to specific DNA sequences associated with specific genes in order to turn those genes on or off, so that they make more or less of the proteins that they encode. Indeed, transcription factors are a very common epigenetic mechanism by which gene activity is regulated. If you really want to get into the weeds, you can consider that there are transcription factors and other epigenetic mechanisms that regulate how much FOXO3 is made, which then in turn regulates its target genes. The network goes on and on, both "upstream" and "downstream" of FOXO3, and I'm not even considering other layers of regulation, such as how the FOXO3 protein is modified after it is made.
While looking at Gottfried's claims, I found a rather interesting recent review article about FOXO3 and its affect on longevity, and it's true. FOXO3 regulates processes associated with energy homeostasis, DNA repair, oxidative stress, and other processes. Actually, though, there are more than one FOXO genes, and they are all involved in similar pathways. The article notes that overexpressing (forcing the cells to make a lot more than normal of) FOXO3 in model organisms such as Drosophila (fruit flies), Caenorhabditis elegans (a species of tiny roundworms that are often used in genetic experiments), and mice.
The authors caution, though, that the effect sizes are inconsistent and can be very strain-dependent. For instance, interventions that increase FOXO3, such as calorie deprivation, do not extend the lives of wild mice, and findings in calorie-restricted rhesus monkeys have been inconsistent. The authors further caution that the GenAge database lists over 1,000 genes that have been associated with longevity or ageing in model organisms, including >1,000 in C. elegans and >100 in mice, 51 of the latter being able to extend lifespan but that there is little evidence to date for any of these being involved in human longevity. What is the evidence? The authors describe it:
Because of its actions and strategic position in relation to intracellular pathways, FoxO3 has long been considered to play a pivotal role in the molecular basis of longevity . This led researchers at Kuakini Medical Center in Honolulu to perform a genetic association study of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning the human FoxO3 gene (FOXO3) and flanking DNA in a cohort of American men of Japanese ancestry well characterized for ageing phenotypes. Longevity ‘cases' were men aged over 95 years, and ‘controls' were birth-cohort-matched men of normal lifespan for this population (mean age 78.5 years). This revealed an association of three FOXO3 SNPs with living to extreme old age . Eleven independent studies of populations of diverse ancestry in multiple different countries have now confirmed and extended this finding. A meta-analysis in 2014 of the various studies found that 5 of the FOXO3 SNPs tested retained statistically significant associations with longevity . The strongest association was for the minor allele of the SNP reported originally to exhibit the most robust association, namely, the G allele of rs2802292 in men (odds ratio, 1.54; 95% confidence interval, 1.33-1.67).
SNP stands for "single nucleotide polymorphism" and represents a difference in a single nucleotide. For example, a SNP may replace the nucleotide cytosine (C) with the nucleotide thymine (T) in a certain stretch of DNA. There are estimated to be 10 million SNPs in the human genome and are used as markers of genetic variability. When they are found within a gene, they can indicate a variant of the gene that changes the function of the protein made. Or, when found near a gene or in a regulatory region of a gene, they can affect how much of the gene is made or how the initial RNA transcript made from the gene is spliced to form the final messenger RNA that is translated into protein. In the case of FOXO3:
The various longevity-associated SNPs are located in or near intron 2 of the 125-kb FOXO3 gene [23,24,25]. After performing extensive sequence analyses of coding DNA, the Kuakini team ruled out involvement of coding variants (amino acid differences) as an explanation for the genetic association . To date, the causal SNP(s) and the reason underlying the protective effect of the longevity-associated allele(s) in human longevity remains to be delineated. The Leiden 85-plus study has, nevertheless, found an association of FOXO3 haplotypes with all-cause mortality, stroke and cardiovascular mortality . The rs2802292 TT genotype is, moreover, associated with the rare hamartomatous polyposis syndromes . Research is needed to compare FoxO3 levels in various tissues of long-lived and normal lifespan individuals with TT and GG genotypes. The findings might help inform experiments aimed at identifying factors that could be relevant to the genetic association findings in humans.
Introns are the stretches of DNA between the exons and are what get spliced out when the initial RNA transcript is spliced into its final messenger RNA form. In other words, this is a case where the favorable FOXO3 variants have SNPs that do not affect the sequence of the gene that is actually coded into protein. However, there can be sequences within introns that are binding sites for proteins that regulate gene expression. So it's possible that these SNPs alter the function of the intron in a way that increases FOXO3 expression. The bottom line is, contrary to what Gottfried claims, we don't know, or, as another review puts it, the role of FOXO genes in human longevity is "complex and remains to be fully elucidated." This other review also notes:
To further comprehend how FOXOs affect longevity, it is of high importance to understand how human FOXO sequence variants (namely FOXO3A) affect protein expression, its structure, or transcriptional activity. In order to see how these variants translate into physiological profiles, future investigations should address how these variants affect the level of FOXO proteins and their downstream effectors in serum.
Basically, Gottfried is massively oversimplifying and putting the cart before the horse, as doctors of her ilk, who promote their own protocols without doing the rigorous scientific and clinical research needed to validate them, are wont to do. We don't know that increasing the level of normal FOXO3 will prolong life, and we certainly don't know that saunas will boost its level in any meaningful, longlasting way; that is, if my multiple searches of PubMed and their failure to find any decent studies are any evidence.
I think I know where this linkage could have come from. There was a study in 2015 that looked at sauna use in Finland and found that increased frequency of sauna use was correlated with decreased risk of sudden cardiac death, fatal coronary heart disease, fatal cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. Speculation turned to heat shock proteins and the role of FOXO3, and this was quickly repeated as though it were scientific fact; e.g., here.
If there's one thing that docs like Dr. Gottfried do, it's to take preclinical findings from in vitro and animal experiments and to extrapolate them beyond breaking. Then they write self-help books. It's a far easier way to become famous and make money than actually doing the boring experiments required to confirm a hypothesis. If they can somehow invoke epigenetics, so much the better. "Quantum" medicine is so...1990s.
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Sometimes I prescribe supplements that fill nutritional gaps that you might have.
Might have? MIGHT have??!
Sometimes I prescribe an iPhone app that helps you connect to your heart. Sometimes I prescribe botanical therapies with a very low risk profile. Sometimes I prescribe bio-identical hormones. Many times I prescribe all of the above.
Ah, a broad-spectrum scammer.
In other news, women who want to remain aesthetically pleasing in their later years would rather go through this bull than just eat well and exercise throughout their lifetime.
So why should a sauna be better than just baking out in the hot desert sun? As it's going to hit 90+ degrees here today, I've never understood why you want to deliberately do this in dry or wet heat conditions in an enclosed room.
At least people that fall for the stupid snake oil of “Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD" do so of their own free will. There still exists that "Heavenly Heat Sauna" company that markets their sauna for children with autism, which I find on par with child abuse along the same lines as giving a child a bleach enema.
There is a way to stop aging. Alas it involves dieing young.
The pharma shill blog doth protest too much.
What about nicotinamide riboside?
Sauna, massage, drinking pinot noir.....
Maybe it's worth trying, before doing boring experiments to know if it really turns off bad genes. After all, if the "bad" genes are not turned off, maybe they are not that bad.
She describes herself as having been the 4 “F’s” – frazzled, frumpy, fat, and “you can imagine the fourth ‘F.'”
Orac's posts never get old based on a life expectancy of about 48 hour. :-)
In contemplation, I imagined that the fourth "F" was forgotten which this post will soon become.
You do realize, don't you, that I was directly quoting Dr. Gottfried?
The mitocondrial booster only known to exist in milk and beer. I have felt 'wellness' from it. There was an interesting effect when drinking my fill; I drank much less. Eight brews a day was knocked down to five -- The sixth would make me not feel well. The stuff does seem to rev up metabolism based on not feeling as cold on a winter's day. Putting a little in fermenting grapes/wine seems to make it roil faster. At the very least, the few beers less was good for my waistline.
Ahh well. If I overdo it, a little P-5-P seems to reverse a hangover rapidly. I haven't had the stuff in three years but have been thinking about getting some more. I wish it wasn't so pricey; Although Alibabba sells the it by the kilogram, I want NR and not ground up fluorecent light tubes.
"Sometimes I prescribe an iPhone app that helps you connect to your heart."
But..but...I don't have an iPhone! I'm doomed!
The Fail is a guilty, smarmy little pleasure for me. It's a British tabloid, the queen of the click-baity British tabs, so you pretty much know what you are getting. It's quasi-garbage spiced up by content from a very large network of stringers.
In its defense, though, it is aggressively courting American down-market readers and often features allusions to research that will never appear in our dour, staid mainstream pubs.
One of our colleagues who does some very cutting-edge research is regularly featured in the Fail, so I grit my teeth and try to keep up with the gahrbajj because there may be a few hidden gems in there somewhere.
The Fail's business model is 70% clickbait crap/ 20% legitimate but distorted or grossly misinterpreted news/ 10% utter nonsense. I read it because of the huge worldwide network of stringers it has created to generate massive clicks on relatively obscure content. Just read anything there with extreme discretion and skepticism and recognize that the fundamental business strategy of the Fail is to generate clicks and reader responses.
They see their main ad revenue generator/click sources as ignorant Americans. The Fail is one of the few profitable down-market publications, sustained largely by its online American readers if I understand this correctly, and has a the largest online circulation of any of the British tabs.
What does that say about us as Americans?
It figures. She's based out of California. And I'm amused in her "about" page that she comments parethentically that she has to "bribe her kids to eat" the healthy foods that have made her such a fabulous person.
As for living longer...I agree that genes have a lot to do with it. Pick the right parents, and you CAN live longer...genetics are wonderful (says the 50+ woman who still has 2 living parents in their 80+s)
An interesting feature of quacks like this is that if you go to their websites, you will find:
1. The glamour shot
2. The store
3. The media appearances and "upcoming events"
What you WON'T find is how to make an appointment I think their is an inverse relationship between what quacks claim to do and the amount of actual responsibility they have in treating patients. I suspect if she actually worked in a hospital with sick people, she would be a little more humble about her "detox" protocol.
An interesting feature of quacks like this is that if you go to their websites, you will find:
1. The glamour shot
2. The store
3. The media appearances and "upcoming events"
What you WON'T find is how to make an appointment. I think there is an inverse relationship between what quacks claim to do and the amount of actual responsibility they have in treating patients. I suspect if she actually worked in a hospital with sick people, she would be a little more humble about her "detox" protocol. (typos fixed.)
You should blow your entire paycheck on nicotinamide supplements, if you happen to be a middle-aged mouse.
I have an iPhone, but I'm old, and my heart isn't Bluetooth enabled, so I guess were equally 4F'ed.
I'm immediately suspicious of anyone who talking about "root causes" of illness, as if bodies are incapable of having more than one thing not working at a time.
@ Orac (#8),
Your right, again...
Please constructively make a mistake once in awhile in an effort to broaden your audience and amuse your adversaries.
Understand that an occasional plate of respectful insolence is a healthy meal for the Orac-meister.
I have previously recommended John Baez's Crackpot Index. The index has an entry for exactly this kind of thing:
Some of the entries are specific to physics (Baez is a physicist), but many of them apply to crackpots in general.
If you are in a place with a cold climate like Finland's, a room like that is much more attractive, especially in winter when other bathing methods may not be available. I can imagine preferring a +50 C room to the -30 C outdoors. I can also understand a reluctance to go from a dry +30 C to a wet +50 C.
Welcome to the free market. Properly prescribed FDA approved drugs kill over 100,000 people every year, and yet there's a huge market for them. And 12,000 people die every year from unnecessary surgeries. I hear there's a sucker born every minute. http://www.drug-education.info/documents/iatrogenic.pdf (JAMA 2000 v284(4):483)
Dr. Gottfried has her theories, which may or may not get the desired results. If people think they were ripped off, that's what review sites and word of mouth are for. Time Warner will separate its customers from thousands each year just with the lure of television. Perspective.
The stupid, it burns.
Review sites and "word-of-mouth" give quacks like Stanislaw Burzynski, Robert O. Young, and Brian Clement. Patients rave about them, even though they are quacks and can't demonstrate in randomized controlled clinical trials that their methods do even as well as, much less better than, conventional treatments.
It's the hypocrisy that burns. What allows doctors who kill 12,000 people every year with unnecessary surgeries to stay in business? Where's the accountability of the FDA for approving drugs that kill more than 100,000 people every year? All that death and false hope, and all your randomized clinical trials did nothing whatsoever to prevent it.
You're a very silly woman who clearly doesn't know what she is talking about, I'm afraid. Given your persistent arrogant trumpeting of your Dunning-Kruger-inspired ignorance over several weeks despite careful attempts by my commentariat to educate you, I see little further reason to hide my irritation any more. :-)
By all means, don't hold back, Orac. :)
Orac, I admire your restraint when the trolls invade.
I have to introduce a new topic, though, that I think has not been recently discussed here. These ad hominem parries would be unnecessary if we had a meaningful mechanism for full disclosure of the insurance and malpractice histories of MDs who go rogue.
In my US state it is almost impossible to track people who are known quacks until the state authorities decide to slap them on the wrist and publish discussion of disciplinary action, which is entirely locked down here.
In my opinion what is needed is total reform of the state boards' authorities to get injunctions against quacks and to WIDELY, CLEARLY publicize accusations and pending actions against them.
Enforcement of bad docs' abuses of their licensing privileges is a joke, and I think a new formal effort by other docs is needed to protect the good guys from the bad guys.
Is the fourth F-*f@cked* or *f@cked up* ( or over)?
At any rate, I usually visit Northern California where spas proliferate like the newly legal weed: there's one called 'Osmosis' in Freestone near the infamous hippie town of Sebastopol.
Ask Draconic: he knows all about Sebastopol.
There is so much of this dreck available.I fear that gullible women looking for a more youthful appearance or downright magic are to blame because they'll pay outrageous prices for nonsense. Of course spas offer reasonable services like massage, sauna, relaxation et al but I would venture that mostly they sell appearance centred treatments.
-btw- I have embarked upon my own 'cure'
stationary bike riding and an increase in proteins and vegetables.
In other news...
It seems ( unfortunately) that the Nullmacher has not yet been tossed from his non-payng but financially lucrative job at WBAI. He has been cut to 4 days a week.
His Texas Villa offers various spa treatments at 2500 USD per week His websites usually feature photos of his estates where retreats take place. Lots of magic ( i.e. lies and dreck)
there at high prices.
Should that be special snowflakiness ?
I wouldn't want to invoke his wrath by misspelling his name.
For your entertainment:
garysvitamincloset.com see wellness retreat
Me too! A cousin recently passed on an exercise bike she doesn't use anymore. It really comes in handy considering we still have a bunch of snow on the ground, grumble grumble.
The bike was not at all smooth but I had someone fix it and *Voila!*
It's like a peloton
( if you know the commercials THIS is your Peloton.. this is your instructor- she's not going to go easy on you.... etc)
Were those deaths from unknown side effects? If they were from KNOWN side effects then what has that to do with the FDA? Remember that side effects are balanced against the desired effects. A one in ten chance of dropping dead to cure a headache....probably not worth it. A one in one thousand chance of your skin falling off to control epilepsy....maybe.
The sort of person that would be able to figure out that Dr. Gottfried was ripping him off is the sort of person who wouldn't visit someone like her in the first place. Marks tend to be reluctant to admit they have been conned.
It's not like a restaurant, where you can form an opinion in real time whether the food is of good quality, the service adequate, etc. You might leave a session with Dr. Gottlieb (or Dr. Burzynski, Robert O. Young, etc.) feeling good, and I imagine most of their patients do (obviously I do not have firsthand experience). It only becomes apparent months or years later that what they are doing isn't actually helping you. If you are one of Dr. Burzynski's patients, you may never get a chance to figure it out; instead your loved ones do after you're dead.
I can't wait for her to make her first infomer...er...appearance on my local public television station.
I wouldn't expect an answer, given that that teh NWOR plainly either (1) hasn't bothered to track down where it actually came from or (2) is simply making shіt up. The answer is that it's a vague estimate for 1975 from a House Subcommittee (pp. 6, 29–36).
Once again, demonstrating your apparent inability or unwillingness to read, since I posted the citation for the study regarding the deaths caused by the conventional medical system you adore. :)
I wish there would be less hostile ad hominem stuff on this blog and more commitment to making political changes that obviate the need for this very useful forum. I am very disappointed to see such abusive and nasty, sarcastic responses because people feel frustrated by constantly having to respond in this way to the failure of our legal system to stop these criminals.
I wish people would stop this arrogant pattern of responses. Your energy would be much better used making sure that these quacks/criminals can be controlled by the law and can be stopped legally. Your intense energy is better invested in trying to create legal reforms to make sure we never have to communicate among ourselves in such a sarcastic way and have the law on our side to stop these dangerous people and companies as soon as they start this malicious nonsense that can harm and kill people.
Please do not squander your energy on blogs, although this one is fantastic. Use your energy to try to stop this threat to public health and get legislation passed that will obviate the need for blogs such as this one.
I think that many of you are just hugely angry that you do not know how to address this enormous problem and vent here rather than trying to resolve this enormous constellation of problem.
Change the laws. Make state board oversight more effective. Get involved so that these cranks and crooks and quacks will face serious consequences for their abuses. It's doable.
"Criminals"? "Dangerous people?" Is there evidence that Dr. Gottfried's supplements, iphone apps, botanical therapies and saunas are dangerous?
I was referring to two studies from Johns Hopkins researchers in 2000 and 2016, showing that the CONVENTIONAL medical system causes 225,000 and 350,000 iatrogenic deaths per year respectively. These studies did not examine deaths from alternative therapies, but rather, FDA approved drugs, unnecessary surgeries, medical error, etc.
These facts are known and are public record, but this is not a good place to troll.
So...posting published research studies on a science blog showing that the conventional medical system is the third leading cause of death in the US is "trolling." But labeling an alternative medical doctor a "criminal" and "dangerous" without any evidence whatsoever to support your contention is...what? "Science"?
I'm familiar with this "study," which was not actually a study at all but a regurgitation of previous studies pooled together simplistically. It's not particularly convincing:
I challenge you to read the whole thing. It's rather long, but it looks at the main "death by medicine" studies in detail.
Seriously. I'm (usually) way ahead of most quacks on these things. And when I'm not way ahead of them they should be careful in asking me to look up studies. They might not like the results when I do.
^ Best guess is that NWOR was just regurgitating Jon "William Thompson has been ejected from the building" Rappoport. It probably hasn't even read its own link.
If you are in a place with a cold climate like Finland’s, a room like that is much more attractive, especially in winter
Also in summer, to keep cool. And to purge one's sins.
"If you are in a place with a cold climate like Finland’s, a room like that is much more attractive, especially in winter"
It sounds great until you realize that the grand finale is running out naked into the snow while your "friends" beat you with birch branches.
For more on what saunas can do for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q967_ye1PEs
(Stick with it, it ought to give you some laughs, or at least a few groans; Garrison Keillor did it better, though.)
#3 "So why should a sauna be better than just baking out in the hot desert sun? As it’s going to hit 90+ degrees here today, I’ve never understood why you want to deliberately do this in dry or wet heat conditions in an enclosed room"
I doubt the temperatures even in the desert reach 80+ degrees Celsius, which is the temperature in a typical sauna, it can get higher of course but not much lower. And yes, Finns do take saunas even in hot climates like in the Sinai Peninsula, the Finnish peace keeping forces built saunas there in the 1950's, just like the soldiers built them at the front during WWII. And the reason why people do this is that having a sauna makes one feel relaxed and refreshed, and even makes the temperature outside feel cooler. There is also something very pleasing to have a proper bath every now and then and scrub the skin clean from dead skin cells and anything else there might be after a hard day's work.
Of course a proper Finnish sauna is never dry like Americans seem to think it should be. I have never understood why Americans want to sit in a luke warm room with their clothes on but in any case that's not a sauna. Most people who try a proper sauna seem to enjoy it but they are rare outside of Finland. And of course Finnish children like it as much as their parents do.
"And to purge one’s sins."
It's the weekend, so it's prime time to venture forth and commit a few sins. Thus will I be prepared should I visit a sauna.
# 3 Chris Hickie
I’ve never understood why you want to deliberately do this in dry or wet heat conditions in an enclosed room.
Have you ever lived in a cold climate? Let's say one where -20C temperatures are common if not the norm? A sauna starts looking awfully good.
A sauna is surprisingly different than being in a hot desert though I am not sure how to describe the difference. BTW I am talking a real sauna, not the anaemic things one finds in gyms or health clubs.
I have lived in a humid desert where we routinely hit 48 or 50 degrees in summer and the experience is nothing like a good sauna.. What's 90? Ah approx 32 in real terms :). Hot but not all that bad. When I was living in a desert, I never really wanted a sauna—strange
IIRC temperatures in a sauna may go over 100 degrees for a few moments at a time though I might be exaggerating. One gets, or seems to get, really clean in a sauna as well.
Combined with a nice ice-covered lake or even swimming pool into which one can jump, through the hole one has carefully chopped in the 20 or 30 cm of ice—ah bliss.
There also usually a social aspect; one does not normally fire up the sauna for yourself. It can be for the whole family, a bunch of workmates after work or some friends invited over for a sauna party.
@ 28 Denice Walter
“It's like a peloton”
Are you sure that's what you mean?
A peloton is a group (mob ) of riders. Note I have never seen the ads so maybe it is. It's just that a single ride a peloton does not make.
The term comes from the French military where it means something like a squad or troop of cavalry. In fact I think the first time it was applied to cyclists was to French cyclist troops during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
BTW a real bike is a lot more comfortable and a lot more fun than one of those ghastly stationarys.
@ 32 JP
What's a little snow as long as you have clear pavement? Studded winter tires can be an excellent investment for the occasional pesky bit of ice.
That's the thing; where I live theres nothing but a highway that goes up the mountain to the north and down the mountain to the south, and the shoulders are completely covered by huge snow banks, the result of snow plows plowing feet of snow off the roads all winter. Who knows when that crap will finally melt.
And I wouldn't feel safe riding along in the middle of the highway. Nor, it seems, would anybody else, since I've never in my life seen anybody do it.
Oh, I agree, but I need some form of exercise. I've been effectively housebound all winter, except when I spend the day in town (down in the Gorge) when I have a therapist/shrink appointment.
Do note Bruce Jay Friedman in this regard.
@ 46 Old Rockin' Dave
Not being Finnish, I've never tried the birch branches but running naked out in the snow is fine. When you leave a hot sauna you are unlikely to feel the cold for probably 30 sec to a minute. Your body just steams in the cold. Walking across ice in one's bare feet and not noticing any cold is an interesting experience.
A good sauna is great but Gotfried's health claims sound mad.
# 50 JP
With that kind of roadway I am totally in agreement with you. My sympathy.
A nice casual ride on a sunny winter's day can be really enjoyable but not on those roads!
But we can do both. Really we can, just ask our host.
< off-topic >
Just submitted my application to Concordia university for the statistics Bsc.
< /off-topic >
< on-topic >
Such a bachelor degree will give me a very good foundation along with cell bio to go after quacks :)
< /on-topic >
I haven't even started!
@jrkrideau #48: I lived in Connecticut for 6 years and actually enjoyed the cold compared to the solar blast furnace of Arizona, where swimming pools to hot tub temps without heaters. I'm also not a fan of saunas because a self-help quack named James Ray killed 3 people following his damn fool advice in a sweat lodge (like a sauna but grimier) in Sedona, AZ back around 2010. Crap, probably every HSP I have gets activated when I get into my car after work at 5 pm on a hot July day when the car interior is probably 150+ degrees. I have no reason to believe such heat is going to prolong me existence.
...sorry, perhaps a wee bit 'o St. Patty's Day in me postins....
Other adjectives also come to mind, but they're considerably less complimentary.
and “you can imagine the fourth ‘F.’”
Reading the bio on the linked homepage.
" friend "
!!!!!!!!! Thats some bizarre shit right there as a self described
attribute. I can honestly say ive never seen such a thing before.
"It’s not fix-’em-up-and-send-’em-home."
Alain (#56) writes,
Just submitted my application to Concordia university for the statistics Bsc. Such a bachelor degree will give me a very good foundation along with cell bio to go after quacks.
Hoping for your success, Alain!
Forget about the quacks, we need you to help the suffering.
Q. In atopic children, what is the calculated number of receptor/antigen interactions required to affect the incidence and prevalence of B-cell degranulation vs. memory B-cell proliferation?
The mechanism of action will provide several important pieces of the puzzle, and therapeutic interventions,for allergy-induced regressive autism.
Keep us updated!
So I plug "allergy-induced regressive autism" (with quotes) into the great Google, and I was presented with 2 pages of results.
The most interesting thing was that not every result was directly related to the work of MJD. For some reason, this page came up, and it took a while to figure out why -
Mike, you've been screaming allergy-induced regressive autism for 6 years now, and the only people who believe such a thing even exists are Dunn and yourself. That should give you a clue.
But you're a loon, so it won't give you a clue, will it?
Johnny writes (#65),
So I plug “allergy-induced regressive autism” (with quotes) into the great Google, and I was presented with 2 pages of results.
Mike, you’ve been screaming allergy-induced regressive autism for 6 years now, and the only people who believe such a thing even exists are Dunn and yourself.
John, I plug "gene-induced regressive autism" (with quotes) into the great Google, and I was presented with ZERO (0) results.
Using your deductive reasoning, genes must not play a role in regressive autism.
@ Orac's minions,
It is clear that Johnny's reasoning skills have come into question.
Please don't treat Johnny like a bleeding pig in a pen. He's so much more than PGpig or Dangerous Bacon in my opinion.
Hell, forget the "allergy-induced". There's no such thing as :regressive autism" to begin with!
Maybe not in The Very Reverend Battleaxe's Book of Knowledge, but I think the eggheads who wrote the DSM-5 outvoted you on that one.
Had to make double sure I closed my quote--didn't notice the opening quote was a colon. The human brain is a marvelous organ, for sure!
# 56 Alain
Congratulations Alain, best of luck there.
TVRBoK, there is a classification of autism that is regressive.
What jrkrideau said.
I looked at that t-shirt image and thought, "WTF", only less politely. It seems a total non sequitur - and it is, but under the specific circumstances that makes it really quite perfect, a veritable précis.
jrkrideau and JP,
Thanks you very much. I did a lot of digging and it turned out that I can have full-time benefits from the university while doing a minimum of one course and that include being eligible for scholarship; thus, the goal for me is to do the necessary work to auto-finance my bachelor degree (meaning getting A+ in all my courses). I took a step in that direction in that I will close my Facebook account next week. That is a first step of several intended to put my life back in order.
Perhaps I should be more precise speaking about A+.
By that, I meant, getting as close to perfect as possible a mark in each course and developing an excellent, deep and as complete as possible understanding of each course undertaken. By past experiences on discussions with professors, it is possible to develop a deep understanding of the course content while having anything except an A+ and some of the time, I did so. The inverse is also possible.
Chris Hickie, sauna was invented in places where there is no such thing as a 90 C desert day. Spend a winter's week in Finland and you will appreciate the Saturday afternoon family visit to the sauna. Good for the body and for the soul.
And for the record: No, I do not believe the snake oil sellers.
Good luck in your course work,Alan.
Alain writes (#74),
I took a step in that direction in that I will close my Facebook account next week. That is a first step of several intended to put my life back in order.
An excellent plan, although, a daily/weekly dose of RI the science blog is recommended to keep in touch with the real-life politics of medical science.
Hope you agree, Alain.
Yes, the DSM 5 has a category for regressive autism. NOT "allergy induced regressive autism."
Many scientists believe regressive autism is simply autism that was not identified early. Some autistics symptoms are so mild as to nearly escape notice until the increasing demands of normal childhood development make them more obvious.
It's a spectrum after all.
It may very well be there is some sort of degeneration going on with some autistic children. That's being studied. But we know vaccines don't have anything to do with it, and there's no evidence for allergies, either. It really does a disservice to the people doing the actual work on this problem to leap to conclusions with nothing resembling evidence, and make grandiose claims about causation.
Squirrelelite and MJD,
Thanks you very much. Yes, I do intend to have my daily dose of RI along with other blogs (that is using feedly, both the web app and the phone application). I want to cut down on sources of interruptions such as Facebook messenger, LinkedIn (phone app with messenger) and also, another issue with Facebook is that some of the peoples I've met over the years have been nutballs encountered in real life who asked me for "friendship" on Facebook and thus, I'm putting up a barrier to that. After all, most of the peoples on my friend list have families, business or heavy load of works and thus, don't have enough time with 36 hours per day to attend to their chore or mandatory tasks...
Blog reading is bound to stay, but on the schedule I define according to my time available.
By the way MJD,
Q. In atopic children, what is the calculated number of receptor/antigen interactions required to affect the incidence and prevalence of B-cell degranulation vs. memory B-cell proliferation?
Forget it, I won't answer that question. No.
Re. Sara @ 39: It was via this blog that I found out that a couple of our state legislators (California) were proposing the bill to do away with belief-based vaccine exemptions for public school students.
I immediately emailed both of the sponsors, my representative, and the governor, brief messages urging them to pass/sign it. A large number of people did likewise after reading about the bill in their preferred news sources.
The bill passed, Gov. Brown signed it into law, and now we have improved immunization rates.
Every little bit helps.
As for "Dr. Sara Gottfried MD" (heh), why do I get the impression she has a ghost-writer helping her write all those books?
Of course I know what a 'peloton' is...
I was referring to what I should perhaps designate as *Peloton* (tm) - an outrageously expensive stationary bike system that hooks up to live classes and other riders via the internet. They broadcast endless television commercials about it complete with dramatic recitative about how competitive you can be. All for 2000 USD plus 50 per month
Of course I wouldn't spend my money on stuff like that.
I was assuming that JP knew the commercials and had a laugh.
re bicycles in winter..
one of my gentlemen has a friend from Costa Rica, Jose, who worked long hours in a (semi) posh hotel nearby and used to ride his bicycle on streets and highways even in the snow. You could often see him carrying a tennis racquet as well- he and the Korean players would clean the courts of snow if they were not frozen as well. That's dedication.
Jose has since come up in the world and now has a better job and an actual car.
# 84 Denice Walters
Of course I know what a ‘peloton’ is…
Millions would not. Since I don't own a TV I seem to have missed the advertisment.
Jose has since come up in the world and now has a better job and an actual car
Good to hear about the job, pity about the car.
But then I sold my last car about 25-30 years ago and really am not fond of the horrible monsters.
Just to pop back to the OP, can you imagine going to a GYN with some kind of nasty infection and having the doc say that she doesn't treat the symptoms, only the root cause?
Does she prescribe antibiotics when appropriate?
Justatech, never having had that problem; although I've had my feet in the stirrups when they inserted the gold seeds in my prostate. I would inappropriately suggest she proscribe a herbicide that kills roots (seems to be her level of expertise).
No, no, no. You either scrub it out the holistic way with pinecones and donkey fat or fork over six bucks for an over-the-counter product.
Did someone say "treating the root cause"?
when they inserted the gold seeds in my prostate
Have they sprouted yet?
HDB, I hoping they sprout and grow. I could then have my own discovery show: Search for the Lost Prostate gold.
Naturally, I linked the wrong clip --
A little ditty of automotive interest from The Brothers-In-Law from Windsor that may appeal:
Their advert material is available at pelotoncycle.com
"each woman is a special snowflake"
I have never before seen that expression used without irony.
Though perhaps, in this case, I'm assuming too much as well -- and the good doctor is laughing her ass off at her readers?
(Meanwhile, what are men -- undifferentiable lumps of coal?)
"the appeal to 'balance' in pseudoscientific medicine, in which the reason you don’t feel good or are sick is that something in your body is 'out of balance.' "
Credit Where It's Due Dept:
At least she's NOT talking about my favorites of all quackeries: "auras," "vibrations," and "frequencies."
Pity about her case.
When one sees the title "Dr" WITHOUT the "M.D." qualifier, the probability of scamming goes up by at least an order of magnitude.
But this is a salient reminder the the PRESENCE of "M.D." is hardly proof against chicanery.
Either my reading comprehension skillz have mysteriously disappeared, or there's a significant typo here:
"The article notes that overexpressing (forcing the cells to make a lot more than normal of) FOXO3 in model organisms such as Drosophila (fruit flies), Caenorhabditis elegans (a species of tiny roundworms that are often used in genetic experiments), and mice."
Shouldn't it be "overexpressing... FOXO3... [does something]"?
And, from the next sentence and paragraph, it seems that the [something] ought to be somewhere along the lines of "appears to be associated with lengthened lifespans"?
"I have previously recommended John Baez’s Crackpot Index. The index has an entry for exactly this kind of thing:
20 points for naming something after yourself."
So is "John Baez's Crackpot Index" sufficient to make John Baez a Crackpot?
And if so, does it invalidate his Index?
But if it does, then does THAT mean...
"Logic is a little tweeting bird chirping in a meadow. Logic is a wreath of pretty flowers which smell BAD."
Not part of the treatment market for an OB-GYN.
Can't wait to see FOX cover their very own gene!