Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Chiropractic school angers FSU professors

Chiropractic school angers FSU professors

Some threaten to resign over the proposed school.

By RON MATUS, Times Staff Writer
Published December 29, 2004

[Times art]

To poke fun at Florida State University's bid for a chiropractic school, an FSU professor has created a new campus map. Opponents of the proposed school say more than 500 faculty members have signed petitions against it.

A growing number of professors in the Florida State University College of Medicine are saying they will resign if FSU administrators continue to pursue a proposed chiropractic school.

"I would no longer wish to volunteer my teaching energies to FSU medical school, should it encompass a school of chiropractic," wrote Dr. Ian Rogers, an assistant professor at FSU's Pensacola campus, in a Dec. 15 e-mail. "This is plainly ludicrous!!!!"

The threatened resignations - at least seven to date, all from assistant professors who work part time - reflect a belief among many in the medical establishment that chiropractic is a "pseudo-science" that leads to unnecessary and sometimes harmful treatments. Professors are even circulating a parody map of campus that places a fictional Bigfoot Institute, School of Astrology and Crop Circle Simulation Laboratory near a future chiropractic school.

But the professors' stance has a political aim, too.

Opposition is clearly mounting as the chiropractic school heads for crucial votes in January before the FSU board of trustees and the state Board of Governors.

In fact, the school is now seen as a test case for the fledgling Board of Governors, which critics have accused of kowtowing to Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature on the higher education issues it is supposed to oversee.

FSU was closed for the holidays Tuesday. FSU president T.K. Wetherell, provost Larry Abele and John Thrasher, chairman of the FSU board of trustees, could not be reached for comment.

But Sen. Dennis Jones, the Treasure Island Republican who spearheaded legislative support for the school in the spring, said the professors were "overreacting."

He accused anti-chiropractic groups from outside the state of stirring faculty opposition at FSU.

"If they resign, so be it," said Jones, a chiropractor himself. The instructors don't deserve to teach at FSU, he said, "if they're putting their credentials with people known for promoting professional bigotry."

The Legislature appropriated $9-million annually for the chiropractic school, which was pushed by Jones and then-Senate President Jim King, R-Jacksonville, an FSU graduate. It would be the only school of its kind in the country.

As supporters envision it, more than 100 new faculty members would train legions of chiropractors, with a special emphasis on Hispanic and African-American students. The school would also draw lucrative federal grants in alternative medicine.

Planning began years ago, but criticism didn't ramp up until after the legislative session.

Some opponents see the school as an end run around the Board of Governors, which oversees the state's 11 universities but has yet to consider the chiropractic school. Last week, a group headed by former university system chancellor E.T. York filed a lawsuit against the board, accusing it of failing to flex its constitutionally granted muscle and pointing to the chiropractic school as a prime example.

But some FSU faculty members are upset, too, fearing the school will shatter FSU's academic reputation. The list of critics include FSU's two Nobel laureates - Robert Schreiffer, a physicist, and Harold Walter Kroto, a chemist - and Robert Holton, the chemistry professor who developed the cancer-fighting drug Taxol, which has brought FSU tens of millions of dollars in royalties.

In recent weeks, more than 500 faculty members have signed petitions against the chiropractic school, including about 70 in the medical college, said Dr. Raymond Bellamy, an assistant professor who is leading the charge against the proposal. The medical college has more than 100 faculty members.

Some of them say they're willing to do more than sign a petition.

"I teach wonderful medical students from Florida State University here in Orlando," Dr. James W. Louttit wrote in an e-mail to Bellamy, who shared it with the St. Petersburg Times. "If they decide to start a chiropractic school I would no longer be able to support this program."

"It should come as no surprise that no major medical institution in this country, public or private, has embraced chiropractic medicine," wrote Dr. Henry Ho, a Winter Park physician and FSU assistant professor, in another e-mail. "If Florida State University were to do so, its fledgling attempt for credibility as a medical institution of stature would be severely jeopardized."

The situation at FSU isn't the first time chiropractors have sought to tie themselves to an established university.

In the late 1990s, faculty at York University in Toronto - one of Canada's largest schools - considered plans to affiliate with Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. The plan would have brought York millions of dollars in new facilities and donations and given the chiropractic school academic credibility.

After a bitter, years-long fight, York faculty narrowly vetoed the plan in 2001.

At FSU, faculty have not officially voiced their concerns about the chiropractic school. Bellamy said they fear retaliation from lawmakers if they do.

"Everybody wants somebody else to kill it," he said.

Ron Matus can be reached at 727 893-8873 or

[Last modified December 29, 2004, 00:19:14]

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Heimlich the hero?

Heimlich the hero?

It's been a tough new century for Dr. Henry Heimlich, who's gone from Ohio's most famous doctor to its most disgraced.

His hometown paper, The Cincinnati Enquirer, busted him last year for stealing credit for a surgical procedure invented by a Hungarian doctor. Both The L.A. Times and New York Times have derided him for advocating the use of his Heimlich maneuver in drowning rescues, as well as for his efforts to cure AIDS and cancer by giving patients malaria. And in August, Scene wrote about scientists who suspected Heimlich of faking cases to burnish his reputation ("Heimlich's Maneuver," August 11).

All the same, it's hard to find good heroes in Cincinnati. So the Cincinnati Business Courier recently announced that it would bestow its greatest honor, the Lifetime Health Care Hero Award, on the 84-year-old Heimlich.

"As journalists at the Business Courier, we realize there are detractors to what Dr. Heimlich has done in the past," says Doug Bolton, the paper's publisher. "His work has been controversial, and we've written about that and we will continue to write about it."

In the meantime, they'll just give him lifetime achievement awards.

But the paper was quick to place the blame, er, credit for Heimlich's honor on a jury of community leaders.

"We as journalists don't make those determinations," Bolton says. "We put the program together. The jury pulls those nominations . . . and looks at the contributions of each nominee before deciding on the lifetime hero."

And just who nominated the dubious doctor? His lawyer, Joe Dehner.

Response to Hulda's Christmas poem thing - by JeanneE/Skeptyk

Okay. So. The laundry bleach promotes the parasites? The zapper does
what? AIDS, autism and "cancer" are ultimately caused by laundry bleach?
My head hurts when I read her stuff. But my whites are dingy so maybe there
is hope?

My response to Hulda's Christmas poem thing:

Hulda, Hulda, Hulda,
Solstice sneer to you (and Tim),
Of your views my view is dim
Be it zapper, bleach or fluke,
Your ideas I rebuke,
Your theories are a sickly joke,
In Tiajuana do you toke?
It might explain your stony look
And how you wrote your silly book.
Here's some advice, you sortadoc:
What we write stoned is mostly schlock.
Despite delusions of great stuff
Stoner work is mostly rough
drafts at best, or dreck to toss
Most of writing is the dross.
Alas, however, do I fear
That you were sober, if not clear-
ly thinking when you wrote that crap
About how healthcare is a snap
If you apply the proper zap.
Do you truly believe this sh*t?
Is Bolen getting in a snit?
I hope he's pissed as he can be
To read my screed about you, see
I do not think you are so kind
Or smart, I rather think you're blind
With ego and deluded thought,
But that excuses not a jot
You or Bolen or your minions
Selling "theories" and "opinions"
Which promote and proselytize
The quacky bunk you advertise.
You doth protest? It means you lie.
You wish to sue? Please, Timmy, try,
But know that I can play the game
So here do I declaim disclaim:
Opinions that are in this verse
Are mine, for better and for worse.

Be well,

"It's an illusion to think we can have obscene
wealth on the one hand and desperate
poverty on the other, and have that be
a world anybody - even the extremely
wealthy - wants to live in."
--- Donella Meadows

Quest for Advertisers Lands Air America in Bed With Repugnant Huckster

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Quest for Advertisers Lands Air America in Bed With Repugnant Huckster

You've probably heard the advertisements.

Get rich quick by speculating on gold or buying foreclosed real estate. Lose weight. Get ridiculously inexpensive life insurance. Improve your resume by receving your college degree online.

Radio stations nationwide often turn to these lesser advertisers to bring in much-needed capital. It's especially true for stations with low ratings, or in weaker advertising markets. Such stations can't charge as much, and this particular class of advertisers can't afford to spend as much.

It's also true for fledgling networks, like ESPN Radio and Fox News Radio a few years back, and more recently, Air America.

Generally speaking, there's nothing wrong with accepting this kind of advertising. Free enterprise is good for the country. Assuming the given station or network has verified the advertiser as legitimate, and as long as buyers understand that something that sounds too good to be true often is, the system works.


I listen to Air America most weekdays driving to or from work. And one advertiser that pops up occasionally is hypnotist Wendy Friesen, who has more than 100 products for sale on various web sites.

Now, I have nothing against hypnosis CDs. But if you are familiar with Penn & Teller's Showtime series, you might remember an episode a few months back in which they look closely at some of Friesen's products. Turns out Friesen not only hawks cds for confidence building or smoking cessation, but also ones in which she claims she can help increase breast or penis size.

And, amazingly, she offers a tape that she claims will help you fight cancer.

Her promotional paragraph for the "Heal Your Body" CD:

"One of our best selling CDs. Designed for those with cancer, chronic or other serious illness, this program inspires you to choose LIFE, stimulates your immune system to fight, and some say ... creates miracles. Three sessions, one will access your ability to heal, the second will strengthen your immune system, another will cleanse your body of bacteria, viruses and toxins. This process can help to speed the healing of surgery, illness, or even a cold or sore throat."

I find this repugnant, and dangerous for anyone who decides Friesen's $29 cd is a worthy alternative to a trip to the doctor, a biopsy, chemotherapy, etc.

This hits close to home because I am a cancer survivor. On Dec. 12th, I celebrated my third anniversary of a successful adult stem cell transplant, which cured me of acute myeloid leukemia. Unfortunately, my father, who developed a similar leukemia in 2002, did not have a donor match, and succumbed to the disease after a 10-month fight.


I explained all of this to the Air America advertising representative, Barbara Brown (646-274-4900, ext. 3087), saying simply that Air America shouldn't be this desperate. Friesen doesn't advertise the cancer-healing hypnosis CD on Air America -- a get-out-of-jail-free card, apparently, for Air America's decision-makers -- but she offers the product on the web site she mentions in the Air America spot.

I suggested to Brown that if a known neo-Nazi organization was selling guns through an affiliate that advertised on Fox News Radio, people would be up in arms. Guilt by association, perhaps. But parallels could be made between that hypothetical and the Friesen ads on Air America.

Brown, the ad rep who landed the Friesen account, said she understood my complaint. In fact, she said, several of the on-air personalities had lodged a similar complaint.

Two weeks have passed since my 20-minute telephone call, yet Air America continues to broadcast Friesen's ads. So now I'm asking family and friends to call Brown, and I'm asking JABBS readers to do the same.

Bottom line: If I hear an on-air radio or television personality spew lies, I respond by either calling to complain, or posting an item on JABBS. If I see rampant spin appear in a newspaper article, whether it's in the New York Times or New York Post, I complain.

This isn't much different. Friesen is spewing the lie that hypnosis can help you fight cancer (or grow your breasts or penis). There is no medical evidence to support that theory, and there never will be. And while it's a shame that people will waste money hoping that listening to a CD will help them grow their breasts or penis, it's a potentially fatal decision to listen to a hypnosis CD hoping it will help your immunity system fight cancer.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Air America and the Repugnant Huckster, Part II: Hypocrisy and the Need to Fight Back

JABBS readers may recall that 10 days ago I wrote about Air America Radio's decision to continue running advertisements for hypnotist Wendi Friesen, even after I and other callers alerted the radio network's advertising department that Friesen shops a CD on her web site fraudulently and dangerously claiming to help "heal" cancer victims through hypnotherapy. (If you missed the original story, click here:

Now an update.

Air America, at least for now, apparently will not change its policy, even though it runs counter to the credo preached by its on-air personalities: transparency and honesty, creating an educated society for a better nation. Friesen, who does not advertise the anti-cancer CD "Heal Your Body" on the radio, does not practice transparency and honesty, and she's counting on an uneducated society to propel sales.

I reached out to lots of folks: JABBS readers, friends and family, a host of anti-scam/anti-quackery web sites, and the doctors and nurses at Hackensack University Medical Center, where I had a successful adult stem cell transplant for acute myeloid leukemia on Dec. 12, 2001.

I've received a lot of positive feedback, and I know that calls have been made to the Air America ad rep, Barbara Brown (646-274-4900, ext. 3087) and her bosses.

But I saw this bit of negative news earlier today. Quantum Thought, an anti-quack blog (with a right-wing tilt) run by Norm Weatherby, posted my plea for help. Additionally, Weatherby posted this:

NOTE: I personally called Barbara Brown to check this out and her opinion was that they will take "any ad that is not patently offensive" (meaning no conservative leaning stuff) and "they could care less what the ad does in leading people to a web site that advocates anything dangerous, etc". In other words folks it's the typical in-your-face liberal response of irresponsibility and cultural depravity. You can bet one thing...if this ad led you to a conservative web site the ad would be jerked immediately. Here's an opportunity to talk to a real crass liberal and let them know what you think of their social irresponsibility. Have fun!

Maybe, for once, the right-wing noise machine will do some good, and flood Air America Radio's phone lines with complaints.


After reading Weatherby's post, I left another message for Brown, and one for Air America's general manager for East Coast advertising sales, Leon Clark. (I'm forwarding a copy of this blog post to all of Air America's senior advertising executives).

A few minutes later, Brown called me back (actually as I was writing this), and said basically the same thing to me that she said to Weatherby. Air America Radio is in the business of making money, she explained, and there's a "separation of church and state" between the credo of the on-air personalities and the practice of the advertising sales department.I replied that at my company, a very successful financial newsletter publisher, we don't accept ads from companies we know to be dishonest -- i.e. hucksters.

"I'm not telling you not to make money," I said. "I'm saying that you can do the right thing and still turn a profit." To which Brown suggested that someone could find fault with nearly any advertiser. Brown also said that she did not know, at the time she landed the Friesen account, that Friesen was hawking the anti-cancer hypnotherapy CD.

"But that's my point," I said. "Your on-air people browbeat the president all day for not changing his mind after getting new information. But you're doing the same thing."

At that point, Brown said she had to go.


So I'm asking JABBS readers, again, to help me with this protest.

Again, I have nothing against the capitalist system. I have nothing against hypnosis CDs. But I do have a problem with Friesen, who advertises her "Heal Your Body" CD this way:

"One of our best selling CDs. Designed for those with cancer, chronic or other serious illness, this program inspires you to choose LIFE, stimulates your immune system to fight, and some say ... creates miracles. Three sessions, one will access your ability to heal, the second will strengthen your immune system, another will cleanse your body of bacteria, viruses and toxins. This process can help to speed the healing of surgery, illness, or even a cold or sore throat."

I find this repugnant, and dangerous for anyone who decides Friesen's $29 CD is a worthy alternative to a trip to the doctor, a biopsy, chemotherapy, etc. Friesen is spewing the lie that hypnosis can help you fight cancer. There is no medical evidence to support that theory, and there never will be. It's a potentially fatal decision to listen to a hypnosis CD hoping it will help your immunity system fight cancer.


David R. Mark

FSU chiropractic school not a done deal just yet

December 12, 2004

FSU chiropractic school not a done deal just yet

The Legislature and Gov. Bush have approved the funds to create the school, but opponents are hoping to block it anyway.

STEVE BOUSQUET, Times Staff Writer
December 12, 2004

TALLAHASSEE - By the stroke of a pen, Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature allocated millions of dollars this year to create the nation's first public chiropractic school at Florida State University.

The school is a longtime dream of Republican state Sen. Dennis Jones of Treasure Island, a chiropractor who hopes to someday play a role in the school.

But now, doctors, FSU faculty members and alumni are trying to kill it.

A petition being circulated on the Internet questions the need for the school, claims it is being rushed through without debate and carries a familiar tone: Doctors have little faith in chiropractors or the care they offer.

"Our position is not so much to attack chiropractic itself but to say there's no need for a doctoral program in spinal manipulation," said Dr. Raymond Bellamy, an orthopedic surgeon and FSU graduate leading the opposition. "I think it would irreparably harm the scientific effectiveness and reputations of all the other great programs at the university."

FSU's trustees and the state Board of Governors for higher education must approve the school in separate votes in January. Opponents plan to present their petition and their arguments to trustees Jan. 14. The Board of Governors votes a week later.

Critics say the new school would devalue other FSU degrees and they call chiropractic "pseudo-science." They say critics in FSU's medical school and student body were hushed by pressure politics, and that holding two key votes on the issue soon after the holidays is an attempt to stifle opposition.

Dr. Steve Rothrock, an FSU graduate who teaches at his alma mater's medical school, called chiropractic "quackery." In an e-mail to Bellamy, Rothrock said he would consider resigning if the school is established.

Dr. Steven Blumsack, a 36-year member of FSU's math faculty and a faculty senator, said he had no opinion on the need for the school, but said too many education decisions are made in haste.

"We need to have a discussion. To my knowledge, it hasn't happened," Blumsack said.

With little public discussion or debate, the 2004 Legislature appropriated $9-million a year for FSU's new School of Chiropractic Medicine in a deal brokered by Bush and legislative leaders before the session began.

Former Senate President Jim King, an FSU graduate, wanted the chiropractic school as part of a package that included millions for then-House Speaker Johnnie Byrd's priority, an Alzheimer's research institute at the University of South Florida.

Bush said Thursday the deal bought peace between King and Byrd, who did not get along.

"I did so without a love for building a public chiropractic school," Bush said. "I did it because I wanted to make the effort to try and bring some harmony in the legislative process."

Even though King is no longer running the Senate, Bush said he will keep his word and support the project in his proposed budget. But he said the Board of Governors, whose members Bush appoints, have the authority to approve or reject the program.

King was the chiropractic school's most powerful champion but Jones is its true father.

"This is not a new issue," Jones said. "It's been over 10 years in the making."

Jones calls the criticism "nothing new" and said he expects opposition from the medical establishment.

"Chiropractic care is some of the safest care that's offered in the world," Jones said. "But any time we've tried to move our programs forward, they've always stepped up in opposition."

He said 600 to 900 students leave Florida every year to attend private chiropractic schools out of state. That may explain why so few Hispanic and African-American chiropractors practice in Florida, he said.

After his legislative days are over in 2012, Jones said, he would like to play a role in the chiropractic school. He suggested as a possibility a distance-learning program in which FSU students would work in chiropractic clinics in the Tampa Bay area.

"I would like to be involved in that," said Jones, who runs Northeast Chiropractic Center in St. Petersburg. "But that's looking pretty far down the road, if you ask me."

FSU's proposal calls for hiring more than 100 new faculty members for a graduate level College of Complementary and Integrative Health. Students seeking a doctor of chiropractic degree would also have to complete a master's degree in a five-year program in one of five areas: food and nutrition, movement and exercise science, public Health, Health Policy Research or Aging Studies.

Even if the FSU and state boards approve the new school, it must also seek accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and from a separate chiropractic accreditation board.

"It's not a done deal," FSU provost Larry Abele said. "There are a lot of steps to go through."
Some members of the Board of Governors said they were irked that the legislative deal seemed to block their involvement in a key decision. Two board members wouldn't say whether they would vote to create the school.

"When it comes before the board, we will do the right thing, and see if there's a need for that," said Zachariah Zachariah, a Fort Lauderdale cardiologist. He seconded a resolution at a November meeting when the board demanded FSU submit the program for its approval.

Board member Steve Uhlfelder, a Tallahassee lawyer, said he would be guided by what the FSU trustees decide. But he said the chiropractic school was the reverse of most state university programs.

"Usually you approve a program and then there's funding. In this case, they got the $9-million, and the question is, "Do you want to do the program?' The cart's before the horse," Uhlfelder said.

[Last modified December 12, 2004, 00:31:18]

Mucoid Plaque - a dubious idea

Have you ever expelled something that looked like this?

Well, you haven't, unless you have been using bowel cleansing products. It's called mucoid plaque, and it's only found in users of bowel cleansing products, not in normal people.

More pictures can be found here: Image Gallery

The following blog entry may be confusing to those not familiar with this subject. It isn't an ordinary article, but is a collection of thoughts and references, starting with a post (and my off-list reply) from a bowel cleansing discussion list. I also provide some information about the creator of this dubious idea.

A member of the list posted these extremely simple - but rarely asked - questions:

> Why then do we only see the same set of pictures from
> the same book.....Are ther no other examples of mucoid
> plaque from autopsies etc??
> J****

My (off-list) reply:


J****, you have just expressed a heresy that could get you banned from the group. Maybe you'll become the Martin Luther of bowel cleansing....;-)

A Bogus Diagnosis

"Mucoid plaque" is a bogus "diagnosis" made up by the creator and producer of Arise & Shine, Richard Anderson, ND. What goes in must come out, but the true believers don't accept that explanation. Instead they believe his sales pitch.

The very term "mucoid plaque" is his invention. (That itself is a pretty strong clue to the source of the so-called "problem". He has coined a term for something that **HE** created and found.):

"I coined the term mucoid plaque, meaning a film of mucus, to describe the unhealthy accumulation of abnormal mucous matter on the walls of the intestines. Conventional medicine knows this as a layering of mucin or glycoproteins (made up of 20 amino acids and 50% carbohydrates) which are naturally and appropriately secreted by intestines as protection from acids and toxins."
-- from "What is Mucoid Plaque?", by Richard Anderson

In this short article he uses confidence-building buzz words like "conventional medicine knows", "medical research indicates", and "Evidence indicates". The problem is that this is untrue. Modern medicine and science know nothing of this "problem", since it doesn't exist, except in his world of bowel cleansing.

The spread of his false idea is evident from this search:

We're talking about thousands of sufferers being fooled, and lots of salesmen making millions of dollars, not the least of whom is Anderson himself.

He has created a cleansing product that produces what the product is claimed to cleanse. I'm tempted to call it a brilliant scam, but I'll leave that decision up to the courts, in case (hopefully) he ever gets sued by those who decide to do so. He's earned millions by marketing this false idea, and the spreading of false ideas should be punished.

Here's how this possible scam works:

Sell people a product that creates a condition, then claim that the product is curing the condition, without any proof that the condition was there before taking the product.
(Mucus only becomes "plaque" *after* using his product.)

It's a total package, built around a false idea:

Idea man:
-- Richard Anderson, N.D., N.M.D.
Dubious idea:
-- mucoid plaque
Complete system:
-- "Cleanse Thyself" program.
-- Cleanse and Purify Thyself, books 1 & 2
-- books and literature
Affiliate program:
Discussion lists & forums: (not necessarily started by himself)
-- (company site)
-- (his official personal site)
-- (lots of sites)
-- from clients
-- from clients, sellers, websites and discussion lists
-- back to his books instead of clinical trials and real research

Oddly enough, no one who doesn't take the product has the condition. Food for thought......

It's quite convenient (for him) that "Dr. Anderson seems to be semi-retired and has become inaccessible over the last few years."

One could be tempted to say that he has gone into hiding.....

He's making a killing off of the product, and may well be counting his money on some tropical beach, far from the reach of skeptics, fooled buyers, and lawyers.....;-)

No real professionals in the field of medicine (such as gastroenterologists, pathologists, and medical students) find this stuff during operations, autopsies, or when studying cadavers. In fact, none of them use the term at all, since it is unknown in medical science. Of course Anderson and his salesmen, and those whom they have convinced, claim that all the medical people and all scientists are too dumb to find it. That's a totally off the wall idea. No one with an IQ above 60 would really believe that weird claim.

Here's what he actually says:

Q. Why do doctors say that they do not see any plaque with sigmoidoscope - that goes from top to bottom, i.e. pink intestinal skin. Does a cleanse create plaque?

A. No, a cleanse does not create plaque, it removes it. Doctors do not know what they are looking for when they say they can’t see it.

Now that's quite the claim. What about all the professionals who have read his claims and then searched? They still haven't found any evidence for his claim. This isn't rocket science. The intestines are far from microscopic, and are very easy to examine. His claim is still has false as when he first made it.

Anyone who wants to call him a deceiver is relatively safe. He knows that if he sues them for libel, they are not alone, the matter will become widely publicized, and he will be forced to disclose the workings of his company, his financial holdings, and his lack of evidence. He will also be forced to pay for all costs, as well as losing the case big time. His victims could easily launch a class action lawsuit to recoup their losses.

Why eat clay?

If any of this occurred in the small intestine, there might be a danger of nutrient absorbtion resulting in malnutrition, but my understanding is that this stuff is alleged to be found only, or mainly, in the colon, and so it's beyond the region (small intestine) where absorption of most nutrients takes place. It may not affect absorption enough to cause any problems in that sense, but I still believe that it makes no sense to eat clay, of all things!

If one uses too much, it can become hardened and cause serious problems. Imagine clay filling the colon. Not only could it cause painful constipation, it could also cause the colon to lose its tone, making the use of laxatives and enemas a necessity. That would of course suit many bowel cleansing list members just fine, since they sell the products and/or are colon therapists themselves. This is a big business, so these lists serve as a big sales pitch, creating patients and customers for them.

Many people on bowel cleansing lists are addicted to laxatives, enemas, and other means to cause bowel movements. Some even admit to having eating disorders (which have been converted/transferred to the other end....;-). This fascination with bowel cleansing is actually part of their eating disorder problem, and visitors to these lists can get "infected" with their problem by listening to them and their "advice". They actually get training in how to act like someone with eating disorders, but starting with the other end.

Sensible advice

A healthy colon should be able to take care of things on its own, without outside help, but this constant manipulation of the body's normal processes can interfere with natural functions. Such measures shouldn't be a lifestyle, but only resorted to in very rare medical emergencies. In such cases an enema or cleanse might be a good idea, but it shouldn't be repeated again and again.

This site has excellent advice:

If we treat our digestive system sensibly, it will work just fine. It doesn't normally need to be tampered with.

Be Skeptical

A basic rule of science and logic is that the burden of proof is on the claimant. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. The burden of proof is on Anderson and the sellers of his products.

Since these claims (the existence of mucoid plaque in practically all people, including those who don't use bowel cleansing products) are certainly extraordinary, the producers and marketers of the products must produce this evidence before we should believe them or use their products. They must point us to the experts and scientific literature that testifies to the common finding of this purported substance. Pointing to other naturopaths, chiropractors, colon therapists, and bowel cleansers doesn't count.

We can't use this kind of "proof":

"Well, I have "proof" but it is from my
own personal experience, or expiriment..."
-- jdk****

Believe it or not, this inane statement was actually provided as evidence in the thread under discussion. The quotation marks around the word "proof" are original and an unconscious and involuntarily pathetic admission of the lack of real proof, and a confirmation of the invalidness of personal anecdotes as real proof.

"Anecdotes are useless precisely because they may point to idiosyncratic responses."
Pediatric Allergy/Immunology - a peer-reviewed journal
1999 Nov;10(4) 226-234

Until proven to be otherwise, we must consider mucoid plaque as something that is only found in those who use these bowel cleansing products. If it is ever found in someone other than them, such a person would be an example of the "exception that proves the rule", which is that mucoid plaque is NOT found in all or a majority of people, as claimed by Anderson.

This applies especially to those products containing psyllium and bentonite, which in combination make a soft, rubbery, "cast" of the intestines. Bentonite is normally used in the making of ceramic pottery, which of course starts out by making what amounts to a cast. Then one must fire the pottery in a kiln.

"Bentonite may be added to a clay to improve its workability on the wheel. Bentonite swells and forms a gel when wet, and the presence of a small amount of it in a clay body will greatly increase plasticity. If more than about two percent of bentonite is used, however, the clay may become excessively sticky and be difficult to wedge. Too much bentonite also may cause drying problems."

Some interesting links mentioning bentonite:
Great ground with kitten litter

Skeptics can expect opposition

J****, you can expect to get a lot of opposition, since you are threatening the livlihood of many list members. (Yes, many of the testimonies are poorly disguised sales pitches from sellers who disguise themselves as sufferers. It's a common problem on these discussion lists.)

Your doubts also threaten the cherished beliefs of many users. Their reaction will determine if they are "true seekers" for truth, or are "true believers" who have stopped searching:

True Believer Syndrome:

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

Here is more I have earlier written to someone who questioned me about this subject:

Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. The evidence needs to come from professional medical scientists, not chiropractors ("Dr." Bernard Jensen) or naturopaths (Richard Anderson, ND, NMD). It needs to be in the form of well-documented research and standard medical anatomy and pathology text books. I don't doubt that you have passed this junk from your intestines, but there is most likely another explanation than the one you believe in. The results of cleanses is often determined by the stuff used, for example, psyllium produces lots of mucus-like material, etc. What goes in must come out. Here are a few posts on the subject that pretty much echo my sentiments:

"Mucoid Plaque"
Edward Thuman, M.D.


I am looking for information about something called "mucoid plaque", which is alleged by some health information sources to be a thick mucus-like substance that builds up on the intestinal walls as the body attempts to protect itself from various toxic substances.


This concept is promoted used by some advocates of "detoxification" and "intestinal cleansing." I have seen several thousand intestinal biopsies and have never seen any "mucoid plaque." This is a complete fabrication with no anatomic basis. The small and large intestines normally secrete mucus for lubrication, but it does not form into any type of "plaque."

Dr. Thuman, a practicing pathologist, is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Texas School of Medicine.


From: Patrick M (
Subject: Herbal cleanses: beneficial or bunk?
Date: June 10, 2001 at 5:05 pm PST

I usually try to steer clear from supplements but lately I have to admit I'm a bit intrigued by the hype surrounding colon cleansing and have looked into a product line called "Arise and Shine" (a _very expensive_ product line, I might add). This regime has appeared in several books and articles on nutrition I have read, all with very positive reviews. My internal voice tells me that the whole principle behind cleansing seems fishy and that it is actually the herbs that are irritating the bowel and giving a false appearance that they are actually cleaning house. What are some opinions on colon cleansing? Do they do what claim to, are they even necessary, particularly for strict vegetarians? I find it hard to believe that there are vegetarians or even omni's walking around with several pounds of putrid/rancid food cling to their GI mucosa in the form of "mucoid plaque". I've taken undergraduate classes in anatomy and physiology and don't recall any mention of this.


The following is a reply by a chiropractor,, so I'm not using him as an authority, just throwing it in to prove that even some chiropractors can be logical!

From: Dr. Doug Graham (
Subject: Re: Question For Dr Doug/cleansing
Date: March 19, 2001 at 2:37 pm PST

In Reply to: Question For Dr Doug/cleansing posted by anon on March 18, 2001 at 3:09 pm:

If you have any abdominal, digestive, intestinal or colon problems, DO NOT take any cleanses. This can and very likely will aggravate your problem. Irritants, stimulants, and other toxic methods of 'cleansing' only line the pockets of the people who sell them to you. Why would you want to clean out all that is good in your intestines just to possibly eliminate that which is not good? The lining of your intestine is made of the same cells as the lining of your mouth. Do you see the food you have eaten for the last few years building up on the inside lining of your mouth? The whole concept is silly. Eat raw and live healthfully and your insides will know exactly what to do.
Dr. Doug


From: Dr. Doug Graham (
Subject: Re: If the whole concept is Silly, How do you explain this?
Date: March 20, 2001 at 2:45 pm PST

In Reply to: If the whole concept is Silly, How do you explain this?
posted by jaybee on March 20, 2001 at 8:31 am:

The lining of the colon is of the same material as the lining of the mouth and the anus. You don't see a buildup of material on the lining of the mouth or of the anus, do you? Sure, people have waste material in their colon. It is on its way out of the body, and the colon is the route it must take. Teaching people that they don't have to eat raw to have a healthy colon, that all they have to do is take a cleanse of some sort encourages them to continue eating unhealthfully. I have spoken with several colon surgeons all of whom refute the info that was mentioned above. They say that when they cut into the sickest of colons there is no build up on the inside walls. A simple understanding of anatomy will make it clear that this buildup cannot occur as the inside lining of the colon is sloughed off literally every day. What would the debris hold on to when the mucus membrane comes off? The waste material must continue on 'down the chute'. Is there outpocketing in an unhealthy colon? Very likely. Do they twist and otherwise change shape and size? Certainly. Will cleanses remove the cause(s) of these problems? No way. There is no substitute for healthful living,
Dr. D


Here is more information from that supreme source of dubious information, CureZone:

Bowel Cleanse FAQ
170 messages, 14 topics, 10 topics per page, 170 messages per page [average], 1 pages;
Frequently Asked Questions
Bowel Cleanse Homepage
Image Gallery
Forum Archives: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


Here is an article by Anderson: Mucoid Plaque

In the article he reveals his (typical for a naturopath) gross misunderstanding of medical knowledge with this statement:

"The medical terms that most adequately describe mucoid plaque are mucoviscidosis, intestinal mucin, and surface mucin. The medical definition of mucoviscidosis5 describes an advanced condition that, in my opinion, adequately supports my explanations of mucoid plaque."

The reference (5) is to this:

5 Mucoviscidosis or cystic fibrosis: A congenital metabolic disorder, inherited as an autosomal trait, in which secretions of exocrine glands are abnormal; excessively viscid mucus causes obstruction of passageways (including pancreatic and bile ducts, intestines, and bronchi).

He claims that mucoid plaque is cystic fibrosis (or even similar to it)???????

Anderson needs to retire -- YESTERDAY!!

He also presents very questionable information, revealing his real intent, in spite of any disclaimers he might use:

Q. What precautions should be taken while detoxifying and deep cleansing? The person may have a condition of diabetes, multiple sclerosis or lung conditions.

A. People with health problems should work with a qualified practitioner while cleansing. Diabetes, multiple sclerosis and lung conditions are serious conditions. DO NOT TRY TO PLAY DOCTOR! It is a shame that we have to keep saying these things to protect you and ourselves. The truth is there are very few good doctors out there and we only know a few we think we can trust. I have never heard of a medical doctor treating diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or lung problems effectively. I absolutely do not agree with what they do and as far as I am concerned, they should not be doctors. If they were auto mechanics, they would be much more beneficial to their patients. I believe that I know what to do, but I have to be so careful talking about it that I prefer not to. We live in a country that has lost its freedom of speech and freedom to choose regarding who we select to give us medical treatment. The best that I have been able to do is write my theories in Cleanse & Purify Thyself, Book 1. If you really study this, you should be able to pick up everything you need to treat yourself. There is a tremendous amount information there.

First he says not to play doctor, and then he tells people to do just that, using his advice!

I hope this discussion and information will shed some light on this matter.



(This blog entry is based on a revised version of the original off-list email.)


mucoid plaque is so gross!!!

Monday, December 27, 2004

Off the deep end: Dr. Heimlich’s dangerous maneuvers

Off the deep end:

Dr. Heimlich’s dangerous maneuvers

Is he guilty of fraud in promoting his method? Read the article and the accompanying links.

The Alternative Fix: PBS

The Alternative Fix: PBS

Americans are spending billions on alternative medical treatments. And major hospitals and medical schools are embracing them. But do they work?


Tips for Consumers

Science or Snake Oil?

Culture Clash

Plenty more on the site, including lots of video footage.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Rogers Communications' Medical Post article by Barbara Kermode-Scott about Terry Polevoy was removed from the internet

Rogers Communications' Medical Post article by Barbara Kermode-Scott about Terry Polevoy was removed from the internet
by Terry Polevoy

It is inconceivable that the powerful media conglomerate Rogers Communications would cave-in to a threat made by one of Canada's most notorious sellers of snake oil.

But, as hard as it seems, it's happened, and it's happened at a time when the story needs to be told.

Over the years Rogers Communications has helped bring Canadian audiences the likes of Christine McPhee, Trudi Bricker, and now leads the pack with infomercials on their radio stations for products sold by a company controlled by Scientologist Michael R Pinkus. And don't forget those Dr. Metz's Amazing Slimming Insoles that just melts fat off your butt by just placing them inside you shoes.

On November 2, 2004 an article appeared in The Medical Post entitled "Challenging quacks and frauds" by Barbara Kermode-Scott. It was basically about the life of Terry Polevoy. It told the story about his battles with quackery and about his web sites. The MP web site placed the article online and it remained there for nearly two months. The feedback from the original article has been outstanding.

Apparently, one of the people involved in one of the snake-oil companies apparently didn't like the facts as presented in the article. He called up or contacted Rogers Communications and threatened a lawsuit. Apparently he just doesn't understand English. There is nothing in the article that is not the truth.

Here is the link to the original article. Note that not ONE WORD of the original article, not even the TITLE remains when you click on the link. That is truly censorship.

A copy of the original article can be found here:

Challenging quacks and frauds: Terry Polevoy, MD :

I am in the process of filing an official complaint with the Canadian Association of Journalists and have asked the Editor of the Medical Post to intervene.

When a media giant starts to censor medical doctors in a medical magazine dedicated to providing the facts, and when have a sordid history as a corporation that has helped to spread cancer quackery, bad nutritional advice, and still makes money from selling air time to Scientologists to basically lie to the public about their products, then the field is right for battle.

Anyone with half a brain and a computer can see through this mirage or smoke-screen.

Rogers Communications has over the years made a lot of money selling air time, or providing production facilities to quacks who promote themselves or who sell quack products. The Medical Post is just a small niche of their vast empire, so any article that is challenged with a threat of a frivolous lawsuit because it aims to tell the truth needs to be purged. They don't want the bad publicity it might bring.

Do a Google on Rogers Communications and quackery and you will see how often that they support quackery.

or try this one:

I ask all of you to protest to Rogers Communications, and particularly to Rick Campbell who runs the Medical Post to put the entire piece by Barbara Kermode-Scott back on the internet.

The Medical Post
Editor: Rick Campbell
Rogers Healthcare & Financial Services Group
One Mount Pleasant Road
Toronto, ON
Canada M4Y 2Y5

Telephone: 416-764-2000
Fax: 416-764-3941

You can also contact the Canadian Association of Journalists to voice your concerns over censorship.

Canadian Association of Journalists
Algonquin College
1385 Woodroffe Avenue, B224
Ottawa, ON K2G 1V8
fax it to 613-521-3904,
or by e-mail to

I have also sent a copy of this e-mail to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association because I strongly feel that what Rogers Communications has done is a violation of the rights of all Canadians to express themselves.

All Canadians need to see that medical and health quackery of any kind has a voice, and that The Medical Post has just silenced one of its best writers, Barbara Kermode-Scott, and placed a cloud over the life and struggles led by Terry Polevoy against the forces of quackery and health fraud.

Thank you very much for your help.

!# Terry Polevoy, MD
!# 938 King St. West
!# Kitchener, Ontario, N2G 1G4 Canada
!# 519-725-2263 -- 725-4953 fax
!# - Consumer Health Watchdog
!# - About Dr. Terry Polevoy's Canadian Quackerywatch
!# - Cancer Quackery Group
!# - Pig Pills, Inc. - The True Story of & Synergy Group
!# - Diet and Weight Loss Alerts
!# - Herbal Warnings and Scams
!# - Yahoo Groups
!# - Chiropractic risks & fraud
!# - Acupuncture dangers

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Challenging quacks and frauds: Terry Polevoy, MD

Censorship! Censorship! Censorship!

This is a tale of censorship and deviousness on the part of The Medical Post and Rogers Communications. Incredibly, Rogers Communications has apparently caved in to pressure and censored this excellent article. It isn't available anymore, even in their archives.

To find such incredible stupidity in this cyber age is amazing. Instead of the motive being one of stupidity, nefarious motives are a more likely explanation. You see, Rogers Communications is a well-known purveyor and promoter of quackery and nonsense. They must have found themselves in a conflict of interest when this excellent article was published, and they chose the side of quackery, rather than the side of scientific legitimacy.

I would suggest that The Medical Post find another publisher!

(If the article becomes available again, please notify me, so I can revise these comments.)

Here is the censored article:

The Medical Post
November 02, 2004 Volume 40 Issue 41


Challenging quacks and frauds

Dr. Terry Polevoy is a self-appointed health watchdog. He investigates and challenges products, services and theories that are marketed with claims he believes to be false, unsubstantiated or even illegal

By Barbara Kermode-Scott

Doctors across Canada and around the world become angry when they hear of dishonest people or businesses that prey on the sick.

Unfortunately there are those out there who will unscrupulously raise the hopes and ruthlessly take the money of patients who cannot find a cure from conventional medicine.

Ontario physician Dr. Terry Polevoy is certainly angered when he comes across evidence of fraudulent claims, con tricks or other health scams. Unlike most of us, Dr. Polevoy taps into that anger and takes action to protect consumers against health quackery.

Although Dr. Polevoy runs an acne clinic in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., and practises part-time at a walk-in clinic in London, Ont., he still devotes many hours each week to his role as a health watchdog. He investigates and challenges products, services and theories that are marketed with claims that he believes to be false, unsubstantiated or even illegal.

"I think that medicine-generic medicine-any kind of medicine-healing arts medicine-has a responsibility to be honest, to publish and to study things that work and disprove them if they don't work," Dr. Polevoy said in an interview. The industries that really need to be watched are those industries where there are no written laws to protect the public, he added. "Whether it's a method that people are using as doctors, chiropractors or naturopaths or whether it's a mom-and-pop down the street selling a product that allegedly cures all sorts of ills, consumer help is lacking in Canada," he suggested.

"There are very few enforcement officers around to look at drugs or devices. We need a separate agency, like they have in England and Australia, to look at false claims and advertising. . . . Until we get that in Canada . . . literally nothing will be done to control the quackery, the bad pills, the herbals and all the other kinds of other stuff, despite the tens of millions of dollars being spent on these."

Needless to say Dr. Polevoy's war on health quackery tends not to win him popularity awards or medals. He and his colleagues have incurred the wrath of individuals, corporations and others.

He says he has been threatened with lawsuits and even sued by a company Polevoy claims provides shady weight-loss producers with rented mail drops. Further, Dr. Polevoy is frequently attacked on the Internet and other places by those whose medical treatments he has savaged.

But he gives as good as he gets, often using words such as quackery and fraud to attack those he believes are scamming the public. He is presently involved in a California libel suit against a group of people he believes posted defamatory remarks about him on the Internet.

He has often endured personal attacks that question his professionalism, family life and sexual conduct.

"Sometimes it's the chiropractors who don't like me. . . . Sometimes it's people in naturopathy. Sometimes it's a weirdo. . . . Right now we're a target for hate by the chiropractic fundamentalists."

Born and raised in the United States, Dr. Polevoy undertook his medical degree at the Wayne State University school of medicine in Detroit. While a medical student he became interested in social activism and was involved in protests against the Vietnam War. Afterward he moved to Canada and did a pediatric residency at the University of Western Ontario and at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

From 1977 to 1990 he practised in the United States, in Florida, in the U.S. Navy and in Ohio.

In 1990, he moved back to Canada to work in walk-in clinics in Ontario. In 1992, Dr. Polevoy opened an acne care clinic in Kitchener. Although he had a keen interest in holistic and alternative medicine early on in his practice in both the U.S. and in Canada, Dr. Polevoy later on became very disillusioned with the growth of "blatant quackery" in medicine, and the acceptance of "bogus practices" by mainstream medical organizations and government-funded institutions.

His skepticism grew following the death of his second wife from skin cancer. She had received both alternative and conventional therapies for a malignant melanoma.

In 1997, Dr. Polevoy started his first Web site about "alternative" medicine, He now spends several hours daily online investigating quackery and monitoring media reports on alternative medicine. He then posts information about incidents of health fraud, diet fraud and alternative medicine on and his various other web sites (,,

"What I do is, I monitor the quack industry and I file complaints with the colleges . . . because people are being hoodwinked. . . . What bothers me most is the gullibility of the media to swallow stories that have no basis in fact," he said.

Dr. Polevoy has campaigned against consumer health fraud, cancer quackery, diet scams, herbal product dangers, chiropractic problems, alternative medicine and assorted fraudulent practices. To honor his second wife, he also tries to educate the public and politicians about the dangers of using sun beds, particularly for children and young adults.

He worries as well about holistic health clinics doing chelation and intravenous procedures. "No one stops them. I don't know why no one stops them. Isn't it an assault on a patient to inject them with an intravenous that's not approved for use? No one cares. Until someone drops dead in a naturopath's office in Alberta or British Columbia or Ontario from doing a quack chelation therapy nobody's going to hear about it.

"The other thing that annoys me is the people that are doing chelation therapy and using 'vega' testing machines. Vega testing machines are total quackery. . . . People who use fake PhDs really piss me off. There are people who buy their diplomas off-shore in Sri Lanka or India-they claim to have a PhD and use vega testing machines."

In April 2003, Dr. Polevoy co-authored an E-book called Pig Pills, Inc. with medical reporter Marvin Ross, and former Health Canada inspector and private detective Ron Reinhold. The book was the result of a two-and-a-half year investigation of Empowerplus, a nutraceutical sold to customers with serious mental health and other disorders. Following the book's publication, Health Canada issued a health advisory on the potential risks of Empowerplus and raided the offices of Truehope Nutritional Support Limited/Synergy, the company marketing Empowerplus in Canada. In July 2004, Truehope was charged on six counts under the Food and Drugs Act for allegedly importing and selling its product without government approval.

Dr. Polevoy will continue his war against companies like Truehope, as well as against any individuals, organizations and corporations he believes are hoodwinking consumers and patients. Sometimes, as with Truehope, he will be able to see the results of his efforts, other times not, but he'll carry on fighting for the underdog.

Barbara Kermode-Scott is a writer in Calgary.


Here's what a Medical Post search (on Dec. 25, 2004) for "Polevoy" brings up. The now missing article is there:

5 documents found for query: polevoy.
Displaying documents 1 - 5

1 Challenging quacks and frauds

2 OPED: Letters to the editor


4 Raid!

5 I SAY, I SAY: Who will bridge the gap between chiropractors and doctors?

It really WAS there!

It is even censored from the archives!

Here are the archives for Back Issues 2004

Here is the Table of Contents for the issue in question:

The Medical Post Online Back Issues
Volume 40 No.41 November 02, 2004

1. New rules for hormone therapy
2. Report eases most concerns about IVF
3. MD supply urgent
4. Doctor deal trouble for Ont. gov't
5. Therapy better than pills for insomniacs
6. Counterfeit drugs discovered in U.K.
7. Restructuring issues continue to boil for Ont. Medical Association
8. Device illuminates hard-to-find veins onto patient's skin
9. Sask. MDs honoured with Order of Merits
10. Cancer prevention proves successful
11. Diabetes and cancer linked?
12. Fraser Institute finds Manitoba has shortest wait times
13. Surgery backed up at end of N.B. strike
14. Modified MRI techniques show statin benefit
15. C. difficile ravaging Quebec
16. Girls urged to make first ob/gyn visit earlier
17. Semen testing for prostate cancer?
18. Parasomniac sought sex in her sleep
19. Transfusions up mortality of heart patients
20. No adverse effects with new COX-2 inhibitor, study shows
21. Epilepsy patients can make up missed medication
22. OPED: There's no reason not to vote on OMA deal
23. OPED: Political memoir might reopen debate of Canada Health Act
24. OPED: In the aftermath of war
25. OPED: Letters to the editor
26. OPED: The flu crisis
27. OPED: Crazy flu cures come out of the closet
28. ANA: In brief
29. ANA: GDNF does not help in Parkinson's
30. ANA: Degree of hyponatremia correlates with severity of spinal cord injury
31. ANA: MRI tops CT at predicting spinal cord injury outcome
32. ANA: MRIs reveal early brain changes in MS
33. ANA: Drug helps to relieve orthostatic hypotension
34. ASTRO: In brief
35. ASTRO: Brachytherapy may help prostate CA patients live longer
36. ASTRO: NSAIDs may improve prostate cancer survival
37. ASTRO: Obese breast CA patients more likely to die
38. ASTRO: Prostate CA patients can safely delay external-beam radiation therapy
39. ASTRO: Metabolite may treat radiation sickness
40. Food for thought on child obesity challenge
41. A quick obesity fix: keep kids away from pop
42. Doctors weigh in with nutrition care for kids
43. Metabolic syndrome troubles teens
44. Specialty clinic takes team approach to weight control
45. Keep diet message simple
46. Physicians can be role models for patients in in their community
47. Sea king
48. The camp experience
49. POWs age faster, die younger
50. Errand walks help beat obesity
51. The snows of Kilimanjaro
52. In the absence of scientific proof, common sense rules
53. Field of dreams
54. Wine writers treated to samples of rousing reds
55. Memories of Sick Kids circa 1969
56. Edmonton Protocol team gets funding boost
57. BCMA criticizes B.C. emergency room survey as misleading
58. The prescribing psychologist
59. Study links maternal thyroid disease to infant visual problems
60. Clinical trials could raise use of Chinese meds, conference told
61. U.S. guidelines set for malpractice testimony
62. Vets on front lines of disease research
63. Animal researchers develop drug for stroke damage
64. Data helps hospitals evaluate service
65. New prostate cancer drug shows promise
66. Research finds link between gum disease, heart attack
67. Aussies uncover genetic link between hormones, migraines
68. Most Irish pediatric residents may move to family practice
69. U.K. wants to recoup work injury funds
70. Risk of suicide in adulthood may be traced back to womb
71. U.K. experts call for public health ministry
72. World guidelines adopted for MD-pharma relations
73. WMA clarifies medical research declaration
74. Perils of the pen

It's gone! Censored!

Some information and links about these organizations (reputation is now tarnished by this event) (lacked credibility already because of its pro-quackery stance)

Rogers Publishing is Canada's largest magazine and periodicals publisher. The publications are leaders in their categories. Maclean's is Canada's largest-circulation newsmagazine. Canadian Business, Chatelaine, Flare, Today's Parent and MoneySense all lead in their markets - as do most of the vertical trade publications and information products such as Marketing Magazine, Medical Post, Advisor's Edge and Canadian Grocer. We also have a strong presence on the Web with,,,, and many other sites which are integrated with our print franchises. Rogers Publishing also includes a variety of trade shows and the Medical Education Network, a medical database company headquartered in New York. View the complete list of Rogers Publications.

Rogers Publishing is part of Rogers Media, which in turn is part of Rogers Communications Inc. Rogers Communications is Canada's national communications company engaged in cellular, Digital PCS, paging and data communications through Rogers AT&T Wireless; in cable television, high-speed Internet access and video retailing through Rogers Cable Inc., and in radio and television broadcasting, tele-shopping, publishing and new media businesses through Rogers Media Inc.

More information about Rogers Communications

More on-site info about this matter:

Rogers Communications' Medical Post article by Barbara Kermode-Scott about Terry Polevoy was removed from the internet

I hope The Medical Post and Rogers Communications make a big fuss about this evidence of their deviousness being preserved here, because every major newspaper would love to get their hands on this story!

Evidence-Based Medicine or Faith-Based Medicine?

From Medscape General Medicine™
Webcast Video Editorials

Evidence-Based Medicine or Faith-Based Medicine?

Posted 12/10/2004
George D. Lundberg, MD

I was recently contacted by an American doctor who asked for some good references on evidence-based medicine (EBM) to help him prepare for a debate with another physician who was opposed to EBM. After recovering from the shock that some 2004 doctor would take the opposing position, I offered him what I thought were good sources, and decided to try to make a succinct case for EBM.

Some years ago, the US Preventive Services Task Force[1,2] determined the hierarchy of quality of evidence to support interventions, such as:

- 1. At least 1 properly randomized, controlled trial;
- 2. Well-designed, controlled trials without randomization;
- 3. Well-designed, cohort or case-control analytic studies;
- 4. Multiple time series with or without the intervention;
- 5. Dramatic results in uncontrolled experiments; and
- 6. Opinions of experts or committees, clinical experiences, and descriptive studies.

Thus, the randomized, controlled clinical trial with blinding and sufficient numbers to have statistical power became the gold standard. Recognizing that not all interventions have been properly studied but that physicians must make clinical decisions anyway, David Sackett[3] is credited with having defined EBM as the "integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values."

I consider the near opposite of pure EBM to be pure FBM -- faith-based medicine. St. Paul defined faith as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.[4]" This was OK for medicine in the first century AD, but in 2004, when there is evidence, I choose it as the basis for my care. That's my opinion. I'm Dr. George Lundberg, Editor of MedGenMed.

Readers are encouraged to respond for the editor's eye only or for consideration for publication via email:


1. Lawrence RS, Mickalide AD. Preventive services in clinical practice: designing the periodic health examination. JAMA. 1987;257:2205-2207.
2. Fontanarosa PB, Lundberg GD. Alternative medicine meets science. JAMA. 1998;280:1618-1619.
3. Sackett DL, Straus SE, Richardson WS, Rosenberg W, Haynes RB. Evidence-Based Medicine. How to Practice and Teach EBM. New York: Churchill Livingstone; 2000.
4. Holy Bible, New Testament. St. Paul; Hebrews 11:1.

George D. Lundberg, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Medscape General Medicine

Disclosure: George D. Lundberg, MD, is an employee of WebMD.

Medscape General Medicine 6(4), 2004. © 2004 Medscape


(used here by permission)


Here is a most significant quote from Dr. Lundberg:

"There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking. Whether a therapeutic practice is 'Eastern' or 'Western,' is unconventional or mainstream, or involves mind-body techniques or molecular genetics is largely irrelevant except for historical purposes and cultural interest. As believers in science and evidence, we must focus on fundamental issues-namely, the patient, the target disease or condition, the proposed or practiced treatment, and the need for convincing data on safety and therapeutic efficacy."

- Fontanarosa P.B., and Lundberg G.D. "Alternative medicine meets science" JAMA. 1998; 280: 1618-1619. (for more quotes)

Dr. Lundberg has great depth of understanding when it comes to these issues, and the medical community would do well to heed his admonitions.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Breaking News: Acupuncture Relieves Pain and Improves Function in Knee Osteoarthritis

Dr. Imrie does a good job of debunking this so-called research:

Re: Breaking News: Acupuncture Relieves Pain and Improves Function in Knee Osteoarthritis From: Robert Imrie, DVM

Late last week, I received a phone call from Rob Stein, of the Washington
Post, asking me for my views with regard to the upcoming Berman /
osteoarthritis and "acupuncture" paper (and other such papers) scheduled
to appear in the upcoming issue of Annals of Internal Medicine -- which he
forwarded to me as PDF files. Mr. Stein chose not to include any of my
thoughts or material in his Monday piece. That is, of course, "more than
okay with me," but I thought some of you might like to at least see,
verbatim, the information I originally afforded him -- and that he
subsequently chose to ignore. Here it is:



Hi, Rob,

First things first. With regard to the message [press release] from
Berman, et al, cited below, according to the best available scholarship,
the statement that "[a]cupuncture -- the practice of inserting thin needles
into specific body points to improve health and well-being -- originated in
China more than 2,000 years ago," is not only false but also absurd. In
the first place, so far as I'm aware the technology required to produce
such "thin needles" for "twiddling" didn't exist anywhere in the world
prior to the 17th Century CE at the earliest, and it's unlikely that the
requisite fine (steel) needles would have been available or used,
clinically, in China prior to the 18th Century CE. Nothing even remotely
resembling "modern acupuncture" shows up unequivocally in the literature
prior to the 11th Century CE. Secondly, traditional Chinese medicine
never recognized a diagnosis of "osteoarthritis of the knee." Thirdly,
running electrical current through tissues -- which is what was done in the
trial in question -- is NOT acupuncture. Regardless of what modern
proponents have arbitrarily decided to call it, acupuncture is "the
manipulation of 'qi' in 'channels' by means of 'needling' (the latter
referring to any intervention by means of any 'sharp or hot thing' --
including knives and branding irons as well as what we would construe as
'needles')." The ancient Chinese had no clue what electricity was, much
less how it might be used therapeutically. Defining the running of
electrical current through tissues as "acupuncture" is like defining
sneakers as "canvas and rubber automobiles." Unfortunately, you may be
certain that proponents of mere needle twiddling will falsely claim the
study in question justifies their modality as a treatment for
osteoarthritis and just about everything else. It does not.
The clinical trial in question, itself, seems to display a similar lack of


[The following constitute the "first blush" notes I sent to Mr. Stein
regarding the "Berman and acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee" late
last week.]


The trial design readily allowed unblinding and virtually guaranteed
positive results by, among other things, "mixing apples and oranges and
then comparing them to no fruit at all." You can't apply both acupuncture
and electrical stimulation to "true acupuncture" subjects in a clinical
trial, only acupuncture to the "sham acupuncture" subjects, and no
"hands-on" treatment at all to an "education-only" control arm, and
reasonably expect that subjects won't be able to figure out which group
they're in. (I suspect patients can easily tell whether they are getting
current run through them, no current run through them, or no hands-on
treatment at all. It's well-established that virtually ANY "hands-on"
intervention will end up being more "effective" for ANY physical condition
than is ANY "non-hands-on" intervention.)

The trial was based on a false premise: that there are "true" and/or
"false" acupuncture points and meridia. The original Chinese medical
literature describes wildly varying points and conduit vessels (meridia)
over the centuries. The term meridian was, in fact, first coined by the
Frenchman Georges Souliét de Morant in 1939, the same man who first equated
qi with energy. Despite proponent claims to the contrary, all objective,
scientific attempts to physically identify and characterize such points and
lines have ultimately met with failure. As Dr. Felix Mann, founder of the
Medical Acupuncture Society and First President of the British Medical
Acupuncture Society has stated: "...acupuncture points are no more real
than the black spots that a drunkard sees in front of his eyes." (Mann
F. Reinventing Acupuncture: A New Concept of Ancient
Medicine. Butterworth Heinemann, London, 1996,14.)

Electrical stimulation is NOT acupuncture -- even when it's applied at
points modern acupuncturists arbitrarily deem to be "true"
acupoints. Defining the running of electrical current through tissues as
"acupuncture" is like defining sneakers as "canvas and rubber automobiles."

Since the sham group didn't have electrical current run through them, the
trial was effectively unblinded. Berman, et al, could easily have run
electrical current through sham group members at "sham" acupuncture points,
but they chose not to. I wonder why not. It's hard to believe that, over
the years that the trial was planned and during which patients were
recruited, this obvious problem/solution never occurred to any of the
investigators involved. Maybe it was because they felt they wouldn't get
the "right" results if they employed such an effective control.

Why didn't they use "placebo acupuncture needles" -- which, while not
without their own shortcomings, have at least been scientifically evaluated
over the last few
years? (See: uids=11799305&dopt=Abstract)

Why all the nonsense about "tapping needle guides" and "taping uninserted
needles to the patients"?

The authors claim that they were using a sham acupuncture technique they
had previously developed, but I suspect they never established that
patients couldn't easily distinguish between sham needling and the running
of electrical current run through needles that HAD been stuck through the
skin! (I admit, however, that I haven't yet read the publications dealing
with their "previously developed techniques.")

Now we have some trials showing effectiveness for this intervention and
some showing no effectiveness. That's exactly what one would expect from
poorly designed and controlled trials for a procedure that provides only
placebo, counter-irritation, and non-specific noxious stimulus effects.

e "OMERACT-OARSI responder index" portion of the paper reports only a 5%
difference between sham and true "responders." As I recall that's actually
less than the difference between those that could and could not distinguish
"real acupuncture" from "sham" in previous trials. I suspect that it's
actually less than the difference between those who can distinguish
acupuncture from having electrical current run through them.

The "masking effectiveness" portion of the paper makes it clear that by the
end of the trial, the trial was effectively unblinded. At least 75% of the
"true" group had figured out they were getting the "real" treatment, and
only 58% of the "sham" group still believed they were getting the "real"
treatment. That's almost a 30% difference! Note, also, that by the end of
the study "unsure" respondents were substantially fewer in the "true" arm
(by a factor of roughly 30%) than in the "sham" arm of the trial. In other
words, a whole lot of subjects who were in the "true acupuncture" arm were
able to figure that out, or were at least suspicious that they were in said

Were patients prohibited from, or at least admonished against, "comparing
notes" after the trial began? The paper doesn't tell us. They should have
been. It wouldn't take long for a patient to figure out that he/she was
not getting the electrical therapy if they were to discuss their treatment
experiences with someone who was getting such therapy.

Were the acupuncturists prohibited from speaking or communicating with the
patients during or after treatments? They should not have been, but this
was not mentioned in the paper. Why weren't they immediately ushered into
and out of the treatment area with observers making sure there was no overt
communication between patient and acupuncturist? They should have been in
order to at least minimize the possibility that they might provide an
additional potential source of unblinding. The medical and scientific
literature are both rife with examples of intentional and unintentional
communication between investigators and subjects that ended up defeating
the blinding of clinical trials and experiments, and therefore ended up
invalidating the results of same.

For anyone dependent on grant money from U.S. taxpayers, surely the most
important line in the paper is the one that begins: "Additional research is
needed..." I have no idea how much taxpayer money was spent on this
clinical trial by the NIH (or anyone else), but I'll bet a competent
reporter could readily come up with a figure. :-) My best guess would be
"at least several hundred thousands of dollars."



Hi, Rob,

What follows is an excerpt from a paper Paul Buell, PhD, Dave Ramey, DVM
and I published in the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine in
2002. I thought you might find it of interest. As you can see,
determining where "true" acupuncture "meridians" and points lie is more
than a little problematic, since these alleged structures seem to have
moved and changed in number, direction and character over the years. (You
may have noticed that few "non-imaginary" human anatomical structures have
changed in such manner over the last two millennia.) The Chinese seem to
have only recently "decided" where "true" points and "meridia"
lie. Despite proponent claims to the contrary, all objective, scientific
attempts to physically identify and characterize such points and lines have
ultimately met with failure. I wonder how Berman, et al, decided that
their "true" points and "meridia" were "truer" than those described in
previous centuries?


In human acupuncture, meridians have changed in number, name, character and
even position through history. The Mawangdui texts describe eleven
mai (vessels) which were described as containing both blood and qi.[i] No
distinction is made between vessels containing blood and those containing
qi, however, the vessels did not appear to connect with each other. "Blood
vessels are the obvious original referent of mai. The earliest attestation
of the word is fourth century B.C., in a Zuozhuan description of a horse:
'chaotic vapor, untamed, erupts; dark blood springs forth, coursing; ridges
of swollen vessels (mai) bulge.' (Zouzhuan, Xi 15,14.3a)"[ii]

By the late first century B.C. (in the Huangdi neijing suwen) the number of
vessels had grown to twelve, and they comprised a connected and more
complex system. Moreover, blood and qi sometimes seem to flow in separate
vessels, while at others they seem to flow in a mix.[iii] Vessels carrying
qi are by this time referred to as 'conduits' (ching) or "conduit vessels"
(ching-mai.) In later texts, the qi vessels and blood vessels are
separate. "The transition from the old idea of blood vessels to
physiological theory whose main purpose was to explain the movement of
vapor in the body directed attention away from the blood vessels per se and
towards an idealized system which meshed with correlative cosmology."[iv]

Perhaps most significantly, the twelve vessels described in the Huangdi
neijing follow substantially different courses than the eleven described in
the earlier Mawangdui texts. The "true" original location of human
acupuncture meridians was further obscured when, in 1993, a lacquer
conduit-figurine was recovered from a Western Han tomb depicting only nine
mai, even though it ostensibly dates from after the Mawangdui treatises
describing eleven mai. Moreover, two of the mai etched on the figurine are
ones that the Mawangdui treatises fail to discuss.[v],[vi] Later, Chinese
medical philosophers overtly lamented the "loss" of the original
conduits.[vii] Wherever the meridians may be, they are clearly not where
they started.

[i] Harper D, Early Chinese Medical Literature: The Mawangdui Medical
Manuscripts, Kegan Paul International, London, 1997, 5
[ii] Harper D, ibid, 82
[iii] Paul Unschuld. Personal correspondence.
[iv] Harper D, op. cit., 83-84
[v] Kuriyama, S. The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of
Chinese Medicine. New York, Zone Books, 1999, 43
[vi] Unschuld P. Chinese Medicine, op. cit., 35
[vii] Unschuld P. Forgotten Traditions of Ancient Chinese
Medicine. Paradigm Publications, Brookline, MA, 1998, 244