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Alternative Medicine

• I prefer to view
Medicine" as
Traditional Western
Medicine and Modern
Western Medicine as
Alternative Medicine
• What is Alternative Medicine?
• How can there be an alternative to
• Is there alternative chemistry, alternative
physics, biology?
Alternative Medicine Defined
• Alternative has two possible meanings. Correctly
employed, it refers to methods that have equal
value for a particular purpose. (An example would
be two antibiotics capable of killing a particular
organism.) When applied to unproven methods,
however, the term can be misleading because
methods that are unsafe or ineffective are not
reasonable alternatives to proven treatment.
Twenty-Five Ways to Spot
1. When Talking about Nutrients, They Tell Only Part of the Story.

2. They Claim That Most Americans Are Poorly Nourished.

3. They Recommend "Nutrition Insurance" for Everyone.

4. They Say That Most Diseases Are Due to Faulty Diet

and Can Be Treated with "Nutritional" Methods.

5. They Allege That Modern Processing Methods and

Storage Remove all Nutritive Value from Our Food.

6. They Claim That Diet Is a Major Factor in Behavior.

7. They Claim That Fluoridation Is Dangerous.

Twenty-Five Ways to Spot
8. They Claim That Soil Depletion and the Use of Pesticides and
"Chemical" Fertilizers Result in Food That Is Less Safe and Less

9. They Claim You Are in Danger of Being "Poisoned"

by Ordinary Food Additives and Preservatives.

10. They Charge That the Recommended Dietary Allowances

(RDAs) Have Been Set Too Low.

11. They Claim That under Everyday Stress, and in Certain

Diseases, Your Need for Nutrients Is Increased.

12. They Recommend "Supplements" and "Health Foods" for

Twenty-Five Ways to Spot
13. They Claim That "Natural" Vitamins are Better than
"Synthetic" Ones.

14. They Suggest That a Questionnaire Can Be Used

to Indicate Whether You Need Dietary Supplements.

15. They Say It Is Easy to Lose Weight.

16. They Promise Quick, Dramatic, Miraculous Results.

17. They Routinely Sell Vitamins and Other

"Dietary Supplements" as Part of Their Practice.
Twenty-Five Ways to Spot
18. They Use Disclaimers Couched in Pseudomedical

19. They Use Anecdotes and Testimonials to Support Their


20. They Claim That Sugar Is a Deadly Poison.

21. They Display Credentials Not Recognized

by Responsible Scientists or Educators.

22. They Offer to Determine Your Body's Nutritional State

with a Laboratory Test or a Questionnaire.
Twenty-Five Ways to Spot
23. They Claim They Are Being Persecuted by Orthodox
Medicine and That Their Work Is Being Suppressed Because
It's Controversial.

24. They Warn You Not to Trust Your Doctor.

25. They Encourage Patients to Lend Political

Support to Their Treatment Methods.
Ploys That May Fool You

"We really care about you!"

Although being "cared about" may provide a powerful psychological
lift, it will not make a worthless remedy effective. It may also
encourage over-reliance on an inappropriate therapy.

"We treat the whole patient."

There is nothing wrong with giving due attention to a patient's lifestyle
and social and emotional concerns in addition to physical problems. In
fact, good physicians have always done this. Today, however, most
practitioners who label themselves "holistic" are engaged in quackery
and embrace the term as a marketing tool. Few actually "treat the
whole patient."
More Ploys That May Fool You

"No side effects"

"Alternative" methods are often described as safer, gentler, and/or without side
effects. If this were true -- and often it is not -- their "remedy" would be too
weak to have any effect. Any medication potent enough to help people will be
potent enough to cause side effects. FDA approval requires evidence that the
likelihood of benefit far exceeds the probable harm.

"We attack the cause of disease."

Quacks claim that whatever they do will not only cure the ailment but will
also prevent future trouble. This claim is false. Illness can result from many
factors, both internal and external, some of which have been identified and
some of which are unknown. Scientific medical care can prevent certain
diseases and reduce the odds of getting various others.
More Ploys That May Fool You
"We treat medicine's failures."
It is often suggested that people seek "alternatives" because doctors
are brusque, and that if doctors were more attentive, their patients
would not turn to quacks. It is true that this sometimes happens, but
most quackery does not involve medical care. Blaming doctors for
quackery's persistence is like blaming astronomers for the popularity
of astrology. Some people's needs exceed what ethical, scientific
health care can provide. Some harbor deep-seated antagonism toward
medical care and the concept of a scientific method. But the main
reason for quackery's success is its ability to seduce people who are
unsuspecting, gullible, or desperate. Several years ago, a survey done
in New Zealand found that most cancer patients who used
"alternative" therapies were satisfied with their medical care and
regarded "alternative" care only as a supplement [1]. A more recent
study found that only 4.4% of those surveyed reported relying
primarily on alternative therapies.
Signs of a Quack Device
• It is said to use little-known energies that are undetectable
by ordinary scientists.
• It can diagnose or cure people living miles away.
• It has a convoluted yet scientific-sounding name.
• It was invented by a "world famous" doctor that is not
actually well known.
• It has bright lights that serve no apparent purpose.
• It has knobs and dials that serve no practical purpose.
• It shakes, rattles, rolls, sucks, shocks, or warms your body.
Signs of a Quack Device

• It supposedly can cure just about anything.

• It is available only through the mail or at special outlets.
• You can't find one at a regular doctor's office.
• The manufacturer isn't exactly sure how or why it works.
• To get results, the patient must face a certain direction or
use the device only at unusual times.
• You're supposed to use it even if there's nothing wrong
with you.
• The FDA has outlawed it.
Alex Chiu- Exemplar of Quackery
• Why does Alex Chiu teach people how
to build their own Immortality Devices?
Why does Alex Chiu give out FREE
Immortality Devices?

• ANSWER: Once in a while, some nice hearted

people will spend some money and buy the devices
from me. I don't need so much money. All I need
is enough money to pay for rent and food. I
believe that the Immortality Device is the most
important invention in human history. But now, so
many people are laughing at it. This invention is
so incredible, it makes people laugh. But this
invention is so important to me. So I am teaching
everyone how to build the device. I am also giving
the devices out for free. I think it's very important
to educate people about this new invention. I don't
want this invention to be forgotten because this
invention is the most important invention in human
history. I must educate everyone and make sure
everyone knows how important this invention is.
• In business since 1996.
• TV stations refuse to let me sell this product on TV.
Radio stations do not want to air my commercial.
Government agencies and giant drug companies ignore
this invention. They fear and hate this new invention.
The only place where I can sell physical immortality is on
the internet.

• Immortality Device
• Stops aging permanently!!
Common Misconceptions About
Misconception #1: Quackery is easy to spot.
Quackery is far more difficult to spot than most
people realize. Modern promoters use scientific
jargon that can fool people not familiar with the
concepts being discussed. Even health
professionals can have difficulty in separating fact
from fiction in fields unrelated to their expertise.
Common Misconceptions About
• Misconception #2: Personal experience is the best way to
tell whether something works. When you feel better after
having used a product or procedure, it is natural to give credit to
whatever you have done. This can be misleading, however, because
most ailments resolve themselves and those that don't can have
variable symptoms. Even serious conditions can have sufficient day-
to-day variation to enable quack methods to gain large followings. In
addition, taking action often produces temporary relief of symptoms
(a placebo effect). For these reasons, controlled scientific studies are
usually necessary to establish whether health methods actually work.
Common Misconceptions About
• Misconception #3: Most victims of quackery are easy
to fool. Individuals who buy one diet book or "magic" diet pill after another
are indeed gullible. And so are many people who follow whatever fads are in
vogue. But the majority of quackery's victims are merely unsuspecting. People
tend to believe what they hear the most. And quack ideas -- particularly about
nutrition -- are everywhere. Another large group of quackery's victims is
composed of individuals who have serious or chronic diseases that make them
feel desperate enough to try anything that offers hope. Alienated people --
many of whom are paranoid -- form another victim group. These people tend
to believe that our food supply is unsafe; that drugs do more harm than good;
and that doctors, drug companies, large food companies, and government
agencies are not interested in protecting the public. Such beliefs make them
vulnerable to those who offer foods and healing approaches alleged to be
Common Misconceptions About
• Misconception #4: Quackery's victims deserve
what they get. This is based on the idea that people who
are gullible should "know better" and therefore deserve
whatever they get. This feeling is a major reason why
journalists, enforcement officials, judges, and legislators
seldom give priority to combating quackery. As noted
above, however, most victims are not gullible. Nor do
people deserve to suffer or die because of ignorance or
Common Misconceptions About
• Misconception #5: All quacks are frauds and
crooks. Quackery is often discussed as though all of its
promoters are engaged in deliberate deception. This is untrue.
Promoters of mail-order quackery are almost always hit-and-
run artists who know their products are fakes but hope to
profit before the Postal Service shuts them down. But most
other promoters of quackery seem to be true believers,
zealots, and devotees whose problem is lack of criticism -- a
failure to apply skepticism to the favored therapy, very much
like a religious person who blindly accepts "the faith."
Common Misconceptions About
• Misconception #6: Most quackery is dangerous.
Quackery can seriously harm or kill people by inducing them to abandon
or delay effective treatment for serious conditions. It can also wreck the
life of people who are so thoroughly misled that they devote themselves
to promoting the methods and welfare of the quack. Although the
number of people harmed in these ways cannot be determined, it is not
large enough or obvious enough to arouse a general public outcry. Most
victims of quackery are harmed economically rather than physically.
Moreover, many people believe that an unscientific method has helped
them. In most cases, they have confused cause-and-effect and
coincidence. But sometimes an unproven approach actually relieves
emotionally related symptoms by lowering the person's tension level.
Common Misconceptions About
• Misconception #7: "Minor" forms of quackery are harmless.
Quackery involving small sums of money and no physical harm is often viewed as harmless.
Examples are "nutrition insurance" with vitamin pills and wearing a copper bracelet for
arthritis. But their use indicates confusion on the part of the user and vulnerability to more
serious forms of quackery. There is also harm to society. Money wasted on quackery would
be better spent for research, but much of it goes into the pockets of people (such as vitamin
pushers) who are spreading misinformation and trying to weaken consumer protection laws.
• Misconception #8: Government protects us. Although various government
agencies are involved in fighting quackery, most don't give it sufficient priority to be
effective. Moreover, the agencies involved lack a coordinated plan to maximize their
Common Misconceptions About
• Misconception #9: Quackery's success represents medicine's
failure. It is often suggested that people turn to quacks when doctors are brusque
with them, and that if doctors were more attentive, their patients would not turn to
quacks. It is true that this sometimes happens, but most quackery does not involve
medical care. Doctors should pay attention to the emotions of their patients and make a
special effort to explain things to them. But blaming medicine for quackery is like
considering the success of astrology the fault of astronomy. Some people's needs
exceed what ethical, scientific health care can provide. The main reason for quackery's
success is its ability to seduce unsuspecting people. Several years ago a survey done in
New Zealand found that most cancer patients who used "alternative" therapies were
satisfied with their medical care and regarded "alternative" care only as a supplement.
Common Misconceptions About
• Misconception #10: "Alternative" methods have
moved toward the scientific mainstream. In 1991,
Congress passed a law ordering the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) to establish an office (now called the National Center for
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to foster
research into unconventional practices. It remains to be seen whether
any useful research will be done as a result. Meanwhile, of course,
"alternative" proponents have been labeling the very establishment of
the NIH office as "scientific acceptance" -- and media outlets have
been repeating this claim without bothering to investigate whether it is
Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to
1.The disease may have run its natural course.
• Many diseases are self-limiting. If the condition is not chronic or fatal, the body's own recuperative
processes usually restore the sufferer to health. Thus, to demonstrate that a therapy is effective, its
proponents must show that the number of patients listed as improved exceeds the number expected to
recover without any treatment at all (or that they recover reliably faster than if left untreated).
Without detailed records of successes and failures for a large enough number of patients with the
same complaint, someone cannot legitimately claim to have exceeded the published norms for
unaided recovery.
• 2.Many diseases are cyclical.
• Such conditions as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, allergies, and gastrointestinal problems normally have
"ups and downs." Naturally, sufferers tend to seek therapy during the downturn of any given cycle. In
this way, a bogus treatment will have repeated opportunities to coincide with upturns that would
have happened anyway.
• 3.The placebo effect may be responsible.
• Through suggestion, belief, expectancy, cognitive reinterpretation, and diversion of attention,
patients given biologically useless treatments often experience measurable relief. Some placebo
responses produce actual changes in the physical condition; others are subjective changes that make
patients feel better even though there has been no objective change in the underlying pathology.

Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to
• 4. People who hedge their bets credit the wrong
• If improvement occurs after someone has had both "alternative" and science-based
treatment, the fringe practice often gets a disproportionate share of the credit.
• 5. Theoriginal diagnosis or prognosis may have been
• Scientifically trained physicians are not infallible. A mistaken diagnosis, followed by
a trip to a shrine or an "alternative" healer, can lead to a glowing testimonial for
curing a condition that would have resolved by itself. In other cases, the diagnosis
may be correct but the time frame, which is inherently difficult to predict, might prove
• 6. Temporary mood improvement can be confused
with cure.
• Alternative healers often have forceful, charismatic personalities. To the extent that
patients are swept up by the messianic aspects of "alternative medicine,"
psychological uplift may ensue.

Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to

• 7. Psychological
needs can distort what people
perceive and do.
• Even when no objective improvement occurs, people with a strong
psychological investment in "alternative medicine" can convince themselves
they have been helped. According to cognitive dissonance theory, when
experiences contradict existing attitudes, feelings, or knowledge, mental
distress is produced. People tend to alleviate this discord by reinterpreting
(distorting) the offending information. If no relief occurs after committing
time, money, and "face" to an alternate course of treatment (and perhaps to the
worldview of which it is a part), internal disharmony can result. Rather than
admit to themselves or to others that their efforts have been a waste, many
people find some redeeming value in the treatment.
Ten Ways to Avoid Being Quacked

• Promoters of quackery know how to appeal

to every aspect of human vulnerability.
What sells is not the quality of their
products but their ability to influence their
audience. Here are ten strategies to avoid
being quacked:
Ten Ways to Avoid Being Quacked
• 1. Remember that quackery seldom looks
• Its promoters often use scientific terms and quote (or misquote) from scientific
references. Some actually have reputable scientific training but have gone

• 2. Ignoreany practitioner who says that most
diseases are caused by faulty nutrition or can
be remedied by taking supplements.
• Although some diseases are related to diet, most are not. Moreover, in most
cases where diet actually is a factor in a person's health problem, the solution
is not to take vitamins but to alter the diet.

Ten Ways to Avoid Being Quacked

• 3. Be wary of anecdotes and testimonials.

• If someone claims to have been helped by an unorthodox remedy, ask yourself and possibly your
doctor whether there might be another explanation. Most single episodes of disease recover with the
passage of time, and most chronic ailments have symptom-free periods. Most people who give
testimonials about recovery from cancer have undergone effective treatment as well as unorthodox
treatment, but give credit to the latter. Some testimonials are complete fabrications.

• 4. Be wary of pseudomedical jargon.

• Instead of offering to treat your disease, some quacks will promise to "detoxify" your body,
"balance" its chemistry, release its "nerve energy," or "bring it in harmony with nature," or to correct
supposed "weaknesses" of various organs. The use of concepts that are impossible to measure
enables success to be claimed even though nothing has actually been accomplished.

Ten Ways to Avoid Being Quacked

• 5.Don't fall for paranoid accusations.

• Unconventional practitioners often claim that the medical profession, drug companies,
and the government are conspiring to suppress whatever method they espouse. No
evidence to support such a theory has ever been demonstrated. It also flies in the face of
logic to believe that large numbers of people would oppose the development of treatment
methods that might someday help themselves or their loved ones.

• 6.Forget about "secret cures."
• True scientists share their knowledge as part of the process of scientific development.
Quacks may keep their methods secret to prevent others from demonstrating that they
don't work. No one who actually discovered a cure would have reason to keep it secret.
If a method works-especially for a serious disease-the discoverer would gain enormous
fame, fortune and personal satisfaction by sharing the discovery with others.
Ten Ways to Avoid Being Quacked

7. Be wary of herbal remedies.

• Herbs are promoted primarily through literature based on
hearsay, folklore and tradition. As medical science developed,
it became apparent that most herbs did not deserve good
reputations, and most that did were replaced by synthetic
compounds that are more effective. Many herbs contain
hundreds or even thousands of chemicals that have not been
completely cataloged. While some may turn out to be useful,
others could well prove toxic. With safe and effective
treatment available, treatment with herbs rarely makes sense.

Ten Ways to Avoid Being Quacked
• 8. Beskeptical of any product claimed to be
effective against a wide range of unrelated
diseases-particularly diseases that are serious.
• There is no such thing as a panacea or "cure-all."
• 9. Ignore appeals to your vanity.
• One of quackery's most powerful appeals is the suggestion to "think for
yourself" instead of following the collective wisdom of the scientific
community. A similar appeal is the idea that although a remedy has not been
proven to work for other people, it still might work for you.
• 10. Don't let desperation cloud your judgment!
• If you feel that your doctor isn't doing enough to help you, or if you have been
told that your condition is incurable and don't wish to accept this fate without
a struggle, don't stray from scientific health care in a desperate attempt to find
a solution. Instead, discuss your feelings with your doctor and consider a
consultation with a recognized expert.
Case History-Debbie Benson
• My good friend Debbie Benson died July 15,
1997, at age fifty-five. I had known her for
thirty years. Her official diagnosis was breast
cancer, but she was really a victim of quackery.
Conventional treatment might have saved her,
but she rejected the advice of her oncologist
and went to "natural healers."

• Debbie was a registered nurse at the Kaiser

hospital in Portland, Oregon, but she had a deep
distrust of standard medical practice. She didn't
have a mammogram for nine years, and when
she did -- in March 1996 -- it showed a
cancerous lump in her breast. She had the lump
removed, but she refused the additional
treatment her doctor recommended. Instead she
went to a naturopath who gave her -- among
other things -- some "Pesticide Removal
Case History-Debbie Benson
• Soon after that, lymph nodes swelled in
Debbie's armpit. The naturopath said that this
was merely the effect of the herbal remedies
he was giving her and not to worry.
Belatedly, she returned to her oncologist at
Kaiser hospital, where the lymph nodes were
biopsied and found to be cancerous. Once
again, she refused the recommended
treatment. Unfortunately, the cancer was
spreading throughout her body.
• Debbie continued to patronize "alternative
healers" in the Portland area. One even
claimed to diagnose her with a pendulum!
She found another lump in her breast, but the
cancer had invaded her liver and was no
longer treatable by standard methods.
Case History-Debbie Benson
• During the last weeks of her life,
another naturopath gave Debbie a
skin preparation that was supposed
to draw the tumor out of her. This
stuff caused an ugly open sore on
her breast. By this time, her liver
was failing and she felt awful. The
naturopath told Debbie she was
feeling bad as a result of this
medicine, and to get more sleep.
When Debbie became too weak to
get out of bed and the imminence
of her death was obvious, the
naturopath blamed Debbie's turn
for the worse on "giving up."
Case History- Matthew swan
• Matthew Swan, age 16 months, died of spinal meningitis in
1977 in Detroit, Michigan. His parents, Doug and Rita
Swan, both lifelong Christian Scientists, retained Christian
Science practitioners for spiritual "treatments."
• Christian Science contends that illness is an illusion caused
by faulty beliefs, and that prayer heals by replacing bad
thoughts with good ones. Christian Science practitioners
work by trying to argue the sick thoughts out of the person's
mind. In Matthew's case, the practitioners repeatedly said
they were healing him and interpreted his symptoms as
evidence of healing. For example, one practitioner who
observed the baby's convulsions said he might be "gritting
his teeth" because he was "planning some great
achievement." The practitioners demanded more faith and
gratitude from the Swans. They complained that the Swans'
fears and other sins were obstructing their treatment.
Case History- Matthew swan
• After nearly two weeks of serious
illness, a practitioner said Matthew
might have a broken bone and that
Christian Scientists are allowed to
go to doctors for setting of broken
bones. The Swans took Matthew to
a hospital, where the disease was
diagnosed as Hemophilus influenza
meningitis. He lived for a week in
intensive care. The Christian
Science practitioners would not pray
for him while he had medical care.
Dietary Supplements
Blue-Green Algae
• Blue-green algae (one of eleven groups of algae) are microscopic plants that
grow mainly in brackish ponds and lakes throughout the world. Of the more
than 1500 known species, some are useful as food, while others have been
reported to cause gastroenteritis and hepatitis. Spirulina entered the limelight
in 1981 when The National Enquirer promoted it as an "all natural," "safe diet
pill" that contains phenylalanine (an amino acid), which "acts directly on the
appetite center." The article also said it was "an incredible 65% protein,
making it the most protein-packed food in the world."

• These claims are bunkum. The FDA has concluded that there is no evidence
that spirulina (or phenylalanine) is effective as an appetite suppressant. The
FDA has also noted that the "65% protein" claim is meaningless because,
taken according to their label, spirulina products provide only negligible
amounts of protein.
Dietary Supplements
Blue-Green Algae
• At the trial on January 9, 1986, the government introduced additional
evidence of the widespread use of blue-green algae Manna products,
and of the therapeutic claims that were made for these products. Victor
Kollman denied that he had made therapeutic claims. . . . Nevertheless
he continued to claim his product has a beneficial effect on the human
body . . . as a food, and not a drug. The government showed that taken
at the recommended dosage of 1.5 grams, its value as a nutrient is
negligible. Further, the cost of the defendant's products, which exceeds
$300 per pound, is so high as compared to other sources of the same
nutrients that it is apparent that these products are not intended to be
used as a food.
Blue-Green Algae Claims to
Cures All Diseases
• Spirulina / Blue Green Algae
• The Spirulina is Earth's oldest living plant (3.6 billion years ago) and first photosynthetic life
form that created our oxygen atmosphere so all life could evolve. Spirulina is the most
nutritious, concentrated food known to man containing antioxidants, phytonutrients, probiotics,
and nutraceuticals. Spirulina is the best whole food source of protein, betacarotene, GLA, B
Vitamins, minerals, chlorophill, sulfolipids, glyco-lipids, super oxide dimustase, phycocyanin,
enzymes, RNA, DNA, and supplies many nutrients that are lacking in most people's diets.
• Aging Alcoholism Allergies Anemia Anti-aging Arthritis Breast cancer Cancer Cardiovascular
diseaseDepression Diets Drug abuse Eczema Energy Eye problems Food supplement General
nutrition Goiter Gout Mercury poisoning Heavy metal poisoning Hypoglycemia Immune
problemsLiver disease Mononucleosis
• Nutrition Obesity Ovarian cancer Pancreatitis Senility Skin careSkin
problems Stress Ulcers Weighloss
• Youthfulness
Spirulina: Health Food or
• Low protein source

• For instance, it’s claimed that spirulina is a rich source of protein. True, the plant
contains 62 - 68% protein but you’ll spend less by eating white fish which has 97%
protein, chicken (80%) or white lean beef (79%). Moreover, the US Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) said most spirulina products provide only negligible amounts of
protein when taken as directed by their labels. Some products advertised as spirulina
have no spirulina at all.

• Another sales pitch is that spirulina is packed with vitamins. But nutritionists say you’ll
get more vitamins from broccoli and other green vegetables.

• Dieters may be enticed by ads which say spirulina only has 3.9 calories per gram. They
may be surprised to know that sugar contains 4 calories to the gram while bread has only
2 calories per gram. Both are cheaper than spirulina.
Spirulina: Health Food or
• Contaminated

• Because it has a considerable amount of vitamin B12, spirulina is usually recommended to

strict vegetarians who can’t get this vitamin from plant sources. But Dr. Varro Tyler, a world
renowned authority on herbs at Purdue University, said spirulina’s vitamin B12 content is due
mainly to contamination with insect or animal fecal matter. This is not surprising since
spirulina grows in open lakes and ponds and is not thoroughly washed before it’s dried.

• In Health Schemes, Scams and Frauds, Dr. Stephen Barrett, a psychiatrist and board member
of the National Council Against Health Fraud, Inc. said an FDA analysis of one popular
product called Blue Green Manna contained "15 whole or equivalent adult flies, 164 adult fly
fragments, 41 whole or equivalent maggots, 59 maggot fragments, one ant, five ant
fragments, one adult cicada, one cicada pupa, 763 insect fragments, nine ticks, four mites,
1,000 ostracods, two rat or mouse hairs, four bird feathers, six bird-feather barbules, and
10,500 water fleas." Some strains of spirulina also have toxins that can cause nausea, diarrhea
and throat infections.
Toxic Algae Causes Tumors,
• "In test animals injection of the toxic algae causes tumors, and larger
doses can cause death within minutes. Batches of contaminated
spirulina have been seized by the FDA. Since the toxins are not
routinely tested for by all manufacturers, it would seem that using the
algae is like playing Russian roulette," according to nutritionist Kurt
Butler in A Consumer’s Guide to Alternative Medicine.

• Spirulina promoters are apparently aware of this but tell their

customers that these side effects are signs that their products are
working and "cleansing" the body. In truth, you’re probably poisoning
yourself without knowing it.
The San Francisco Medical Research Foundation

Board of Advisors
• C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. Founder and President, American Holistic Medical Association
• Richard Kunin M.D. ,Founder The Orthomolecular Medical Society Society
• Leonard Horowitz, Ph.D. Author: Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola - Nature, Accident, or Intentional?
• Mohammed Ali Al-Bayati Ph.D Author: HIV Does Not Cause AIDS
• Jonathan Collins, M.D., Editor, Townsend Newsletter for Doctors
• Elson Haas, M.D. , Author
• Richard Shames M.D., Author
• Ann Spencer, Ph.D., President , International Medical Hypnotherapy Association
• Stephen Levine, Ph.D. Director of Research Nutricology, Inc.
• John Downing, Ph.D., O.D.
• Michael P. Joseph, D.C.
• Raphael Rettner D.C.
• William Lavelle O.M.D. L.A.c.
• William Cunningham B.A. C.BT. Director: White Dove Healing Clinic
• Mark Becker, Publisher New Life Magazine
The San Francisco Medical Research Foundation

Board of Advisors
• Scott Minor, Editor Well Being Journal
• Bernice Strock, Editor Publisher ìTo Your Health Magazineí
• Paul English, Publisher Free Spirit Magazine
• Iasos, Artist Musician
• Ivan Dryer, President Laser Images Inc.
• Michael Hutchinson Author, ìMegaBrainî
• Patricia Kramer, Director World School of Massage and Advanced Healing Techniques
• Ursala Hanrahan, Spiritual Healer
• Rev. Harpreet Sandhu, M.S., CHT,
• President, Inner Revelations Inc.
• Mark Johnson, C.E.O. Trinity Water
Marks of Pseudoscience or
Bogus Science
1. A lack of well-controlled, reproducible experimental support.
(by definition)

2. Over reliance on anecdotal evidence.

3. Play on supposed inconsistencies in science.

4. Attempt to explain the (so far) unexplainable.

Appeal to mysteries &

5. Argument by analogy.
Argument by spurious similarity.
Marks of Pseudoscience or
Bogus Science

6. Abuse of well-known scientists by;

a. inferring they would agree with them.
b. quoting them out of context.

7. Over reliance on surveys and statistical arguments

8. Filtering data. The “grab-bag” approach to data.

9. Use of anachronistic arguments. Arguing against long-dead theories.

10. Use of irrefutable hypothesis.

Marks of Pseudoscience or
Bogus Science
11. Refusal to revise in spite of being proven wrong.

12. Lack of controlled experiments

13. Grab bag approach to gathering evidence.

14. Use of irrefutable hypothesis

15. Appeals to mysteries and myths hypothesis

16. Appeals to mysteries and myths

Important terms
• Fraud is defined in dictionaries as an intentional perversion of truth
for gain. The FDA has defined health fraud as promotion of an
unproven remedy for profit. Although the FDA definition eliminates
the question of intent, some people object to its use because ordinary
use of the term fraud implies an intent to deceive.

• Unscientific means contrary to scientific evidence.

• Nonscientific means not based on a scientific approach.

• Unconventional and unorthodox are used to avoid denunciation of

the method under consideration. Both of these words may falsely
imply that medical science is wed to established doctrine and is too
Important Terms
• Cult is a health system based on dogma set forth by its promoter.

• Faddism is a generic term used to describe nutrition nonsense. Food faddists are
characterized by exaggerated beliefs in the role of diet and nutrition in health and disease.

• Unproven has fewer negative connotations than most of the other terms. It correctly
implies that, under the rules of science, proponents have the burden of proving that their
methods work. Unproven methods that appear logical and consistent with established
knowledge carry no connotation of quackery. However, methods that appear illogical and
in conflict with established knowledge should be regarded with great suspicion and labeled
more harshly.

• Questionable and dubious generally mean unproven but inconsistent with established
facts. The word "dubious" is used by critics who wish to make it clear that they have a low
opinion of the method under consideration.
Other Definitions
• Nontraditional incorrectly suggests that an unscientific
method is innovative, while falsely suggesting that the
scientific community is traditional (meaning staid, rigid and
close-minded). Actually, science is an antagonist of traditional
medicine as it destroys old myths and establishes new
approaches to healing. "Traditional" is correctly used in
reference to folk medicine. Folk healers, not scientific healers,
are the traditional ones. A considerable amount of quackery
stems from the commercialization of traditional folk medicine
and ancient dogma.
Other Definitions
• Complementary and integrative are claimed to
synthesize standard and alternative methods, using the best
of both. However, no published data indicate the extent to
which practitioners who use these labels actually use
proven methods or the extent to which they burden
patients with useless methods. Typically these
practitioners employ a "heads-I-win, tails-you-lose"
strategy in which they claim credit for any improvement
experienced by the patient and blame standard treatments
for any negative effects. The result may be to undermine
the patient's confidence in standard care, reducing
compliance or having the patient wish to abandon it
Other Definitions
• Holistic implies that an approach is special and
more complete because it treats the "whole
patient" and not just the disease. However, good
physicians have always paid attention to patients'
social and emotional concerns as well as their
physical problems.

• Modern Naturopathy was founded by Dr. Benedict Lust (pronounced "Loost"),
M.D. and D.O. (doctor of Osteopathy), in 1896. Dr. Lust combined ancient
natural therapies with hydrotherapy and eclectic medicine to create the
discipline of Naturopathy. The philosophy of naturopathic medicine is to heal in
harmony with the natural functions of the body without harm. Naturopathic
physicians direct treatments designed to support and restore the natural healing
mechanisms of the body. There is a growing body of medical research to
validate these principles. There were many naturopathic practitioners early in the
20th Century, but after WWII, with the advent of antibiotics and other "miracle
drugs" and the increased reliance on high tech heroic interventions, the number
of practitioners waned. Natural medicine was thought to be old fashioned.
• The motto of mid-century America was "better living through chemistry". There
was little money in natural products that could not be trademarked or patented.
Even though many of these herbal, homeopathic, and natural remedies were
very effective , quite frankly, they weren't profitable from a pharmaceutical
company's point of view. As a result of this decline and pressure by the AMA
(American Medical Association), many states repealed licensing laws due to
Do Viruses Cause Disease?
• Dear Karl,
• My doctor tells me that the HIV (virus) is the cause of AIDS and that other diseases are also
caused by viruses.
• I'd like to hear what you think.
• Thanks,
• Helen
• ------------------------------------------------------------------------
• Dear Helen,
• You can't imagine how deep and how philosophical that question is.
• The word "cause" is the key to the question -- and the answer.
• When you drop a stone on your foot -- and it hurts, what is the cause?
• Most people would probably say that the stone caused the pain.
• But, if you really think about it you'd probably realize that the stone is not the true cause, only a
tool, and that it is you, yourself, who is the cause of the pain. It was you who dropped the stone
on your foot, so you are the cause of the pain.
• It seems more clear when the "tool" being used is part of your body.
• You hit a guy in the face with your fist! He bleeds!
Do Viruses Cause Disease?
• Would you say that "Helen hit him in the face!" or "Helen's hand hit him in the
face!” Your hand is not "you" but is certainly part of you.
• The stone is not even "part" of you, but it is simply a tool that "you" used when
you dropped it on your foot.
• It was a mistake? OK, but "who" made the mistake, and how can a "mistake,"
suddenly, cause the stone to become cause?
• I've thought a great deal about this and actually wrote on this subject years ago.
• I invite you to look at an article I wrote, recently revised, called: "Let's Kill
• The idea of "killing" stones seems foolish, and it is. But the same label of "foolish"
is hardly ever applied when instead of "stone" you speak of the "virus." The virus
is no more alive than a stone, and therefore cannot cause anything.
Growth Hormone Scams
• The Bottom Line
• Although growth hormone levels decline with age, it has not been
proven that trying to maintain the levels that exist in young persons is
beneficial. Considering the high cost, significant side effects, and lack
of proven effectiveness, HGH shots appear to be a very poor
investment. So called "growth-hormone releasers," oral "growth
hormone," and "homeopathic HGH" products are fakes.
Growth Hormone Scams
• Human growth hormone (HGH) is a substance secreted by the
pituitary gland that promotes growth during childhood and
adolescence. Growth hormone acts on the liver and other tissues to
stimulate production of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), which is
responsible for the growth-promoting effects of growth hormone and
also reflects the amount produced. Blood levels of circulating IGF-I
tend to decrease as people age or become obese [1]. Many marketers
would like you to believe that boosting HGH blood levels can reduce
body fat; build muscle; improve sex life, sleep quality, vision and
memory; restore hair growth and color; strengthen the immune
system; normalize blood sugar; increase energy; and "turn back your
body's biological clock." This article traces the history of these claims
and why you should disregard them.
Growth Hormone Scams
• In 1990, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that
attracted mainstream media attention. The study involved 12 men,
aged 61 to 81, who were apparently healthy but had IGF-I levels
below those found in normal young men. The 12 men were given
growth hormone injections three times a week for six months and
compared with 9 men who received no treatment. The treatment
resulted in a decrease in adipose (fatty) tissue and increases in lean
body (muscle) mass and lumbar spine density [11]. An accompanying
editorial warned that some of the subjects had experienced side effects
and that the long-range effects of administering HGH to healthy adults
were unknown. It also warned that the hormone shots were expensive
and that the study had not examined whether the men who received
the hormone had substantially improved their muscle strength,
mobility, or quality of life [1].
Growth Hormone Scams
• Despite the warning, the study inspired many offbeat
physicians to market themselves as "anti-aging
specialists." Many such physicians offer expensive tests
that supposedly determine the patient's "biological age,"
which they promise to lower with expensive hormone
shots and dietary supplements. In 2001, NBC's Dateline
showed what happened when a 57-year-old woman visited
a Cenegenics clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she
underwent $1,500 worth of tests and was offered a
hormone and 40-pill-a-day supplement program that would
cost $1,500 a month. She was told that although she tested
at "age 54,"her hormone levels were "sub-optimal" and
that optimal would be the level of a 30-year -old [12].
Quackery Defined
• Quack originated during the Renaissance when
quicksilver or mercury was a popular remedy for
syphilis. Wandering peddlers known as
"quacksalvers" sold mercury ointment. They
would claim that their agents would cure all
diseases. The term was later shortened to
"quacks," who became a symbol of evil medical
practice. Dictionaries generally define "quack" as
a pretender to special health-related skills. This
definition implies an intent to deceive, which
would not fit promoters of unproven methods who
believe in what they are doing.
Natural Substances are Poisonous