Alternative Medicine

‡ I prefer to view "Alternative Medicine" as Traditional Western Medicine and Modern Western Medicine as "Experimental Medicine".

Alternative Medicine
‡ What is Alternative Medicine? ‡ How can there be an alternative to medicine? ‡ 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 Quacks
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 Quacks
8. They Claim That Soil Depletion and the Use of Pesticides and "Chemical" Fertilizers Result in Food That Is Less Safe and Less Nourishing. 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 Everyone.

Twenty-Five Ways to Spot Quacks
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 Quacks
18. They Use Disclaimers Couched in Pseudomedical Jargon. 19. They Use Anecdotes and Testimonials to Support Their Claims. 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 Quacks
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!! http://www.alexchiu.com/

Common Misconceptions About Quackery
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 Quackery
‡ 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 Quackery
‡ 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 "natural."

Common Misconceptions About Quackery
‡ 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 desperation.

Common Misconceptions About Quackery
‡ 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 Quackery
‡ 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 Quackery
‡ 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 effectiveness.

Common Misconceptions About Quackery
‡ 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 Quackery
‡ 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 true.

Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work
‡ 1. 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. 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. 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.

The disease may have run its natural course.

‡ ‡

Many diseases are cyclical.

‡ ‡

The placebo effect may be responsible.

‡

Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work
‡ ‡ 4. People

who hedge their bets credit the wrong

thing.
If improvement occurs after someone has had both "alternative" and sciencebased treatment, the fringe practice often gets a disproportionate share of the credit.

‡ ‡

original diagnosis or prognosis may have been incorrect.
5. The 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 inaccurate.

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mood improvement can be confused with cure.
6. Temporary 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 Work
‡ ‡ 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

outlandish.
Its promoters often use scientific terms and quote (or misquote) from scientific references. Some actually have reputable scientific training but have gone astray. 2. Ignore ‡ ‡

any 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. 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.

Don't fall for paranoid accusations.

‡ ‡ ‡ 6. 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.

Forget about "secret cures."

Ten Ways to Avoid Being Quacked
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. ‡
7. Be

Ten Ways to Avoid Being Quacked
‡

skeptical 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.

8. Be

‡ ‡ ‡

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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 Tinctures."

‡

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.

Spirulina 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

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: ‡

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Spirulina: Health Food or Fraud?
‡ ‡ 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 Fraud
‡ ‡ 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) Over reliance on anecdotal evidence. Play on supposed inconsistencies in science. Attempt to explain the (so far) unexplainable. Appeal to mysteries & myths. Argument by analogy. Argument by spurious similarity. 2. 3. 4.

5.

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. Over reliance on surveys and statistical arguments Filtering data. The ³grab-bag´ approach to data. Use of anachronistic arguments. Arguing against long-dead theories. Use of irrefutable hypothesis.

7. 8. 9. 10.

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 rigid.

‡ ‡ ‡

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 altogether.

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.

NATUROPATHY
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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 inactivity.

Do Viruses Cause Disease?
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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
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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 Stones!" 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.

‡ MANY NATURAL SUBSTANCES ARE VERY POISONOUS, INCLUDING SOME HERBAL REMEDIES

Natural Substances are Poisonous
TOBACCO ARISTOLOCHIA CHAPARELLE GERMANDER EPHEDRA

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