Complementary and alternative medicine Quackery

The future of "integrative medicine" is now, unfortunately

I was depressed yesterday. I’ve been on vacation this week (staycation, actually, as I stayed at home and didn’t go on any trips); so you would think it would take a lot to depress me. It did. Scott Gavura over at Science-Based Medicine wrote about how another once-proud academic medical center, the University of Toronto, is letting the Trojan horse that is “integrative medicine” into the halls of its medical school and school of pharmacy. As I frequently say, much to the annoyance of advocates of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and “integrative medicine,” what “integrative medicine” does is to “integrate” quackery with real medicine, which neither validates the quackery nor improves the real medicine. Or, as my good bud Mark Crislip so aptly put it:

If you integrate fantasy with reality, you do not instantiate reality. If you mix cow pie with apple pie, it does not make the cow pie taste better; it makes the apple pie worse.

Yes, I’ve been trying to come up with a quote that captures the essence of “integrative medicine” better than Mark’s quote. I’ve yet to succeed; so I steal his quote whenever I can. It’s sort of the same way that I didn’t actually coin the term “quackademic medicine” to describe the infiltration of quackery into academic medicine. (Dr. R. W. Donnell did, as far as I’ve been able to ascertain.) However, I believe I’ve done more than anyone else to use and promote the term, both here and at my not-so-super-secret other blog. As they say, mediocre bloggers borrow. Great bloggers steal. Be that as it may, Scott’s post reminded me that I hadn’t looked much at quackademic medicine, at least not at the status of its infiltration into medical academia, in a while. Then I saw a review article entitled The Future of Integrative Medicine in The American Journal of Medicine by Victor S. Sierpina, MD, ABFM, ABIHM and James E. Dalen, MD, MPH. (Note that ABIHM stands for the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine and ABFM stands for the American Board of Family Medicine.). The article itself has no place in any self-respecting peer-reviewed medical journal, but there it is, much the same way that quackademic woo has been intermittently infiltrating the New England Journal of Medicine. The article itself is one massive apologia for integrative medicine.

Not surprisingly, it starts out, as virtually all such article start out, with the logical fallacy known as the appeal to popularity. I sometimes wonder if there is a script for these sorts of articles about CAM, in which they must begin with a paragraph trying to demonstrate how popular CAM is, the larger the percentage of people using CAM the better, even if the author has to include prayer and spirituality (which is religion and not medicine), exercise (which is not “alternative”), and nutrition (which is similarly not “alternative,” as long as the claims being made for it aren’t overblown). Sierpina and Dalen’s article is no exception. They immediately cite an article from 20 years ago that claimed that one in three people used “unconventional therapies.” (I can’t help but note that 20 years ago it was still acceptable to call quackery “unconventional” rather than to refer to it as CAM or “integrative medicine.” Unfortunately, that was also about the time that that started to change in a big way.) In any case, using this logical fallacy, they imply that because CAM is popular that there must be something to it. I always respond to such arguments by pointing out that nearly half of U.S. adults don’t believe in evolution. Does that mean that evolution is not a valid scientific theory? Science is not a popularity contest.

Next in the script of these articles—and I’ve read more of them than I can remember—is to extend the appeal to popularity to imply that you, as a reader, should jump on the bandwagon. The reason, if they are to be believed, that you should jump on the bandwagon is because modern medicine is too high-tech, doctors have lost touch with their roots as healers, and patients “feel lost” in our health care system. For example, Sierpina and Dalen write:

In the past several decades we have seen a sea change in the medical landscape from the solo practice, primary care country doctor to large urbanized health care systems, from high-touch, low-cost care to high-tech, specialized, expensive, sometimes impersonal health care. Some patients feel lost in our current health care system. They see specialist after specialist and receive prescription after prescription and test after test. They wonder whether their specialists speak to each other.

In the context of these historical and social changes, a field of unconventional medicine has evolved that has been known by a progression of names: holistic medicine, complementary and alternative medicine, and now integrative medicine. It is hoped that the perspectives offered by integrative medicine will eventually transform mainstream medicine by improving patient outcomes, reducing costs, improving safety, and increasing patient satisfaction.

Of course, just because modern medicine can be impersonal and confusing is not a justification for introducing quackery into medicine. I like to remind people that the primary care country doctor of 50 or 100 years ago that is so lionized often couldn’t do a heck of a lot other than commiserate with their patients and provide the human touch. Don’t get me wrong. That’s an important part of medicine that is difficult to maintain in our current healthcare environment. However, a far better solution would be to reintroduce the human element of caring and retain the efficacy of science-based medicine without introducing the mysticism, vitalism, and prescientific thinking that is at the heart of so much CAM. It’s a false dichotomy that is being argued: It’s either impersonal, mechanized medicine or it’s “integrating” quackery into medicine. There is another way that does not involve weakening the scientific foundation of medicine.

Even more off-base, the script for this sort of article always includes a claim that somehow CAM will “transform” medicine. No doubt it will. Indeed, it already has. Unfortunately, that “transformation” is not for the better, given that it involves injecting mystical faith healing like reiki and healing touch, vitalistic quackery like homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine, and cornucopias of quackery like naturopathy into modern medicine. To CAM advocates this is a good thing that will somehow “humanize” medicine. To me it is unnecessary quackery. Unfortunately, it is ascendant right now.

Next up in these articles is often the attempt to define just what “integrative medicine” is. My definition is fairly clear: Integrating quackery with real medicine. (I know, I repeat myself, but I want to drive this point home.) However, let’s see how Sierpina and Dalen try to explain how it is defined:

Integrative medicine has been defined as “the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.”

This definition, quoted from the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, is nonsense, of course. It’s complete gobbledygook that reinforces the false dichotomy that so irritates me. Once again, it is not necessary to embrace quackery in order to “reaffirm the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient” or to “focus on the whole person.” It just isn’t. Yet that’s the false dichotomy at the heart of all these articles. Yet that is exactly the dichotomy that CAM apologists hammer advocates of SBM over the head with in an effort to paint us as uncaring and more concerned with science than with actual patients. Of course, it is because we are so concerned with patients that we reject this dichotomy and insist on science-based medicine, but that’s a message that is sometimes hard to communicate, which lets writers like Sierpina and Dalen to write things like this:

The most obvious differences between integrative and conventional medicine are its practitioners, who offer longer consultations and emphasize minimally invasive therapies, such as mind-body approaches, nutrition, prevention, and lifestyle changes, and focus on healing and wellness. In addition to conventional therapies, they may recommend alternatives, such as acupuncture, dietary supplements, and botanicals. The doctor-patient relationship emphasizes joint decision-making by the patient and the physician.

Once again, it is not necessary to abandon SBM in order to emphasize joint decision-making by the patient and the physician. As I’ve pointed out multiple times before, the days of “Dr. Kildare”-style paternalism of 60 years ago and earlier are over, and that is generally a good thing. These days, good science-based doctors emphasize joint decision-making. The reason CAM practitioners emphasize joint decision-making so much, to the point of fetishizing it, is because that’s all they have that’s of value. The rest of what they offer consists of either quackery or science-based modalities that have been rebranded as being somehow “alternative,” such as pharmacognosy (natural products pharmacology) rebranded as herbalism and supplements, nutrition, lifestyle interventions, and exercise.

Once again Sierpina and Dalen continue to hammer on the appeal to popularity by launching straight into a discussion of how many academic medical centers have integrative medicine programs, in essence gloating about how in 1999 there were only eight medical school deans met to discuss CAM and create the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, which ultimately had eleven members. In 2012, there were 54 medical and health professions schools belonging to the Consortium, and today, according to Sierpina and Dalen, here’s where integrative medicine stands in 2013:

There is clear evidence that integrative medicine is becoming part of current mainstream medicine. Increasing numbers of fellowships in integrative medicine are being offered in our academic health centers. In 2013, there are fellowships in integrative medicine in 13 medical schools. In 2000, the University of Arizona established a 1000-hour online fellowship that has been completed by more than 1000 physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. This online fellowship makes it possible for fellows to continue their clinical practice during their fellowship.

A 200-hour curriculum for Integrative Medicine in Residency has been developed and is now in place in 30 family practice and 2 internal medicine residencies. The curriculum includes many of the topics that are not covered in the medical school curriculum, such as nutrition, mind–body therapies, nutritional and botanical supplements, alternative therapies (eg, acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic), and lifestyle medicine. A similar curriculum for pediatric residencies is being developed. The eventual goal is to include integrative medicine skills and competencies in all residency programs.

Sadly, they say this as though it were a good thing. It’s not. Unfortunately, thanks to the University of Arizona, the efforts to “integrate” pseudoscience into science-based medicine continue apace. For example, just the other day I saw an article cum press release touting how the University of Arizona’s Pediatric Integrative Medicine in Residency recently expanded its online offerings:

UA’s Pediatric Integrative Medicine in Residency program recently expanded its online curriculum to include four other universities in the United States, making it the first national online pediatric integrative medicine program.

Still in its pilot stage, the online curriculum now includes pediatric departments at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the University of Kansas and Eastern Virginia Medical School Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. Prior to the national launch, the online pilot program was only used at UA’s College of Medicine.

The Pediatric Integrative Medicine in Residency program allows medical school graduates working on their specialization to learn a variety of methods to treat children beyond traditional medicine.

These practices range from nutritional treatment to the Chinese healing tradition of acupuncture. Pediatric residents also learn stress management and physical activity as forms of treatment for their patients.

It always makes me cringe to think about subjecting children to acupuncture, sticking needles into children for no therapeutic benefit.

In any case, as I said at the beginning of this post, now I’m depressed. On the other hand, I’m also getting recharged. Once Labor Day passes, it’s back into the fray full tilt.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

53 replies on “The future of "integrative medicine" is now, unfortunately”

In the context of these historical and social changes, a field of unconventional medicine has evolved that has been known by a progression of names: holistic medicine, complementary and alternative medicine, and now integrative medicine.

Kind of the same way a grifter or a crook “has been known by a progression of names”.

OT ( I see that Orac is really in need of a laugh today** so I will provide, believe me, I will provide..)

Is ridicule of alt media honchos who sell woo ideas that in turn sell their woo product lines thus enriching themselves and garnering woo-tinged fame ever truly OT @ RI?
Plus, it’s Friday.

Today MIkey A informs us that-

” we are winning on so many fronts… GMOs will be shut out of the marketplace… pharmaceutical medicine is on the verge of collapse… dead, pasteurized processed food ” (also)

There is presently a “revolution of raising consciousness, advancing real science, holding corporations accountable and empowering individuals”

Yes, the revolution encompasses ” honest food”, “food freedom”, independent media”, “Personal liberty” and “consciousness”.

Mike assumes that people will stop eating fast food because he photographed some fibers in chicken.

He seems to be announcing vast over-turnings of the structure of society and reality every two weeks now.

** so am I.

Oh, golly. Here I am living southeast of Tucson and I’ve haven’t even paid attention to what’s happening at where I did my pediatrics residency–The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center–just what you’ve penned about, Orac. (I’ve been too busy simply trying to grow and keep my pediatric practice, as well as battling the vaccine stupid of certain FAAP pediatricians)

I looked at your link to the news article about (, and found a most arrogant of paragraphs by a first year resident in the pediatrics residency who makes me wonder why she even went to medical school:

“It just makes me really proud,” Jenkins said. “It makes me feel like we’re not only a research institute and we’re not only a medical institute, but we’re genuinely interested in taking care of the entire person.”

WTF does that mean?!? I didn’t like my doctors growing up as a child (having had horrible asthma and allergies), but after going through graduate school and a postdoc, I went to medical school because I realized I wanted to truly help children, and to do so from a science-based approach. This idea that I need to learn “nutrition” from this IM program of that I won’t consider “the entire person” when I go in with a family is ABSURD. It just pisses me off. This is why dipsh*ts like Sears/Gordon have screwed up our vaccination programs and now why you’ll probably be seeing (but how I hope not) neutropenic (from chemotherapy) children on the heme-onc ward getting unproven acupuncture needles put in them. Good flippin’ grief.

It’s funny how no one drives leukemia into remission using CAM, or diagnoses and resects a brain tumor using CAM or sets a broken limb using CAM or stents a coronary vessel of someone having an MI to save their life using CAM.

I have been to adult doctors (and even pediatricians) as a child who were not considerate (when a doctor walks in to see you and says “What are you here for?) with an accusing look, well, you’ve lost a lot of trust in them already.

We’ve brought a lot of this on ourselves by letting it happen. It’s time to stop this.

I have been to adult doctors (and even pediatricians) as a child who were not considerate (when a doctor walks in to see you and says “What are you here for?) with an accusing look, well, you’ve lost a lot of trust in them already.

What about doctors asking “what do you want me to do about it?”

@DW – Mikey’s claiming pharma and packaged food is almost dead? Hysterical gales of laughter are the only response to that. His bubble is clearly drifting further away from reality, bless him.

@Chris Hickie – I’m 35, and for the first time in a life full of interaction with doctors and consultants, I finally have a GP I can trust, who doesn’t treat me like an idiot or a child.

The first time I met him and had a consultation with him in 2010 I cried all the way home. Now, crying because of experiences with doctors are not a rarity for either me or the missus, but these tears? Sheer joy, relief, and disbelief because a doctor treated me like a human, and not as an inconvenience*. I am no longer scared to discuss my health with a doctor, and that is a tragic statement from someone who’s dealt solely with her own medical affairs for 22 years.

I finally got help for personal issues I’d been hiding due to fear of judgement, I finally have a doc who believes me when I say “I do not smoke, drink, use recreational drugs. or eat fried food or red meat”**, and who is capable of dealing with my multiple medical issues, instead of focussing on one thing and forgetting the others. He even said “You give me a chance to really challenge myself, and dig into new research so that I can find out how I can help you best. Anyone who treats you as if you’re being ill at them probably shouldn’t be practicing”

Luckily I’m not subject to the American for-profit system, so I’m incredibly lucky in that respect, but everyday medicine really does need to start taking a serious look just weeding out the rot (no names mentioned, ahem!), and ensuring that patients feel that they have some sense of agency in their own health care. Woo offers them that in spades, unfortunately. If quacktwitioners have no standards of care, targets, or outcomes to fulfill, they can do what they want for as long as they want.

*I’m talking about NHS doctors, however in 2005 I had the privilege to be treated by a private specialist, courtesy of the private health insurance for employees and their partners/families where Other Mrs elburto works. This guy was amazing, he fixed a problem that had been ruining my life since puberty, didn’t care that we are lesbians, and expressed horror at the fact that I’d been living in a special kind of hell for fifteen years because other gynaecologists had insisted that I was exaggerating or flat-out lying about my symptoms, and had trotted out the old “It’ll be better once you’ve had babies” spiel since I was thirteen.

I owe him my life and my relationship, because the problem made me suicidal, and the first year OMe and I were together was dominated by my symptoms. She too was mortified that I thought my experience was normal, and that I’d been dealing with it alone for so long.

**Doctors never believe us when we say we’re teetotal, non-smoking citizens who do not even own a chip pan or frying pan. Being poor and Northern (UK) comes with the stereotype of being a hard-drinking, chain-smoking, pie-and-chips-eating, subliterate ignoramus. Not only it a grossly offensive and upsetting belief, but the sheer classism inherent in the belief that poor=stupid and lazy really boils my p¡ss. The working poor get it from all sides, but when doctors (especially those from the South) treat the myth like gospel, then people get hurt.

I’ve never smoked, OMe quit in 2007, we used to drink, but the nearest gay-friendly pubs are twenty-odd miles away, and I think we just grew out of booze. Also, IBD+booze=hell, especially in k house with one loo!

As for drugs, I have free Fentanyl right here on my arm. Street drugs can’t beat that!

What about doctors asking “what do you want me to do about it?”

Sounds like an example of this:

The doctor-patient relationship emphasizes joint decision-making by the patient and the physician.

@TBruce – It’s all in the tone of the comments. I’ve been referred by specialists to other specialists often. Recently, before he could even close the exam room door, one specialist exclaimed to me, “Why did you come here?! What do you expect me to do for you? I don’t treat people like you.” The appointment did not last long. It was a total waste of money and time, but my insurance company paid for it. The sad part was that he could have helped if he had wanted to, but for whatever reason he did not want to get involved in a complex case.

Other doctors I’ve seen treat you like a King or Queen. It makes a huge difference in the patient-doctor relationship.

Yikes, there sure are a lot of docs out there with excrable social skills. I guess they like to model themselves on “House MD” but unfortunately they’re not, you know, actual geniuses.

My wife is a gyn nurse-practitioner. By every account, and knowing her as I do I fully believe it, she is meticulously careful and respectful of every patient she sees. She also knows a lot, but knows her limits. Elburto, I’ll bet you’d like her, and I’ll bet she’d like you, too.

@ TBruce
If you arrive at the doctors, because you often suffer from splitting headaches, I think the answer would be: “do something about those headaches, you are the expert.”

@elburto – Careful with that fentanyl. It’ll bite you when you’re not looking. I want GF Nigel to have good home for a long time.

Integrative medicine has been defined as “the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.

This is a textbook example of what I call a motherhood-and-apple-pie statement. The literal text is something that everybody in the medical business should aspire to. The problem is that most if not all of the practitioners who claim the label of “integrative medicine” for their practice don’t conform to that statement: they use inappropriate therapeutic approaches (homeopathy, reiki, etc.), and many of them are not informed by evidence (or rather, lack thereof) regarding the efficacy of these approaches.

Sorry for my sarcasm, it sometimes gets me in trouble. I was taking a shot at the Same Olde Shite that’s used to promote Integrative Medicine or whatever it’s called this week. i’ve heard exactly the same stuff throughout my career (which is a long, long time). I agree that a confrontive question like that is inexcusable. When I was in primary care, I would start by saying something along the lines of “What can I help you with today?’ or “What brings you to the office today?” Apart from an occasional joke (my car), I thought it was well received.

extend the appeal to popularity to imply that you, as a reader, should jump on the bandwagon

There is the honest point here that “All these ‘complementary therapists’ are making money from their scams, why shouldn’t you the reader grab yourself a slice of the cake?”

@Daisy – Don’t worry, Nigel and Bernard will have two mammies for a good while yet!

I learned my lesson about using hot water bottles for cramp at the same time as a fent patch, but who doesn’t need an eighteen hour nap now and then, eh? 😀

I’ve met my fair share of doctors who had the “So what?” attitude. The winner though, was the Prince among men, the consultant who was eager to treat my renal issue. That is, he was, until he took a full history. He mumbled something about the phone ringing in the office adjacent to the exam soon, disappeared in there, and never came back out! Two hours of our life wasted. I hate hearing that other people have had the same rotten experiences.

@@palindrom – She sounds fabulous!

My lovely doc works for a practice that now has some great nurse-practitioners. I’ve tried to avoid inducing laughing fits in the one doing gyno procedures on me, ‘cos last time I nearly ended up having the speculum as a permanent addition to my body!

HDB – I’d rather have someone grab their medical license so they can’t scam any others 😉

@HDB – Here’s a story about integrative quackery
for your displeasure in listening at the HuffPo, the wretched hive of scum and quackery. It nearly includes all forms of quackery rolled into one, and brace yourself, there’s more to come.

I’ll try to bring this on-topic; it’s an update about Alex Spourdalakis, the young autistic man murdered by his mother/carers.

The part relevant to this thread is that I bet the alternative practices she was using will be glorified in this docudrama instead of cited as proof she was abusing her son in a way similar to Munchausen-by-Proxy.

will be glorified in this docudrama
In this connection, AoA succumbs to a common but regrettable spelling mistake:

For interviews with Autism Media Channel and professional enquiries please contact Ryan Parmenter at Modern Panda Pubic Relations

So I sent ORAC’s comment about the University of Toronto’s new Woo Med School to my daughter (i.e., a UT graduate and managing editor of one -IMHO- of the better medical journals). I noted how the world just needs more Canadian homeopaths and accupuncturists. Here’s her response:

“I’ll corroborate there: pharmacy at UofT is the worst. At least they’re not allowed in the same building as the med faculty. That said, the surgical faculty isn’t much better — Our rejection rate of Canadian papers is 95% (cf. overall 74%)!”

Then I saw a review article entitled The Future of Integrative Medicine in The American Journal of Medicine by Victor S. Sierpina, MD, ABFM, ABIHM and James E. Dalen, MD, MPH. (Note that ABIHM stands for the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine and ABFM stands for the American Board of Family Medicine.).

Are you sure you didn’t mean to write “American Board of Fantasy Medicine” (which is how I originally read it)? I seem to remember Dr. Hall discussing some quack infiltrations of the ABFM.

Maybe we should interview people from the Advertising Department at some of these hospitals.

Back in the 1990s a guy in a hospital marketing department told me they were doing a lot of advertising to bring in pregnant women. He said the hospital which delivers a woman’s baby will probably have that woman, her husband, and all of her children as patients from then on. I guess maybe that ad cycle has run its course.

Are the hospitals doing this to snag baby boomers? The Worried Well? People who are ignorant, uneducated, stupid? I bet there are some interesting PowerPoint slides floating around in the Marketing offices.

I take a multivatamin, calcium, and Vitamin D each day on the advice of my (very wonderful science-based) MDs, and I take one melatonin tablet each evening because my natural sleeping cycle is that of a vampire bat. Does this make me a supporter of alternative medicine? Perhaps an ad man would think so.

I hear about most of this stuff on message boards for cancer patients, and I can’t help noticing the patients who really want Woo tend to be very difficult people. Somebody, please do some market research correlating the patients doctors rate as “hateful” with the number of supplements they take!

Years ago, shortly post-divorce, I was at a routine checkup which included a Pap smear, etc. The doc (who didn’t know me) asked me what I was using for birth control. I said, “Apparently, my personality.” The nurse, who DID know me, busted up laughing. The MD (slower on the uptake) lectured me on the health hazards of depression and poor self-image, and wanted to refer me to a therapist. Years later, the same doc seems to have evolved a sense of humor. I still see her–she practices very good medicine and seems to be able to assess and treat the entire “me” without recourse to bull-hockey. Which is saying something, since the last few years have been challenging, to say the least.

The great (unfortunately deceased) Dr. Rob Buckman told a story that he heard from another doc about a woman who got on well with her male doc. She was recently divorced too and was having a checkup, as she was lying on her back having a pap smear, she said “There are spiders up there.” The doc said “oh you mean it’s a long time since you had any sexual activity?”. “No” she said “there’s a spiders web on the ceiling!”

Ops, that came out a bit creepy, she actually said “There’s a cobweb up there”!!!!!

Going back to Denice #2 for a moment, don’t you just love the language of woo? Aren’t some of the terms just too, too precious? For instance, “revolution of raising consciousness”, “dead, pasteurized processed food” and of course that all-powerful word Empowerment.

I sincerely hope my food is dead. I’m planning on some beef stew tonight, and will be utterly shocked if it goes “Moooo” at me, just as I plunge my fork into it.

And can someone give me an idea what a Raised Conciousness looks like? It sounds like something out of the 1970’s but I’m probably just very unraised. I did try some Mary Jane once but it just made me awful sleepy, so it couldn’t have been that.

I prefer my food *not* to be attempting to eat me as I am eating it.

For one thing, dead food is *much* easier to catch.

In the words of J.R. “Bob” Dobbs –

I want my monkey brains well done.”

I very much agree. Eating live monkey brains is wrong, and I am not ashamed to say that out loud. If anyone disagrees, I just don’t think we can be friends.

My sisters granddaughter ask why I didn’t like the ocean. I explained that there were animals in the water that would kill you and eat you, but that my bigger worry was the animals that would do it the other way around.

Yes, I also told her later that it was a very unlikely chance of happening.

“there’s a spiders web on the ceiling!”

This is the wrong thing to say, in more situations than not.

Dear elburto and everyone – I don’t wanna get you all riled up by any means, but I’ve found the cure for all that ails you. You’ve mentioned this before and I think you should reconsider. I have determined that you have “chronic Lyme disease”. Yes, indeed. I’ve just heard it from an infamous, uh, I mean, a famous “LLMD” – there is no such thing as IBS. Listen to her video on Integrative and Functional medicine. All you have to do is follow her chronic Lyme treatment protocol, take some wormwood and some other ‘anti’-drugs, add in some happy thoughts and you too will be healed. Doesn’t this make you happy? She also offers NAET, Reflexology and Ear Candling, along with some genetic tests in case you have a real disease.

In support of this doctors efforts, Congressman Gibson wants to allow mass experimentation on patients by “Lyme-literate” ‘doctors’ and is attempting to pass laws to exempt and protect ‘doctors’ so as to legalize such experimentation. This is regardless of the fact that much of the treatments already have been shown to cause harm to patients, or are completely bogus such as homeopathy, Reiki, Applied Kinesology, energy medicine, NAET, and of course fatal drug overdoses and interactions, and even from herbs. Do we want to legalize such quackery? HELL NO! Even the Virginia Board of Medicine and local hospitals seem to have some issues with her practice and quality of care offered.

Back to Senator Gibson, he should know that doctors aren’t targeted for prescribing reasonable amounts of necessary or even potentially helpful medications. They are investigated by medical boards for more serious matters like sexually assaulting their patients, causing acute drug overdoses by grossly and negligently over-prescribing powerful medications and falsifying medical records and insurance claims, but Senator Gibson and his “Lyme-literate” bandwagon don’t want you to know that.

“They immediately cite an article from 20 years ago that claimed that one in three people used “unconventional therapies.””
Not very long ago, 50% of adult Americans smoked. I better go and light up.

If you are in the US, you have a powerful defense against woo peddlers in a medical setting. If the hospital sends in a reiki “master” or some such, use your magic by reciting this spell: “Leave and don’t come back. I deny you permission to examine or treat me or to consult on my case. The only note you have my permission to add to my chart is my refusal to have you as part of my care.”
I don’t know if you can actually stop them from writing in your chart, but it seems worth trying.

@HDB – Here’s a story about integrative quackery for your displeasure in listening at the HuffPo, the wretched hive of scum and quackery. It nearly includes all forms of quackery rolled into one, and brace yourself, there’s more to come.

@HDB, May I say I told you so?

Mercola has joined in defense of the HuffPo and Lyme-literate doctors. Quick everyone, save yourself. Go paint your house with silver paint.

Dr. Harrriet Hall has written an excellent article about the so-called chronic Lyme disease claims being inflated by the media.

Orac, your lot stick far worse things than acupuncture needles into children for no therapeutic benefit.


So, any evidence, or you continuing on your precious fact free rants and drive-by postings?

You asked, so here it is.

1. A study published in the Journal Annals of Epidemiology has shown that giving the Hepatitis B vaccine to newborn baby boys could triple the risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder compared to boys who were not vaccinated as neonates. The research was conducted at Stony Brook University Medical Centre, NY.

2. A study published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry by researchers at the Neural Dynamics Group, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia determined that Aluminum, a highly neurotoxic metal and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant may be a significant contributing factor to the rising prevalence of ASD in the Western World. They showed that the correlation between ASD prevalence and the Aluminum adjuvant exposure appears to be the highest at 3-4 months of age. The studies also show that children from countries with the highest ASD appear to have a much higher exposure to Aluminum from vaccines.

3. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues by the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of New York shows how researchers suspect one or more environmental triggers are needed to develop autism, regardless of whether individuals have a genetic predisposition or not. They determined that one of those triggers might be the “battery of vaccinations that young children receive.” Researchers found a positive and statistically significant relationship between autism and vaccinations. They determined that the higher the proportion of children receiving recommended vaccinations, the higher the prevalence of autism. A 1 % increase in vaccination was associated with an additional 680 children having autism. The results suggest that vaccines may be linked to autism and encourages more in depth study before continually administering these vaccines.

4. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology by the Department of Neurosurgery at The Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston has shown that ASD is a disorder caused by a problem in brain development. They looked at B-cells and their sensitivity levels to thimerosal, a commonly used additive in many vaccines. They determined that ASD patients have a heightened sensitivity to thimerosal which would restrict cell proliferation that is typically found after vaccination. The research shows that individuals who have this hypersensitivity to thimerosal could make them highly susceptible to toxins like thimerosal, and that individuals with a mild mitochondrial defect may be affected by thimerosal. The fact that ASD patients’ B cells exhibit hypersensitivity to thimerosal tells us something.

5. A study published in the Journal of Biomedical Sciences determined that the autoimmunity to the central nervous system may play a causal role in autism. Researchers discovered that because many autistic children harbour elevated levels of measles antibodies, they should conduct a serological study of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and myelin basic protein (MBP) autoantibodies. They used serum samples of 125 autistic children and 92 controlled children. Their analysis showed a significant increase in the level of MMR antibodies in autistic children. The study concludes that the autistic children had an inappropriate or abnormal antibody response to MMR. The study determined that autism could be a result from an atypical measles infection that produces neurological symptoms in some children. The source of this virus could be a variant of MV, or it could be the MMR vaccine.

There is more:

1. A study published in the Journal Annals of Epidemiology has shown that….

I see that your “research,” beyond cutting and pasting, doesn’t extend even so far as to notice the name of the journal is wrong, and not just by a little bit.

Here’s the “substance ” of those studies you tout:
Hepatitis B vaccine!
No, it’s aluminum!
No, it’s “too many, too soon”!
No, it’s thimerosol! Not just regular thimerosol, but homeopathic thimerosol that’s still in vaccines, even though they don’t add it to vaccines any more!
No, it’s the MMR vaccine!

Make up your tiny mind.

Sandrop, you also ignore those studies have addressed on this blog. Which you can find easily by using their actual titles and the search box on this page.

The first one by a bunch of students was priceless and covered at

The third one is written by a former SafeMinds board member, Gayle DeLong. She is a professor of finance/economics in a business school. She had this goofy idea that any child who received speech/language therapy was autistic. Which would be a big surprise of some folks I know who specialized in teaching the hard of hearing, and a huge surprise to most speech/language therapists.

The fourth is covered at , which says: “In vitro study, thimerosal (no longer used in U.S. childhood vaccines except for some influenza vaccines), concentrations higher than formerly found in vaccines. Only 11 families studied.”

… and the rest of the nonsense is taken down there.

Here is an idea, Sandrop, try thinking for yourself instead of cutting and pasting from silly websites.

The second one is just another one by the comedy duo of Shaw and Tomljenovic, there are several articles about them on this blog.

Meow, Narad. Meow. Ignore substance. Go for the superficial error.

I’d say that the fact that you’ve demonstrated you haven’t read what you’re waving around counts as “substance.”

I see that your “research,” beyond cutting and pasting, doesn’t extend even so far as to notice the name of the journal is wrong, and not just by a little bit.

I suspect that Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues is not the proper name of a journal, either.

Googling for Sandrop’s diagnostic solecisms indicates that the source of the plagiarised piffle is one Arjun Walia (who is evidently also guilty of careless copy-pasting).
Sandrop, if you’re going to copy-paste, is it really so hard to attribute the cause? Is it really so hard to read what you’re copying and spot the more egregious errors of non-existent journals? Or is it just easier to leave it to others to do your reading and then accuse them of Meowing?

Arjun Walia’s other recent scoops are listed…

Extraterrestrial Fossils Uncovered Inside Meteorite Found In Sri Lanka
Attention Deodorant Users: New Studies Link Aluminum To Breast Cancer
The Intentional Programming Of The Human Race: It’s Time To Get Back Into Your Heart
Russian Prime Minister Confirms The Existence Of Intelligent Extraterrestrial Life

I am in awe at the research skills revealed here.

There is more:
…and belatedly I see that Sandrop has attributed the source of the piffle. Just failed to read it.
Just saying, if I were the one passing on a list of publications from someone else, and that other person has also claimed that Russian Prime Minister Confirms The Existence Of Intelligent Extraterrestrial Life, then I would actually read the list — and the publications themselves — rather than take the source’s word for it.

Acupuncture has scientific validation for many conditions. It’s evidence-based medicine.
Children who have acupuncture, feel better and ask their parents to see the acupuncturist.
It’s result driven, based on science.

Um, Orac? I don’t know who the poster at #50 is, but it sure isn’t me.

Pick another ‘nym, toots. Preferably one that reflects your totally unfounded belief that pricking children with dirty needles results in anything but hepatitis.

^ Well, there’s the main problem with a comments thread vs. a forum: no strictly enforced One Steve Limit.

@shay (#50)

So, care to share some of that science? Or are you going to be another hit-and-run pseudoscientific troll?

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