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Quoth chiropractor William Cole: “Have your doctor run a bunch of useless functional medicine tests”

“Functional medicine” preaches the “biochemical individuality” of each patient, which is why one of its key features is that its practitioners order reams of useless lab tests and then try to correct every abnormal level without considering (or even knowing) what these abnormalities mean, if anything. So they make up fake diagnoses and profit.

Well, I’m back.” It’s a new year, but I’m still dragging from the old one; so I’m going to start out slow. I’ve written about so-called “functional medicine” on many occasions before here on Respectful Insolence. The reason, of course, is that, of all the forms of “integrative medicine” pseudoscience practiced, functional medicine “feels” the most like real medicine, so much so that it often even fools physicians into thinking there must be something to it. Indeed, the guru of functional medicine, Dr. Mark Hyman, who originally made a name for himself advising moneyed urbanites who retreat to Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts, now counts Bill and Hillary Clinton as admirers. He’s also the founder of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, which, unfortunately, has apparently been highly successful (financially, that is) thus far, complete with stealth advertising disguised as news reports in Ohio. That’s because one of the hallmarks of “functional medicine” is the ordering of lab tests—lots and lots and lots and lots of laboratory tests. There’s a reason that I’ve described functional medicine as the “worst of both worlds”. It combines the massive overtesting and overtreatment that can happen in conventional medicine with pure quackery, like “detoxification,” naturopathy, homeopathy, and chiropractic. It’s basically “making it up as you go along” with respect to interpreting the dozens (sometimes hundreds) of laboratory tests ordered by functional medicine practitioners, plus treating fake diseases, like “adrenal fatigue” or “leaky gut.” Speaking of chiropractic, what spurred me to discuss functional medicine again is an article by a chiropractor named William Cole, “Feeling Off? These Are The Tests To Have Your Doctor Run.” It’s basically an article that encompasses all that is wrong with the very construct that is “functional medicine” in a single article.

Functional medicine

Before I get to the article itself, let’s briefly discuss functional medicine itself. There’s a reason the construct attracts not just physicians, but alternative medicine practitioners as well. The lab testing and false claims of being able to understand what the results of all those lab tests mean can be attractive to doctors, but its claims of “getting to the true cause” and how each person has “biochemical individuality” are particularly attractive to quacks, such that we now often see naturopaths and chiropractors claiming to practice “functional medicine.”

It’s actually a very old paradigm—old as in “ancient”—tarted up and combined with science-y sounding jargon. What do I mean by ancient? Well, let’s just reconsider the seven “precepts” or “principles” of FM yet again:

  • Acknowledging the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness
  • Incorporating a patient-centered rather than a disease-centered approach to treatment
  • Seeking a dynamic balance among the internal and external factors in a patient’s body, mind, and spirit
  • Addressing the web-like interconnections of internal physiological factors
  • Identifying health as a positive vitality—not merely the absence of disease—and emphasizing those factors that encourage a vigorous physiology
  • Promoting organ reserve as a means of enhancing the health span, not just the life span, of each patient
  • Functional Medicine is a science-using profession

In any post about functional medicine, I feel compelled to remind our readers that the very first principle is, in essence, functional medicine’s “get out of jail free” card for basically anything its practitioners want to do. They can always find ways to justify any form of treatment, be it science-based or quackery, simply by invoking the “biochemical individuality” of the human being whom they are treating. I also like to remind my readers of my retort to this: Yes, human beings are individuals, and each human being is unique. However, we’re not so unique that our bodies don’t all work pretty much the same way. In other words, in terms of biology, physiology, and yes, systems biology, human beings are far more alike than they are different. If that weren’t the case, modern medicine, developed before we had the tools to probe our genetic individuality, wouldn’t work as well as it does. Functional medicine fetishizes “biochemical individuality”, not so much because humans are so incredibly different that each one absolutely has to have a markedly different treatment. We’re not. Functional medicine fetishizes “individuality” because it distinguishes functional medicine as a brand distinct from science-based medicine and, I suspect, because it makes functional medicine practitioners feel good, like “total” doctors never at a loss for an explanation for a patient’s symptoms or clinical condition, and makes patients feel like special snowflakes whose every bit of “individuality” is being catered to.

As for being a “science-using” profession”, functional uses science the same way a drunk uses a lamp post – not for illumination, but for support. Just look at the way functional medicine guru Mark Hyman has mangled autism science and systems biology, and you’ll soon realize that this is true. Also, any specialty that is willing to consider homeopathy as anything other than rank quackery cannot claim to be science-based.

But what’s ancient? Well, let’s look at its focus on “imbalances”:

  1. Hormonal and Neurotransmitter Imbalance
  2. Oxidation Reduction Imbalances and Mitochondropathy
  3. Detoxification and Biotransformational Imbalances
  4. Immune and Inflammatory Imbalances
  5. Digestive, Absorptive, and Gut Microbiological Imbalances
  6. Structural Imbalances from Cellular Membrane Function to the Musculoskeletal System
  7. Mind-Body/Body-Mind Imbalances

Does this remind you of anything? How about “imbalances” in the four humors? Or “imbalances” in the Five Elements in traditional Chinese medicine. Basically, functional medicine also fetishizes “balance” in a way that sounds very much like both ancient Asian and European medicine. It’s a philosophy more than a scientific principle. Mark Hyman, of course, is guilty of all these things, as are other prominent functional medicine advocates.

There’s also a variant of the “principles” of FM that I’ve come across. It’s similar, but with some differences:

FM has five basic principles. 1. We are all genetically and biochemically unique so it treats the individual, not the disease. 2. It’s science-based. 3. The body is intelligent and has the capacity for self-regulation. 4. The body has the ability to heal and prevent nearly all the diseases of ageing. 5. Health is not just the absence of disease, but a state of immense vitality.

Notice that part about the body being “intelligent”? Doesn’t that sound rather vitalistic to you? Of course, one other part is rather ridiculous, namely #4. If the body truly has the capacity to heal and prevent nearly all the diseases of aging, then why does every single human being eventually die? Why is it still quite uncommon for a human being to live beyond 100 years? Functional medicine mavens would claim it’s because of the “toxins” and our lifestyle choices, and it’s true that our lifestyle choices can contribute to and exacerbate chronic disease (one of the few things they get right), but it does not follow from that that if we did all the happy magical things functional medicine practitioners suggest that almost none of us would suffer from diseases of aging. We all would, although perhaps at a more advanced age. It would also still be true that none of us would live forever.

Now, back to the chiropractor.

Lab tests galore!

You can see the elements of functional medicine that I discussed above coming into play immediately right from the very beginning of Cole’s article:

When we’re not feeling our best—maybe we’re suffering from chronic bloat, migraines, fatigue, or insomnia—it’s tempting to search for that one hidden illness, dysfunction, or deficiency. The truth, however, is that every system of our body is inextricably connected to others, and health problems are almost always multifactorial—due to a number of different dysfunctions and imbalances that, over time, finally show up as various symptoms.

As a functional medicine practitioner, I run a lot of labs. They are great for pinpointing specific problem areas and help guide my treatment recommendations in a major way. And while it is important to remember that every person’s health case and biochemistry is unique—and health issues are often caused by a lot of small problems rather than one big one—talking to your doctor about testing is a great place to start.

Of course, Cole is not a doctor so he might not be able to order blood tests, depending on the state. Instead, he might have to have real doctors order blood tests. In any event, he’s basically telling people to do one thing that is rarely helpful when you have a health issue: Ask your doctor to order a bunch of lab studies. Cole even implicitly admits that these labs are not indicated in the next paragraph:

Unfortunately, many of these test won’t be covered by insurance (although you should always call and check to be sure!), and unless you have a particularly open-minded conventional medical doctor who is willing and has the time to explore these tests with you, the typical general practitioner probably won’t be ordering these tests on the reg or be comfortable making them part of your treatment plan. Because of this, I’d recommend working with an integrative or functional medicine doctor who is well-versed in these labs and how to read them from a holistic perspective.

The reason, of course, that insurance doesn’t cover most of these tests and that “conventional” physicians won’t order them is because they are unhelpful, useless, and/or not based in science and evidence. I once discussed a functional oncology case report published by naturopaths. They ordered dozens upon dozens of laboratory tests and prescribed a boatload of supplements for this poor woman with breast cancer, and the only things they did that arguably helped her were to prescribe exercise, a personal care giver, counseling, and perhaps her sleep log. Everything else was not evidence-based and almost certainly at best useless and at worst potentially harmful. All of it cost a lot of money.

But, hey, if you can’t get a real doctor to order you all the useless functional medicine tests Cole recommends, then Cole’s more than happy to recommend at-home tests:

If that’s not in the cards for financial or other reasons, another option would be to order the labs yourself. Companies like Thorne, EverlyWell, and Found My Fitness all have at-home tests you can purchase, administer yourself, and send in to be processed. These can also be pricey and time-intensive, but if you’re feeling less-than-optimal and you’ve explored the standard options offered by conventional medicine without any success, they can be great options. Many of them come with a detailed description of your results or a health plan based on your results.

I perused the lab tests offered by these companies. They include (of course) tests to measure heavy metals (e.g., cadmium, lead, mercury, zinc, copper, etc.) from a blood spot on filter paper; hormones using saliva and a blood spot; an “adrenal fatigue” factors using saliva; testosterone levels; vitamin D; thyroid hormones; and the like. There are “metabolism panels”, “methylation profiles”, micronutrient reports, and other tests favored by quacks. Not surprisingly, given that these tests are not evidence-based and certainly not optimal (saliva and blood spots are not the best source to measure many of these factors), there’s a quack Miranda warning on the websites of the companies selling the tests. (A quack Miranda warning goes something like this: “the tests we offer are not intended to diagnose or treat disease, or to substitute for a physician’s consultation” and the more common variant, “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”)

So what sort of labs does chiropractor Cole think you should have if you’re feeling a bit run down?

  1. A 24-hour adrenal stress index
  2. A full thyroid panel
  3. Gut permeability labs
  4. Sex hormone labs
  5. Inflammation labs
  6. Genetic testing

I’m surprised he didn’t include tests for chronic Lyme disease, candida, “heavy metal toxicity,” or “gluten sensitivity” (hint: there appears to be no such thing as non-celiac gluten sensitivity), other favorites as The One True Cause of All Diseases among quacks.

Adrenal fatigue, of course, is a fake disease. It’s a wastebasket diagnosis for people with symptoms like this:

  1. You feel tired for no reason.
  2. You have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
  3. You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed.
  4. You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
  5. You crave salty and sweet snacks.
  6. You feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.

It becomes clear if you look at a typical diagnostic questionnaire for adrenal fatigue that it’s a dubious diagnosis. I took the questionnaire myself, and guess what? According to the questionnaire I have “moderate” adrenal fatigue myself! Get me to a naturopath, STAT, for some diet changes and supplements! Well, not so fast. The Hormone Foundation and The Endocrine Society both point out that adrenal fatigue is a bogus diagnosis. Adrenal insufficiency is a real diagnosis, and, yes, sometimes it’s not obvious to diagnose, leading to confusion, but there are definite diagnostic criteria to guide physicians in making it. But “adrenal fatigue” is a nonexistent diagnosis.

As I mentioned before, the symptoms of “adrenal fatigue” are nonspecific and could be indicative of many different conditions—or nothing at all. Using the criteria I’ve seen on various naturopath, “integrative medicine,” and chiropractic websites, I conclude that nearly everybody suffers from some degree of “adrenal fatigue”; that is, unless one doesn’t ever have stress, is always happy, and eats a raw vegan diet, and even then one might still have “mild” adrenal fatigue.

Next up, thyroid:

Every cell of your body needs thyroid hormones to function, and unfortunately for us, many underlying thyroid problems don’t show up on standard labs because conventional medical doctors typically only run TSH and T4. A full thyroid panel is a blood test that looks at TSH and T4 but also at T3 uptake, total T3, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies to give you the most accurate picture of your thyroid health and rule out possible autoimmune thyroid problems. Functional medicine also has a narrower reference range for what constitutes a “healthy” thyroid, which can explain why you may still be experiencing symptoms but haven’t yet been diagnosed with a thyroid problem.

As for thyroid disease, yes, sometimes nonspecific symptoms of feeling “run down” or “out of it” can be an indication of hypothyroidism, but there are usually other clinical indications of thyroid disease. As Harriet Hall has pointed out, most thyroid tests marketed by people like Cole for screening for thyroid disease are not helpful (and messing around with T3 is dubious). Notice, however, the very last part about how functional medicine has a “narrower reference range” for normal thyroid labs? That’s so that functional medicine doctors can treat more people for “thyroid problems”. I mean, do you really think that a chiropractor or an association of “functional medicine” advocates dedicated to overtesting and overtreating is more likely to have the most useful normal range of thyroid tests nailed than, say, actual endocrine physicians and scientists? If you look at his article on thyroid labs, you’ll also see this tidbit:

If you still have low thyroid symptoms and your TSH is “normal,” something is not being addressed. How do we get the “normal” lab range anyway? The reference range is based on a statistical average of the population of that lab. This is why, other than vitamin D and cholesterol levels, lab reference ranges will vary depending on the lab.

The people who typically have work done on labs — in other words, the population of that lab — are statistically not the healthiest segment of the population. So if the lab results are “normal” despite your having symptoms, what your doctor is essentially saying is you’re just like a lot of other sick people.

In functional medicine, we look at a much narrower range where your body functions optimally and you feel great, in perfect health.

There isn’t a facepalm big enough for this except perhaps this one:

When Godzilla gives you the facepalm, you know the failure is monstrous.

I can sense our resident clinical pathologists getting concussions from all the facepalming. Does Cole really think that the population isn’t taken into account, that the reference ranges for thyroid function tests aren’t determined from healthy people without known thyroid disease? Here’s how reference ranges are really determined. I also can’t help but point out that in surgery, we sometimes say that the enemy of good is “perfect”. It’s in trying to make good results “better” or “perfect” during an operation that bad things happen, like accidentally cutting the aorta. I’ve described functional medicine as basically ordering every lab under the sun and then chasing the results and then using supplements, micronutrients, and other measures to try to make them perfect. Apparently Cole agrees with me that functional medicine is the chasing of the elusive “perfect” lab values.

As for the rest, measuring hormone levels outside of a specific indication is fraught with problems. Contrary to what Suzanne Somers or those promoting testosterone supplementation say, hormone supplementation is not an anti-aging panacea. “Leaky gut” is another fake diagnosis. “Inflammation panels” are rarely informative, and genetic testing should really only be done in concert with a genetic counsellor and/or physician skilled in the interpretation of the results. Basically, Cole is advocating tests that are expensive, whose results often can’t be interpreted and are not useful for guiding treatment, and that often lead to taking expensive and useless supplements.

Mitchell and Webb summed it up best

As I read Cole’s article, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a famous Mitchell and Webb comedy sketch about homeopathy. It’s pretty close to as applicable to functional medicine as to homeopathy if a few changes are made. For example, in my functional medicine version of the sketch, the doctors portrayed by Mitchell and Webb would be measuring hormone and metabolite levels of the trauma patient and maybe testing him for adrenal fatigue while giving him large doses of intravenous vitamin C while his condition deteriorated:

Of course, the part that is most applicable to functional medicine is this line near the end:

…when someone comes in with a vague sense of unease, or a touch of the nerves, or just more money than sense, you’ll be there for them, a bottle of basically just water in one hand, a huge invoice in the other.

In my functional medicine version of this sketch, all I’d change would be the part about a “bottle of basically just water in one hand, a huge invoice in the other,” for which I’d substitute something like “reams of useless and impossible-to-interpret lab results with a plan to correct each and every one of them in one hand, a huge invoice in the other.”

Now that’s functional medicine in a nutshell.

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]

61 replies on “Quoth chiropractor William Cole: “Have your doctor run a bunch of useless functional medicine tests””

“So if the lab results are “normal” despite your having symptoms, what your doctor is essentially saying is you’re just like a lot of other sick people.”

Why order the labs in the first place if you’re going to disregard results in the normal range and treat the patient anyway?

I’m also confused about this business of functional multifactorial illness, as it conflicts with the mantra of One True Cause of Disease.

Obviously I need a stronger infusion of coffee to help correct my adrenal fatigue/thyroid insufficiency/gut permeability malfunctions, and get my cerebral cortex around these important concepts.

Welcome back! Nice start to a brand New Year of insolence. I’ll be forwarding this to a couple of snowflakes I know.

Re. “Careful, you might cause a blizzard or avalanche”:

Only if the snowflakes’ snow is in a state of dynamic imbalance that’s in need of transformation.

Speaking of which I’m surprised that Orac didn’t say something about that word “biotransformational.” OTOH by now he’s trained us well to spot those kinds of things and how they’re done:

Take a sciency-sounding prefix (“bio-“), add it to an aspirational word (“transformation”), and then change the “part of speech” such as by turning a noun into a verb or a verb into a noun (in this case add the suffix “-al” to render a verb into an adjective):

Voila!, instant neologism that can be used for the marketing of dreck!

Sorry to hear the Clintons bought into this stuff. Whether one agrees or disagrees with their politics, both Bill & Hillary are frightfully smart, though of course they’re both laypeople when it comes to medicine. OTOH a lot of frightfully smart people in Silicon Valley have bought into what I consider the Ultimate Quackery, the promise of “curing death” and achieving immortality via “uploading” their minds into computers. Ugh.

As I’ve learned by reading Orac and others in the wider science-based community, being frightfully smart and an expert at something, doesn’t make one an expert at something else.

Transformational snow tires, anyone?

Betty, verbiage in the above article: “Indeed, the guru of functional medicine, Dr. Mark Hyman, who originally made a name for himself advising moneyed urbanites who retreat to Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts, now counts Bill and Hillary Clinton as admirers.”

Try reading the first paragraph again.

Thanks Chris. Yes I guess part of the problem is there is some good advice peppered in with everything else. And if you are seeing the functional doctor as your primary care physician, they are going to run regular tests and provide some sound practical advice in addition to other measures that are unorthodox.

“they are going to run regular tests”

How do you know those tests are valid? It seems many are not.

and unless you have a particularly open-minded conventional medical doctor who is willing and has the time to explore these tests with you,

This statement is so condescending and slimey. The chiroquack is implying that only a “good” physician will see the virtue of ordering all of those useless labs.

I am really sick of this kind of slime being normalized. I got dumped by an Ob-Gyn two years ago who could not be bothered to apply actual intellectual energy to my problems. She was lazy, arrogant, callous, and a really offensive burnout. I confronted her, and she dumped me.

They now get away with this because of decades of public conditioning about MDeities.. I had thirty years of exposure to the dark side of it at four solid medical schools, so I do not subscribe to the utter arrogance and will give them an eff you when they try to pull this crapperooney with me. They usually dump me. No surprise there, of course. A large part of my job at the last med school was investigating scientific and medical misconduct. Do not pull this crap with me, people.

So sick of chiros. They know next to nothing about adult medicine and less than nothing for pediatric medicine. Plus they are almost always anti-vax.

In my line of work, a battery of tests like the ones ordered by typical FM practitioners would be called a fishing expedition. Funding agencies do not like to fund fishing expeditions, and it is good that most insurers won’t either.

That’s why FM practitioners will ignore test results that fall in the normal range (if they know what that is). It just means they have to look harder for the cause of what ails you. And if you happen to be a hypochondriac (I suspect that such people are disproportionately likely to be attracted to FM practitioners), you will probably go along with it, as long as your wallet is thick enough.

The right way to use medical lab tests, of course, is to find the answers to specific questions you may have about a patient’s health. For instance, certain tests are part of a normal physical exam, and the purpose is to determine that certain things like cholesterol levels are within the normal range. Or, if you have cold/flu symptoms less than a year after you have traveled in a malaria-endemic zone, it makes sense to test for malaria just in case. But that’s not what FM practitioners do.

In my line of work, a battery of tests like the ones ordered by typical FM practitioners would be called a fishing expedition.

So, not enthusiastic about the Circular Electron Positron Collider?

I’ve always thought one thing about hormones is not well understood. Hormones don’t actually do anything. They bind to genes and promote gene expression. They facilitate lipid oxidation. All that does something.

Higher hormones means more stuff happening faster, but the limiting factor is your cells, not the hormones. And if you mess with the hormones you just trigger the down regulation of your own natural hormones. Taking more and more stuff to keep your numbers continually too high imbalances you, not the other way around.

Insulin is a hormone. Keeping that too high or too low has seriously, potentially life threatening effects. It’s essential to bring glucose into a cell for metabolism to occur.

Hormones regulate essential body functions. That’s what the endocrine system does.

I don’t understand the comment about hormones not doing anything. If your tsh levels are too high or low, you die. If your hormone levels are off, you might not be able to get pregnant. Etc.

What did the main article say first about hormones… using ctrl-f I find these words: “(saliva and blood spots are not the best source to measure many of these factors),”

It has nothing to do with the actual hormones, the criticism are the tests. They are not actually real tests.

And probably also a symptom of, among other things, colon cancer. This symptom should not necessarily be blown off, no pun intended.

Yes. A vet tried to con me into this a few weeks ago before I discovered that she was a damned homeopath. Then they dumped me and there was a big fight over that. She pushed a lot of stupid woo-ey stuff before I just put my foot down and said NO. If these people actually go to school for this, I think what they mainly learn is how to sell this stuff. When you start talking to me about “energy healing” with my hubby who is a tenured professor of biology–one of whose PhD students has worked at Orac’s institution, BTW, and is doing solid basic cancer biology work, I am outta there.

I am still trying to figure out how people do DVMs and MDs and still get caught in Crazyworld. Oz is the perfect example. $$$$$$, of course–primarily. Oprah is an uneducated and uncritical nincompoop who gloms onto whatever shiny thing catches her eye.

They can’t get rid of him. A whole collection of his colleagues wants him out of there at Columbia. My grandfather was senior faculty at Columbia Medical School. This would completely horrify him. They cannot get rid of OZ, so what in the h—is wrong there?!?!?.Why is he still there?!?!?

Weenies. He needs to go. Yesterday.

Does this mean that functional medicine, besides being an excellent opportunity for cash flow, is also a specialty for treating all those hypochondriacs who want to be able to legitimately tell friends, family, and acquaintances “see, I really do have a medical condition?”

Do recognize that patients are seeking alternative treatments because they are not getting better with allopathic doctors. They are not all hypochondriacs. There are not enough hypochondriacs to support this business, these are patients whose feel their needs are not being met. Sometimes people do feel better after seeing them. Also Sometimes their approach is a bunch of b.s.

I would love to see the data on the percentage of the population identified as hypochondriac. Could you pass it on?

allopathic doctors

Jesus, you can’t swing a cat without this dumbshit solecism being spunked onto the wall.

Opus, it is estimated that hypochondriacs are under 5% of patients. Check it out at NIH. Norad, call this segment of doctors what you will, mainstream, non-functional, whatever. All I’m suggesting is it may be worthwhile to peel a few layers of the onion and understand why so many patients are seeing functional doctors. If they are not satisified with their standard doctors, why? Is there something this segment can do better? Or is it all about educating the ignorant population? Orac has pointed out numerous times that there are reputable medical institutions involved, so it’s not just about education.

Betty: “Opus, it is estimated that hypochondriacs are under 5% of patients. Check it out at NIH”

You made the claim, therefore you need to provide the evidence for that claim. Just post the PMID.

Opus, I did respond to your comment last night, and provided a link. Betty C JANUARY 5, 2019 AT 11:34 PM There are also other articles at NIH as well, that if you are really interestested in the topic of hypochondriacs, you should peruse. What is your angle, anyway? Do you think that hypochondriacs are driving the entire functional medicine business?

I wrote a series of essays in the late 90s for Gale’s Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries–a bad publisher–including one on Lasik, one on superbugs, and one on “functional” medicine and so-called neutroceuticals. The editor told me that almost anything on functional medicine would be acceptable. It was that bullshitty and vague. No kidding. I don’t think anything has really changed.

Functional medicine reminds me of the movie “A Beautiful mind.”

That’s because you’re an imbecile. Go learn to <a href=”>play the trumpet or something; it might teach you some reasoning skills, Mr. TIME TO POST.

Or just buy one of the outfits.

I dont know that Michael is an imbecile. I’m not sure that your comment has a lot of solid data backing this statement, either. Why are you so aggressive in putting someone down?

Functional medicine is a huge bowel movement–smelly and a lot of worthless crap.

If I remember correctly, A Beautiful Mind was a film about a fellow who constantly saw inconsequential patterns in random visual images, had a close relationship with an Englishman who did not exist, was pursued by government operatives led by an icy agent in a black suit who also didn’t exist and constructed a flow chart proving his ideas consisting of newspaper clippings connected by multiple circles and arrows which illustrated connections as fanciful as those other delusions which were portrayed by fine actors instead of by scrawls on a blackboard.
So in regards to MJD, I suppose if the shoe fits..

Oh Dude:
Notice that I say the film ( vs reality).

But I had to make the obvious comparison – which could possibly be applied to other anti-vaxxers like Conrick, Hooker, AJW and others as well
lots of circles and arrows, conspiracy theories- but no talented actors

I prefer Arlo Guthrie’s “27 color glossy 8×10’s with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was, to be used as evidence against us.” At least Officer Obie intended to tell a coherent story with those photos.

As for A Beautiful Mind, I read the book but didn’t see the movie. The book made clear that Nash had gone crazy but did not go too deep into his conspiracy theories.

The film portrays delusions as reality: the audience slowly learn that the university friend and the governmental agent are hallucinations and Nash’s wife discovers the blackboard** which enlightens her about his “work project”. Artistic license I suppose, I doubt he was like that.

To me the famed blackboard resembles woo theories I’ve encountered especially anti-vax explanations of how vaccines cause autism/ harm and what causes illness.
Serendipitously, Dr DG ( twitter, today ) asks for a term to designate woo techno-babble specific to anti-vax.

** I’ve seen this image used as an indicator of crazy ideas or conspiracy mongering.

Serendipitously, Dr DG ( twitter, today ) asks for a term to designate woo techno-babble specific to anti-vax.


I have upper Tsh levels that are in the high 2.5% of the population but they are considered “normal” by an allopathic doctor. My morning cortisol was in the low normal range to the very tenth of a decimal place. My blood count and hemocrit levels are trending toward lowest possible normal range. My husband, who had cancer, has more normal blood test ranges than I do. My body temp can run at 97.0. My blood sugar can run low. My doctor has said nothing about this. Another doctor I saw basically told me I could have worse conditions. I have chronic neck and shoulder pain. I am of normal weight and exercise and lift weights so they can’t tell me to do these things and I will get better. So the allopathic doctors shrug their shoulders. Seeing them is a waste of time. I went to functional nurse practitioner and have more or less found that a waste of time. So there you go you both functional and allopathic doctors have not really helped me.

“I dont know that Michael is an imbecile.”

Actually, he is. He thinks latex is the source of many evils. He has been a pest on this blog for ages. I usually ignore him. Check it out by doing this search:
Michael J. Dochniak site:

You have just stumbled onto this blog, and it seems you do not understand how it different from the ones you are used to. Before you comment you could familiarize yourself to the culture of a blog by reading several articles and the comments. It helps if you read the top menu items, especially the the “About” and “Who is…” parts.

Also understand this blog has been around for a long time, one very important post in an earlier form:

In short: be prepared to support your claims with real science and roll with the snark insolence.

Michael does have his own entry in the Encyclopedia of American Loons. That honour is not easy to get. The competition is tough.

No one seems to take into account that all lab values are associated with a confidence interval. If you test 20 substances, odds are that one will be significantly elevated or depressed. Serum sodium is rock solid, but proteins like C-reactive protein can vary by log units in repeat testing.
I get all my care at the Cleveland Clinic, that hotbed of functional medicine, but the number of lab tests ordered for me has actually dropped. It seems that functional medicine is not contagious.

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