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A commercial disguised as a local news report about “functional neurologist” Chris Turnpaugh

Chris Turnpaugh, a chiropractor and “functional neurologist,” treated a young man with a traumatic brain injury. Did it do any good? Of course not, functional neurology is just as much quackery as any functional medicine.

I frequently write about a type of medicine known as “functional medicine.” In brief, I’m not a fan. The reason is simple. What practitioners call funtional medicine involves massive overtesting and “make it up as you go along” overtreatment that is not based on evidence but has become very popular, with concierge practices popping up everywhere and academic medical centers like the Cleveland Clinic going all-in for this form of quackery. Functional medicine sounds appealing on the surface, with its claims of respecting the “biochemical individuality” of every patient, but in reality involves running a lot of unnecessary tests, chasing dozens of laboratory abnormalities, and mixing in quackery like homeopathy and acupuncture. Unfortunately, that popularity is fueled also by credulous news stories like this one, which I came across recently. Even though it’s a month old, I think it’s worth discussing the case of Jackie Lithgow and his treatment by functional medicine practitioner Chris Turnpaugh through the lens of this news report by the Harrisburg, PA CBS affiliate WHP CBS 21, Piecing the puzzle together: How alternative medicine helped save Jackie Lithgow’s life.

Here’s the video:

It’s the story of Jackie Lithgow, a college student who on February 23, 2014 was, quite literally, in the wrong place at the wrong time. While at a party, a fight broke out and Jackie tried to break it up. He was hit from behind, fell to the ground, and cracked his skull open, suffering a major traumatic brain injury. His story was described thusly:

Jackie’s parents rushed to the hospital.

“We just sat there and looked at each other, this can’t be happening,” Jim said.
Jackie was in critical condition.

“So when we got there, they had a bolt in his head to try to relieve pressure. The doctor said, ‘Listen, if it gets worse we have to take at least take one piece of his skull off.'”

Then came a 15 day coma and setback after setback.

“The process, it was long,” said Jim. “The roller coaster ride was tough but we had so much support.”

From intense physical therapy to speech therapy. Jackie fought to be Jackie again.

“I really took it to heart to show other people who were following my journey,” he said.

Months after that horrific night, Jackie was making progress but still far from himself.

Unfortunately, this is not an atypical course after a major traumatic brain injury. Recovery is slow. Sometimes it gets to the point where a near-complete functional recovery, but that can take months to years. Sometimes there is little or no progress. Sometimes, there is progress to a point, and then a plateau. Either way, traumatic brain injury is a horrible thing, something that can rob a young person of who he is and leave his life shattered.

Note how the story has progressed thus far. Jackie Lithgow suffered a major traumatic brain injury, but was making slow but steady progress with intense physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. You can see from the video that he has made a remarkable recovery, speaking normally and fluently. Conventional therapy was working, although it’s entirely understandable how frustrating it was to Jackie and his family and how slow the progress was, with ups and downs, improvements interspersed with setbacks. I can only imagine what it was like. So it’s not surprising that the parents would look for other options. Unfortunately, the other option they found was a functional medicine practitioner named Chris Turnpaugh. The firt thing I noticed is that Turnpaugh is not a doctor, despite being repeatedly referred to as one in the news report. He’s a chiropractor who describes himself thusly:

Dr. Chris Turnpaugh is a skilled practitioner whose primary focus is on finding and addressing the root cause of disease. He has extensive experience in supporting patients who are dealing with the most difficult, chronic, autoimmune and neurological health conditions. Patients from around the country seek out his expertise to restore their health. Since opening his practice in 1999, he has worked with local hospitals and national laboratories to implement testing protocols leading to further breakthroughs in the treatment of complicated cases.

Dr. Turnpaugh’s vast knowledge of functional medicine and functional neurology, coupled with more than 16 years in practice, has earned him a reputation of being well-respected by his peers and other medical professionals. In 2013, he was invited to join the board of the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation. His application of functional medicine as it relates to the neuroendocrine system is a unique clinical approach to non-pharmacological treatments.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about functional medicine, it’s that quacks like chiropractors are drawn to it. Naturopaths, in particular, love it. In this case, Turnpaugh has “DACNB” after his name. I didn’t recall having ever seen that after a chiropractor’s name; so a quick Googling was in order. DACNB stands for Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board. Yes, there is apparently such a thing as chiropractic neurology, which should be as horrifying to you as it is to me. Be that as it may, there are also a lot of MDs who are attracted to functional medicine as well. Indeed, the guru of functional medicine, Dr. Mark Hyman, is an MD.

Why would quacks be so attracted to functional medicine? Just consider the seven precepts of functional medicine:

  • 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

There are different lists describing the principles of functional medicine, but they all more or less say the same thing in different ways. There is a fetishization of the “biochemical individuality” of each person, which plays well among quacks. 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 reasons, science-based or not, 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 the first principle is simple: Yes, human beings are individuals, and each human being is unique. However, we’re not so unique that our bodies don’t all work very similarly. 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”, I like to say that functional medicine uses science the same way a drunk uses a lamp post – not for illumination, but for support.

But back to Chris Turnpaugh and Jackie Lithgow’s anecdote. I will give the reporter a little credit. Functional medicine was not portrayed as the one thing that saved Jackie’ life, the headline notwithstanding, although if all you read were the headline and the first part of the story you might easily get that impression. Rather, credit was given to the years of physical, occupational, and speech therapy, with Turnpaugh and functional medicine being represented as the “final piece of the puzzle” that healed him. Actually, I suppose that’s pretty bad too, as Turnpaugh is described as “last piece of the puzzle of care to make a leap.”

The anecdote continues:

Dr. Turnpaugh specializes in Functional Neurology, which helps fire up parts of the brain. As he says, it begins with nourishing the brain.

“Does the brain have the proper raw materials if you will, the fuel to even work correctly? And in Jackie’s case it didn’t have the right fuel,” says Dr. Turnpaugh.

That factor is determined after a number of blood tests.

“Different standard lab tests, which are reflective of not disease states but insufficiency states, and that’s the grey area where functional medicine thrives,” Dr. Turnpaugh says.

This is what we we call inadvertently revealing a truth in a way that Turnpaugh probably didn’t intend. Basically, functional neurology is a “subspecialty” of functional medicine that is every bit as non-evidence-based as functional medicine—worse, even, as functional neurology is very closely aligned with chiropractic practice. In essence, functional neurology is based on the belief that reversible lesions in the nervous system are the cause of a multitude of conditions and that specific clusters of neurons can be positively affected by chiropractic manipulative therapy and by many other stimuli. It’s an unholy union between functional medicine and chiropractic.

As I’ve discussed before, functional medicine practitioners love to run batteries of tests, many of which are standard but a lot of which are not; they are the “grey area” that Turnpaugh referred to. For instance, I once described a case report describing how functional medicine was used as an adjunct to breast cancer treatment in 80 year old woman. Dozens of lab tests were ordered, and batteries of supplements used to treat her, including high dose intravenous vitamin C. The end result was no demonstrable added benefit, with the sole exception being the functional medicine recommendations that were entirely within the purview of conventional medicine, exercise, a personal care giver, counseling, and her sleep log. As I like to say, there are some things that functional medicine gets right, but these are no different than the things every primary care doctor should be getting right, namely emphasizing healthy lifestyles, good nutrition, sufficient exercise, adequate sleep, and cessation of habits known to be harmful to health (e.g., smoking). Again, these are nothing that any good primary care doctor wouldn’t take care of, no massive overtesting or quackery needed.

Make no mistake, Chris Turnpaugh offers a lot of quackery, too. including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic
  • Cranial Sacral Therapy
  • Decompression Therapy
  • Frequency Specific Micro current
  • Functional Neurology
  • Holistic Pediatrics
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
  • IV Nutrition Therapy
  • Reflexology

He sells supplements, too. Lots of supplements. Not surprisingly, supplements were what he used to treat Jackie Lithgow:

These tests worked as a guideline to determine what Jackie needed to help the healing process.

“Something simple like tumeric or curcumin, resveratrol, giving some sub straights for the mitochondria.”

These are just a few of the supplements that Lithgow took while working towards his recovery. In just days after adding functional medicine into the mix, Jackie began to make progress at physical therapy.

Dr. Turnpaugh says , “His occupational, speech, and physical therapists all said, ‘I don’t know what you’re doing, but we’re able to get breakthroughs now that we weren’t able to before.”

Although it is possible that whatever Turnpaugh did might have made a difference, it is, of course, incredibly unlikely that tumeric or curcumin, resveratrol had anything to do with Lithgow starting to do better at occupational, speech, and physical therapy. What we’re probably dealing with is probably a bit of confirmation bias. You do something new, hoping that it will help you, and—surprise!—you end up perceiving and then remembering that it did.

There was more woo, of course:

Along with supplements and different compounds, Jackie had to switch his diet dropping certain foods that inflame the brain.

Jackie says he cut out gluten and sticks to a low sugar diet, “because sugar inflames the brain and there’s many different things he told me to get better faster.”

The pieces of the puzzle were coming together.

“When you do this type stuff long enough you’re going to see some quote on quote miracles happen,” says Turnpaugh.

It’s more like: If you do something like what Turnpaugh is doing, eventually you’ll see some people show remarkable improvement because the clinical course after a traumatic brain injury can be widely variable. By random chance, even if you were using homeopathy, you can expect to see the occasional patient make a dramatic recovery even though you’re giving them nothing but magic water. You’ll also tend to forget about all the patients who didn’t get better that fast, because that’s the nature of confirmation bias. We remember things that support our preexisting beliefs and biases and tend to forget things that do not. Every human being does this. The difference between skeptics and everyone else is that skeptics realize that confirmation bias is built into human nature and try to compensate for it.

I’m happy that Jackie Lithgow is now doing so well. It’s been a long road, five years since his injury, and he’s finally getting back to something resembling a normal life, although he’ll never be the same again. Victims of such serious traumatic brain injury almost never are. However, functional medicine almost certainly had nothing to do with his improvement. True, his family does give credit where credit is due, namely to the team of doctors and nurses, as well as the occupational, speech, and physical therapists who worked with him for years. Unfortunately, they elevate a functional medicine quack chiropractor named Chris Turnpaugh by portraying him as the “missing piece” that Jackie Lithgow needed to make a major breakthrough. Overall, the news report reads like a commercial for Chris Turnpaugh’s functional medicine practice. Maybe it was. After all, WHP CBS 21 is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

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]

73 replies on “A commercial disguised as a local news report about “functional neurologist” Chris Turnpaugh”

“Something simple like tumeric or curcumin, resveratrol, giving some sub straights for the mitochondria.”

Mitochondria love those sub straights. They like substrates even more.

On a more serious note, there is animal model evidence for use of resveratrol in traumatic brain injury. For instance, Shi et al Med Sci Monit. 2018; v24: 1097–1103 and Feng et al Mol Med Rep. 2016 v13(6):5248-54. But it’s a long way from improving function in a rat to use in humans. For example, resveratrol is also beneficial in treating rats with alzheimer disease (or, the rat equivalent), but it fails in human clinical trials of AD. I was unable to find any published human data on RSV in TBI. Even if it works in humans, the dose isn’t known. The Feng study above used 100mg/kg which is a massive dose of anything for a rat.

There’s also animal model evidence for curcumin in TBI, but that seems a bit inconsistent to my casual read.

Disclaimer: I am a neurologist (MD), and work for a drug company. I don’t work on any resveratrol or curcumin related therapies, and am not currently involved in any TBI research. So, I have no financial conflict of interest.

Animal evidence is all well and good, David. But we all know that what seems promising in animals often doesn’t work out in humans.

Thus there is no evidence for justification for what this quack chiropractor is doing, and I sincerely doubt it had any effect on this young man’s recovery.

Well, yeah. That’s how functional medicine rolls. FM practitioners take preliminary cell culture and animal studies and assume that it’ll work in humans without the bother of a clinical trial, not realizing that most preclinical results fail when tested in humans.

The Feng study above used 100mg/kg which is a massive dose of anything for a rat.

Came from a Chinese laboratory… published through Spandidos… neither of these inspire one to take it seriously.

Sub Straights. That’s amazing. Right up there with Milk Toast.

Yeah, animal models for efficacy are, for the most part, fairly useless, IMO. They’re most useful for pathway biomarkers and the like.

For instance, Shi et al Med Sci Monit. 2018; v24: 1097–1103 and Feng et al Mol Med Rep. 2016 v13(6):5248-54.

I do so love the copying and pasting of Pubmed-styled citations without the DOI.

I grind my teeth every time I hear functional medicine fans brag about it being patient centered.

They don’t understand what patient centered really means. It means putting their needs at the center of your care plan, not losing the person amidst all the jargon and testing. It means not doing things that aren’t in the patient’s best interest.

The way functional “medicine” practitioners use the term, it’s more like a celebration of a patient’s uniqueness. It’s about ego stroking, and that’s not helpful to patients who may have to face uncomfortable news. It does not do the patient a service in the long run to drain their wallet of money they could use elsewhere for actual priorities, to give them tests and treatments they don’t need and won’t do them any good.

Functional medicine isn’t just quackery. It’s a scam.

It’s getting harder and harder to find a “straight” chiropractor, as they increasingly tout themselves as medical specialists treating a wide range of internal medical complaints.

This guy does a ton of newspaper advertising (downplaying his DC qualifications), presenting himself as an Integrative and Functional Medicine specialist, handling diabetes and thyroid disease, along with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, MS and Parkinson’s. His glossy website talks about having a “team of physicians”, but there seems to be only one (a “supervising” DO).

Nauseating hype.

Newspaper ads… Yes. I regularly see full page ads in the Seattle Times for this kind of “Functional” B.S.

Sometimes they don’t even reveal that they are a chiropractor in the ad!

Hmm. Sounds dangerously close to practicing medicine without a license.

So, I guess my friend with a PhD in Speech Communications is wasting her time teaching at a university when she could be raking it in as a “doctor” recommending who knows what to “feed” the brain. After all, she is entitled to put Dr before her name and she did take that course in “healing” at that seminar, AND she’s very good at, well, communications! She’ll have no trouble whipping up a great website to market her healing skills.

But, he went to chiro college you say? That makes him no more qualified than my friend,probably less–at least she knows the difference between a PhD, an MD, and the tooth fairy designation of DC.

So, on the one hand functional medicine treats everyone as individual, but on the other hand, they jump at any abnormality in lab tests (when what is defined as “normal” lab values is basically statistics and compromise). Now that sounds perfectly logical.
I’m sure functional medicine specialist would have a merry good time with my father, who has bradycardia, low blood pressure and low platelet count, and they would recommend loads and loads of supplements and stuff. While my father will be 85 this April – and all this time in good health, although last year he broke his leg and that still bothers him (he can’t go for his daily two-hour walk now and that is something that he finds hard to put up with).

I have severe chronic pain lower back pain,buttocks and leg pain,neck and shoulder and arm pain on right side.I have also stomach and pelic painI cant hardly walk, I’m not living barely surviving. Please can you help me .I a 61 year old female, and a 80 year old gets around better than I .

First of all chiropractic,and acupuncture are no less legitimate than any of your so called medical practices,they all have a place,if your willing to look outside the box and have proven track records.jyst like cancer and alternative treatments,there are success and failures on both sides,every person who has to face these decisions deserves the right to make a well informed decision,if they choose an alternative,God bless yhem,takes alot of courage not to get sucked into the ,chemo is your only option nonsense,but if they do decide on chemo,then God bless them and I wish them nothing but the best.mote and more it becomes apparent that western medical doctors(aka big pharma) do not have all the answers,the good doctors will admit this.

Trust an advocate of alternative medicine to also be an advocate of alternative punctuation. Hot tip: neither works.

This was perfectly acceptable spelling and punctuation in 1475.

“There are success and failures on both sides”.

OK. Start quantifying them objectively, and you’ll start approaching the question from a scientific perspective. A perspective where truth actually matters.

Nah, we go where the evidence leads. And what grammarians tell us about punctuation.

Excellent article and SO very true . Thank you for calling the quackery exactly what it should be called….a bunch of nonsense nonscientific BS. I am an MD with double board certification in general psych and Brain injury medicine and it appalls me that credit is given to this guy when the amazing process and professionals involved in rehabilitation is completely overlooked. Thank you for your education of masses.

I don’t know your purported credentials, but…you have made it very clear that you are appallingly and pathetically ignorant and uninformed to state that accupuncture, homeopathy and chiropractic are quackery.

Actually, quite the opposite. I know quite a bit about acupuncture, homeopathy, and chiropractic. In particular, homeopathy is The One Quackery To Rule Them All.

Wow! That sounds like a challenge: Orac vs LJ.
Guess where the smart money is going.
LJ might need a minimum odds of 1000:1.

Be careful using the word quackery when referring to chiropractic. Many studies have been done by the “medical” community to discredit the benefits of chiropractic, but failed. I’ve been to occupational therapists who incorrectly attempted to perform an adjustment on me. These same rehab type practitioners have punctured patient lungs by incorrectly inserting acupuncture needles. After a major car accident and multiple neurologists, one confessed my chiropractor effectively reduced the effects of a stroke I had by reducing pressure with an adjustment to my cervical spine. I feel you’re making false allegations. Additionally chiropractors ARE doctors, just like podiatrist and dentists and opthamologists. Your article is quite damaging to patients who can benefit from alternate means of treatment. Remember, all medical doctors are “practicing” medicine. Who made you the expert?

Chiropractors are physical therapist wannabes with delusions of grandeur who think they can treat all diseases by adjusting the spine and have branched out into quackery like functional medicine.

“I feel you’re making false allegations.”

That’s a feeling, nothing more.

“Many studies have been done by the “medical” community to discredit the benefits of chiropractic, but failed.”

That’s a specific claim you made here. Would you care to support with links to the studies?

Additionally chiropractors ARE doctors, just like podiatrist and dentists and opthamologists [sic].

One of these things is not like the others.

What on earth is an OT doing performing “adjustments”?

No OT I’ve ever met (I worked with many, many OTs over the years) would be doing such a thing.

Podiatrist ain’t doctors – training and qualification is completely different. Ditto dentists.

Do you actually understand the job titles, roles and qualifications of any of those things you bandy around?

Murmur, excuse the pedantry, but podiatrists and dentists are doctors, both by degree and title. A doctor of podiatry can do anything a surgeon or physician appropriately does as long as it is below the ankle. A doctor of dentistry with the appropriate training can perform complex maxillofacial surgery, not just treatment of the teeth and gums. As long as they stay in the principal area of their specialties, they can examine, test, diagnose, treat, prescribe, and operate, just as a physician can.
If you meant that they’re not physicians, no argument, but if you are implying that they are somehow some kind of lesser or inferior practitioner then you’ve got it wrong.
On the whole, they work hard to learn and practice their arts and must keep up to date to maintain their professional standing and their licenses, much the same way physicians do.
Chiropractors, on the other hand, know nothing and do very little more than nothing, that is even if your don’t count causing C-spine injuries.

but podiatrists…are doctors

Not in my neck of the woods. Podiatrists are allied health professionals. Surgeons who treat “below the ankle” are “Foot and Ankle Surgeons”.

A doctor of dentistry with the appropriate training can perform complex maxillofacial surgery

Murmur said “dentists”. You changed this to “doctor of dentistry with the appropriate training can perform complex maxillofacial surgery”. In my neck of the woods, they are called “Facio-Maxillary Surgeons”. You won’t find one in the local dental clinic.

A few weeks ago a chiropractor posted a video of himself “manipulating” a two week old baby. Our national broadcaster has an interesting article on the episode – mainly reputable health professionals trying not to have a fit over what was shown. The article contains an interesting aside on chiropractors’ claim that research shows they can reduce cholic in babies, which might be more dubious that they think.
Ps I don’t get the apparent reverence the USA has for chiropractors, do they really call themselves doctor?

An ophthalmologist (Note the correct spelling.) IS a physician. Dentists and podiatrists receive much of the same training that physicians do, and sometimes from the same institutions. I have been acquainted with a dentist who was serving as a surgical resident in a New York City hospital..
As for chiropractors being doctors, so are professors of English literature, geology, and ethnic studies. Having the title of Doctor is no guarantee that the person in question is capable of performing as a physician.
A statistical study of admissions to the Maida Vale Hospital, which is the tertiary level neurology and neurosurgical hospital in London, showed that chiropractic injury was the third highest cause of admissions, Granted, the study is a somewhat old, but core chiropractic practice and human anatomy have changed very little over the last few decades.
A final word of warning for all: Never, never, ever allow a chiropractor to manipulate your neck, not ever. .

BillyJoe, nest time you go to a dentist, look for his diploma. It will identify him as a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Medical Dentistry).. They are the same thing, just with different names and no other differences. A podiatrist is a DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine).. No bait and switch – a DDS is a doctor.
If these degrees aren’t on the diplomas of your local dentists and podiatrists, then your “neck or the woods” must be a pretty ignorant one.
After twenty-seven years of working in hospitals, twenty as a physician assistant – an allied health professional – I think I know who is a doctor and who isn’t There are no allied health professionals who can legally supervise other allied health professional, but there was no reason that I couldn’t work under a dentist or podiatrist. In their own fields they have the same hospital privileges as a physician. They can admit patients, write orders, and reserve OR time just like the MDs and DOs.

“In my neck of the woods, they are called “Facio-Maxillary Surgeons”.”
“You won’t find one in the local dental clinic.” Of course you won’t. You’ll find them in the plastic surgery departments and operating rooms of major teaching hospitals.
You keep going on about your :neck of the woods. Sounds like a pretty dismal neck. Maybe it was manipulated by a chiropractor. Or a maybe a chiro-arborealpractor, for those who practice alternative forestry and don’t trust tree surgeons.

No bait and switch – a DDS is a doctor.

This is close to arguing that having a J.D. (or being a pharmacist) makes one a doctor. A DDS does not have the same scope of practice (or prescribing authority) as an M.D.

^ And yes, I know the history of the J.D. and what LL.M. and LL.D. denote.

The point I was making is that the local dentist in “my neck of the woods” (see below) does not have qualifications that entitle him to do facio-maxillary surgery. That is a specialist qualification. Local dentists have a bachelor of dentistry degree. Your local dentist (or local GP) will refer you to a Facio-Maxillary Surgeon if you require that type of surgery. Just like your local GP is not going to remove your gallbladder. Your local GP will refer you to a Gastrointestinal Surgeon.

As for podiatrists, I did say “my neck of the woods” on purpose because my “neck pf the woods” is Australia and, in Australia, podiatrists ARE allied health professionals. They do not have a medical degree, nor a surgical degree. They have a degree in podiatry (a four year course). At most they perform simple surgery such as for ingrown toenails. Surgeons who perform foot and ankle surgery, on the other hand, have completed a medical degree, have gone on to specialise in surgery and, finally, sub-specialise in foot and ankle surgery.

The reason I responded to your correction of what Murmur said, is that what you said is not universally true and Murmur, like me, may not be a resident of the USA.

Valerie, first you need to understand that Doctor is an academic title, not a professional title. A PhD in English is still a Doctor, but no one in their right mind would ask them for health care.

A DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) is science based. They know a lot about human physiology but their scope is limited to the mouth. They know their role and scope.

Podiatrists are limited to the foot and ankle. There’s a lot of rivalry between them and orthopedic surgeons but generally they know their role and scope.

A DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) is a Doctor but not a physician; if they are licensed nurse practitioners their role is to manage stable chronic conditions, and simple acute conditions. They know their role and their scope; in some states they still must operate under collaborating agreements (my home state of Ohio is still one such).

Chiropractors frequently do not know their scope or their role, and naturopaths never do. Newborn babies do not need spinal adjustments at birth. Chiropracty also has risks; people have suffered strokes or become paralyzed from improperly done adjustments. The only evidence (and it’s weak) supports back pain and not much else. Any Chiro who tells you a misaligned spine leads to GI or other problems is selling you a bunch of goods: literally. He tells you that to sell you more treatments and supplements. Chiros should never need to sell you supplements.

You confuse the practice of medicine with practicing as learning. While it’s true all health care professionals are life long learners, to say one practices their profession means they employ their knowledge and training as professionals.

This isn’t about your feelings. This is about evidence.

This “article” is laughable,way to be educated by dogma over anatomy and physiology! I know quite a few functional neurologists that get phenomenal results.

Do you have a link to their published results comparing functional neurology to neurology.

It’s funny how a “scientist” dismisses huge swaths of information as quackery simply because it lies outside his field of understanding.

You, sir, are a bozo.

You are so much smarter than everybody else involved that you can redefine the patient’s own experience even though you have zero first hand knowledge of their range of experiences since the injury.

Take a bow you medical miracle….one omniscient being who knows everything…..even those things that lie completely outside of your direct experience.

But thanks for the commentary.

How about writing your next article on ways to reduce the thousands of new heroine addicts created every month through typical over prescribing of opioid meds? Or methods to reduce the tens of thousands of deaths annually from medical mistakes?

That’s probably not as much fun. But thanks again you omniscient protector of anybody who might try something outside the mainstream and experience success.

Heroines and heroes alike can sate my cravings.
Just in case anyone is interested.

Wow! Another challenge. Orac vs Bozo…sorry Full Throttle Bozo. I’m taking 10000:1 odds.

“It’s funny how a “scientist” dismisses huge swaths of information as quackery ”
It’s probably because they are quackery. Knowing the relevant science means being able to evaluate those swaths of information for the valuable parts, if any, and discarding the rest.
There simply are no studies that have any results better than placebo or blind chance. If you know of any then please show us citations from the scientific literature.

How about writing your next article on ways to reduce the thousands of new heroine addicts created every month through typical over prescribing of opioid meds? Or methods to reduce the tens of thousands of deaths annually from medical mistakes?

How about starting your own blog and doing it yourself?

Alternative Medicine is indeed patient based.
Common sense dictates that If allopathic treatments were supremely effective there would be no need for the growing practice of Functional Medicine.
The article seems very bias but at least the patient improvement with functional medicine is noted. Perhaps the article will help other patients that plateau with conventional practice

“Common sense dictates that If allopathic treatments were supremely effective there would be no need for the growing practice of Functional Medicine.”

What’s the logic here? Because SBM cannot do miracles, we should resort to faith healing?

The fact that there is a “need” in no way proves that functional medicine is a way to meet that “need”.

Common sense dictates that If allopathic treatments were supremely effective there would be no need for the growing practice of Functional Medicine.

“Need”? “Allopathic”? Functional medicine is about money, so in that sense, I guess it is about patients, the more the better. Just like DTC drug advertising.

As has been said here before, just because there are problems with aircraft design, that doesn’t prove the existence of flying carpets.

Common sense dictates that, if alternative medicine works when science-based medicine doesn’t, then it should work even better where science-based medicine does work. But why then is alternative medicine in the Accident & Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit?

Is there a kernel of logic in there, or did you just feed your dictionary into a blender?
If you want to see what alternative medicine in the A&E would look like, try this:


But why then is alternative medicine NOT SEEN in the Accident & Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit?

Apologies to Old Rockin’ Dave who had to spend time responding to my careless post. 🙁

BillyJoe, no need for an apology. I do offer an apology to you for assuming that you are in the US.
Just to round out my pedantry, in the US dentists and podiatrists have to first have a bachelor’s degree, usually in the sciences, before they go to their professional schools for a terminal doctorate. Those schools are for four years and follow the medical school model of two years in the classroom and lab, and two years of supervised clinical practice. They have similar licenses to physicians, permitting them to apply all aspects of medicine and surgery to their areas of practice. Podiatrists are also entitled to call themselves podiatric physicians.Both practices can have advanced training in subspecialties, and dentists are, with appropriate training, to perform all kinds of oral-max procedures. Both are properly addressed as “Doctor.” They must also have the same professional training in reporting child- and elder abuse, Basic Life Support, infection control, etc., as MDs and DOs, and physician assistants such as I am (I am retired now, but just as there are no ex-Marines, there are no ex-PAs. You’re in it for life.).
Anyway, I hope you got as much enjoyment from the Mitchell and Webb clip as I did watching it again.
Oh, apologies for the dictionary in a blender comment. Your correction makes your post make sense now.

Unless real medicine is supremely effective for every possible case, with zero side effects and instantaneous action. Then there will be a ‘need’ for other…..modalities. That’s the nature of people. Doesn’t mean these other modalities work or that the people practicing them aren’t con artists. Or worse, dangerously ignorant.

They probably watch Fox News, which is to news what chiropractic is to medical science. Or maybe Money Watch because of all the bucks they con their patients out of.

Once again I mistype my nom de net. Essential tremor is such fun to live with…NOT!

Maybe not all quacks, but I’m sure the vast majority of chiros watch Fox. The chiro-sphere definitely leans right. There are any number of current or former chiros in politics, as state or even federal legislators. AFAIK, they’re all conservative Republicans… A few chiros have gotten wealthy from their practices, and (surprise!) are significant donors to GOP campaigns.

And I was going to write that Orac buried the lead by not mentioning Sinclair until the last sentence, and not identify Sinclair’s politics, and it’s strong arm practices to inject that politics into the newscasts of its many, many local affiliates.

Your article is ridiculous more medical doctors do more damage prescribing uncessessary drugs and even killing people. My chiro helped my child to initiate speech when she did not speak more than 5 words … YOU ARE QUACKERY …. ?

No, you are quackery.
Tell us, how can fixing unseen subluxations replace speech therapy ? Speech flows better after subluxations are removed ?

“Do quacks watch quackwatch?”

They’ve had a grand time reading their Quackwatch profiles, foaming at the mouth and sending poison pen emails.


We are_all_ quackery. And Bonnie Offit.

“We are_all_ quackery.”
Not me – I’m Spartacus. Or Batman.

Just to be “fair and balanced”, we had a dear family friend who went on to be one of the first chiropractors in Tasmania, where he did quite well. He was deeply into the woo, but was by no means a rightward,but was a lovely and quite progressive man.
Another family friend recently retired from her practice. She was a chiropractic “straight”, and never promised anyone any particular result. She never discouraged her patients from mainstream medicine, and she affirmed by advice about chiropractors going anywhere near the cervical spine or the neck in general. My daughter got pretty fair relief for her back from her.
About forty years ago I twice strained my back while doing manual labor. Each time, I went to a local chiropractor, underwent a minimal ,manipulation of the lumbar spine, and came away with some relief, but not total. It may have been placebo effect, but I can’t definitely say either way.
So there is another side to the story, and I can appreciate why people turn to and swear by chiropractors.

It strikes me as amusing that “Biochemical Individuality” Rhymes remarkably well with “Plausible Deniability”
I wonder what else the two have in common?

Yeah, because conventional medicine is really perfect. Try getting sick with something that can’t be fixed with a load of pharmaceuticals. You’d change your tune.

Obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy cannot be fixed with pharmaceuticals. What would you use to fix it?

Also, measles encephalitis cannot be treated with pharmaceuticals, it occurs in about one in a thousand cases of measles. This is why we try to prevent measles infections. If you have a better way to avoid encephalitis or meningitis from measles, mumps, Hib, etc., please share.

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