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Naturopathy Quackery

Resurrecting old tropes about naturopathy

Way back in prepandemic times, naturopaths claimed that they could help with the shortage of primary care docs. They’re doing it again in 2023. They were wrong then and are wrong now.

Back in the before time (you know, before COVID-19 arrived three years ago), I routinely used to address dubious arguments that naturopaths made about their medical pseudospecialty. Because I’m a cancer surgeon, what most irritated me about naturopaths were how these quacks falsely claimed expertise in oncology (even pediatric oncology), a problem that has over the years led to my seeing a (fortunately) small but (unfortunately) steady stream of patients whose breast cancers would have been easily treatable when diagnosed but had been allowed to grow to become locally advanced or even metastatic because they had wasted time—sometimes years—being treated by naturopaths. Of course, it’s not limited to just cancer, but the increasing acceptance of naturopaths in academic medicine, to the point where some hold senior faculty positions in, for example, a department of family medicine at a very reputable medical school, where they invite homeopaths to lecture residents and medical students.

If there’s one thing that naturopaths (and other quacks) have argued over the years, it’s that they somehow add something to conventional medicine when they are included as part of “integrative medicine.” Unfortunately, they’re still at it, and their arguments are no more convincing today than they were before the pandemic. That doesn’t stop them from continuing to publish articles asking questions like, Does naturopathy offer a lifeline for our burned-out health system? (Betteridge’s law of headlines most definitely does apply there, although I’m sure that the writer, Robin Roberts, didn’t intend to invoke this famous law.) The blurb tells you where this article is coming from:

In a time when many Canadians don’t have access to a medical doctor, naturopathic doctors can help fill the void and ensure that the cycle of care remains intact.

You’d think that a country like Canada, which has universal single-payer health insurance, would be less prone to arguments like this given that many fewer Canadians lack access to healthcare than Americans, but that never stopped naturopaths before. So let’s see what they’re saying now. As is often the case with dubious arguments touting naturopaths, this article begins with an anecdote:

When Ron Downie’s sister, Carrie, was undergoing treatment for blood cancer, he felt he was in a unique position to help. As manager of a vitamin and supplement store in Abbotsford, B.C., he had several customers, also grappling with cancer, who told him they were thriving on a type of mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine called turkey tail (coriolus versicolor). He suggested Carrie try the funny sounding fungus, which is said to be packed with antioxidants that enhance the immune system. After several weeks, he says, her blood work was so good that even her doctors were “blown away.”

“Blood cancer”? Which one? There are so many, and it makes a huge difference which one. For example, if this “blood cancer” is something like chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which tends to progress slowly and might not even need treatment at all at first, and is something that people often die with rather than of. What “blood work”? Which tests?

As for coriolus versicolor, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) website notes this:

When used as an adjuvant, PSK appears to improve survival rates in patients with gastric (1) (2) and colorectal (3) (4) (5) cancers. It may also benefit patients with esophageal cancer (27). Findings from a study of PSP in conjunction with chemotherapy suggest benefits in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (6). PSP was also reported to act as a prebiotic and to modulate human intestinal microbiome composition (30). Studies of Coriolus extracts alone or in combination with other botanicals suggest positive immunomodulatory effects (7) (8). However, data on their effects on breast cancer (9), hepatocellular carcinoma (10) (28), or leukemia (11) are mixed. A meta-analysis reported reduced mortality risk with adjuvant use of Coriolus across a variety of cancers (29), but confirmatory studies are needed.

One notes that these studies generally use a derivative of coriolus versicolor, Polysaccharide-K (PSK), a proprietary product derived from coriolus, was developed for cancer treatment in Japan. That means that what we’re looking at, if PSK turns out to be effective against certain cancers, is nothing more than pharmacognosy, a long-established branch of pharmacology in which natural products, their derivatives, and molecules isolated from them are studied to determine whether they have medicinal properties. It’s not as though many medicines discovered through the science of pharmacology aren’t natural products. I like to point to taxol, for instance, which is now used to treat a number of cancers and was first isolated from the bark of the Pacific yew tree. However, naturopaths—and other advocates of supplements and “natural medicine”—love to portray herbal medicine as though it is some sort of magic. You might remember several years ago when the discoverer of Artemisinin, which is used to treat malaria, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and advocates of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) seized on the prize to claim that it somehow “validated” all of TCM when it did not.

As for coriolus versicolor (or PSK or whatever extract of coriolus is used), the studies cited in the MSKCC review were not particularly compelling. For instance, this study of adding PSK to standard-of-care chemotherapy showed a barely statistically significant improvement in survival from gastric cancer. Other studies show a significant survival benefit to adding PSK to chemotherapy for certain cancers, mainly after curative resection of solid tumors. None of these studies, even if validated, would be evidence suggesting that the compound on its own would be effective in treating blood cancers.

I also note that Roberts saved a very important piece of information, namely how the anecdote has turned out thus far:

As for Carrie’s use of turkey tail, her blood work today is not as good as it was six months ago, despite consistency with her diet and exercise. And while Downie acknowledges that he has heard from countless people about the benefits they have experienced taking the supplement, he also believes that it’s not the only thing that makes positive change happen. Also playing a role is the combination of different lifestyle and diet choices, as well as the fact that no one person experiences recovery the same way.

“It’s important that people understand that every person is different and will get different results,” he says.

So the super positive anecdote that the story started out with wasn’t so super positive after all, was it? But don’t worry. it must have been something else, like the patient not eating the “right” diet and living the “right” lifestyle, and if it wasn’t that, well, everybody’s different, right?

Consistent with these sorts of narratives, Roberts pivots to an appeal to popularity, a.k.a. the logical fallacy known as argumentum ad populum, in order to write:

According to a study conducted in 2016 by the think tank Fraser Institute, more than three-quarters (79 per cent) of Canadians had used at least one alternative therapy over the course of their lives. A 2015 Canadian Community Health survey showed 38 per cent of men and 53 per cent of women overall used vitamin and mineral supplements. And a previous U.S. study reported that those rates among cancer patients shot up as high as 81 per cent.

I’ve written before about how such studies tend to be custom-made to exaggerate the use of supplements or or various alternative medicine modalities. I’m not going to belabor that point here because, even if the numbers above are absolutely accurate, they don’t justify this utter facepalm of a conclusion:

All the more reason that any advice and recommendations come from a licensed and regulated health-care professional, such as a naturopathic doctor (ND).

I realize that naturopaths are licensed in some states and (apparently) Canada too. While that might make them “healthcare professionals” in the eyes of the law, it does not change the fact that naturopathy is quackery and that naturopaths practice quackery, as one can easily see when one looks at the sorts of things they discuss when they think no one is looking. Naturopaths are also rabidly antivax, so much so that the only provaccine naturopaths I’ve ever encountered either turn out not to be so provaccine when examined more closely or no longer practice naturopathy, having left because they had an epiphany and realized that they could no longer be quacks and look at themselves in the mirror. So let’s just say that naturopaths might think that they are “healthcare professionals” and “experts,” but theirs is a pseudoexpertise based on prescientific mysticism, pseudoscience, and quackery. Also, as I like to say, you can’t have naturopathy without The One Quackery To Rule Them All (homeopathy) because homeopathy is such an integral part of naturopathy that it is on the NPLEX, the naturopathic licensing examination.

Not that that stops Roberts from citing what naturopaths claim about their specialty:

The Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND) describes naturopathic medicine as a blend of modern scientific knowledge and traditional and natural forms of medicine and encompasses everything from acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, botanical medicine and clinical nutrition.

“If someone is undergoing conventional cancer treatment, we’re there to support them by helping improve their quality-of-life symptoms,” says Dr. Mark Fontes, naturopathic doctor at Insight Naturopathic Clinic in Toronto and Chair of CAND. “[That includes] improving sleep and appetite, reducing muscle pain [through] dietary interventions, herbal medicine, targeted supplements, minerals and vitamins. “We’re highly trained in managing chronic disease, from inflammatory bowel disease, to Lyme disease, chronic pain, digestive and hormonal concerns.”

Fontes says naturopathic doctors work collaboratively with major hospitals, family doctors and oncologists to offer supportive care before, during and after conventional medical treatment.

I note right there that naturopaths admit that they are quacks without admitting they are quacks. Look at all the quackery! And look at all the quackery on not-a-Dr. Fontes’ website! Acupuncture, intravenous vitamins, infrared sauna therapy, low intensity laser therapy, and more! As for “individualization,” well:

“It’s about individualized care,” says Fontes. “We might see five patients with an acute viral infection or migraine, and they’re not all going to leave with the same plan, depending on their current health status and medical history.”

What this suggests to me is not so much “individualization” but making things up as they go along. Conventional evidence-based medicine individualizes treatments based on diagnosis, health status, and history; naturopaths can treat patients with the same condition using wildly different treatment plans.

The narrative being pushed by Canadian naturopaths and parroted by Roberts is an old one. It’s one I’ve been countering almost since I first discovered what naturopathy is. Naturopaths have long fancied themselves to be “real physicians,” as well as being qualified to be primary care doctors. They are qualified to be neither. Quite the contrary. Unfortunately, their narrative resonates, which is why so many states have fallen for it and licensed naturopaths, and Canadian naturopaths are no different in these delusions.

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]

52 replies on “Resurrecting old tropes about naturopathy”

Unfortunately here in Canada there is a shortage of family physicians that is bad and going to get worse. There are a number of possible solutions being explored: fast-track foreign trained health professionals to get certified to work in Canada, pharmacists can test for and prescribe for a limited amount of conditions, setting up health teams to spread workload among others. What we don’t need is a whack of pretend doctors to fill the gap. Shades of Mao’s China…

“There are a number of possible solutions being explored: fast-track foreign trained health professionals to get certified to work in Canada”

Australia has been stealing foreign trained health professionals away from their countries of origin for decades instead of training our own. About 50% of doctors here were trained elsewhere. But that supply is now drying up and it takes ten years to correct the local supply. So, at least here, this is a bad solution long term and tricky solution short term.

“pharmacists can test for and prescribe for a limited amount of conditions [and] setting up health teams to spread workload among others”

Out of necessity both options are being implemented here, the first option being strongly opposed by doctors’ union called the Australian Medical Association.

“What we don’t need is a whack of pretend doctors to fill the gap”

Nope. And, as far as I know, this is not being considered in Australia and, hopefully, never will be.

I’m a Canadian military spouse. In Canada military dependents like myself rely on the civilian healthcare system. Because my spouse is posted, on average, every 3-4 years, it’s extremely difficult to find a family physician taking new patients, even in large, urban cities. I found my most recent family physician due to a program designed for military families, but this program is only in a few cities. Many urban Canadians don’t have family physicians and it is getting worse as many are retiring or leaving the profession.

I live on the border and spend time in both countries. A couple of observations. The US also has a doctor shortage– in rural areas anyway. When I go to the clinic in my US border town, a lot of the personnel are, wait for it, Canadian (or sometimes dual citizens)! Is the shortage in Canada in cities or mostly rural areas? I ask because I interact with Canadians daily and they all talk about seeing a doctor for this and that with no issues. I am talking British Columbia and can’t speak to other Provinces.

Larger cities have less of an issue, Vancouver has lots without a regular GP but are well served by walk in clinics and urgent care centers, the bigger issue is in small town, and much more so in rural areas.

Orac writes,

“…naturopaths admit that they are quacks without admitting they are quacks.”

MJD says,

Thanks, Orac.

I agree that state-of-the-art naturopathy is mostly theatrical medicine. Although, naturopathy may someday champion science-based medicine wherein natural allergens are used to activate (e.g., forced atopy) adaptive immunity to support innate immunity.

Cancer: https://wjarr.com/sites/default/files/WJARR-2021-0649.pdf

Cytokine Storms: https://ijsra.net/sites/default/files/IJSRA-2021-0196.pdf

@ Orac,

Surprisingly, homeopathy may also be a useful process to support the prevalence of memory B-cells during forced atopy immunotherapy.

@ Orac’s minions,

Hug a naturopath, and forgive Orac’s naturopathic phobia.

I defenitly don’t want to hug a naturopath, more run away form him, or her. I want to avoid quacks.

Surprisingly, homeopathy may also be a useful process to support the prevalence of memory B-cells during forced atopy immunotherapy.

Credible (I.e. not nincompoopery) citation required!

“Surprisingly, homeopathy may also be a useful process to support the prevalence of memory B-cells during forced atopy immunotherapy.”

So might a tapeworm…

@ doug & MedicalYeti,

Because you both asked so nicely, MJD’s going to teach some naturopathic medicine.

In contradiction to allergy immunotherapy, natural allergen/immunologic-adjuvant micro dosing is intended to support specific memory B-cell stimulation and subsequent renewal.

Note: In the future, the commenter’s full legal name is requested before answering a technical question. There’s just one exception….Narad!

Note: In the future, the commenter’s full legal name is requested before answering a technical question.

That’s a big Rubus occidentalis to you!

Even after the multitude of times Orac has discussed homeopathy it is clear that the notions and practices thereof have not make their way into your homeopathic intellect.

I note that you failed to provide a credible citation.

Note: In the future, the commenter’s full legal name is requested before answering a technical question.

You really need to learn how to talk to your betters, smarmy asshole.

There’s just one exception….Narad!

Fuck off.

Note: In the future, the commenter’s full legal name is requested before answering a technical question

While you are trying to learn things (and I am jerking your chain) you might consider getting some coaching on how to construct sentences. I was not answering a technical question. You were requested to provide a citation.

In the future, the commenter’s full legal name is requested before answering a technical question

An even better statement would be that in the future you won’t post any more of your unsupported “medical” twaddle.

Note: In the future, the commenter’s full legal name is requested

Is that the one not in ALL CAPS or the one where you put the copyright symbol after your name?

I took the time to read Cytokine Storm Interference, a three page* “review article” in International Journal of Science and Research Archive**

The Discussion consists of 4 largely unrelated paragraphs that go: “In a study published in [insert full name of journal and date] titled [insert full title of paper] the researchers concluded [insert a quote from the paper]. Followed by an advertisement for a patent application [by guess who].

I mean it is drivel really.

*It is only a page and a half of text though, the rest is references and statements of compliance with ethical standards.

**This is another seemingly vanity journal. One can get one’s random thoughts published here for a mere $32. World Journal of Advanced Research and Reviews also costs a mere $32 per item.

state-of-the-art naturopathy

If you had a grain of sense, you would have abandoned the entire comment at this point and done the dishes or something.

However would we recognize him if he had a grain (or even a few milligrams) of sense? We’d think we were dealing with an imposter!

Simulaing memory cell is immunoherapy, of course. You cannot stimulate them without stimulating normals B cells first

I’ve been hearing about the spectacular effects of coriolus since at least the early aughts ( from altie providers and even a scoffer at RI!) :
if it or its components were so effective, wouldn’t it be clearer by now? That’s a long time.

Obviously, the Pharma clique has suppressed evidence of its effectiveness, like they did with ivermectin, MMS and colloidal silver.

Here in BC and throughout Canada there is a massive shortage of family Dr’s due to a number of factors, the funding model means they can’t live in many places here on the West coast unless they work every hour under the sun. We recently lost one of our Hospice Dr’s (they are GP’s) who simply could not afford to live here and enjoy a bit of life, he was tempted away to BC Cancer where he earns a lot more and gets a pension and benefits.

The other big issue here is the College of Physicians restricts how many Dr’s can be trained, least they did a few years ago, a University in Ontario proposed massively expanding its intake, but was told if they did the college would no longer accredit the course.

Plus they make it almost impossible for certain foreign Dr’s to get registered here, I met a cardio thoracic surgeon from Manila once at a conference who found it easier to retrain as an RN than jump through the hoops required to become a Dr’s here (quite a few Dr’s from China Philippines and other Asian countries go the same rout), the CBC had a documentary on this a few years ago where the interviewed a general surgeon from Hamburg, of all places, who also just gave up trying to become a Dr here. When I was in the UK the government stepped in and vastly reduced the power of the collage there to put an end to such closed shop practices (they were resisting letting NP’s work in GP surgeries), time Canada did the same imo.

Nurses face very a similar set of problems, though not as extreme so we also have a shortage of nurses as well.

This has led to communities with little of no primary care, I was talking just yesterday to a friend from Whistler who said there are no Dr’s there now and when she heard of one opening up and registered he was a ND (not a Dr) who only wanted to sell her supplements at exaggerated costs. She walked out, but others so desperate for primary care they feel they have little choice.

So, while yes we have universal healthcare, its not without its challenges and there are no quick fix solutions, many of these problems are decades in the making, and it pains me the quacks are stepping in to fill the gaps.

J’accepte tout à fait l’existence des naturopathes et je suis persuadée qu’ils peuvent apporter un bien être aux gens, malades ou pas. En revanche, je ne savais pas que dans vos pays ils pouvaient être considérés comme des « doctors » ou qu’une « clinique naturopathe » pouvait exister, ou encore que l’allégation « medecine » pouvait être utilisée par les naturopathes.
En France il me semble que c’est considéré comme une pseudo-medecine et qu’ils n’ont pas le droit de communiquer sur le fait qu’ils soignent ou sont des docteurs. ( même si dans les faits lors des « consultations «  ils se prennent surement un peu pour des médecins..)
Je crois que malheureusement votre article, bien que justifié ne convaincra pas les adeptes de la naturopathie, bien au contraire car ils ne liront pas vos arguments d’un niveau supérieur mais technique. Les gens qui aiment la naturopathie privilégient avant tout la relation humaine et pas la réalité de la médecine
Je vous rejoints malgré tout.

Merci. My French was good enough to read but not to reply. It’s a relief to know that naturopathy isn’t tarted up as medicine in France. If they make people “feel better”, it’s nothing to do with their “training”, nor anything any caring person couldn’t do. My kids always felt better after chicken soup, but I didn’t call myself a doctor because of it.

What seems most problematic is this belief that a ‘natural’ therapeutic should be treated any different, for no other reason that its ‘natural’ source. It’s true that many active compounds used in the clinic started as natural products (or were developed based on research conducted on natural products), but it would be foolish (not to mention dangerous) to treat a ‘natural’ therapeutic any different from a ‘standard’ pharmaceutical. Or as placeboes (A.K.A. homeopathic ‘medicines’).

It seems to be combination of the Appeal to Nature fallacy, with the Nirvana fallacy…

All the more reason that any advice and recommendations come from a licensed and regulated health-care professional, such as a naturopathic doctor (ND).

The problem is that there’s a certain logic in this argument: given the pragmatic reality that governments aren’t going to ban quackery, it’s safer for the public if quacks fall under dome form of regulation. IIRC in many places anyone can call themselves a naturopath, whether they have an ND or not, the worst abuses in naturopathy have come from the practitioners with the sketchiest backgrounds and the most “independence” from any “professional” code or putative regulatory apparatus.

The problem, (in addition to the downside of legitimizing a still very problematic practice) is that the regulation licensed NDs are subject to is pretty much a joke, at least here in the US. I can imagine Canada might be a little better, but not that much.

Its a mixed bag here, we’ve seen the N(ot)D(octors) collage speak out about anti-vax ND quackery, though not sanction any who push AV disinformation or those who offered fake vaccines, though they recently succeeded in stopping one of the more egregious ND quacks here from giving faecal transplants to autistic children, or carrying out child abuse as its more accurately termed.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-naturopath-fecal-transplants-jason-klop-court-hearing-day-2-1.6505497

The problem I have with these pseudo regulatory bodies of pseudo health care practitioners is they lend an air of credibility and often do little to actually stop most of the dangerous quackery they are there to regulate as fundamentally they think its valid for the most part, so rather than weeding out the odd bad egg, they legitimise them

That’s my point. The argument for regulation (in general) makes some sense, but the actual “regulation” is a joke.

In other news……**

RFK jr ( and the Bollingers, the Mercolas et al) have a suit against mainstream media ( US and beyond) who partnered with tech to censor smaller outlets like their own starting in March 2020.
These parties violated anti-trust laws and the Constitution. He appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show to announce this groundbreaking event.

** because I am not in the mood to construct a carefully worded response in French

On a completely unrelated note, I was very sorry to hear of the death of retired family physician and talented skeptical health writer, Harriet Hall, who contributed so much to Science-Based Medicine.

She’ll be missed.

She had a post up at SBM just two days ago about exercise in mice. Condolences to her friends and family.

Maybe someone here or at SBM could post some kind of obituary or summary of her professional contributions so that a verbal memorial to her will be preserved for greater online access. I just recently discovered her but am also very disappointed that she is gone. Every voice like hers matters.

Well…I finally had to comment after thinking about it for a bit. This one hits close to home since I’m in FP in the thick of the shortage crisis.

The solution is NOT to broaden scopes for APCs or to let quacks claim they can do what we do. There is a reason FP (GP for our foreign friends) residency exists. We see EVERYTHING.

I may do a derm procedure while I have a chest pain I’m working on in another room with a cancer patient coming in and a poor woman who just lost a pregnancy walking out. That’s just a tiny fraction in about one hour of one morning.

The real solution here is to disincentivize the mad rush into high-paying, low responsibility, “Good lifestyle” specialties you see about the middle of the first year of medical school after they realize no one is judging anymore.

Oh, how they cried during the interview saying they wanted to help the poor, starving masses and comfort the elderly, children, and the terminally-ill. The second that got them in? They switched as quickly as they could to ENT, Derm, anesthesia, etc, etc.

We will have an FP crisis until that stops. Maybe we require five years of general practice or surgery before you can specialize?

I remember working with derms and a couple cardiologists back in residency and seeing pts in their clinics. I do 85% of what they do in my clinic. CHEAPER. I could do more like 95% of Derm but we don’t want to pay for the specialized equipment we would only use once or twice a month. (Besides, you’d probably get a better cosmetic result from someone who does MOHS surgery all day than from me.)

The honest ones often commented something like: “Their doctor could handle this they just want Cadillac service,” or “Thus is a waste of my time their PCP should deal with this.”

Next issue – I’m part of the small fraction that also sees patients in the nursing home, ER, inpatient, and a small ICU. This IS the rural model and it is quickly vanishing-forcing patients to drive sometimes hundreds of miles in bad weather.

The notion that doctors only need the traditional year and they can go out and do all of this went the way of the dodo decades ago for a reason. If a physician who went through four intense years of medical school and then the hellscape known as intern year isn’t qualified to be an independent FP, why the HELL should an APC be and a naturopath is like a guy who is kinda good at framing playing master contractor (Builder.)

As an aside, I trained under two or three FPs who were grandfathered in after only completing a traditional year (Used to be common for DOs.) They we’re good at what they did but they had to get a tremendous amount of post-training CME and can’t get credentialed at any facility (e.g.-you gotta have the money to hang out your own shingle.)

@MadicalYeti

If I understand correctly APC’s are similar to the Nurse Practitioners (NP) we have here is Canada and the UK.

I’ve worked with many good NP’s and when I was in the UK most GP practices had a couple of NP’s who played a valuable role in primary care, freeing up the GP to concentrate on the more complex or time consuming aspects of the practice.

Here is Canada the NP model is different, a lot of the NP’s here are attached to health units rather than GP’s, I ran the Quick Response Team in Vancouver several years ago and we had a couple of NP’s who did excellent work filling the gap for those with no GP, but who were presenting to ER often, they gave short term support until a primary care provider could be found.

While not a replacement for GP’s or GP’s on the cheep, as many Dr’s often fear, they can be a valuable addition to primary care, they are usually well trained and knowledgeable and stick to their scope of practice.

Harriet Hall was an honest person.
She will be missed.

Jay Gordon
Proud participant in PfizerBioNTech Phase 3 BNT162b2 Covid 19 Vaccine Research, August 2020

On this sad occasion, I’d like to introduce what sceptics are fighting against clearly illustrated:
Del Bigtree ( @ Highwire Talk, Thursday) presents a clip of Neil deGrasse Tyson making perfect sense ( about 5-7 minutes in) and then shows how wrong NdT is and invites him to debate on The Highwire and have a beer ( about 8-28 minutes in).

I include this because we all can use a little levity now and Del condenses what and how anti-vaxxers think in his inimitable hilarious way.

-btw- I did a search about Del’s investigative reporter Jefferey Jaxen and it seems he is an actor and stunt performer ( IMDb).

This seems like a perfect thread for a question.

Since this place has several skeptical doctors, perhaps I cal float a question about BONE STIMULATORS. I appreciate any informed commentary.

I have a comminuted navicular bone fracture of the foot, meaning my navicular bone was shattered. I had surgery and the bone was reassembled and fixated 2 months ago.

During last visit a week ago the doctor recommended a bine stimulator.

Reviews of them are mixed and several RCTs came short of showing positive results. It seems like there is no proof that they work, but they are sold for relatively high prices and my insurance would not cover it.

I can afford it but I am not sure if this is a worthwhile product. Any thoughts?

Thanks

(I commented on here a bit long ago, but have not for a while.)

Count me among those that are glad I didn’t go to a naturopath.

A couple of years ago I came in from mowing the lawn on a hot day, dehydrated, and peed.

Bright. Red. No pain. This was “painless hematuria”.

So, I called my primary care doc, who is approximately the best doctor I ever had. She set me up with URO for a cat scan and cystoscopy.

When I finally had the CAT scan, the radiologist report said there was a bladder mass. I moved the cystoscopy up as soon as possible, and there it was — a cancer that looked like Medusa.

Still more scrambling got me a trans-urethral resection of a bladder tumor (TURBT) within a week. As luck would have it, I found a cheerful Bavarian urologist with deep expertise in the subject

The surgery was nasty, but the path report was worse — high-grade.

A few weeks later, we did another TURBT to be sure it wasn’t understaged. It wasn’t.

And in the two years since, I’ve managed to get several courses of a weird bacterial infusion they do as immunotherapy, which is known to work.

And so far, so good. No recurrence. So far.

Bladder cancer is either “non-muscle invasive” or “muscle-invasive”. If you wait until it’s muscle-invasive, you’re probably dead — or at least lose your bladder, which is awful. I caught it in time.

Had I waited or tried some “natural” remedy, I expect the outcome would have been much, much worse.

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