Would the Real Quack Please Stand Up?

Would the Real Quack Please Stand Up?

In the January 26, 2010, New York Times, two fourth-year Harvard Medical School students addressed “Patient Safety: Conversation to Curriculum,” stressing “a need to end the secrecy around medical errors and learn from our mistakes”.

Noting that findings by the Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report on medical errors have been “slow to trickle down to medical schools,” Daniel Blumenthal and Ishani Ganguli underscore the “pressing need for a cultural shift that dissolves the secrecy surrounding medical errors.” After all, Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

In his new book Death by Medicine, Dr. Gary Null — an award-winning journalist and one of this nation’s leading advocates of natural healing — confirms that the number of people who die each day because of medical errors (e.g., physician mistakes, hospital-related illness and reactions to FDA-approved medications) — is the equivalent of six jumbo jets falling out of the sky. Every year, the number of Americans dying at the hands of medicine exceeds the American casualties in the Civil War and World War I combined.

According to Null and his three co-authors, drug company representatives write about new medicines in glowing articles, which are then signed by physicians who are paid handsomely for their cooperation, although they may not know about the adverse side effects of the drugs they promote.

The most toxic substances are often approved first, while milder and more natural alternatives are ignored for commercial reasons. Adverse interactions between prescription drugs are largely untested, despite the fact that more and more Americans are taking multiple drug-combinations, often for medical conditions related to simple vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.

Fortunately, American healthcare consumers increasingly vote with their pocketbooks, seeking integrative healthcare when they are sick and allopathic medicine only in cases of emergency.

Kudos to practitioners-in-training Blumenthal and Ganguli, who echo the sentiments expressed by famed patient-safety researcher Dr. Lucian Leape, of Harvard’s School of Public Health: “When I go to a doctor, I should have somebody who I know is competent, who I know I can trust and who will put my interest first. Two of those three have nothing to do with science.”

Now what do the Quackbusters think about that?

Well, you can bet they deny any wrongful death suits that arise from following the prescribed guidelines that have been put together by a committee of doctors who are being paid by the pharmaceutical companies with grant money to produce vaccines before they even understand how diseases work.  We all learned that the hard way with the IDSA guidelines causing most Lyme sufferers to have their treatment denied due to these guidelines that have been put together not by the researchers who have some idea of what actually kills the bacteria and stops the progress of the disease, but from doctors who want to be published and make money from drug deals that as we just read in the preceding article are many times causing people to die prematurely.  These are the same doctors who have a strong lobby along with the pharmaceutical companies that are trying to get vitamin supplements taken off the market and given out by prescription only.  Even though it is the prescription drugs NOT the supplements that are causing all he premature death across the country.

And finally, another issue that affects Lymies in a big way right now has to do with chelation due to the fact that mercury poisoning can be very similar to some Lyme symptoms.  In another article by the Alliance For Natural Health, “Removing Heavy Metals from the Body Is Dangerous”; Posted on April 24, 2012:

Not only are doctors being advised to reject chelation therapy—they’re being asked to report on their colleagues who practice it.

The American College of Medical Toxicology held a conference at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this past February about the “use and misuse” of chelation therapy—a misleading title suggesting some semblance of scientific objectivity, which was nowhere in evidence. The conference was more like a Salem witch hunt in which chelators played the role of the accused witches and warlocks.

Why is chelation so threatening to mainstream medicine? There is no disputing that heavy metals are extremely toxic. The human body is engineered to remove small amounts daily, but not the large amounts we often pick up from modern sources.

One of those sources has of course been vaccines, which have used mercury as a preservative (it is still used in the US flu shot). Another source has been dental “silver” amalgam, which also contains mercury. This may be part of the reason for the hostility to chelation.

How does the therapy work? One method involves injecting into the patient’s bloodstream organic chemicals, which can bind and remove the heavy metals in the bloodstream (metals which are toxic to humans and interfere with various physiological functions). There are also oral or suppository supplements for chelation, and some foods are natural chelators (e.g., cilantro and chlorella).

Chelation therapy has been used by many physicians and administered to thousands of patients since 1952.

An informal survey of our readers [2] revealed that body detoxification—whether through chelation, or through sauna or special dietary methods—is among their top ten most popular integrative therapies.

The National Institutes of Health is currently studying EDTA chelation for cardiovascular disease [3] in the TACT trial. (EDTA is used for lead and other heavy metals but not for Mercury. Other chelators are used for that.)

Many people have doubted whether a US government agency could be expected to produce a fair evaluation. The jury is still out on that.

Doctors attending the conference received continuing education credits for attending and hearing all the chelation-bashing.

Various topics seemed designed to highlight the dangers of chelation—while attempting to dismiss the benefits.

A look at the PowerPoint slides (available as PDFs downloadable from the conference’s website [4]) reveal the following:

  • No hard data was presented on the supposed public health dangers of chelation—only three anecdotal case studies. Hardly a “scientific” analysis.
  • The speakers were biased—they made no attempt to represent or provide information from doctors who actually administer chelation therapy to their patients.
  • Their main basis for dismissing chelation therapy is the way lab results are interpreted. This detail, however, does not address any of the effects of the therapy itself.
  • The conference targets two “advocacy sites” for spreading “misinformation”: the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM), and the American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine (A4M)—both of which are respected organizations that represent integrative doctors. ACAM offers training and certification in chelation therapy [5].

Equally revealing is who else was represented at the conference, either as attendees or as panelists: the FDA and the Federation of State Medical Boards!

In the FDA’s session (“Unapproved Chelation Products Available Over the Internet”), the agency tried to conflate unapproved chelation products with the supposed dangers of dietary supplements. But “unapproved” chelation products are already illegal, and FDA is already empowered to enforce against them. Moreover, these products have nothing to do with the regulatory status of dietary supplements.

The FDA has the power to regulate interstate commerce of drugs and devices, and has used that power to clamp down on the sale of chelation products. In 2008 the agency released a Public Health Advisory on EDTA [6]—simply because inattentive hospital personnel mixed up the medications being administered! In 2010, the FDA ordered eight companies to stop marketing over-the-counter chelation products [7]. Our sources told us FDA was aware that many integrative doctors were doing heart-related chelation, and hoped that by blocking one particular form of EDTA [8], these doctors might be put out of business.

The presence of the Federation of State Medical Boards (a private organization largely controlled by the AMA [9]) is especially troubling, as they could take this misinformation, adopt anti-chelation policies in each state, and target doctors who practice chelation therapy. In Kentucky, for example, doctors cannot discuss chelation therapy with their patients lest they face revocation of their license. Indeed, almost all Kentucky physicians who use alternative therapies have been either forced out of state or forced to desist from using alternative therapies, especially chelation therapy, because it “departs from prevailing practice in the State of Kentucky.” This is all too common, to one degree or another, in most states.

As the central federal agency for providing information on disease and public health issues, the CDC (which led a session as well as hosting the event) is in a key position to spread bias and misinformation on chelation.

We were also told that “Quackbuster” Stephen Barrett [10] was a key participant.

Unfortunately, integrative physicians who practice chelation therapy fear being vocal about it lest they be targeted by their state medical boards or the Quackbusters…”

Article printed from The Alliance for Natural Health USA: http://www.anh-usa.org

URL to article: http://www.anh-usa.org/removing-heavy-metals-like-mercury-from-the-body-is-dangerous/

[2] An informal survey of our readers: http://www.anh-usa.org../../../../../survey-results-supplements-diet-and-exercise-top-the-list-of-alternative-therapies/

[3] EDTA chelation for cardiovascular disease: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/chelation

[4] downloadable from the conference’s website: http://www.acmt.net/2012_Use_Misuse_of_Metal_Chelation_Therapy.html

[5] training and certification in chelation therapy: http://www.acamnet.org/site/c.ltJWJ4MPIwE/b.6805203/k.BD39/Detoxification__IV_Chelation.htm

[6] Public Health Advisory on EDTA: http://www.anh-usa.org../../../../../fda%E2%80%99s-stealth-attack-on-chelation-therapy-for-cardio-vascular-disease/

[7] stop marketing over-the-counter chelation products: http://www.anh-usa.org../../../../../fda-nixes-over-the-counter-chelation/

[8] by blocking one particular form of EDTA: http://www.anh-usa.org../../../../../tell-fda-hands-off-chelation/

[9] largely controlled by the AMA: http://www.anh-usa.org../../../../../readers-corner-can-doctor-get-into-trouble-offering-natural-treatments/

[10] Stephen Barrett: http://www.anh-europe.org/news/quackbuster-stephen-barrett-md-loses-appeal-and-leaves-ho

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7 Responses to Would the Real Quack Please Stand Up?

  1. Pingback: Would the Real Quack Please Stand Up? « TICKTalkLyme

  2. Karen says:

    I agree and I would happily post this to my Facebook except there are so many typos and misspelled words that it would look to those who are skeptics (my family is full of them) that it was written by quacks. I wish that was not the case because I do believe we need to get the word out.

    • Jenna Smith says:

      That would be my brain fog…so sorry! I will edit and update so you can proudly post on Facebook…one day I’ll be able to have a full-time editor to help me with all my efforts…

  3. Remy LeGuin says:

    Karen, perhaps you could help with the edit! These facts really should be shared. I personally feel like people who attack the validity of something based off of typos, grammar and punctuation are only doing so because they lack any REAL factual basis for their beliefs. The facts are here, typos and all, and any intelligent person worth sharing this with should understand the mental incapacitation of chronic lyme (judging a chronic lyme sufferer for minor errors is like judging a legless man for improper stride during a 5K run…).

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  5. Dariusz says:

    “At the same time, Barrett promotes products like aspartame (NutraSweet), which is the subject of tens of thousands of consumer complaints.” go to hospital and look at toxicological reports, how many people go there from “natural therapies” ” chelation therapy”if you have basic knowledge how liver and kidneys work you will know that chelation are frauds. “In his new book Death by Medicine, Dr. Gary Null” and what he do? sells suplements… “Why is chelation so threatening to mainstream medicine? There is no disputing that heavy metals are extremely toxic. The human body is engineered to remove small amounts daily, but not the large amounts we often pick up from modern sources.” how incompetent you are? do you have even basic knowledge? how many heavy metals we inject and how many detox? checks studies and dont embarrass yourself. This is good example how people like you spread misinformation either from incompetence or to sell they products. Why you dont have even single reference from scientific study?

  6. Vicky Moon says:

    Dr. Barrett and his quackwatch is totally wrong. I had all of my silver fillings removed and replaced with white fillings by a Mexican dentist at Dr. Donsbach’s Clinic, Tijuana, Mexico around 1990. I also was diagnosed with hypoglycemia there and given a written diet to follow. Donsbach’s clinic was wonderful with wonderful employees, wonderful meals, colonics, etc. Too bad authorities had it shut down. Oasis of Hope, Dr. Contreras is still open though.

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