Friday, June 29, 2012

Joel J. Gagnier, PhD, ND Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology, Michigan School of Public Health

Finally, a naturopath, an ND, has engaged me in a public conversation and he used his name rather than the screen tag “Anonymous”! Thank you, Dr. Gagnier! 
Our exchange took place in the comment section after an article about regulating NDs in Ontario, Canada.
The Michigan School of Public Health has this listing for Dr. Gagnier: in which it states that in addition to having a ND degree from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine where he was also an assistant professor (2002-2004), that he has a PhD in epidemiology,, and is presently an assistant professor at the Michigan School of Public Health.
Dr. Gagnier told me and another commentator that we are “incredibly uniformed” about naturopathy and should not write about topics that we don’t know anything about. Speaking directly to me, he said that I was making “outrageous, inflammatory, and generalized statements…” and guilty of “classical inferential, unfounded, biased reasoning,” things alt med practitioners are notoriously guilty of, going so far as to call me a monster adding that what he feared about our public exchange was that “good reasonable people” would read it and “not actually think for themselves.” 
In response to my questions regarding the promotion, use and sale of silver by licensed naturopaths, Gagnier replied that NDs study toxicology, learn about argyria, skin discolored by silver, and can diagnose the condition. He added that, “I am a Canadian, licensed in Ontario, ... We do not use colloidal silver. I have never used it, don’t know anyone who has, and would not recommend it…I do not claim there is evidence for colloidal silver for any therapeutic means.” I assume that final sentence means that he doesn’t know of any evidence showing that ingesting silver offers benefits. 
What Gagnier did not respond to was my question as to why if all that he said is true that 241 of his colleagues, naturopaths licensed in Vermont with degrees from 4-year naturopathic schools including Canadian, had included silver for internal use in their state sanctioned formulary. He didn’t explain how they could possibly have done that if they knew, as he claimed they did, that it causes argyria and that there is no evidence that it offers health benefits. Or as the attorney who heads the naturopaths’ Vermont state regulatory agency put it when I presented him with evidence of the uselessness, danger and illegality of including silver in the state formulary, “Why hasn’t anyone brought this up before?” 

Oh if only Gagnier or one of his colleagues would tell me! I mean with 241 NDs in VT who graduated from schools that he claims teach them about the danger of ingesting silver, why hadn’t any of them picked up their mistake? And why won’t Gagnier or any of his ND colleagues address this when I bring it up? And why do they all insist that they don’t know of any licensed ND who uses silver when you can find several of them promoting and selling it on the Internet?
If they don’t have answers, why won’t they admit that Vermont NDs were wrong to include silver in their formulary and that all the licensed NDs outside the state who use and sell it are too? 
Could it be  because they know that such an admission will reflect poorly on their profession and be bad for their businesses? Or perhaps because their system of medicine is based on the belief that Nature and her products heal, they believe in spite of all the objective evidence to the contrary, that taking silver internally offers benefits and can be done safely because, even without toxicology studies, NDs think that they can accurately guess the amount that is “safe” to take? Neither explanations would surprise me.   
I am furious with NDs for ignoring this very important issue and trying to sweep it under the rug. I am furious with NDs for trying to convince the public and legislators that the dangerous belief-based system of medicine that they practice is safe, effective, supported by evidence and scientific when that isn’t so. While I suspect that many naturopaths actually believe all that and believe that they learn the same things in their accredited schools that MDs learn in medical schools, the fact that so many of their naturopathic treatments and remedies are unproven or disproven shows that they are wrong. I will continue shouting that as loud as I can and continue presenting the reasons why I believe I am correct in order to protect the public. 
I don’t want another person to come down with argyria in this day and age. I don’t want one more person to hear people who claim to know as much or more about medicine than MDs do, people the public trusts because they are licensed as “physicians” by governments, that ingesting silver offers benefits and is safe when that isn’t true.  I especially don’t want another child or teenager to have to live through what I lived through. 
In this day and age there is absolutely no excuse. MD stopped using silver internally over 50 years ago when they discovered that ingesting it was at best useless and at worst harmful. Silver seriously disfigures people for the rest of their lives! In this day and age anyone calling himself “doctor” who has a government license to do so and a license to “practice medicine” should know better than to promote silver and should be prosecuted if he sells, recommends or administers it to patients.  
No matter how angry NDs like Gagnier get with me for exposing their profession for the dangers it poses, I will continue to do so because I fear that they will cause more new cases of argyria and that one or more of their “treatments” or “remedies” may be far more dangerous than silver. 

Yes, Dr. Gagnier, PhD, I know that I have “inferred” that you are angry with me. While you may consider the inference to be “unfounded” and based on “biased reasoning”, I believe that your comments are evidence that my conclusion or inference about your attitude towards me is correct. Any interested reader can decide for himself. I also think you’ve got your priorities all screwed up. Instead of being angry with me you should be furious with your colleagues who have included dangerous snake oil in their state sanctioned formulary and totally ignored me and my friend Arline when we expressed our concerns, You should call licensed NDs who promote and sell silver quacks. 
Doctor, heal yourself and your profession before trying to save and legitimatize it.  Go back to the drawing board and get it right before you try selling it to the public. 

Joel J. Gagnier, Michigan School of Public Health, silver, colloidal silver, naturopaths, canada, ontario

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chiropractors Marketing Themselves

Steven Salzberg wrote an article for Forbes published online on June 10, 2012 about government subsidizing chiropractic schools,, in which I thought that he and Allen Botnick brought up important points. 

Last I looked there were 5 pages with 59 comments, most of which were from chiropractors or people studying to be chiropractors. I read very few of the comments. A glance was enough to disturb me because it told me that they were not addressing the important issues raised the way people concerned about providing good health care would. They were ducking the issues and attacking those who had brought them up. Like I’ve seen naturopaths do constantly, they were marketing their goods and services, defending their turf. 

With a few notable exceptions that stand out this is what I’ve seen chiropractors do en mass whenever anyone questions the safety of their neck manipulations which are known to cause strokes and even kill people, mentions the lack of evidence supporting the benefits of chiropractic treatments or speaks about the pre-scientific concepts, now known to be wrong, that chiropractic is based on.  

Why is it that so many alt med practitioners, not just chiropractors, who use “remedies” and “therapies” that have never been evaluated for safety or efficacy and for which there is no plausible scientific reason to suspect they may be beneficial constantly insist that their treatments are science-based and that they practice scientific medicine? Why do they go ballistic when others say that isn't true rather than simply stating, “There is no evidence that this works, but many people enjoy the results they obtain using it and as far as I know I’ve never hurt any of my patients. That’s good enough for me. Science doesn't have all the answers.” I can only guess. My guess is that the self promoters believe that making scientific claims about the safety and efficacy of the goods and services they sell is a wonderful marketing device that greatly increases sales. 

Steven Salzberg, Allen Botnick, chiropractors, marketing medicine, selling alternative medicine; alt med practitioners 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

John Weeks, Huffpost, Naturopaths

John Weeks posted a blog on Huffpost on 6/13/12 on naturopathy, he hasn’t published the comment I submitted below or the second one I left excluding the links in the first. 

To me that shows that he is promoting, pitching, selling his cause rather than trying to gather and address the facts of the matter.  That might be fine if the product is a toaster but not when it is a system of medicine.

The comment Weeks won't post:
Naturopaths terrify me. They routinely use products that have never been evaluated for safety or efficacy. One or more of these products could be totally useless and as lethal as cigarettes but by the time that is known, it will be too late to prevent many premature deaths.

Worse still, they use dangerous snake oil like silver which disfigured me over 50 years ago. 

Naturopaths practice a belief-based system of medicine, not an evidence-based one with the result that when there is overwhelming evidence that something like silver is useless and dangerous they are emotionally unable to believe that because the idea that something natural can be harmful and useless is contrary to their religious or philosophical belief that Nature heals.

john weeks, huffpost, naturopaths, health care reform, integrated medicine, bad medicine, dangerous medicine, political agendas

Friday, June 8, 2012

Accredited Naturopathic Schools

Naturopaths, NDs, have a very successful marketing/lobbying campaign going on across N. America aimed at making them the legal equivalents of medical doctors, MDs, by having states and provinces grant those who have graduated from “accredited 4-year naturopathic medical schools” the same privileges that MDs have, such as prescribing and using prescription drugs. One of the marketing mantras they use is that “naturopathic medical schools” provide the same education that MDs get in “their medical schools”. NDs present lists of the courses they take, many of which use the same titles as the courses given in real medical schools, such as “pharmacology”,  "gastroenterology", "oncology".

In reality, naturopaths do not believe in or understand science or the medical sciences like pharmacology or toxicology. Theirs is a dangerous belief-based system of medicine.

I don’t have the resources to investigate to see if my suspicions are correct, but I’ve long believed that those who are attracted to “naturopathic medical schools” are for the most part the most gullible among us. Who else would pay huge sums of money to get degrees that only qualify them to work as clerks in health fraud stores? Who else would believe that the folk medicine that didn’t work for and often killed our ancestors and which is now taught in naturopathic schools is scientific or evidence based?

Today I was sent the link to a blog that I think gives a lot of weight to my suspicion that naturopaths have been scammed into believing that the educations they get in their schools are the same as those that MDs get in theirs.
While the author’s expertise is chiropractic schools, I suspect that his allegations apply equally to “naturopathic medical schools” and wish that I had the resources to throughly investigate and report the matter. 

Except for a few obvious conmen, the majority of NDs I’ve dealt with strike me as being caring human beings who really want to heal people and solve all of life’s problems. However, they also strike me as being the most gullible among us, the most easily conned since they believe everything that pleases them without ever trying to verify any of it independently. They also strike me as running away from everything unpleasant. So it makes perfect sense to me to think that when they get their “med school” diplomas and can’t use them to earn a decent living that they believe the people who convinced them to enroll in those schools when they tell them that the problem isn’t the education they paid all that money for, but  rather The Establishment, the medical doctors who believe in and practice evidence-based or scientific medicine who fear that NDs will put them out of business. It also makes perfect sense to me to see the most aggressive of this passive lot chant the marketing/lobbying mantras that savvy professionals teach them. What I don’t understand is why so many politicians support and enable them, especially since they don’t seem to have much public support evidenced by the fact that so few people use their services and so many don’t even know what a naturopath is, even in Vermont, a hotbed of alternative medicine.

accredited naturopathic schools, naturopaths, alternative medicine, vermont, dangerous doctors, unscientific medicine, scams, useless degrees, useless diplomas, useless degrees