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    Quackwatch Update

    I was just looking at articles on Quackwatch, "The original Guide to Quackery, Health Fraud, and Intelligent Decisions run by Stephen Barrett, M.D. and noticed a number of articles that might be of interest to members of our forum. People with spinal cord injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and multiple sclerosis are often victims of quackery.

    Edelson Center Closed after Three Suits Alleging Fraud and Malpractice Apr 27, 2005 by Stephen Barrett, M.D. who describes the case against Stephen B. Edelson, M.d. of Atlantic, Georgia who offered chelation therapy for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis based on the unfounded theory that heavy metal poisoning is the cause of their diseases.

    Disciplinary Proceedings against Stuart M. Suster, M.D. 12 Mar 2005 by Stephen Barrett, detailing the revocation of the medical license of Dr. Suster, a board certified physiatrist who operated the Great Lakes Pain Center in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

    A Special Message for Cancer Patients Seeking "Alternative Treatments" Mar 12, 2005 that lists many articles reviewing "alternative methods" including a detailed article entitled Questionable Cancer Therapies that reviews all the hoaxes and questionable cancer remedies over the ages.

    Government Action Curbs Shark Cartilage Claims Dec 16, 2004 by Stephen Barrett, M.D. regarding I. William Lane's book Sharks Don't Get Cancer and various fraudulent claims associated with shark cartilage treatments of cancer.

    Be Wary of Multiple Scleroris "Cures" Mar 12, 2005 listing sources of information and various treatments that have been falsely claimed to be effective for MS.

    Analysis of Misleading Chiropractic Testimony to the Institute of Medicine "CAM" Committee Jan 16, 2005 presented by Anthony L. Rosner, Ph.D., Director of Research and Education of the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Rsearch (FCER).

    Victims of Chiropractice Apr 10, 2005 written by Donald Paulin.

    Why the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) should be defunded Mar 18, 2005. Most people may not have heard of this Center funded by NIH for the past ten years with over $200 million.

    • <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>Idaho Woman Sentenced for Touting
    Bogus Medical Cure (Neuralyn) Dec 31, 2004</A> by Carol Rados, detailing the investigation and sentencing of the Vigils for a fraudulent treatment of spinal cord injury.

    Spinal Analysis Machine (S.A.M.) Dec 27, 2004 by Stephen Barret, M.D., regarding a machine that many chiropractors use to detect "postural imbalance".

    The Nervo-Scope Dec 27, 2004 by Stephen Barret regarding "neurocalometer" devices used by chiropractors to detect "hot boxes" on the spinal column

    Confessions of a Former Iridologist Dec 4, 2005 by Joshua David Mather, Sr. a former practictioneer of an art called iridology which has been used to claim a variety of changes in the iris of the eyes, under certain circumstances, including after spinal adjustment.

    Applied Kinesiology: Muscle-Testing for "Allergies" and "Nutrient Deficiencies" Sep 26, 2004 by Stephen Barrett, M.D., debunking the practice of applied kinesthesiology which claims (among others) that nutritional deficiencies can be detected by having the patient chew or suck on these itmes or by placing them on the tongue so that the patient salivates.

    Craniosacral Therapy by Stephen Barrett, M.D. describing the dubious claims of this therapy

    Do Pinched Nerves Reduce the Flow of Nerve Energy Sep 21, 2004 by Stephn Barrett, M.D., describing a claim by many chiropractors that spinal alignments cause or contribute to disease by choking off "nerve energy" to body tissues.

    Acupuncture, Qigong, and "Chinese Medicine" by Stephen Barrett MD, questioning claims and practices.

    Gregory Caplinger and Immustim Jul 15, 2004 by Stephen Barrett, debunking the credentials of Gregory Earl Caplinger (alias Gregory Frazier) who claimed to be a distinguished and widely published medical doctor and researcher but does not have a medical degree and accumulated more questionable credential than anybody Stephen Barrett had ever investigated. Caplinger practiced in the Dominican Republic at the International Institute of Medical Science Hospital and Clinics. He claimed that Immunostim (a cocktail of biological agents) is effective for a variety of conditions including MS and ALS.

    "Holistic Dentistry": A Brief Overview Jun 21, 2004 by Stephen Barret, M.D., and William T. Jarvis, Ph.D. exposing various dentists who espouse pseudoscientific theories.

    Some Notes on Viola Frymann, D.O. Jun 15, 2004 by Stephen Barrett, M.D. regarding Dr. Viola M. Frymann who founded the Osteopathic Center for Children and advocates cranial therapy.

    The Shady Side of Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Mar 31, 2004 showing the shady side of organizations such as EmCell, Medra, the Brain Cell Therapeutic Clinic by Dr. David Steenblock, Vita Nova, etc.

    Mold Neurotoxicity: Validity, Reliability and Baloney by Paul R. Lees-Haley, Ph.D. concerning this increasingly popular personal injury litigation that is conspicuously absent from day-to-day medical practice.

    Creatine Supplementation Jul 31, 2003 by Beth Lulinski, M.S., R.D., regarding claims of creatine supplement effects of muscular dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    The United States Special Committee on Aging: Hearing on Swindlers, Hucksters and Snake Oil Salesmen, The Hype and Hope of Marketing Anti-Aging Products to Seniors Sep 10, 2001 Testimony by Dennis M. Lormel, Chief of Financial Crimes Section, FBI.

    Be Wary of Theratec Therapy Jun 20, 2001 by Stephen Barrett, M.D. describing the Theratec Clinic in Apodaca Mexica (a suburband area of Monterrey, Mexico) that offers treatments of amyotropic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis.

    interesting stuff however i find fault with his take on acupuncture and his quest to prevent lay (non AMA docs) people from practicing acupuncture.
    i doubt its a cure all for many problems as many practitioners would suggest,
    however i had previous acupuncturist that trained in china and spent many hours to be legally certified in china.
    these same acupuncturist would teach MD's in the usa how to do acupuncture and they thought it was a discredit and weakening of the acupuncture system to allow American MD'S to become licensed in acupuncture with so little training.
    the acupuncturist who was teaching thought that most of the MD's were just there to get their ticket punched for financial reasons.. they had no real interest except financial in acupuncture. with the AMA a MD'S needs very few hours to be certified, i think 300 hrs in nys
    in china the training required is about 2000 hours.

    law and legislation
    cauda equina


      were any of these fda approved?


        I think Stephen Barrett needs his teeth kicked in.


          Heard on BBC Radio Devon today 01 May 05 that two scientists have now proven in a randomised controlled study that acupuncture actually works!
          Guess that Stephen et. al. at Quackwatch will have to do some serious back peddling [img]/forum/images/smilies/tongue.gif[/img]

          Andrew K Fletcher

          "Go With The Flow"
          Find us on Facebook using inclined bed therapy as a search term.


            the other side of the coin to the acupuncture and chiropractor debate, is that a MD can Prescribe better diagnostic test such as MRI to rule out problems that acupuncture wont help and time is of the essence.
            i meet to many people that only go to chiropracters for problems and forego medical doctors. MD's have more knowledge of the whole body . chiros and acupuncturist just keep on treating, thinking their specialized treatment will make the patient better. the same with yoga instructors beleive yoga is good for the backg, when it can actually cause a lot of problems and pain

            i had a good friend that was seeing a number of chiro and acu for lower back pain for over 6 months, they kept treating, than she went to a acupuncturist who was a MD, after couple treatment and no relief he ordered a MRI= spinal tumor=quick surgery needed.
            cauda equina


              metronycguy, I don't think that Stephen Barrett is criticizing the entire field of acupuncture or chiropractice. He is critizing unwarranted and misleading claims of some acupuncturists and chiropractors. If you go through his site carefully, it appears to be funded or at least supported by at least one chiropractor organization.

              DA, that is an interesting question. I don't think that any of the devices or treatments listed by Stephen Barret are FDA approved. On the other hand, chiropractice is recognized and licensed by the government. Likewise, many drugs and nutritional supplements (i.e. in nutrition shops) are not regulated by the FDA.

              Skippopotamus, Stephen Barrett has his fans and also detractors. I suspect that anybody who has been targetted by Stephen Barrett takes umbrage at the criticism. He is unfortunately often a one-man prosecutor-jury-and-judge team. He does target a number of organizations, including even the NIH and Senator Harkin, as you might have noticed in his critique of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.


                the point was to show how all the illegit can be done without fda, while the fda is a brick wall preventing the legit. in your face double standard. we in the sci community are too stupid or scared to fight this evil.


                  DA, I don't think hat you get it. The point is that many of the therapies may actually legitimate but quacks are scamming people by taking advantage of desperate people and charging them a lot of money to give them something of unproven safety and efficacy.

                  For example, umbilical cord blood infusions is actually a legitimate therapy for hematopoietic disorders. Some 11,600 people get cord blood tranplants every year in the United States. Insurance companies pay $23,000 per unit. The problem is when unscrupulous people start to scam desperate mothers by telling them that it may cure their babies with cerebral palsy.

                  Chiropractice and acupuncture are also legitimate therapy for certain disorders but when people start claiming that it can cure things that it cannot, that is quackery. For example, using some kind of machine that they say will be able to tell where the energy flow is stopped up, or telling people that acupuncture can cure spinal cord injury, that would be wrong and constitute quackery.

                  The FDA is not at fault here. They were given a charge, to regulate the safety and efficacy claims made by manufacturers of drugs. The FDA were being forced into regulating cell-based therapies as well but it is beginning to look as if this might be relegated to a newly formed federal stem cell regulatory agency.

                  The problem is really the people of the United States who want absolute safety and guaranteed efficacy but also freedom to take any drug they want. We can't have it both ways.

                  For example, I am very concerned by the public attitude and perception of the whole COX-2 fiasco, the Tysibri situation, or even the gene therapy clinical trial situation. All I seem to be hearing are people who want to be able to try things but then being silent when it comes to decisions by our government to shut down therapies when any evidence of safety concerns arise.

                  If you want to change the system, don't rail against the FDA or the scientists. Talk to your Congressman or Congresswoman, senator, or perhaps even your president. Make these concerns known. The AIDS people did it by getting the FDA to create an entirely new class of approvals called "compassionate use", allowing the use of novel treatments that are safe but not yet completely proven to be efficacious, if the disease is deadly and there is no other treatment available. The system can be changed.



                    lots of problems for the medical customers.
                    they can easily become victim of over billing and dilution of needed benefits by greedy therapy factorys
                    there is aversion of quackery that exist in approved procedures. the all in one clinics (usually chiro) clinic run by business people that are specialist in billing the insurance companies.
                    some unions get a kickback or donation made by these business and they refer all their members there at a no cost to member, deal.. however these mills are masters at billing the insurance company for services. some retires got screwed since there is a monetary cap on benefits that were paid once they retired. the chiro factory mill would try and suck every penny out of the benefits with all these unneeded and but billable treatments. others got screwed since the chiro office had billed and exhausted all the monies for a no fault injury with treatments such as massage therapy, ultrasound, a whack with a special magic wand..etc..anything and everything that could be billed in one days visit, and was.
                    these people would have been so much better off with physical therapy, they were left with no recovery and no more insurance.. the mills make
                    cauda equina


                      no dr young i dont think you get my point.

                      the scammers can bring anything at anytime to the bed side.

                      the sci clinicians can't bring an invisible box to the bed side.


                        Scammers waste time and resources, not only of the families but of the nation. Quackwatch discusses in detail some of the things to look for but sometime ago, I posted a list of tell-tale signs of a scam:

                        1. Any treatment that cures everything is probably a scam. There ain't no such thing. For example, while umbilical cord blood stem cells are a legitimate form of therapy, they are not a cure-all. You should be suspicious when you read that it cures everything from cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke, and multiple sclerosis to anything else that happens to make people desperate.

                        2. Any treatment that has little or no basis in publications in peer-reviewed journals, in animal studies or clinical trials, is suspect. Of course, some treatments are quite new and may not have sufficient time to be published. However, if no publications show up year after year after year, it is very likely that it is a scam.

                        3. The credentials of the doctor(s) are important. If, all of a sudden, if somebody who has had no training other than medical school or osteopathy school and limited general medical training, starts to claim a miraculous cure of a disease, it is time to be suspicious.

                        4. They charge money, often cash up front.

                        5. They say that they have done hundreds of or even thousands of cases but list the results of only 6-7 anecdotal cases.

                        6. They won't tell you what is in the treatment specifically.



                          we should hire the scammers to bring legit therapies to trials. nobody else seem to know how.


                            Dr. Young
                            Is there any possibility of cord blood being used in future therapies of nerve degeneration such as MND. My mother is suffering from MND and your answer will help me makeup my mind for storing the cordblood of my newborn


                              The whole problem with alternative it makes claims that are false.
                     has a place in medicine.
                              Acupuncture does help control pain..but does it cure a compressed spinal cord..NO.

                              Chiro is the same does help straighten out a misaligned spine..but does it cure a compressed spinal cord..NO.

                              As with all the natural medicines..well they do help with certain they cure..
                              maybe..but what they can cure is not usually what they are promoted to do.

                              It's the hype that is bothersome and dangerous. As is with anything.

                              Reviewing over 700 dogs with IVDD and resulting in neurological dysfunctions of various levels..the only thing that is proven to WORK is prednisolone IV..followed by decompression of the spinal cord. And it has to be done as an emergency situation..not just crate them and stick needles into their
                              bodies..or give them Adequan shots..or chiro..they will remain paralyzed if the cord is not decompressed early on in the injury..virtually within hours. And even then
                              you don't always get anywhere near a 75% return in function..when this occurs the alternatives do seem to help..but not without
                              alot of physio therapy right along with them.

                              Even with the drug and surgery...a minority do not regain function..but it is a minority.
                              And these dogs often have some myelomalacia and other problems that happened when they sustained the cord injury..or shortly after.

                              "A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk foreward." FDR
                              Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.