Not the Ducks – Offit is Sensationalist? Really?

“Sensational or not, experts say that Dr. Offit’s assertions have not been proven either way.”

And what are these claims?

“Vitamins live under this notion that you can’t possibly hurt yourself,” he said. “But you can, by challenging Mother Nature and taking these vitamins and concentrating them to these exceptionally large quantities that you would never normally eat.”

Yes… Many experts realise this. Hyper-vitaminosis can  kill. In fact it’s the active ingredient that makes dog and bear liver so toxic to us is Vitamin A.

Apple founder Steve Jobs would still be alive today if he had sought more traditional medical care rather than alternative medicine, noting that the type of pancreatic cancer Jobs had – a neuroendocrine tumor – is cured in 95 percent of patients by undergoing surgery.

Yes and No.

We don’t know what would have happened had Steve Jobs DIRECTLY began with real medicine as opposed to that quack diet. We really don’t. There is a 95% chance he may have survived or he may have been in the 5% chance that doesn’t.

But what we do know is that his quackery did not help him. It either did absolutely nothing, or it contributed to his death. We cannot be certain. However the reluctance to seek immediate treatment may have resulted in an increased spread of the disease which required such a radical surgical and medical approach which wasn’t sufficient to save his life.

It’s a bit sensationalist, but it is not strictly false.

But we need to sensationalise this. We HAVE to point out that Steve Jobs chose poorly. That he is not a role model with Healthcare. That his tacit approval of quackery would have been used to flog a wide variety of quack medication. I remember immediately after his death, a variety of quack sources were willing to blame “Western” medicine for his death despite the heroic measures taken to save him including the use of highly theoretical medicine.

Steve Jobs did himself no favours. He may have done amazing things in terms of cool computing but when it came to healthcare his poor healthcare choices initially validated some really unscientific practices.

It’s called evidence based medicine for a reason.



  1. garnetstar says

    Absoutely. My understanding is that Jobs thought he could hold off on surgery for a while because his type of cancer was very slow-spreading (?). If that’s true, he seems to have tried to appy a little sense (i.e., assessing whether or not he could wait) before he leaped off the quackery cliff. As you say, maybe that didn’t worsen his chances, and he might have not survived even if he’d had surgery immediately. But what he tried instead was certainly in no way helpful, and he was no role model at all.

    He seems to have been a litte inclined towards that sort of thing already: he’d been on fruitartian diets (where you eat only fruit) for quite a while in the past (that’s where the name of his company originated).

  2. Trebuchet says

    What do you call alternative medicine that works? Medicine!

    The current post #1 appears to be spam, by the way.

  3. ttch says

    The designer David Kelley was interviewed on 60 Minutes in January. The segment was repeated just this past Sunday. In it, Kelly told of his friendship with Steve Jobs and how Jobs—sick with cancer himself—exhorted him to deal with his newly-discovered and dangerous cancer only with Western medicine. So Jobs’ delay may well have saved one life at least.

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