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Apr 01 2012

I get email

Seriously, people, I am so sick of the April Fool’s jokes. I just got this in my email.

Dear Dr. Myers:

I’m writing to you in your capacity as a biology faculty member at University of Minnesota Morris. I’m originally from Minnesota— I’m from just south of Mankato, and I’m a St. Olaf alum. Currently, I’m the Dean of Research at the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) in Portland, Oregon. My PhD is in Immunology, from the University of Colorado, and I did a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University. I noticed that you earned your PhD at U of OR. My partner’s daughter graduated from U of OR 2 years ago.

This past year at NCNM, we’ve launched a Master of Science of Integrative Medicine Research (MSiMR) program. It’s a 2 year accredited program that is a combination of an MPH and a Master of Clinical Research program. As integrative medicine is on the rise, it’s important to determine what works and what doesn’t. Our MSiMR students are building the evidence base for integrative medicine. We do applied, basic, and clinical research. It’s an exciting program that examines nutrition, exercise, behavior change, massage, herbal medicine, and other natural modalities.

In addition, the MSiMR program has the potential for international medical research. I personally have collaborations in Tanzania, Brazil, and Nicaragua, and will be taking two students with me to Tanzania this summer. Thus, students who are interested in global health may be interested in this program. I’m attaching 2 brochures so that you can get a flavor of the program.

I know Morris is a little out of the way, but I’m going to be in Minnesota visiting my family April 18th-22nd, and I’m happy to make the drive if you know of students who are interested in natural medicine (naturopathic or Chinese medicine degrees) or integrative medicine research. I interviewed at Morris when I was looking at colleges for undergrad. In the past, I’ve met with the pre-med clubs at St. Olaf, Gustavus, and Minnesota State Universities. I’d like to make sure that Morris students have the same opportunities. If you’d like me to give a seminar or an informal talk for pre-med or graduate school bound students, I’m happy to do so. I’m also available to drop by a classroom and chat for 10 minutes if you think your students would be interested.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Best,
Heather

I am being teased. I would so love to have Heather visit my classroom, just to see the look on her face when the horde of students raise their heads, eyes all a-glitter, and smile and bare their needle-sharp fangs in those last few minutes before she is shredded. I suspect, though, that if I eagerly offered her access to the students, she’d look a little closer at the content of my site and flee like a tuna before the shark.

29 comments

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  1. 1
    andusay

    Tuna may flee from sharks, but they hunt lions. Sure, not for a few days, but for 45 minutes, and hour… yeah they could come out of the water and hunt lions. They LIKE lions. They have a taste for lions.

  2. 2
    Comradde PhysioProffe

    Check this out:

    http://www.ncnm.edu/helfgott-research/company-funded-research.php

    These fuckes actually take money directly from “nutriceutical, herbal medicine, probiotic and medical device companies” in exchange for performing contract research on their behalf. Legitimate research universities–while they do, of course, engage in industry-supported research–do not permit this kind of arrangement.

  3. 3
    Glen Davidson

    Sure, Heather, if you’ll just bring Ken Ham along with you.

    Glen Davidson

  4. 4
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    It’s a 2 year accredited program

    Who would accredit this program?

    Our MSiMR students are building the evidence base for integrative medicine.

    That’s hilarious. Not too many graduate programs are trying to build the original evidence base for their fields. Or if they are, they’re not publicizing it.

    It’s an exciting program that examines nutrition, exercise, behavior change, massage, herbal medicine, and other natural modalities.

    Gosh, I wonder what other “natural modalities” they’re talking about….

  5. 5
    'Tis Himself

    SC, OM asked:

    Who would accredit this program?

    I was wondering that myself, so I went to the NCNM website to do some digging.

    NCNM is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) for its Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, and by the Accreditation Council on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) for its Master of Science in Oriental Medicine and Master of Acupuncture programs. NCNM is accredited at both the masters and naturopathic doctoral degree levels with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The Northwest Commission is one of six U.S. regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Secretary of Education.

    NCMN is accredited by both ACAOM and NWCCU, accreditation agencies recognized by the US Dept. of Education. CNME is not a DOE recognized accreditation agency.

  6. 6
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Check this out:…

    “With extensive experience in conducting successful natural medicine projects, we are prepared to offer companies a highly qualified and responsive research team to develop a clinical study that can be used to market their product and fulfill FDA requirements.”

    At least they’re honest about it.

    Ah. Meet the accreditors.

  7. 7
    robro

    “Chinese medicine,” uh? Does he mean the “ancient” practice invented during the Cultural Revolution for the so-called Barefoot Doctors because the real doctors were in jail or killed because they were shills of evil Western Capitalism? Rich stuff. Perhaps they’re researching how to make a fungus tea that doesn’t look like the bottom of a compost bucket. Or maybe they’re researching alternatives to ground up rhinoceros horn and bits of other endangered species that would be just as effective at making their pee-pees stiff. They should keep it up. Seems like valuable work.

  8. 8
    Sastra

    My PhD is in Immunology, from the University of Colorado, and I did a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University… natural medicine (naturopathic or Chinese medicine degrees) or integrative medicine research.

    One of these things is not like the others; one of these things just doesn’t belong…

    Really, how can someone with an apparently legitimate degree in immunology buy into methods which talk about “boosting the immune system” in an apparently supernatural sense, relying on ancient or intuitive understandings of physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine. Based on past experience, we can be pretty sure that the “research” in these areas — if well done — will demonstrate that the alternative methods are no better than placebo. Such results will then be either spin doctored into ‘it works’ or brushed aside with the insistence that the modality therefore “shows promise and needs more research.”

    “Integrative medicine” is a lot like “spirituality.” Advocates of supernatural woo try to couple tested and reasonable things with the unproven and unreasonable in an attempt to grant the credibility of the first group to the second. “Spirituality” includes love of nature, appreciation for art, uplifting experiences, concern for others … Higher Consciousness, religion, prayer, spirit beings, tarot cards, astrology. “Integrative medicine” includes nutrition, exercise, behavior change, massage, herbal medicine … reiki, homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, energy healing, straight chiropractic, and herbs and supplements which are worthless or grossly over-hyped.

    And we’re not supposed to notice the sly, subtle, cunning little switch. Oh, it’s “spirituality.” Oh, it’s integrative medicine. Take what works for you — it’s a happy little buffet where people are empowered to CHOOSE.

    Heather probably means well. She probably thinks the woo crap that is being integrated into real medicine is either negligible, optional, scientifically supported, culturally broadminded, or a useful placebo.

  9. 9
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    ‘Tis, you beat me! But I didn’t notice the real ones. Disturbing.

  10. 10
    Dick the Damned

    I’m writing to you in your capacity as a biology faculty member at …

    I wonder what response she gets from other faculty members who receive her request? (I guess it’s just like con-men who just need a few dupes out of thousands to make a good living.)

  11. 11
    Sastra

    I wrote:

    Heather probably means well.

    Oh, wait. I just saw the posts by physioprof, ‘Tis Himself, and SC. Seems like Heather might — just might, mind you — be a shill. Let’s include that one in the possibilities, shall we?

  12. 12
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Or maybe they’re researching alternatives to ground up rhinoceros horn and bits of other endangered species that would be just as effective at making their pee-pees stiff.

    Perhaps students can learn to torture bears for their bile.

  13. 13
    David Marjanović

    PZ, do it. You know your students need to sharpen their sniny evergrowing fangs from time to time!!!

  14. 14
    ImaginesABeach

    Seriously? I live in Michele Bachmann’s district and I share an alma mater with the Dean of Research at WooWoo U?

  15. 15
    Yoritomo

    Was her surname withheld as a courtesy (it’s Zwickey, apparently), or is it usual to send mails to other academics you don’t know personally and just sign your given name?

    As an aside, why mail PZ? Wouldn’t someone with UMM’s Pre-med Advising Committee, for example, be more appropriate?

  16. 16
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Bizarre that the Accreditation Council on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is recognized by the DoE.

  17. 17
    'Tis Himself

    ImaginesABeach

    I live in Michele Bachmann’s district and I share an alma mater with the Dean of Research at WooWoo U?

    Please, there are alternatives to suicide. Have you considered going through life wearing a bag over your head?

  18. 18
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    (it’s Zwickey, apparently)

    Her link to “Soil and Health – Nature Cure” is…interesting.

  19. 19
    Crissa

    I find it sad because ‘nutrition, exercise, behavior change, massage, herbal medicine, and other natural modalities’ could actually help people. But not when woo gets in the way of developing concrete studies so that we know what helps.

  20. 20
    Draken

    I wonder what level of higher consciousness you must have attained if you can grow up in the same geographical and academic world as PZ Myers, and yet not know what his opinion on alternative medicine is.

    I have fruit flies here who probably know him, from reading over my shoulder.

  21. 21
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Portland? It figures.

    robro:

    making their pee-pees stiff. They should keep it up.

    So to speak.

  22. 22
    Fukuda

    So.. What’s their research about? (Brace yourselves)

    Fucking magnets:

    The purpose of this study is to test whether magnets on ear acupuncture points can lower fasting blood sugar levels. This study will last for a total of 6 weeks. We will evaluate which of two types of magnets applied to acupuncture points on the ear, might lower fasting blood sugar levels.

    Does this remind you of anything?:

    Unda remedies are a type of energetic medicine using diluted doses of substances to effect changes in the body and are reportedly effective for both acute ailments and for chronic, degenerative diseases. Unda remedies are intended for use in acute and chronic ailments that could benefit from optimizing excretory functions and enhancing detoxification pathways.

    I don’t think my detoxifying enzymes care about “subtle energies”

    If Vitex improves female fertility, it may provide a holistic and much less expensive approach to conception than in-vitro fertilization.

    Vitex will solve all your fertility genetic problems, too. (Somehow)

    Our evaluation will attempt to draw correlations between personality types and specific health outcomes to meet three objectives: (1) to correlate multiple systems of assessment (2) to determine the reproducibility of predicting specific health outcomes by ancient methods of health assessment, and (3) to predict specific health outcomes based on personality type. The methods being used are health history, SF36, Big Five Personality Inventory, Enneagram, Ayurveda, Chinese Astrology, and Western Astrology.

    No comments.

  23. 23
    Michael Simpson

    What does this say about Colorado’s Ph.D. program and Yale’s fellowship program if they produce this kind of “scholar.” Oh wait, Behe has some sort of respectable graduate degree too.

    Please please please, let her show up at Myers’ classroom. Please.

  24. 24
    greenhome

    She obviously doesn’t read these blogs.

    Not everybody realizes that Atheist = western medicine exclusively.

    Or does it?

  25. 25
    Andy, uncultured Brit

    Not everybody realizes that AtheistSkeptic = western medicine proven to work exclusively.

    FTFY.

  26. 26
    Sastra

    greenhome #24 wrote:

    Not everybody realizes that Atheist = western medicine exclusively.
    Or does it?

    There’s no such thing as “Western medicine” and “Eastern medicine.” We’re not talking about art or food here, but remedies that work for human beings, wherever they live. Dividing medicine up like that implies that people in the East are a completely different species than people in the West, using different laws of the universe. Are they?

    Most atheists ascribe to some form of humanism, which values objective means of inquiry such as science. Naturopathy, reiki, TCM, and most other forms of alt med are heavy on the pseudoscience. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t need the special category.

    I do know atheists who are into alternative medicine. However, the rationale behind most alt med eventually devolves into supernatural assumptions. These atheists, then, could be reclassified as believing in a less traditional form of “God.” Or not. It’s a gray area.

  27. 27
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    She obviously doesn’t read these blogs.

    Not everybody realizes that Atheist = western medicine exclusively.

    Or does it?

    /snort

    Rational + Critical Thinking = Use Medicine that works.
    It’s super effective!

    Seriously, no one has an issue if you want to pop a sugar pill or get a message. Just don’t peddle the woo and be up front regarding the placebo effect. That’s all, that’s it. Natural isn’t automatically good for you or better but they peddle like it is. They prey on people who use this shit instead of actual, effective medicine. People suffer and die.

    And I second what Sastra said regarding Western vs Eastern for medicine. That is quickly climbing up the list of pet peeves. It uses a stereotype of the mythical Oriental like the trope of the magical Native American. Totally dehumanizing and othering.

  28. 28
    mikee

    You might find this a more amusing April Fools “joke”

    http://sciblogs.co.nz/molecular-matters/2012/04/01/sexual-re-orientation-achieved-using-homeopathy/

  29. 29
    David Marjanović

    There’s no such thing as “Western medicine”

    Oh, there is: bloodletting, mercury and such.

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