Dangerous nonsense


I may have to take back some of the things I’ve said about Andrew Weil (“Pseudoscience at the University of Arizona,” “Journey into bullshit with Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil,” “Andrew Weil advocates cupping“). Not that any of it isn’t true; he really does season his mostly sound health advice with some pseudoscientific bullshit. But damn, Dr. Weil is a paragon of rationality compared to these two:

The article the tweet links to is by Larry Malerba, DO, DHt, “Physician, educator, author, and pioneer of new paradigm medical thinking.” I don’t know what a DHt is: distributed hash table? Dihydrotestosterone? If anyone knows, please share in the comments.

Malerba

The article is a train wreck, advocating homeopathic preparations of wolf’s bane (Arnica montana) as “the first line of defense in all head injury cases”:

Arnica should be stocked in all emergency departments, doctors’ clinics, military facilities, schools, workplaces, home medicine cabinets and first aid kits.

This is dangerous nonsense. Homeopathy doesn’t work. See how many logical fallacies you can spot in Dr. Malerba’s apologetics:

…the lack of awareness of this therapeutic option for head injuries is largely due to the medical establishment’s obstinate refusal to take homeopathy seriously. Such medical ignorance, which really borders on negligence, is based almost purely on ideological grounds.

The medical profession decided long ago that homeopathic medicine couldn’t possibly work because it defies their limited pharmacological/surgical conception of what constitutes a viable medical therapy. Since the results repeatedly observed by homeopathic practitioners and their patients could not be explained in mechanistic terms, conventional medicine tended to dismiss the phenomenon without further consideration. Undeterred by such unscientific bias, thousands of practitioners have successfully used homeopathy to treat millions of patients over the past two hundred years. I have personally witnessed the tangible results in the treatment of the acute and chronic effects of head injury many times in my own medical practice.

There is ignorance bordering on negligence here, but it’s not by the medical establishment. The medical profession ‘decided long ago that homeopathic medicine couldn’t work’ because it is physically impossible. Homeopathic preparations are diluted beyond the point at which there’s any reasonable expectation that a dose contains a single molecule of the active ingredient. None of that would matter if it did work, but test after test has shown that it doesn’t work (see the Ernst article cited below). It’s a placebo, an expensive placebo.

Dr. Malerba blogs over at Huffington Post (surprise!). His dangerous advice isn’t limited to head injuries; his recent hits include “The Homeopathic Option for Whooping Cough” and “Homeopathy: A Time-Tested Treatment for the Flu.”

And what about Dr. Zimmerman, who tweeted Malerba’s article? She is a ‘naturopathic physician‘ in Victoria, BC, and ho-ly crap!

Zimmerman

If you want a crash course in pseudoscience, check out her website. Just be sure you’re ready for some disturbing stuff. Black Mirror disturbing. Se7en disturbing. No Country for Old Men disturbing. Just a few excerpts from the ample source material. She offers “Vaccine safety counseling“:

Vaccine safety counseling

Not doing anything is also an option in which I suggest parents try their best to optimize the child’s immune system and are also well-prepared to deal with infections like whooping cough, measles, mumps, chickenpox etc, as your child will likely contract them. With proper care these infections are mild and will provide life-long immunity. Of more concern are diseases like meningitis of course if no special prevention is given.

Measles is mild? According to the World Health Organization,

In 1980, before widespread vaccination, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year.

Whooping cough is mild? The CDC reports 195,000 deaths worldwide from pertussis in 2008 and calls it “a major cause of childhood mortality in the United States” during the 20th Century.

Why wouldn’t you want to vaccinate?

Vaccine injuries

Post hoc ergo propter hoc, anyone?

In my practice I see vaccine- as well as medication and other toxin injuries every day. They are hidden behind diagnoses such a [sic] autism, speech and language disorders, ADHD, allergies, eczema, failure to thrive, sleep disorders, difficulties with fine and gross motor control, digestive problems, behavioural problems, sensory processing disorders, Guillain Barre Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, type I diabetes, lupus-like syndrome, MS-like syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

And

There has been no government research comparing unvaccinated children with vaccinated ones. There have been some private studies which have shown that both unvaccinated and selectively vaccinated children are far healthier than vaccinated ones and have virtually no autism.

Zimmerman autism

Aside from not vaccinating, what can hopeful or expectant parents do to prevent autism? These are just the headings; there are longer explanations on the website:

  1. Eat organic
  2. Eliminate chemicals
  3. Detoxify before pregnancy
  4. Optimize your microbiome
  5. Optimize folic acid
  6. Heal childhood and partner abuse
  7. Avoid toxins during pregnancy
  8. Avoid ultrasounds
  9. Aim for a natural delivery
  10. Avoid medication use in infants
  11. Make informed choices about vaccines
  12. Avoid plastic containers

And what should you do if your child is autistic (perhaps because you didn’t heed Dr. Zimmerman’s advice)?

I offer both biomedical and homeopathic treatments in my practice. My focus however, is primarily on homeopathy and CEASE Therapy to treat children with these conditions, simply because I have found these methods to be the most effective.

Diet and supplementation are important and very helpful but will not usually address the deeper underlying causes of these disorders. In addition it can often be difficult to get the children to eat a better diet at the beginning. With homeopathy however, this symptom is often easily addressed and the child then starts to eat a greater variety of foods, which in turn improves his health.

Homeopathy is better able to address the deeper, underlying causes of the condition. Additionally, the remedies are very cost-effective, which will save you money on expensive supplements in the long run. They are also small, sweet and easy to take.

Wait, she knows the “deeper, underlying causes of the condition”? Oh, yes:

My specialty is finding and addressing the multiple causative factors for autism. These can include inherited predispostions [sic], chronic infections, environmental toxins and adverse effects of various medications and vaccines the child may have received.

Medications and ultrasounds during pregnancy and medical interventions during labour and delivery can also be contributing factors.

​Even infections, medication, vaccines, exposures to other toxins and traumas parents experienced before conception can play contributing roles in the development of autism. Best results are obtained by being aware of all of these possible factors. That does not mean that all of these factors need to be addressed in each child, often it is only one or two factors that affected the child the most and once these are cleared the natural healing mechanism of the body works more effectively to restore the child’s health.

Pretty scary, right? But I’ve saved the best for last:

Zimmerman testimonial

That’s right; this is someone’s family doctor.

Thanks to Brian Dunning for putting this on my radar:

Stable links:

Ernst, E. 2002. A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 54: 577–582.

Comments

  1. Some Old Programmer says

    My Google-fu came up with this; definition:

    DHt: Diplomate in Homeotherapeutics (also DHT)
    By: the American Board of Homeotherapeutics
    Available only to MDs (medical doctors) and DOs (doctors of osteopathy)

    Seems to fit, but (obviously) I don’t vouch for the accuracy.

  2. says

    Holy shit. Traditionally, arnica is used, in the form of an ointment for minor bruises, aches and stiffness. It’s not overly effective for that, it certainly wouldn’t do shit for a traumatic brain injury.

    As for the DHt, umm, best guess is ‘doctor of herbal therapy.’ Or homeopathy? Dunno.

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