As the resident neurologist on SBM, my ears always prick up when I come across a new neurology-based scam, and my colleagues often send such items my way. In addition the word “quantum” has become a standard marketing term of alt. med quackery. So how could I resist taking a bite out of “quantum neurology”?
One might think (if one were a completely naïve rube) that those claiming to practice quantum neurology have, through diligent research, discovered how certain quantum principles apply to nervous system function and disease, leading to new treatment modalities. On the other hand, a more savvy consumer of such health claims (such as regular readers of SBM) would likely suspect that quantum neurology will turn out to be the same-old mix of nonsense and snake oil in a shiny new package.
Let’s have a look.
According to the Hayden Institute, which appears to be a typical vanity institute of one Chase Hayden, DC:
Quantum Neurology focuses on allowing nerves that may be associated with painful or debilitating injuries, illnesses, or conditions to stabilize so that the body can heal itself. This safe non-invasive technique that allows the doctor to evaluate, strengthen, and rehabilitate every major nerve in the body. This is accomplished with a specific series of upper and lower body muscle strength tests designed to evaluate the entire spinal cord, as well as strengthening the nerves with light therapy, and gentle joint mobilization.
We are also informed that:
Nerves control every function in your body, and when they become dysfunctional, a symptom develops. In order to wiggle your toes, walk, identify temperature changes, breathe, have your heart beat, or any other function in your body, a nerve has to send a message.
In other words, quantum neurology is just straight-chiropractic vitalism by a new name. Straight chiropractic, as imagined by D.D. Palmer, is based on the pre-scientific vitalistic notion that life energy flows through the nerves to the entire body and is essential for health. All illness is caused by blockages to the flow of this life energy, and therefore all illness can be treated by restoring this flow. What blocks this flow are subtle (meaning non-existent) subluxations or misalignments of the spine, which some chiropractors still claim they can correct with manipulations, restoring flow, and allowing the body to heal itself.
This is why straight chiropractors believe they can treat things like asthma, a disease of the lungs.
Above we have the absolute claim that “nerves control every function in your body.” This is demonstrably not true. Not all organs and functions are regulated by nervous control. The liver, for example, functions quite nicely on its own. You could make the strained argument that the autonomic nervous system regulates blood flow, and blood flow is critical to all functions of the body, but that still does not mean that the nerves control liver function. One might as well say that the thyroid “controls” every function in the body.
They also claim that in order for the heart to beat a nerve has to send a message – also not true. The heart has its own internal electrical system and beats all on its own. It is regulated partly by autonomic nerves, but it does not need them to beat. Transplanted hearts, for example, have no nerve supply, and work just fine.
The notion that nerves control everything is chiropractic philosophy, not science.
Under their “services” tab they list applied kinesiology – we have discussed this on SBM before as well. Applied kinesiology is more chiropractic magic, nothing more than self-deception and the ideomotor effect. Practitioners claim they can diagnose illness through muscle strength testing, but it only seems to work when the tester knows the results they want to get (just like dowsing). Applied kinesiology is essentially dowsing with muscles.
They also offer “detoxification” and “functional endocrinology.” Two other topics we have already thoroughly exposed as nonsense on SBM.
They don’t exactly claim they can cure specific diseases, but their website proclaims that, “Patients have reported improvements with the following symptoms and conditions.” That’s a nice dodge. They then provide a long list of conditions and serious diseases, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, skin rashes, and many more.
Another chiropractor offering “quantum neurology” is George Gonzalez, author of the book Holographic Healing. Gonzalez informs us:
We now understand that the Nervous System is inclusive of every aspect of action and communication available to our body. It includes our physical body and our all aspects of our nonphysical body: also known as our energetic body, Bio-Energetic Field, Aura or LightBody. It includes our mind, our thoughts, our emotions and our Spiritual connection.
He offers something called the GRT LITE (trademarked), which is just light therapy. This is pure snake oil without any scientific plausibility or credible evidence that it does anything. It is a virtual magic wand.
On such websites I always look for references to research to support the amazing claims being made for medical innovations. New medical technology does not just come out of nowhere – there has to be a paper trail of research supporting it. Gonzalez says that research is important, and he requires research of his quantum neurology (trademarked) training seminars. What he considers “research,” however, are case studies. Case reports are useful in medicine – but they are not considered “research.”
He presents, for example, a case study of a patient who suffered a brain aneurysm. The case report is so poorly written, if a medical student handed this in I would seriously question their competency. We are not given any specific details. The report was actually painful for me to read. For example, we are told that the patient had an aneurysm, but we are not told its size and location. We are told he had surgery, but not told which procedure, exactly. Nowhere in the write up of the case is it mentioned that the aneurysm hemorrhaged – it’s as if Gonzalez thinks “aneurysm” means bleed, rather than a defect in an artery that can rupture and bleed. He also states that the “baseball sized” aneurysm was removed “from the patient’s skull.” Aneurysms are not in the skull – from the one image provided the aneurysm was clearly intracranial.
It’s almost as if the case study was written by someone without any medical knowledge at all, let alone specialist neurological knowledge.
Gonzalez is apparently impressed that the patient recovered following the aneurysm bleed, the impressiveness supported by the claim that, “The family was told” that he would be neurologically impaired and need a caregiver. Second-hand information through an emotional family is not exactly a credible source of prognostic information.
In fact, most people who suffer such a bleed will improve significantly. The imaging provided shows only a moderate-sized bleed. Once the swelling goes down and the blood is reabsorbed the patient should recover nicely.
Quantum Neurology displays all the features of pseudoscience – its practitioners use jargon to dress up superstitious pre-scientific beliefs, they make claims not supported by plausibility or evidence, they go through the motions of something they can present as science without any of the substance, and they surround themselves with the trappings of legitimacy.
They lack the true substance of science, however. There is no research to support their claims. They cannot explain their claims in terms that are compatible with existing science. They have not conducted research capable of exploring whether or not their core claims are true, let alone their alleged clinical applications.
Their claims are vacuous but they ride on a magic carpet of slick marketing. “Quantum Neurology” and “Holographic Healing” are just that – marketing terms meant to give the false impression of modernity to crusty pre-scientific nonsense.