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The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.

— John Wooden

 

Regular readers might have gathered from reading this blog that we are not particularly fond of naturopaths. Actually, naturopaths themselves might be perfectly nice people; rather it’s naturopathy we don’t like, mainly because it is a cornucopia of quackery based on prescientific vitalism mixed with a Chinese restaurant menu “one from column A, two from column B” approach to picking quackery and pseudoscience to apply to patients. Indeed, Scott Gavura features as an excellent recurring series “Naturopathy vs. Science,” which has included editions such as the Facts Edition, Prenatal Vitamins, Vaccination Edition, Allergy Edition, and, of course, the Infertility Edition. Of course, as I’ve pointed out, any “discipline” that counts homeopathy as an integral part of it, as naturopathy does to the point of requiring many hours of homeopathy instruction in naturopathy school and including it as part of its licensing examination, cannot ever be considered to be science-based, and this blog is, after all, Science-based Medicine. Not surprisingly, we oppose any licensing or expansion of the scope of practice of naturopaths, because, as we’ve explained time and time again, naturopathy is pseudoscience and quackery.

A couple of weeks ago, over at my not-so-super-secret other blog, I was “celebrating” (if you will) Naturopathy Week. During that week, one of my readers brought to my attention something that, more than anything else, shows the truth of the quote with which I started this post and another similar quote by J.C. Watts that goes, “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.” I’m referring to the contents of a subreddit posted by a user going by the ‘nym “Naturowhat,” Read what naturopaths say to one another. Conclusion: manipulative, poorly trained, and a threat to public health. Now, I’m not a big fan of Reddit, largely because I can’t figure out how to find things easily, and I hate the sheer ugly and user hostile format of it. However, beggars can’t be choosers; so Reddit it was to examine what naturopaths say to each other when they think no one is looking. I hadn’t planned to comment on this again, but Jann Bellamy thought that our readers would be interested, and who am I to question Jann’s judgment, particularly on a weekend when I was deep into grant writing?

Into the belly of the beast (at least, as much as I can go)

This particular subreddit makes its interesting tidbits available in various ways. Originally, when it was posted two months ago, there were links to a .zip file with a bunch of .txt files representing a private Yahoo! Group named Naturopathic Chat (a.k.a. NatChat). It’s a discussion group in which naturopaths basically let their hair down and discuss…well, everything. In particular, they discuss patients, treatments, and naturopathy. The file is in dBase3 format and, according to the person who tried to upload it, zipped to 62 MB. Ultimately, an anonymous reader pointed me to a copy of the database online containing the entire archive for the NatChat Yahoo! Group. Unfortunately, I have not been able to figure out how to access the actual messages easily using a Macintosh app or, more importantly, to search the database efficiently. So, for the most part, I will be discussing what I found in the subreddit, although I’ve supplemented what some of you might have seen before elsewhere with a couple of examples from the database that are not, as far as I know, online anywhere other than in the database. It’s instructive indeed to peruse them, particularly if you’re sympathetic to claims of naturopaths.

Naturopaths, as regular readers know and as we’ve discussed since the very beginning of this blog, like to claim that they are well-trained to be primary care health providers, a delusion that leads them to try to get states to change their laws to given them that privilege, along with prescribing rights. Across the river from where I live, Ontario made the mistake of granting naturopaths prescribing rights, with an unintended consequence, namely that they can’t find enough pharmacists to test their knowledge of drugs and prescribing. Meanwhile, they lobby states for increased scope of practice and Medicare for reimbursement for their services. Never mind that they regularly demonstrate themselves to be grossly unprepared for the role of primary care practitioner, which is not surprising given their lack of training and how steeped they are in pseudoscience. So little of what’s on that subreddit will likely be a surprise to regular readers here.

It’s actually rather revealing to see what naturopaths themselves have to say about these expansions of their scope of practice. I was simultaneously surprised and not-so-surprised by the reaction of naturopaths to the issues that arise in states where they are both licensed and permitted to prescribe actual pharmaceutical drugs. For instance, see this post by Jared Zeff:

My concern is several-fold, but mostly that WE continue to define ourselves and our standard of practice. I have heard some doctors, particularly younger doctors, tell me that since we now have the prerogative to prescribe antibiotics, for example, we are required to prescribe them exactly like MD’s, as the primary treatment for infections such as cystitis. This means that when confronted with an infection, such as a cystitis, or a Strep pharyngitis, our first treatment must be antibiotic therapy. We may certainly give herbal medicine or whatever in addition, but the standard of care for MD’s is antibiotics, and since we have the same prescribing privilege, we have the same standard of care. I could not disagree in stronger terms. NO, NO, NO!!! I am a naturopath, and I have a separate license, a separate licensure board, and a different standard of care, determined by naturopaths, not by MD’s. Because I may prescribe antibiotics does not meant that I am required to prescribe them, and because I may prescribe pharmaceuticals does not mean that I am required to prescribe them, either. I am a naturopath!

As a naturopathic physician, I am trained and licensed to diagnose and treat the sick, with naturopathic methods, according to naturopathic philosophy. I did this for 30 years without a reliance upon pharmaceuticals, just like Jacob and James. And now, practicing in a state that has given me the privilege of such prescribing, after nearly 100 years of “denying” me such a privilege, does not meant that my practice fundamentally changes. To me, the double-edged sword is that someone may think that because I have this new privilege, I have a new requirement, and am now, suddenly, governed by the same standards as an MD/DO in the treatment of, say, infection, and am somehow suddenly required to use an antibiotic, where 5 years ago I was forbidden from using an antibiotic. This expansion of my prescribing privilege does not fundamentally change my standard of care. My standard of care is determined in part by the therapeutic order concept. Within the therapeutic order, antibiotics are a higher level intervention, after establishing the basis for cure. I may integrate them into my treatment according to my clinical judgement, but by no means am I, or does it make any sense for me to be, required to use them.

Yep. Be careful what you wish for. You might actually get it. Naturopaths in a handful of states and provinces in Canada, have won from the legislature prescribing rights, not because they actually have any clue how to prescribe actual pharmaceuticals to treat real diseases. As was so wisely stated in Spider-Man comics, with great power must also come great responsibility. We physicians know that. Indeed, as a surgeon, I feel this responsibility every time I enter the operating room, because I know that nothing can cure like surgery but nothing can mess a patient up quite like surgery, either. It is a serious responsibility to be permitted to take sharp instruments to the human body to cure disease, and I never forget that.

On the one hand, I have to give Zeff credit for realizing the inherent conflict between medicine and naturopathy that makes laws giving naturopaths prescribing privileges highly problematic—to put it mildly!—but on the other hand, their professional societies (such as they are) are fighting for this. It’s hard not to feel a bit of schadenfreude over the discomfiture of Zeff and other naturopaths like him, but then the fact is that it will be actual patients who will be the victims of the incompetent, non-evidence-based prescribing of real pharmaceuticals by naturopaths. Perhaps Zeff just has more self-awareness than most naturopaths when he realizes that he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near prescribing pharmaceuticals.

Quackery, quackery, quackery

Even in the relatively small sampling available on the subreddit, there are plenty of examples of just why naturopaths should never be allowed to be primary care practitioners—hell, why they shouldn’t be allowed to be health care practitioners of any kind. Perusing them, I was naturally drawn first to this one on IV peroxide:

Hi there,

Looking for experiences that anyone has had with results from IV hydrogen peroxide therapy.

A patient who is ultrasensitive is considering this but hesitant since she reacts so severely even to the minutest amount of homeopathic drainage. I am concerned as well.

Just that she she has severe dysbiosis and many methods we have tried she reacts to.

Any thoughts?

Thank You
Anna Bunda ND
Ottawa, Ontario

Intravenous hydrogen peroxide, of course, is not indicated for, well, anything. Of course, what I’m wondering is what homeopathic drainage has to do with intravenous peroxide therapy or why sensitivity to “homeopathic drainage” would predict problems with intravenous peroxide? But what is homeopathic drainage, anyway? Don’t ask. OK, I’ll tell you. It’s a form of homeopathic “detoxification,” as described here and here. Here’s what Homeopathy Today says about it:

Homeopathic drainage therapy is one of the best ways to promote body`s natural process of detoxification. Clinical experience in homeopathy has shown that some homeopathic medicines are able to improve blood circulation and help the body gently release the accumulated toxins and wastes from all cells and tissues. Homeopathic drugs have a drainage action when prescribed in low potencies (3X,6X, 3C, 5C).

Homeopathic drainage therapy is very useful and effective in every detox program. Complex preparations containing mixtures of such drainage medicines are available and widely used for maintaining health and well-being. The length of treatment may last from 3-10 weeks and usually depends on the person`s state of health. Homeopathic drainage therapy is natural, safe and compatible with other therapeutic modalities. It also minimizes detox side effects.

I do so love how “low potency” in homeopathy-speak means stronger concentrations of homeopathic remedies, you know, not the super ultra-dilutions like 30C. A 30C dilution, as you recall, consists of 30 serial 100-fold dilutions, or a 10-60 dilution, which is, of course, nearly 37 orders of magnitude more than Avogadro’s number, meaning that a 30C homeopathic dilution is incredibly unlikely to contain a single molecule of the starting substance, other than what might have been carried over as a contaminant on the glassware used to do the dilutions. In other words, the “strongest” homeopathic remedies are water. In contrast, 3C and even 5C (albeit to a lesser extent) could have enough compound left to be pharmacologically active, while 3X and 6X could definitely have pharmacologically active compound. (One also can’t help but note that 6X is the same as 3C.) In other words, “low potency” homeopathic compounds are actually the only ones that might do anything, although, given that most of these herbal remedies that form the basis of homeopathic remedies, are not by themselves generally known to do much of anything, it is unlikely. I suppose aloe might actually be useful for “detoxification of the rectum,” if by that you mean “soothing,” as aloe soothed a particularly bad sunburn I acquired on my chest and back during my honeymoon on a certain tropical island over 20 years ago.

As for the rest, there’s the ever popular Strychnos nux vomica, which is derived from a tree that produces strychnine. If I were to apply Food Babe reasoning, I’d cringe in horror because it’s active ingredient is still used in pest control products, in gopher bait, and in some rat poisons, but in reality it’s never been shown to have therapeutic value for any condition.

But I digress. Another naturopath is only too happy to help out and tells exactly how he likes to administer IV peroxide:

Anna,

I do a lot of IV H2O2 mostly for acute viral infections, it works very well if this is your goal for treatment.

Mix in 250cc D5W 2.5cc of 3% H2O2, add 5 Manganese sulfate (0.1mg/ml) to prevent phlebitis and irritation on the veins from the peroxide, also add 1cc of Mag sulfate 500mg to help dilate vessels. Drip time is approx 2 hrs.

You may want to half the above formula in the same volume of carrier solution and infuse over 3 hrs for the sensitive person as an initial treatment and then go to full strength if tolerating. Be ready with Benedryl if a reaction occurs.

Jeff Hanson ND
The Nevada Center

See the bizarre mixture of quackery (remember, IV peroxide is not a treatment for infection, viral or otherwise) and seemingly conventional medicine, with manganese sulfate and magnesium sulfate being given, as well as a good old standby of conventional medicine, Benadryl, being available in case of hypersensitivity reaction. And, of course, chronic Lyme disease is a favorite bogus diagnosis of quacks everywhere, an undefined disease characterized quite properly as the latest in a series of many labels that have attempted to attribute medically unexplained symptoms to infections. Antibiotic treatment is not warranted for it, and there are many unvalidated tests to “diagnose” it sold in the clinics of naturopaths and other dubious practitioners.

For instance, a naturopath named Renee Lang of Biologic Integrative Healthcare asks whether IV peroxide is good for “stubborn Lyme infection,” and is told by Stacey Rafferty:

I have used H2O2 a fair amount in the vast protocols needed to treat lyme. I believe it addresses the co-infections the best. Almost all lyme patients have EBV, mycoplasma, yeast et…. I am not convinced H2O2 helps with borrelia. If one is using HCl along with H2O2, the immune stimulation that occurs with HCl might be the therapeutic value.

HCl is hydrochloric acid, for those without a background in chemistry. So, here we have a naturopath injecting not just peroxide but hydrochloric acid, into patients. I’m guessing that’s mighty rough on veins, as rough on veins as some chemotherapeutics, although the 3% peroxide is diluted 1:100, which is relatively dilute and we don’t know what concentration of HCl was used along with H2O2. One wonders if Rafferty puts a Portacath in to administer this rather toxic concoction. It’s probably not nasty enough to do really serious damage to veins unless she’s giving it every week, but I’d be worried about extravasation, just as I would be for chemotherapy. Whatever the case, one wonders where these naturopaths get their H2O2 and HCl. Both are “natural,” but isolating them involves a lot of that evil chemistry that naturopaths so dislike.

Consistent with the love naturopaths bear for the nonexistent entity that is chronic Lyme disease, there’s a letter from a naturopath about her child upon whom a tick was found. The tick was removed by a physician, and the discussion turns to all sorts of concerns about—you guessed it—chronic Lyme disease. Naturally, this naturopath is waiting for homeopathic nosodes, which homeopaths think protect against infection. There’s the usual recommendation for nosodes and “naturopathic care,” but one naturopath named Kathleen Riley helpfully suggests:

Are you able to see the site of the tick bite? If you can , I recommend using a drawing salve until the site is no longer visible. Research presented at a past ILADS conference demonstrated live spirochetes at the bite site when it remains inflamed, even if the bite was a year before. To prevent a possible reservoir of Lyme, I have all my patients use a drawing salve on the bite site until it is no longer visible. This is in addition to using homeopathics and antimicrobials for a minimum of 3 weeks and monitoring for symptoms for 3 months after the bite. Earth Botanical Harvest’s Herbal Compound Ointment has been useful for extracting remnant mouth parts. Patients have also successfully use old fashioned black salve for this purpose.

Black salve? That’s downright delusional. It’s basically acid that burns away skin lesions. It’s not for nothing that I once referred to it as “cutting, poisoning, and burning naturally.”

Speaking of black salve, one of the few discussions I could find in the actual database involved the application of black salve on tumors. In a discussion from 2006 under the subject header of “Black Salve for a Huge Protruding Tumor – Q” we find this question:

I had a patient this morning with multiple large fruit sized tumors erupting from her left axilla and chest. The left arm is completley immobilized and edematous. She is terrified that the tumor will eat into her aorta or jugular vein and she’ll bleed to death. She had DCIS in 1999 which was excised with a lumpectomy, clean margins, 2 lymph nodes of 18 were positive. Clear for 2 years after multiple rounds of chemo; now she’s maxed out on radiation too. Considered inoperable. The armpit looks like a gaping mouth filled with yellow custard. On top of this she has a bad case of shingles under the left breast. I treated her with a B12/ADP shingles IM protocol and helped her devise a smoothie using Thorne Supportive Care nutrients, Hoxsey formula, berries, yogurt. Taught her how to make whey fermented veggies. She came to me for a black salve remedy because she knew I did escharotic Tx for cervical dysplasia. I recommended debridement of the oozing, crusty, erupting tissue with saline and bromelain, twice daily, air dry, then for bed placing an occlusive dressing with a “yellow” salve including calendula. Also hp silica. Any ideas where to get a good black salve, or any other thoughts on helping draw this tumor cluster out of her body? Clearly, she is trying to push this goopy mass out and there are 2 discrete “tops” to what literally looks like a volcanic field on her left chest. I’m concerned that if the tumors don’t come out they will spread laterally and cause further compression and intractable pain. She already takes Oxycodone and has a Dilaudid pump.

Thanks,

Emily Kane
Juneau AK

These sorts of cases are the ones that I as a breast surgeon dread. Fortunately, for the most part, they are almost completely preventable if the tumor is treated when it’s diagnosed. We might not be able to save the life of the patient, but at least we can usually prevent this outcome. In this case, however, it appears, at least as far as I can tell from the question, that everything was done more or less properly at the beginning, although I would point out that it must have been cancer, not ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) because otherwise the surgeon would not have performed an axillary dissection (removal of all the lymph nodes under the arm). I would also point out that, whatever this naturopath thought to be shingles, was far more likely to be skin involvement by the tumor. In any case, this is what we call carcinoma en cuirasse. It’s something I’ve described before in the context of the quackery that is New German Medicine, alternative medicine use in breast cancer, as well as another post. It’s a horrible condition, and once surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation have failed, there’s very little left that can be done other than palliation. In any case, Kane seems to misunderstand the significance of these masses in that she thinks that if they don’t “come out” they will spread laterally. Generally, when disease gets to this stage such masses are spreading both ways.

To be honest, I feel a little sorry for Kane, who is utterly out of her depth, although I feel much more sorry for the patient. So what sorts of answers did naturopaths come up with? Well, there’s this one:

She is so lucky to have found you. Last year I did a seminar in Canada and saw pictures a woman took of her breast cancer as it moved out of her body using the Black Salve. It took her 40 days for the tumor to come to the surface and move out. I spoke to a woman in Canada who will go to someone’s house and apply the salve for them. The website I have is http://www.cancersalves.com/. The only notes I have are as follows: Apply Goldenseal paste first and then add Bloodroot on top. Change the bandage every other day. This is very painful. The more cancer, the more painful. Please let me know how this goes for you and if she is successful.

Deanna Hope Berman, ND, CM
Naturopathic Doctor, Certified Midwife

Another naturopath from Portland, OR named Virginia Osborne recommended yampavalleybotanical.com. One naturopath from Seattle named Eric Yarnell was actually skeptical and mostly reasonable, pointing out that black salve fries healthy tissue as well as cancerous tissue and is extremely painful and gruesome. He described melanoma patients who died horrible deaths, although it wasn’t clear if it was due to metastastic melanoma or injury from the black salve. Berman would have none of this:

I have seen people who use naturopathic medicine as they do allopathic medicine for cancer care. What I mean is they come in, do a treatment – black salve or other – and then return to their previous life. I am wondering if the people who did the black salve and later died from metastatic disease were like this. Did they continue to use naturopathic therapies and continually work at healing? If not, I am not surprised by the outcome. If someone “treats” cancer naturopathically, I don’t think there is any turning back. I think they need to change their life and work every day towards health.

In other words, you have to believe, and if naturopathy doesn’t cure your cancer you weren’t dedicated enough to the naturopathic cure (or your naturopath didn’t have enough faith to give up anything resembling conventional medicine and use only naturopathy). You didn’t “change your life and work every day towards health.” I’m sorry, but once you have a bona fide invasive cancer, working towards health involves using the best science-based treatment there is. If the cancer is incurable, nothing a naturopath can do will make a difference, other than, in the case of using black salve, interfering with good palliative care.

Moving away from cancer, as a surgeon, I was interested in a discussion “Ulcerative colitis – abscess on j-pouch.” Basically, not infrequently, the variety of inflammatory bowel disease known as ulcerative colitis requires a total proctocolectomy (removal of colon and rectum). However, thanks to the wonder of modern surgery, it is possible for such patients not to have to have a permanent ileostomy stoma through the construction of an ileo-anal reservoir more commonly referred to as a “J-pouch.” Basically, the operation involves taking a piece of terminal ileum (the end near where the small intestine dumps into the colon) and bending it back on itself to form a reservoir, which is then sutured to just above the anal sphincter. It forms a reservoir that partially replaces the reservoir function of the rectum and allows a patient to live without a permanent stoma, although the price is several loose bowel movements a day because the water reabsorption function of the colon is missing. Still, most UC patients consider not having a permanent ileostomy to be worth that price. Here was the problem:

I have a 40 year old female with an abscess on her j-pouch. She has ulcerative colitis and had a complete colectomy 4 years ago and had a J-Pouch created. Her chief concern right now is that she has an abscess on her J-Pouch and the antibiotics aren’t helping. She’s had it drained but it just came back. The MDs suspect it is bacterial but haven’t been able to culture anything She’s coming to me acutely to help with the abscess or else she will have to have surgery to have a stoma created. Any ideas on how to treat the abscess?

Also, once that is treated, she wants overall help with digestion, frequent and spasming BMs, fatigue, pain, energy, etc. She had a colectomy but I’m assuming I still treat the ulcerative colitis since it is an autoimmune condition and the underlying process hasn’t been addressed. From another ND, she’s on VSL#3, lots of omega 3, glutamine, Absolute Veggie protein powder, DIDA tablets, Oregano Oil, Marshmallow tea, Chaga tea, Vit C, Genestra Herbal GI, Thorne Ferrasorb, Thorne Muti-B6, Vit D, New Chapter Bone Strength. She’s currently on a liquid diet – protein shakes with fresh veggie/fruit juices. Anything striking that is missing here? I was thinking of trying a low-sulfur elimination diet and am hoping to get her eating again. She’s losing lots of weight and I find that concerning.

What this patient probably has is pouchitis, a common late complication of J-pouches involving chronic inflammation of the pouch that occurs in 15-50% of patients. It’s a difficult and poorly understood complication whose etiology is thought to be multifactorial and involve genetic, immune, microbial, and toxic mediators, with possible causes including fecal stasis, increased anaerobe/aerobe bacterial ratio, ischemia, and underlying disease. Also 1 to 2 cm of anal canal mucosa is usually retained and can develop recurrent UC. The usual treatment consists of antibiotics and antidiarrheal agents. More concerning is the recurrent abscess, which could mean fistula formation. When fistula formation occurs late, a concern should be raised that the patient actually has a different kind of inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease. In any case, the treatment for recurrent abscesses and fistulae, such as what this patient sounds as though she has, are treated surgically, with a diverting ileostomy that is usually temporary to divert the fecal flow and allow healing.

In jumped Emily Kane again to suggest ozone. She doesn’t seem to realize that the abscess is intra-abdominal, as she suggests that “bagging the wound and applying ozone would be fabulous.” (No, not so much.) Another naturopath, Jennifer Shalit from Toronto, does actually ask the right question, namely “How does that work when the wound is internal?? Answer: It doesn’t. Or maybe ozone enemas will be proposed.

There were a bunch of other discussions, few of which involved anything other than purest quackery, such as this discussion where—of course—chelation therapy is highly recommended for a patient with cardiovascular disease on Plavix (an antiplatelet drug that slows coagulation) and aspirin because he’s had cardiac stents. Jeff Hanson helpfully suggests:

Are you able to do IV Na-EDTA chelation with this patient? Refer to the Alt Med Review from June 2007 regarding chelation, dual anti-platelet tx, and stents. In this review article, “studies demonstrate EDTA inhibits platelet aggregation…… via three mechanisms while it maintains a safety factor my not inhibiting collagen-induced aggregation…whereas, Clopidogrel inhibits by only one”. I have seen a number of patients outlive the expected life of their stents and not requiring re-stenting. Chelation is one of those treatments you can hang-your-hat-on for stable angina sx and cardioprotection post stenting. Chelation is not proven to remove arterial plaque but I have seen clinically in 2 pts receiving this tx that did a before and after Carotid Intima Media Thickness scan, they saw a 50% reduction in the amount of carotid plague and artery thickness. I would recommend 20-30 IV’s 2x/week then 1 tx monthly as maintenance. Don’t include vitamin C in formula because it can promote inflammation (see “alt med review” original study from March 2009 on EDTA and Vit-C). In addition, ozone tx with Major Autohemotherapy before chelation can promote RBC oxygen utilization and add a boost to the chelation tx.

At least he goes on to say that he wouldn’t use chelation in place of Plavix for 6-12 months. Good to know, given that the recommendation was to use Plavix and aspirin for six months but apparently now is to use it for a year after stent placement to prevent clotting. (The things I learn talking to cardiologists about my patients when asking if I can take them off of Plavix for a few days to do some breast surgery operation! I can operate pretty safely when a patient is on aspirin. Plavix, not so easy. It’s not unlike operating on a patient on coumadin.) Of course, as we know, chelation therapy for cardiovascular disease is also quackery, the recent clinical trial known as TACT notwithstanding.

Naturopaths versus vaccination

I could go on and on (indeed, once I figure out how to efficiently search the database it could provide endless blogging material), but instead I’ll close with—of course!—what naturopaths think about vaccination. Let’s just say they aren’t very enthusiastic about vaccines, pulling out old tropes about vaccinations during the baby’s first year, and they like Dr. Sears, although, surprisingly, one naturopath actually mentioned the CHOP website. Of course, that brought out another naturopath pulling the “pharma shill gambit” on the CHOP website. In fact, this naturopath, Doug Cutler, is in my neck of the woods and states plainly at various points:

Agreed. But the sad reality, is that the “study” is being performed today with our children as the guinea pigs. Absolutely shameful that the biggest medical fraud (perpetuated by Big Pharma) continues to indoctrinate the public (“milk does a body good”) that vaccines are safe and effective. As you stated, we still don’t know the longterm vaccine safety so hoping that they are safe and effective for the “greater good” is unacceptable and completely immoral until we fully know.

You are right though, we need to question our personal “dogma/bias”. I fully believed in vaccines until my intimate association with hundreds of mothers that had vaccine injured children, changed that entire belief set completely around. The same amazing mothers that knew more about vaccines than any doctor or scientist out there, hands down. Then with my training and knowledge of environmental toxins, just analyzing the actual ingredients of each vaccine, one by one – I could never in good conscience justify those known toxic ingredients to have a free pass directly (no detox roadblocks) to a baby’s brain.

And:

And lastly, I would like to see a part of the topic to properly train docs (who vaccinate) on how they should prepare their patients for the above toxic ingredients by first addressing genetic polymorphisms, nutritional deficiencies, food allergies/sensitivities and parent’s toxic burden before conception. That way, I won’t have to continue to see vaccine injured patients who are very difficult in recovering and supposedly don’t exist in our society.

And:

My disclosure, I am opposed to all sources of toxins therefore I am against vaccines whose one size approach fails to account nutritional statuses, toxic burden of mom/child and genetic polymorphisms that are at epidemic levels. 10 vaccines from birth to 6 years in 1983 and 36-38 vaccines from birth to 6 years in 2010. Insane.

No, being as antivaccine as Cutler is, is not in the least bit science-based. He goes on and on against vaccines in the course of several longer-than-average entries in the discussion thread. You know, I might have to explore his website further. It is, as we say in the biz, a “target-rich” environment, and I always wonder about someone who is this antivaccine. In any case, “naturally,” other naturopaths throw out links to the National Vaccine Information Center and its highly deceptive Vaccine Ingredient Calculator. To be fair, there were a couple there, one in particular, criticizing the conspiracy mongering and antivaccine misinformation being spread there, even going so far as to state that “placating anti-vaccination isn’t responsible for our community and does nothing to further the profession,” but I actually think that one naturopath summed up the true case thusly:

Asking naturopaths to accept vaccinations is comparable in my mind to asking dentists to give up amalgams. It touches on some very deep beliefs in the professional group 🙂

Those beliefs are, of course, overwhelmingly antivaccine and baked into the very DNA of naturopaths, beginning in naturopathy school.

What to do, what to do?

Naturowhat (NW) is apparently still part of the NatChat Yahoo! Group, because he/she/it is still releasing occasional update documenting the reaction of the group to the release of its contents two months ago, one of which states that NW had published some of it on Facebook, although I haven’t been able to find it. From what I’ve been able to gather (which, unfortunately, isn’t much), NW infiltrated the Yahoo! Group. However, it’s a closed group that requires proof that a person looking to join it is actually a naturopath or a student in a naturopathy school, which would imply either that (1) NW is a naturopath or (2) NW is good at spoofing evidence of having graduated from a naturopathy school and passed the naturopathic board exam. I tend to favor the first possibility, a naturopath who has become disillusioned with the pseudoscience, but I really have no evidence one way or the other.

Understandably and not unreasonably, additional tidbits posted by NW demonstrate that the members of the group are unhappy. One naturopath, Anne Hill of Portland, for instance, suggested getting out of Yahoo! Groups and getting a private group together. I’ll give her credit, too, for seeing opportunity in disaster, financial opportunity:

Hi Mona-maybe this is a good time to reconsider getting out of the yahoo format and getting a private group together. A lot of this information that we share is really cutting edge and many of the protocols that our incredibly savvy naturopaths have come up with could be considered proprietary information. We also do sometimes share some very personal information on here about patient health historys and business practices.

I can’t help but think this breech is more about data mining then caring about what we are doing with our medicine. I mean really-who cares what we do? I haven’t seen a pitchfork or a ring of garlic in ages. Data miners tend to be looking for what they can sell, resell and make money off of themselves. I would worry that continued access might lead to something more damaging on a business level for one or more of our practitioners rather then it being a belief system thing……

I think we had all shared a while back how much we really appreciate this form and utilize it on a regular basis for researching protocols and new ideas for treatment as well as for posting ourselves. And I believe that many shared that they didn’t mind if there was an extra charge involved. Perhaps there can be a front website where advertising can be sold as well. If there was recently reported that we have 3,000 plus members here then that should be a supplement advertisers dream come true:)

Yep. The reason that whoever leaked the information on NatChat was not because he or she was appalled at the quackery exchanged therein or the belief system demonstrated in these conversations among naturopaths. Oh, no. It had to be because of all the “cutting edge” protocols and “proprietary information” that they wanted to make money off of. Indeed. I predict that this Yahoo! Group will soon go away, to be replaced by an advertising-supported web-based forum format. Three thousand naturopaths to advertise to surely would be a goldmine to supplement manufacturers. Meanwhile, the search for the “traitor” goes on, with Mona Morstein, the naturopath who started the Naturopath Chat Yahoo! Group telling members:

Well, the saga continues a bit. I guess the fellow put some stuff on FB. I appreciate everyone understanding this is not the end of the world. I am calling the AANP tomorrow to chat with them for some ideas. I also feel we should not be ashamed AT ALL at who we are, what we believe, what we write. There are always cowardly jerks out there in Internet Land who feel compelled to hate behind the safety of their computer screens. I strongly suggest we all stand firm and proud and not cower from him.

She also goes on to explain that she’s trying to get Reddit to take what’s there down (good luck with that) and hits up her members to help pay for an IT specialist who “who feels quite certain he can track down the problem and get this situation under control”—at a cost of a $300 retainer and $100 an hour. The problem, of course, is that if there is someone on the “inside” leaking information then no amount of “tracking down” in the world will help unless they can identify the person leaking the information. I have no idea who it is (although I’d love to know so that I could buy him or her a beer), and neither does anyone else. Certainly, I hope they don’t figure out who leaked the contents. In any case, it sounds as though some IT guy is making some money off of Morstein and will end up doing little or nothing to help.

In the meantime, if there’s one thing this dump of tens of thousands of messages shows, on just a cursory examination (to truly delve its contents will require a lot of time and work and to do it right is probably beyond my skill set), it’s this. Contrary to the whitewash campaign of “Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014” promulgated a couple of weeks ago by credulous legislators, naturopathy has been, is, and always will be quackery.

 

 

Posted by David Gorski

Dr. Gorski's full information can be found here, along with information for patients. David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute specializing in breast cancer surgery, where he also serves as the American College of Surgeons Committee on Cancer Liaison Physician as well as an Associate Professor of Surgery and member of the faculty of the Graduate Program in Cancer Biology at Wayne State University. If you are a potential patient and found this page through a Google search, please check out Dr. Gorski's biographical information, disclaimers regarding his writings, and notice to patients here.

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