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Member since: 2002
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Canadian Physicians Criticize Naturopaths In Wake of Ezekiel Stephan’s Death


"A group of Canadian physicians recently asked me to post an open letter they sent to the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta concerning the conduct of naturopath Tracey Tannis in selling an herbal product to Ezekiel Stephan’s mother after she reported he might have meningitis. Ezekiel stopped breathing the day after this interaction and later died at an Alberta hospital. If you are unfamiliar with the story of Ezekiel’s demise and the criminal case against his parents, here is a recent summary. A verdict should come this week.

While much attention is on Ezekiel’s parents for not providing him with access to prudent medical care, their interaction with Tracey Tannis has shed light on the issue of licensing naturopaths and allowing them to self-regulate. (In five Canadian provinces, naturopaths are registered, a.k.a. licensed, by their own regulatory boards, called “colleges.”)

Naturopaths aggressively lobby government officials for licensure with broad scopes of medical privileges because it provides their profession with legitimacy. Naturopaths are then allowed to police themselves.

The letter posted below, signed by 43 Canadian physicians and surgeons, addresses multiple ethical and practical issues regarding the professional practices of licensed naturopaths. Most importantly the letter highlights the fact that naturopaths want all of the same rights and privileges of medical doctors without having to adhere to the same rules. In no jurisdiction where they are licensed are naturopaths bound to medical standards of care. They can essentially do whatever they want and likely get away with it. I agree with these concerned physicians. The regulation of naturopaths by naturopaths needs to end.



This relates to the story of the parents recently convicted of negligence in caring for their child who died from meningitis. It is time that real regulation be put in place for all "alternative practitioners."

Question Of The Day: How Much Fructose Is In ... ?

High-fructose corn syrup = 55 percent fructose, 45 percent glucose

Sucrose (table sugar) = 50 percent fructose, 50 percent glucose

Agave = 70 to 90 fructose, though some brands may be lower
(source: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/sugar-wars/372220/ )

Honey = 39 percent fructose, 30 percent glucose
(source: http://www.honey.com/images/downloads/carb.pdf )

Apples (sugar content) = 57 percent fructose. 20 percent sucrose, 25 percent glucose
(source; http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/natural-sugars-found-apples-9193.html )

Papaya (sugar content) = 48 percent fructose, 52 percent glucose
(http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-pure-fructose-found-papaya-8256.html )


Please add more percentages, if you feel so inclined.

Alas, another click bait misunderstanding of science in GD.


The poster claims that this means HFCS is worse than other sugars, and, thus claims that "the skeptics are "wrong," but the poster doesn't seem to realize that the study doesn't compare the effects of different types of sugars.

And, of course, the crap article linked in that OP doesn't reflect what the actual study shows:

Nevermind the reality of any study with 24 rats in three groups. Umm.

Celebrating homeopathy awareness week – PART 2



1. A few weeks ago, it was reported that a master’s degree in homeopathic medicine at one of Spain’s top universities has been scrapped. Remarkably, the reason was “lack of scientific basis”. A university spokesman confirmed the course was being discontinued and gave three main reasons: “Firstly, the university’s Faculty of Medicine recommended scrapping the master’s because of the doubt that exists in the scientific community. Secondly, a lot of people within the university – professors and students across different faculties – had shown their opposition to the course. Thirdly, the postgraduate degree in homeopathic medicine is no longer approved by Spain’s Health Ministry.”

2. On January 30, a group of experts from all walks of life met in Freiburg to discuss ways of informing the public responsibly and countering the plethora of misinformation that Germans are regularly exposed to on the subject of homeopathy. They founded the ‘Information Network Homeopathy‘ and decided on a range of actions.

3. Earlier that month, the Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan called homeopathy ‘bogus’. “They (homeopaths) take arsenic compounds and dilute it to such an extent that just a molecule is left. It will not make any effect on you. Your tap water has more arsenic. No one in chemistry believes in homeopathy. It works because of placebo effect,” he was quoted saying.


8. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences statement proposing the same scientific standards for homeopathic drug registration as for normal drugs Members of the Section of Medical Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) voted unanimously on 9 November 2015 for supporting the earlier proposal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The Swedish statement requested that the homeopathic remedies should go through the same efficacy trials as normal drugs should.



It appears that time will take care of this nonsense, but why it's taking so long is still bizarre.

How To Become A Charlatan, Step By Step


"1. Find an attractive therapy and give it a fantastic name

Did I just say “straight forward”? Well, the first step isn’t that easy, after all. Most of the really loony ideas turn out to be taken: ear candles, homeopathy, aura massage, energy healing, urine-therapy, chiropractic etc. As a true charlatan, you want your very own quackery. So you will have to think of a new concept.


8. Score points with Big Pharma

You must be aware who your (future) customers are (will be): they are affluent, had a decent education (evidently without much success), and are middle-aged, gullible and deeply alternative. Think of Prince Charles! Once you have empathised with this mind-set, it is obvious that you can profitably plug into the persecution complex which haunts these people.

An easy way of achieving this is to claim that Big Pharma has got wind of your innovation, is positively frightened of losing millions, and is thus doing all they can to supress it. Not only will this give you street cred with the lunatic fringe of society, it also provides a perfect explanation why your ground-breaking discovery has not been published it the top journals of medicine: the editors are all in the pocket of Big Pharma, of course.


(The list is quite fun to read.)


Now you are all set. However, to prevent you from stumbling at the first hurdle, here are some handy answers to the questions you inevitably will receive from sceptics, this nasty breed that is never happy. The answers are not designed to convince them but, if voiced in public, they will ensure that the general opinion is on your side – and that’s what is paramount in the realm of quackery.

Q: Your treatment can cause considerable harm; do you find that responsible?

A: Harm? Do you know what you are talking about? Obviously not! Every year, hundreds of thousands die because of the medicine they received from mainstream doctors. This is what I call harm!

Q: Experts say that your treatment is not biologically plausible, what is your response?

A: There are many things science does not yet understand and many things that it will never understand. In any case, there are other ways of knowing, and science is but one of them.



It's interesting how very accurate this piece is, even though it is tongue in cheek. It is exactly what we see being done every done online and elsewhere.

Judge: Anti-GMO activists illegally concealed donors’ names


"An anti-GMO organization violated Washington’s public disclosure law by concealing the names of more than 7,000 donors who contributed in 2013 to an initiative that would have required food makers to label products with genetically engineered ingredients, a judge ruled Friday.

Food Democracy Now, based in Iowa, didn’t register as a political-action committee or report until after the election the sources of the $200,000 it contributed to the Yes on Initiative 522 campaign.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor rejected arguments that Food Democracy was a short-staffed non-profit and naive to Washington’s political laws.

“They were able to get huge interest, with 7,000 people donating,” he said. “This is not an insubstantial amount of money that was contributed.”



Hypocrisy in action.

Organic Fertilizer Is Great at Killing Bees


" given of the organic agriculture movement is that organic growers don’t use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, like organophosphates and glyphosate (RoundUp). All that fear-mongering about pesticides is only possible because environmental groups only test for the synthetic kind, they don’t test for the pesticides and fertilizers used by organic growers.

Because those are safer? Absolutely not.

In the Journal of Economic Entomology, Brazilian scientists studied the effects of copper sulfate, a fertilizer and pesticide that is approved in the U.S. for use in organic agriculture and applied to the leaves of crop plants. Obviously the smarter approach is to treat seeds instead of using a broad spectrum pesticide, and that is the premise behind neonicotinoids, which environmental groups also protest — by treating seeds, which bees have no interest in, rather than plants, which bees do have an interest in, farmers get better yields with less environmental impact.

So why do organic farmers insist on carpet-bombing plants with chemicals instead? The science is clearly against them, so it’s for psychologists to figure out. The new paper adds to the literature showing that a targeted approach is just better, not just for honeybees, but also for stingless bees (Friesella schrottkyi), which are native to the Americas and not an introduced species like the honeybee. They are known to pollinate crop plants.


Well, then...



"People shouldn’t have to vaccinate their kids. In fact, parents absolutely know what’s best for their kids in every situation, which is why you’ve never heard of a mom calling a doctor at two AM because her child has a fever. Moms automatically know exactly what to do. They know better than anyone what their child needs or doesn’t need. When a woman conceives a child, the entirety of human knowledge is written into her essence and as that child is brought forth unto this world, that knowledge flowers in her mommy brain and every decision she makes for her child is absolutely the right, and only right decision. That’s why the vaccination debate is so ridiculous to me…because moms inherently know more than everyone. So here are 5 Reasons To NOT Vaccinate Your Kids.

1. You don’t like them, anyway.

I get it. Some kids are just born a little more awful than others. So if your plan is to not vaccinate your kid in hopes that they’ll catch some horrible virus that’ll off them so you can start over, sure. That makes total sense. It’s evil, and disgusting, and I hope you get a million fire ant bites, but hey, the good news is that’s less likely to happen to you than your child catching something deadly because you’re an inherent dumb-dumb.

2. You’re more scared of big scientific sounding words than you are of viruses that have killed millions upon millions of people.

I get it! Vaccines have a lot of big, scary words. And, some of the ingredients in vaccines have been linked to carcinogenic risks and I bet even a very eensy teensy tiny portion of the population might be allergic to some of the ingredients and they might have a bad reaction. Know what? That’s why the doctor keeps you at the office for 15 minutes after your child receives a vaccine. That way if they react, the doctor can fix it. Nifty set up, huh? And as for the scary words, know what other scientific word kills people? Dihydrogen monoxide. And yet you still put it into your body every single day. So put away your dictionary, and stop freaking out over words that you maybe don’t understand.



This is what I'm saying, or not.

"Mr. Wakefield: My child is not a blight. On me, my family or on anyone else."

Andrew Wakefield to Grace Hightower: “your family’s life [has] been blighted by autism”


Just to be clear, Mr. Wakefield:

My child is not a blight. On me, my family or on anyone else.
My child is not blighted.
My life is better for my child. Challenges, struggles and all.

Just to be clear Ms. Hightower: if you didn’t respond to Mr. Wakefield in a way similar to the above, shame on you. But, while I am at it, shame on you for promoting this man and his damaging message. If you believe him, take a moment and ask yourself: if he’s lying (he is) how much harm has he caused to me, my family and mostly my son?

When you dehumanize people Mr. Wakefield, you make it easier for people to murder my child. You made it easier for people to abuse my child. You make it easier for people to disrespect my child. It is already a struggle to get adequate supports and assistance. How much will people be willing to help the “blighted”?



For further context:

Paging De Niro and Hightower...Wakefield isn't really in it to help autistics


Anyone defending Wakefield's ugliness needs to pay attention to the full grotesqueness of his acts.

Cervantes Died 400 Years Ago Today. How Trauma Shaped His Greatest Works.



In 1575, after fighting in military campaigns against the Turks in the Mediterranean, the Spaniard was captured by Barbary pirates and taken to Algiers. There, he was kept as a slave for five years. When he was freed – with a ransom raised by Trinitarian friars attached to the convent he was to be buried beneath – he had become the man who would write one of the greatest novels in history.


Garcés’s 2005 book Cervantes in Algiers: A Captive’s Tale explores the idea that survivors of traumatic events have an urge to repeat their stories. She describes how Cervantes told and retold his own account of enslavement: in plays, poetry and novellas including The English Spanish Girl and The Liberal Lover, as well as what Garcés calls “Cervantes’s most important autobiographical narrative” – the tale told by a captive in Part 1 of Don Quixote.


The retelling is not just a compulsion; it might also help trauma survivors to heal. In an interview, the writer Primo Levi, who survived the concentration camp at Auschwitz, said: “I told my story to everyone and anyone, at the drop of a hat, from the plant manager to the yard-man... just like the Ancient Mariner”. According to Garcés, “Telling the story time and time again may have therapeutic effects; each time you repeat, you change something, as Freud noted. In the case of Cervantes, I think this led to introspection and to an interest in the workings of madness. Two of his great works deal with madmen: Don Quixote and The Glass Graduate.”


Arguably, the writer’s enslavement not only broadened his vision – it broadened the scope of the novel in general. For Garcés, Don Quixote signals “the birth of a new era through its incorporation of marginal and culturally ambiguous groups”. They include the Moriscos (former Muslims who converted or were coerced into converting to Christianity), pícaros (rogues who live by their wits), and renegades “that people its literary universe”. This was a direct result of his enslavement. “His experience as a captive in the bagnios [slave-houses] of Algiers, his personal relations with Muslims and renegades, his encounter with different cultures and religions in this multicultural city that welcomed corsairs from every part of the world offered him the possibility of examining these issues from a unique perspective.”



A fantastic read on so many levels!

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