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The “Health Ranger” Mike Adams takes on Obamacare with hilarious results

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m not really a political blogger. True, I do from time to time succumb to the blogger’s temptation of being a pundit on current events or pontificating on politics, but in general I don’t do that very often because political bloggers are a dime a dozen and politics isn’t my area of strength. Writing about science and science-based medicine is. That’s part of the reason why I really haven’t said much about the massive health care reform bill that was passed on Sunday or the political process, except when on occasion the utter insanity of it all (such as nonsense about “death panels” or the “Obama = Hitler” rhetoric) irritates me enough to make me break my usual guideline.

That’s why I won’t say that much, even now. Passing judgment on President Obama’s health care plan is not what I’m about, particularly because I’m not really sure what the effect will be. I will, however, say that our current health care system is the worst of both worlds. It’s not really a free market system, given that the government in essence sets reimbursement rates for evrything for Medicare and that Medicare reimbursement rates are generally the starting point for negotiations between hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies for reimbursement rates. So we have a government-regulated and largely government-paid health care system without the one single benefit that a government health care system should be able to produce: Universal or near-universal coverage. At the same time we have a system that is allegedly capitalistic without the one benefit that free competition should provide: Lower prices. The result is a system that is expensive compared to what it delivers and that leaves a lot of people without health insurance because they can’t afford it.

Add to that the stress of the crappiest economy in the last several decades, and there are a lot of people out there without insurance, and when they get sick all too often they are out of luck. I practice in a cancer center that is located in the inner city in an area with some of the highest unemployment in the country. I see how the safety net has shredded in the form of women with breast cancer who don’t have any insurance and aren’t sure how they’ll manage to get the care they need, even with the best efforts of our financial counselors and social workers. That’s why it’s hard for me not to be at least a little bit hopeful that this new law will alleviate that situation. Even though the law itself has numerous flaws, it will result in many more people obtaining health insurance, and it’s something that can be built upon. More importantly, the law actually codifies the principle that every citizen should have access to decent health care.

Of course, whatever objections I have, whatever I might find promising about Obamacare, I can understand some of the opposition to it. No, I can’t understand it when some opponents have actually threatened violence or made racial slurs against black legislators who voted for the law. I also can’t understand why the Republicans shot themselves so gloriously in the foot with an AK-47 by absolutely refusing to go along with (or even negotiate seriously over) a plan that very much resembles the Republican alternative plan proposed as an alternative to President Clinton’s health care plan in the early 1990s and appears to have been largely inspired by Mitt Romney’s health care plan passed in Massachusetts. I thought Republicans were truly cynical and obstructionist in their universal resistance to this legislation and unwillingness to work with the President. I thought some of their most extreme elements were riduculously over the top criticizing the bill itself. But even the Rush Limbaughs of the world have a hard time matching that master of woo-filled paranoid conspiracy theories, Mike Adams. In the wake of Obamacare being passed by the House of Representatives, Adams penned to amazingly nutty screeds, one entitled Health care reform bill dooms America to Pharma-dominated sickness and suffering and Health care dictatorship: A crime against America.

All I can say is: Wow. Is Mike Adams a Tea Party activist?

Get a load of the first article:

Today the medical mafia struck another devastating blow to the health and freedom of all Americans. With the support of an inarguably corrupt Congress that has simply abandoned the real needs of the American people, the sick-care industry has locked in a high-profit scheme of disease and monopoly-priced pharmaceuticals in a nation that can ill afford either one.

And this Pharma-funded betrayal, it turns out, was led by the Democrats. Passed on a 219-212 vote that was only accomplished thanks to closed-door, last-minute secret meetings among the last holdouts, this new legislation puts America under the stranglehold of the medical mafia while doing absolutely nothing to address real health care reform. There is no mention in the bill, for example, of vitamin D for preventing cancer, or orthomolecular medicine for preventing degenerative disease. There’s not even a word about protecting health freedom or ending the century of oppression that has been waged against naturopathic practitioners by the AMA, FDA and FTC.

It’s not for a lack of trying by Tom Harkin and other woo-friendly legislators, who tried very hard to make sure that coverage for “alternative” care and various quackery was included in the bill. Fortunately, they (mostly) failed, but not entirely. After all, the inclusion of coverage for Christian Science prayer apparently remained in the bill. Meanwhile, promoters of quackery tried mightily to persuade legislators to insert various mischief into the bill. Given all of that, it is a huge relief that the bill didn’t mention something as quackalicious as orthomolecular medicine. As for vitamin D for preventing cancer, the bill does contain incentives for preventative care, and vitamin D for preventing cancer, assuming that it is scientifically validated, would fall into that category. That the bill didn’t specifically mention is means nothing; I’m guessing the bill didn’t mention eating your green beans, either.

As for “protecting health freedom,” just remember that the term “health freedom” should be translated as “the freedom of quacks from pesky government regulation or interference.” That’s really all the term “health freedom” means: The freedom to choose quackery, and, more importantly, the freedom to sell quackery, which is where the real money is.

So what is Adams so worked up about? It’s not always easy to tell; in general he just hates science-based medicine or anything that tells him his preferred quackery doesn’t work. This time around, what he’s so ticked off about is the requirement in Obama’s health care reform bill that requires people to purchase health insurance. Now, there are valid reasons to be a bit uneasy about such a requirement, but valid reasons are not what Adams has ever been about. TThe reason he’s so ticked off this time is that the bill requires people to buy health insurance which will pay for–gasp!–conventional medical treatments, including pharma-manufactured drugs that Adams hates so much:

When faced with the problem that our sick-care system doesn’t work, Congress somehow decided that fixing the problem merely involved expanding the failures to include everyone!

And you don’t even get a choice in the matter, either. All Americans are now required to pay into a sick-care system of monopolized, pharmaceutical medicine even if they reject that failed system of medicine. So the healthy people who actually take responsibility for their health are financially penalized and forced to subsidize profits for drug companies!

In his second article, Adams expands upon this theme:

And the legislation that was just passed is focused entirely on how to expand the failed system of drugs and injections so that it causes harm to everyone rather than just those who voluntarily choose to be suckered into it. This is the medical equivalent of a wartime draft that forces soldiers into battle against their will. Except this isn’t a war against some foreign enemy — it’s a war being waged against your body by the pharmaceutical industry, the cancer industry, the surgery pushers and all the corporations that prey upon the public for their sick-care profits.

I can think of lots of reasons to be wary of some aspects of this bill, but not allowing people to opt out because they reject scientific medicine and believe in quackery is not one of them, nor would the failure of the bill to include all the quackery that Mike Adams wants be one of them either. One wonders why Adams is so worked up, given that he lives in Ecuador, where he can stay in the jungle and away from scientific medicine to his heart’s content. It’s not as though he has to worry about the new law as long as he’s living in South America. He can try to live up to his claim:

I’ll argue this point with any doctor from any medical school anywhere in the world: My vitamin D works better than your vaccine! My nutrition works better than your poison. Preventing disease costs a small fraction of the expense required to treat disease that is allowed to develop.

I’d love to see the data upon which Adams bases his claim that his vitamin D works better than a vaccine or that his nutrition works better than “your poision” (by which, I assume, he means chemotherapy for cancer but he could mean other things). While Adams may be correct that it is better to prevent disease rather than treat it, he is unable to demonstrate that his woo does a better job than scientific medicine can potentially do at prevention. Like so many woo-meisters, Adamas also completely coopts diet and exercise, which fall entirely within the purview of science-based medicine, although admittedly he makes it woo by liberally mixing in references to “superfoods,” orthomolecular medicine, chiropractic, and traditional Chinese medicine. He then brags about not carrying health insurance:

Mike Adams and his two dim companions are just so damned smug that it takes an enormous feat of will not to wish cancer upon them when they blather on about how they don’t need chemotherapy and the woman chirps about how she would, if she ever got it, treat cancer “another way,” that way being Gerson therapy. (Good luck with that. As they say, don’t go buying any long playing records.) It is indeed fortunate (for Adams and crew) the that universe in general doesn’t give a rodent’s posterior about my “intent,” being perfectly happy to ignore my fervent wishes that multiple huge NIH grants be rained down upon me because I’m just such an awesome scientist. Lucky for him, Mike and his posse won’t be any more likely to come down with a life-threatening disease like cancer or Lou Gehrig’s disease just because of my nasty thoughts about wiping the smug smirks off of all their faces.

Of course, the most hilarious thing about Adams’ video is the supreme confidence expressed by the “Health Ranger” and his groupies that they will never, ever need health insurance. After all, they’re healthy now! Never mind that right now they’re all relatively young and, like most people, fairly unlikely to become seriously ill until they get much older. They repeatedly ask why they should pay for something they would never use, missing the point that insurance is something that you pay for in case you need it, not when you need it. Personally, I’d be willing to consider letting Adams, Tweedle-dee, and Tweedle-dumber opt out of Obamacare if they would sign a legally binding document swearing that, should they ever develop cancer, diabetes, cardiac disease, or any other serious illness, they would eschew all science-based medicine and pharmaceutical drugs in favor of their woo, like the Gerson therapy, orthomolecular medicine, or whatever.

No post about Mike Adams would be complete without including a passage of grade A, batshit insane rhetoric, and this one will be no exception. So here it is:

I’m afraid — but totally serious — that the best thing that can happen right now for America is for all the old guard drugs-and-surgery doctors and health officials to go get vaccinated and die as quickly as possible so that the younger, more integrative physicians can get into positions of authority and start to make a positive difference. It’s time for a revolution in medicine, and that revolution is never going to happen as long as the very people who defend the current medical mafia remain in power.

Scientific revolutions are often brought about only by the passing away of those who resist progress, and the same is true in medicine. We’ve been stuck in the germ theory of medicine for at least a century, and the AMA has worked diligently to suppress natural healing therapies during those hundred years. But now something has to change. And it will change.

“Stuck with the germ theory of medicine”? Actually, the germ theory has done quite well for us over these last 140 years or so. The sorts of ideas espoused by Adams, not so much.

Here’s another primo example of Adams at his craziest:

And speaking of Hell, the dark energies that have been provoked and called upon in this battle for pharmaceutical dominance over the “disease management” of the American population almost seems downright demonic, as if some evil power from other world had been summoned into Washington D.C. to ensure the passage of this legislation that practically guarantees another generation of pain and suffering at the hands of conventional medicine.

All the health solutions that really work — nutritional medicine, orthomolecular therapies, chiropractic medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and so on — have been locked out of the system while those therapies that promote a lifetime of disease have been locked in. And in this way, our Congress has now made certain that America as we know it today will not survive another generation — because no nation can achieve greatness when its people are drowning in toxic chemicals and degenerative disease.

That’s right. Adams seems to be arguing that President Obama’s health care reform law comes from…Satan and hell! And don’t forget to bathe in those toxic chemicals. Not only are they yummy but they make you stronger!

I realize that Mike Adams seems at times to be just so incredibly nutty that he represents too easy a target for my tender ministrations. Even so, I would argue that taking him on from time to time serves a purpose, mainly because Adams represents the distillation of many strands of thinking (if you can call it that) and rhetoric that advocates of alt-med frequently express. Adams, for all his vileness, nuttiness, pseudoscience, and conspiracy mongering, represents the purest concentrated form of the unreason that lies at the heart of so much “alternative medicine.” Given that, I believe it’s a good thing to shine the light of day on his insanity from time to time.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

146 replies on “The “Health Ranger” Mike Adams takes on Obamacare with hilarious results”

There are a lot of people who, though they might roll their eyes at the dark energies from Hell comments, essentially agree with Adams that they’ll somehow get a pass on serious illness or injury because of their “healthy lifestyles”, and don’t need to be connected to the mainstream medical system when alternatives are available. Take the deluded soul who posted this on a message board I frequent:

“There are many people who are very healthy, such as myself, who don’t need or want health insurance. I would prefer to save the money, see alternative doctors, nutritionists, chiropractors and personal trainers, and spend the extra money on healthy food to eat, rather than spend it on insurance for medical care that I would never use. You may say, “but what if you are in an accident, or get cancer?” Well, I probably won’t because I am very careful and eat healthfully.”

I think that if Mike Adams was unfortunate to be bitten by a rabid animal down there in Ecuador, he’d race to the nearest medical clinic to get rabies shots, and not rely on vitamin D to prevent deadly illness.
Then again, if he did develop rabies, how would we tell the difference from his current state?

What the heck is “orthomolecular medicine”? Sounds science-y.

I don’t know anything about Mike Adams. Is he a doctor of some sort?

There are a lot of people who, though they might roll their eyes at the dark energies from Hell comments, essentially agree with Adams that they’ll somehow get a pass on serious illness or injury because of their “healthy lifestyles”,

Those people need to learn what “insurance” means. There is a reason it is called “insurance.”

Sick people don’t need insurance. They need their bills paid and treatment. Healthy people NEED insurance.

The key to making insurance work effectively is to get EVERYONE on it now, before they actually need the payout. The dirty little secret to insurance is that the healthy pay for the sick. But the reason they do that is because it insures that they will be covered IF they were to get sick.

Insurance doesn’t work unless there are a lot of healthy people enrolled.

They repeatedly ask why they should pay for something they would never use?

It’s hard to fathom their line of thinking… health insurance doesn’t just cover you when you get sick. My sister lives a healthy lifestyle and doesn’t get sick much. That didn’t help her when she fell when rollerblading and shattered her elbow, requiring two surgeries to fix. Luckily, she had insurance and only had to pay about $100 out-of-pocket. I ask them “How will living healthy protect you from a freak accident?”

After all, the inclusion of coverage for Christian Science prayer apparently remained in the bill.

DId it? That seems at odds with an article in Monday’s NYTimes, which said:

Lobbyists succeeded in getting provisions that encourage private insurance coverage of Christian Science care into both the 2006 legislation overhauling health care in Massachusetts and the United States Senate version of the health care overhaul; both measures were removed in negotiations.

“How will living healthy protect you from a freak accident?”

Indeed. Actually, insurance protects you from OTHERS as much as yourself. When another driver crashes into you and send you to the emergency room, you can try to recover the costs through litigation, but you aren’t going to be very successful. And their auto insurance might provide some support, but on the whole, you are on your own. And your healthy living isn’t going to help.

I would want that waiver to include injuries as well as illness: in particular, he should state explicitly that if he is hit by a car, or shot by a robber or an angry wife, he will not use any conventional medicine, such as blood transfusion or having bones set.

Or is he prepared to admit that bullets are real, even if he doesn’t believe in germs?

Oh, but if you get in a car crash, it must be due to you thinking nasty thoughts and/or those EVUL TOXINZ messing up your reflexes. After all, we all know that if you just think happy thoughts, nothing bad will ever happen to you, right? Oprah said so!

“They repeatedly ask why they should pay for somthing they would never use?”

I’ll answer that for them: For the betterment of your entire society, you privileged arrogant asshats. Also, ever hear of an accidental injury, moron?

As for wishing all doctors would die: Stay classy, Mike.

You may say, “but what if you are in an accident, or get cancer?” Well, I probably won’t because I am very careful and eat healthfully.”

I’m reminded of advice we’re giving Daughter as she approaches driver’s-license age: You might be the best driver in the world, but everyone else out there is an idiot. Being very careful won’t help you if you’re in a drunk’s line of fire.

A 20-something chiropractor, who keeps introducing himself as “doctor” to people with, you know, PhDs, MDs, DOs, and decades of medical practice under their belts, went on and on about how he cures kids with earaches with just his natural “touch”.
After I joked about how touching kids may be frowned upon, I told him that chiropractors and osteopaths have only one thing in common: their high value on the scrabble board.
The dinner did not end well. There was hissing and gnashing of teeth.

You are wrong to believe that “competition” in health care can result in lower prices. Health care doesn’t work that way. Prices are lower in countries with the least competition — that’s just an empirical fact. A comment on this blog is not the place for a primer in health care economics 101, but basically, the way markets for health care services work bears absolutely no resemblance to the fantasy world they indoctrinate college freshmen with. One of the most important reasons is because of what is called provider induced demand — what we are buying from doctors is expertise, and that means we depend on them to tell us what we need. They get paid more when they decide we need more. No offense, but that does actually influence their behavior. In the UK, it doesn’t work that way, and they save a bundle — plus they’re healthier.

Having a healthy lifestyle is all well and good, but it can’t protect you from everything.

I run several miles a week, have never smoked, don’t drink and love fruits and veggies. I am a very healthy person; cholesterol, blood pressure…etc, all excellent. But you know what, I have to take an evil pharmaceutical every day, or I will die. My lifestyle helps a great deal with my health, but only goes so far.

I am not whining, just pointing out that there are things one cannot account for with lifestyle. Sometimes your body just fails you. Others have mentioned injuries, which is an excellent point. But the reality of modern medicine is that some of us who would have been weeded out by natural selection otherwise are alive and well (thanks to medical progress), but need some help to stay that way.

Dangerous Bacon points out the most obnoxious feature of the alt-med mentality: the self-righteousness and victim-blaming. Many of these people are convinced that they’re invulnerable to disease because they’re behaving better than the unwashed masses. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again, to speak of most disease is the result of “unhealthy lifestyle” is to speak of disease as the wages of sin. It’s a very old argument dressed up in modern (sometimes postmodern) garb. It’s a way of feeling superior to others, that’s all (the fact that a common “wellness” doctrine is that a healthy person’s stool is odorless underscores that point).

Got this in an email, “Ten thoughts to ponder for 2010”:

Number 5
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday,
lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

All the healthy living in the world still can’t protect them from age, genetics, stress, and socioeconomic factors, which are the true, and most prevalent, causes of chronic disease.

Mandrake – “What the heck is “orthomolecular medicine”? Sounds science-y”

Don’t take those crazy poisonous drugs made by the big pharma mafia they will only make you sick. Instead take massive doses of vitamins to cure/treat your HIV/AIDS (or cancer, or…..).

I generally assume that Mike Adams thinks that he is Bastian

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3DcWtkKeIY

victim-blaming

That’s what really pisses me off – what the fuck was I supposed to be doing at 2 to keep myself from ending up with type 1 diabetes?

Makes me want to punch someone, it does. And glad I’m not in the States.

@ebohlman:

…to speak of most disease is the result of “unhealthy lifestyle” is to speak of disease as the wages of sin.

I call it “Health Calvinism”. It’s prevalence in MSM is truly alarming.

People who confidently expect that they’ll never need healthcare are just deluded. I’m only 28 and I’m pretty damn healthy, but the thought of going without insurance leaves me spooked. Fortunately I am from the UK and currently live in Canada, so I’ve never had to worry about it.

A friend of mine just the other day was yawning and stretching and managed to bend her finger back on the wall behind her. She ended up with an avulsion fracture. She’s still not sure if she’ll ever get full movement of the finger back. She’s a professional pianist, not a career known for its ability to pay high medical bills (unless you’re a ridiculously wealthy megastar, i.e. about 0.01% of professional musicians).

The fact that you can endanger your future career and earnings by yawning and stretching really drives home to me what fragile creatures we are.

Politics and healthcare in the UK both need serious reform, but even as they stand both are infinitely preferable to the utterly borked systems you have in the US.

“A friend of mine just the other day was yawning and stretching and managed to bend her finger back on the wall behind her. She ended up with an avulsion fracture.”

If only she had consumed more “super foods” her bones would have been fracture proof.

As a couple people pointed out, healthy people refusing to get health insurance drive up prices; insurance pools need to include the healthy and the sick (or the most healthy and least healthy) for it to work.

@ Mandrake-Orthomolecular medicine,or Pharma-phobia, eschews meds for serious mental illness, substituting mega-doses of niacin,especially for schizophrenia(BTW,it doesn’t work. see Quackwatch).Adams, who rants against all meds,supposedly “cured” his own Type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise(see his bio @ HealthRanger.com).His own vehemence about psychiatric drugs makes me suspicious.

I tried to make a comment on the YouTube video with some of the salient points addressed here, and of course it was moderated and never posted…. Big surprise.

Similarly,another woo-entranced hater of the psych meds,Gary Null,has been using the public airwaves(WNYE,radio of the city of NY)this week to broadcast his own call to arms against healthcare reform.He calls it *Coup d’Etat*.(Null’s megalo-, and other, manias, as well as his spectacular hair color,are on display via his websites’ internet “TV and radio” @Gary Null.com or @ PRN.com)

I was neutral about this reform. Both sides hyped it up as the new ‘new deal’ while the only real change is a spiffy website. Some of the old tricks that insurance companies have used to swindle patients are gone, but the tremendous economic advantage of denying claims by any means necessary is still there. Plus philosophically, medicare medicaid were never designed to give sustainable reimbursements. They were always intended to cover the patients that physicians would see anyway and offset some of that burden. The 100% medicare medicaid practice is still a ways off, so adding more individuals to that pool is a mixed blessing. Victory was for the most part political and we gave away one of our greatest bargining chips, the individual mandate, to pull even this off. Any future additions may be quite promising and I dearly hope the pundits turn red when their prophecies of doom don’t come to pass, but that has never happened before. Plus the reds are using ths as a rallying point and it is quite likely to be dismantled before being built upon. We shall see. In all this post was the first great things I have seen about it. If we really did piss off Mike Adams this much we have to be doing something right.

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“As a couple people pointed out, healthy people refusing to get health insurance drive up prices; insurance pools need to include the healthy and the sick (or the most healthy and least healthy) for it to work.”
————-

Without this, you have what is called adverse selection. Too high a proportion of sick people causes higher rates which drive out some more healthy people, causing even higher rates until you have a death spiral and the insurance pool collapses.

On the “healthy living and being careful” insanity, I just wonder what “prescription” the Mike Adams types would have for my 3 children – 2 with congenital heart defects (one already fixed surgically, the other being monitored) and the third with a childhood epilepsy who through “evil poisonous” pharmaceuticals remained seizure-free for 3 years until he grew out of it. I’m sure they would blame these either on something I did wrong while pregnant with them or other bad vibes coming from our family aura. It can’t simply be genetics (heart) and idiopathic (epilepsy)!

What’s with this “sick-care industry” stuff?

OMFG, we’re caring for SICK PEOPLE!!! How awful is that!!11!

I suppose Adams and his buds would point their fingers at sick people and say: “Serves you right, assholes!”

I would love to be the doctor he goes to see when he inevitably needs one. Unfortunately, my response to this douchbag would result in my being struck off.

The “sick care” is a reaction to the idea that medical care can make people “healthy”, which it really can’t. I don’t think even the most vociferous advocate of health care reform would state that medication and treatment is the answer to all health problems. The quasi-clever “sick care” is a statement that we’re not providing “health” in hospitals, only dealing with sickness.

Your response is quite correct though – we DO need to care for sick people. We just shouldn’t conflate that with providing health.

The sad part of this whole (to borrow a phrase) manufactroversy is that Mike Adams actually has a couple of good points – prevention is the key to health, a holistic approach is preferable to a reductionist one, the medical field should be open to alternative methods of healing. The problem is, that he clouds that in so much nonsense that any sensible person can’t help but reject his ideas wholesale. The WORSE part is that most “sick care” professionals would AGREE that it’s better to prevent illness than treat it, but we get pigeon-holed into being against health because we’re against woo.

Ah, the video. Yes. Causes a high rate of urge-to-slap.

Given that Adams doesn’t know that controlling a condition =/= curing it (see: his claims to cure type-2 diabetes through a nearly-zero-carb raw food diet), and that he hangs out with folks who think that the Illuminati and the Bilderbergers are conspiring with Obama and the ghost of Henry Kissinger to alter the H1N1 virus so that between them the flu and the vaccine will kill millions of us “useless eaters” (see: Rima Laibow), the rest of this is hardly a stretch for him. He clearly believes six impossible things before breakfast, six more before lunch, and who knows how many before dinner.

a holistic approach is preferable to a reductionist one

Sounds like you might have fallen for the false dichotomy that you either have to choose “reductionist” Western medicine or “holistic” medicine. In reality, as PalMD has said many times, a good primary care doc practicing science-based medicine is a holistic doctor in a way that woo-meisters can never be. In fact, it’s a lot of woo that tries to simplify things, for instance blaming all cancer on a liver fluke.

the medical field should be open to alternative methods of healing.

Why? Define “alternative.” If it’s medicine that has science and evidence to support it, then the medical field should be open to it. If it’s medicine that does not, there’s no reason to be “open” to it. Indeed, being “open” to modalities with no valid scientific evidence to support them (or even valid scientific evidence showing that they do not work) is akin to being so open-minded that your brains fall out.

Another area Mike Adams and other woo-meisters misunderstand is prevention itself. Their idea of it is painfully simplistic–childlike, even, where if you do the right things you are seemingly magically immune to pretty much all disease. In any case, prevention is not nearly as easy as simply eating “superfoods” and pumping yourself full of vitamin D.

I guess the point of my post was that those two things AREN’T in dispute. That doctors DO recognize that the overall health of the patient is crucial to the physical health associated with a given symptom. There IS no dichotomy. I used ‘reductionist’ in the sense of treating symptomatically, rather than looking at overall health (I have no evidence or experience to suggest that doctors DON’T look at overall health, and a lot of evidence to suggest that they DO).

My definition of alternative in this context is simply those things that are not currently considered “medicine”. If meditation works to reduce blood pressure, it’s not “medicine” in the conventional sense that we’d think (surgery, pharmacy), and that if there’s evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of those kinds of interventions, then let’s adopt them.

I don’t think we disagree on any of this, nor does the science-based medical community at large.

I guess my point was that the more that Adams and his ilk insist that “health” must be seen in opposition to medicine, the more obfuscated the fact becomes that most doctors EMBRACE the idea of preventive and “holistic” medicine, and that instead we’re forced into defending a position that we don’t in fact hold (the primacy and sole status of “medical” treatment for health problems).

@30 Ian: “the medical field should be open to alternative methods of healing”

It is. A nitpick, I know, but as has often been said, there is no “alternative medicine” – just medicine.

I used ‘reductionist’ in the sense of treating symptomatically, rather than looking at overall health (I have no evidence or experience to suggest that doctors DON’T look at overall health, and a lot of evidence to suggest that they DO).

Well, there’s your problem then. You misused the word “reductionist.” “Reductionist” does not mean just treating symptoms, nor does “holistic” mean doing more than treating symptoms. It’s an echoing of the misconceptions about scientific medicine spread by woo-meisters that SBM “only” treats symptoms and “holistic” doctors are about causes. In actuality, it’s the other way around. SBM tries to determine the causes of disease and design treatments to attack the cause; CAM uses placebo medicine to produce apparent symptom relief while pretending to attack the cause of disease.

I took the “sick-care” thing to mean that he thinks health care not only doesn’t cure you, it makes you sick. Oh, what a clever slam!! Mike, you are a genius in your Bizarro world. Which, of course, in ours means he’s the opposite…

@29

Re: “sick-care industry”

The changing of terms is a common technique. I don’t know that there is a name for it, but it is like the idea version of an ad hominem attack. Seems most common on the conservative side of things. Some examples are “death tax” and “partial-birth abortion.” Those aren’t the proper terms for what is being described, but they serve as a shorthand that fits better into a sensationalist headline.

Give your opponents’ positions some catchy, evil-sounding name and you don’t even really have to debate the merits of an issue. Just claim your opponent holds some evil-sounding opinion and force them to justify it.

Time to turn the tables.

I provide “sick care”, and I’m proud of it.

Here are my views on prevention.
Prevention is not necessarily easy, but a few obvious measures will provide a lot of “bang for your buck”
– Don’t smoke
– Don’t drink too much
– Don’t do drugs
– Keep up to date with immunizations
– Keep physically active
– Eat healthy (variety, more fruits and vegetables,less meat)
– Wash your hands
That’s about 90% of prevention, but it does require effort on one’s part (which is where the “not easy” part comes in).
This is mainstream medical stuff. Contributions from SCAM are negligible at best.

Speaking of sensible people rejecting Mike Adams’ ideas wholesale – that will be increasingly true with more people obtaining health insurance. Only the real rejection will be retail.

What Adams and others cashing in on alt med are probably most fearful and resentful about, is that once the uninsured, some of whom have made do with alt med potions, get access to real medicine they’ll cease going to chiros and naturopaths, and stop buying truckloads of useless supplements. Lower supplement sales would mean less advertising dollars for Adams’ “Natural News” and lower income for whatever lifestyle he is maintaining in sunny Ecuador.

Look for Adams and the rest of Big Placebo to concentrate now on getting their woo covered by insurance plans. If they are successful in integrating their garbage, then Obamacare won’t look so bad to them.

Hahaha it’s like the entire second half of my post was totally ignored. Yes, the stuff that works is medicine. I should, perhaps, use my words more carefully.

The WHOLE POINT of what I was saying is that evidence-based medicine agrees with Mike Adams along those lines (that medicine should look at the whole problem, not the symptoms; that whatever really works should be adopted), but that his drawing of lines has made it LOOK as if by opposing HIM, we somehow oppose HEALTH.

Can I please be let off the hook now? 😛

Indeed.

Note how in both articles Adams complains bitterly that Obamacare won’t cover quackery like orthomolecular medicine. I bet he’d be all for Obamacare if it did, even if he had to tolerate the coverage of that evil “conventional” medicine.

In the intro to molecular biology course I’m currently taking, we’re told the Spanish flu mostly killed young, healthy individuals, because they mounted a massive immediate immune response, including a very high fever that killed them. Sickly, scrawny individuals with weak immune systems didn’t have such a high fever, and very gradually recovered. If the woo did build up your immune system, (and generally it does not,)it could, situationaly, be worse than being weak by allowing your body to rise fevers faster and higher.

@38:

The really interesting thing about that list, of course, is that pretty much everybody is aware of the fact that they ought to be doing those things. Which makes talking about them unattractive to those who are in it to “buck the system.”

I mean, when’s the last time you saw Mike Adams or his ilk suggest that people eat their veggies? Eating massive amounts of one particular plant claimed to cure everything, or consuming dozens of herbs chopped up and mashed into a big pile of pills, sure. But advice on practical ways to eat a more balanced diet? Perish the thought!

Versus my PCP who’s happy to discuss such things and actually cares about how to make it easy and convenient to stick to.

I couldn’t get past the 6 minute mark on the video because I’m only human and have a limited amount of patience in the face of so much smugness.

I’m nearly finished with a MS in clinical nutrition and I have yet to learn about these “superfoods” and how they make people invincible, probably because all my professors are in on an evil conspiracy to keep them a secret. I did, after all, see one of them eating carrot sticks the other day behind closed doors.

Bastard.

Surely that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Who knows how deep the secrecy goes…

I’m reminded of advice we’re giving Daughter as she approaches driver’s-license age: You might be the best driver in the world, but everyone else out there is an idiot. Being very careful won’t help you if you’re in a drunk’s line of fire.

A while ago there was an anti-vaxxer commenting here who said she was such a good driver that nothing could get her into an accident. According to her, when she drives her kids around in her car, there’s a 0.0000000% chance that her kids will be injured.

A while ago there was an anti-vaxxer commenting here who said she was such a good driver that nothing could get her into an accident. According to her, when she drives her kids around in her car, there’s a 0.0000000% chance that her kids will be injured.

How does she plan to stop someone from rear-ending her when she is stopped at a stoplight?

What could I have done to prevent the woman who was turned around looking at her kid in the backseat from running into the back of my car when I was sitting at the stoplight?

Easy, Pablo. You just weren’t thinking good thoughts hard enough and somehow willed the universe to have that woman rear-end you. So, it’s all your fault.

Note that I do not believe the above at all.

Spent several visits today trying to get people to eat more healthy and exercise. So far, they’re winning (or losing as the case may be) and I’m not.

The thing I am most disappointed about with the whole health bill is the lack of universal coverage. Everyone buying health insurance is not the same thing. My opinion alone, but I find insurance companies to be a bunch of incredible pains in my ass about everything. My latest example is that I prescribe my patient generic sumatriptan pills for her migraines instead of brand-name Maxalt (a price difference about $20 verus $200). I made the mistake of prescribing more pills than the insurance company wanted so there is a PA to go through. Not like this information is easily accessible anywhere and no thank you for prescribing a markedly cheaper medication, just more paperwork for someone in my office to handle.

Bahstids… bahstids all.

mmmm Green Beans!!! How to make them less than optimally healthy.

Wash and trim 1 pound of green beans. Blanch the beans and plunge them in to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Remove the beans from the ice bath and pat dry with a tea towel.

Cut 6 strips of bacon into 1/2 inch dice. Render the fat from the bacon, set the crispy bacon bits aside. drain off all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the fat from the pan (save the drained fat for other nefarious purposes).

Thinly slice one medium onion. Fry the onion on low heat in the remaining bacon fat until it starts to brown.

Crush and finely mince one or two or three or more cloves of garlic and add to the pan and cook for about 30 seconds.

Turn the heat up and put the green beans in and fry until hot.

Add a few splashes of soy sauce, a dash or two of sesame oil, and lots of fresh cracked black pepper.

Add the crispy bacon bits to the pan, toss, remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Everything goes better with bacon.

Pablo, I know one guy who insisted he was a skilled driver and wouldn’t get into an accident, and did so after I got upset at him tailgating someone in the rain. In a strange way, that’s not much different from Mike Adams’ attitude: “I’m so skilled, I can ignore the laws of science!”

Once more Adams brings the ultra-stupid.
The Thermonuclear Stupid.
at least it’s funny-stupid. How in blazes anybody ever believes a word that comes out of his mouth is a mystery to me.

I am reminded of the claim (which is plausible, though I’ve never seen it tested) that 85% of people consider themselves above-average drivers.

Except that I suspect that 100% of alt-med promoters are sure that they are making better-than-average health choices.

I am reminded of the claim (which is plausible, though I’ve never seen it tested) that 85% of people consider themselves above-average drivers.

The funny thing is, this could actually be true, if one interprets “average” as “mean.” If the distribution is not symmetrical, in particular more really, really, bad drivers than really, really, good, you can readily have a situation where 85% of the distribution is above the mean.

Not if you interpret “average” as “median”, however, or if you assume that the distribution of driving skill is approximately Gaussian (which it most likely is).

To the list @38, I’d add some that are less of an issue in the modern West, but very important historically and in other regions:

Drink clean water – pretty self explanatory.
Clean wounds, and maintain good hygiene generally – squillions of people have died and continue to die of preventable infections.
Reduce industrial pollution (especially air) – it’s so nice that asthmatic children don’t need to be packed off to lung hospitals in the hills every summer.
Reduce contamination of the food supply – TB in milk was a much bigger problem than, say, salmonella in modern chickens.

Of course, these are none of them things that can be sold in supplement bottles.

Vicki said:
“I am reminded of the claim (which is plausible, though I’ve never seen it tested) that 85% of people consider themselves above-average drivers.

Except that I suspect that 100% of alt-med promoters are sure that they are making better-than-average health choices.”

Yep, and I suspect both drivers and altmed followers areDunning-Krugering themselves into the ground.

“They repeatedly ask why they should pay for something they would never use?”

I’ve heard the “I don’t want health insurance argument” before, and its this sort of nimrod that universal health care saves the rest of us, because you know for damn sure this jerk will exploit ever government program he can when he eventually does have a major accident/health problem, and cost the rest of us all soo much more money when you use emergency programs for preventative and maintenance care. Its people with that attitude that fill emergency rooms even as I speak, right next to the bulk of this countries uninsured.

I say if you actually believe this then you should be allowed to get a tax credit in return for wearing a chip that makes it clear to health care workers that if you don’t have a separate private insurance plan your paying for they are not to provide aid of any sort.

@Ian:

I used ‘reductionist’ in the sense of treating symptomatically, rather than looking at overall health.

Ah. You mean the way homoeopaths decide on an appropriate remedy.

The hilarity continues at NaturalNews:today Mikey tries his hand at a *fictional* account of where health care reform will ultimately lead us (i.e. perdition): it’s called,”Future News” whereby “Massachusetts makes disobediance vaccine mandatory” to curtail the outbreak of the newly-named psychiatric condition,”Obediance Defiance Disorder”, etc.( Funny, I thought *all* of his previous work was fiction).Be that as it may,it’s *not* so funny in light of the threats to Congressmen and women being reported.

How does she plan to stop someone from rear-ending her when she is stopped at a stoplight?

Hmmmmmm, that scenario was never presented to her, so I don’t know what her response would be. All the hypotheticals given to her were her being in control of a moving vehicle.

God you’re funny (and many of the commenters are too…), so much arrogance and so much ignorance…

Well, do you reaaaaaaally want to see double-blind placebo controlled studies about the various benefits of good old Vitamin D ? Really ? I guess you could have looked around a little before you said you’d “love to see the data upon which Adams bases his claims on vitamin D”.

Why not check these resources ? You might learn something.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17556697
http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v9/n1/abs/nrn2297.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12800453
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15971062
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18503256
http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0306987707005373
http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v16/n1/full/oby200723a.html
http://ageing.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/37/1/121-a
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/88298.php

There is much more. But I mean, you probably know better, right ?

Spare me. I’m aware of the scientific literature on vitamin D. Adams vastly overstates its potential benefits. To him, it’s a panacea; if you just take massive doses of vitamin D, according to him, you won’t get cancer, heart disease, etc., etc.

Ooo, we been Gish Galloped and told off big time! And a cite from Medical Hypotheses too!! We are impressed!!!

Seriously, I suggest going back and reading Orac’s piece for comprehension. What was being derided was the idea that vitamin D is a superior substitute for vaccines (Mike Adams is well known for being an antivax crackpot, but that claim is even loonier than his usual diatribes).

And before you favor us with “much more” about the magical panacea-like wonders of vitamin D, check out this article about vitamin D and cancer, which discusses the limited evidence to date that vitamin D has an anticancer effect, as well as preliminary findings that it may actually cause cancer, particularly in the high doses that vitamin enthusiasts like to take.

To add to the list @38 & 54: reduce stress to an optimal level

A question about insurance: Is there any reason why an alt-med insurance policy that is within the guidelines of Obamacare can’t be constructed? This policy would include all of the alt-med methods [homeopathy, acupuncture, Reiki, orthomoleclar, herbal, etc.] or selected ones from that list while specifically not including things like chemotherapy, most types of surgery [for cancer, cardiovascular diseases etc], most pharmaceuticals and other methods of mainstream medical care. The buyer of the alt-med policy would have to sign an ironclad agreement not to use the insurance for standard medical procedures [and can, of course, get those procedures with out-of-pocket expenses].
I see one problem with this kind of plan – medical ethics. Any other problems?

Bacon,

The fact is that an 800IU to 2000IU dose of Vitamin D3 produces much more impressive results for common flu prevention than vaccines, in the vulnerable population group of the study.

Hypervitaminosis is well known, and generally taken into account by most Vitamin D “enthusiasts”.

Seriously, if you want to take vitamin D, it’s pretty cheap. If Big Pharma didn’t want us to take vitamin D, wouldn’t they either (a) not manufacture Vitamin D supplements or (b) sell them only at ridiculously high prices?

Julia,

Vitamin D is a natural product. As such, it can’t be patented. You can’t create a monopoly or oligopoly situation, a captive market on an unpatentable product. If you try to raise the price to ridiculous levels (which is what a large portion of the pharmaceutical industry actually does, sometimes insanely so, like tripling some prices in a year), you will find many people offering a quality product while undercutting you significantly.

Julia,

Vitamin D is a natural product. As such, it can’t be patented. You can’t create a monopoly or oligopoly situation, a captive market on an unpatentable product. If you try to raise the price to ridiculous levels (which is what a large portion of the pharmaceutical industry actually does, sometimes insanely so, like tripling some prices in a year), you will find many people offering a quality product while undercutting you significantly.

The unconstitutional HELLthcare bill will ultimately kill more jobs and cost us more money in the long run. Let’s face it. These socialists absolutely wish to destroy this country and build an world government. Their ideals are dangerous to society.

This bill is the absolute worst peice of ah hem, legislation, I have ever witnessed. It looks like something Fidel Castro would come up with. It needs to be repealed and exterminatedand the sooner the better. The fact is that most of the so called legislation does not go into effect until 2013. If we real Americans win in November and win big in 2013 with House Senate, and White House, we can and will repeal this bill and replace it with a useful bill.

The next thing the nuts will be pushing on us is Crap and Trade. Thsi is another anti-American job killing economy killing socialist redistribution eco-freak bill that needs to be killed before it can be voted on.

We might as well be living in Cuba. At least in Cuab, it’s still legal to smoke in a cafe and drive an old car that is not “environmentally friendly” and all that horse crap.

This type bill did not work in massachusetts. I wonder what makes the socialists think it will work anywhere else? I know Mitt Romney had a hand in the crap in that former state, but I don;t support him anyway. He is not a real conservative. We need Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul on a presidential ticket in 2012. I would be willing to throw in New Gingrich as secretary of state, and John Bolton as secretary of defense. And just to piss off all liberals worldwide I would make Ted Nugent ambassador to the UN.

Seriously, you think this health care bill looks like Cuba? Seriously?

Do you have any idea what socialism is or what health care looks like in Cuba. This bill doesn’t even make medicine in the US as socialized as it is in Canada (or plenty of other places). And Canada is no Cuba.

Extreme statements like that just make you look ignorant.

I retired early, and don’t have health insurance. It’s a gamble, but I can afford most stuff out-of-pocket. I would have no problem with the idea of buying health insurance, if it wasn’t clearly such a RIPOFF! Health insurance is the problem. Didn’t any of you see M.Moore’s “Sicko”? Universal Health insurance is a racket, not a solution.

Scotty,

LOL. Yes, I’m secretly paid by an occult consortium of the literally thousands of vitamin D producers (opposite a handful of big companies with products with heavy side effects) to push their product.

Well, alas, no, I won’t make a cent stating the obvious. Vitamin D is a natural product my body produces under certain conditions (rarely optimal in our case), and it clearly appears that it can do very interesting things when dosed in an optimal way. I’m not defending Adams specifically on everything he says, but the way you diminish the potential of certain natural, or endogenous molecules to produce effects beyond their standard, “passive” role, prompted me to react.

There is abundant evidence Vitamin D is certainly not a panacea, but a very interesting molecule. And there are many more, like for example L-ascorbic acid.

Yes I seriously think this so called healthcare bill look like Cube. It is designed to give the government more power and the people less. As one “representative” so plainly put it:

“How else can we gain control of the people?” Look it up for your self. Look up “representative” John Dingall, or in this case dingleberry. In his own words he admitted this bill will help tto gain control over the people. Nice works guys. Control the people. Control free speech. Control the media. Control education. Control medicine. Control the environment. Change we can believe in, but not a free man in sight.

Oh, and anyone who would listent o the fat slob communist lover Mike Moore is sick. He should be working for the Russian propaganda machine.
Wait a minute. He could just loive here and work for Obama’s propaganda machine. It’s called the nightly news.

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