I’m beginning to feel that I’m flogging a topic a bit too hard again. Usually, this happens primarily when I’m on a roll over some particularly tasty ridiculous tidbit of antivaccine nonsense. This time around, it’s not so much antivaccine nonsense (although some did manage to slip its way into the discussion) but rather Ebola virus disease. In particular, it’s the conspiracy theories and quackery that have sprung up in the media like so much kudzu smothering rational and science-based discourse, revealing the depths of distrust based on politics, pseudoscience, and just plain nonsense that our public health officials have to deal with. There really are people out there who believe that the CDC, the WHO, the government, big pharma, and medicine itself are in cahoots to inflict a virus that kills more than half the people it infects on poor people in Africa and allow it to spread to more developed countries, all in order to create a market for drugs and vaccines against it to enrich our pharma overlords. There really are people who believe that President Obama actually wants Ebola to become established in the US because he wants to infect white people in order make the US more like his “home” in Africa.
Then there’s the quackery, so much quackery. Be it homeopathy, high dose vitamin C, “natural biopreparedness” kits, or essential oils being sold to cure Ebola, truly outbreaks bring out the worst in people as demonstrated by increasingly outlandish conspiracy theories and quackery.
Enter Patrick Timothy Bolen, most commonly referred to as “Tim” (although he is most commonly referred to by skeptics as Hulda Clark’s bulldog and ridiculous defender of quacks). You remember “Tim” Bolen (who, for some inexplicable reason, always uses “Tim” instead of his first name Patrick), don’t you? Most recently, I’ve been enjoying his attacks on various antivaccine luminaries, particularly his claims that he—and only he—with the assistance of his “millions of health freedom fighters,” can “fix” the autism advocacy movement. Now, apparently, he also thinks he has the cure for Ebola, and, as is always the case whenever Bolen puts something on his website, hilarity ensues.
This time around, Bolen is advocating an “Ayurvedic approach” to stopping Ebola, introducing the article on this approach with a statement about its author, “Big Pharma would have us all believe, through their stranglehold on US media, that the drugs, vaccines, drugs, vaccines, drugs, and more drugs and vaccines approach is ALL there is in the world. But the fact is, there are MANY other approaches to health care on planet earth. Ayurvedic Medicine, for instance, has been around for over three thousand years, so read THIS interesting approach to dealing with Ebola… TR Shantha MD is a former client of mine who, after a major assault on his practice, completely cleared his name – although you’d never know it from Quackwatch.com’s article on him. You can read about that situation here.”
Interestingly, “TR Shantha” (also listed as Totada R. Shanthaveerappa, M.D.) shows up on Quackwatch for his promotion of something called “Intracellular Hyperthermia” (ICHT) through Integrated Chemotherapy Specialists in Stockbridge, Georgia back in 2004. It’s a bit of quackery that even the American Cancer Society doesn’t approve of apparently originally promoted by Nicholas Bachynsky and involving injecting substances to cause a fever, such as DNP (chemical name 2-4-dinitrophenol) in order to cause a fever and/or heating the tumor, along with low dose chemotherapy. The version of his site from 2004 (courtesy of the Wayback Machine) shows, intermingled with more conventional therapies, a veritable cornucopia of quackery, including (but not limited to):
- High dose Vitamin C therapy Intravenous, up to 100 grams
- Endorphin receptor therapy, using Naltrexone if the person is not on narcotics*
- Detoxification, colonics, Coffee enema, message, aromatherapy as needed*
- Chelation to detoxify the body if needed
- Laetrile IV* if patient is interested
- Oral urea carbomate, 20-30Grams* as well as intratumor injection
- Hansii, iv, Local, oral*
- Nutrition: Vegetable diet with fruits and fish
- Enhance healing and the immune system with intravenous medications oral Alovera, nutritional supplementation, vitamins, glutamine, B complex, zinc, Cesium, flax oil, selenium, immune26, essential fatty acid, N-acetyl cysteine and other needed supplements.
- Oral PoyMVA therapy- will find the source if patient want the therapy *
- High dose Methotrxate rescue therapy with insulin potentiation therapy (IPT) and combining with other cancer killing chemotherapeutic agents up to 3 infusions.
- IPT-Insulin potentiation therapy with low dose appropriate anticancer medication that kill the cancer without any horrendous toxic effects.
- Intra tumor injection of intracellular metabolic uncoupling agents which induce intracellular hyperthermia, combined with various chemotherapeutic agent.
Currently, T.R. Shantha lists himself as a “research scientist, author, and medical practitioner” who is apparently a scientific advisor for a company called Wedge Therapeutics selling a medical device called the Sphenoid and Olfactory Nerve Stimulation (SONS*) System, which claims to be able to do this:
Where physiological functions are impaired due to a breakdown in biochemical activity of the intracellular organelle, and nerve function, Wedge believes that is feasible to attempt to therapeutically re-activate those physiological functions electronically by the use of SONS therapy. The main object of SONS is to deliver the electrical impulses to activate the Alzheimer’s afflicted brain and reset the function of the CNS at the neuronal and synaptic level (by increasing the electrical conductivity and by reducing the inflammation).
This time around, though, Shantha is promoting urine therapy for Ebola:
My therapy to curtail and cure the Ebola virus infection is simple and inexpensive besides taking all preventive measures to come in contact. It is a precursor of a vaccine with production of auto-antibodies within the body of the infected patients. The therapy is called “auto urine therapy” (AUT). That is the infected person drinking his or her own urine.. Follow the guidelines below and call me if one needs further guidance.
As soon as the disease is suspected or diagnosed, before waiting for any therapy:
Start drinking all the urine that comes out the first day no matter what the condition of the patient is. If the patient is averse or has social stigma regarding this therapy, use a naso-gastric feeding tube to feed the urine. Collect the urine in a clean glass and feed the urine as soon as it is evacuated from the bladder through the urethra. Do not change the taste or save it to drink later.
The next day feed all the urine that comes out in the morning. Then feed in the afternoon and before going to bed. Follow the urine therapy with a drink of water.
The third day drink the urine all morning and drink the urine after mid afternoon.
Fourth day drink the urine all morning. Then continue to drink urine in the morning for 11 more days and continue for one or more weeks. Morning urine drinking is necessary to get the benefits of AUT.
During urine therapy, drink clean water. Avoid eating meat and heavy meals. Continue all other supportive therapy.
Uh, no. Just no. There is no evidence that drinking your own urine will help you rid yourself of Ebola, should you be unfortunate enough to become infected. One wonders if he decided that urine therapy would be a good thing, given that a decade ago he thought urea therapy would be good for cancer. Let’s be fair, though. Let’s see what sort of rationale he uses to justify this quackery:
The Ebola virus particles as they are broken down in the body by the immune system are passed in the urine with other metabolic products including protein components, enzymes, and hormones. There are dozens of medicines we swallow to curtail and cure diseases which are extracted from urine. When you drink the urine, the broken down fragments of the Ebola virus pass through the intestines. The intestines are lined with B-lymphocytes (and lymphocytes producing lymph nodes called Peyers’ patches) which mature into antibody producing Plasma cells on the entire length of the gut wall (first line of immune defense). It is estimated that there are 180,000 immune antibody-producing white blood cells (Plasma cells) for every cubic millimeter of the wall. There are billions of these antibody synthesizing white blood cells in the wall of the gut. These plasma cells pick up the virus and their fragments, and synthesize antibodies against the Ebola virus. By the tenth day, billons of antibody particles are produced and circulating in the body, attaching to the Ebola viruses in the body, killing them, and clearing them from the body as you continue the AUT. Thus AUT cures the condition. It costs nothing and it is simple to adopt. Anyone can use the therapy whether in a village or in a hospital anywhere in the world. Starting therapy earlier can lead to decreased morbidity and mortality. It is only a theory and based on what I know about it, it will work.
I have been exposed to urine therapy since 1965. Urine contains more than 200-300 components of metabolites and other components from the body and they can help cure many diseases including this dreaded Ebola infection. There is hardly a disease that cannot be treated with auto urine therapy as primary or adjuvant therapy. Morarji Desai, the prime minister of India practiced AUT daily until he died in his nineties. It is part of a Hindu system of Yogic therapy that has been in practice for thousands of years. I would love to travel to the African countries, if anyone can fund, to treat these patients, and save lives with this simple therapy.
Does anyone see a problem here? Here’s Shantha’s idea. Because Ebola virus proteins come out through the urine, drinking urine, according to him, will allow the viral proteins to be epxosed to the Peyer’s patches and provoke an antibody response. Here are the problems. First, from my reading, I find that patients with Ebola can shed the virus in the urine, meaning that the urine is potentially infectious. While one might think that drinking the same virus one is infected with couldn’t do any more harm, all it does is introduce more virus contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth, with the potential for worsening the illness. Second, and more importantly, any viral proteins would be broken down to single amino acids, or, at best, di- and tri-peptides. In the stomach proteins are broken down by acid and and a protease known as pepsin. As soon as they hit the small intestine, proteins are broken down further still by other enzymes until they are broken down to (mostly) single amino acids. It’s a very efficient process. Very little protein gets through without being hydrolyzed to di- and tripeptides (two or three amino acids) and single amino acids, and this is how they are absorbed. These Ebola virus proteins would be broken down to forms that can’t provoke an immune response before ever getting to the gut’s immune system, given that Peyer’s patches are found in the ileum (more distal small intestine), not in the jejunum, which is where most protein digestion and absorption take place.
Geez. Didn’t this guy take basic anatomy and histology when he went to medical school? Or maybe he forgot, particularly if he thinks that “auto-urine therapy” can in any way result in an immune response against Ebola sufficient to have an effect on the outcome.
No wonder Bolen thinks it’s an “interesting” idea.