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Here they come to save the day! Homeopaths vs. Ebola, again

epidemics

If there is one thing that the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Africa has revealed to the world, it’s the full extent of quackery that is out there and advertised as being able to treat deadly diseases such as Ebola. The deadlier the disease, the more quackery is out there, amplified by the scariness of the disease. And, make no mistake about it, Ebola is scary. No, it’s not scary here in the U.S., where the odds of the average person catching the disease, particularly if he’s not a health care worker who’s directly cared for a patient with Ebola, is vanishingly tiny. If you happen to live in west Africa, it’s a different matter entirely. If I lived there, I’d be worried. But here in the U.S.? Not so much. Even so, we have a veritable cornucopia of quackery that, or so its proponents say, can cure Ebola. Examples include quackery like essential oils, “natural biopreparedness,” high dose vitamin C, drinking one’s own pee, and, of course, The One Quackery To Rule Them All, homeopathy. Indeed, one homeopath, Ken Oftedal, had the temerity to actually propose a homeopathic remedy in which he recommended taking actual blood, saliva, or other bodily fluids from patients with Ebola and doing homeopathic dilutions, a proposal that was too quacky even for Mike Adams.

I had a lot of fun ridiculing homeopaths claiming that their magic water can cure a viral disease as deadly as Ebola. Indeed, one of my favorite go-to jokes was a riff on Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). Basically, what I and others have pointed out is that, if homeopaths have so much faith in homeopathy, why aren’t they heading over to west Africa in droves in order to help patients with Ebola. I admit that it was a joke, a schtick meant to call out homeopaths for promoting their quackery from the safety of the U.S. or European countries in which the threat of Ebola is minimal or nonexistent. There is an actual group that calls itself Homeopaths Without Borders, patterned after Doctors Without Borders, a group that I made fun of when they invaded Haiti after the devastating earthquake a few years ago. As much fun as tweaking homeopaths was, I never expected that any of them would actually be crazy enough to actually put their quackery to the test. Apparently, I was wrong. Apparently, a team of homeopaths have actually arrived in west Africa to peddle their magic water and try to find a cure. So sayeth the National Center for Homeopathy:

The Ebola epidemic raging through West Africa has become a humanitarian crisis of great proportion. Homeopaths worldwide have been mobilizing their efforts toward gaining entrance in those countries affected, in order to provide homeopathic medical intervention to those individuals stricken with Ebola. The overriding goal is to investigate Ebola firsthand, and thereby determine which remedy or remedies are best for treating this disease.

The homeopaths there are so deluded that they actually state:

While there is ample reason to expect that such a remedy can be found for Ebola, to date our homeopathic world community has not yet determined what that remedy or remedies might be. Once such a remedy is found and administered empirically to patients, if it is shown to be effective, we will have in our hands both a treatment for Ebola victims and, very likely, an effective remedy to help prevent or dramatically diminish the spread of the disease to those exposed or at risk of contracting it (homeoprophylaxis). Discovering such a remedy and applying it successfully for Ebola is still unproven, though completely in line with our historical experience with epidemic diseases, both for their treatment and prevention.

The good news is that a small international team of experienced and heroic homeopaths have arrived in West Africa, and are currently on the ground working hard to examine patients, work out the “genus epidemicus,” and initiate clinical trials. This work is being done alongside the current conventional supportive measures and treatments already in place. We applaud and congratulate this team’s dedication and courage in joining the front lines in treating Ebola with homeopathy. The answer to whether homeopathic medicine has an important role in the Ebola epidemic could be forthcoming quite soon.

“Heroic”? I wouldn’t use that word to describe these homeopaths. “Deluded” is much closer to the mark. Don’t believe me? Check out this article by a homeopath, Ebola Virus. It is not an untreatable disease!:

But I am also aware of much discussion going on at the moment within the homeopathic world about the treatment of this ‘new’ killer disease. One homeopath has undertaken an extremely valuable, and quite exhaustive repertorisation of the known symptoms of Ebola, and she has come up with another remedy, Cinchona Offiicinalis. Looking at the known symptoms of both Cinchona and Crotulus, they could both be useful in the treatment of the disease.

  • So, if the conventional medical establishment has no treatment for Ebola, can the homeopathic community expect a knock on its door, in the near future, asking for assistance?
  • Will the Media, in search of anything that can avoid the dreadful scenario they are painting, be interested in publicising this possible treatment?

The answer to the first question is, “No.” Actually, it’s closer to: “Hell, no!” Why would science-based medicine have any interest in vitalistic magic to fight a real disease caused by a real virus? In any case, I’ve discussed the incredibly dubious “reasoning” that homeopaths use. Ebola virus causes bleeding and other symptoms? So does the venom of Sicarius (Six-Eyed Crab Spider)? So obviously Sicarus venom must be a homeopathic remedy for Ebola. After all, homeopathy is all about the symptoms, contrary to the claims of homeopaths that homeopathy treats the root causes of disease.

The Ebola outbreak in west Africa is a humanitarian crisis. it’s truly depressing to behold how willing quacks are to glom on to a humanitarian crisis such as what is occurring right now, taking advantage of the fear of a disease in order to ply their quackery. Remember, homeopathy is based on two major principles. First, homeopaths believe that “like cures like.” In other words, to treat a symptom requires the use of something that causes that symptom. Second, diluting a remedy makes it stronger. of course, as I and many others have pointed out, homeopathic dilutions involve diluting remedies to nonexistence.

to be honest, I’m actually a bit concerned. Homeopaths heading into a zone where Ebola is running rampant are unlikely to help a single person with the disease, nor is their adventure likely to end well. That’s putting it mildly. Think of it this way. Here are a bunch of inexperienced purveyors of magic water and sugar pills (many homeopathic remedies are pressed into sugar pills), with no experience dealing with outbreaks or even taking proper precautions against infected bodily fluids heading into the heart of an outbreak in Africa, where medical resources are tight. If they actually come into contact with patients ill with Ebola to the point of vomiting and bleeding, what is most likely to happen is that they will join the list of Ebola victims. Worse, any patient who relies on their magic rather than the best supportive care that can be provided is likely to suffer the consequences of relying on fantasy medicine rather than real medicine. Real medicine might fail to save Ebola patients half the time, but think of it this way. As we’ve learned before, untreated Ebola has a case fatality rate of around 90%. Any Ebola patient who is fooled into believing the homeopaths will go from a 50-50 chance of dying to a 90% chance of dying. That’s a rather big deal.

I’ll never understand how anyone can take the delusion that is homeopathy seriously, but its believers produce real world consequences.

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]

425 replies on “Here they come to save the day! Homeopaths vs. Ebola, again”

Actually, the worst part is that the epidemic will die down (as epidemics do, either as a result of conventional treatment or just the natural history of the disease) and the homeopaths will take credit for it. Mark my words.

The homeopaths may actually do some good. Not from magic medicine, but by providing additional labor and their experience in comforting the sick. If they are careful, work with the real medical staff, and follow the protocols for care and protection, then they could take on some load from doctors and nurses and provide a role not dissimilar to a chaplain.

As to their trials, I will go out on a limb and make some predictions:

1. If a person receives both homeopathic and conventional treatment, survival will be due to homeopathic treatment while death will be due to the non-homeopathic treatment.
2. Any treatment provided by the homeopath will be claimed as homeopathic, regardless of whether it follows the underlying principles of homeopathy.
3. Success will be claimed, but the statistics will be dubious.

And as NH Primary Care Doctor predicts, the arrival of the homeopaths will be claimed as the beginning of the end of the epidemic.

This assumes, of course, that the homeopaths involved don’t do something stupid and succumb to Ebola themselves within a month.

I happen to believe that actual doctors and nurses traveling to West Africa to fight the epidemic is the best way to stop the humanitarian crisis there and save the rest of the world from Ebola. The occasional worker leaving infected is a manageable risk.

These punks, though? Throw ’em in quarantine and throw away the key. They are clearly too stupid and superstition-driven to be trusted with any other option. Better still, throw them in quarantine before they even leave, because you know they’d spread around the virus if they went there.

The quacks that are homeopaths can do nothing to treat Ebola. They can, however, bring Ebola back to their country of origin. And, knowing the rarity with which homeopaths seek real medical treatment, they would almost certainly spread Ebola within their home communities.

To me this is an example of why nothing is useless. Bear with me.

Something that works, works. It may work more or less well but it works. But as we examine the category I’ve noticed that hings that work less well don’t slide toward uselessness. As soon as they become close to useless, they become less than useless, a detriment.

To get anything done you have to get the useless items out of the way. To do that takes time and effort. Effort better used to bring those things that work to bear.

There is a fine line between bravery and foolhardiness, and this crew have managed to erase that line.

I’d like to hear from somebody who knows more about this than I do, whether somebody who should have known better approved visas for these people, or whether it’s a pro forma process, either at the embassy or even on arrival at the airport. I have done three trips where I had to apply for visas in advance (I’ve never been to a country where I could get the visa at the airport, but I know such countries exist). In one case the conference organizers did most of the legwork and I simply had to mail my passport to the consulate; in another case I went through an agency that specializes in such things, and in the third I handled myself. For the last I had to go to the consulate (in Boston, not too far from where I live) for an interview, which proved to be pretty much pro forma: they verified that I had an invitation letter, a roundtrip ticket, a completed visa application form, and a money order for the visa application fee, and then informed me that my visa would be ready in three business days. But none of these countries is in Africa. Some countries are more serious about visa applications than others (the US is notorious for being especially serious–unless you are specifically applying for an immigrant visa, you must overcome a presumption of intent to immigrate). If the country this crew went to is one of the more serious countries, and the visa applications were approved anyway, that’s not good news.

Over the past few weeks, Mike Adams has perseverated upon Ebola: nearly every day he writes a post about it and he has created a free ‘course’ about surviving it.

Fortunately, my computer, in its wisdom, has adamantly refused to play the course’s videos/ audios ( not sure what they are) and I have been spared hours of loathesome drivel-encased tripe
HOWEVER I was able to watch yesterday’s ‘interview'( in his post) in which he manages to ramp up fear about ‘air-borne’ Ebola, bio-weapons, Obama being doused with bleach after meeting the recovered nurse, governmental malfeasance, compromised virologists and ‘easy-to-spread’ Ebola** amongst other tropes.

Mike Adams is the antidote to reasonableness in public safety education.

** sounds like a new margarine.

The homeopaths who went to Liberia and are probably now doing their unethical stuff at Ganta Hospital are: dr. Richard Hiltner (US), dr. Edouard Broussalian (Switzerland), dr. Medha Durge (India) and dr. Ortrud Lindemann (Germany, living in Spain). The probably went in a bigger group of 20 doctors (regular ones, I hope) sent by a German foundation ‘Freunde Liberias’.

Broussalian has been on Haiti in 2011 during a cholera epidemic and the way he operated there doesn’t predict anything good for this trip to Liberia.
They’re trying to remove all blogs and Facebook updates with too much details. I’ve saved as much as I could on my blog http://www.pepijnvanerp.nl/2014/10/homeopaths-in-liberia-mission-ebola/

Also tried to get into contact with the Methodist Church (which runs Ganta Hospital) and this German organisation, but they do not respond.

Worse, any patient who relies on their magic rather than the best supportive care that can be provided is likely to suffer the consequences of relying on fantasy medicine rather than real medicine.
To be fair they did say
This work is being done alongside the current conventional supportive measures and treatments already in place.
So this kind of scenario looks unlikely to me.
Like Mephistopeles I do hope they will be at least useful for additionnal labor (provided they correctly follow the protection protocol). But yeah, I’d be curious to see the results of their trial ; especially since I have had difficulties finding details on their experience with epidemics.

I have a couple concerns about this:

1) Are these homeopaths recently trained in proper PPE protocols? If not, and they directly interact with ebola patients, they have a pretty high chance of being infected.
2) Homeopathy is quite big in India. As noted by Pepijn, one of the homeopaths that has gone to Liberia is from India. Among science-based individuals, an infected person bringing the disease to India would be a major catasrophe. Compound that with the fact that the infected person is a homeopath who is unlikely to seek proper medical care and containment.
3) Also as noted, homeopaths tend to be rather averse to “conventional” (aka real) medicine. How likely are they to comply with being asked by legitimate health officials to quarantine themselves?

I’m all for extra hands who have the proper training getting in there and helping. God knows they need it. But a bunch of homeopaths there to make a point does not instill me with confidence or hope for preventing the exportation of the disease more than has already happened.

Apparently the National Center for Homeopathy didn’t read their email from the Society of Homeopathy! That venerable group recently released this statement:

“There is no evidence to support the use of homeopathy in the prevention or cure of Ebola and to suggest otherwise hands our opponents a golden opportunity to renew their attacks against homeopaths and homeopathy.” (Reported by the Quackometer)

“There is no evidence to support the use of homeopathy in the prevention or cure of [any injury or illness whatsoever] and to suggest otherwise hands our opponents a golden opportunity to renew their attacks against homeopaths and homeopathy.”

Fixed that for them. No need to thank me.

Apparently the National Center for Homeopathy didn’t read their email from the Society of Homeopathy!

Why should they? You must understand that the biggest enemy of the People’s Front of Judea is the Judean People’s Front.

It could be worse.

I’m surprised that homeopaths haven’t announced plants to build a hospital in Ebola country to treat patients with 30C dilutions of Ebola-laden secretions or similar good stuff. After all, didn’t homeopathic hospitals cure oodles of influenza patients back in 1919? It would be easy for homeopaths to release similarly startling statistics on their superiority to mainstream medicine in treating Ebola. I’m sure there are open-access journals that would jump at the chance to publish this game-changing data.

Skeptics may want to check out another sure cure for Ebola – Rife therapy. I know most of Orac’s readers already have their own machines, so here are the frequencies – program them in and stop worrying!

http://the-tap.blogspot.com/2014/08/rife-frequency-machines-ebola-virus.html

@Denice Walter #9,
‘Easy-to-spread’ (sounds like a new margarine): homogenization is succussion without requiring the leather-bound book!

Any one of following could make a homeopath’s brain deluded enough to believe that they are able to cure Ebola: homogenization; succussion; concussion; a dire lack of critical thinking skills; a refusal to comprehend elementary science.

Far be it from me to attempt diagnosing the idiosyncrasies of homeopaths’ brains. However, I do wonder if Samuel Hahnemann was a master of satire using obscurantism: perhaps “increasing dilutions” was his satirical connotations of “increasing delusions”. A form of satire that has been, and still is, highly lucrative.

BTW – Dana Ullman has another article over at HuffPo… All they usual tropes – Complaining about Wiki again!

From the CDC – treating Ebola:
Providing intravenous fluids (IV)and balancing electrolytes (body salts)
Maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure
Treating other infections if they occur

That’s it. No current standard for vaccine or medicinal treatment.

So… sounds like these folks will head over there, provide additional hydration therapy (er., I mean homeopathic medicine), maybe vitamins, and then do the same thing, ‘watch, comfort, care’.

so, I see little additional harm that will be done to patients unless they start really diving down into the crazy. Agreeing with everyone else above that they’ll basically do nothing, but claim great success and use it to bolster their already depressingly large support it the alt med world.

Cinchona officinalis, eh. So that’s why the colonial British were always drinking gin-and-tonics: it was prophylactic against Ebola.
But seriously, Homeopaths without Borders should become Homeopaths without Visas and stay home.
There comes to mind only one worse possibility than homeopathy, and that’s acupuncture.

Are these homeopaths recently trained in proper PPE protocols?

This is a broader issue than training in donning, monitoring integrity and doffing.
I have seen reports suggesting that adequate PPE is in short supply in “the zone.” I don’t know whether this is due to general poor availability or matters of paying for it. If it is a question of poor availability and the prats don’t bring their own supplies for the entire duration of their visits, then they may be making things worse. If they are able and willing to jump in and do the tasks of others without adequate PPE, then they could actually be of some positive value. I’d be surprised if they were unwilling, but the ability is another matter. Most probably know less about actual patient care than a hospital orderly.
Used PPE must be safely disposed of or cleaned and sterilized for re-use. I wonder if the prats are prepared to handle those issues, or will be part of the problem. Even experienced lab and hospital people who have not done “field work” are probably somewhat green on these matters, having been accustomed to support staff who cart things away to the autoclave and/or incinerator and swab the decks with disinfectants. I’m reminded of someone I knew who was in med school. He’d drop things on the floor of a research lab like someone in and ER on TV might do, neglecting the fact that one of the other research staff would have to clean up after him. He’d have lasted about 20 minutes in the field before someone suggested he take a break with a nice IV of saturated potassium chloride.

Why haven’t they considered 30C heparin (harvest your own leeches!) or warfarin?

I’ve made two assumptions, one charitable and one not necessarily so charitable.

The charitable one is that while homeopaths may be misinformed, have bought into a Bizzaro version of medicine, and may even be slightly delusional about their abilities, they’re not necessarily stupid. I’d think they would be as cautious as anyone else in using PPE and in following personal protection protocols. After all, they don’t know that they currently have a cure. While the threat of imminent death may sharpen the mind wonderfully, I’d like to think thy would want more than a month to find that cure.

The less charitable assumption is that the treatment centers won’t let anyone work on patients if they a) don’t have available PPE, b) the person has not shown they are trained in necessary procedures and follow them to a T, and c) don’t think these people can do something useful.

Great question, Eric. Who vettes the visas? The country of departure? The destination? Both? Todd seems to have the probable scary scenario: India approves homeopath travel; West Africa accepts any offer of help they get, not being too discriminating; Indian homeopath contracts disease, returns home…

Does anyone know what India is doing for either ebola preparedness or policy on screening travelers from West Africa or others who may have contacted an infected patient?

I wonder if the Dutch have put any additional limits on travel?
It used to be that many flights to Africa went through Amsterdam, although I know commercial service lately into Africa has been really reduced if not eliminated.

gosh Eric Lund #8,

That’s alotta headroom to go through just to get the quick advanced tutorial in triage-situation sanitation engineer…

Just tell your travel agent that you want to “visit a country that doesn’t have any ebola in it at all”… and you’re sure to get that six-week layover at the luxourious Ziare International airport landing strip, motocross, and minigolf resort…

It’s you, and people like you that make life boring for the rest of us.

“Looking at the known symptoms of both Cinchona and Crotulus, they could both be useful in the treatment of the disease.”

If course that won’t work! You need Crotalus (rattlesnake) venom.

They can’t even spell the species correctly!

He’d drop things on the floor of a research lab like someone in and ER on TV might do, neglecting the fact that one of the other research staff would have to clean up after him.

I encountered an intern like that … newly arrived from somewhere where doctors are GODS and interns are demi-gods. He ripped off the patients dressings and dropped them all over the place, ignoring the labelled trash container, peered at the incision and snapped “I’m finished here, you can redress the wounds now.”

I told him … “I’m from the lab, and if those wounds need to be dressed, ask Dr Whatzisname (head of surgery) what the protocol is.” And promptly called on Whatzisname and asked him to get his interns on a leash. Dr Diety had to clean up the room and learn how to do dressings, under the supervision of the charge nurses until they were satisfied with his skills.

There are Level 3 Advisories up for prospective travelers to Ebola virus-endemic countries, on the CDC Travel Advisories website. Those countries are restricting travel within their borders and I cannot imagine a scenario where those countries’ consulates would provide visas for these clowns.

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

Who vettes the visas? The country of departure? The destination? Both?

It’s almost always the destination country that sets the rules. The country of which the traveler is a national can in principle decide whether to issue a passport, but as long as the paperwork is in order and there are no pending criminal charges/investigations, most countries will issue the passport, and of course this group (especially the EU nationals) probably had passports already. (Some countries will not issue passports to political dissidents, but none of this crew are from any of those countries.) If the traveler lives in a third country, that country has no say in whether the traveler can make the trip, although they may have rules about whether he can return to that country (e.g., if you are a foreigner studying in the US, and you travel to a conference in another country, you probably have to renew your US student visa before you return).

Beyond that, the degree of scrutiny your visa application gets will depend on your nationality, the destination country, and the purpose of your visit. Tourists and short-term business travelers will in some cases (e.g., US to Japan or vice versa) not need a visa. But if your purpose is to work at hospitals caring for people, as in this case, you shouldn’t be on a tourist visa–if you are, then you are probably committing visa fraud, which can result in some combination of hefty fines, jail time, or deportation. Details depend on the destination country’s laws. In the case of Liberia, the US State Department Consular Information Sheet says that, at least for US citizens, visas are required and must be obtained in advance of travel (i.e., no airport visas). I don’t know whether that applies to other nationalities. I also don’t know the degree to which Liberia would vet visa applications, particularly from people claiming to have a medical background who say they are coming to help with the Ebola outbreak.

Not homeopathy but Ozone therapy is parallel in many ways.

A knight has just returned from his crusade to Sierra Leone where he (according to himself) fought a heroic battle against the ebola virus and cured many suffering along his way using the miraculous OO2 molecule.
Dr Robert Rowen’s website at http://healthydoctors.com/ contains a verbose account of his battles:
Ebola Battled By Health Hero Robert Rowen MD In Sierra Leone With Ozone
In his last blog on saturday he was waiting for the plane home. I sure hope he does not bring the little filiform bastards out of there and spread them to others.
The pompous accounts reveal a man who is totally devoid of any doubt that he is a hero and saviour and his OZONE therapy is a panacea:

I developed a few sniffles on the third day (yesterday), and received ozone yesterday and today. In the last few years my colds seems to only come on with long jet travel. Suffice to say, the treatment worked like a charm. I felt terrific today, and was screened for temperature to enter an Ebola government meeting. My temperature was a mere 94.8, even in the sweltering heat.

Dr Rowen injects people with something called Prolozone for anything from painful knees to aching keloids.
He describes how he miraculously cures the most difficult cases and frees dignitaries and damsels from distress, reminding us distinctly of another noble and heroic knight whom we know only from the works of Cervantes:

This day, the chief doctor of the SL Doctors and Dentists Association, who was mighty skeptical at first, actually received intravenous ozone herself after doing mine, and then quickly came up to have me treat her knee, which turned out to be a tendon problem.
She left very pleased, as did an OB/GYN doctor who had pain going down his right leg to his foot. He was amazed that an injection into his SI joint fixed the entire problem. Few others were surprised. They had expected the results. I have posted the video on my you tube channel

The video entitled “Prolozone Comes to Sierra Leone” is to my mind an interesting study in how a man with delusions of grandeur uses persuasion and suggestion to charm and dupe the audience. Note also his trainee performing a knee-injection at 0:51, happily fondling the needle at the injection site with bare fingers.
Browsing through Dr. Rowen’s self obsessed narrative I understood that he left behind ozone producing apparatus for the locals he trained to continue the miracle and is expecting reimbursement for future use of them.
(this comment is slightly adapted from another made at Edzard Ernst’s blog)

I think a cage match between Rowan with his super-oxidant and someone from the vitamin C antioxidant crowd might be amusing.

@ Bjorn Geir I located the clown and his Ozone therapy machine:

http://www.ioicp.com/directory/name/robert-rowen/

Biography

Meet Dr. Robert J. Rowen — the groundbreaking M.D. who’s trained over 400 doctors… cured over 5,000 patients…and helped pass the nation’s first medical freedom law

Now he has a new mission: to make sure YOU never become one of his patients!

To the doctors he’s trained and the patients he’s cured, Dr. Robert Rowen is known as something of a miracle worker. Indeed, Dr. Rowen receives over a dozen calls and emails a week from fellow physicians, seeking advice on how to cure their most challenging cases. Sometimes, the doctors fly their patients across the country to have Dr. Rowen examine and treat them.

Many of these patients suffer from deadly diseases like cancer…or from stubborn ailments like diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease that have plagued them for years. Yet over half of them leave Dr. Rowen’s care symptom-free. And many leave completely cured! This includes even the toughest cases other doctors give up on!

As it turns out, Dr. Rowen has considerably more experience practicing alternative medicine than just about any of his peers. He spent 22 years practicing in Alaska, the first state to provide statutory protection to alternative physicians.

Since Dr. Rowen was protected by law, he could use all kinds of treatments doctors in other states couldn’t use at the time. So he got at least a 5-year start on everyone else.

But Dr. Rowen wasn’t just a beneficiary of Alaska’s Medical Freedom Law. He actually helped draft the bill…and was instrumental in getting it passed.

During hearings, he incurred the wrath of the state’s organized medical community, who threatened to revoke his license. They even flew in a famous “quackbuster” to debate Dr. Rowen and try to embarrass him.

When it was all over, Dr. Rowen was still practicing…the bill had passed…and Governor Hickel had appointed him to the State Medical Board.

Um, not quite:

http://www.casewatch.org/board/med/rowen.shtml

In 1997, after pleading guilty to a federal felony charge of “corrupt endeavor to impede” an agent of the Internal Revenue service, Dr. Robert Rowen was sentenced to 10 months of probation that included 2 months in a halfway house and 8 months in home detention and was ordered to pay $10,003.91 in restitution and a $2,000 fine. According to a report in the Agricultural Law Digest, while practicing in Alaska, Rowen (a) set up a three-tiered “asset protection” trust in an attempt to avoid federal income tax, (b) did not file returns for 1992 through 1997, and (c) was not permitted to discharge his tax debt even though he filed for bankruptcy. [In re Rowen 2003-1 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) ¶ 50,502 (Bank. Alaska 2003)]. In 1996, while the charges were pending, he applied for a license to practice medicine in the State of Washington. When the licensing commission challenged his application, he withdrew it, but the commission decided that “sufficient grounds” existed to deny his application. Rowen now practices in California.

I think a cage match between Rowan with his super-oxidant and someone from the vitamin C antioxidant crowd might be amusing.

Doug is hopelessly naive. With the Gazoogle it is easy to find whole intertube communities who swear by their homebrew protocols [white-suity terms like “protocol” are an important part of the cargo cult] of DMSO + bleach + colloidal silver because one’s a super-oxidant and one’s an antioxidant so in combination they will cover all bases.

@Dangerous Bacon #17: I will give those to Mr Woo as a just in case, but I believe his machine just cycles through all of them the way he usually uses it. Better safe than sorry and all that.

The phrase “be careful of what you wish for” comes to mind.

The overriding goal is to investigate Ebola firsthand, and thereby determine which remedy or remedies are best for treating this disease.

If it weren’t so tragic I’d be gleeful in counting the number of different causes/cures they’ll come up with. The worst part is that a tally will most likely end up being one of how many homeopaths get sick. I may not agree with them, but they don’t deserve to get Ebola.

@LouV

But yeah, I’d be curious to see the results of their trial ; especially since I have had difficulties finding details on their experience with epidemics.

I doubt they are actually studying anything. As you say, they’re offering ‘remedies’ alongside SBM, and my guess is they’ll do just that, make themselves feel better about helping, come home at the tail end of the epidemic but before it completely peters out, and then announce ‘success’ without so much as a glance back. I doubt they could successfully pull off a well designed trial whilst piggybacking other organisational efforts/treatments, during an epidemic, in a place with limited resources.

@NickJ

so, I see little additional harm that will be done to patients unless they start really diving down into the crazy.

How about wasted resources, potential infection of homeopaths *and* whoever they contact, and just generally adding more barriers to those who need proper treatment?

@Mrs Woo

Long time no see. I’ve been away for a bit, it’s good to see you. Have missed your comments.

herr doktor bimler,

A concern I have is that Browning, the politician who endorsed homeopathy for Ebola, is his Party’s spokesperson for genetic engineering, agriculture, fisheries, biosecurity, etc. I’ve written a few thoughts on this – linked in #40. It seems to me that the party should remove him from briefs that have strong science content – ? This gaffe of his and his defense of it illustrates that he’s not suitable for science material if they want to hold to their promise to use an evidence-based approach…

Talk about quackery! We are a fat and over fed society who threw money rather than solution at problems. To think as sick society we have an answer to world crisis that is the state of delusion. We need not worry about ebola as we summon death with a knife and fork and teach our children to do so more efficiently than we do. We have divided government that do nothing and our solution this November make it more divided so that it work better. There are societies namely China that have integrated medicine models that work successfully. Are those the same people that will be the world largest economy next year. My suspicion we can learn from naturopaths who are full of quack like ourselves. With pharma-ebola prescription deaths at 200K a year may be we should have an imbecile joint task force of naturopaths and allopaths. May be then as delusional society we will make some progress rather than have a state medicine modelled after radicalism where naturos are opposed allos.

@Fat & Sick – well, don’t go holding up China just yet….pollution is so bad in most places that it makes Los Angeles Smog look like a small brushfire….most waterways have some form of contamination & clean drinking water is in very short supply. There are industrial sites in China that won’t be habitable for decades, if ever.

And going back to the “Allo” arguments, just shows how deluded you are. Life expectancy in this country is at an all-time high, so we’re obviously doing something right.

There are societies namely China that have integrated medicine models that work successfully.

Citation needed.

As to the rest – do you have a point, or are you a) being a fitness scold and b) spouting gibberish?

The point is every body have something to offer whether we like them or not. What is amazing many of our parents and grand parents have employed naturopathic protocols and we are here today. Yet I don’t anticipate anybody going to thanksgiving dinner and ridiculing grandma as a quack. At least you better not as you may need that home remedy after that tummy ache after stuffing yourself just so you can make a new years resolution to stop stuffing yourself. I support any MD or ND who encourage us to be curious and take responsibility for our health. Humans have survived millions of years without MDs or NDs. What got us here curiosity what works and does not. Take the best of both worlds. Intelligent medicine involves most all you having and open mind. Life expectancy is up in US yes but we just resorted to being buried in parts. A limb yesterday (diabetes). A kidney today and May be a heart tomorrow hoping someone not as wreckless as us who meets unfortunate end will be a donor and for CHinese in their smog infested country the more they adapt our lifestyles the worse their health become. Yeah their cancer rates rising. Thank God since we are such big consumer of their junk that we will be footing the bill as they get sicker!

many of our parents and grand parents have employed naturopathic protocols and we are here today. Yet I don’t anticipate anybody going to thanksgiving dinner and ridiculing grandma as a quack.

Well, no, of course not. That would be impolite. It would also likely be an improper use of the word “quack”, unless grandma is practicing unproven or disproven medicine.

we just resorted to being buried in parts. A limb yesterday (diabetes). A kidney today and May be a heart tomorrow

In previous generations people with diabetes also lost limbs and died. People who now survive due to organ transplants simply would have died without them.

for CHinese in their smog infested country the more they adapt our lifestyles the worse their health become.

Citation needed. Also, are they to be held up as an example of wonderful integration of medicine and “traditional medicine”, or are they rapidly dying from pollution?

When people complain about the increase in chronic diseases, they completely miss the fact that people are now surviving long enough to get chronic diseases, instead of dying of regular old diseases (like Typhoid, Diphtheria, Measles, Smallpox, Polio, Yellow Fever, Rubella, etc, etc, etc.)

So, Fat and Sick, when are you going over to west Africa to help with Ebola? Perhaps you can tell those people how there lifestyle was the cause for them getting sick.

I love freedom of religion no matter thechoice. Most religion regard the body as sacred. Like religion I like freedom of medicine. I’m all for someone taking a pill and someone getting truck loads of mula on that pharmaceutical. Im also comfortable with someone with a cold taking elderberry verses antibiotic to treat a viral infection. If you want to be fat quack with a fork. I’m for that. If you want to be pharmaceutical taking quack. I’m also for that! If you want to be a quack that follow the advice of your Nutritionist or Naturopath hell yeah I’m for that. Hell I love pharmaceutical portfolios.You would be dumb not to have one yourself. One thing I understand smart money and smart living may not be great bed fellows. My portfolio needs people like you to worship at the altar of Walgreens. I have no naturopathic holding. If you can’t patent I’m not investing but I’m going to put my money where mouth is and figure what is the best for family. I will draw from the well of Naturopaths and Allopaths to keep my family healthy. But when it comes to pharmaceuticals I’m building that dam because they are on to something. Who else has a customer from the cradle to grave. Make no mistake we both are inlove with conventional medicine for different reasons. Pimping people out on pills legally by doctors is ursome and now obamacare have created million more pharma-prostitutes. We just need to create better apps so that people remember to take their medication and fill prescription on time. I need to push to have more virtual remote doctor visits. Can I have an Amen brothers and sisters!

@Chris. I don’t have to go to West Africa to tell them about lifestyle changes. The WHO is already doing that. Dont eat bats and monkeys. Don’t bath the dead. I would like to add don’t fly here even if our government allows you to do so because we have pharma-ebola that kills 200K a year!

Because I’ve heard it before …
thousands of times.

Alright, exactly who is responsible for people being ‘fat and sick’?
Doctors? Society? The government? Corporations?

Well, from the sources I hear ( the usual suspects), you would think that the people themselves are not accountable in the least bit. No one forces you to eat unhealthy food. It’s easier to point a finger at culprits than to get people to acknowledge that they have unhealthy habits and to change them. Since when have doctors NOT told people to eat healthier foods and to exercise more?

Most alt med advocates who blame ‘society’ for poor health outcomes and obesity prescribe their own- often impossible to maintain- dietary regimes and frequently sell products like supplements, vegetable/ fruit powders and ‘superfoods’ for exorbitant prices. They don’t ‘educate’ people out of the goodness of their hearts- if they have hearts.

It’s an advert: tell people that someone else if responsible for their problems, tell them that you’re their best friend and then, sell them stuff they don’t need.

SBM

“What is amazing many of our parents and grand parents have employed naturopathic protocols and we are here today.”

This is one of my favorite altie justifications for virtually any idiotic practice or belief.

The best example was when a poster on another board argued that infectious disease was no big deal (and thus no reason to vaccinate), citing the example of bubonic plague only killing a third of the world’ population in the Middle Ages.

Hey, we’re still in existence as a species, so any old remedy must be fine.

Fat and Sick: “@Chris. I don’t have to go to West Africa to tell them about lifestyle changes.”

Aw, isn’t that sweet of you. You just want to share your knowledge to those of us who live where can safely drink the water out of a tap, get to have our waste products flushed away and actually have access to medical care. That is just so adorable!

You really don’t care about the situation in Gunea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. All you care about are those who actually managed to live long enough to suffer from old age. Because you just love to judge others.

Hypocrite.

Hey, we’re still in existence as a species, so any old remedy must be fine.

“Remedy”? No, it’s been jazzed up: they were protocols.

No one forces you to eat unhealthy food.

Geography (food deserts) and grinding poverty don’t much help, though.

Pimping people out on pills legally by doctors is ursome and now obamacare have created million more pharma-prostitutes.

Oh, well, if it’s ursome, I guess that is a grave concern.

Sounds like they were practicing Traditional Chaldean Medicine.
http://www.cosmovisions.com/Williams010303.htm

“they believed that the world was swarming with noxious spirits, who produced the various diseases to which man is liable, and might be swallowed with the food and drink which support life.”

sometimes divine images were brought into the sick-chamber, and written texts taken from holy books were placed on the walls and bound around the sick man’s members. If these failed, recourse was had to the influence of the mamit, which the evil powers were unable to resist. On a tablet, written in the Accadian language only, the Assyrian version being taken, however, was found the following:

1. Take a white cloth. In it place the mamit, 2. in the sick man’s right hand. 3. Take a black cloth, 4. wrap it around his left hand. 5. Then all the evil spirits (a long list of them is given) 6. and the sins which he has committed 7. shall quit their hold of him 8. and shall never return.

The symbolism of the black cloth in the left hand seems evident. The dying man repents of his former evil deeds, and he puts his trust in holiness, symbolized by the white cloth in his right hand.

@Viane:
Quack: “a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, or qualifications he or she does not possess; a charlatan” or “fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill”.

I say this because you’re using the word wrong.

I say this because you’re using the word wrong.

C’mon, that’s a perfectly cromulent usage.

Most religion regard the body as sacred

My body is a temple. However, it turns out that my mouth is an atheist.

@ Narad:

Yeah, I know but I have a feeling that our critic is not up to that level of depth yet.

How many pills does it take until you get to center of the …? How many prescriptions does it take until you get center of the …? How many antibiotics does it take until you get to the center of the ..FLU? The answer…..

Viane: “I love freedom of religion no matter thechoice. Most religion regard the body as sacred”

Homeopathy is not a religion. Now for the rest of your rant, I recognize the words as English, but the way they are arranged in makes no sense.

Fat and Sick: “How many antibiotics does it take until you get to the center of the ..FLU?”

Actually none, because it is a viral disease. Antibiotics don’t work for viruses.

Now this explains your nonsensical off topic rant: you have a severe reading comprehension problem and do not even understand what the above article says.

@F&S – what Chris said. None. I get the vaccine & I have very little to worry about.

Also, I take no prescriptions & am a very good health. But, I’m not an idiot & if something did happen, I would listen to the experts, not some anonymous internet moron.

@chris Your smart cookie. I don’t think you are a doctor but you know you don’t prescribe antibiotics to treat flus. So why the hell are MDs still doing it. CHRIS I think we have discovered some quackery paid for by insurance companies. Then again insurance pay for nothing.The premiums gets passed on to u CHRIS. That sounds like some SNAKE OIL to me, CHRIS! Shout out to Chris! CHRIS knows how licks it take to the center of the……

@F&S – maybe because the “sheeple” demand antibiotics because they don’t know any better?

Actually, there is a huge push by the MD community to “not” prescribe antibiotics unless absolutely necessary – because of the indulgences that were made in the past.

Do you know how much anti-biotics cost nowadays? They are cheaper than dirt – so profit certainly isn’t a factor.

Five will get you ten that “Viane” is a sockpuppet of “Fat and Sick”

Aw, poor hypocritical Fat and Sick. You are obviously too thin skinned to venture out on to the Internet.

A couple of suggestions:

If you are overweight and suffering from consequences of that weight, then get up and take a walk. Also watch your diet. Add a few veggies, and skip the sweets.

Take some classes on science and reading comprehension.

Grow a backbone. If you are going to posts nonsensical rants on a science blog, expect to get comments on what you say.

@Lawrence. The over prescription of antibiotics have led to the rise MRSA. Doctors need to stand up their sheepies and tell them no.

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