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Thomas Jefferson University goes full quack with a department of “integrative medicine”

Quackademic medicine takes a big leap forward at Thomas Jefferson University with its new Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences.

Ever since the beginning of this blog, I’ve been writing about a phenomenon that I like to call quackademic medicine. It’s a term describing the increasing infiltration of pseudoscience and quackery into academic medical centers and medical schools under the guise of what is called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or now more frequently “integrative medicine” or “integrative health.” Basically, from a science-based viewpoint, what “integrative medicine” really means is “integrating” pseudoscience and quackery like acupunture, reiki, naturopathy,and many other unscientific, pseudoscientific, or prescientific medical modalities, many based in ancient mysticism. Sadly, famous elite academic institutions as diverse as the Cleveland Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Michigan, Georgetown University, and more. It’s so bad that the University of California now does research studies with Deepak Chopra, and the University of California, Irvine receives $200 million from homeopathy-loving billionaires to set up a center dedicated to quackademic medicine. Still, although there have been institutes, divisions, and centers for “integrative medicine” in academia, there has never, to my knowledgem, been a department of integrative medicine; that is until now, thanks to Thomas Jefferson University:

Thomas Jefferson University has landed a $20 million grant to launch what it says will be the country’s first academic department of integrative medicine.

Integrative medicine is an approach that combines elements of conventional and alternative medicine to address the whole person – mind, body and spirit.

“This is a historic first,” said Dr. Daniel Monti, a Jefferson senior vice-president and director of its Marcus Institute of Integrative Health. “Nowhere to date has a medical school embraces integrative medicine and put in on par with other departments like oncology and neurology and surgery.”

Jefferson’s Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences will be part of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College. Monti will serve as chairman.

Notice how Thomas Jefferson University is combining integrative medicine and nutritional sciences. This is another common ploy by integrative medicine advocates. They co-opt science-based modalities, such as nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle issues as somehow being “integrative” rather than just medicine and then using them as cover for all the quackery that they are also “integrating.”

I must admit that I was a bit surprised that Thomas Jefferson University could be bought for so little. After all, UC-Irvine landed $200 million to sell out science. Thomas Jefferson University did it for a mere $20 million. But where did the $20 million come from? You guessed it! It came from another woo-loving billionaire. I guess he’s just not as generous a billionaire as Henry and Susan Samueli, the billionaire couple who donated so much to UC-Irvine. Who is that woo-loving billionaire? It’s Bernie Marcus:

The $20 million grant funding the launch of the academic department came from the Marcus Foundation that was established by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. It previously provided Jefferson with nearly $25 million for integrative medicine projects including the creation of the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, which has offices in Center City and Villanova.

Jefferson has had an alternative therapy program, led by Monti, as part of its clinical care offerings for about two decades.

“We’ve been building this for a long time,” Monti said. “We continue to develop strategies for new and innovative approaches, particularly in area where we do not have optimal satisfaction both in terms of treatment outcome and patient quality of life, that are incorporated into the traditional allopathic model.”

Here we go again. Advocates of integrating quackery into medicine always use this rationale: If there is medicine that doesn’t work well, if there are patients who are unsatisified, the answer is to “integrate” pseudoscience and quackery into medicine. It is, of course, a false dichotomy that I reject and have been both railing against and deconstructing for nearly two decades now. As Ben Goldacre likes to say:

So what will this new department offer? Let’s take a look:

The department features a curriculum that focuses on the clinical applications of integrative medicine with an emphasis on functional biochemistry, nutrient-based therapies, mind-body neuroscience, novel mechanisms of healing and emerging therapies.

And:

Initially, the university is planning to offer several certificate programs in Integrative Nutrition and Mind-Body Medicine, in addition to offering a master’s degree as well.

Physicians who have completed an ACGME-approved residency program can also apply for a one-year fellowship in Integrative and Nutritional Medicine, hosted by the university.

So the department will start by indoctrinating medical students into quackademic medicine but will also offer a fellowship in combining woo with medicine.

Not surprisingly, integrative medicine advocates are pumped about this development. John Weeks (whom I’ve discussed many times before) has been singing the praises of the integration of quackery into medicine “pioneered” by Thomas Jefferson University for a long time now. For instance, in 2017, Weeks was overjoyed when the integrative edicine program was elevated in status to the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health:

For academic health centers, designation as an institute is huge. “Integrative medicine is not a department,” Monti said. “We started as a program, then we became a center. Now, after we established the Villanova Clinic, we are multiple centers and we’re beginning the planning process for new clinical care sites. I saw that the institute model elevated Neurosciences at Jefferson and thought that this would be a way to develop greater recognition for Integrative Medicine. The Institute creates a unified infrastructure for our work.”

The notice from Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health underscored expectations that the change will “greatly expand the research, education and clinical care profile” of the integrative medicine program. The sponsoring academic health center went further, announcing pride in “Jefferson’s role as a national leader in the field and the organization’s strides in developing novel clinical therapies, wellness programs and cutting-edge, peer-reviewed research.”

At the time, the Marcus Center was co-opting what sounded like pretty conventional neuroscience research and portraying it as somehow “alternative” or “integrative”:

I asked Monti for an example. He highlighted work on Parkinson’s that ranges from basic sciences research, to laboratory exploration, to human clinical trials. The focus is n-acetyl cysteine. “It’s a great molecule that has anti-oxidative and probably anti-inflammatory value,” said Monti. ” Our protocol showed upregulation of the dopamine transporter, and some clinical positives—certainly an efficacy signal. We anticipate keeping adding to the literature until it becomes part of the treatment of Parkinson’s.”

As I said, there’s nothing whatsoever about this research that would distinguish it as being anything other than pretty conventional neuroscience research about Parkinson’s disease. What’s “alternative” or “integrative” about it? Absolutely nothing.

Interestingly, back then Weeks clearly admired Monti for promoting integrative medicine in what he considered a “conservative” environment:

Monti’s model has been site-specific. The integrative services mirror the conservative environment. Clinical services are provided through an MD-centric clinical model. No chiropractors, no naturopathic doctors – though there are licensed acupuncturists. The research impetus is not only significant, it speaks the basic science, high tech (PET-MRI) language of Jefferson’s conventional medical community. The planned expansion of clinics can support the basic business model of a volume-based context, drawing people into integrative primary care serves as a marketing strategy for the sponsoring organization’s high end procedures. The appearance of Bernie Marcus and his $14 million in 2015 certainly didn’t hurt.

When I Weeks discussion, I couldn’t help but think that this wasn’t the first time I had discussed quackademic medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. True, it was seven and a half years ago, but I have taken note of quackery at Thomas Jefferson University before. This realization made me wonder: What’s changed since 2011? So I took a look.

First, off, I can’t help but note that the Marcus Institute offers functional medicine. At this point, I shouldn’t have to explain why functional medicine is quackery, having written about it so many times, but I will give the CliffsNotes version. It’s a make-it-up-as-you-go-along “specialty” that relies on massive overtesting and overtreatment. It also touts “integrative micronutrient therapies.” I’m referring to intravenous infusions of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This is, of course, also quackery. I mean, get a load of what Thomas Jefferson University is selling:

Discover how our targeted treatments can benefit your body if you have become nutrient-depleted from chronic illness, gastrointestinal problems, poor diet and a variety of other health issues.

  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): Infused at pharmacologic doses as an adjunctive agent for supportive cancer care. This protocol is given in collaboration with your primary oncological physician. Our team has published groundbreaking research on this therapy.
  • Restorative Micronutrient Mix: Includes a range of vital nutrients infused at physiological doses to replenish and restore; and can be helpful for patients who have become nutrient-depleted from chronic illness, gastrointestinal problems or poor diet. The precise blend is customized to the individual patient based on clinical presentation and laboratory values.
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC): When infused at moderately high doses, this is a powerful antioxidant with potential to treat a variety of health issues. We are currently studying the impact of administering this nutrient to patients with Parkinson’s Disease and neurocognitive/neurodegenerative problems, and our initial results are highly encouraging.
  • Migraine Mix: A magnesium-based infusion for patients with chronic or intense headaches.

We’ve observed patients with malabsorption issues benefit more from these therapies than traditional pill-formed supplements. As we continue our research, the potential power of nutrient infusions grows every day. Join us.

Let’s see. No science? Check. Anecdotal evidence only? Check. Bogus claims of “personalization”? Check. Taking advantage of cancer patients to sell them snake oil.

Check:

It’s downright unethical and dishonest to claim that the “micronutrient” and “integrative medicine” woo that this patient was given in addition to her conventional cancer therapy will prolong her life.

Then, of course, there are more anecdotes, this time with the oft-quacked recommendation to eliminate dairy and start taking probiotics:

None of this is cheap, either. For instance, initial evaluations cost $450 and followup appointments cost $250. Then, of course, there’s the “executive brain health program,” in which a bunch of screening tests not shown to do any good are offered, along with a PET-MRI scan, which also has no good evidence supporting it as a screening test for neurological disorders. The cost? The basic program is a mere $2,500, but if you want the full program with the PET-MRI scan, you’ll pay a lot more, namely $$6,500. None of it’s covered by insurance:

Executive Brain Health is a fee-for-service program not covered by insurance. However, laboratory blood tests will be billed to your insurance and are subject to the terms of your policy. The cost of these is not reflected in the program fee. No other elements of the program are billable to insurers.

Yep, cash on the barrelhead. That’s what Thomas Jefferson University wants. That’s one reason why “integrative medicine” is such a thing among academic medical centers. I wish that it were the only reason, as greed and money are far more easy to deal with than ideology. Unfortunately, ideology is what we’re dealing with when it comes to “integrative medicine.” Indeed, as I’ve pointed out before, a lot of these integrative medicine centers don’t even make much money for the hospital and are more the product of rich donors than a genuine interest on the part of faculty.

Sadly, though, Thomas Jefferson University has started the process of doing what advocates of quackademic medicine have long sought to do. It’s created a full-fledged department of integrative medicine, co-equal to departments of real medical specialties, like surgery, medicine, pediatrics, etc. I fear that it won’t be long before other medical schools and academic medical centers follow suit and elevate their divisions, centers, and institutes of integrative medicine to full departments. I’m only surprised that UC-Irvine didn’t do it first, although it did do more damage simply because the Samuelis donated ten times the amount of money.

Also, naturopaths are coming to Thomas Jefferson University. I predict that it’s only a matter of time. Once you let some quackery in, it becomes increasingly difficult to justify not letting it all in.

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]

56 replies on “Thomas Jefferson University goes full quack with a department of “integrative medicine””

I just finished reading a NY Times piece on how the Koch brohers killed transit legislation in Nashville by spreading propaganda with “grass roots organizing” (they went door to door and told people with poor thinking skills a pack of libertarian lies) and now THIS! A world of tooth fairy politics based on tooth fairy science, funded by crackpot billionaires–I think I’m glad I’m old.

Biochemistry that works? I am not a biochemist but my first thought was along the lines of if it is non-functional does that mean it’s dead?

I think it’s a matter of taking two words that mean something real and combining them to create something that sounds scientific yet isn’t sound science.

Orac writes,

Unfortunately, ideology is what we’re dealing with when it comes to “integrative medicine.”

MJD says,

The allure of “Integrative medicine” is sometimes better understood using a specific example. I’m currently in the research phase of a biography wherein the individual had several adverse life-events including a child disappearance (2-year old boy never found) and military induced cancer at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Law enforcement, the military, and the U.S. Government have failed her. Science-based medicine keeps the cancer from growing out of control but side effects have adversely affected her quality of life. Spirituality and integrative medicine have allowed her to apply free-will to bring a sense of hope, In an imperfect world, sometimes hope is the best medicine.

“Spirituality and integrative medicine have allowed her to apply free-will to bring a sense of hope, In an imperfect world, sometimes hope is the best medicine.”

I’d be more than wary of including “spiritual guidance” into one of the missions of medicine. A doctor is no priest, no shaman, no guru.

F68.10 writes,

A doctor is no priest, no shaman, no guru.

MJD says,

Here’s an interesting article titled, “The 21st century GP: physician and priest?”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2151827/

Scientism is the belief that science and its method of skeptical inquiry is the most reliable path to the truth. … Religion offers a system of values, right and wrong, good and evil, a code of morality, and that is why even many scientists choose a religious belief to guide their lives.

I recently completed the book titled, “Missionary Sheroes of the 19th to 21st Centuries” wherein medical science and religion work together.

https://novapublishers.com/shop/missionary-sheroes-of-the-19th-to-21st-centuries/

@ Orac’s minions,

Who wants a signed book (e.g., MJD) free of charge?

Well, the shamanic instinct is indeed why many doctors overstep boundaries, why many doctors indeed chose the path of medicine, and one which EBM and SBM wishes to outgrow. To me, personally, that’s one of the reasons I distrust doctors and would appreciate a loosening of their coercive power.

“Scientism is the belief that science and its method of skeptical inquiry is the most reliable path to the truth. … Religion offers a system of values, right and wrong, good and evil, a code of morality, and that is why even many scientists choose a religious belief to guide their lives.”

So many mischaracterizations. Let’s point out this one: science can indeed be an authority on moral issues. Sam Harris makes an interesting point out of this.

https://www.ted.com/talks/sam_harris_science_can_show_what_s_right

However, to delegate such a burden onto doctors and constraint on unsuspecting patients is more than borderline manipulative and opens new avenues for abuses of pastoral power. Foucault would be proud to have been so clairvoyant, and it would not be a good sign at all.

@ Orac’s minions,

Who wants a signed book (e.g., MJD) free of charge?

“Waiter, there’s a yawn in my ear.”

@F68.10:

That’s an interesting perspective on shamanism. I have, uh, an interest in the subject and I said at one point that shamans are the OG psychiatrists. (Quite literally if you think about the word.) And they can definitely serve that function in terms of “healing”; they’re not going to heal your cancer, but there’s other stuff they can do.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the TV show Northern Exposure; it’s one of my all-time favorites. The premise is that a young doctor from NYC got his medical school paid for by the State of Alaska in return for a certain number of years spent practicing in Alaska. He was supposed to go to Anchorage, but got sent to a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere (it’s a lot like where I grew up and currently live.)

There’s a medicine man character in the show, and in an episode where he himself has a serious health problem, he’s too stubborn to go to the doctor in the city. Joel (the young doctor) spends time with him, including in the sauna (or schwitz), and the medicine man talks about what he does, and says that it’s basically a mix of theater and spiritual stuff and maybe he gives people a medicinal herb or something to make them feel like they have something concrete. But also he’ll send them to a doctor if he needs to. It’s an important function for his people though, in terms of traditions.

Anyway, he felt like if he himself had to go to the doctor in Anchorage, it would undermine his own sort of “authority,” but he finally gets talked into going.

Now, a medicine man is actually not quite the same as a shaman, but I won’t get too far into that right now. I’m mainly familiar with circumpolar shamanism myself.

“Are you going to get a conch shell?”

I just love Hamilton Morris. At least he won’t the one bullshitting you with unfounded health claims.

@Narad: haha. A conch shell does feature in a weird story of mine which I don’t think I’ve ever told you. (It also involves a Stonehenge replica, pomegranate seeds, and the Emerald Tablet of Hermes.

We also had one when I lived in a big house in Portland, used for announcing dinner. There were also a couple shofars, but I was never a brass player and I couldn’t get a noise out of them.

I actually wrote a post on Amanita muscaria and Jordan Peterson that got some traction; I’ve needed to update the blog for ages. I have an idea for a post that’s pretty ambitious and I just haven’t quite been able to do it yet due to various factors. (I was sick all last week, which is a minor one.

There’s a medicine man character in the show

I think JP knows that I was also a big fan of Northern Exposure (Men in Trees wasn’t bad, either; I was watching it the last time I can actually remember calmly folding towels), but I’m now reminded of the acupuncturist in Eli Stone.

@Narad:

I actually didn’t know that you liked that show. Eli Stone sounds like a pretty fun show. What’s the one you’re watching now? Supernatural?

I just started season 14. I really don’t know how much more I can take. At least baseball will be back pretty soon.

military induced cancer
Joining the Marines causes cancer? Is this limited to the US marines or should potential Royal Marine recruit be cautious too?

Joining the Marines causes cancer?

I presume that MJD was referring to the “Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune” (perhaps I know too many actual people who have served, but this strikes me as a needless combination of pomposity and stupidity) water crisis.

As I said, there’s nothing whatsoever about this research that would distinguish it as being anything other than pretty conventional neuroscience research about Parkinson’s disease. What’s “alternative” or “integrative” about it? Absolutely nothing.

Hmm. Maybe this is a way to find funding for a useful center. Claim you’re integrative, but only do any actual work on the science based part. Just keep around a PR guy who knows all the woo words. Not like you actually need to spend any effort on homeopathy in order to play at doing homeopathy –just do real work in place of it. An Atheist can say “Merry Christmas” and totally mean it while not actually doing anything religious on that holiday at all. After 9/11, plenty of unlikely labs made proposals to DARPA…

Where are the physicians there (or at any of these medical schools) who know this is a scam? Are they being shruggies, have they simply given up, or is the structure of academic medicine there such that they’ll get sanctioned for speaking out–either by higher ranking faculty or by high up financial people who’d come down hard on anyone threatening a moneymaker. Feels like a lot of institutions are yielding with little to no protest.

This idea of varying the mix of quack integrative snake oil alongside proven medical treatments seems like a probing to see: (1) what flies best with patients and (2) what flies best with payers.

I don’t know. I recently learned that “integrative oncology” is coming to my institution. It’s a small incursion (the first one always is), with acupuncture, massage, “mindfulness,” and reiki, but the reaction to my trying to educate my fellow physicians about this has been profoundly depressing, ranging from either “shruggie” reaction (“I know it’s bullshit, but what are you going to do? People want it.”) to offense at my calling such modalities unscientific quackery. I tell them I don’t mind massage, as long as it’s a patient support measure, or mindfulness (although I consider the evidence for it to be flawed and plagued by no good definition of what mindfulness even is), but I have a real problem with acupuncture and, even more so, with reiki. They seem shocked when I liken reiki to faith healing and ask if we’re going to hire faith healers as well, but apparently not shocked enough to join me.

If an opportunity comes for me to speak at the clinical leadership council I’m going to take it, but I don’t expect much. I know Steve Novella has been battling this stuff at Yale for decades; it’s really hard.

“I just finished reading a NY Times piece on how the Koch brohers killed transit legislation in Nashville”

This wins the RI Non-Sequitur Award for 2019.

*unless I missed something and TJU’s new department has an exclusive deal with the Kochs to offer only Quilted Northern toilet paper in department bathrooms.

Speaking from experience, there are a great many chronic diseases that are nutritional in origin. Diabetes, atherosclerosis, anemia, allergies and many many more are related to nutrition and diet. These diseases comprise a large contribution of the diseases being treated, yet many doctors do not have sufficient knowledge or training on diet and nutrition. They prescribe medicine that treats the symptoms without getting to the root of the problem. Don’t you think its time that medicine focus on curing these diseases instead of keeping sick populations constantly shilling out money for prescriptions for the rest of their lives? Maybe people are finally getting fed up and demanding other solutions by visiting integrative medicine doctors instead of modern day drug dealers. Until traditional medicine addresses the increasing number of chronic diseases instead of treating the symptoms integrative medicine will gain a larger and larger base.

“Don’t you think its time that medicine focus on curing these diseases instead of keeping sick populations constantly shilling out money for prescriptions for the rest of their lives?”

Congratulations. You discovered that medicine can only do so much. Doesn’t mean that unscientific approaches can do any better.

“Diabetes, atherosclerosis, anemia, allergies and many many more are related to nutrition and diet. ”

Type 1 diabetes is not caused by diet. Many allergies are unrelated to diet. Even food allergies are not caused by an improper diet. And which type of anemia do you mean? There are lots. Most of them are not food related.

A healthy diet is important. That’s why doctors refer people to dietitians.

You could add that, even with atherosclerosis, diet is not the entire answer. Other risk factors include family history, smoking, lack of exercise and high blood pressure, to name a few. The role of diet even now is uncertain. Fifty years ago we were told to avoid dietary cholesterol (eggs etc). Now, eggs are fine.
I think it still comes down to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”

To the person who questioned the relevance of the Koch anti-mass transit propaganda campaign, I give you the bigot Kyle Spesard. It is easy for that person to fell all righteous because they have numerous false beliefs about what mainstream medicine is. You only can correct these ridiculous and massively false accusations (e.g. mainstream doctors are relentless pill-pushers) so many times before one’s brain starts to go numb. No, in fact, the Koch astroturf campaign is very similar to the bigoted doctor-hatred integrative medicine movement; quite relevant actually.

These diseases comprise a large contribution of the diseases being treated, yet many doctors do not have sufficient knowledge or training on diet and nutrition. They prescribe medicine that treats the symptoms without getting to the root of the problem.

Here we go. That is false. The problem is is that patients don’t often follow medical advice. It would be interesting to tease out if there are any differences in diet adherence between those given advice by woo-slingers as opposed to physicians but that nonsense about functional medicine types addressing “root causes” but physicians don’t is a bunch of bollocks.

I agree, the problem with many lifestyle related diseases is mostly the patient. In the month I spent with the doctor in my hometown as a Famulus (= it is like an internship german med students have to do), she told people to eat healthier, watch less tv and do more sports, stop smoking and drinking alcohol until she was blue in the face. Still, if a patient refuses to give up meat 3 times a day all she can do is adjust his insulin so his Hba1c will be less catastrophic. It doesn’t mean she is unaware lifestyle changes would be beneficial.

Kyle, you really need to rise above this America-centric view of the world. In the UK drug prescriptions cost £8.40ish per medication per occasion (unless you are in a specific category that gets it for free). Doesn’t matter how much that same medicine would cost to buy direct. £8, £80 Or £800. It costs £8.40 at the pharmacy. The rest of that cost is shouldered by the NHS.

It’s not in the interests of the NHS to keep people shelling out for drugs. If a magic diet could really cure all ills you can bet your arse the NHS would be shouting it from the rooftops. If the NHS was getting massive kickbacks from Big Pharma for prescribing drugs then can be damn sure we’d have more hospitals and shorter waiting lists.

I can add that in Finland, KELA (one that dispenses money for drugs) positively tries to save money. They do not pay every drug, for sure.

Speaking from experience, there are a great many chronic diseases that are nutritional in origin. Diabetes, atherosclerosis, anemia, allergies and many many more are related to nutrition and diet.

It’s certainly unfortunate that you suffered from all these conditions. What sort of diet did you adopt to resolve this miasma?

Oh, dear. I’ve always thought highly of Jeff. They are, I believe, the top hospital in the city for stroke.The university I work for has a long standing, informal relationship with TJU (faculty and administrators seem to move back and forth between the two). I hope this isn’t catching. Our PT folks already seem a bit susceptible. So very sad.

A friend of my developed migraines in her twenties and, ended up at some integrative clinic at Jefferson.I really felt as if they strung her along, made her feel that they were going to be able to cure her migraines and that her life would go back to the way it was before. They put her through all sorts of nonsense for months and, in the end, they told her to remember to eat breakfast and handed her a prescription for migraine meds.

In fairness, they did do all the right things but, they also wasted a lot of time doing a whole bunch of things that weren’t likely to do any good. I know acupuncture was involved.

Do these people know that a PET scan involves pumping you full of radioactive sugar? They have to use a shielded syringe!

Do you yourself know that cancer diagnosis helps to cure cancer ? Shielding is done, because staff does this many times a day, patient get dose only once. Besides, MRI is more common.

I know a PET scan is used for cancer diagnosis, I had one to see where my colon cancer had spread. But it is not a test to do as a routine part of functional medicine.

Having had a family member go through cancer, I have a particular loathing for the quacks who offer shite like micronutrient infusions. In between all the vomiting and hair loss and neutropenia and radiation burns and infusion ports and fingernails falling off they have to get an IV which is known not to do anything? Fark you and your little dog too.

A message to F68.10; I was unable to reply where it was more appropriate.

I don’t know if I’ve read you before recently (changed nick?), but I really like the direction your recent comments have taken. There is a common stereotype/false narrative that rationality and science are the tools of the establishment and/or arbitrary power. But you have in the last short while mentioned numerous ways in which rationality and science are the corrective for and defence from arbitrary power.

I very rarely post simply to praise someone, so enjoy it while you can. Sooner or later I will give sharp criticism to something you say. And the evidence is that you understand the difference between criticizing and vituperating. Yay.

Reason is egalitarian and trans-cultural. Attacks on science and rationality are defences of arbitrary privilege. Say it loud and proud, comrades! Reality has a left-wing, anti-racist bias.

I agree with your sentiments about science and rationality, but, unless this is satire…

I very rarely post simply to praise someone, so enjoy it while you can

Do you think anyone really cares whether or not their post will earn your praise?

Sooner or later I will give sharp criticism to something you say

That is pre-ordained is it? This flawed human being is going to misstep one of these days and you’ll be waiting with a knife ready to pounce?

“Do you think anyone really cares whether or not their post will earn your praise?” No, however, the vast majority of Internet comments are empty praise or vituperation, and I was noting that I don’t do this. I was trying to send the message that my praise is not empty, not agreement for its own sake.

“That is pre-ordained is it?” No, not for most comments on the Internet. The majority of comments are empty praise and vituperation; the majority of people don’t know the difference between disagreement and dislike. You go along with your tribe, or not, that is the general run of the Internet. The fact that RI and SBM are not like this is the reason these comment sections are worth a shit, unlike most comment sections.

Eh. It may not last too long. Word on the street is that Jeff’s spending spree (gobbling up universities and hospitals left and right) is bound to lead to some serious hemorrhaging, perhaps sooner rather than later. And if real, EBM-focused clinical/academic staff get miffed that they’re now rubbing shoulders with quacks, maybe that will lead to a big brain drain, furthering the decline.

Over the many years this has been going on has there ever been an exodus of medical staff from an institution that has elected to become a home to quackery?

“Maybe people are finally getting fed up and demanding other solutions by visiting integrative medicine doctors instead of modern day drug dealers.”

“Integrative medicine doctors” ARE modern day drug dealers (ever noticed how many of them have their own website “stores” to sell supplement pills, serve as consultants for supplement companies or actually own them (legit MDs do not sell pills out of their offices or on websites?). For example, Mark Hyman, guru of Functional Medicine* has his own website store selling detox pills and other glop.

Another difference is that “integrative” drugs mostly don’t work.

They claim that their supplement pills and potions get to the root causes of diseases, but their root causes are (as Nero Wolfe would say) flummery.

Still, this is an attractive sell for people who want answers that are easier than diet, exercise, maintenance meds and close clinical followup. And that’s what TJU is counting on.

*We all deserve “a life of vitality”, according to Doc Hyman. That’s so much more inspirational than the humdrum evidence-based care you get from your local allopathic M.D.
**p.s. Koch Bros. are BAD!

So much hand wringing here.

Folks here are disconnected from reality on at least some things claimed by functional medicine. e.g. The effect of IV vitamin C in large doses on particular schedules for various problems. Acute viral disease, toxins, and more difficult, as an added cancer adjunct. Your loud errors there probably totally undercut your credibility on areas that you might have more realistic doubts. Yes, I know IV vitamin C advocates don’t have as much documentation as you demand, but they do have more evidence than you who have NONE in the treatment zone, and yet rail so mightly against the heavens.

What used to be Jefferson and sold itself for a mere 2 mill to Sidney Kimmel showing the institution that trained me was indeed a whore willing to debase itself for any form of lucre, now with a grant 10 times that amount, no wonder at all but just part of the natural progression of progressive normalization of rejection of ethics and morality.

Orac, I looked around to see what is your background. Are you pharma, a physician, or maybe a scientist? There is research being produced which is demonstrating that many diseases are related to underlying inflammatory process in the body. Research on the microbiome is impressive and could perhaps revolutionize medicine, don’t you think? If in fact treating the underlying cause of a chronic illness can halt the progression of disease or reverse it then it is worth a try if the patient is committed to the effort.

I used to get horrible headaches and migraines then a neurologist after evaluating me offered 2 options: either the supplement Riboflavin 400mg daily or a prescribed migraine medicine to use as needed. I opted for the daily supplement and within a month no more headaches. My quality of life is a benefit that I would have sacrificed if I chose the latter. I see how many drugs people take on a daily basis bc it is what I do for a living. Patients are on drugs for their diagnosis, symptoms and, if there are any side effects from the prescribed drugs, they are then prescribed more drugs.

Jeff does a lot of research especially in the area of Cancer. More and more people are demanding integrative approaches to their healthcare.
Our current conventional medical delivery model works for acute illness, but it is not working for chronic conditions. Nutrition science does have a place in our healthcare and it should be considered part of the plan. The right food is medicine too!

If in fact treating the underlying cause of a chronic illness can halt the progression of disease or reverse it then it is worth a try if the patient is committed to the effort.

If [insert value of ‘it’] doesn’t work, it’s the patient’s fault.

And if you couldn’t figure out what Orac does despite the big link at the top of the page, your research skills are rather lacking.

“Orac, I looked around to see what is your background. Are you pharma, a physician, or maybe a scientist?”

Orac’s identity is the worse kept secret on teh internets. And such a bad secret that there is even a menu item at the top of the page titled “Who is Orac?”

“Nutrition science does have a place in our healthcare and it should be considered part of the plan.”

That is why there are registered dieticians at most major health organizations. Some more info:

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