Angelina Jolie and opportunist quacks: a Hall of Shame

The following individuals have all written misleading, opportunist pieces on Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo a double mastectomy. They have used her story as an opportunity to promote their own quackery.

It didn’t take long, did it?

Mike Adams

The Health Danger published a vile article entitled Angelina Jolie inspires women to maim themselves by celebrating medically perverted double mastectomies. This piece was advertising the distinctly dubious New Cancer Solutions CD set and New Cancer Solutions Healing Summit.

This is discussed in more detail by Orac, here.

EDIT 15/05/13 21:10 Adams also published How Angelina Jolie was duped by cancer doctors into self mutilation for breast cancer she never had, also promoting the New Cancer Solutions summit.

Robert O Young

“Dr” Young’s despicable yet ludicrous blogpost was entitled Acids From Lifestyle and Dietary Choice Causes Breast Cancer NOT the BRCA1 GENE. This was followed by a series of Facebook updates and tweets, claiming that Angelina’s decision was “not only sad but unnecessary!” He followed this up with testimonials from his breast cancer patients.

Young is not a doctor and has previously been charged with attempting to practise medicine without a license. He is perhaps best known for claiming to have cured Kim Tinkham of breast cancer. Kim rejected conventional treatment in favour of Young’s “alkalarian” quackery. When it became clear that she was dying, Young shamelessly implied that this was because “she had not been living an alkaline diet“.

Dr Lissa Rankin

Dr Rankin wrote Was Angelina Jolie “Medically Hexed?”. This quoted the questionable Andrew Weil, and exaggerated nocebo effects to a nauseating degree, implying that in undergoing genetic testing, Jolie had been “hexed”. Rankin argued that in receiving a negative diagnosis, the likelihood of a negative health outcome becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The main purpose of the article was almost certainly to promote Rankin’s book, Mind over Medicine, according to which, patients should “make their own Diagnosis and write The Prescription for themselves”.

UPDATE 27/06/13 What Doctors Don’t Tell You

The July issue contains an article on What they didn’t tell Angelina. According to the cover (here), this will discuss “when ‘bad’ genes don’t lead to breast cancer (and what does)”. Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised. It is entirely typical of WDDTY to print misleading, ignorant, even offensive articles on health.

Further reading on WDDTY is listed here, should you have the stomach for it.


If you come across any more unscrupulous quacks seeking to profit from Jolie’s plight, please get in touch and I will update this post.

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9 responses to “Angelina Jolie and opportunist quacks: a Hall of Shame

  1. that should be ‘Health Ranger’ not ‘Health Danger’

  2. palfreyman1414

    Good stuff. I am so glad people like you are exposing these people. They’re as bad, in my eyes as spiritualist mediums and the rest of woo. A little compassion, guys, instead of disingenuous money making in the guise of care?

  3. Pingback: Weekend Reading | Science-Based Pharmacy

  4. Thank you for compiling these opportunists.

  5. I’m a big fan of TED talks, but have come across Lissa Rankin on there twice now. What is this? Surely this is up there with Chopra and co? What is going on?????

  6. Pingback: WDDTY: My Master List | Josephine Jones

  7. I get so angry about WDDTY and its quacks. Sometimes I’m near tears with their wickedness.
    I am in treatment for a tumour in UK via the NHS. So far the conventional procedures have been good, prompt, logical & well explained. They look very promising. I believe/hope it will be OK. Surgeons are supplemented by very caring Macmillan specialist nurse-advisors, the process could not be bettered.
    I feel confident that my outcome will be the best possible and I cannot express what I would like to to do to these horrible, selve-serving, money-grubbing filth! I believe they prey on people at the time of their greatest need, with little to offer beyond what real medicine can do while making money from distress.

    How dare they impute such bad motives on the fully-trained, experienced practitioners of real medicine. Yes, lots of the our understanding of the practice of medicine has to be continuously tested & challenged. But it must be done with properly supervised science such as double-blind tests (a discipline that no homeopath would dare risking). We may find that what parts of we’ve believed can be improved but that’s science. It mustn’t lead to the trowing out of the baby with the bathwater.

  8. TED talks can be wonderful and inspiring. Or they can be a platform for nonsense and pseudoscience. Not a lot of “editorial control” in the TED organisation I think. I watched one horror on the placebo effect that ended in a revivalist request to all stand up and hold hands and think beautiful thoughts.

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