The controversial and misleading alternative health magazine What Doctors Don’t Tell You is supported by some of the world’s leading pioneers in nutritional, environmental and alternative medicine. Each is an authority in his or her field and many have broken new ground and inspired new practices in medicine.
That’s what they tell you.
What What Doctors Don’t Tell You Doctors Don’t Tell You
Of those who can be found on the GMC List of Registered Medical Practitioners, one has been issued with a warning, one has relinquished his registration, and all of them advocate dubious interventions, some of which have been shown to do more harm than good.
Dr John Mansfield
Mansfield is one of Britain’s leading pioneers in allergy, food sensitivities and clinical ecology and founded the Burghwood clinic. He has authored numerous papers on allergies and books on migraine, asthma and arthritis.
Treatments available at the Burghwood clinic include intravenous chelation therapy for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease, and intravenous infusions of a variety of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients.
A systematic review of chelation therapy for coronary heart disease found an almost total lack of convincing evidence for efficacy and concluded that given the potential of chelation therapy to cause severe adverse effects, this treatment should now be considered obsolete.
Dr Damien Downing
Downing is the current president of the British Society for Ecological Medicine, co-founder and editor of the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, and medical director of the Alliance for Natural Health. His practice specialises in allergy, environment and nutrition.
Downing believes that toxins in rubbish dumps, incinerators, mobile phone masts, microwaves and vaccines are responsible for autism and many cancers. When a Daily Mail journalist posing as a mother of an autistic child visited his practice, he claimed that chelation therapy would remove the unnamed toxins, but that at least a year of treatment would be necessary.
According to his Yes to Life profile, Downing believes that lack of vitamin D from sunlight is responsible for the “missing link in many current epidemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer” and that very high doses of vitamin D can “persuade cancer cells back to normality”. Downing recommends questionable treatments such as intravenous vitamin C to “hit cancer cells” and suggests mushroom extracts can make chemotherapy more effective. He has also worked with Dr Nicola Hembry on the MammoVision™ thermal imaging breast screening device.
A Canadian review of the evidence on thermography noted that it is worse than mammography in terms of sensitivity, specificity, and predictive value – it gives more false positives, leading to unnecessary worry and investigations, yet it misses cancer. Because such tests are worse than useless, clinics in Canada have been ordered to stop offering them.
Dr Melvyn Werbach
According to WDDTY, Werbach trained as a psychiatrist and is an expert in nutritional and botanical influences on illness and mental illness. He has held a faculty appointment at the UCLA School of Medicine and served as president of the Biofeedback Society as California in 1977.
His book Healing Through Nutrition claims to provide the nutritional roots and cures for 50 common illnesses, from the common cold to cancer. Werbach’s other titles include Nutritional Influences on Illness, Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness, Botanical Influences on Illness and Healing with Food.
Dr Patrick Kingsley
According to WDDTY, Kingsley is a retired GP who specialised in ‘treating the incurables’, especially those with cancer and multiple sclerosis. He is no longer registered with the GMC but he persists in using the title ‘Dr’ and continues to recommend dubious treatments to the vulnerable and desperately ill. Such treatments include intravenous vitamin C and intravenous hydrogen peroxide ‘oxygen therapy’.
According to the website advertising his book, The New Medicine, Kingsley claims to have treated more than 3000 ‘end stage’ cancer patients and lost very few. Kingsley was a speaker at the controversial Totnes Cancer Conference last November
Dr Harald Gaier
According to What Doctors Don’t Tell You, Gaier is arguably the UK’s most knowledgeable practitioner of the major alternative medical disciplines and is registered in the UK as an osteopath, homeopath, acupuncturist, naturopath and medical herbalist and was on the Research Committee of the Prince of Wales’ Foundation for Integrated Health as a naturopathic physician.
He is not registered as a doctor with the GMC.
Gaier’s website advertises “scientifically proven alternative medicine, paired with orthodox diagnostic tests”. However, the tests mentioned on his site are neither scientifically proven nor orthodox.
UPDATE 11/06/14 The Advertising Standards Authority have upheld a complaint regarding claims on Gaier’s website and his use of the term “Dr”. Although he has been instructed to remove the offending claims from his website, he has not yet done so.
Dr Jonathan Wright
Wright is medical director of Tahoma Clinic and board member of the American Preventive Medical Association and the International College of Advanced Longevity Medicine. He has published eleven books including the titles Dr Wright’s Book of Nutritional Therapy and Dr Wright’s Guide to Healing with Nutrition.
In 1985, Wright co-founded the American Quack Association as a forum for practitioners whose ideas are not accepted by mainstream medicine (which stopped operation in 1989). From 1993 to 1998 Wright also helped lead the National Health Federation, “a group whose primary goal is to abolish government regulation of health-care activities.”
In 1991, the pharmacy next to Wright’s clinic (selling products from a laboratory co-owned by Wright) was raided by the FDA for selling L-tryptophan, a supplement that had recently been banned from marketing after contaminated supplies were associated with eosinophilia–myalgia syndrome. In May 1992, FDA agents entered by knocking down the door after employees refused to open it. Wright and his supporters claim that the search party entered with guns drawn and terrorised the clinic staff. Federal officials stated that a gun was drawn because the officers suspected that those inside might be hostile, but the gun was never pointed at anyone and was reholstered as soon as the area was deemed safe. Wright later sold videotapes of the events, calling it the “Vitamin B-Bust”. In August of the same year, Wright was fined $850 for court costs and fees, and ordered to destroy his supply of L-tryptophan. A grand jury declined to criminally prosecute him for violating FDA drug laws.
Dr Jean Monro
Monro is medical director of the Breakspear Hospital and according to WDDTY, is an internationally recognised specialist in environmental medicine, including such conditions as chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease and multiple chemical sensitivity.
What they don’t tell you is that she was given a warning by the GMC for misconduct after recommending chelation therapy for lead poisoning. She did not measure the patient’s blood lead concentration, refer him to a specialist in toxicology or lead poisoning or seek the advice of the National Poisons Information Service. Nor did she explain that the DMSA challenge test alone has no demonstrated benefit in the diagnosis of lead toxicity compared with analysis of blood lead concentration or that the challenge test had been performed using a substantially greater dose of DMSA than was either necessary or appropriate. In addition, she did not advise on the possible complications from chelation therapy. Her recommendation that the patient should embark on a programme of chelation therapy was made despite a provoked urine sample alone not being an appropriate test upon which to base a diagnosis of lead poisoning or toxicity; made despite her not having specialist training or expertise in clinical toxicology or in the investigation and treatment of lead poisoning; based on inadequate evidence; and potentially harmful to the patient.
Dr Michel Odent
Michel Odent is a retired French trained surgeon and obstetrician, pioneer of the natural birth movement and founder of the Primal Health Research Centre.
Odent has suggested that the father’s presence at the birth of a child can lead to the mother needing a caesarean delivery, to marriage break-ups and to mental illness. He has also suggested that the pain of childbirth is necessary for parent-child bonding. These opinions are not supported by evidence.
His research interests include the nonspecific long-term effects of early multiple vaccinations. He has also linked the pertussis vaccine to development of asthma. Notably, the second group of his study were all children from a British Steiner school, sharing the same anthroposophic lifestyle. A randomised controlled trial and a large cohort study both disagreed with Odent’s findings.
According to his book, Primal Health, Michel Odent believes the period between conception and a child’s first birthday is critical to life-long health and that our ability to withstand what he calls ‘diseases of civilization’ such as hypertension, cancer, alcoholism, AIDS, allergies and viral diseases, can all be traced back to society’s ignorance of the vital importance of the primal period.
The final four
None of the remaining panellists are medically qualified, although one of them occasionally enjoys the use of the title ‘Dr’ thanks to her decidedly unorthodox PhD.
Balaskas named and inspired the Active Birth Movement, a campaign which she believes challenges the whole obstetric view of birth in Western Society. The idea is that women should not be passive patients, but active birthgivers and women without obvious medical complications should be able to give birth in as natural a way as possible without the use of drugs or anaesthetics.
Craig Sams is the co-founder of Whole Earth Foods, founder and President of Green & Blacks Organic Chocolate, executive chairman of Carbon Gold Ltd, and trustee of the Slow Food Trust UK. What Doctors Don’t Tell You tell us he is also chair of the Soil Association but the Soil Association say he is one of their Certification Board.
When Green & Blacks was sold to Cadbury Schweppes in 2005 (and when Cadbury’s was sold to Kraft Foods in 2010), Sams stayed on in the role of President.
In 2007, Sams suggested that Ben Goldacre may need his “head examined” because he had criticised and ridiculed Gillian McKeith and had failed to tackle problems with the pharmaceutical industry. Goldacre pointed out that it was in the interests of Cadbury and Sams to promote and rebrand confectionery and that Cadbury had distributed a teaching pack which claimed things like “chocolate is a wholesome food that tastes really good… [it] gives you energy and important nutrients that your body needs to work properly.”
According to an article in this month’s WDDTY, chocolate could lower risk of death due to heart disease, keeps arteries healthy, could help keep you slim, is a natural sunscreen, can quiet a cough and could help prevent diabetes.
Annemarie Colbin, PhD
Colbin is the founder and CEO of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City.
She obtained her PhD in from the Union Institute and University. Her dissertation was entitled Wholistic Nutrition: From Biochemisty to Chaos, Complexity, and Quantum Physics – applying some concepts from contemporary science to a new understanding of how food affects health.
Colbin believes there is a theoretical framework that legitimises Wholistic Nutrition which rests on biochemistry as well as on systems theory, chaos theory, complexity, and quantum physics. See here for more of that drivel, along with information on how to purchase the whole dissertation.
Bunday is founder of the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group (HACSG) who claim to be the first organisation to draw attention to the role of diet and nutrition in childhood behaviour problems.
HACSG is a registered charity that claims to have successfully been helping children with ADHD and their families for over thirty years. They believe that food additives and essential fatty acid deficiencies play an important role in childhood behaviour problems and advise that a dietary and nutritional approach to ADHD is well worth trying. The Feingold programme, with some modifications, remains the cornerstone of their work with hyperactive children.
Please note that my attempts to research HACSG have been hampered by the fact that their website has been suspended.
I have put together a comprehensive list of articles on What Doctors Don’t Tell You and aim to keep it updated with the latest developments.
WDDTY: My Master List Josephine Jones, 12/03/13