WDDTY: The Editorial Panel

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.

Wright is also Medical Director of the Meridian Valley lab, which offers a range of questionable diagnostic tests, such as IgG tests for food allergies.

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.

Further problems with the Breakspear Hospital have been discussed here and here.

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.

Janet Balaskas

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

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.

Sally Bunday

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.

Further Reading

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

47 responses to “WDDTY: The Editorial Panel

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

  2. I just checked & Damien Downing is registered with the GMC – I found his registration no. was listed on the ecomed website as being 1559976. He’s listed as Nicholas Peter Damien Downing, Registered with a licence to practise.

    • Yes, I thought that might be him but I was unsure, hence mentioning he might use a different spelling. I think I’ll edit that bit because I don’t want to imply I think he’s unregistered. I was just trying to be thorough.

      • Whosethedaddy

        So now you know ‘proper’ doctors are supporting WDDTY how’s your position on doctors?

  3. Odent the birth!quack creeps me out. He’s serving up traditional sexism and gender essentialism, and then wrapping it up in “empowerment” and all sorts of fallacious crap, usually of the ~natural~ variety, and people swallow it wholesale.

    What would have really shocked me WRT WDDTY, actually it’s the only thing that could possibly stop me in my tracks, would have been the following headline:

    WDDTY panel made up of GMC members in good standing with a commitment to further the cause of SBM. No conflicts of interest found, and a solid core of peer-reviewed research collectively available in top-tier journals

  4. Please sign the petition to get this vile publication withdrawn from sale:-

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ban-wtddty

    • Martin, what a pile. The BMJ and Lancet are not squeaky clean and have both published ‘dodgy research’ which has led to thousands dying in modern times. Let’s start with Vioxx.
      Oh and then there’s the flu jab, even though Cochraine’s research tells us efficacy is implausible at best it’s still being dossed out with tax payers money.
      What are you a flat earth medical fundamentalist!
      WDDTY is a refreshing breath of air in a world of medical peer review turd polishing, shame on you

      • Peter Burneside

        Totally agree about the dubious nature of the BMJ and Lancet and I am sick of the attack of excellent alternative, nutritional and holistic medicine. WDDTY is a fantastic resource, honest. It is purely hatred of alternative medicine that wants such information banned. The medical profession cannot take the fact that people are now getting informed. They are losing control with their dangerous medicines and dubious practices.

  5. Have a look at this month’s craziness. Anti-MMR on cover and in major article.
    Do they risk selling this wickedness in Swansea?

  6. Whosethedaddy

    I find it really interesting that you people claim some kind of moral highground but delete valid critique of your position regarding evidence.
    ‘Do they risk selling this wickedness in Swansea?’ Tim witch burner
    I mean is this guy taking the piss! he’s happy we can buy the Sun, and all those medical peer reviewed comics like th BMJ and Lancet, responsible for killing far more people than WDDTY, so it’s a stunt right.

  7. i just thought i would have time to quickly examine one of these cases Dr Jonathan and L-Tryptophan top 2 google results show :
    L-Tryptophan Is Back – Holland & Barrett
    http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/HealthNotes-Search?search…tryptophan…‎
    United States regulatory agencies have recently reversed a 20-year ban on the over-the-counter sale of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan, and once again .Tryptophan (IUPAC-IUBMB abbreviation: Trp or W; IUPAC abbreviation: L-Trp or D-Trp; sold for medical use as Tryptan)[2] is one of the 22 standard amino acids and an essential amino acid in the human diet. It is encoded in the standard genetic code as the codon UGG. Only the L-stereoisomer of tryptophan is used in structural or enzyme proteins, but the D-stereoisomer is occasionally found in naturally produced peptides (for example, the marine venom peptide contryphan).[3] The distinguishing structural characteristic of tryptophan is that it contains an indole functional group. It is an essential amino acid, as demonstrated by its growth effects on rats. You didn’t mention that part Jo ?

  8. Pingback: Call to Action: Tesco and WDDTY | The Quackometer Blog

  9. There’s one way to solve this silly escalating debate between scientists and alternative medicine supporters. We all make a pledge to only ever use conventional or alternative medicine until the day we die. No matter how ill we get we have to stick to our choice. The numbers will start to speak for themselves.

    • Have to type here as someone who has cancer and was given not long to live I have used both conventional medicine and alternative medicine , for those on here who argue that do not have a illness can not speak , put it this way I would not be here according to my oncologist at bexley wing Leeds there view was even with conventional medicine there was no hope I was going to get worse , I turned to alternative medicine along side my chemo and to infact DR Damien Downing , know here’s the thing he checked my blood weekly informed my oncologist at the beckey wing via letter what I needed tweeting for my bloods my immune system was low , in return my oncologist listened and I was given immune boosting drug , the next stage was. Chemo along side vitamin c iv and Dr Downing changed the vitamin D they gave me at the hospital to what you would call a adult version not the typical Nhs full of sugar we all know sugar is not good with cancer my conventional oncologist agreed and has even text me that he is researching this vitamin D, ok let me get to the point here my oncologist at st James thought to be one of the best in his field did a scan and in his own words it says I have had a unusual response to my illness yes remission know this would not have happened with out the alternative medicine man and Doctor , DR Damien Downing .

      • I’m glad to hear that your cancer went into remission and can understand that given your situation, you might feel convinced that it was the vitamins that cured you rather than the conventional treatment you also had. However, without getting into specifics (there are lots of types of cancer and lots of types of chemotherapies), I feel I ought to make it clear that chemotherapy has been trialled, has been shown to work against cancer, and although it does have side effects, these are well known. Alternative treatments have not been shown to be effective and in some cases, can cause harm. If they are of benefit then there should be good evidence to support their use and practitioners such as Downing should not have to rely on highly dubious publications like What Doctors Don’t Tell You in order to promote themselves.

  10. Pingback: Please write in support of What Doctors Don’t Tell You @ Guy Chapman's Blahg

  11. To me, the level of bias and misinformation in this article is far worse than the magazine it purports to criticise. What nobody here seems to apprehend is that there is not a level playing field for natural and alternative medicine. Substantive randomised clinical trials cost millions of pounds to undertake, and as natural products cannot be patented such an undertaking cannot be contemplated, as there is simply no-way to recoup the massive investment needed.

    I became a convert to natural medicine for one reason, and one reason alone – because it works – profoundly, remarkably, and completely.

    With every health condition I’ve experienced, I have indulged my doctor and his prescription remedies with little or no effect. On every occasion, I’ve gone on to research and identify a natural remedy that has completely cured and reversed my condition, while modern medicine has entirely failed me.

    Let me give you just one quick example of what I mean. Science has yet to conclude a substantive study which proves outright the benefits of the Echinacea herb. Yet after suffering severe bronchitis every year for 10 years I stepped out on a limb and gave it a try. As a result, I’ve completely eliminated bronchitis for the last 9 years running. No more Christmas’s ruined by the misery of painful coughing and wheezing due to a terrible infection. Result – one very happy camper!

    If you want to wait until the benefits of Echinacea have been completely substantiated, go right ahead. For me, I prefer to make my own mind-up and live healthily and happily now, thank you very much. I’ve now cured and reversed every condition from IBS to heart disease. I literally owe my life to natural medicine – and have often been led toward the cure by articles such as those you are so ready to criticise and condemn. Call me crazy – but I believe articles like these are doing more good for the health and wellbeing of our nation than the entire medical establishment combined (who admittedly do much good). And I will continue to invest my money and my faith in natural remedies – because they work – full stop. A fact which is a far cry from the barrage of synthetic chemicals produced by corrupt drug companies which are deliberately designed to do nothing more than mask and ameliorate the symptoms of disease. If you care for your health and that of your loved ones, I sincerely hope you leave your bias under you seat long enough to discover this happy truth for yourself.

    And the good news is that as high quality natural supplements pose no risk to your health, you can experiment and try them out for size until you find one that gives you the results you’re looking for. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of pharmaceutical drugs. Death due to adverse drug effects is now estimated to be the fourth leading cause of death in the world.

    Unfortunately, due to the dynamics of modern medicine, natural medicine will be forced to remain the poor brother to the pharmaceutical industry – and those of us who have experienced the life-changing benefits of natural medicine will have to continue to rely on tradition and small scale studies to uncover the truths of nature’s miraculous remedies.

    • This comment has now been posted under three different articles on this blog. I’m treating it as spam, stopping just short of deleting it.

      • That’s your prerogative of course Josephine. I notice your comments are littered through the response sections of all three articles too – so I suppose you must also consider yourself a ‘spammer’?

      • Yeah Max, she’s spamming her own blog

      • 2012 and all that

        Hi Josephine,

        He also copy-pasta-d the same comment onto my blog and quackometer on the same subject. Clearly, he has a “one size fits all” response to any comment on posts critical of WDDTY. I’d guess he is probably one of their hacks.

      • Thanks for letting me know. All the posts he’s commented on are about WDDTY and some of these are quite old articles, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he’s involved with WDDTY in some way.

  12. It interests me that the septic smokescreen descends everytime there is an opportunity to discuss something of interest. Is this just ant science or ignorance JJ?

  13. does it not interest you when a poster says that modern medicine has failed them and after seeking alternatives are much happier?

  14. You also have some kind of hacking bug on some of your posts, see the word free in your last post

  15. @myth – it would interest us even more if “alternative medicine” held itself to the same standards of efficacy and safety as the rest of actual medicine….

  16. I pity the world if alternative medicine were ever to descend to the standards of efficacy and safety of mainstream medicine! ‘Adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs’ is now the 4th leading cause of death in the world. Thankfully my natural alternatives carry a much higher rate of safety and success!

  17. Yes, things which actually have actions cause reactions, some fo which can be adverse. Alternative medicine, no action, no effect, mostly placebo, so no chance of an adverse reaction to most of it. However, delays in getting real treatment can be fatal. Ask Steve Jobs why he waited to get conventional treatment for his cancer and used alternatives instead until it was too late…… oh you can’t he used completely ineffective alternatives on a cancer that had a very high cure rate if treated early.

    All the drugs which have adverse reactions have also got a good chance of having a beneficial effect as well, as shown by the testing. It is up to the doctors to decide if the risks outweigh the benefits. Alternatively, alternative medicine has no proven benefit for many of the claims they make, so there is NO established benefit to the use of them, and therefore there can be nothing but zero benefit/zero direct harm for most of them. I prefer a model of a chance of positive action, rather than one of paying for nothing.

  18. medicalanecdotebasher

    “Ask Steve Jobs why he waited to get conventional treatment for his cancer and used alternatives instead until it was too late…” Septic bullshit anecdote.
    Steve Jobs did not ‘do the alternative’, he mixed and matched. Having a liver and pancreas transplant is not alternative.

  19. medicalanecdotebasher

    “All the drugs which have adverse reactions have also got a good chance of having a beneficial effect as well, as shown by the testing.” More septic crap
    The more poisonous something is the more it diverts the real healing process and gives the illusion of recovery.

  20. medicalanecdotebasher

    “I prefer a model of a chance of positive action, rather than one of paying for nothing.” More septic tosh
    This site has more anecdotes than a homeopathy site, what exactly is scientific about your position – missionary?

  21. medicalanecdotebasher

    What is the latest take on Vitamin C – it ‘enhances chemo!’ but no one will research it because there is no patent for it! How anti science is that.

    Maybe this is why there is itchiness about vitamin C and cancer

    • Or, it may actually prevent the chemo from being more effective….research is being done (in fact, there is a government agency called NCCAM that is wasting billions of dollars on studying “Alternative Medicine), but you don’t like it when it is shown that all of this stuff doesn’t work….

  22. Hi lawrence. who said chemo helped anyone? It would seem you don’t like people pointing out that ‘proper doctors’ are still suppressing fevers when the new NICE guidelines tell us that the research says it is voodoo to keep doing this.
    What are your thoughts on the vitamin C video here then?

  23. “All the drugs which have adverse reactions have also got a good chance of having a beneficial effect as well, as shown by the testing.” Septic mythology
    This sort of blind belief system of medicine is what brings us miracle drugs like Vioxx. This Cox 2 inhibitor caused the deaths of 160,000 people world wide with catastrophic heart ruptures because along with suppressing the inflammatory process so well it also suppressed the repair process.
    Sites like this keep the medical mythology flag flying, preventing proper research into real treatment approaches.
    So come on Lawrence look at the video and tell us what you think

  24. What is your take on the mumps outbreaks on US campus in 100% vaccinated individuals?

  25. Or the whooping cough vaccine failure in the US last year at the same time as the highest vaccine uptake levels ever according to the CDC. Official reports specifically do not blame non vaxxers.

  26. Pingback: “Dr” Harald Gaier’s website ruled misleading by ASA | Josephine Jones

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