IS QUACKERY TAKING OVER MEDICINE?
Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) warned us in 1984's Ghostbusters, that we were, "headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.... Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!" According to Dr. David Gorski of Science Based Medicine, that time has arrived. After a similar rant against chiropractic just a few months ago (HERE), Gorski goes on another in order to let us know that his own profession is being engulfed in (gulp!) "quackery". In one of his latest posts (Quackademia Update: The Cleveland Clinic, George Washington University, and the Continued Infiltration of Quackery into Medical Academia), he lets us know just how bad things have gotten here in America.
"Quackery has been steadily infiltrating academic medicine for at least two decades now in the form of what was once called 'complementary and alternative medicine' but is now more commonly referred to as 'integrative medicine.' Of course, as I’ve written many times before, what 'integrative medicine' really means is the 'integration' of quackery with science- and evidence-based medicine, to the detriment of SBM [Science-Based Medicine --- also the name of his website]. As my good bud Mark Crislip once put it, 'integrating' cow pie with apple pie does not improve the apple pie."
Please Doc; give it to me straight and don't pull any punches. Am I a quack? Of course I am! And you are to if you are even remotely curious about any form or aspect of natural health. Or if you dare to question that everlasting pinnacle of truth --- the savior du jour of sick and suffering humanity --- EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE. His article is long, so I want to focus on one specific portion of his screed. I want to talk about the way he rips into something called FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE.
The Cleveland Clinic is, behind the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and possibly MD Anderson, one of the most well known and prestigious medical facilities in the United States. Gorski lets us know exactly how evil the Cleveland Clinic is, and just how far they've turned to the Dark Side, by revealing that, "In its ongoing focus on wellness and disease prevention, the Cleveland Clinic is opening a new Center for Functional Medicine. In doing so, the Clinic is the first academic medical center in the United States to embrace functional medicine, the focus of which is more on identifying underlying causes of illness and less on symptom management." It seems that Cleveland is teaming up with DR. MARK HYMAN in a virtual tag team of, "medical pseudoscience" to get to the root of our nation's ill health. This couldn't possibly be a good thing, could it? After all, who in their right mind wants to get to the cause of disease when you can treat symptoms forever?
After providing numerous links to articles that either he or his buddies have written decrying Functional Medicine as quackery of the highest order, he reveals that he hates some of the tests that physicians who practice this way love to order (the ADRENAL STRESS SALIVA PANEL and the COMPREHENSIVE STOOL ANALYSIS are two of several). Why does he hate them so much? Best guess is that it has little to do with how effective they are or how much they can potentially help a patient figure out what is actually wrong with them, but because many (most) health insurances won't pay for them. He also does not like that fact that one of the physicians putting this whole shindig together actually talks about VACCINE'S, "links made to autism and asthma, the ingredient thimerosal (mercury)," in their clinic (he also despises the fact that this same clinic touts things like NATURAL CHILDBIRTH and Doulas).
Not much later, he attacks GLENN SABIN, decrying the fact that Sabin states, "Patients across the spectrum of conditions and pathologies consistently experience quality outcomes vis-à-vis these services delivered by a wide range of licensed integrative health disciplines." He then --- even though he claims he is not doing so --- compares this line of thinking to the Third Reich by saying, "You know what else and who else were enormously popular? Yep, Nazi-ism and Hitler." Finally, he does the very thing he bashes others for by appealing to HIS RELIGION. "To take another example, half the people in the US do not believe in evolution. Does that mean evolution is not valid science? Of course not." I guess the fact that I am not an EVOLUTIONIST also makes me a non-scientific quack.
The truth is, people are waking up to the fact that the so-called "evidence" in EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE cannot always be trusted. They are also realizing that Functional Medicine --- attempting to find the underlying cause of disease, instead of simply covering symptoms --- is not only a valid way of practicing medicine but probably the best way (HERE is one example). Especially if you, the patient, want to have any sort of quality of life. As things are now, folks are living longer, but finding themselves increasingly miserable the last decade or two of their lives (HERE). As more doctors like the venerable DATIS KHARAZZIAN come to the forefront of the medical field, people increasingly see Gorksi for what he is. Although it is certainly not my idea, I will leave you with a recent comment from a blog post (not mine) --- a comment that does not surprise me considering the venom that Gorski writes with. "I'm not a Creationist, or even a Christian, but I must say that I find your position logical, sensible, and sensitive to others, while Gorski...well, if I believed in the devil, I think Gorski is so full of evil, he must have some close relationship with the devil."
"There are some clinicians who feel that the only approach to identify the true nature of pain is to demonstrate physical or chemical pathology. The reasoning behind this approach is based on the faulty assumption that physical findings are directly related to the pain experience.
Unfortunately, biomedical research has not been able to confirm that the existence of physical pathology and pain are directly related. In fact, a number of studies have found that significant pathology can exist in individuals who report little or no pain, and conversely, studies have found significant levels of pain with little or no physical pathology. Turk and Melzack have written that “the association between physical abnormalities and patient’s reports of pain is often ambiguous or weak.”
Despite these findings, there are still many clinicians who feel that if pain is not associated with physical pathology, then by simple deduction, pain must be psychogenic in origin. Again, as I have pointed out previously, there is no creditable empirical research to support this position."
FUNCTIONAL PROBLEMS: Functional problems are problems that do not show up on PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS or with STANDARD MEDICAL TESTING (or HERE). According to YourMedicalDetective's website, Functional Medicine is, "patient-centered medical healing at its best. Instead of looking at and treating health problems as isolated diseases, it treats individuals who may have bodily symptoms, imbalances and dysfunctions. As the following graphic of an iceberg shows, a named disease such as diabetes, cancer, or fibromyalgia might be visible above the surface, but according to Functional Medicine, the cause lies in the altered physiology below the surface. Almost always, the cause of the disease and its symptoms is an underlying dysfunction and/or an imbalance of bodily systems." In other words, instead of simply covering symptoms, the goal is to deal with the underlying cause(s) of those symptoms. That's why dealing with Functional Problems is invariably going to require some effort on your part.
PATHOLOGY: According to Webster's Dictionary, pathology is, "the study of diseases and of the changes that they cause: changes in a person, an animal, or a plant that are caused by disease". Because of our increasing reliance on 3rd party payers who want hard evidence in the form of objective findings of a person's illness before they pay the doctor for treatment, they do not like "Functional Diagnoses". A great example of a Functional Diagnosis would be FIBROMYALGIA. Despite the myriad of symptoms, there are no definitive standardized medical tests that reveal a diagnosis. And here's the rub; Functional Problems are more common than Pathology --- far more common. This is partially why such a huge percentage of chronically ill people are being misdiagnosed (HERE). Which of these two problems would the average doctor rather see, diagnose, and treat? That one is easy to answer ---- patients with outright Pathology.
What are some of today's common health problems that used to be Functional, but because of advances in technology and testing procedures, are starting to be seen for what they are? Here are four that go hand in hand with each other and are often times seen in unison.
- GLUTEN SENSITIVITY / GLUTEN CROSS-REACTIVITY: HERE
- LEAKY GUT SYNDROME: HERE
- AUTOIMMUNITY: HERE
- DYSBIOSIS: HERE
But the differences between Functional Problems -vs- Pathology do not stop there. What about some of the musculoskeletal problems that I see each and every day in my clinic that are caused by ADHESIONS OF THE FASCIA? I've said for a very long time that the microscopic scar tissue that makes up Fascial Adhesions sets the stage for a "PERFECT STORM" of Chronic Pain. Think about it like this for a moment. Do you think it's potentially problematic that Fascia; which is not only the single most pain-sensitive Connective Tissue in the body, but also the most abundant connective tissue as well, cannot be imaged with MRI? This scenario sets the stage for a wide range of musculoskeletal problems that can be painful to the point of debilitating, yet do not present with a definite set of objective findings and frequently don't show up with even the most advanced imaging techniques.
How about PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME? What about CHRONIC NECK PAIN or HEADACHES as mentioned above (especially in people with NORMAL RANGES OF MOTION)? What about kids who have OSGOOD SCHLATTERS but have not yet developed the classic "Tibial Tubercle" even though there is pain blow their knee? How about SKULL PAIN? The truth is, almost anything on THIS LIST could be considered worthy of being included in this paragraph. For those looking for some resolution, HERE is a good place to start.
THE ALL-ENCOMPASSING THEORY OF MODERN DISEASE
Some of this information is way oversimplified. Some of it is probably not quite technically correct. And you should be aware that the various steps in this cycle can be in a different order than I've shown, can overlap each other, or can be skipped altogether. Regardless, this model is accurate enough (and hopefully understandable enough) to get you in the ballpark as far as recognizing the roots of chronic illness. Just remember that in the same way that there is no "Universal Cure" for all physical ailments, neither is there a single cause of these ailments. However, this is great information that will give you something to think about if you or a loved one are struggling with chronic health problems.
STEP 1: INFLAMMATION
Although these chemicals are good (even vital) in small amounts; in large amounts they promote a veritable Pandora's Box of health problems, and can be the result of many different things (GLUTEN, MOLD, YEAST, PARASITES, HEAVY METALS, THYROID ISSUES, a wide array of ENDOCRINE PROBLEMS, SUGAR), but at least in the Westernized world, is almost always tied to poor diet choices in some form or fashion. Just be aware that SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION (large amounts of Inflammatory chemicals coursing through your blood stream) eventually leads to..........
STEP 2A: THE LEAKIES
I would guess that at least half the American population ---- maybe more, have some degree of this problem, and occurs when the Small Intestine's "tight junctions" --- the gaps between individual cells ---- become loose. In healthy individuals, these tight junctions are just big enough to allow fully digested food particles to get through so they can be absorbed into the blood stream. As Inflammation increases, it destroys the compounds that hold the cells tightly together, allowing the tight junctions between the cells to become looser / larger. This then allows the Small Intestine to become increasingly permeable (leaky) to substances that should never be allowed to get through.
Just remember that this is not only happening in the Gut. Once this junk makes it into the blood stream where your body will invariably recognize them as foreign, it will begin to make antibodies against them. These "foreign invaders" include everything from parasites, to partially-digested or undigested food fragments, to bacteria, to viruses, to yeast, to heavy metals, to chemical toxicity, to medications, etc, etc, etc. The process of getting sick causes even more Inflammation. Do you see the vicious cycle starting to churn? Oh, and just remember this can happen in the lungs, as well as the BBB (Blood Brain Barrier), not to mention the similar layer of epithelium that protects the nerves and spinal cord. There is, however, another aspect of GUT HEALTH. A flip side of the coin if you will....
STEP 2B: DYSBIOSIS
STEP 3: FOOD SENSITIVITIES, INCLUDING GLUTEN
It is absolutely critical to realize that despite most people thinking of Gluten Sensitivity in terms of "Gut Symptoms" (bloating, gas, diarrhea, etc), the majority of the symptoms of Gluten Sensitivitiy will manifest as NEUROLOGICAL problems --- many of which show few (or even no) overt digestive / GUT SYMPTOMS. One of the best examples of this phenomenon is the outlandish number of Americans dealing with THYROID PROBLEMS. As you can see from THIS POST, this part of the process is a well known mechanism for developing.........
STEP 4: AUTOIMMUNITY
"Celiac Disease is what the average doctor thinks of when they think of Gluten Sensitivity. This is not really accurate. Celiac is the manifestation of Gluten Sensitivity as seen in the Small Intestine. But Gluten Sensitivity manifests very differently in other tissues and organs. For instance, in the Brain and Nervous System, Gluten Sensitivity / Toxicity manifests as clusters of symptoms we refer to as Multiple Sclerosis, or ALS, or Parkinson's, or Alzheimer's, or Seizure Disorders, or Neuropathy, as well as Sympathetic Dominance."
In other words, thanks to inflammation and a FREAKED OUT NEURO-IMMUNE SYSTEM, our bodies start picking fights against themselves. Dr. Noseworthy used out-takes from dozens of scientific papers from the most prestigious biomedical journals on the planet to prove his point. To be honest with you, it was shocking seeing so much proof in black and white. And although this idea is certainly not embraced by practicing physicians (yet), it is currently being touted by some of the world's most brilliant doctors ---- particularly the experts in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE.
Once people's immune systems begin making antibodies to Gluten; for reasons that are not yet clearly understood, these same immune systems begin making antibodies to self (HERE). This is called AUTOIMMUNITY. Unfortunately, once a person is Autoimmune, they are always Autoimmune, although there are some very cool things that can be done to dramatically dampen an overstimulated immune system. Autoimmunity leaves people susceptible to a whole host of ---- you guessed it ----- AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES ---- diseases that tend to travel in packs like wolves. In other words, if you have Psoriasis, you are 'Autoimmune' and will likely end up with many more of the diseases listed in the previous link if you do not get the situation under control.
This is because, as strange as it may sound, your problem is not the disease itself, it's the fact that your body is making antibodies to itself and will likely continue making antibodies to itself until you dry up the source of Inflammation, fix the Leaky Gut, and get the Dysbiosis under control (this includes SIBO as well). Fixing a Leaky Gut will take anywhere from 1-2 months (in some cases longer) and require real effort on your part as far as what foods you eat and supplements you take. HERE is an example of someone who followed our advice to the letter and did it with a condition widely considered "incurable". HERE is a person who successfully addressed five autoimmune diseases and lost 100 lbs in the process, all in about seven months.
STEP 5: RECOVERY
If you want to begin addressing some of the root causes of your health problems, you can start by reading HOW TO SOLVE JUST ABOUT ANY HEALTH ISSUE. The great thing is that no matter what is wrong with you, there are universal steps that must be taken by everyone in order to dry up their volcano and get well. Fortunately, some of you will be able to do much of this on your own (WE EVEN ADMIT THIS). Be aware, however, that depending on the severity of your particular situation, you may need to see a physician who will help you step out of the box.
If you are honest about it, you have to realize that the new paradigms of health and disease have bypassed the average doctor's office, leaving them in the dust. The problem is that most of them are so far behind the curve that they still think they are in the lead. Most are still using the "Better Living through Pharmacology" model (HERE) because, well, that's what pays the bills. The problem is, this model is not only not helping most of our population's chronically sick people get well (HERE), it is often times a significant contributing factor to the development / propagation of Leaky Gut / Leaky Brain Syndrome. But hey; it makes a heck of a lot of money for a heck of a lot of people. Drugs might mop up the inflammation, but they never turn off the faucet where it's pouring out of (HERE).
There is not another profession on the planet with a wider gap between the scientific research community and the professionals in the field (HERE). These two groups within medicine are often 180 degrees opposite of each other. This blog post should more than alert you to this fact. Just more proof of the myth of EVIDENCE BASED MEDICINE. What does it all mean to you? Only that if you care about your health and the health of your family, you had better do some simple research into what it takes to get healthy and stay healthy! I realize that it's a tough revelation to swallow, but the truth is, it's all up to you, and I've given you a starting point. Nope, it's not a "cure," but a place to start making a plan to get better (HERE).
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
Brain Based Therapy
Can You Help
Cardio Or Strength
Cold Laser Therapy
Death By Medicine
Degenerative Joint Disease
D's Of Chronic Pain
Evidence Based Medicine
Gluten Cross Reactivity
Ice Or Heat
Jacks Fork River
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Number One Health Problem
Platelet Rich Therapy
Post Surgical Scarring
Re Invent Yourself
Rib And Chest Pain
Scar Tissue Removal
Sleeping Pills Kill
Stay Or Go
Stretching Post Treatment
Tensegrity And Fascia
The Big Four
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Whole Body Vibration