MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

I came across this website which contains an undated ‘open letter’ that I find most remarkable – so much so that I feel I have to blog about it. All I did below was to abbreviate its text slightly and to omit its references which can, of course, be looked up in the original. The footnotes in square brackets are mine and refer to my comments below.

START OF QUOTE

It is now estimated that antibiotic resistant infections may kill an estimated [1] 10 million people a year and cost the world’s economies some $100 trillion annually by the year 2050… As some of America’s leading integrative medicine specialists [2], we believe it is time to look anew at a modality called homeopathic medicine.

As physicians [3], we are the first to acknowledge that the diagnostic and surgical tools of conventional medicine are scientific marvels – truly extraordinary and life saving. However, it is also a well-documented fact that many of the drugs currently used by conventional medicine carry risks that are often unacceptable, and in the case of bacterial infections – increasingly ineffective [4].

Signatories, and tens of thousands of our medical colleagues around the world, have repeatedly used homeopathic medicine to effectively and safely treat patients with a wide range of ailments, including serious, and in some cases, life threatening bacterial and viral infections, without the risk of creating further drug resistant organisms [5]. We reached our decision to employ these medicines after careful experimentation and observation, in search of a drug system that relieved suffering without potential toxic side and after-effects [6]…

Twelve independent research laboratories in North America, Russia, Europe and Asia have now confirmed that all classically-prepared homeopathic medicines studied contain various nanostructures, including source and silica nanoparticles which are heterogeneously dispersed in colloidal solution [7]. The above mentioned laboratories and others have found that homeopathic medicines, like modern engineered nanoparticles, have been found to act by modulating biological function of the allostatic stress response network, including cytokines, oxidative stress and heat shock proteins [8]. Additionally, there are hundreds of peer-reviewed studies including randomly controlled trials and large observational studies on individual cells, plants, animals and humans, that show homeopathic medicines are exceptionally safe [9] and have measurable and positive biological and therapeutic effects [10].

Reliable and extensive clinical and public health records have also been carefully examined internationally, looking for evidence of homeopathic medicine’s efficacy during some of the deadliest epidemics of the past 200 years. The main findings of this research show that when homeopathic medicine was employed during these deadly events, mortality rates were routinely very low. This constancy remained regardless of the homeopathic physician, time, place or type of epidemical disease, including diseases carrying a high mortality rate, such as cholera, smallpox, diphtheria, typhoid fever, yellow fever, influenza and pneumonia [11].

…we are calling for a collaborative effort to investigate the efficacy of homeopathic medicine in the treatment of patients with these increasingly dangerous infections whereby homeopathic medicine is used only as an adjunct to conventional therapies [12] …

END OF QUOTE

These are my footnotes, questions and comments:

[1] Does twice ‘estimated’ result in accuracy, according to homeopathic teaching?

[2] Are we impressed by people who call themselves ‘leading specialists’?

[3] I can see many signatories who I would hesitate to call ‘physicians’.

[4] In the case of antibiotics, it is mostly the over-use and not the drug per se that created their ineffectiveness.

[5] Using homeopathic remedies for infections is not effective and therefore also not safe.

[6] If that were true, they would have clinical trial evidence which they clearly have not.

[7] Even if this were true, it would not mean that the nano-particles cause therapeutic effects.

[8] Even if this were true, it would still not necessarily amount to clinical benefit in sick patients; where are the clinical trials showing that homeopathic remedies are effective antibiotics? I am not aware of any. The references provided certainly do not refer to such clinical studies.

[9] Yes, highly dilute homeopathic remedies contain no active ingredients and are therefore unlikely to cause direct adverse effects.

[10] The totality of the evidence from reliable clinical trials fails to show therapeutic effects.

[11] The epidemiological data can be interpreted in several ways, and the majority of non-homeopaths do not share this interpretation.

[12] About 500 clinical trials are available, and their results suffice to call for an end to such research; it’s a waste of resources – resources which are urgently needed to find solutions for the serious problem of antibiotic resistance.

Who is this letter addressed to? I could not find an answer to this question. It seems to be addressed to nobody – perhaps just as well!

Who would sign such an amateurish letter full of mistakes and dangerously misleading statements? The full (and embarrassingly long) list of signatories is here:

Stephen Albin, ND
Nathalie Allen, ND
Lisa Amerine, ND
David Anderson, MD
Kristy L. Anderson , ND
Yumi Ando, MD
A. M. Aurigemma, M.D.
Jyotsna Ayachit , M.D. CCH, DIH
Linda Baker, MD
Michael Baker, ND
Toni Bark, MD
Alex Bekker, MD
Iris Bell , MD, Ph.D.
Paul Bergquist, MD
Brian Berman, MD
Andrea Bitter, MD
Blossom Bitting, ND
Manon Bolliger , ND
Philip Bonnet, MD
Sue Boyle, ND
Mark Breiner, DDS
Maureen Bunce, MD
Anthony Capobianco, DO
Youngran Chung, MD
Mary Alice Cooper, MD
Mary Ellen Coulter, MD
Karin Cseak, DO
Stephen Davidson, DO
Tim Dooley, MD
Michelle Dossette, MD
Joseph Dubroff, ND
Robert Dumont, MD
Ronald Dushkin, MD
Samuelle Easton, ND
Rebecca Elmaleh, MD
Kristy Fassler, ND
Timothy W. Fior , MD
Laura Firetag, ND
Richard D Fischer , DDS, ND, MIAOMT, FAAO
D Fischer , DDS, ND, MIAOMT, FAAO
Mitchell A. Fleisher, M.D., D.Ht.
Ecaterina Floroiu, MD
Gary Fortinsky, DDS
Glenn Frieder, DC
Joyce Frye , DO
Susana Galle, ND, Ph.D.
Juan Gamba, MD
Stewart Garber, DC, Ph.D.
Harold Goodman, DO
George Guess, MD, DHt
Sohilraj Gupta, MD
Regina Gurevich, MD
Robert Hall, MD
Eashwar Hariharan, MD
Alice Harper, ND
Travis Herring, MD
Sharon Herzfeld, MD
Richard Hiltner, MD
Todd Hoover, MD
Torey Ivanic, PA-C
Jennifer Jacobs, MD
Naseem Jagani, MD
Chris Johnson, NS
Bernice Johnson, DC
Sandra Kamiak, MD
Emily Kane, ND
Polina Karmazin , MD
George Keeler , MD
Elena Klimenko, MD
Edward C. Kondrot, MD, MD(H)
Gary Krarcoff, NMD
Christine Kuhlman, ND
J.W. Kwee, MD
Julie Lachman, ND
Janet Lavatin, MD
Gail Littell, ND
Ian Luepker, ND
Linda Madore, ND
Larry Malerba, DO
Christopher Maloney, ND
Ruth Martens, MD, DHt
Robert Melo, MD
Bernardo A Merizalde, M.D.
Stephen A. Messer, MSEd, ND
Jeff Migdow, M.D.
Jacob Mirman, MD
Lucia Elena Mitrofan, MD
David Moreira, MD
Roger Morrison , M.D.
Richard Moskowitz, MD
Anca Nitulescu, MD
Nick Nossaman , MD, DHt
Stephanie Ogura, ND
Jamie Oskin, ND
Roy Ozanne, MD
Donna Panucci , DDS
Pamela Pappas, MD, MD(H)
Iva Peck, MD
Vladimir Petroci, MD
Luigi Pioli, MD
Liliana Plaesu, MD
Wendy Pollock, DC
Molly Punzo, MD
Danny Quaranto, MD
Ignatiadou Radmila, MD
Rakesh Raj, MD
Vinay Ranade, MD
Ioana Razi, MD
Sandy Reider, MD
Karl Robinson, MD
Henry Rostecki, DVM
Todd Rowe, MD MD(H)
DeeAnn Saber, NMD
Andre Saine , ND
Susanne Saltzman, MD
Lisa Samet , ND
Gundi Schulz, ND
Tova Sebaoun, MD
Irene Sebastian, MD
Joel Shepperd , MD
William Shevin , MD, D.Ht.
Jonathan Shore , MD
Hydie Sobel, MD
Rumen Stoychev, MD
Sergio Suárez, MD
Christine Sutton, ND
Michelle Thatcher, NMD
Anja Troje, MD, Ph.D.
Eric Udell, ND M.Ed.
Corey Weinstein, MD
Richard Weintraub, MD
Judith Weiss, MD
Ronald Whitmont, MD
Melanie Whittaker, ND, RN
Jacquelyn Wilson, MD
Linda Woodward, MD

I happen to know several of these ‘leading integrative medicine specialists’. What did they think when composing this letter?

The answer can only be NOT A LOT.

This is so cringingly embarrassing and pathetic that it beggars belief. If ‘integrative medicine’ ever did have anything resembling credibility, these ‘leading specialists’ would have destroyed it with their letter.

Antibiotic resistance is, of course, a huge, complex and very serious problem, and we need to solve it urgently – but surely not with lies, half-truths, wishful thinking and incompetence.

 

19 Responses to America’s ‘leading integrative medicine specialists’: concerns about antibiotic resistance

  • It’s very worrying that some of the signatories have MD after their name.

    • correct! but the entire ‘integrative medicine’ movement is mainly MD-based; I have often stressed that medical schools completely fail in teaching critical thinking.

  • Regarding point [5], using homeopathy doesn’t create resistant organisms because it isn’t effective.

    • “create resistant organisms because it isn’t effective.”

      http://homeopathicservices.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/MRSAjournal.pdf

      • For a while I have not paid attention to Iqbal Krishna’s contributions. But for some reason I had a look at the pdf-document Iqbal Krishna referred to above. It only confirms that Iqbal’s knowledge and insight in medicine is diminutive and that homeopaths in general constitute a public health liability.

        This frightful story is yet another example of an ignorant amateur pompously pretending to administer treatment and then taking grandiose credit for what nature accomplished. How many similar cases may have gone bad with sepsis and severe illness or even death because idiots obstructed proper medical attention and forgot to write them up?

        Initially, the patient in question was properly treated for a staphylococcal infection of a finger, which is a serious matter primarily because of the localisation. Nothing in that part of the story raises concern.
        The description then tells us that the second infection in the skin of the lower limb took a natural course with a favourable outcome. The typical carbuncle (boil) infected with resistant staphylococci (MRSA) went through an ordinary course, emptied spontaneously and healed without intervention in the expected time frame as such infections regularly do if left untreated. SHaken water and sugar pills cannot be counted as medical intervention.
        Pretending to treat an infection using inert substances and not encouraging or even discouraging the patient from seeking medical attention can however be counted as unlawful obstruction.

        That MRSA swabs from the patient several months later were negative is in no way remarkable.
        The salient point in this story is that the patient (and the homeopath) was lucky the infection remained localised and healed without further problems. The localisation of the second boil was also more favourable. Had the second infection been in the hand, the risk of very severe complications of an untreated (including homeopathically) had been very high.
        This essay in no way proves that homeopathy can be beneficial in any infection or played a part in the favourable outcome in this case. Its author is a dangerous fool.

        MRSA
        A healthy person who develops a carbuncle of this type will usually heal without intervention, just as described and documented by the fool who wrote this essay.
        Simple incision of the boil will speed up recovery and lessen the risk of serious (systemic) infection. Antibiotics are usually given as well to promote healing and because the consequences of systemic infection can be dire. MRSA organisms are usually not more virulent than non resistant strains. The problems with MRSA are when they infect immunocompromised patients. That is what all the fuss is about. Please read the Wikipedia page on MRSA for further understanding.

        It might be added that the author is wrong in the assumption that the patient’s insurance situation forced him to seek alternative help.

        • @Björn Geir

          “The salient point in this story is that the patient (and the homeopath) was lucky the infection remained localized and healed without further problems.”

          The patient is always lucky when he reaches a homeopath. No antibiotics and associated consequences. No fat bills. And healing starts with sugar pills laced with ultra dilute water.

          ” The localization of the second boil was also more favorable. Had the second infection been in the hand, the risk of very severe complications of an untreated (including homeopathically) had been very high.”

          The protocol for MRSA treatment should be changed for the allopath doctors.

          “MRSA skin infections can develop into more serious infections. It is important to discuss a follow-up plan with your patients in case they develop systemic symptoms or worsening local symptoms, or if symptoms do not improve within 48 hours.”
          https://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/community/clinicians/index.html

          “This essay in no way proves that homeopathy can be beneficial in any infection or played a part in the favorable outcome in this case. Its author is a dangerous fool.”

          You meet the reference of 2 writers perfectly:
          Dr. Steve Novella: “Physician education, at least as currently practiced, is apparently not enough, however.”
          Edzard Ernst: “critical thinking would be one of the most important subject for future doctors, in my view.”

          “It might be added that the author is wrong in the assumption that the patient’s insurance situation forced him to seek alternative help.”
          As indicated above, you lack physician education and critical thinking. Jumping to conclusion without evaluating all facts:
          https://www.google.co.in/?gws_rd=ssl#q=pierre+fontaine+and+staph

  • Edzard- I’ve said. It before, but I’ll say it again- I’m still stunned that ‘critical thinking’ is considered to be an adjunct to medical teaching, not inherent.

    • you are right to be stunned. critical thinking would be one of the most important subject for future doctors, in my view.

      • “Antibiotic resistance is, of course, a huge, complex and very serious problem, and we need to solve it urgently – but surely not with lies, half-truths, wishful thinking and incompetence.”

        What is the urgency about? All action until now can be defined as “wishful thinking and sheer incompetence.”

        https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/overprescribing-antibiotics/

        Which of the following reasons can you ensure will stop in the next 20 years?

        The reasons as stated by Dr. Novella:

        “:When doctors are asked their most common response is that they are pressured by patients and parents of sick children to prescribe them.
        :Patient education can be time consuming, and writing a prescription may be the pathway of least resistance for a busy practitioner.
        :Even experienced doctors may also doubt themselves. (My 2nd most favorite.) We also live in an era of defensive medicine, in which a doctor may not wish to risk a complication, especially if they are going against the strong desires of their patient.
        :Physician education, at least as currently practiced, is apparently not enough, however.“ (My favorite. For past 70 years, doctors without proper education, prescribing deadly medicines in the name of SBM.)

        Now you have added an additional reason:
        “I have often stressed that medical schools completely fail in teaching critical thinking.”

        As I wrote, monkeys with razors let loose on unsuspecting patients. No doubt medical errors are the leading cause of death and disability around the world. Great science, greater medicine.

        Why should this be taken as negative occurrence? This helps in building new customers.

        http://martinblaser.com/excerpt.html

      • I can see you have started blocking counter points.

        Run out of science or excuse?

    • ‘CT’ should be inherent, but medical students get distracted by the many adventures of student life and some lose their way.
      Additionally, by formalising CT as a ‘domain’ to be studied, consideration can be given to those folks who are not so fortunate as to have inherent abilities. A language and approach to handling such patients is helpful, and becoming necessary.
      Why NDs did not qualify as MDs before going on to study ‘naturopathy’ is for them to explain, but some MDs are taken in, waylaid by many ideologies and faiths, and need a refresher in CT.
      Every little bit helps.

  • “In the case of antibiotics, it is mostly the over-use and not the drug per se that created their ineffectiveness.” So, it seems Edzard implies that physician prescirbing practices are inadequate, improper, and or uncountenanced.

    “The epidemiological data can be interpreted in several ways…..” So it seems Edzard implies that different conclusions can be drawn from particular data sets. Such an admission might cause him to be less judgmental against chiropractic and other paramedical claims based on research he alleges is incomplete or non-conclusive; I doubt it, though. Edzard’s blatant bias against practically all para-medical health disciplines will likely continue even though everyday activities within “modern medicine”(off-label prescribing) don’t meet his personl “standards.”

    “Antibiotic resistance is, of course, a huge, complex and very serious problem, and we need to solve it urgently – but surely not with lies, half-truths, wishful thinking and incompetence.” I couldn’t agree more! Perhaps better training of the world’s prescibing physicians is in order?

  • “…we are calling for a collaborative effort to investigate the efficacy of homeopathic medicine in the treatment of patients with these increasingly dangerous infections whereby homeopathic medicine is used only as an adjunct to conventional therapies”. If these signatories have so much faith in homeopathy, why limit investigations to its use as an adjunct? It seems to me that in doing so, they are effectively admitting the unethical nature of homeopathy on one hand, while suggesting trial designs that can be easily misinterpreted in favour of homeopathy, especially by the general public and those naive to rigorous trial design.

    • “It seems to me that in doing so, they are effectively admitting the unethical nature of homeopathy on one hand, while suggesting trial designs that can be easily misinterpreted in favour of homeopathy, especially by the general public and those naive to rigorous trial design,” stated Lighthorse.

      You don’t say! I wonder if Light would sign off on a study of patients undergoing severe hyperglycemia for treatment with, say, chamomile, sans insulin? Of course patient safety must always be considered during clinical studies, therefore a study of chamomile for hyperglycemia would naturally be done in association(in combination with)with traditional therapy to assess its possible benefits as an adjunct therapy. It’s unclear how Light came to his conclusion that “the nature of homeopathy is unethical” based on the HomeopathyUSA website quote.

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