MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

I have previously reported that a Canadian naturopath, Jason Klop,  is under investigation for selling fecal Microbiota transplants to treat autistic children. Now, there is a new twist in this story.

On Twitter, J.N. Stea summarized it nicely:

This naturopath is fighting a judge so that he can charge parents about $15,000 to give his nephew’s poop to children as a treatment for autism. His lawyer argues that he should be allowed to since naturopathy isn’t scientific anyway.

Klop’s lawyer defends the naturopath against an investigation into his business of selling fecal microbiota transplants to families of autistic children. The College of Naturopathic Physicians (CoN) had banned Klop for selling, advertising, and manufacturing pills made from human feces claiming that Klop has been engaging in conduct not acceptable for a naturopathic physician. Klop’s lawyer, Jason Gratl, argued this was difficult to prove in a field that has a few restrictions and some ambiguous boundaries.

“What does it take to be a naturopath and do something that is not appropriate in a field so wide-ranging and open to interpretation?” the lawyer, Gratl, asked the court suggesting that the lack of scientific evidence supporting the use of fecal Microbiota Transplants (FMT) to treat autism is not necessarily relevant in this instance.

“Naturopaths can rely on science in certain aspects, but they are not bound to science,” Gratl said. He explained that naturopathic practices could be based on anecdotes and historical knowledge. Later, he pointed out that the field also includes homeopathy, which, some believe, involves magical thinking. It is definitely not scientific in its core.” After describing the case as a “tragedy”, Gratl called the allegations against his client “entirely unverfounded and scurrilous.”

I suspect it is nothing new to most readers, yet I find it gratifying to hear from a lawyer that naturopathy

  • is not science,
  • relies on anecdote instead of evidence,
  • and involves magical thinking.

I do think, however, that despite all this, naturopaths should not be allowed to do any odd nonsense that comes to their minds and fills their bank accounts quickly.

11 Responses to Naturopaths are ‘not bound by science,’ lawyer argues

  • @Edzard: I think that your second bullet point should be
    ‘relies on anecdotes and tradition’.

    And oh:

    The College of Naturopathic Physicians (CoN) had banned Klop ..

    You could almost say that quackery can be recognized by their acronyms 🙂

  • So we have a lawyer claiming little or no evidence is necessary which seems seriously at odds with the arguments respectable lawyers normally make in a case. Not sure he thought this through. Just goes to show that some people are just plain weird! Maybe he needs a faecal transplant. I know just the man!!!

  • How is it even possible to be stupid enough to think that an enema of someone else’s faeces is a viable idea and least of all will help with any condition?

    The grift is so obvious with this one that I’m strangely finding myself thinking that if people are really stupid enough to pay for faeces Klop actually isn’t the problem. He’s pulled a very cunning trick and the punter is the problem.
    Obviously he should be arrested and locked away for a long time, though.
    But I think the website should be left up and families who buy the pills and enemas have their children taken away from them.
    Klop’s griff could actually do humanity a service.

    • Fecal transplant is a thing, and an enema a possible delivery route
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fecal_microbiota_transplant

      • I also understand that it is for specific conditions such as CD infections although I am not up to date on the outcomes and clinical utility of it. presumably you would agree that stretching this to autism is a huge issue and the attempt to duck under the need for science and evidence is a bigger problem still. Seems to me that like some things that there is some truth to it but unscrupulous sellers try and scam vulnerable people – hence the need for evidence to discern whether something has value or not. For example some supplements are useful some of the time depending on the patients situation / presentation etc.

      • Thank you for pointing out my error and also that the ‘thing’ is an experimental treatment for Clostridioides difficile infection and not for autism. 🤣

    • John,

      How is it even possible to be stupid enough to think that an enema of someone else’s faeces is a viable idea and least of all will help with any condition?

      I first came across this in the 1980’s when I was a medical student at Westminster Hospital. There was a case presentation at the weekly Grand Round (a lunchtime teaching session open to all staff) concerning a man with pseudomembranous colitis as a result of a Clostridium difficile infection which had not responded to any antibiotics. He was critically ill, and his life was saved by an enema prepared from his wife’s faeces.

      Since then there has been steady research into faecal transplants as a way of reconstituting gut flora that have been lost for whatever reason, and I remember reading about a study fairly recently when it was compared with probiotic drinks in people who had received broad-spectrum antibiotics. The probiotics made very little difference at all when compared with simply waiting, but the faecal transplants restored the bowel microbiome to normal fairly quickly (I’m sorry, I don’t have the reference to hand).

      I would not be surprised if it turns out to be useful in bacterial overgrowth syndromes and possibly in inflammatory bowel disease, but I am not a gastroenterologist or a microbiologist and it isn’t really my area of expertise.

      I read somewhere that the stools of the Dalai Lama are collected, dried and made into pills for which there is a steady market.

  • I am irresistibly reminded of the character in Absolutely Fabulous who made art from things found in people’s colons during colonic irrigation.

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