Son of Snake Oil

I may need to  start a new series

First some history. I have a gym membership, and I spend some time on the treadmill. The treadmills come equipped with cable TV, and you can punch in the channel you want. I was strolling and scanning CNN when they went to a commercial break. The first thing that caught my attention was this.

Some call me skeptical, and some call me cynical, but I’m cool with that. No surprise ,the first thing that popped into my mind was the F-word. No, it’s not the word you’re thinking of, but it’s a word you do not use when describing somebody’s business if you don’t want to get sued.

So I watched the ad, and I figured it would show up on YouTube back home, and here it is. Follow the link to watch.

Listening, I caught the correct pronunciation, and it’s re-VI-tive. You purchase one of these things—easy payment terms are offered—and you crank it up and put your feet on it—don’t know if you’re supposed to stand on it—and it sends electrical impulses into your legs, causing your muscles to contract and not, and the result is supposed to be less pain. Assuming you had pain to begin with.

Here’s a guy using it sitting down. The claim is you only need one session a day.

See the image at the top. This is “clinically proven.” Do we know what that means? They don’t elaborate. They do mention—see image number 2 above—the device is “FDA Cleared.” I wondered about that. They have an ad site on the Web, and there is additional language:

FDA Cleared: Giving you peace of mind

OK, not much. Another site was more informative:

What Does “FDA Cleared” Mean?

According to the organization, FDA cleared means that a device has been submitted to the FDA along with a 510(k) premarket notification, showing that it is “substantially equivalent to a device that is already legally marketed for the same use.”

In other words, “FDA cleared” does not mean that the FDA has approved the device, that they’ve confirmed it works as advertised, or that they’ve even tried it in the first place.

The Food and Drug Administration explains more on their site: From there I snooped further and pulled up this document. I have a copy in case this link ever goes stale, and the critical wording is this:

Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Document Control Center – WO66-G609
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002

􀆏 John J. Smith, MD, JD
Regulatory Counsel
Hogan Lovells US LLP
Columbia Square 555 13th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Re: K143207
Trade/Device Name: Revitive IX (OTC)
Regulation Number: 21 CFR 890.5850
Regulation Name: Powered Muscle Stimulator
Regulatory Class: Class II
Product Code: NGX, NUH
Dated: November 7, 2014
Received: November 7, 2014

Dear Dr. Smith,
We have reviewed your Section 510(k) premarket notification of intent to market the device referenced above and have determined the device is substantially equivalent (for the indications for use stated in the enclosure) to legally marketed predicate devices marketed in interstate commerce prior to May 28, 1976, the enactment date of the Medical Device Amendments, or to devices that have been reclassified in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (Act) that do not require approval of a premarket approval application (PMA). You may, therefore, market the device, subject to the general controls provisions of the Act. The general controls provisions of the Act include requirements for annual registration, listing of devices, good manufacturing practice, labeling, and prohibitions against misbranding and adulteration. Please note: CDRH does not evaluate information related to contract liability warranties. We remind you, however, that device labeling must be truthful and not misleading.
If your device is classified (see above) into either class II (Special Controls) or class III (PMA), it may be subject to additional controls. Existing major regulations affecting your device can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Parts 800 to 898. In addition, FDA may publish further announcements concerning your device in the Federal Register.
Please be advised that FDA’s issuance of a substantial equivalence determination does not mean that FDA has made a determination that your device complies with other requirements of the Act or any Federal statutes and regulations administered by other Federal agencies. You must comply with all the Act’s requirements, including, but not limited to: registration and listing (21 CFR Part 807); labeling (21 CFR Part 801); medical device reporting (reporting of medical device-related adverse events) (21 CFR 803); good manufacturing practice requirements as set forth in the quality systems (QS) regulation (21 CFR Part 820); and if applicable, the electronic product radiation control provisions (Sections 531-542 of the Act); 21 CFR 1000-1050.
If you desire specific advice for your device on our labeling regulation (21 CFR Part 801), please contact the Division of Industry and Consumer Education at its toll-free number (800) 638-2041 or (301) 796-7100 or at its Internet address
http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ResourcesforYou/Industry/default.htm. Also, please note the regulation entitled, “Misbranding by reference to premarket notification” (21 CFR Part 807.97). For questions regarding the reporting of adverse events under the MDR regulation (21 CFR Part 803), please go to

http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/ReportaProblem/default.htm

for the CDRH’s Office of Surveillance and Biometrics/Division of Postmarket Surveillance.
You may obtain other general information on your responsibilities under the Act from the Division of Industry and Consumer Education at its toll-free number (800) 638-2041 or (301) 796-7100 or at its Internet address

http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ResourcesforYou/Industry/default.htm.

Sincerely yours,

Felipe Aguel -S for
Carlos L. Peña, PhD, MS
Director
Division of Neurological
and Physical Medicine Devices
Office of Device Evaluation
Center for Devices and Radiological Health

I have omitted some uninteresting stuff to leave room for the uninteresting stuff I did not omit. I am sure you are as impressed at the thoroughness of our government agencies as I was upon going through this very professionally-prepared document.

Final analysis: the FDA has not tested this device, and it goes without saying they are not vouching for its effectiveness. Buy it if you wish. Use it if you wish. Complain or don’t complain. Some have (excerpts):

15 Consumer Reviews for Revitive (2.7 on a scale of 1 to 5)

Got scammed by these guys

I tried to place an order yesterday, May 16th, at 3:49 AM and their associate said my order did not go through. I told her to hold while I call Discover and she agreed. I get through to Discover and they said she put two charges on my card for $394. She did not hold one minute to hear this. I called back several times to speak to supervisors and other associates on phone, and now they give me the run around that they do not see my name in their system nor phone number. Two charges pending on my credit card are sure showing up for $394. I have contacted to inform them of their scamming associates. Never will I attempt to do business with this company!

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Swollen leg and ankle.

  • By David Wardley,
  • Auckland, New Zealand,
  • May 12, 2018
  • Verified Reviewer

Swollen right leg and ankle for nearly three years and getting worse. Arthritic right foot too. Leg scan last week showed no clots. Compression socks helped a but slow progress. After only three days of Revitive use while watching the 6 o’clock news, leg calf and ankle is back to normal size, foot is much better too, and pain is gone. Believe it!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend [gave it 5 stars]

Disappointment

I don’t know if you can say it’s a fake or scam, but it’s not any good if you have much pain. It may help tired feet and legs, but it’s worthless when it comes to diabetic pain. I think it’s way overpriced, and I’d never buy one thinking it was going to help, believe me, I have one built in. I know they will never print this because they know it’s the truth, I’ve been typing this just for fun I guess, but I tried. Good luck, I hope it helps you more than it did me.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend [gave it 1 star]

It may not be the snake oil of legend, but it could pass for the son of snake oil.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – number 105 in a series

Even in 21st century America, Jesus continues to take innocent lives. Most recently:

Jonathan Foster, 35, and Grace Foster, 34, also were convicted Friday in Berks County court of child endangerment in the November 2016 death of daughter Ella Grace in Upper Tulpehocken Township.

The parents of a 2-year-old Pennsylvania girl who died of pneumonia have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter after prosecutors said they declined to seek medical care for the child on religious grounds.

Jonathan Foster, 35, and Grace Foster, 34, also were convicted Friday in Berks County court of child endangerment in the November 2016 death of daughter Ella Grace in Upper Tulpehocken Township, The Reading Eagle reported.

This is not some Mississippi River Delta town, tucked away in a stand of yellow pines. Reading, PA, is the county seat, located a short drive north of Philadelphia. The child’s parents, who were trusted to ensure her development into a healthy adult, attributed her death to “God’s will,” meaning Jesus. May Jesus have mercy on their souls.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – number 103 in a series

Here is something to get this started:

Zicam is a branded series of products marketed for cold and allergy relief whose original formulations included the element zinc. The Zicam name is derived from a portmanteau of the words “zinc” and “ICAM-1” (the receptor to which a rhinovirus binds in order to infect cells). It is labelled as an “unapproved homeopathic” product.

And here’s the story:

Lisa Weatherington, a 50-year-old Army medical officer who lives in Bowie, is one of the 340 plaintiffs. Her case illustrates the difficulties inherent in determining what role, if any, Zicam played in her anosmia.

Weatherington said she used Zicam once two years ago to treat a burgeoning cold at the suggestion of her husband who said it worked for him. Seconds after spraying it, she recalled, she felt an intensely painful burning.

In early January 2004, Weatherington said, she realized she could no longer smell or taste anything. She said she called Matrixx to report the problem and was told the company had never heard of this problem — although the first report of ansomia after Zicam use appeared in a medical journal in 2000 and the first lawsuit was filed in October 2003. Matrixx declined to comment on her case citing the pending litigation.

Several doctors have told Weatherington she probably will never regain her sense of smell. Her superiors have told her the problem could hamper her military career because it will prevent her deployment to places where she would need to detect poisonous fumes.

“I love food and I used to love to cook for my family, ” said Weatherington who adds that she has gotten sick from eating spoiled shrimp she coudn’t smell. “Sometimes I just feel like crying.”

Robert I. Henkin, a neurologist who directs the Taste and Smell Clinic in Northwest Washington, said there’s no way to know for sure whether Weatherington, whom he is treating, lost her sense of smell because of a virus or because she used Zicam.

Does anybody want to take bets on that last statement?

The Age Of Embarrassment

Number 18 in a series

This story has some history, so I need to go back forty years and more. I had moved to Dallas, and I needed medical attention, so I found a doctor. And I was there in the waiting room, and there was a bunch of really interesting stuff to read, as there is in all doctor’s waiting rooms. Just kidding. There was this health journal, and I did not keep records, and it has been too long, so I don’t know the name of the journal, really a magazine full of ads, sort of like Ladies’ Home Journal. And here is what I read.

There was an article about the place of sugar in the diet, and the general gist seemed to be in favor of sugar. Sugar is a great thing, and there is nothing wrong about eating sugar. For example, the writer told of people who cut sugar cane by hand, and these guys burn a bunch of calories in a day. To keep up their energy they eat as much as nine pounds of granulated sugar a day, and they do not suffer ill effects from it. After reading somewhat more than a page something occurred to me. This was not the product of independent investigation, it was an item sponsored by people who make sugar. Just about everything in the article was in contradiction to what I had learned about sugar in more than 30 years on this planet at the time, including that eating sugar contributes to the development of dental cavities.

From childhood I knew about a life-threatening affliction popularly known as “sugar diabetes.” Some of my relatives had experience with it, and the proper name is just “diabetes,” without the sugar prefix. I later figured the reason the people I ran with used the sugar prefix is because it was popularly considered that diabetes onset was commonly associated with consumption of too much sugar. A whole bunch of sugar in your diet for a long (years) period of time, and you could develop diabetes. And diabetes was bad stuff.

So we still ate a bunch of sugar in our family when I was growing up, and I never developed diabetes, but I’m figuring that is because after about 30 years I made the conscious decision to vastly reduce my sugar consumption. So, then in Dallas, I was wondering why this writer was denying not only that sugar consumption can result in the onset of diabetes, but also that eating a bunch of it will not make you fat, provided you do sufficient exercise to work off the extra calories.

The whole episode set me on the road toward doubting unsubstantiated claims made in newspapers and in popular journals regarding the safety or the non-safety of various products. And that’s what leads me to this posting. The following caught my attention some time ago:

The Mounting Evidence Against Diet Sodas

Studies suggest possible links between low-calorie beverages and health risks, though more research is needed

That was startling news to me, because in my quest to reduce my sugar intake, all my soda consumption has been sugar-free for decades. This is only the headline for the complete item from Consumer Reports, but there are a couple of  things of interest in this small segment. Start with this wording: “Studies suggest possible links between low-calorie beverages and health risks, though more research is needed.” Now let me repeat parts of the quote. “Studies suggest possible links…” What strikes me first is the use of the weasel words “suggest possible.” Where is the glaring declarative statement that should occupy this space? Now this part: “more research is needed.” More research is needed. Again there is the avoidance of certainty. I am glad that other important things like gravity do not require a bunch of extra study, although I once studied under a college professor who was continuing to study gravity.

Now here is the second thing so disturbing about this: it’s not the first time I’ve seen this wording. Fact of the matter is, I have been seeing it for years. Story after story carries the cautionaries “Studies suggest possible links…” and “more research is needed.” Jesus save us all, but how many years is it necessary to keep saying more research is needed before somebody actually performs more research and settles the issue?

A conclusion I draw is that somebody in the sugar industry has set out to harpoon sugar substitutes, and they (possibly a number of sources) are sponsoring writers to publish unfavorable items. It’s worth reading more from the Consumer Reports article. Here are some excerpts:

Many people think of diet sodas as healthy, low-calorie alternatives to sugary drinks. Yet a small but growing body of evidence suggests that diet sodas may have health downsides and may not even provide the benefits some people turn to them for, such as weight loss.

That’s the opening paragraph. Nowhere is there a link to the “growing body of evidence.” Fact is nowhere in the entire article is there a citation to a specific study readily accessible to the reader. The closest approach is this:

The strongest evidence so far links regular diet soda intake with cardiovascular conditions, such as stroke and heart attack, as well as type 2 diabetes and obesity (which are also risk factors for cardiovascular disease), says Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., professor of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. For example, in April, a widely reported study of about 4,400 people age 45 and older found that those who drank one or more diet sodas every day were three times more likely to have a stroke than those who didn’t, says Pase, who led the study. The research was published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

4,400 is a healthy sample, one that should produce statistically significant results. It’s worth tracking down the Stroke paper, and I did that, using the information above. I found two related items published in April 2017, and both are available as PDFs.

The journal has published other papers on the subject, but these will get interested readers started on the search path. Without completely digesting these items, I will hit some highlights. To begin, the first is an editorial, which is not expected to undergo the kind of rigorous vetting as the second, which is a research paper the editorial references. Concentrating on the research paper, from the abstract:

Results—After adjustments for age, sex, education (for analysis of dementia), caloric intake, diet quality, physical activity, and smoking, higher recent and higher cumulative intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks were associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke, all-cause dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease dementia. When comparing daily
cumulative intake to 0 per week (reference), the hazard ratios were 2.96 (95% confidence interval, 1.26–6.97) for ischemic stroke and 2.89 (95% confidence interval, 1.18–7.07) for Alzheimer’s disease. Sugar-sweetened beverages were not associated with stroke or dementia.
Conclusions—Artificially sweetened soft drink consumption was associated with a higher risk of stroke and dementia. (Stroke. 2017;48:1139-1146. DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.116.016027.)

Further on, the paper contains the following language.

In our study, prevalent hypertension, the single most important stroke risk factor, attenuated the association between artificially sweetened beverage intake and incident all-stroke,
although not ischemic stroke. Prospective cohort studies, such as the Nurses Health Study, have demonstrated associations between higher intake of artificially sweetened beverages
and an increased risk of incident hypertension. However, it remains unclear whether artificial sweeteners cause hypertension or whether diet beverages are favored by those most at risk. Given that clinical trials involving stroke end points are large and costly, clinical trials should investigate whether artificially sweetened beverages are associated with important stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure.

[Emphasis added]

What the authors are saying in the highlighted text is their study demonstrates correlation, not causation. An example of the disconnect between correlation and causation is illustrated by the case of the bishops. Bishops (men) live longer than the average man. No surprise, since by the time you become a bishop you are already advanced in years, and you have beat out all those who died in their teens. This section also notes that expensive clinical trials will be needed to determine causation, indicating that clinical trials have not been conducted.

Whatever the intent of this kind of discussion, the results are apparent. A large part of the population is averse to consuming aspartame, which matter I included in  a recent Quiz Question posting.

The image at the top of this post is from a Facebook posting, which points to an illustrated discussion titled Will Aspartame Kill You? I can’t vouch for any of the article’s assertions, but it is worth a read.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – 91

No names given, but the numbers are frightening:

Herbal supplement Kratom blamed for 36 deaths

Kratom, a plant grown naturally in countries including Thailand and Malaysia, is widely sold in smoke shops and other locations as a powder that can be used in tea to slow the effects of opioid withdrawal.

Citing 36 deaths, the Food and Drug Administration chief will warn consumers today not to use the herbal supplement kratom to ease opioid withdrawal and announce plans to step its regulatory oversight to combat the opioid epidemic.

The FDA public health advisory on kratom follows the Drug Enforcement Administration’s reversal or at least delay of plans to classify kratom as a controlled substance on the same level as heroin and LSD. Gottlieb says the FDA plans to work with the DEA to determine how kratom should be classified.

And, yes, it has been confirmed. Kratom is 100% natural.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – 89

The mistaken belief that natural equates to harmless, even beneficial, is being laid to rest, along with some who believe it:

Woman dies after drinking poisonous herbal tea

The deadly ingredient turned out to be aconite. CNN further notes that aconite also goes by the more famous names of monkshood, helmet flower, and wolf’s bane.

In the future, look for more, especially regarding medicinal supplements.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – 88

Prevailing medical quackery breeds false belief, leading often to unnecessary death:

Doctor blames Andrew Wakefield and anti-vaxxers for her baby son catching measles

Disgraced former doctor’s discredited 1998 research paper claiming to show a link between the MMR jab and autism led to a heavy fall in uptake among parents

Katie Forster @katieforster

A doctor has said public reaction to Andrew Wakefield’s discredited study linking the MMR vaccine to autism was to blame when her baby son caught measles.

Dr Eleanor Draeger told medics at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) annual meeting in Bournemouth that her 10-month-old was not yet old enough to receive the vaccination when he developed the disease – which should now be confined to history, she said.

“The reason he had measles is because of the fall-out from Wakefield’s paper,” said Dr Draeger at a debate on parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, sometimes known as “anti-vaxxers”.

Who needs Jesus when you have people like Wakefield, and those who believe.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – 83

Score one more for Jesus. Sooner or later Jesus will be around to visit your family. Should you let him in?

‘God makes no mistakes’: Couple ignores warning that baby could die, rejects doctors, police say

, Lansing State Journal Published 3:49 p.m. ET Sept. 28, 2017

LANSING, Mich. — A mom refused to seek medical treatment for her newborn daughter even after a midwife warned that the infant’s jaundice could lead to brain damage or death, according to a police detective.

“God makes no mistakes,” Rachel Joy Piland told her midwife, according to court testimony last week from Peter Scaccia, a Lansing Police detective.

Two days later, infant Abigail was dead.

His touch is soft, and deadly. Sleep well.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – 77

Not all death due to false belief can be laid to Sweet Jesus. Some people do it themselves:

Mom’s death blamed on bodybuilding supplements ahead of competition

A 25-year-old fitness enthusiast in Western Australia died last month due to complications from bodybuilding supplements, according to Perth’s Sunday Times.

Meegan Hefford, a mother of a 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, in the coastal city of Mandurah, was reportedly found unconscious by a real estate agent inspecting her apartment on June 19. Doctors at Fiona Stanley Hospital declared her brain dead three days later.

My take, employing extreme measures against your body without prior investigation can be dangerous. She had a genetic disorder that prevented assimilation of her mega intake of protein supplements.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – 76

Wait. I need to check my calendar. Yes! This is the 21st century. Let’s see what the new world of science and reason have brought us:

The Daily Star reported that 9 children have died in Tripura Para of Sitakunda during the last week. At least 46 other children in the remote hilly area are suffering from the same unidentified disease which has not yet been identified. The children aged between one and 12 suffer from fever and other symptoms include body rash, breathing problems, vomiting and blood in stool.

None of the fatalities was taken to a hospital, and two of them were treated homeopathically. The three-year-old Rupali had fever and a rash all over her body for three days. “We took her to a man who practices homeopathy. He lives some two kilometres away. He had given Rupali some medicines”, said her uncle. Asked why they did not take the child to a hospital, Pradip said the next health complex was 15 kilometres away from their home. Besides, they did not have money to buy medicines which would have been prescribed by doctors.

Yes, once again we have demonstrated that nothing can kill. That is, something that is nothing can be as deadly as something that is something. Rest in peace.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Continuing from last week, I’m posting more on death by alternative medicine. Some time ago I chose Tuesdays to carry the sad news about people dying from false belief. Alternative medicine (AltMed) is one of today’s significant mass murderers. Today I note the death of Paul Howie of South Mayo, Ireland:

A 49-YEAR-OLD picture framer died from a tumour in his neck after a homeopath warned him and his wife that he would die if he turned to conventional medicine.

A 49-YEAR-OLD picture framer died from a tumour in his neck after a homeopath warned him and his wife that he would die if he turned to conventional medicine, an inquest heard yesterday.

Paul Howie died at his home in Lakelands, Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, on April 22, 2003, after he was suffocated as a result of the tumour obstructing his airway. He had been attending Mineke Kamper (72), a self-styled natural health therapist living at Mulrany, Co Mayo.

Those who believe the United States does not have this problem may need to check some on-line sources. Reliance on homeopathic remedies is a world-wide phenomenon. Keep reading. There will be more.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Continuing from last week, I’m posting more on death by alternative medicine. Some time ago I chose Tuesdays to carry the sad news about people dying from false belief. Alternative medicine (AltMed) is one of today’s significant mass murderers. Take the case of Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States:

Beginning on June 20, 1923, the Hardings sought to escape the heat and scandal of Washington on a 15,000-mile transcontinental train trip and voyage to Alaska. The president was 57 at the time. The recently unsealed diary and notes of naval physician Joel Boone reveal Boone’s grave concerns about the president’s heart condition. The warnings were ignored by longtime Harding homeopath “Doc” Sawyer, who made no effort to stop Harding from speaking in the blistering heat, driving the golden spike to complete the Alaska Railroad, or doing other arduous tasks. In this Sawyer had the absolute approval of the first lady, who was now enjoying the height of her national popularity and didn’t want the trip canceled. She viewed the incompetent Sawyer as her own Rasputin, who’d miraculously kept a chronic kidney ailment from killing her.

When Harding suffered a bout of food poisoning from tainted crab meat at Cordova, Alaska, Doc Sawyer ultimately weakened the president’s sick heart by treating him with heavy doses of purgatives to flush out the toxins. On Aug. 2, 1923, when Boone was out of the sickroom in San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, Sawyer plied one too many purgatives – in Florence’s presence – and Harding died. There was a quick coverup regarding who was in the room and at precisely what time the president died. Mrs. Harding refused to permit an autopsy or a death mask, protecting her beloved Sawyer. “Now that is all over,” she told Evalyn McLean after Harding’s death, “I think it was all for the best.”

You don’t have to be poor and stupid to fall to quack medicine. Often the victim is rich and stupid.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Continuing from last week, I’m posting more on death by alternative medicine. Some time ago I picked Tuesdays to carry the sad news about people dying from false belief. Alternative medicine (AltMed) is one of today’s significant mass murderers. Take the case of Mahendra Gundawar:

Alleged abuse of homoeopathic drugs by mixing them with liquor has taken four lives in Vidarbha over the past six days.

While two died in Nagpur, two more died in Bhadravati town of Chandrapur district, one of them being a homeopathic doctor himself. Two persons are fighting for their lives in Bhadravati and one from Nagpur is being treated for serious complications in a hospital.

Brother of the homoeopath and owner of a homeopathic pharmacy (name not yet on police record) and Pravin Khedkar, a cable TV worker, died in Nagpur, and Mahendra Gundawar, a homeopath and his friend Bandu More, died in Bhadravati.

Prashant Lakhe, who is fighting for his life in a private hospital in Nagpur, suspected to have consumed a “tonic” with Khedkar and the unnamed victim by mixing it with alcohol in a party on December 11. The brother of the homoeopath died first while Khedkar died on December 13. Gundawar died on December 11 and More succumbed to the effects on Sunday.

Those who believe the United States does not have this problem may need to check some on-line sources. Reliance on homeopathic remedies is a world-wide phenomenon. Keep reading. There will be more.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Continuing from last week, I’m posting more on death by alternative medicine (alt-med). Some time ago I picked Tuesdays to carry the sad news about people dying from false belief. Homeopathy is a wrong-headed notion put forward by Samuel Hahnemann (see above) in 1796. It continues to kill 221 years later. Today I present the case of Ralph Gonzalez:

The Arizona Medical Board will take up an administrative law judge’s recommendation that Normann’s medical license be revoked permanently, an action that could prohibit him from practicing medicine in the United States again.

According to testimony in the administrative hearing, Normann created “a surgical nightmare” at his office in Anthem, where work was so shoddy that three patients died during or after liposuction.

Normann performed only one of the procedures, allowing unlicensed individuals to do the others.

Unsealed exhibits from the Arizona Medical Board’s case against Normann are mostly uncontroversial, although the exhibit list itself reveals some interesting information.

Evidence was taken in regards to 13 patients, including the three who died. A separate document reveals that Dr. Greg Page, a homeopathic doctor who was unauthorized to perform invasive surgeries, conducted procedures on at least nine patients, including one who died.

I am wondering how a homeopathic surgeon works. Does he use a scalpel without a blade?

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Following up from last week, I’m posting more on death by alternative medicine (alt-med). Some time ago I picked Tuesdays to carry the sad news about people dying from false belief. Homeopathy is a wrong-headed notion put forward by Samuel Hahnemann (see above) in 1796. It continues to kill 221 years later. Here is the case of Isabella Denley:

Last year in Melbourne, Australia, Isabella Denley, an epileptic toddler, died after her parents ditched the anti-convulsant medication she had been prescribed by her neurologist. The drugs had terrible side effects, including sleep loss and hyperactivity, so they turned to alternative therapies, visiting a vibrational kinesiologist, a cranial osteopath and a psychic who told them Isabella was suffering from a past-life trauma.

An inquest heard that when she died, the toddler was exclusively on homeopathic medication. Her parents believed they were doing their utmost. But clearly the potential pitfalls of Cams go beyond ruthless charlatans. Indeed, the real peril may be our faith that alternative therapies will inevitably reach – and cure – the parts that allopathic medicines will not.

A spokesperson for the Research Council for Complementary Medicine is quoted as saying, “There is certainly evidence to show that some therapies are effective for certain conditions.” This person goes on to say that it can be confusing to figure out which therapies work and which do not. From the article: “Often several studies of the same therapy will contradict each other, and since funding for research is hard to come by many studies are considered flawed.”

 

All right. There are many reasons to die. This one seems to be among the least heroic.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

 

Death from stupidity—pernicious as a burlap bag full of chiggers:

Deadly measles outbreak spreads in Europe as vaccinations fall

Romania has seen nearly 2,000 cases of measles since February 2016, World Health Organization data shows.

The country’s vaccination rate is 86 per cent, well below the 95 per cent recommended for “herd immunity” against infectious disease.

Romania’s measles outbreak has killed 17 children there, none of whom were vaccinated.

Romania’s vaccination rate has fallen sharply over the last decade, driven in part by a vocal anti-vaccination movement there. The country now has Europe’s highest measles infection rate, and its fifth-lowest vaccination rate.

Measles is preventable. Apparently stupidity is not.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

altmed-placeboextrastrength

You don’t have to be a Bible thumper to die in the name of closely-held belief. Step right up to the New Age of false promises:

WASHINGTON — Case 7682299: Aug. 1, 2010. A mother gives her toddler three homeopathic pills to relieve her teething pain. Within minutes, the baby stops breathing.

“My daughter had a seizure, lost consciousness, and stopped breathing about 30 minutes after I gave her three Hyland’s Teething Tablets,” the mother later told the Food and Drug Administration. “She had to receive mouth-to-mouth CPR to resume breathing and was brought to the hospital.”

There are eight cases of death involving babies who took these products. It is not been determined if there is any connection with the product and the fatal outcomes. In true fashion homeopathic products contain no active ingredients. What then, is the issue with the FDA requiring Hyland’s reformulate its products?

The report from STAT News points out that some doctors blame these products directly for children’s deaths.

 

Dying to Believe

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Religion-OsamaExcuseForMurder

It’s Tuesday again. That means somebody had to die. Whose death at the hands of religion do we honor this week, Larry? Why, it’s none other than Robyn Twitchell, who would have been 22 years old this year, but for religion:

In 1988, Massachusetts prosecutors charged David and Ginger Twitchell with manslaughter in the 1986 death of their two-year-old son Robyn. Robyn Twitchell died of a peritonitis caused by a bowel obstruction that medical professionals declared would have been easily correctable.

The Twitchells’ defense contended that the couple were within their First Amendment rights to treat their son’s illness with prayer and that Massachusetts had recognized this right in an exemption to the statute outlawing child neglect.

The Twitchells were convicted of involuntary manslaughter. They were sentenced to ten years probation and required to bring their remaining children to regular visits to a pediatrician. The conviction was overturned in 1993 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on a legal technicality. Robert Gittens, speaking for the prosecutors’ office commented, “the law is now clear: parents cannot sacrifice the lives of their children in the name of religious freedom.”

Glory, hallelujah, and praise be unto Jesus. Two more criminal parents were spared from the punishment they deserved by the grace of almighty God and by the ineptitude of a Massachusetts court. It is unfortunate such mercy was not extended to little Robyn:

It began with his constant screaming and vomiting. On the second day, his parents called the Christian Science worldwide public relations manager to see about getting Christian Science treatment instead of medical treatment. On the fourth day, a church “nurse” was force-feeding Robyn at his bedside. On the fifth day, Robyn was throwing up a brown goo and screaming so loudly in pain that neighbors had to close their windows to avoid hearing him. Finally, at the end of the fifth day, at age two, Robyn died of peritonitis, an abdominal infection, and a twisted bowel. His autopsy pictures show bright red chin and lips where the acid in his vomit had eaten away his skin. He was so dehydrated that his skin stayed up when pinched. Fifteen inches of his intestines were black because the blood supply had been cut off. The parents called 911 only after rigor mortis had set in.

What an inspiring and religiously uplifting scene this must have been to observe, as a young child screamed out the remaining days of his life to keep alive a two-thousand-year-old fable.

Dying to Believe

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Religion-FaithHealers

I post one of these every Tuesday. Don’t stop me. I’m on a roll. This week we honor Carl and Raylene Worthington, of Clackamas County in Oregon:

OREGON CITY, Ore. (CBS/AP) Their prayers to save their dying daughter went unanswered. But an Oregon jury has shown mercy on an Oregon couple on trial for using prayer instead of medicine in their failed attempt to save their 15-month-old girl.

Carl Worthington was convicted of criminal mistreatment Thursday, a misdemeanor punishable by no more than a year in jail. His wife, Raylene Worthington, walked free.

The couple had faced manslaughter and criminal mistreatment charges, the former carrying up to 10 years in jail.

The Worthingtons are members of a Followers of Christ, a small church that shuns conventional medicine in favor of faith healing. The couple was accused of using prayer and faith healing rituals such as “laying on of hands” instead of medicine to heal their increasingly ill child.

What is so heart-warming about this case is the love and concern shown by the parents and other church members, who gathered around to watch Ava Worthington die. I salute the jury for showing mercy in a situation where Jesus chose to show none. Little Ava is with Jesus now, actually dead.

Dying to Believe

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Religion-JesusNotDoineShit

I have been posting one of these every Tuesday for several months, and I am not about to run out. Thanks to all the deeply and sincerely religious parents out there who selflessly sacrifice their children so that I will be able to entertain you for another week. Special thanks this week go to Steve amd Ruth Shippy of Alberta Province in Canada:

The parents, Steve Paul Shippy, 44, and Ruth Anne Shippy, 37, are members of the Followers of Christ Church, said Crown Prosecutor Ian Frazer of Wetaskiwin, 50 miles south of Edmonton.

The Followers of Christ is a fundamentalist sect whose members put all their faith in the healing power of God, professing to refuse medical care to the point of death. There are Followers churches in Oregon City; Caldwell, Idaho; and Fairview, Okla., to name a few cities.

The Shippys, who live in the rural community of Rimbey, face charges of criminal negligence resulting in death and failing to provide the necessities of life for the Dec. 28, 1998, death of their son, Callahan Douglas Shippy, 14. A medical examiner ruled that the boy died of complications from diabetes, and other medical experts say the boy languished in ill health for two to four weeks before he died, Frazer said. Frazer said the Shippys have loose ties to a Followers congregation in Idaho and once lived there for several years beginning in 1984 after Canadian child welfare officials began investigating an injury to one of their children that went untreated.

And special thanks go to young Callahan. Your personal sacrifice is much appreciated.