SFSBM pleased to report that its Report displeases Maryland naturopaths

SFSBM pleased to report that its Report displeases Maryland naturopaths

The Science-Based Medicine blog has done a terrific job of educating the public about pseudo-medicines such as chiropractic, acupuncture and naturopathy.  As well, SBM has exposed the the tools of their trades -- homeopathy, the detection and correction of subluxations, colonic irrigation, moxibustion, cranial sacral therapy (the list could go on and on) -- for what they are, which is quackery.  But we who blog for SBM and some of its readers came to realize something more was needed to stem the tide of bamboozlement that befuddles the public daily.  Thus, the Society for Science-Based Medicine was formed as a separate organization where we who oppose this quackery and deceit could join together and do something about it.

We also realized that education alone was not enough.  The "root cause" of much of the pseudo-medicine unleashed on the public is the government itself, mostly the state legislatures. These legislatures, full of scientifically clueless legislators, pass state practice acts giving licenses to practice a health care profession to those imminently unqualified to diagnose and treat patients.  This gives practitioners what is tantamount to a license to steal from patients by using fake diagnoses such as spinal misalignments, adrenal fatigue and unbalanced qi. Insult is followed by the injury of fake treatments like subluxation correction, glandulars (dissected animal glands) and acupuncture. 

What to do? One thing we decided to do is to keep tabs on state bills which either give licenses to practitioners of pseudo-medicine or seek to alter their scope of practice, usually for the worse by expanding it. Even if SFSBM didn't have the resources to hire lobbyists to fight these bills, our readers can contact their legislators and give them a good dose of scientific reality.  


But we wanted to do more.  And now we have. Our first effort is a Report to the Naturopathic Advisory Committee of the Maryland Board of Physicians and you can read it here.  

The Maryland legislature passed a naturopathic licensing bill this year.  Fortunately, the naturopaths did not get the scope of practice they wanted.  And instead of getting their own regulatory board, the legislature put them under the jurisdiction of the Maryland Board of Physicians.  The new law creates a Naturopathic Advisory Committee which will recommend regulations governing naturopathic practice to the Board. The Committee consists of 2 naturopaths, 2 MDs and a public member.  

Because Maryland legislators appeared to be totally clueless about what naturopaths actually do, as opposed to what they claim they do, we at SFSBM thought the Committee, and ultimately the Board, should be better informed. This information is readily available on the internet, a fact that apparently escaped the attention of all of those who voted for the naturopathic licensing bill.  Actually, you don't even have to do much of a search yourself.  The Maryland Naturopathic Doctors Association (MNDA) provides a helpful list of their members, including links to their websites. A full report on what they are up to is just a click away.  

You'll not be surprised to learn that a healthy sampling of the nostrums and fake diagnoses we've written about for years over on SBM is in full display on these websites. All we did in the Report was point this out and provide truthful information about them. Just the facts, m'am.  Here are a few items we picked up from their websites and listed in the Report (which contains even more):

Homeopathic medicine” is “a powerful system of medicine” that “uses highly diluted substances to cure illness” and is “very safe for children, who respond particularly well.”

Claims that “when the body is more acidic than alkaline it can lead to a progression of chronic diseases, decreased immunity and in general poor health.” Advises that one should “consume 20% of your diet with acidic foods, 80% with alkalizing foods.”

And this from the President of the MNDA:

Advertises “Fall Detox . . . adapted from Thorne’s MediClear Detox Plan.” According to the Thorne MediClear Detox website, “The MediClear Plus program is designed to do two things: first, to decrease your exposure to toxins and allergens, and second, to help your body cleanse.” It is a “formula that blends a combination of rice and pea protein with a full complement of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, botanicals, probiotics, and other nutrients for the enhancement of detoxification.”

And, finally, this from the naturopath who was elected chairman of the Naturopathic Advisory Committee:

“Natural treatment of hypothyroidism” includes “herbal therapy, vitamin/nutrient therapy, homeopathy and prescriptive thyroid hormones including natural glandular extracts and compounded thyroid hormone.” Criticizes standard medical diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease.

One wonders why they were so keen on getting the legal right to diagnose and treat, since they seem to be doing that in spades already.  

We also recommended specific regulations to protect the public against this nonsense, such as making naturopaths provide real informed consent.  Thus, even though the new law says naturopaths can use homeopathy, patients would have to be informed that it is really water and is not effective for anything.  Telling them the truth seems like the right thing to do. 

The naturopaths apparently do not agree with such sensible suggestions. You will be unsurprised to learn that the naturopaths were not pleased with our Report.  Not at all! I'll tell you more about their response on Thursday in my regular SBM post. (Update: here's a link to the SBM post.)

We at SFSBM are really proud of our first effort.  We hope it does much more than just give the naturopaths indigestion and an elevated blood pressure.  (I wonder if homeopathy and detoxification are good for that?) We'll be watching. 


Points of Interest 12/08/2014
Points of Interest 12/06/2014

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