Showing posts with label the. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the. Show all posts

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Vitamin Hoax Big Pharma Speaks Through Reader's Digest Magazine

The cover of the November 2007 issue of Reader's Digest magazine makes a strong statement through a featured article entitled The Vitamin Hoax: 10 Not to Take. Written by Reader's Digest Senior Research Editor, Neena Samuel, the article cautions readers not to be duped into purchasing vitamins and supplements. She seems concerned by the gullibility of Americans who are "fooled by unrealistic claims of what vitamins can do to 'increase energy,' 'stimulate brain function,' 'improve sex drive,' 'reverse cancer' and 'remove plaque' from your arteries."

Samuel writes that these "wild claims" help "explain why Americans shell out $7.5 billion a year on vitamins, hoping to prolong life, slow aging and protect against a bevy of illnesses." From her standpoint, it seems that Americans are a desperate, naive bunch, grasping at any snake-oiled promise to avoid the inevitable doom of chronic disease. Confident that the average American will be unable to sort through these "wild claims" about nutritional supplements, Samuel jumps to a list of ten we don't need to bother taking.

While it's true that people suffer illness, age, and die as part of the human condition, does this mean that no one should attempt to prevent, delay or improve the experience? Shouldn't one be able to educate themselves about wellness and try to live a healthier, fuller life through better nutrition and lifestyle awareness without being ridiculed? Studying nutrition and wellness doesn't make anyone more gullible. Major television networks often feature physicians who report on food, diet, exercise, and lifestyle which would appear to encourage people to become informed about healthy choices. No health practitioner would suggest that eating canned or frozen vegetables and highly processed foods will provide the most nutrition in a diet, and people are learning that we can no longer count on our grown and raised food to have all the nutrition it had fifty years ago.

Soils are depleted of nutrients, and an increasing percentage of our food sources are hybridized, genetically modified, and contaminated with hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. Given these limitations, how do we ensure ourselves a healthy diet? Samuel herself acknowledges that, "Everyone needs vitamins and minerals, which are crucial for good health and long life" but that "only 3 percent of us eat well enough for that." Maybe Americans who turn to supplements to complete their daily dietary needs, or who want to lessen their suffering and improve their quality of life are actually well-informed. She cites Cleveland Clinic's Chief Wellness Officer, Michael Roizen, M.D. as saying, "No one knows for sure why a food source may be more beneficial [than a supplement], but one theory is that nature provides a perfect balance of compounds that isn't fully replicable in the lab. I take a vitamin and mineral supplement as an insurance policy against a less than perfect diet."

Getting our vitamins from healthful foods would be easier if our foods were of a better quality. The rising demand for heirloom produce, organic produce and free-range meats absent of hormones and antibiotics supports the notion that many Americans have made the connection between diet and illness. Americans who choose to inform themselves about which food sources are today's nutrient-dense options should be able to do so without ridicule. Simply eating the same foods we ate fifty years ago under the assumption that by doing so, we will receive adequate nutrition just isn't borne out in practice - or in fact.

Despite the issues we face today in finding quality, nutrient-dense foods, The Vitamin Hoax: 10 Not to Take confidently proclaims obtaining good nutrition is so simple that taking vitamins is overkill and can lead to toxic overload of some nutrients. Samuel's introduction evokes both skepticism and curiosity in many health-conscious readers. Hoping to rein-in the well-informed skeptics, she hopes to strengthen her argument by basing her claim on the standard Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) guidelines for daily nutrient intake.

Understanding the National Academy of Sciences' intent when the RDA guidelines were originally determined is key to keeping one's perspective in the face of a possible vitamin hoax. The Nutrition Digest of Essential Nutrients is a collection of science-based nutritional information complete with cited studies which provides an interesting look at the history and intent of the RDA guidelines. Compiled by researchers at Enerex Botanicals, Ltd., this digest was published to provide fact-based information about supplements and nutrients. Establishing A Suggested Optimal Nutrient Allowance (pgs. 16 - 31 of the digest) discusses the National Academy of Sciences' reasons for establishing the RDAs and the criticisms that arose regarding those guidelines. It also cites university research that led to the creation of alternative nutritional guidelines called Suggested Optimal Nutritional Allowances or SONA. Before we look at Samuel's list of ten supplements not to take, we need to be able to determine if we are getting such ample nutrition from our food that we can forego the supplements.

According to the research collected in the Nutrition Digest, the National Academy of Sciences proposed in 1941 that a guideline of minimum recommended daily dietary allowances be established for the express purpose of reducing the occurrence of diseases of malnutrition. These diseases of malnutrition include scurvy (caused by deficient levels of vitamin C), pellagra (caused by deficient levels of niacin), and beri-beri (caused by deficient levels of vitamin B-1). The RDA guidelines fell under sharp criticism within ten years of their publication because they were based on brief studies of approximately nine months and established only nutrient level minimums.

Maintaining one's health over the course of a lifetime likely requires the intake of daily nutrients at varying levels relating to conditions such as illness, habit, and stage of life. It is estimated that at least one chronic disease such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes or a degenerative disease of the bone or eye, will afflict 80% of the American population over the age of sixty. This wide-spread suffering of chronic disease in the aging may be evidence that the RDAs do not provide the levels of nutrients needed to maintain high quality health over a lifetime. In fact, the RDA guidelines are likened by the researchers to minimum wage rates since they barely sustain life let alone contribute in any meaningful way to improving life quality.

The analysis provided in Establishing A Suggested Optimal Nutrient Allowance highlights further flaws with the RDAs. In addition to being established only as nutrient minimums, the RDAs fail to take into consideration the impact of lifestyle. Several studies have shown that behaviors such as regular consumption of alcohol, following special diets, and habitual smoking will lower blood levels of various nutrients. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) stated in their own findings that the RDAs "vary greatly in disease" implying that there are circumstances of living that can and do influence and change RDA requirements.

It was not until the 1989 edition, however, more than forty-five years after their initial publication, that the NAS finally acknowledged smokers' need for higher levels of vitamin C to prevent malnutrition. Studies since then have determined that smokers also have lower blood levels of vitamins and minerals including (but not limited to) beta carotene, zinc, vitamin B-6 and vitamin E. These findings indicate that nutrient deficiencies may contribute significantly to smokers' increased health risks. Clearly there are variables the RDAs do not address and which are not reflected in the current guidelines. The NAS has never maintained that the RDAs are optimal nutrient levels intended to promote high quality health over many years, yet The Vitamin Hoax consistently refers to the RDA's numbers as though they were standards for optimal health in all individuals regardless of personal habits and lifestyle.

To gain a better perspective of the inadequacy of the standards which constitute the foundation for Samuel's list, consider the work of two doctors at the University of Alabama School of Medicine cited in the Nutrient Digest; Emanuel Cheraskin and W.M. Ringsdorf, Jr. Given the narrow scope of the RDA guidelines, they attempted to ascertain the actual ideal daily consumption levels for nutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fat that healthy people consume daily and thereby thrive. Cheraskin and Ringsdorf, Jr. hypothesized that people who are more "symptom and sign-free of suffering" are healthier than people who present clinical symptoms and show signs of disease.

Together, they designed a long-term research study investigating daily nutrient intake-levels of healthy people, and whether supplementation was a part of the healthiest lifestyles. This 15-year study collected comprehensive health and diet information on 13,500 men and women living in six different regions of the United States. The standardized information that was collected included "(1) the Cornell Medical Index Health Questionnaire of 195 questions (2) a complete physical including dental and eye exams by medical professionals (3) heart tests including an EKG (4) a glucose tolerance test (5) a complete blood analysis including 50 blood chemistries and (6) a comprehensive daily dietary survey." By analyzing the nutritional intake of disease-free individuals, they hoped to provide a scientifically qualified basis for determining optimal daily nutrient levels.

The Cheraskin and Ringsdorf, Jr. study consistently indicated that the healthiest people were those who had taken supplements and who had eaten a nutrient-rich diet in relation to the number of calories they ate. By comparing the daily intake levels of vitamins in the healthiest subjects, researchers calculated the mean or average amount of each vitamin consumed. Using these calculations, Alex Schauss, Ph.D. developed the Suggested Optimal Nutrient Allowances (SONA).

The SONA guidelines do not offer specific claims about nutrient abilities. They simply reflect what nutrient levels were consumed daily by healthy participants in the study and thus suggest that a diet including these nutrient levels each day is part of a healthy lifestyle. For example, the healthiest people in the study consumed approximately 410 mg of vitamin C each day. Analyzing the study data by age and gender determined SONA recommendations of 400mg of vitamin C for men and women aged 25-50, and 800-1000mg of vitamin C for men and women aged 51 and older. By contrasting these amounts to the RDA's recommendation of 60mg of vitamin C daily, it becomes clear that the RDA guidelines could only have been interpreted as the bare minimums.

Samuel's alarmist warnings regarding the dangers of supplementation are incorrectly based on the obsolete RDA guidelines. Such low levels of nutrients could not be considered toxic. After all, the RDA nutrients were only meant to serve as the low-watermark to avoid malnutrition. In the specific case of vitamin C, Samuel claims that there is "no conclusive evidence that it prevents colds, heart disease, cataracts or cancer." However, when Drs. Cheraskin and Ringsdorf, Jr. analyzed the diets of the healthiest, most disease-free people (those people with the fewest signs and symptoms of illness such as colds, heart disease, cataracts and cancer), they found the daily intake of vitamin C was nearly 9 times the RDA guideline level.

The following is Samuel's list of ten vitamins not to take including a side-by-side comparison of the RDA levels and SONA guidelines for each. These are the same vitamins which Samuel asserts people receive ample amounts of by simply following a healthy diet. Sometimes she lists specific food amounts needed to obtain the RDA of a particular nutrient, so the SONA amounts of the same foods have been listed for direct comparison. In the case of Vitamin C, Samuel states, "A glass of OJ will give you almost all you need [to avoid malnutrition]." Yet, achieving the SONA levels for vitamin C with the intention to thrive and live healthfully would require that a person drink at least nine times that amount. How many people actually drink nine or more glasses of OJ every day? And how many people could pass a glucose tolerance test if they drank that much orange juice from concentrate every day?

Contributing to the article's inconsistency, Samuel sometimes suggests eating from a specific food group to obtain the RDA amounts of a nutrient but leaves specific amounts of those foods up to the imagination. She writes simply, "grab a tuna sandwich" or eat "red meat," implying excellent food sources are at arms length, that people eat plenty from these sources every day, and that therefore supplementation is unnecessary. The chart below shows a dramatic contrast between RDA and SONA measurements for daily nutrient intake. The USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference was used to create the final column. It specifies how much of a particular food a person would have to eat each day to obtain the RDA versus the SONA measurements for those nutrients. Those who assume from reading The Vitamin Hoax that eating a salad fulfills both a healthy body's need for folic acid and Samuel's advice to simply "find it in dark green leafy vegetables" will see that in fact, it is much more difficult to achieve optimal nutrition without supplementation.

RDA versus SONA Food Amts:

1) Vitamin A: RDA 700-900mcg, SONA 2000mcg (1 medium carrot vs. 4 carrots)

2) Beta Carotene: RDA None Established, SONA 80-100mg (8 cups cooked spinach)

3) Vitamin C: RDA 75-90mg Smokers Add 35mg, SONA 800-1000mg (1-8oz cup OJ vs. 11 cups)

4) Vitamin E : RDA 15mg, SONA 800mg (1oz. roasted almonds vs. 7 lbs. of almonds)

5) Selenium: RDA 55mcg, SONA 200-250mcg (3 oz. canned tuna vs. 1 lb of canned tuna)

6) Folic Acid: RDA 400mcg, SONA 2000mcg ("eat green vegs." vs. 12 cups of broccoli)

7) Niacin: RDA 14mg-16mg, SONA 25-30mg (6 med. baked potatoes vs. 12 baked potatoes)

8) Lycopene: RDA None Established, SONA Not Found (10 cherry tomatoes = 4mg)

9) Iron: RDA 8-18mg, SONA 20mg ("eat red meat" vs. 2 lbs. cooked burger)

10) Zinc: RDA 8-11mg, SONA 17-20mg ("eat poultry" vs. 11 chicken breasts)

The Facts:

Reader's Digest magazine is no trivial publication. The board of directors, so-called the Reader's Digest Association at www.rda.com, states that Reader's Digest is "the world's most widely read magazine." Folio Magazine, at (www.foliomag.com), estimated that in November 2006 there was a "paid and verified circulation" of "more than 10 million" Reader's Digest magazines. It is also a documented fact that many people take daily supplements. Samuel's own article lists the annual amount Americans spend on them at $7.5 billion. While Samuel's research included exactly how much money the American people are spending on supplements, her conclusion is poorly founded and the argument she makes for giving up daily supplements is surprisingly weak.

In the beginning of her article, she presents herself as protector of the meek and naive by pointing out the frivolity of wasting money on supplements when the RDAs are so easily met through diet. Yet upon closer inspection, the lack of accurate information and analysis seems to implicate Samuel as the true peddler of snake-oiled promises by promoting outdated, bare minimum nutrient levels from the RDA guidelines; the same guidelines which admittedly need revisions to accommodate variables such as illness, habit and lifestyle; the same minimal standards which may be contributing factors in the development of chronic illness.

The Questions:

Such a large number of people, both using supplements and reading Reader's Digest magazine, begs the question: Why did RD gamble with readers' loyalty by promoting a poorly researched and negative article? What motivation could there be for the widespread publication of this article? Are there conglomerate entities (such as Big Pharma: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) which might benefit from a reduction of sales in the dietary supplements industry? Are there connections between RD and these entities? Further, are there connections between RD and the political agencies who effect legislation and influence market regulations which, in turn, could restrict the supplement industry's market share?

The answers to these questions require: (1) Knowing who comprises the Reader's Digest Association (the board of directors) along with each member's business affiliations; (2) Understanding the controlling influence of the board of directors on RD's business agenda and on key RD employees; (3) Understanding the influential strength that contribution monies have on the formation of political agendas and alliances of many political figures.

Edgar-online.com provides information on businesses which includes financial information and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, on both a free and paid-subscription basis. By looking at some of the SEC filings submitted over the past five years by the Reader's Digest Association, some of the company's "Corporate Governance Guidelines" along with specific names of several of the board members were compiled in order to gain insight into individual interests and possible personal agendas they bring to the board. "Corporate Governance Guidelines" provide insight into the depth of the board's influence at Reader's Digest as these guidelines were created by the board members themselves. The names of the board members along with their business affiliations follow the guidelines. Taken directly from an SEC DEF 14A filing: "The Board of Directors of Reader's Digest believes that the responsibility of Directors is to oversee the management of Reader's Digest. That responsibility includes":

1) "Promoting the best interests of Reader's Digest and its stockholders in directing Reader's
Digest's business and affairs."

2) "Directors have open access to Reader's Digest's management. Senior management of Reader's Digest routinely attend appropriate portions of Board and Committee meetings and they and other managers frequently brief the Board and the Committees on particular topics. Long-term strategic and business plans are reviewed annually at one of the Board's regularly scheduled meetings."

3) "Selecting, evaluating and fixing the compensation of the Chief Executive Officer and senior management of Reader's Digest and establishing policies regarding the compensation of members of management."

4. "Evaluating the performance of the Company and the Chief Executive Officer and taking appropriate action, including removal, when warranted."

Looking at these guidelines, it seems that: (1) Business affairs including articles and advertisements at Reader's Digest reflect the Board-determined company agenda. (2) The Board ensures that the senior management supports and reinforces the Board's agenda. This agenda should be reflected in Senior Research Editor, Neena Samuel's writings. (3) The Board determines the compensation of senior management. Members who conform and lead by the Board-set company agenda likely get the best compensation packages. (4) The Board removes anyone whose work does not promote and reflect the Board-set company agenda. It stands to reason that any agency (such as Big Pharma) wanting to influence the business agenda at Reader's Digest, would have to gain the support of the Reader's Digest Association and it would have access to the names and affiliations of those board members. Here is a representative number of Reader's Digest Association members compiled from several SEC filings spanning the past five years. Not all names were located. One retirement and one replacement was mentioned in the search.

1) Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice-President, Dick Cheney. Retired from Reader's Digest Association around 2003. Affiliated with American Express and with her husband, Dick Cheney, who was Chief Executive Officer at Halliburton Energy Services (an oil-drilling company). VP Cheney retired from HES in 2000 during the Bush/Cheney Campaign for Presidency.

2) Cecil J. Silas, CEO of Phillips Petroleum (1985-1994). Member of the Board of Halliburton (1993 - present). Member of the Reader's Digest Association (1992-present). Halliburtonwatch.org states that Cecil Silas was the third-largest campaign contributor to Republican campaigns, and that he donated $30,000 to the Republican National Committee in 2004.

3) Herman Cain, Director of Aquila, Inc. (an electric and natural gas company).

4) William E Mayer, Director of First Health Group Corporation (a national managed health care company).

5) Lawrence R. Ricciardi, Director of Royal Dutch Petroleum Company (part of the Shell Group of Companies). Halliburtonwatch.org states that Halliburton and Royal Dutch formed a joint-venture agreement in 2000 to develop and market their oil-and-gas industry-related technologies in the global market.

6) Eric W. Shrier, President of Time, Inc publication called Health. BA in Human Biology from Brown University. CEO of Reader's Digest Association until 2007.

7) John T. Reid, Chief Technology Officer at Colgate-Palmolive, Inc.

8) Ed Zschau, Former Republican Congressman (1983 - 1987).

The Reader's Digest Association is strongly Republican and several members have close ties to acting members in the top levels of the United States Government. The question, now, is to what extent is the drug industry able to effect Republican politics? Earl Lui of ConsumersUnion.org posted a Reuters-based article on November 1, 2006 just before the congressional elections, entitled, Drug Companies Give Big Money This Election. The article discusses Big Pharma's political influence on politicians. "Reuters reports drug companies have spent at least $9 million to keep Republicans in control of Congress," and that "Ahead of the voting, drug makers are giving more campaign cash to Republicans."

Stock analysts sum up the risks the drug industry faces if one or both Congressional Houses are in the Democrats' control. Prudential Equity Group analyst, Kim Monk, is quoted as saying, "The drug industry faces the biggest risk in a change of hands in Congress," and other analysts agreed saying, "Keeping the Senate in Republican control would help protect drug makers by making it tougher for legislation to clear Congress." More recently, MSNBC.msn.com posted an Associated Press report dated November 13, 2007 declaring that "Lobbying Stalls Generic Drug Legislation." It reports that "Legislation aimed at speeding the availability of cheaper generic drugs has stalled in Congress" due to major lobbying by the drug industry. This stalled legislation would ban 'reverse payment' settlements where name-brand drug manufacturers pay generic drug manufacturers to postpone their offering of discounted generic drugs to consumers, thereby allowing Big Pharma to continue receiving its large revenues.

Senator Herb Kohl (D-WIS) who supports the legislation and is frustrated by Republicans who put delays on actually taking a vote states, "Lobbyists have a lot of influence in Washington. If we can just get this to a vote, it will be pretty difficult for people to vote against it. A vote against it would be a vote against consumers." While Big Pharma has won cooperation in furthering their agendas through relationships it has formed with Republican politicians, the drug industry is very fickle; courting both parties and later focusing financial efforts on whichever party comes into power.

Following the November 7, 2006 congressional elections, ConsumersUnion.org posted another article by Earl Lui entitled, Election Results Scare Big Pharma. It discusses news reports from both the New York Times and the Washington Post that a "secret internal memo" was obtained from an insider at drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline that lays out company fears and response plans to win-over support from the new Democrat-controlled Congress. The Post quotes the Glaxo-memo as stating, "We now have fewer allies in the Senate. Thus, there is greater risk over the next two years that bad amendments will be offered to pending legislation." The Post explains, "The company's primary concerns are bills that would allow more imported drugs and would force price competition for drugs bought under Medicare." Continuing quotes from the company memo, The Post states that the defeat of Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) "creates a big hole we will need to fill." Senator-Elect Jon Tester (D-Mont.) "is expected to be a problem," and the addition of "Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Oho) [to the Senate] will strengthen his ability to challenge us."

According to The Post, the memo ends with a brief discussion of relationships the Glaxo-company has been able to forge with Democratic politicians such as Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) stating, "These relationships should help us moderate proposals offered by Senate Democrats." Further demonstrating the drug industry's intent to seduce whichever party is in power, the New York Times reports , "Hoping to prevent Congress from letting the government negotiate lower drug prices for millions of older Americans on Medicare, the pharmaceutical companies have been recruiting Democratic lobbyists, lining up allies in the Bush Administration and Congress, and renewing ties with organizations of patients who depend on brand-name drugs."

As Big Pharma funnels its wealth into buying political support, manipulating the legislature to lean in its favor, the issue of nutritional supplements has not fallen off their radar as a source of lost revenue. Smart-publications.com posts an article that connects this lobbying-strength directly to the nutritional supplements industry in an article entitled, FDA Moving to Dismantle DSHEA. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 as explained in the article, makes supplement manufacturers "responsible for establishing their own manufacturing practice guidelines and making sure a dietary supplement is safe before putting it on the market." This allows the FDA to forego the stringent and expensive testing required of pharmaceutical drugs before new drugs are approved for release to market.

As a way to possibly put supplement makers out of business, the pharmaceutical industry lobbies "for changes in the way dietary supplements are regulated." Suddenly more and more writings from the medical community appear with their focus in line with this agenda. For example, an editorial was published in the Journal of American Medical Association in which "the authors wrote, 'If dietary supplements have or promote such biological activity, they should be considered to be active drugs, [and if they lack this] "biological activity," their claims should be challenged, and their sale and distribution as products to improve health should be curtailed.' " Unfortunately, requiring that nutritional supplements be put under the same safety-testing as pharmaceuticals would cost so much that many nutritional supplement producers would be unable to comply and would go out of business.

Big Pharma's influence was again felt in 2003 when Senate Bill s.722 was introduced by Richard Durbin (D-IL). The Freedom of Health Foundation at  notes this bill stipulates that any adverse reactions attributed to nutritional supplements be reported. The FDA has the authority to take any supplement off the market after receiving only one adverse report. Equal sanctions are not placed on pharmaceuticals despite hundreds of thousands of adverse effects being reported each year regarding both prescription and over-the-counter medications. This focus on supplements and the ease with which supplements could be pulled off the market further raises suspicions that Senate Bill s.722 is a thinly veiled attempt at destroying the nutritional supplement industry through legislative onus. Many vitamins and supplements would quickly become impossible to buy - an unfortunate turn for those without insurance who may rely on supplements for their well-being.

As for the phantom dangers of supplements touted by the pharmaceutical industry, many politicians feel that there's insufficient supporting evidence and no real need for government regulation. In fact, many legislators believe that the supplement industry's record of safety speaks for itself, and already far surpasses that of the pharmaceutical companies'. A transcript from an official hearing record of the Committee on Government Reform regarding the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act quotes Representative Dan Burton (R-IND), "As for the safety of supplements, an interesting comparison was published last year; 106,000 people die a year from prescription drugs; 42,000 a year from automobile accidents. It is more likely that you will be struck by lightening and die in this country than it is that you will die from using a dietary supplement, with just 16 deaths reported from that last year."

Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tx), once an acting physician, considers himself a leader in promoting health freedom for Americans. On his website  he states, "I oppose legislation that increases the FDA's legal powers. The FDA has consistently failed to protect the public from dangerous drugs, genetically modified foods, dangerous pesticides and other chemicals in the food supply. Meanwhile they waste public funds attacking safe, healthy foods and dietary supplements."

Big Pharma's influence at Reader's Digest magazine is not a far stretch of the imagination. In journalism, there exists an "agenda-setting theory" which is described at Wikipedia.com. This theory states that "the mass-news media have a large influence on audiences by their choice of what stories to consider newsworthy and how much prominence and space to give them." It is by this means that the mass media transfers the "importance of items on their mass agendas to the public agendas." Big Pharma is a billion-dollar industry, and it uses this "agenda-setting theory" to its advantage. It gives large financial contributions to politicians who, in turn, use their legislative votes and business clout to promote Big Pharma's agenda.

The Reader's Digest Association has close ties with top-level politicians, and it has complete control over the subject content of articles published in Reader's Digest magazine. This makes transferring the "importance of items on [Big PhRMA's] agendas to the public agendas" just a matter of procedure. Bill Sardi, journalist and consumer advocate, uses his research and investigative talents to speak out on health and nutrition and maintains a website called knowledgeofhealth.com. Regarding the drug industry's published propaganda designed to get supplement users to stop taking vitamins, Sardi notes that hundreds of drug patents on expensive medications are expiring; a fact that could leave the drug industry looking for other cash cows to exploit. "If the public can be frightened into thinking dietary supplements are dangerous, a bought-off Congress, along with popular news anchors and authors [and board members of popular magazines] could orchestrate a groundswell of public opinion to designate dietary supplements as 'drugs.' "

It seems that our current political leaders would gladly trade our constitutional rights for money and power. Therefore, let us remember one of our most important historical and political figures, whose earnest drive and political genius helped establish this country's first freedoms. James Madison, America's fourth President and the man considered to be the "Father of the Constitution," once said, "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives ." Once again Americans need to arm themselves with knowledge and stand against an oppressive government, this time ensuring the preservation of our health freedoms and, hopefully, making it possible to live healthily and to thrive.

About the author

Carol L. Ohnesorge holds a Masters Degree in Counseling and Psychology with an emphasis in Holism. She has spent much of her career working in mental health. Carol is dedicated to increasing public awareness and understanding of holistic therapies.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Candida Misdiagnoses Identifying the Three Different Types of Infection

Candida often gets lumped into one, rather vague category, which is seen abstractly as some saturation of the blood by this strain of the fungus we call yeast, which causes all sorts of problems from skin diseases to chronic fatigue to auto-immune and behavior disorders.

Even though just about everyone is talking about candida, no one seems to be talking very intelligently about it and, as one might expect, no one is having much success with it. The most successful diets for it actually leave you feeling awful and not healthy at all.

It seems that probably we have misunderstood the condition.

I have written two articles previously on NaturalNews.com exploring two elements of candida and today we are going to summarize those two and add a third element.

I am not going to revisit those other articles in detail, but rather will recommend that you select all articles by author at the top title of this article and look back for the two previous candida-related articles.

I will revisit these in brief.

The first kind of candida is a simple candida overgrowth. It may overgrow in the bowel and escape to the blood, it may get into the blood in other ways. It shows up in the blood in enough quantity that it could be called an infection. It makes the person sick.

Usually, this kind of candida problem is acute and when things stabilize, the body takes control of the situation and it is contained and normalized. This first appeared when antibiotics were first used routinely for infections.

While this form of candida is very easy to treat and can be cured totally in 3 days to two weeks, this is nevertheless what people are envisioning still when they talk about and attempt to treat other types of candida problems.

My first article, "Candida Control in Two Weeks" was precisely about this kind of candida and two weeks is actually the upper limit of how long I would expect it to take.

My second article appeared in response to dozens of questions from people suffering with "candida" but a very different kind of candida problem.

This time, candida was addressed as an allergy, rather than as an infection. True, it meets some criteria of infection too, but the immune system does not attack it, it actually just overreacts to its presence. Probably, the immune system is reacting to several other kinds of irritants and microorganisms as well because the immune system is sensitized for one or more reasons.

This type of candida problem is characterized by exhausted endocrine glands and immune response. Candida is a misnomer and candida is treated like it is the cause, which is not true. It may have participated in causing the problem, but alone there is no way. Likewise, treating it as a candida infection is delusional.

Rather, the damaged endocrine system and immune system must be addressed. My second article, "Candida Conundrum: Is it Allergies?" addresses this subject and type of candida problem.

Then, believe it or not, I started getting questions from people suffering from the third type of candida, which is what this article is about more specifically.

This kind of candida is by no means justifiably diagnosed as candida either. This is where the "candida" gets embedded in the skin. It probably is a fungus, but it is not certain which fungus it is and it also bears earmarks of an overreaction by the body discussed in the second article.

Embedded fungal growths appear as pustules or dermatitis or some persistent skin condition, frequently on the hands or face, which causes itching, discomfort and breakouts. Sometimes the sweat and skin will smell bad when this embedded fungus is present.

When the fungal growth gets into the skin, just like when it gets into the toenails, it survives because it can create a barrier from the blood/immune system when it gets there. Thus the treatment has to take this into account.

The treatment is both topical and internal. Topical treatments do not kill the deep skin fungus and internal treatments do not get to the upper skin. You have to do both and it takes a while (several weeks) to get the fungus to fully die off.

There are actually several effective treatments that I have encountered, but I will give you the one that I use most, which uses only whole herbs, which is my favorite.

The external application is for sale from Wind River Herbs (www.windriverherbs.com) , though it is not in their regular catalog, so you must call or email them to get them to sell it to you. It is called Miracle Splash. This product is worth an article itself, but for now we shall be content to say that it is highly useful for topical application for deep or superficial problems of all kinds and often relieves pain instantly on contact (something quantum about its action, no doubt).

I generally recommend applying the miracle splash to any affected area three times per day and skipping days if the skin gets sensitive (it does have cayenne in it, so it can be a bit hot).

For the internal product, we are thinking about dissolving the barriers the candida or other fungus builds for itself to contain itself from the blood. We are also clearing the lymphatic system of pus build up.

This process takes some time. We will also use herbs that draw to them the toxins and pus and infection, as well as herbs that heal the skin, repair the activity of the lymphatic system and feed the systems of the body that will be affected by the detox process.

As detoxifying formulas go, this one is not strong... unless you are using it for embedded fungus. In that case, it is very profound. It can cause a little discomfort as the fungus dies off.

I have always been a little suspicious of fungal "die-off" and have felt, instead, that it was just normal cleansing crisis and that the "die-off" was announced when the symptoms occurred to make the practitioner look smarter.

After using this formula, however, I became satisfied that die-off is quite real, at least sometimes. This formula causes it and it can be quite a strong experience.

The simple formula contains the powdered form of 8 herbs:

* 8 parts ginger root

* 5 parts slippery elm bark powder

* 3 parts plantain leaf

* 2 parts oregano leaf

* 2 parts beet root

* 2 parts turmeric

* 3 parts elecampane root (you may use burdock root if you cannot find elecampane)

* 2 parts marshmallow root

If ever there were an important time to get raw, whole, organic herbs of the highest quality, this is it, so choose wisely to get the most potency out of this formula.

This should be mixed together and then stirred into water each day, two times per day. Generally, I use two teaspoons per dose. I would expect to have noticeable results in two or three days, but would continue until the condition is gone totally and then add one week beyond that.

These herbs are harmless (indeed, many of them are food grade in any quantity), so they will do no harm, and as far as I am concerned they will do much good for almost anyone.

Thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Kal Sellers, MH

About the author

Kal Sellers, MH currently operates KalsSchool.com and teaches a 2-year curriculum for Natural Medicine, via live teleclasses.
Kal is a Master Herbalist and holds several other certificates and licenses for hands-on healing modalities. He maintains a current practice in the Atlanta area.
Kal and Traci have six children, the last four of which were delivered at home. They live now in Powder Springs, GA where they teach live classes on food and medicine. Kal is also a full time Chiropractic student.

Dispelling the Myths Surrounding Homeopathy.

In this article, I would like to dispel a plethora of myths surrounding homeopathy which have been used to discredit this highly efficacious healing art and science. Homeopaths are given few opportunities in the media to defend their profession, so a lot of misconceptions abound. The medical profession in general presents a fierce and blinkered opposition, yet as Big Pharma is learning of all sorts of amazing cured cases, they are determined to stamp out competition via EU regulation.

Myth No. 1 – Homeopathic medicines cure nothing

Homeopathy works by stimulating the body's own healing mechanisms, through like for like. A substance that would cause symptoms in a healthy person can be used to cure the same symptoms in a sick person by giving a minute, highly potentized dose of that substance acting as a catalyst to jump start their own healing mechanisms. Everyone of us has our own natural innate healing powers. All that is needed is the correct stimulus to kick start it. In healthy people this may just be rest and good food but many people become 'stuck' in their physical, emotional or mental illness and cannot recover. Of course there are different levels of health and the choice of potency given should reflect that. Low potencies are given for very physically ill people and higher doses for those whose problems are emotional or of the mind. Homeopathy is very successful in treating emotional problems such as stress, anxiety and fears.

Unlike orthodox medicine, outcomes of homeopathic treatment are measured by the long term curative effects and the eradication of the disease state culminating in complete restoration of health. If we could have two year trials of outcomes for conditions such as asthma, arthritis and other chronic diseases, this could be proven.

Myth No 2 – Homeopathic medicines are just water

Homeopathic medicines are not made using only dilution. Dilution alone would do nothing whatsoever. Many homeopaths are getting tired of reading this highly inaccurate reporting in the media. All homeopathic medicines are made by a process of dilution and Succussion (potentization through vigorous shaking -- 100 shakes between each potency -- i.e. between a 1c and a 2c, between a 2c and a 3c potency, between a 3c and a 4c, etc, etc). Most homeopathic medicines can be bought in either 6c or 30c from Boots or from health shops. Higher potencies of 200c and 1m (1000c) can be obtained only from homeopathic pharmacies. Succussion is nowadays done by machines, originally by hand. Succussion brings out the formative intelligence of the substance and imprints it upon the 60% distilled water + 40% alcohol medium used to make homeopathic medicines -- alcohol acting as a preservative.

Myth No. 3 – homeopathic medicines are unscientific

Homeopathic medicines undergo a scientific 'Proving' where a control group of 50+ healthy volunteers ('Provers') are instructed to keep taking a remedy under trial until they develop symptoms which they must record in detail. Substances that have been rigorously tested include nearly everything on the Periodic Table -- metals, minerals and gases as well as plants and even things like snake venom.

The Provers are given a bottle of a new remedy being tested in the 30c potency and must keep taking it until they develop symptoms, which must be carefully recorded and then submitted to a database. The Provers must be healthy and symptom-free to start with so that the symptoms they experience are new ones caused by the remedy. They must keep a careful daily note of what happens and not discuss it with any of the other Provers. Whatever symptoms the Provers all experienced in common become the black type symptoms of the remedy which are then added to the Materia Medica of homeopathic medicines and Homeopathic Repertory (encyclopedia of symptoms). Thus the curative indications of a remedy are obtained for clinical use.

Symptoms have also been obtained through historical records of accidental poisonings, such as Arsenic and Belladonna. For example, poisoning by Arsenic causes vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, anxiety and extreme chill. Therefore you might get a patient in this state (possibly after food poisoning) and Arsenicum in a homeopathic tablet will quickly alleviate them.

There are more than 4,000+ homeopathic medicines including nearly everything on the periodic table. But of course all of the remedies tested have been diluted and succussed (potentized), so they are not toxic like modern drugs.

The Homeopathic Materia Medica and Repertory are extremely large books or divided into volumes. The Repertory is divided into sections in this order: Mind, Vertigo, Head, Eye, Vision, Ear, Hearing, Nose, Face, Mouth, Teeth, Throat, External Throat, Stomach, Abdomen, Rectum, Stool, Bladder, Kidney, Prostate Gland, Urethra, Urine, Male, Female, Larynx, Respiration, Cough, Expectoration, Chest, Back, Extremities, Sleep, Dreams, Chill, Fever, Perspiration, Skin, Generals. Obviously some sections are bigger than others!

In the various Repertories, remedies are listed alongside the full range of symptoms (rubrics) in abbreviated form -- all information being systematically taken from Provings and clinical practice. Every human state of mind, emotions and body is listed. Symptoms that would mean nothing to a medical doctor can be looked up and the curative remedy found in these huge books. Homeopathy is a study of human nature, endlessly fascinating and how negative states of mind and emotions affect the physical body culminating in illness. Nowadays many homeopaths use computer software programmes which contain all this information.

Myth No. 4 – homeopathic practitioners receive inadequate training

In fact all qualified homeopathic practitioners undergo a four year training course at accredited Colleges, which includes Anatomy and Physiology, as well as Pathology and Disease, Materia Medica, Homeopathic Philosophy and study of the Homeopathic Repertory. Yet medical doctors and nurses treat after much shorter homeopathy courses. To be really good, you need to study intensively for about 10 years. Homeopathy is a lifetime's work and you never stop learning.

Myth No. 5 - there are no studies that prove homeopathy works

In the past 24 years there have been more than 180 controlled, and 118 randomized, trials into homeopathy, which were analysed by four separate meta-analyses. In each case, the researchers concluded that the benefits of homeopathy went far beyond that which could be explained purely by the placebo effect. Another meta-analysis found that 65 of the 89 trials analysed had produced an effect way beyond placebo, source WDDTY (www.wddty.co.uk) .

A study of 6500 patients at the Bristol Homeopathic hospital was conducted showing that over 70% of patients reported complete cure or significant improvement of their symptoms  .

Historical records show that epidemics such as cholera and typhoid were treated successfully using homeopathy in the 19th century with very high success rates, compared to orthodox medicine

A study on the properties of water was performed by Dr. Rustrum Roy. This paper provides an interdisciplinary base of information on the structure of liquid water.

The Structure Of Liquid Water; Novel Insights From Materials Research; Potential Relevance To Homeopathy, Rustum Roy1, W.A. Tiller2, Iris Bell3, M. R. Hoover4
Received: 2 August 2004 Revised: 6 September 2004 Accepted: 14


Homeopathy can never be tested properly through conventional trials because each prescription is individualized as every person is unique. Therefore 10 people with arthritis, for example, may all need a different homeopathic medicine. So it is far from ideal to follow the allopathic trial paradigm to test homeopathy. In orthodox medicine trials, all are given the same medicine to be tested. In homeopathy, all may be given different medicines!

"Anybody who has an understanding of the principles of homeopathy can be left in no doubt that we are dealing with a scientific therapeutic method in the best possible sense: it is based on observation, facts and phenomena and follows the rules of inductive logic that can be tested in daily practice. It is a comprehensive and comprehensible mode of therapy, which in some countries is first line treatment for the whole range of acute and chronic conditions. It has been proven abundantly that it is superior in the treatment of epidemic diseases to allopathy.

"It is amazing how people, who like to see themselves on the side of unprejudiced evaluation, can be so blinkered. People pass judgment on homeopathy who have never bothered to study it. Like any science it takes time to learn (especially to learn it correctly) and years of practice to master but the rewards for patients, practitioners and the NHS (National Health Service) purse are great. Before those who preach pure science come down on therapies like homeopathy too heavily, they should ask themselves how many of the accepted treatments within the NHS have a scientific evidence base?" (Peter Morrell. Hon. Research Associate, History of Medicine, Dept of Sociology, Staffordshire University, UK.)

With every homeopathic medicine we know exactly the substance it was made from, unlike most modern drugs where we have no clue of the ingredients. This is ironic too as all natural health products, whether vitamin, mineral or food supplement must clearly state on the label every single ingredient. When we go to the supermarket or health food shop, we hold up the packet or bottle and read what is in the product, yet people happily swallow prescription drugs with no idea whatsoever what they have taken! They could contain cyanide or any poison and the patient would be none the wiser. With the new class of genetically modified drugs, such as the one used in the Northwick Park drug trial in London, the dangers of a massive allergic reaction, such as the drug testers experienced, are even greater.

Those, who claim to be scientists, should have the ability to at least try to understand different paradigms. If not, they look more like people who have settled on a comfortable view of the world which might soon look very outmoded indeed. As the great musician and conductor Sir Yehudi Menhuin once said: 'Homeopathy is one of the few specialised areas in medicine, which carries no disadvantages but only advantages'.

Regarding the Horizon programme on homeopathy, Prof. Madeleine Ennis was not involved in the Horizon test. The test was carried out by Wayne Turnbull at Guys hospital, London. It has been conceded that the Horizon test was not an exact replica of Ennis' successful trials. Many of his protocols were different. You can read at this link where he added in an ammonium chloride lysis step which would have ended up killing the very basophils that were such an integral part of the test . Ennis' original test was replicated in 4 different labs in 4 different countries.

Dr. Peter Fisher's article in PubMed discusses the 'End of Homeopathy' editorial and meta-analysis published in the Lancet of 26th August 2005 and how nearly 100 successful studies that showed homeopathy worked were thrown out and only a few that were inconclusive were used. Dr. Fisher is the Queen's homeopathic physician and heads the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. (The vitriolic editorial was caused by the World Health Organization bringing out a draft report in 2005 which was favourable towards homeopathy!)

"The final analysis which concluded that 'the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects' was based on just eight clinical trials of homeopathy. The Lancet's press release did not mention this, instead giving the impression that the conclusions were based on all 110 trials." "One of the most serious criticisms is the complete lack of transparency: we have no idea which eight trials were included in the final, damning, analysis." "The literature references are not given, nor any information on the diagnoses, numbers of patients, etc., nor can these be deduced from the article. Prof. Egger has refused several requests to disclose the identity of the eight trials. This is not even a matter of scientific method, but of natural justice: the accused has the right to know the evidence against him."

"The Lancet meta-analysis in 2005 of homeopathic trials was said to be based upon 110 placebo-controlled clinical trials of homeopathy and 110 clinical trials of allopathy, which were said to be matched but were in fact reduced to 21 trials of homeopathy and 9 of conventional medicine and further reduced to 8 and 6 trials."


* Other Responses from the Homeopathic Community on the Lancet Article

* from WDDTY:

* George Vithoulkas' 'Science of Homeopathy' is still considered an excellent exposition of the science.

More scientific studies:


Myth No. 6 - Homeopathic hospitals are a waste of money

There are 5 homeopathic hospitals in the UK -- in London, Liverpool, Tunbridge Wells, Bristol and Glasgow. They cost the NHS around £6 million a year. Compare that to the £100 billion for the total 2008 annual NHS budget! These homeopathic hospitals save money for the NHS as the Smallwood report commissioned by Prince Charles has demonstrated


At one of the earliest debates on the NHS Act 1948 the Government pledged that homoeopathy would continue to be available on the health service as long as there were "patients wishing to receive it and doctors willing to provide it". Many people who depend upon it are alarmed at the possibility that Homeopathy may no longer be available on the NHS. Since the passing of the NHS Act in 1948, a provision has always been made for people to be treated at homeopathic hospitals in the U.K. and until PCTs began to stop referring patients, there had indeed been long waiting lists, some 6 months or more.

See this letter sent out in May 2006 to the Chief Executives of all Primary Care Trusts signed by a group of Professors hostile to homeopathy and putting pressure on PCTs not to refer patients to the 5 homeopathic hospitals in the U.K. saying there was no evidence homeopathy worked (http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/pdf/Baum...) .

Then another similar letter using the National Health Service (NHS) logo was sent out to PCTs in May 2007 from some of the same professors! It can be read here:

Eventually an explanation was put up on the Department of Health website at the end of October 2007, although by then the damage was done

Read what David Tredennick, MP had to say in February 2008 about the possible closure of the homeopathic hospitals, recorded here in Hansard. "The Minister may recall that in May 2007 some doctors issued a spurious document -- printed on official paper, with the NHS logo -- claiming that homeopathic services should be decommissioned. The Government has never written to PCTs to refute that document."

Myth No. 7 – Cure with homeopathy is simply the Placebo Effect.

When Prince Charles treats his farm animals at Highgrove with homeopathic medicines do they know that a remedy has been put in the water they drink? Farmers successfully use homeopathic medicines for their cows suffering from mastitis. Does a tiny baby know when their fever drops dramatically using Belladonna or Aconite, that they have been given a homeopathic medicine?! As anyone who has treated animals and babies with homeopathic medicines will tell you, homeopathy works even better on animals and babies than it does on adults! If proof were needed, this is it. Not placebo.

Myth No. 8 - Homeopathic medicines contain no molecules

Any remedy under a 12c or a 24x potency still contains the original molecules of the substance and this is known as Avogadro's number. These low potencies are most suitable for physical illness of long duration as well as to heal specific organs that are not functioning properly.

Myth No. 9 – 'Anecdotal Evidence' does not constitute scientific evidence!

Most medical, surgical procedures and drug usage are not backed by studies -- only by anecdotal evidence. According to the U.S. Government's Office of Technology Assessment (Congress of the United States, Office of Technology Assessment: Assessing the efficacy and safety of medical technologies. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1978), only 10-20% of all medical procedures and off-label drug usage are backed by clinical studies.

Strong anecdotal evidence among informed professionals is actually quite reliable -- at least as reliable as clinical testing.

Many clinical tests come to diametrically opposed conclusions. You could say that the problem was discovered through anecdotal evidence -- and merely confirmed through a peer reviewed study.
(http://www.i-sis.org.uk/peerReviewUnderTheSp...)

The problem isn't with the use of anecdotal evidence. It's with the double standard applied by the establishment (medical and regulatory) that holds complementary medicine to an absurdly higher standard, allowing medical doctors to do pretty much whatever they want. If informed anecdotal evidence is allowable for 85% of all medical procedure and drug usage, why is alternative health held to an impossible 0% standard?

Millions of people worldwide testify that homeopathy cures their illnesses yet apparently that cannot be construed as 'evidence'.

If a person were to walk out of their house to the town centre and witness someone having their bag snatched or witness a car accident, then when they relay this information to the Police or to their friends and family, it is anecdotal evidence.

If someone goes on holiday, stays at a nice hotel, eats delicious food, swims in the sea, comes back home and relates the holiday to their friends, that is anecdotal evidence.

Does that mean that the above never happened? According to the detractors of complementary or alternative medicine, yes it does!

Millions of people have been cured of their diseases and afflictions using homeopathy, herbs, healing, vitamin supplements, special diets and on and on. Yet according to orthodox medicine all of these cures are anecdotal evidence and as such do not merit any further investigation, study, or validity. As far as orthodox medicine is concerned, these cures never happened.

Yet what if someone witnessed a car accident and the Police wanted them to make a statement? Would the statement in court be dismissed as anecdotal evidence? Would the police, even if they arrived at the scene of the accident to find the person still there comforting the passengers or trying to help, say they had not been there and their evidence is non existent? I don't think so.

So how for so long have we put up with the top dogs in the medical establishment dismissing our cures as total nonsense, figments of our imagination, placebo cures, or outright lies?

How, when millions are cured around the world using homeopathic medicines, can these cures be dismissed as unworthy of attention, simply 'anecdotal evidence'.

Orthodox medicine implies through this that all cures with alternative medicine are untrue or simply imagined. Even when all the evidence is put before them, they become angry and even aggressive, simply refusing to see or to listen.

All the case notes in the surgery show that Mr. A had arthritis for 5 years, had been on anti-inflammatory medicines, yet after homeopathic treatment, the arthritis is cured. The reaction of the doctor is either disbelief or an attitude where they will not talk about it and do not want to know.

Of course there are some orthodox doctors who practice acupuncture, homeopathy or herbs themselves and who do believe that these therapies cured the patient but they are in a small minority. The opposition is always the top cancer specialists and professors whose lives and vested interests are the most challenged by the idea that anything other than pharmaceutical drugs or surgical interventions can cure the patient.

Very often the doctor's prognosis can create enormous fear in a patient making them much worse, striking terror in their hearts and creating a mental block to healing when told by 'experts' they will never get better.

Yet pharmaceutical drugs cure nothing. They merely suppress the symptoms driving them deeper into the body of the patient. Believe it or not, the disappearance of symptoms does not equal cure! Very often a new and deeper set of symptoms are created which are even more serious. Pharma drugs work through the Law of Opposites, eg. antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, anti-convulsants, anti-hypertensives, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, etc, etc.

Hence the eczema patient whose skin symptoms have been suppressed, goes on to develop asthma. The arthritic patient whose joint pains are suppressed, eventually will go on to develop heart disease.

The doctor makes no connection whatsoever that their drugs have created these deeper illnesses but just goes on to give the patient more and more powerful drugs, making the patient sicker still. Then when they die, they say, 'We did everything we could'. Yes and you killed the patient!

So there is no question that dismissing cures as Anecdotal Evidence through the use of natural medicine, is nothing more than a whitewash and a desperate means of concealing the knowledge of those cures from the Public as a whole.

Samuel Hahnemann

"Hahnemann was a doctor but gave up his practice because he was appalled at the poisonous side effects of most available medicine. He started experimenting and did something rather novel -- he took some quinine, while perfectly healthy. He observed that the effect on him was identical to a malarial attack: alternating fever with heat and chills. This is where homeopathy started: a substance, given to a healthy individual, causes symptoms. If given to someone who suffers those symptoms, it will thus neutralize the sickness.

After his observations on quinine -- Hahnemann went on to test hundreds of substances on himself and willing, healthy volunteers -- used the tested substances for matching symptoms in his patients and all the while kept accounts of detailed observations. Of course, Hahnemann had an antecedent, still well-known today because all doctors still swear an oath to him to promise best medical practice: Hippocrates." (Peter Morrell. Hon. Research Associate, History of Medicine, Dept of Sociology, Staffordshire University, UK.)

Hippocrates stated that there were two laws of healing –- the law of opposites (allopathy) and the law of similars (homeopathy). A Greek physician called Galen had laid these rules down in about 150 AD. Homeopathic theories are based on fixed principles of the Laws of Nature which do not change -- unlike medical theories which are constantly changing! Homeopathy is both a science and an art.

"Far from being ideas-based, this is completely evidence-based, empirical medicine an almost unique concept at the time. After some years of practicing like this, Hahnemann was still not satisfied. The substances he was using, while more effective than normal medical practice, were still having side effects. Or, if he reduced dosage too far, there was no effect. This is when he developed the concept of potentization, the serial dilution that opponents of homeopathy deride." (Peter Morrell. Hon. Research Associate, History of Medicine, Dept of Sociology, Staffordshire University, UK.)

Treating the Whole Person or Holistic Healing

We are not just a collection of parts to be fixed as doctors treat us but always operating as a whole person all of the time. In other words medicines are chosen that treat the whole person and not just the part. This may seem strange to grasp and yet doesn't it in fact make total sense? Do we leave our sore throat on the desk of the physician as we leave the surgery? Or our arthritic knee behind? No, every single tiny function of our body operates as a whole, all of the time. You cannot treat one thing and not affect the rest. That is why pharma drugs are so dangerous, as for example, in treating a cancerous tumour, the medicine will affect and disturb the other systems of the body.

We are all energy beings . The electricity in our bodies transmits messages to all parts/systems of the body. Illness is caused when these messages are not getting through. All systems of the body are communicating with each other at all times. Water is a great conductor of electricity and it transmits the electrical current. This is how homeopathic mediums work –- by communicating a current/pattern/frequency of energy via the whole human body to jump start the body's own inherent healing mechanisms.

Homeopathy treats different sorts of people with distinct characters and personalities as well as different physical looks and natures. It individualizes each person treating their diverse pattern of symptoms looking at them as a whole.

Is it not true that no two people are alike? That every person is unique? This is why you could line up 20 people with asthma and they might all need a different homeopathic medicine. There are in fact about 250 homeopathic medicines for asthma but the correct one for each person must be selected taking into consideration such things as what makes the condition better or worse, what time of day it comes on, whether the person is hot or cold, worse for damp, in need of fresh air or prefer the windows closed and so on. You would be amazed at how each person's symptoms are so different and yet all have been diagnosed with asthma.

After homeopathic treatment, careful analysis is taken of the Direction of Cure of the patient's symptoms. Constance Hering was a converted skeptic of homeopathy. As a young man in Germany in the early nineteenth century, Hering had been assigned the task of reviewing Homeopathy because his medical mentor (a fervent anti-homeopath) had been asked by a publisher to write a book exposing homeopathy as unworthy. Having been given this task, Hering conducted a detailed study but concluded the opposite from the requested results! He was the first to talk about the Law of Cure which says that symptoms are cured from above down, from the inside out and in the reverse order of their appearance. This has stood the test of time in clinical experience. A simple example would be after a curative remedy is given for eczema all over the body, we would see the eczema start to move down and when it is only on the ankles, we know it is nearly cured.

The other very important point about homeopathic treatment is that very often the appearance of an illness stems back to an important event in the life of the patient such as a shock, fright, loss or grief suffered by them. The homeopathic practitioner will always enquire whether there was a life changing event that severely affected the patient. It is extremely common to find that the onset of a condition coincided with a major event. The homeopath will select a remedy that corresponds to the way the patient reacted to that event, mentally, emotionally and physically in order to clear the state which caused the illness. In other words you treat the cause, to remove the effect.

Examples of remedies for people who have undergone severe shock would be the following: If a person becomes very tired after a shock it would be Phos. Ac. when they become indifferent to their surroundings and loved ones. If they are just sitting there, not moving, staring in front of them, not speaking -- it would be the homeopathic remedy Opium. If they become terribly restless and anxious it would be Aconite. Arnica is for shock when people say they are fine, when they are obviously not. Ignatia would be in floods of tears, hysterical, slamming doors and telling people to go away. Platina would be very proud, angry and indignant. These are all possible ways people can react from a shock and homeopathy must treat the individual. The trick is to work out how people are behaving and which one they need!

Homeopathy works on fixed principles that correspond with the Laws of Nature.

The body has its own intelligence. That is why the human race has survived. When a baby is conceived, Nature chooses the best genes from both parents in order to create a stronger, healthier human. If the parents are both taking drugs of any kind, whether legal or illegal, the health of the baby will be compromised.

Doctors should look at Nature in order to study disease. Doctors and scientists would find all the answers and instead of going against it, learn from it. They really need to study health first before they study disease. There is only one true science and that is the science of Nature.

The human race has survived because we all have an innate healing power in our bodies. In homeopathy for example, this is called the Vital Force. Homeopathy stimulates the vital force to heal the body, through like for like (using a potentized substance that would cause the symptoms but in a tiny dose acts as a catalyst for healing).

If people want to improve their looks, homeopathy does just that. When you are healthy and well, you obviously look better! Homeopathic practitioners believe in prevention, having treatment can prevent illness rather than leaving it to the surgeon's knife. There are thousands of homeopathic medicines which treat every ailment known to man, truly the most wonderful science on this planet.

Many people buy self help books or think they can treat themselves with over the counter remedies. This is a short term solution. The reason is as stated above. You cannot treat individual symptoms without taking into consideration the rest of you! Only a qualified and experienced homeopath who will spend 1-2 hours taking your full medical history and all of your symptoms can prescribe the remedy that fits best. In other words if you have hayfever, the homeopath will take into consideration all other physical symptoms as well as your personality, to come to the correct prescription. Itchy, watery, red eyes, worse morning and evening would be Sulphur but only if all the other things about you fit the Sulphur picture. You cannot prescribe for yourself as you cannot take all of it into consideration at once. So if for example you buy Natrum Mur. for your hayfever (which is also an excellent remedy for this), it may work for a bit if you are healthy but the hayfever will come back, will not be cured for good, because it was not the remedy that fitted best.

The only exception to this rule is in the treatment of first aid and even then it often has to be individualized. An example of when it does not is having a molar removed at the dentist. Firstly you would take Arnica for bruising of the gums, secondly Hypericum for the pain as the anaesthetic wears off (will remove pain completely), thirdly Ledum for injection and fourthly Calendula (the remedy not the cream) for fast healing of the gums (or any other injury). Symphytum is the great healer of broken bones.

Homeopaths believe that illnesses manifest for three reasons: firstly they are genetically inherited from our parents, grandparents, forefathers. Secondly, they can be caused by a traumatic event such as death of a loved one, divorce, job loss -- any event that has a serious impact upon the person. Thirdly they can be caused from drugs taken by our parents (passed on to the foetus) or by ourselves. There is also of course accidents and injury.

Inherited disease can be traced back to one or more of what homeopaths call Miasms -- these are syphilis, gonorrhoea, psora (scabies), tuberculosis and cancer. We are all a mix of all of these as especially TB, dates back thousands of years. However one or more of the miasms is uppermost in a person and is an important aspect of the case-taking to determine the appropriate medicines.

So many people are in ignorance of the vast amount of study needed to become an expert in this field. Also there are hundreds of homeopathic books only available at specialist bookshops, many printed in India where homeopathy is more popular than orthodox medicine (

Attacks on Homeopathy

After the ever increasing attacks on alternative medicine in the media and in particular homeopathy, once again Professor Edzard Ernst, the 'first Professor of Complementary Medicine' (whose CAM qualifications have not been discovered despite repeated requests) discredits homeopathy. Yet in an interview with Geoff Watts in 2003 (http://www.studentbmj.com/issues/04/01/caree...)
entitled 'A Scientist in the Alternative Camp', Professor Ernst stated: "Our family doctor in the little village outside Munich where I grew up was a homoeopath. My mother swore by it. As a kid I was treated homoeopathically. So this kind of medicine just came naturally. Even during my studies I pursued other things like massage therapy and acupuncture."

"As a young doctor I had an appointment in a homoeopathic hospital, and I was very impressed with its success rate. My boss told me that much of this success came from discontinuing mainstream medication. This made a big impression on me."

The truth is that homeopathy is getting ever more popular and the drugs companies are putting out their spin in overdrive through their science and media PR operation outlets to counteract this in any way they can.

The reason there is this incessant assault in the press against homeopathy is because Pharma wields enormous power over the media and because the popularity of homeopathy has been increasing due to the side effects of conventional medicine. Also, unlike other natural therapies, it is dispensed in pills and so in direct competition.

At leat six million people use complementary treatments each year in the U.K., which offer clinically-effective and cost-effective solutions to common health problems faced by NHS patients.

The attacks against alternative medicine sometimes try to imply that it is dangerous. Yet compare the number of insurance claims against natural health therapies to those in conventional medicine. A top insurance company was asked how many claims had been filed against homepathic practitioners and said there had been hardly any, "only a couple in the last 10 years"!

Historical Facts

In view of the highly inaccurate reporting and vitriolic attacks in the recent press coverage on homeopathy, I would like to point out some little known historical facts concerning homeopathy.

The practice of homeopathic medicine flourished in both Europe and the U.S. during the 1800s and early 1900s and was spectacularly popular with European royalty and the British aristocracy, American entrepreneurs, literary giants, and religious leaders.

John D. Rockefeller referred to it as 'a progressive and aggressive step in medicine' and was under homeopathic care throughout the latter part of his life living to 99 years of age. A strong advocate of homeopathy, major grants of between $300-$400 million he intended for homeopathic institutions were instead used for orthodox medical institutions in the early 1900s, under pressure from his son and his financial advisor, Frederick Gates. (Source Dana Ullman)

In the United States in the early 1900s there were 22 homeopathic medical schools and over 100 homeopathic hospitals, 60 orphanages and old people's homes and 1,000+ homeopathic pharmacies. Members of the American Medical Association (AMA) had great animosity towards homeopathy after its formation in 1847 and it was decided to purge all local medical societies of physicians who were homeopaths. This purge was successful in every state except Massachusetts because homoepathy was so strong among the Elite of Boston.

The AMA wanted to keep homeopaths out of their societies and discourage any type of association with them. In 1855 the AMA established a code of ethics which stated that orthodox physicians would lose their membership if they even consulted with a homeopath. If a physician lost his membership, it meant that in some States he no longer had a licence to practice medicine.

Drug companies were antagonistic towards homeopathy, collectively trying to suppress it. The medical journals they published were used as mouthpieces against homeopathy and in support of orthodox medicine.

At an AMA meeting, a respected orthodox physician said: 'We must admit that we never fought the homeopath on matters of principles; we fought him because he came into the community and got the business.' Economic issues played a major role in what was allowed to be practiced.

Homeopathy attracted support from many of the most respected members of society in the U.S., such as William James, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Louisa M. Alcott, Mark Twain, former American Presidents James Garfield and William McKinley. In Britain among its supporters were George Bernard Shaw, Charles Dickens, W.B. Yeats, William Thackarey, Benjamin Disraeli, Yehudi Menuhin. Other famous supporters were Dostoevsky, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Mahatma Ghandi.

Nowadays, celebrities using and supporting homeopathy are many and include among others: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tina Turner, Whoopi Goldberg, Pamela Anderson, Jane Fonda, Cher, Rosie O'Donnell, Martin Sheen, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Jane Seymour, Lesley Anne Warren, Mariel Hemingway, Lindsay Wagner, Paul McCartney, Axl Rose, Linda Gray, Susan Blakely, Michael Franks, Cybil Sheppard, Dizzy Gillespie, Vidal Sassoon, Angelica Houston, Boris Becker, Martina Navratilova, David Beckham, Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, Cliff Robertson, Jerry Hall, Diane von Furstenberg, Ashley Judd, Naomi Judd, Olivia Newton-John, Julianna Margulies, JD Salinger, Blythe Danner, Pat Riley (coach of the Miami Heat). The list of famous people who supported homeopathy is endless...


The aristocratic patronage of homeopathy in the U.K. extending well into the 1940s and beyond can be easily demonstrated. In the Homeopathic Medical Directories there are lists of patrons of the dispensaries and hospitals. They read like an extract from Burke's or Debrett's. See A History of Homeopathy in Britain by Peter Morrell, Honorary Research Associate in the History of Medicine, Staffordshire University, UK

Homeopathy is practiced nowadays in countries all over the world and is especially popular in France, South America and India where there are around 250,000 homeopathic doctors! In a recent Global TGI survey where people were asked whether they trust homeopathy, the following percentages of people living in urban areas said YES: 62% in India, 58% Brazil, 53% Saudi Arabia, Chile 49%, United Arab Emirates 49%, France 40%, South Africa 35%, Russia 28%, Germany 27%, Argentina 25%, Hungary 25%, USA 18%, UK 15%.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Mothers Act Disease Mongering Campaign - Part 3

In an article titled, "Disorders Made To Order," in the July 2002 issue of Mother Jones Magazine, Brendan Koerner described the "modus operandi" of marketing a disease rather than selling a drug, "typical of the post-Prozac era."



"The strategy [companies] use-it's almost mechanized by now," said the late Dr Loren Mosher, a San Diego psychiatrist and former official at the National Institute of Mental Health, in the article.

"Typically, a corporate-sponsored "disease awareness" campaign focuses on a mild psychiatric condition with a large pool of potential sufferers," Koerner noted.

"Prominent doctors are enlisted to publicly affirm the malady's ubiquity," he said. "Public-relations firms launch campaigns to promote the new disease, using dramatic statistics from corporate-sponsored studies."

"Companies fund studies that prove the drug's efficacy in treating the affliction, a necessary step in obtaining FDA approval for a new use, or 'indication,'" he wrote.

"Finally, patient groups are recruited to serve as the "public face" for the condition, supplying quotes and compelling human stories for the media; many of the groups are heavily subsidized by drugmakers, and some operate directly out of the offices of drug companies' P.R. firms," Koerner explained.

The disease focused on in Koerner's article was generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD. The PR firm credited with orchestrating the successful campaign of selling the disease and Paxil to treat it, was Cohn & Wolfe, working for GlaxoSmithKline.

As an ex-employee of Cohen & Wolfe, Katherine Stone serves well as one of the "public faces" for the Mothers Act disease mongering campaign, complete with her own website, Postpartum Progress.

"This is the most widely-read blog in the U.S. on depression & anxiety during pregnancy & postpartum," Katherine announces on the first page of her site.

She serves on the board of directors of Postpartum Support Internation, as the public relations outreach chairwoman, and provides live links on Postpartum Progress to buy the books of all the "experts" profiting off their self-created industry of "reproductive psychiatry."

In a July 11, 2008, posting titled, "Postpartum Depression By The Numbers," Katherine states that, "more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses this year than the combined number of new cases for men and women of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy."

Advice for Healthcare Professionals

On Postpartum Progress, the public face, Katherine, provides a link to a down-loadable copyrighted document titled, "Six Things Every Healthcare Professional Should Know About Pregnancy & Postpartum Depression & Anxiety."

In point one, she states: "Postpartum depression is only one in a spectrum of perinatal mental illnesses. One size does not fit all."

"Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders include antepartum depression and anxiety, postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, postpartum psychosis and postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder," Katherine informs "Healthcare Professionals".

In point six, she uses the "screen" word and states: "It is important to screen because you can't tell by looking."

In point five, the public face tells the professionals: "The sooner your patient gets treatment the better," and writes a whole paragraph filled with the following misleading and false disease mongering comments:

"Many recent studies show that both the physical and emotional health of untreated women and their children are negatively impacted over the long term. Babies whose mothers have untreated depression during pregnancy, for instance, are twice as likely to be born pre-term, twice as likely to go to the NICU and have a 50% higher risk of developmental delay. It is important to identify sufferers as early as possible to avoid such complications where possible."

"Together," she claims, "perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are the number one complication of childbirth."

On another webpage, she provides answers to the question: "What are Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders?" and shows how easy it is to pin a money-making diagnosis of PSTD on vulnerable and naive new mothers.

For "Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," Katherine writes: "All you have to do to be at risk for getting postpartum PTSD is to have the perception of a traumatic childbirth -- in other words, even if your doctors and nurses feel that everything went fairly normally, if it was upsetting and scary and unexpected to you that's what counts."

A March 2009, "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder," by David Benedek, MD, Matthew Friedman, MD, PhD, Douglas Zatzick, MD, and Robert Ursano, MD, reports that, "SSRIs are recommended as first-line medication treatment for PTSD."

"Benzodiazepines may be useful in reducing anxiety and improving sleep," the authors state.

"In addition to being indicated in patients with comorbid psychotic disorders, second-generation antipsychotic medications ... may be helpful in individual patients with PTSD," it says. "Anticonvulsant medications ... , a2-adrenergic agonists, and ß-adrenergic blockers may also be helpful in treating specific symptom clusters in individual patients."

Another Human Face

Another public face in the Mothers Act disease mongering campaign is Lauren Hale. Hale is the Postpartum Support International coordinator for Georgia. She also runs a website called "Sharing the Journey," and in unison with all the others, writes blogs parroting the agreed upon talking points of the campaign.

"This Blog Supports the Mothers Act," is prominently posted on her site. Hale also tells visitors: "A Girl's Gotta Eat! Click the icon above to make a donation to support this hard-working blogger!"

Of course, Hale's site also provides links to all the other sites that make up the internet chain of disease mongers, such as Postpartum Support International and Postpartum Progress, and the two treatment centers owned by social workers, Karen Kleiman and Susan Stone, recruiting potential customers through the websites "Postpartum Stress Center," and "PerinatalPro."

In fact, a quick count on Hale's site shows links to a total of 10 different websites with "PPD," in their names, and 11 more with "Postpartum Depression," in their title.

On July 15, 2009, Hale described the legislation as follows: "The MOTHER'S Act as it reads in the current version would provide funds for a public awareness campaign, education campaign for caregivers, increase availability of treatment options and entities as well as require the current Secretary of Health & Human Services to conduct a study regarding the validity of screening for Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders."

This statement is a typical example of the disease mongering complained of because nowhere in the bill does it say a study will be conducted on the "validity of screening for Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders." The "conditions" are defined as "postpartum depression" and "postpartum psychosis" only.

Hale takes the campaign to a whole new level on her site in being the most prolific promoter of the notion that new dads also suffer from postpartum depression and need treatment. For instance, a link on her site takes readers to a pamphlet with a warning: "Don't Forget about DAD!"

"Dads too can suffer from Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND) and need to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of this increasingly occurring disorder," it states, and describes what to look for in the new disorder, as follows:

"Signs that Dad may be suffering from PPND may include change in appetite, loss of interest in hobbies and other activities, feeling down for more than two weeks, increased irritability and frustration, guilt or shame surrounding these feelings, inadequacy feelings related to fatherhood, and insomnia."

"If these symptoms do not go away after two weeks, Dad should be seen by a medical professional," the pamphlet advises.

Hale even includes a special section on her site for the "Postpartum Dads Project," and also provides links to websites called "Postpartum Dads" and "Postpartum Men."

On January 19, 2008, Katherine also featured a blog on Postpartum Progress to announce a, "New Resource for Men with PPD," and provided a link to the website "PostpartumMen."

"This site was expressly created for men who experience postpartum depression themselves," Katherine said. "Recent research has indicated that men can experience postpartum depression, or PPND (paternal postnatal depression), too, and this population has been underserved until now."

This is but one example of the way the Mothers Act gang works. Once an item is posted on one website, the others will pick it up and repost it to flood the internet.

All the sites put out blogs promoting screening tools. On September 2008, Postpartum Support International ran the news flash: "3 Questions Can Spot Possible Postpartum Depression."

A three-item anxiety sub-scale of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale turned out to be a better screening tool than the two other abbreviated versions which are almost the same as the commonly used Patient Health Questionnaire, PSI reported.

The same day, Katherine repeated the story with the headline: "Researchers Find 3-Question Screening Test Effective in ID'ing PPD."

The StorkNet website wrote: "Postpartum Depression: Three Simple Questions to Ask Yourself," for the same pop quiz. "A simple new 3-question test has proven very reliable at detecting postpartum depression," it reported.

In a July 8, 2009, blog, Hale reported on the latest hot screening tool. "This morning I discovered an iPhone app which includes the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale along with three other depression scales," she wrote.

"Chances are many new moms either have an iPhone or know someone who does," she said. "What's really cool about this app is that it stores the last 30 entries so you can take the results straight to your doctor."

"Speaking of doctors," she continued, "if you're a professional, you too can get this app for your iPhone as well so if you're faced with a new mom who doesn't seem to be doing very well, you can screen on the spot without having to hunt down a screening tool in your office."

"Pretty cool, huh?" Hale wrote.

Undiagnosed Foot in Mouth Disease

As a "public face" in the campaign, Katherine regularly and dutifully discusses her bout with "postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder," which began with her first pregnancy in 2001, and has now apparently required eight years of treatment, including five antidepressants and two antipsychotics, according to her reporting on Postpartum Progress.

In a June 2004, Newsweek article, Katherine publicly discussed how she ended up getting treatment for OCD, and made sure to tell readers: "I've written my congressman and senators and asked them to pass the Melanie Blocker-Stokes act."

"I took advantage of my company's employee-assistance program and called the help line," she said. "God blessed me that day. They put me in touch with a wonderful therapist who saw me immediately and recognized what was wrong."

"As it turns out, I had postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder," Katherine stated.

In describing her treatment, she wrote, "in my case, that meant taking an antidepressant and going for weekly therapy sessions."

"For a while I was convinced that I'd never be the same person again," she noted.

"But I did everything my doctor told me to do, and I'm now back to the old me," Katherine told readers of Newsweek in June 2004.

On February 11, 2005, Katherine posted a "Letter to Bill O'Reilly," on her website, which she sent in response to segment on PPD on his show.

"Unless I'm misunderstanding him," she wrote in her blog, "he doesn't want to seem to admit that this is a real illness that many women suffer." In the "Dear Bill" letter, Katherine wrote in part:

"I saw your segment last night on postpartum depression. I can understand your concern over making sure that true criminals don't misuse mental illness defenses. I share that concern. But let me assure you, this is as real an illness as any other."

"I am 35 years old, and am the former Director of Experiential Marketing at The Coca-Cola Company. I now run my own marketing consultancy. I tell you this so you'll know I am a bright, successful young woman."

"Sir, you have to understand that I am as competent as they come and a fairly accomplished young person," Katherine told Bill.

"Before the birth of my son, I had never been treated for or experienced any mental illness," she said. "Upon his birth, I spiraled into a darkness so horrific I thought I'd never be the same again," and further described the OCD disorder in stating: "I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I had uncontrollable thoughts of harming my son."

"I can't explain to you why I thought of smothering my son with a burp cloth," Katherine said. "I had never had such disturbing thoughts in all my life."

"I felt like a defective human being who would be sent away forever never to see my loved ones again," she wrote.

"In fact," she said, "all I needed was a competent psychiatrist, some medication and some therapy," in making treatment sound so simple.

"I am now perfectly fine," Katherine informed Bill in 2005, giving the definite impression that she was cured, four years after the bout began in 2001.

In a webpage titled, "The Art of Psychiatric Medication," originally published with a date of June 8, 2006, Katherine told readers:

"I've taken many medications, including Effexor, Celexa, Seroquel, Risperdal, Wellbutrin, Luvox, Cymbalta, etc."

"Throughout all of them I was on the road to recovery," she said. "Some just worked better than others at treating my symptoms."

A few months later, in a September 5, 2006 blog, Katherine was praising antidepressants again, and was seemly annoyed that Brooke Shields accepted an apology from Tom Cruise.

"So Tom Cruise has now apologized to Brooke Shields, and she accepted his apology," Katherine wrote.

"Good for them both," she added.

"I, on the other hand, have not forgiven Tom Cruise," she said.

"It hurt all of us when he dragged our illness into the spotlight and essentially made us feel awful for having taken medications that were prescribed to us by legitimate physicians in order to recover," she stated, using the term, "legitimate physicians."

"It's okay with me that he doesn't believe in antidepressants," she wrote. "No problem."

"But don't judge me because I do believe in them," Katherine said.

"Don't make me look bad in the public eye because I had to take them," she wrote, with the verb "had," making it sound like she "used" to take antidepressants.

"They saved my life," Katherine announced.

In a November 30, 2006 blog, she wrote: "I agree with the premise that every illness doesn't require medication."

"But the truth is, no doctor or mental health industry or advertisement or any other such thing made me think or do anything," she said, claiming she made the right choices about medications.

"I made the choices about being treated, working with my doctor, and I recovered," Katherine wrote in late 2006, once again leaving the impression that she was cured with the past tense "recovered."

On June 6, 2007, Katherine boldly told her readers, "I and thousands of other women like me are evidence that, when in postpartum crisis, antidepressants can save lives and restore families."

"I used meds, and yes it took me several to find the one that worked for me, but once it did it was GREAT," she wrote, without mentioning the names of the five she tried, and with the term "used meds" in past tense as if she was through with antidepressants.

"I'm proud of the choices I made," Katherine once again claimed.

"I wouldn't change them for a second," she proudly pronounced in mid-2007.

In April 2009, after all of the above comments, and after the reporting of her admissions in the Art of Medication article that she took two antipsychotics, and not one but five antidepressants, to treat a single diagnosis of postpartum OCD, Katherine removed the names of the drugs from the article and inserted the following paragraph:

"My psychiatrist gave me seven different medications, partially because he didn't know what he was doing and partially because some of them didn't work for me.

"When I finally found a trained doctor, we developed a plan that worked, including one antidepressant and weekly therapy."

In further explaining her supposedly erroneous comments in the Medication webpage, that remained on her site for women to read for nearly three years, on April 12, 2009, Katherine wrote: "What I also should have said, though, is that my first psychiatrist who put me on all those meds was horrible and untrained and a total nightmare."

"It wasn't until I left him and found someone who had specific experience in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders that I got a whole lot better," she said, in reference to apparently firing a "male" doctor.

Katherine then identified the new doctor as a female. "She and I talked in depth about the variety of treatments available to me," Katherine said, "I chose to take medication and attend therapy weekly, and the speed limit on my road to recovery went from 35 to 70 mph."

However, less than two years ago, on June 14, 2007, Katherine identified her doctor as a male, in a blog with the headline: "Upcoming Event in Asheville Features My Psychiatrist!"

This announcement was for a seminar held for "prescribing clinicians," titled, "Postpartum Mood Disorders: A Systemic Approach to Biopsychosocial Treatment."

"The key speaker will be Dr. Jeffrey Newport, associate director of the Emory Women's Mental Health Program here in Atlanta and also my psychiatrist!!!!", Katherine wrote in her blog.

"I have firsthand knowledge that Dr. Newport rocks," she told readers. While it may be true that Newport "rocks," as far as helping Katherine change her obsessive and compulsive thought processes, years of rocking with the good doctor has seemingly failed.

The story on Postpartum Progress is that: "In 2001 she suffered postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder after the birth of her first child."

On April 17, 2009, Katherine wrote that she continues to take "meds" (plural) "for my OCD." Other blogs mention Cymbalta and that she took antidepressants to "prevent" PPD during her second pregnancy. In a blog describing her treatment, she wrote: "I saw my fabulous psychiatrist at Emory every month (Hi Dr. Newport!)."

A June 8, 2009, article titled, "Is Congress Ignoring Unintended Consequences?", contains this statement: "Stone suffered from postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder after the birth of her son and was prescribed an anti-depressant that she said provided immeasurable support."

In this article, Katherine is a source plugging the Mothers Act. A google search, with the story's headline in quotes, brings up 26 hits on the internet, and once again misleads women into believing that she only took a single antidepressant to recover from postpartum OCD.

Critics of disease mongering say the costs, duration, risks and benefits of treatment should be fully discussed when reporting on disorders and their treatments. Nowhere in the endless blogs written for Postpartum Progress, and reposted on other websites, over the past 5 years, is there any mention of the costs incurred by Katherine for all the "treatment" she received between 2001 and 2009, to "recover".

In summary, the first doctor, who she now alleges was a flunky, was a male. Next, a second female doctor reportedly came on the scene, and then another male was listed in 2007. That's three doctors, that we know of. Each prescribed drugs and Katherine merrily attended weekly therapy sessions for years on end, according to her own reporting.

The public deserves to know how much money is at stake for the pharmaceutical industry here. The price of Eli Lilly's Cymbalta at a middle dose was $391 for ninety capsules on May 6, 2009, at DrugStore.com, meaning a years worth would run $4,692.

Of the other antidepressants Katherine was prescribed, Weyth's Effexor cost $197 for 90 tablets, 30 tablets of GlaxoSmithKline's 24-hour Wellbutrin was $202, and Luvox CR cost $135 for 90 pills, in December 2008 at DrugStore.com. One hundred tablets of 20mg Celexa sold for $355 in July, 2009.

For the two antipsychotics, in April 2009, Janssen's Risperdal cost $716 per 90 tablets, and 100 tablets of AstraZeneca's Seroquel cost $839. A year's worth of Seroquel alone would add up to $10,068 on DrugStore.com.

The latest shrink identified by Katherine, Jeffrey Newport, has received research support from Lilly, Glaxo, Janssen, and Wyeth, and has served on speaker's bureaus for AstraZeneca, Lilly, Glaxo, Pfizer, and Wyeth, according to an August 2007 disclosure for a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The disclosures do not reveal the amounts paid to Newport by each drug maker. However, Newport is the associate director of Emory University's Women's Program, and recently revealed information on his boss, the director, Zachary Stowe, may shed some light on the potential earning power of Newport.

Stowe is the latest addition to a long list of psychiatric researchers under investigation by the US Senate Finance Committee for not disclosing the money they were paid by drug companies, while conducting federally funded studies on psych drugs.

Much of Stowe's research specifically focused on the use of drugs with pregnant and nursing mothers and Newport is a co-author on many papers.

Senate records show Stowe received roughly a quarter of a million dollars from one drug maker, Glaxo, for giving mostly promotional talks on Paxil, in 2007 and 2008 alone. And like Newport above, Stowe is a paid speaker for numerous drug companies.

As chairman of Emory's psychiatry department, Dr Charles Nemeroff, was boss to both Newport and Stowe, until he was forced to give up his chair in 2008, after the Finance Committe found he failed to report at least $1.2 million of the $2.8 million he earned from drug makers between 2000 and 2007, including over $800,000 from the Paxil maker.

With links to its website, the Emory program has been promoted as the top women's program in the US for years, by nearly all the major Mothers Act disease mongering sites.

The total amount a woman would have to spend on office calls for the prescribing physician and the therapy sessions attended by Katherine over a period of 8 years is impossible to estimate.

In the Art of Medication article, she told women that "expecting to get better in a week is unrealistic."

"What you can expect is to get less sick over time until you get back to who you were before you got sick," she said. "For some people that takes a couple of months, for some people longer."

Some women might think that eight years of taking drugs and seeing mental health professionals is quite a bit longer than "a couple of months."

Queen of the Depression Bloggers

Katherine's website was selected as one of the top 10 depression blogs by PsychCentral in both 2007 and 2008, according to her website bio.

The CEO and founder of the PsychCentral website is psychologist, John Grohol, an avid supporter of the Mothers Act. In fact, he often allows Katherine to repost entire articles, written for Postpartum Progress, on PsychCentral.

However, a review of Grohol's website reveals a few potential profit motives behind pumping up Katherine's status and publicly listing her as "top 10" depression blogger two years in a row, to draw women to his website.

In fact, PsychCentral appears to be running a one-stop internet treatment center with 24 hour service online. For starters, Grohol's provides a link for potential patients to: "Consult an online therapist."

When clicking on the link, the webpage states: "Our certified personality and emotional disorder therapists can help."

The good news is: "All sessions are private and start free." However, in checking the "services" for the first three listed "experts," the chat prices were listed as $1.50, $1.99 and $2.00 per minute, at the end of the description.

With a vivid imagination, it may be possible to form a deep therapeutic relationship by looking in eyes of the counselors in the pictures on Grohol's website, while listening to voice on the phone, and blocking out the fact that every word is costing $2.00 per minute.

Being the service sounds eerily similar to psychic hotlines, it may be safe to assume that the "therapy" will not be billable to insurance and public health care programs and a credit card might be required for each chat.

As a further service to potential patients visiting PsychCentral, Grohol posts ads for drug companies. The antipsychotic, Abilify, is prominently advertised with a statement saying, "Adding ABILIFY to your antidepressant may help," along with a link to the drug's website.

The Abilify site claims: "A clinical study showed that approximately two-thirds of those diagnosed with depression did not achieve adequate symptom relief after taking an antidepressant alone."

"If you're currently taking an antidepressant, it may not be providing you with adequate symptom relief," the website advises.

"Ask your healthcare professional if adding ABILIFY is right for you," it tells readers. The cost of Abilify at DrugStore.com was $1,230 for ninety 10mg tablets in April, 2009.

Grohol's site also features an ad for the antidepressant, Cymbalta, where people can: "Sign up for a free sample of Cymbalta with your doctor's prescription," and click on a link to "Get the Voucher Now!"

People reading the Cymbalta ad can even get instructions on: "What should I talk about with my healthcare provider?"

For the 66% of the people who click on the link for Abilify, and decide they do not "achieve adequate symptom relief," with Cymbalta, at a cost of $391 a month, they can add Abilify to the mix for a total of only $1,621.

Disease mongering through "treatment resistant depression" is the latest rage. With Pharma funded front groups flooding the internet with the online depression screenings, combined with websites like Grohol's posting free drug coupons, this marketing coup has turned into one of the most effective customer recruitment schemes for everyone involved.

However, before gulping down a grand a month worth of psych drugs for "treatment resistant depression," or paying $2 a minute to chat about "personality or emotional disorders," people may want to reconsider the diagnosis after reading comments posted over on the, "Carlat Psychiatry Blog," on May 13, 2009, by Gina Pera, one of the top disease mongers for "legal speed freaks," and hawker of a book on Adult ADHD.

"Maybe a sizeable majority of these "treatment resistance depression" and "personality disorders" populations are people with ADHD," she wrote. "Especially in women."

On July 15, 2009, Pera offered further advice about the Mothers Act on PsychCentral. "My only concern with the Mothers Act is that it is too narrowly focused on depression, specifically PPD," she said.

"Conservatively," she wrote, "10 million adults in the U.S. have ADHD, but only one tenth know that they do, and only a fraction of those are pursuing treatment."

"Presumably, half of those 10 million are women. (And again, that is an extremely conservative estimate.)," Pera said.

"It would make more sense to me to screen new mothers for all mental illness, because if they go in looking for PPD or depression, well, you know what they say about a hammer and everything looking like a nail," she continued.

"Moreover, I would like to see new fathers screened as well," she added.

The above advice from Pera, on the type of screening that should be implemented via the Mothers Act, for both mothers and fathers, comes from "an award-winning print journalist based in the San Francisco Bay area," according to a bio on her website.

In a July 2, 2009, blog on her own site, Pera posted, "A quick note to let you know that yesterday Amazon reduced the price of my book, Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder -- from $21.95 to $14.26."

Self-Made Expert for Hire

Katherine is now listed on LinkedIn for hire, with an online summary that reads: "Talented, award-winning marketing and PR professional returning to the workforce after brief sabbatical as full-time mom."

"Skills include experiential marketing concept development, brand positioning, marketing strategy, social networking, and public relations campaign development and execution," she writes.

"Used break from full-time employment to become an expert at social media, creating most widely-read blog in the U.S. in her niche," the summary states in obvious reference to Postpartum Progress.

Last year, Katherine was honing her skills by giving one-hour talks on, "Project Healthy Moms: What You Need To Know About Perinatal Mood Disorders," paid for with a $20,000 grant from Zoloft-maker, Pfizer, funneled through the Georgia chapter of Mental Health America, a Big Pharma front group that receives millions of dollars from psych drug makers every year.

On her website, Katherine posts a live link to the Georgia group, for which she says, "this is my home chapter for MHA, so I'm biased!"

In March 2008, Lauren Hale teamed up for a seminar titled, "Managing Perinatal Depression: Reappraising the Risks," with Katherine, and speaker Jeffrey Newport. Learning objectives were listed in part as: "Delineate the fetal/infant risk of exposure to maternal depression and review currently available antidepressants," and "Propose a comprehensive treatment model for perinatal depression."

"Katherine Stone and Lauren Hale discuss their experience with postpartum depression," a summary for the event said. The seminar was sponsored by a treatment facility and the MHA Georgia group.

After the funneling of Pfizer money to Katherine was exposed, she claimed she did not get the whole twenty grand. But the amount she received averaged out to be roughly $350 per talk, which is not too shabby considering her "human face" role in the disease mongering campaign.

A petition for people who want to sign on to support the Mothers Act is provided on a website called, "GoPetition," with a current "Public Signature List," of 33 names. The latest signature was added on July 13, 2009.

GoPetition says the petition was posted by "Heidi," presumably referring to signature, Heidi Koss-Nobel, telling members of Congress to: "Please pass this important bill to protect thousands of families from the undiagnosed suffering of pregnancy and postpartum depression."

However, some of the viewable comments posted along side the supporter's signatures seem a bit odd. For example, the comment for the name, "BestSellersq," reads: "This is the best viagra shop! The best price for viagra. Please visit it!"

Signature Mindy Brooks wrote: "This is insane! Where will it end?"

But on the other hand, supporter, Terri Buysse, states: "This act is essential to help protect our children and to support uncounted numbers of women who suffer from devastating illnesses after giving birth."

And Sarah Masterson wrote: "As the PSI coordinator for Washington, DC, as a mother and an advocate for mothers, I would like to join my colleagues in urging our members of Congress to pass the MOTHERS Act."

Katherine signed the petition but apparently decided not to post a comment.

The young mother heading an organization of over 50 groups against the Act, Amy Philo, provides a petition for people against the Act to sign on her "Unite for Life," website, which is then sent to members of Congress. At last check, the petition had about 12,600 viewable signatures.

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