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Posts Tagged Ponsonby News

Vitamin C: Primal panacea? Yeah, right! Siouxsie Wiles Mar 07

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Those that know me, know I regularly rant about the bastion of local journalism that is the Ponsonby News, a whopping 150 page A4 magazine which lands free in my letter box every month (except January when they take a well earned rest…), one of almost 17,000 distributed around Auckland’s inner suburbs. The Ponsonby News is essentially an enormous advertising feature, and being Ponsonby based, a number of the adverts are for alternative therapies. It also has a number of ‘health correspondents’: John Appleton, who has a website selling vitamin and other supplements, ‘Dr’ Ajit, an Ayurvedic practitioner with a couple of spa’s in Auckland, and more recently an estate agent who recommends bleach as a cure all.

Back in the December issue, John Appleton espoused vitamin C while alongside his column ran a full page advert for the book ‘Primal Panacea’ by Thomas E Levy, which claims to explain how shortages of vitamin C can lead to heart disease and cancer and how this ‘panacea’ (available to buy on Mr Appleton’s online store) can be used to prevent and treat hundreds of infectious diseases.

It is interesting to note that Thomas E Levy, who trained as a medical doctor in the 70’s and then qualified as a lawyer in the mid 90’s, states on his CV, which is available to download on his website, that he is currently an Associate Professor at Capital University of Integrative Medicine (CUIM). Turns out that CUIM was founded by a convicted fraudster and closed its operations over five years ago. Furthermore, it was what is known in the industry as a ‘diploma mill’, offering degrees that were not recognised by official educational accrediting bodies. Despite ‘15 years of research’ Dr Levy has not published a single peer-reviewed article on the link between vitamin C and disease.

Renowned NZ physicist Sir Paul Callaghan, who has colon cancer, has recently gone on record as saying there was no evidence high dose intravenous vitamin C did anything for him (story covered nicely by Grant Jacobs over at Code for life). Being a scientist he took a scientific approach to his vitamin C ‘trial’, measuring the effectiveness of the treatment using a blood test for protein carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), which indicates cancer levels.

Much like for dieting, there really is no evidence for any substance being a panacea although acetylsalicylic acid, more commonly known as Aspirin, is probably the closest we have to it. Believing vitamin C can prevent and cure all disease may cause life-threatening delays to people starting genuine medical treatment.

Holistic (aka hocum) technology: YCTinside® Siouxsie Wiles Nov 19

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Reading through the November edition of the Ponsonby News I came across an advert for the Pawtect Pendant, an

“…innovative, natural solution designed to control fleas and ticks…”

Not only that, this chemical-free pendant which just clips onto a pet’s collar, comes in two convenient sizes (Petite for cats and dogs 800g to 25kg [RRP 87 NZD)] and Grande for dogs 10-50kg [RRP 97 NZD]) and lasts up to two years

“…supports a healthy skin and coat, it assists with the elimination of skin irritations and allergies, improves and strengthens immunity and encourages a naturally calm and content demeanour…”

So how does it work, I hear you ask? According to the advert:

“Pawtect uses proven bioenergetic technology and combines quantum physics and homeopathic principles to stimulate your pet’s natural processes and return them to a harmonious state.”

So I’m guessing this is the homeopathic principle of containing nothing. Or maybe its ‘like cures like’ in which case perhaps it contains a really small squashed flea? But I must say I was stumped by what bit of quantum physics it might be combined with. So I headed off to the website and there was introduced to YCTinside® technology. I can honestly say I almost fell of the sofa. The description reads like Google Translate gone hideously wrong. If anyone can decode it for me I would love to hear from them.

“The YCT principle which is independent of place, time and person and complies with the scientific standard.
The effect YCT does not use any electric, magnetic, chemical, thermal or radioactive energy, but works with natural vibration pulses — explainable analogously or ion radiation dotation.

YCTinside® technology works in the quantum range (quantum = energy carrier) and its main purpose is to take effect on the body’s information systems. If there is no harmony in the body, a physical or mental symptom occurs, this condition is based on a dysfunction in the elementary vibration condition of atoms and molecules.

With YCTinside® technology it is possible to modulate the ‘energetic matrix’ to organic and inorganic substances of selectable substances = ‘information transfer’. The information transfer is based on the ‘vibration principle’. The initial matter used to transfer information can be liquid or solid or of organic or inorganic origin. The energies of a living cell are in direct relation to the processes of life, they are light energy parts called biophotons in physics.
YCTinside activates the biophotons in our body with a targeted catalytic effect. This stimulates the natural processes and leads them to their origin.

Genetic manipulations are not possible. The biophotons emit a so-called ‘coherent light’ which can nowadays be made visible with state-of-the-art scientific equipment (e.g. ‘residual light amplifiers’). Coherent light is a particularly energy-rich photon light (laser light, for instance), which is characterised by the fact that it has at least two equal, linked frequencies with the same constant phase difference and runs through the location at the same
time in a coupled manner.

Our body predominantly consists of photons. Body cells communicate with one another by the means of light (biophotons).
As the biophoton level (quantum fields) is superordinate to matter and controls it, all life processes run with biophotons. With suitable bio information, the body’s own regeneration systems are subject to training and healing processes initiated.

Only an electrically immaculately working cell can meet its disposal obligations in the metabolism. Otherwise the immune system gradually weakens. People become ever more prone to disease. External substances even in the nano range build up in the body and can no longer be recognised or broken down by a cell working at reduced capacity.

An ‘activation of the cell‘ with YCTinside® technology results in the energy level (= immune defence) being raised and the cell better supplied with nutrients and oxygen. The plus pole voltage (+) of the cell core and the minus pole voltage (-) of the cell shell are in the balance in a healthy cell. If the atoms assume electrons, they become negative ions. If atoms emit electrons, they become positive ions. If the electric charge is reduced in a cell and if the fall below a certain level of ion exchange, the cell separation is reduced, i.e. weak, sick cells are created.

With the help of YCTinside® technology we have managed to address both poles at the same time. This form of energy is called a nil conductor or standard energy.

The transfer of quantum-physically prepared information with YCTinside® technology is performed via the antenna system of the skin, which are also called plaques. These plaques (minute geometrical figures) are on and slightly below the skin and regulate as the central energy points all important bodily functions via a neuronal network. It runs approx. 0.5 to 1 mm under the surface of the skin and regulates all important control functions in the information exchange between the universe and human organism.

With photons (form or increase with the frequency range of YCTinside® technology), i.e. mass-less light quantums as the smallest, crystalline information carriers, additional cosmic frequencies are transmitted via the lymphatic system directly into the top layer of the skin.

Photons are transmitted via sense cells in the organism, fine-texture levels of the aura, antenna systems of the skin’s alarm points, retina of the eye and the plant colorants included in foods. These pulses are transmitted to certain parts of the brain, where they trigger sorting, processing and memorising processes which result in corresponding reactions and organ reactions.
With the help of YCTinside® technology universal frequencies are transmitted via electromagnetic vibrations. In the human organism these positively aligned pulses have a constructive and strengthening effect on the self-healing process of the bodily functions.”

Eh? I recognise the biophoton waffle. This seems to refer to the German physicist Dr Fritz-Albert Popp who believes every living cell emits light (‘biophotons’), that DNA is the likely source of this light and that is is the means by which all communication occurs between cells and forms the basis of health and disease. I think he means auras. Interestingly, as my research field is biophotonic imaging, I was recently sent a paper to review about ‘biophoton signatures’ and the potential to use them to diagnose disease. People in this field seem to self-publish prolifically but what they always fail to mention is the fact that non-living things have a ‘biophotonic signature’ too when you image them using really sensitive cameras. I’m still waiting for them to tell me where the DNA of a plastic 96 well plate is, and whether it is sick or healthy.

The website finishes off with a very bold claim:

“Even negative information which cause sickness can be corrected with vibration pulses with the help of YCTinside® technology and restored to a positive condition of the physical body. As a rule, every dysfunction of human control cycles can be balanced in this way, which means that every disease could be cured.”

When I Googled YCTinside I found a website selling a similar pendant in America, but at least they state that their pendant

“…is not to be considered a diagnostic tool, a treatment, cure or preventative device for any disease or symptom.”

And regarding the description of the technology? They make

“no representations, warranties or assurances as to its accuracy, currency or completeness.”

I’m just left wondering why they believe it only lasts two years? Will the bullshit run out after that or something?

Is your dog as healthy as you? Not likely in your case, Ms Kelland. Siouxsie Wiles Sep 24

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I recently described the ‘health correspondents’ who feature in a local free publication called the Ponsonby News. This month they have a new one, Deborah Kelland*. In her first article entitled ‘Is your dog as healthy as you?’** Ms Kelland described how she has recently completed four liver/gallbladder cleanses

“to rid myself of hundreds of gallstones (that I never realised that I had)”

as a result of reading Andreas Moritz***‘s book ‘The liver and gallbladder miracle cleanse’. Ms Kelland has a hypothyroid Giant Schnauzer called Strauss who she says frequently suffers from infections and

“all kinds of immunity issues”

Declaring herself convinced that the liver “is the fundamental issue in all health disorders”, Ms Kelland decides she should try the liver/gallbladder cleanse regime (five days of apple juice followed by a day of Epsom salts and olive oil, in case you were wondering) on Strauss. She decided to contact Andreas Moritz for guidance, via his Facebook page.

Apparently Mr Moritz could not see how it was feasible to administer his health regime to a dog. Instead he suggested she try Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), described by Jim Humble in his 2006 self-published book, The Miracle Mineral Solution of the 21st Century, as a cure for HIV, malaria, hepatitis viruses, the H1N1 flu virus, common colds, acne, cancer. You get the picture. And what is this miracle mineral solution? Essentially bleach. Scary. Sold by the tales that MMS detoxifies the body, Ms Kelland started adding a few drops to Strauss’ daily water. The result?

“He excreted days of black tar”

To be fair, she also says he has gone on to gain energy and vitality. Phew.

Needless to say, I’ve written a letter to the editor**** and contacted the vet who’s column appeared alongside hers and urged him to comment too. Isn’t it sad that someone would choose to discuss the health of their pet with a modern day snake-oil salesman over Facebook instead of consulting a vet, and then not worry when they start to excrete black tar? <sigh>

UPDATE 25/9/11:  Thanks to Alison Campbell for telling me about this paper in the Lancet by two doctors who analysed ‘gallstones’ given to them by a patient who had been on the ‘gallbladder/liver cleanse’ and found them not to be gallstones at all but ‘soap stones which contained cholesterol, bilirubin, or calcium by established wet chemical methods. Instead they seem to form from the action of gastrointestinal enzymes on the olive oil taken as part of the ‘cleanse’.

* Who I believe is a real estate agent.

** You can read her article in its entirety on page 143 of the online version of the Ponsonby News.

***Actually i’m assuming its this guy, she calls him Andreas Mortiz. Pharyngula on the other hand calls him a ‘cancer quack’!

**** My letter to the editor:

I felt compelled to emerge from my ivory profit-driven tower long enough to warn PN readers of the dangers of following the advice of your latest ‘health correspondent’, Deborah Kelland, who I believe is a real estate agent. Putting aside her odd belief that the liver is the ‘root of all wellbeing and disorder’, I am deeply concerned by her advocating the use of Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) by people on either themselves or their pets (Is your dog as healthy as you? September issue).

It is certainly true that MMS, which is the rather grandiose name for what is essentially bleach, is capable of killing the malaria parasite and other nasty microbes. However, it is not widely used as a treatment not because of a global conspiracy by the medical establishment against ‘science for people’, but because it is a dangerous chemical capable of killing the patient as well as ‘curing’ the disease. I am relieved that Ms Kelland administered a low enough dose to her Giant Schnauzer to only cause him to have some diarrhoea and I hope that the animal does not suffer any lasting damage.

It saddens me that someone would choose to discuss the health of their pet with a modern day snake-oil salesman over Facebook instead of consulting a vet. I’m afraid MMS is more a case of ‘pseudoscience for profit’ and would urge PN readers to more thoroughly research the subject if tempted to give it a try.

Yours sincerely

Dr Siouxsie Wiles
Ponsonby resident and University of Auckland medical researcher.

PS I would like to declare that I have no competing interests – I am neither a vet nor medical doctor and do not make a living selling an alternative to bleach to cure all ails. I am a scientist who passionately believes it is important to raise the dangers of believing poorly researched pseudoscientific health claims, regardless of whether they are made by alternative health practitioners or the medical establishment.

‘Pseudoscience’ for profit Siouxsie Wiles Sep 20

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Every month a free 150 page glossy A4 magazine lands in my letter box, one of almost 17,000 distributed around Auckland’s inner suburbs. The Ponsonby News is essentially an enormous advertising feature, and being Ponsonby based, a number of the adverts are for acupuncturists and holistic spa’s.

The Ponsonby News has a couple of ‘health correspondents’: John Appleton, who has a website selling vitamin and other supplements, and ‘Dr’ Ajit, an Ayurvedic practitioner* with a couple of spa’s in Auckland. Mr Ajit’s column is usually pretty silly, like urging people with hay fever not to eat stodgy food in winter for fear it will clog them up. But John Appleton’s column usually worries me. A couple of months ago, he was inspired by an article he read in the Listener assessing the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy and which advised readers to avoid the internet and talk to their doctor instead. Unsurprisingly, Mr Appleton was somewhat horrified by this suggestion having ‘found the internet to be a fabulous resource’ for researching topics like hormone replacement therapy. Indeed, what he went on to write about was ‘bio-identical’ hormones which he implies are a safe and effective alternative to hormone replacement therapy. I wrote a letter to the editor to point out that the benefits of ‘bio-identical’ hormones were at best over-hyped and at worst pseudoscientific nonsense**, which prompted a reply both through his column and in person***. In it, I was accused of being part of the medical establishment, locked away in my ivory tower, only interested in ‘science for profit’, unlike those in the complementary and alternative medicine field, who he believes are doing ‘science for people’. It is worrying that the alternative health field has successfully propagated the belief that it is purely motivated by improving people’s health and wellbeing, completely glossing over the fact that it is an extremely lucrative industry.

One of the points I raised in my letter to the editor was that of conflicts of interest, suggesting that the Ponsonby News should inform its readers that Mr Appleton may suffer such a thing in relation to his vitamin and supplement sales. Neither Mr Appleton or the editor addressed this point. Instead, Mr Appleton said he stood by his article on ‘bio identical hormones’ citing a review paper by Dr Kent Holtorf MD published in a fairly obscure peer reviewed journal called Postgraduate Medicine****. Interestingly, under the ‘Conflicts of interest’ section, it states that Dr Holtorf has declared no conflicts of interest. This is despite the fact that he is founder of the Holtorf Medical Group which has offered ‘bio-identical’ hormone therapy for over 10 years. Science for people? More like ‘pseudoscience for profit’, if you ask me.

* A system of traditional medicine that originated in India

** ‘Bio-identical’ was just a phrase coined to describe plant-derived molecules believed to be identical to human hormones. No evidence has ever been presented to verify this fact. Many of the conventional treatments include similar plant-derived molecules. The difference is that the conventional therapies have been studied over many years so doctors know what the side effects and risks associated with them are. There is no evidence that ‘bio-identical’ hormones are safer or more effective; it is likely they have the same side effects and risks. As for it being pseudoscience, ‘bio-identical’ hormone treatment often involves blood or saliva testing to determine which hormones are deficient and hence tailor treatment to the individual. While this sounds like a good idea, there is no scientific basis or indeed evidence that such a strategy is useful or relevant. In fact, hormone levels in the blood and saliva vary from day to day and are unlikely to reflect the actual biological activity in specific tissues.

*** If interested you can see my letter and Mr Appleton’s reply on page 84 of the online version of the Ponsonby News.

**** I say obscure because none of the medics I asked had heard of it.

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