What McTaggart really “thinks” about cancer

Incredibly, what goes into WDDTY appears actually to be a watered down version of the confused mess that lives inside Lynne McTaggart’s head.

This blog post on lynnemctaggart.com shines a light on the tortuous and bizarre reasoning she uses in daily life.  Read on, and be very afraid: people like this are actually believed and trusted by a not insignificant proportion of the population.

Susan Sontag memorably coined the term ‘Illness is metaphor,’ which always had a ring of truth to me. We get the diseases that are a metaphoric representation of some struggle in our lives. But it’s also true that there is such a thing as ‘treatment is metaphor,’ and nowhere more so than with the treatment of cancer.

None of that makes any sense at all. Cancer is not a metaphoric representation of anything, it’s a bastard killer disease. It’s not karmic destiny, it’s a combination of bad luck and bad behaviour, the proportion being highly dependent on the individual. Smokers very often get lung cancer and non-smokers don’t, but something like a brain tumour is largely down to the great cosmic crapshoot.

And treatment is not a metaphor in any meaningful sense. Well, real treatment isn’t, anyway, it’s hard to speak for the fake treatments McTaggart advocates, because so many of them are simply insane.

The reason we’re losing the War on Cancer (and we are indeed losing it, despite the bluster of governments, the media and the American Cancer Society) has to do with the metaphors we use to describe both the disease and the cure.

There is no “war on cancer” any more than there is a “war on terror”. You can’t send in the Marines and expect to eliminate the inevitable consequence of random mutation, the evolutionary mechanism that gives rise to life in the first place.

The “war on cancer” is a political term coined in the white heat of the technological revolution by that most trusted of historical figures, Richard Millhouse Nixon. It was an admittedly striking phrase used to justify the earmarking of Federal funds towards cancer research.

In the real world (admittedly terra incognita to WDDTY) cancer is not a single disease. Some cancers are in rapid retreat – childhood Hodgkin’s lymphoma is now curable in the great majority of cases – others (indolent prostate cancer being the best known example) are contained to the point where most patients will die of something else. And some are still almost as deadly today as they were a thousand years ago.

Recently a batch of researchers at the University of Michigan discovered that different metaphors change the way in which people view the disease and choose to treat it.

This we know. Quacks persuade people to view cancer as something other than what it is. Robert O. Young, for example, portrayed cancer as a response to an acidified body, and persuaded Oprah that he could cure it. The index patient, Kim Tinkham, died, of course.

There has been extensive research on the effect of mindfulness and positive thinking on cancer outcomes. The short summary is that it makes no difference.

Since 1971, when Richard Nixon famously declared ‘War on Cancer’ in 1971 our current metaphor for cancer – a war to be fought, an impossible enemy to vanquish – has skewed the way we see the disease and how we choose to treat it.

That may be true in the bubble world of “alternative” believers, but it is absolutely not a reflection of current medical thinking. Surgical oncologist Dr. David Gorski discusses this quite often.

The ‘war’ and battle imagery sets in the public and medical mind the notion that this is an impossibly wily enemy. Full-on attacks by alien invaders require desperate measures – the most lethal chemical combo that medicine has to offer – which is largely why doctors have a difficult time believing that something gentle and simple like changing your diet or taking a a herb or two could overcome an enemy this ferocious.

Really? The tabloids routinely portray cancer as a “battle”, but that’s not how oncologists view it. You might want to read the views of doctor (and terminal cancer patient) Kate Granger on the subject.

Quacks certainly tend to a simplistic view of cancer, hence their fixation on chemotherapy, but that is not how it’s viewed by real doctors and medical scientists.

This week, I edited two stories we’ll be running in the next issue of What Doctors Don’t Tell You, which address the fallacy of this metaphor and why it has fuelled a (in the US) $100 billion failure known as Cancer Inc.

When you say “known as”, you actually mean “described by profiteering quacks as”. Nobody actually calls it “cancer, inc.” unless they are flogging worthless alternatives. That is straight-up conspiracist claptrap.

Now, the American medical system is pretty badly broken. It’s fine if you’re in work, rich and not terminally or chronically ill, but if you fall outside that box you can be in deep trouble. Medical bills are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the US. But that’s the fault of politics, not medicine: American medical research is some of the best in the world, and American medical treatment is also superb – if you can afford it.

Here in the UK, we have care that’s nearly as good and it costs about a third as much, as a share of national income. And it’s free at the point of delivery.

As to being a “failure”, you might want to take that up with the people who are on the winning side of the equation. 5 year survival for cancer has doubled since the 1970s, and now stands at greater than 50%. You might choose to call that a failure, but many people don’t.

Several years ago, the great and the good among oncologists and cancer researcher met behind closed doors in Switzerland to answer the hard problem of how we were doing in this particular battle.

Their concensus (sic) was published in a 5000 words report in the Lancet last year (Lancet, 2014; 383: 558–63). Are we winning, they asked. Answer, unqualified no.

Sure. Cancer is a bastard. Nobody denies it (except quacks selling simplistic magic bullet fake cures).

‘Despite the introduction of hundreds of new anti-cancer drugs, including advanced therapies (so-called magic bullets) aimed at particular weapons in the enemy’s armamentarium, the consensus was that, for most forms of cancer, enduring disease-free responses are rare, and cures even rarer,’ they wrote.

Indeed. Now ask people if they would rather survive 5 years, 10 years or whatever, or simply die of the disease there and then.

Cancer is a bastard. Keeping the tiger in the cage for a few years is a worthwhile outcome.

You’d never know any of this if you talked to the average oncologist. Most would talk of the great strides made in chemotherapy, the new drugs, the new combinations of treatments. But the measure of how much this constitutes the treatment of desperation is in the language used – “rescue” therapies, “salvage” operations – and also the types of treatments being resorted to, such as last-ditch attempts to restore blood formation in patients who have undergone murderously high chemotherapy.

I don’t think Lynne McTaggart has ever talked to an oncologist. The fixation on chemotherapy aside, most of the great strides in chemo have been in reducing the side effects and in qualifying where it might not be needed at all.

Do you really think that language like “murderous” is helpful?

Here’s what happens to cancer patients who don’t undergo medical treatment: they die. Some die sooner and some die later, but they die. Cancer is a bastard.

We also know, because it’s been studied, that people who believe in the sort of alternative claptrap promoted by WDDTY die sooner. They believe they will live longer, they believe they are better off, but they present later, with more advanced disease, because quacks don’t diagnose properly and even if they do they try quackery first – and even after that is taken into account, they still die sooner.

The evidence is clear: a reality-based oncologist is a better bet than a quack.

Cancer specialists who continue to believe that they are only just a protocol away from finding the cure often forget the patient in their zeal to blast out every last cancer cell. Not long ago one doctor returned from an autopsy with the proud announcement that his patient, who’d had widespread, disseminated cancer, had died “cancer free.” What he neglected to admit was that the patient didn’t die of cancer. It was the lung disease induced by chemotherapy that killed him.

That’s a straw man. I know of nobody who believes that we are “one protocol away” from a cure. There may well be people who behave as McTaggart asserts, but it’s certainly not representative.

Cancer patients are usually desperate to live. That’s why they need especial protection from quacks. Oncologists will very often tell them that there is only a small chance that heroic treatment will save them, but they will try it anyway. A few will indeed die from the side effects of chemotherapy, and cranks and charlatans will portray this as their having been killed by the doctors, forgetting that the alternative was certain death.

That’s why we have laws mandating informed consent, and why the toxic mix of quackery and disinformation from the likes of WDDTY is so very dangerous, because it leads to people making wrong choices.

And that’s the problem. New evidence has emerged (and we’ll be reporting on all the chapter and verse) that the weapons we’re using, like chemo and radiotherapy, are weapons of mass destruction, breeding cancer stem cells, and causing it to spread.

cellsI’ll hazard a guess here that this is cells in a petri dish.

Remember: 5-year survival has doubled since the 1970s. McTaggart promotes the Nirvana fallacy, the idea that anything less than 100% cure is the same as 100% failure, but the evidence unambiguously shows that medicine is doing something right.

In some cancers. For some patients. The difficult bit is always knowing which, especially in advance.

It’s not necessary to view cancer as a battle to be won. Consider the case of Morty Lefkoe. Morty is 77 years old, and last year was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. He was going to have it surgically removed, but a last scan the morning of his surgery revealed that the cancer had spread to his liver. It was too late to operate. The only recourse to him, said his doctor, was 18 courses of strong chemo, but his survival chances were just 6 per cent.

Whoop! Whoop! Anecdote Alert! Whoop! Whoop!

Morty rejected the entire war metaphor. For him, it was not a life and death battle. And by rejecting the metaphor, he got on with the business of changing his diet and lifestyle. He became cancer-free in 99 days.

{{citation needed}}

If it really was that simple, do you think people would have been dying of cancer for millennia? Seriously?

I think Lynne may be guilty of believing the hype.

There are rare cases of spontaneous remission. There are much less rare cases of people who claim to be cancer-free, but are simply deluding themselves (or, much worse, being deluded by quacks).

The medical spin doctors have been particularly slick, instilling in the collective public mind a sense that we are winning the war.

Except that it is not a war and they are brutally honest about survival rates, the success rates of different treatments and the balance of risk and benefit – something that cannot be said of the quacks who prey on the narrative spun by the likes of WDDTY.

It’s time to admit their deception: in the main, the battle mentality, no matter how many drugs or how high the dosage, doesn’t really work. And once we all admit that, we can go forward.

What McTaggart actually means here is that we should abandon the treatments towards which she bears an almost visceral ideological hatred and march steadfastly back into the 19th Century when a cancer diagnosis meant certain painful death.

The battle mentality is primarily the rhetoric of non-doctors. If you have questions about cancer, ask a reputable physician, not a quack or a charlatan. If you want people to stop portraying cancer as a battle, start by writing to the Daily Mail.

Bigots: the new Charlie.

Much as she might howl and pontificate about it, Lynne McTaggart is deeply and profoundly ignorant of the meaning of freedom generally and free speech in particular.

Health freedom is the freedom to make a fully informed choice. Every skeptic supports that. We do not support health fooldom, the right to pull the wool over people’s eyes in order to sell them snake oil. We’re completely clear on the difference. Lynne isn’t.

But it gets better. Take this latest diatribe from her blog:

Last weekend I read an extraordinary article in the Sunday times about free speech which ran under the headline ‘Silenced: third of Britons feel they are denied free speech’

The article said that a full third of people in Britain now believe they can’t speak freely on controversial subjects such as immigration and religion because of the fear they that may be criticized, lose their job or be prosecuted.

I bet you can see where this is going. It’ll be the whole right-wing meme of “cultural Marxism”, the evil left-wing plot to stop people applying pejorative epithets to ethnic minorities and so on. To some people, common decency has always been “political correctness gone mad”.

The study had been carried out by the New Culture Forum, a Westminster think tank, and the gist of it was a warning that Britain has developed a “culture of silence” where people feel they must censor themselves, particularly in the workplace.

Imagine that: a right-wing think tank that believes political correctness is evil. Who predicted that?

The story also covered a YouGov poll showing that a third (36 per cent) of those polled believe they cannot speak freely on immigration. Some 31 per cent felt they couldn’t speak about religion – their own or anyone else’s – 27 per cent felt constrained to speak about any ethical issues and 20 per cent feel they cannot express their political views without censure.

Some people think that people feeling inhibited about expressing bigotry is a good thing.

But who are these who are unable to speak freely on religion? Well, probably atheists. Atheists have been strongly resisted in the Radio 4 Thought For The Day slot, and are very often reluctant to speak out. Certainly Christians are not silenced: they have the sanction of being an officially established church, with guaranteed seats in the upper house and a place at pretty much every state occasion.

So the silent majority is becoming the silenced majority.

Lynne? 36% is not a majority. I know maths is not WDDTY’s strong suit.

However, the story went on to say that the public held free speech in higher regard than any other freedom we enjoy in the West.

Indeed. And thanks to Simon Singh, you now have much more of it. Of course, that means Chris Woollams could not have silenced legitimate criticism from David Colquhoun, an act of which WDDTY approved, and Wakefield would not have been able to even consider his vexatious action against the BMJ and Fiona Godlee in the UK – a suppressive act which ultimately failed when he took his case to the US. Once again WDDTY applauded his litigation, because WDDTY does not care about free speech, it cares only about the ability to make bogus claims without challenge.

I don’t know much about New Culture Forum, and I suspect I wouldn’t agree with all of its values, but one thing I do agree with is the fact that this group is sick of being dictated to by the media about what can or cannot be thought or expressed.

New Culture Forum is a libertarian think tank. I am sure you’d get on like a house on fire: they, too, are unfettered by the real world and its copious evidence of the failure of the policies they advocate.

In my view nowhere is this more evident than with information about science and medicine.

That is arguably true: science barely gets a look-in among the relentless bullshit in the Daily Mail and elsewhere.

Here in the UK the BBC and most of the papers of record, such as The Times, have been taken over by a group of journalists supposedly devoted to science, but in fact dedicated to ‘scientism,’ the blind confirmation of prevailing belief.

{{citation needed}}

What Lynne actually means is that pretty much every scientist who looks at the claims she holds dear, finds them wrong, and the science journalists at respected media outlets choose not to assert the opposite, because that would make them pseudoscience journalists instead.

The term “scientism” is a pejorative used by believers in refuted bullshit, most especially creationists, to try to portray the scientific method and the acceptance of empirically validated fact, as a religious and dogmatic position.  They have no counter to the  fact that science routinely develops or discards ideas as the evidence builds. They don’t really care: all they want to do is pretend that their bullshit is as good as the scientists’ facts.

This mindset pooh-poohs any view or evidence that counters that world view, regardless of the evidence, and it particularly rails against anyone brave enough to profess to a spiritual belief. Worse, they refuse to allow even a discussion of dissent.

No, it simply rejects claims that are not backed by sound evidence. That is what science does. That’s why science is the defining factor in the modern era: superstition and folk myth are blown away by empirical tests and testable theories. There is a reason why astrologers have not got a man to the moon.

This is the mindset behind Sense About Science, behind militant atheism, behind the dictum from TED talks that ban anything with even a whiff of information about the paranormal or consciousness research. It’s behind the trolling of Wikipedia and of course behind the attacks on What Doctors Don’t Tell You.

Three separate claims, and together they identify the source.

TED got in trouble for allowing people like Rupert Sheldrake to spout woo. TED is a respected brand, but a commercial entity. They decided to clamp down on their TEDx franchisees allowing uncritical presentation of bullshit because it was undermining their core brand. That’s a commercial decision, a bit like WH Smith not stocking the anti-vaccine arsewipe that McTaggart edits.

The “trolling” of Wikipedia is in reality the policing of Wikipedia’s policies on reality-based content. We don’t allow the claims of lunatic charlatans to go unchallenged. This is a feature, not a bug, and if you don’t like it you have exactly two enforceable rights: the right to leave, and the right to “fork” (copy the content and build your own). So, if you don’t like Wikipedia’s article on homeopathy – and no believer in magic sugar does – then feel free to fork off.

The “attacks” on WDDTY are based on its dangerously misleading content. Remove the claptrap and we’d leave you alone. The choice is very much yours.

It’s the mindset behind anything that wishes to explore the new, and for all its extolling of science, it is the enemy of true scientific exploration.

No, it really is not, for reasons succinctly explained by Edzard Ernst in his excellent new book a scientist in wonderland.

The role of science is not to promote anything, it is to test whether it is true. The SCAM fraternity are horrified by the idea that somebody might actually test their claims objectively, as far as they are concerned, they are self-evidently true because they believe them, and they believe them because they are self-evidently true, an infinitely reinforcing cycle of circular reasoning.

Where health and patient welfare are concerned, it is not only legitimate to test claims, it is the only ethically defensible thing to do. But then, WDDTY has never given a toss about being ethically defensible.

However, there are signs that silent majority are beginning to finally speak up. One of the first signs is a new American website called Skeptical About Skeptics. http://www.skepticalaboutskeptics.org, which has outed all the skeptics who have held sway for so long.

Do take a look. You’ll see Rupert Sheldrake letting off steam about how the nasty reality-based community reject his conjecture of morphic resonance on the flimsy grounds that he has produced absolutely no remotely credible evidence to support it (which is a shame: the creationists would love it, as it would refute Darwin, albeit replacing it with Lysenkoism).

Check it out and for once feel free to have your say.

Yes, do: that blog is hilarious. It uses “skeptical” in the same way climate “skeptics”, vaccine “skeptics”, holocaust “skeptics” and moon landing “skeptics” do.

In the end, though, it’s no different from the essence of every word Lynne McTaggart writes: “help, I’m being oppressed by nasty reality, make it go away”.

WDDTY: Proper Charlies

Simon Singh: an actual free speech icon
Simon Singh: an actual free speech icon

WDDTY are nothing if not predictable. The latest round in their relentless drive to prove to the world that they have no clue about free speech is to start what appears to be a series of personal attacks on those who, in their bubble world with its complete absence of self-awareness or self-criticism, they hold responsible for the backlash over the execrable content of their quackery apologia.

The first really could be the last: it would be hard to improve on this. WDDTY, who supported unethical quack and research fraudster Andrew Wakefield’s attempts to use frivolous lawsuits to chilling effect against critics, have decided that Simon Singh’s criticism of their commercial speech means that WDDTY are “Charlie” and Simon is not.

Leaving aside for a moment the fact that WDDTY are quite open about caring solely about the impact on their bottom line, their target is about as wrong as you can get. Continue reading WDDTY: Proper Charlies

What is free speech?

“What is free speech?” asks Lynne McTaggart in her latest blog post. You may not be able to read this post: if you have commented on her blog in recent days, you may, like me, have had your IP address added to a block list to stop you finding out.

mctagnut-blog

 

Needless to say this is trivially easy to evade (perhaps we should rename McTaggart’s blog What TOR Does Tell You?). And what do we find?

First, all comments by skeptics have been censored from the previous post, “je suis gagged“. Comments by me, Alan Henness, Les Rose and others – all gone. I didn’t capture them, but here is one of mine that I preserved against this eventuality:

mctagnut blog Continue reading What is free speech?

SCENAR: Another dose of uncritical hype

WDDTY first pimped SCENAR in October 2008, in an article titled “Changing the body’s frequency” (by how much? From what, to what, in Hz, and to what demonstrable effect?). This issue also included credulous coverage of the Rife machine and other fraudulent devices.

The article below is the second and most recent substantial coverage of SCENAR. The first was by Lynne McTaggart, this one by Bryan Hubbard. Hubbard’s article is, if anything, even more breathlessly credulous. It obviously had the desired effect: there are 15 adverts for SCENAR in various issues of WDDTY after this article was published.

At the time of the first article there were four articles in MedLine covering SCENAR, which had risen to five by the time of the second article. None was in a mainstream journal with respectable impact, none support the extravagant claims of proponents, not one was sufficiently large to form any compelling evidence. There are by now another two, again, neither particularly compelling (Medline search).

SCENAR is sold as a TENS device, which it basically is. Probably. As Professor David Colquhoun notes, the descriptions are basically word salad. Continue reading SCENAR: Another dose of uncritical hype

Lynne McTaggart: Vous n’êtes pas Charlie, vous êtes de la vermine

Sorry to harp on about this, but McTaggart really has jumped the shark on this one. This is a Facebook status update and blog from McTaggart. I think the term “self-indulgent, self-obsessed, self-serving drivel” is probably accurate, or at least as accurate as I can get without plumbing the depths of our rich Anglo-Saxon vernacular.

JE SUIS GAGGED

No. You are not gagged. If you were gagged you would not be able to continue publishing your lies, distortions and evasions. The fact that you do so, in and of itself negates your own claim. Continue reading Lynne McTaggart: Vous n’êtes pas Charlie, vous êtes de la vermine

Yes, Lynne, it’s all about you

Charmless egomaniac Donald Trump led the charge in exploiting the Charlie Hebdo tragedy to boost a personal agenda, tweeting some obnoxious gun-nuttery.

Not to be outdone, the WDDTY editors chose to try to exploit the murder of cartoonists for mocking religion, by repeating their fraudulent claims of censorship of their own religion, the cult of fake “cures” for profit.

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As we point out every single time, Lynne, you are not “banned”, WHS simply decided to stop stocking your tawdry rag. Maybe they noticed its hysterical anti-vaccine propaganda, perhaps it was the AIDS denialism that did it, maybe you published one too many misleading advertisements, perhaps they realised that advertorial masquerading as fact is deeply unethical.

Whatever it was, they do not infringe your freedom of speech. You are still able to publish your dangerously misleading magazine, you are still (inexplicably) carrying the misleading advertisements you said you would never carry, and you are still lying openly about the reasons why science advocates oppose your lies.

Oh, and censoring any critical commentary. For Free Speech. Of course.

In case we did not make this completely plain: Lynne McTaggart and/or Brian Hubbard, whichever of you it was that posted the above, you are vermin. Utterly without class, shame, dignity or integrity. You are dishonest, despicable, morally repugnant, selfish, hypocritical and beneath contempt.

And you are also an idiot. But we already knew that.

2822 PubMed hits say the medical establishment is not “ignoring” B12

According to a callout in the January 2015 story punting Vitamin B12 as a miracle cure for all ills (and bigging up Brave Maverick Doctor Joseph Chandy),

The Medical Establishment has chosen to ignore the evidence on B12 as an inexpensive and promising answer to depression

If only there was a quick and easy way to check that claim for accuracy.

Wait! There is! A PubMed search. 2822 results. OK, not all will necessarily be relevant, but this is hardly “ignoring” it.

That said, there is a very substantial difference between the cautious claims of scientists and the bold and striking claims of Dr. Chandy.

Several nutritional and physiological factors have been linked to depression in adults including low folate and vitamin B-12 and elevated total homocysteine (tHcy) levels. (source)

These symptoms are common in undiagnosed coeliacs, where they are effects of an underlying disease, markers, not necessarily causes. B12 and folate deficiency are very often the result of malabsorption in patients with autoimmune disorders such as coeliac and Crohn’s, where the gut wall is compromised.

Conclusions: Future interventions aiming at improving mental health outcomes among US adults should take into account dietary and other factors that would increase levels of serum folate.

Damn, they missed the ball. They could have sold vitamin B12 pills to self-diagnosing worried-well patients. These scientists, they are so off message it’s untrue.

 

Ditch dairy and wheat

WDDTY loves nothing more than a bandwagon, and if one bogus treatment won’t do there’s bound to be another along any minute.

If your vitamin levels check out but you are still depressed, think twice about dairy and wheat. Nutritionists have discovered morphine-like substances called ‘exorphins’ -derived from the incomplete digestion of proteins in cereal grains and dairy products-which may be a possible cause of depression.

Stop right there. Nutritionists have discovered nothing, other than how to fleece the credulous.

Scientists and dieticians, however, have indeed discovered this, but the devil is in the detail, as we shall see in a moment.

The evidence reveals five distinct exorphins in the pepsin digests of gluten, and eight other exorphins in the pepsin digests of milk.

J Biol Chem, 1979; 254: 2446-9, cutting edge research form the bottom of WDDTY’s clipping drawer there.

Peptides with opioid activity are found in pepsin hydrolysates of wheat gluten and alpha-casein. The opioid activity of these peptides was demonstrated by use of the following bioassays: 1) naloxone-reversible inhibition of adenylate cyclase in homogenates of neuroblastoma X-glioma hybrid cells; 2) naloxone-reversible inhibition of electrically stimulated contractions of the mouse vas deferens; 3) displacement of [3H]dihydromorphine and [3H-Tyr, dAla2]met-enkephalin amide from rat brain membranes. Substances which stimulate adenylate cyclase and increase the contractions of the mouse vas deferens but do not bind to opiate receptors are also isolated from gluten hydrolysates. It is suggested that peptides derived from some food proteins may be of physiological importance.

This paper is by now mainly quoted in the alternative journals, it seems, but the finding is unsurprising.

These foods can also inhibit the takeup of nutrients like B12. Exorphins act like depressants, and it’s now thought that the immune reactions that arise from eating these foods include a number of psychiatric symptoms, even simple ‘brain fog’.

Well done, linking both stories to try to provide support for the Brave Maverick Doctor, Joseph Chandy.

Depression has also been linked to allergies and coeliac disease, where the inner lining of the small intestine (the mucosa) is damaged after eating gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye, oats and barley.”‘ According to a recent review, as many one-third of adult coeliacs suffers from various vitamin deficiencies and neurological changes, including depression.

AmJ Gastroenterol, 1999; 94: 839–43:

Untreated celiac disease can lead to serious behavioral disorders. We describe three adult patients with undiagnosed or untreated celiac disease without particular intestinal signs, causing persistent depressive symptoms in three of the parents of our pediatric patients.

See the important bit? These are coeliac patients.

lranJ Neurol,2012; 11: 59–64:

Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity may initially present as one or more neurological signs and/or symptoms. On the other hand, it may be associated with or complicated by neurological manifestations. Neurological presentations are rare in children but as many as 36% of adult patients present with neurological changes. With severe malnutrition after progression of celiac disease, different vitamin deficiencies may develop. Such problems can in turn overlap with previous neurological abnormalities including ataxia, epilepsy, neuropathy, dementia, and cognitive disorders. In this study, we aimed to review the neurological aspects of celiac disease. Early diagnosis and treatment could prevent related disability in patients with celiac disease.

So, not only does this undermine your proposed causal link between vitamin B12 and depression (vitamin deficiencies are very common in coeliac patients due to malabsorption), but they fail to establish any link outside of coeliac disease.

The correct advice is not to arbitrarily cut out gluten, but to see your doctor and find out if you an undiagnosed coeliac. Adult diagnosis is now very common and estimates range from under half a percent to around one percent of the population. Get a TTGA test, not a quack diet, because non-coeliac gluten sensitivity may well not exist.

 

Banning B12

WDDTY has a bit of a downer on the medical establishment, especially since they struck off Andrew Wakefield on the ridiculously flimsy basis that he conducted unapproved invasive tests on vulnerable children, concealed conflicts of influence and published fraudulent research.

So it’s not a surprise to find them championing the cause of Dr. Joseph Chandy, a GP who discovered dreamed up the idea that Vitamin B12 deficiency is the cause of anaemia, multiple sclerosis, dementia, depression, confusion, myalgic encephalomyelitis chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine, tinnitus, neuralgia and (of course!) autism.

One of the hallmarks of quackery is that it claims to cure a vast range of completely different diseases. And one of the other hallmarks of quackery is that it gets you in trouble with the GMC.

The trouble with WDDTY’s narrative here is that it depends on the idea that the medical establishment would act against someone promoting a cheap and effective cure for numerous diseases, in order to protect pharmaceutical industry profits. The alternative, that he has failed to produce credible evidence to back his treatment decisions and that he is a lone voice because he is wrong, is not considered – or if it is, it is rejected, because WDDTY wants to believe that a vitamin can cure these diseases.

Sadly, science doesn’t tend to reward wishful thinking (regardless of how assiduously Lynne tries to prove otherwise with her “intention experiment”.

Luckily for Chandy, if the Saatchi Bill passes, mavericks who promote treatments with no evidence and no support from the wider medical and scientific community will be allowed to prey on patients provided they are especially vulnerable to predation.

You might want to stop that happening.

What "What Doctors Don't Tell You" Don't Tell You