Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bad Journalism, Bad Science, Bad Medicine

I like local stories, and when I see one, I jump on it.
When browsing the interwebs today, I saw a blog post from Todd W at Harpocrates Speaks about a recent interview with a local pediatrician from Tampa, which was posted on the WTSP's Web site.
Todd does a great job dissecting the article for what it is: an uncritical, gullible piece of sensational journalism:
What could have been a good opportunity to ask critical questions. Instead, we get what basically amounts to advertising for a doctor making claims that are not supported by data. It's all well and good to make sure that families, and in particular women who are about to become or are pregnant, practice a healthy lifestyle. However, to claim that autism can be prevented by Dr. Berger's protocol, when we have no research actually validating it, is premature and irresponsible.

VanNest and Dr. Berger should both be ashamed: VanNest for irresponsible journalism and Dr. Berger for failing to do due diligence before making extraordinary claims. If his protocol actually works, that would be great, but the truth is that we do not know and will not know until the research is done. At best, Dr. Berger is Florida's version of Dr. Jay Gordon. At worst, he's a crank (which I'm leaning toward after viewing the Wholistic Pediatrics web site). Both do an incredible disservice to families who may expend added resources for no actual gain.

Not much needs to be added... perfect summary.
As I was browsing Dr. Berger's site, I also found a typical "holistic" approach to vaccines (we "recommend" them, but set your own schedule if you wish, or just skip the ones you don't like), and a few interesting recommendations that would make me run away from that practice as fast as I could. For example, Wholistic Pediatrics recommends OSCILLOCOCCINUM as a flu treatment. As I mentioned in my previous posts, OSCILLOCOCCINUM is a sugar pill (it says so on the vial!!!), so using it in anything but your coffee is a serious waste of your time, and dollars, as it is way more expensive than the same white powder found in your local supermarket. I also learned something new about this homeopathic remedy:
As with any homeopathic remedy, it is most effective when given away from food, herbs, or strong flavors like mint or cinnamon in toothpaste.
Huh? Cinnamon in toothpaste interacts with ? There must be some magic chemistry behind it, but I fail to understand it...
I'm sure glad my pediatrician uses reason and science in his daily practice.