This morning on Good Morning America, they brought a guest on to talk about flu prevention and cures for children. The guest was Dr Lawrence Rosen of the Whole Child Center in Oradell, New Jersey. Generally not a big deal right? They have stuff like this on all the time right? Unfortunately this is a big deal.
What makes this a big deal was that this doctor was recommending herbal and homeopathic remedies.
Dr. Rosen specifically states that: "Oscillococcinum has been found to be a good homeopathic treatment for children and adults with flu-like symptoms."
Oscillococcinum, which besides being a word that makes me happy for copy-and-paste, is ahomeopathic remedy made from the heart and liver of a duck. "The preparation is derived from duck liver and heart, diluted to 200C—a ratio of one part duck offal to 100200 parts water. This is such a high dilution that the final product likely contains not a single molecule of the original liver. Homeopaths claim that the molecules leave an "imprint" in the dilution that causes a healing effect on the body, although available evidence does not support efficacy beyond placebo." [Wikipedia]
The same information Dr. Rosen gave to GMA also appears in a blog post for Kiwi Magazine. A magazine that promotes environmental, green and organic living. His treatments include probiotics, Homeopathy and Elderberries.
While I was writing about this I decided to delve into The Whole Child Center a bit.
The Center practices "integrative medicine". Which is "based on a practitioner-client partnerships in which both conventional and alternative modalities are used to stimulate the body's natural healing potential." As you can tell from the definition, integrative medicine is essentially alternative medicine with a good bedside manner.
A quick review of the Center's resources page reveals all you really need to know about the center's views on medicine.
- Honoring the Medicine: The Essential Guide to Native American Healing (Cohen), 2003
- Pediatric Acupuncture (Loo), 2002
- The Vaccine Book (Sears), 2007
The page goes on and on but I just wanted to give a few examples. Now they do give a disclaimer:
The following integrative pediatric resources have been collected by the The Whole Child Center for informational and educational purposes only. The Whole Child Center does not specifically endorse any information, advice or product featured on any web site listed or within any book or print resource listed.
Which is something I don't understand. If they want to inform and educate the public, wouldn't you want to provide resources that you agree with? I may be nit-picking here but a few of the books and pages listed are for sheer shock value.
The "Vaccine Book" for instance is a 300 page tome of scare tactics. The author provides heaps of ills that have befallen children after getting various vaccines, but provides very few of the arguments that these ills are common in children and likely had nothing to do with the vaccines. In fact the American Academy of Pediatrics went as far as to publish an articledenouncing Sears' book for fear mongering, shoddy science, and lack of insight. (warning: PDF)
I emailed the Center asking for clarification on their vaccine stance, which is vague at best, but have not received a response. I probably should have not used a MISkeptics.org email address...
As a simple rule of thumb for choosing the right doctor, always make sure he DOES NOT believe in alternative medicine, understands that any form of medicine, treatment or therapy that has no solid study showing proof of efficacy is not valid, and keeps up to date on the latest studies and journals.
And as a rule of thumb for you, if alternative medicine worked, it wouldn't be called alternative. It would be called MEDICINE.