Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Experts Used By the 4th Estate Should be Experts! Right? Well, not really...

This article is a departure from my usual cogent analysis of the antics of the Al Quaeda of Autism, their lemmings, et al. Here, I want to address the media and let them see just how sloppy they are.

And they are sloppy.

I was reading a newsgroup and came across a link to a video of a news story aired on Fox News dealing with the H1N1 virus and, at that time, the soon to be released vaccine. They included the usual and customary "infectious disease expert".

After I viewed the video, and, as usual, I decided to check out the good doctor, Kent Holtorf. He demonstrated a truly impressive skill set that I have rarely seen.

Since he is an MD, I like to check medical credentials. He is licensed to practice medicine by the Medical Board of California:

License: G 74797
License Type: Physician and Surgeon
Licensee may be a U.S. or Canadian medical school graduate whose pathway to licensure was based on the NBME examination.

(I redacted his address.)

Address of Record County: LOS ANGELES
License Status: License Renewed & Current
Licensee meets requirements for the practice of medicine in California.
Public Record Action(s): No Public Record Actions available
Original Issue Date: July 28, 1992
Expiration Date: June 30, 2010
Year Graduated: 1991

So far, so good. He is licensed and in good standing. No discipline. Next....

Activities In Medicine: PATIENT CARE - 20 TO 29 HOURS

Primary Practice Location Zip Code: 90505
Board Certification(s): No board certifications identified

(I expect that any physician who has made the effort to secure board certification would list that with the licensing agency.)

Primary Practice Area(s): FAMILY PRACTICE
Secondary Practice Area(s): ENDOCRINOLOGY
Post Graduate Training Years: 3 YEARS

3 years is an adequate period of post graduate training for someone to qualify for board certification. It seems to be getting stranger by the moment

(I do not answer these questions, either, and this really is not germane:)
Ethnic Background: Declined to Disclose
Foreign Language(s): Declined to Disclose
Gender: Declined to Disclose

Since the video calls him an expert in infectious diseases. Well, that would usually mean he would be board certified in that discipline. Since he did not list board certification in his license (I know it is not required), I decided to check with the American Board of Medical Specialties. You'll have to register, but, it is free and does not generate spam.

I was shocked to find that Dr. Holtorf is not listed by the ABMS as being board certified. Didn't Fox News say he was in infectious disease EXPERT?

Since he listed his main practice area as Family Practice, one the harder disciplines, and endocrinology as his secondary, I thought I would check to see whether he has any published research. His licensing information states that he spends 20 TO 29 HOURS a week engaged in research, and this should generate a peer reviewed study or three .

So, I went to PubMed and, searching on "Holtorf K", which would give me the widest search parameters I found:

The bioidentical hormone debate: are bioidentical hormones (estradiol, estriol, and progesterone) safer or more efficacious than commonly used synthetic versions in hormone replacement therapy?

Holtorf K.

Postgrad Med. 2009 Jan;121(1):73-85. Review.
PMID: 19179815

Hmmm....this is not peer reviewed, and it is a review of other research.

and then this one...

Hormones in wellness and disease prevention: common practices, current state of the evidence, and questions for the future.

Schwartz ET, Holtorf K.

Prim Care. 2008 Dec;35(4):669-705.
PMID: 18928825 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

I am glad to see he is sharing his knowledge, but, neither are research articles. So, I then looked at his websites:. The first I looked at, led me to the second.

I looked high and low, every page, and found nothing showing that the good doctor has published any peer reviewed research on infectious diseases, not has he listed any training or other experience in that field.

What I did find was interesting, thought. Using the search tool on the website, I did a search on vaccine and was referred to a page where his appearances on rush Limboob, Sean Insanity (Hannity), Glen Beck, et al, are referenced and linked. They all refer to him as an expert on infectious diseases. Thus, my search for proof that he is a true expert on infectious disease led to nothing. I was disappointed in that.

However, not all was lost. The simple fact is, the good doctor has managed to demonstrate just how easy it is to bamboozle the media. Either they never bothered to check his credentials, or, because he was spouting their party line, it did not matter.

Furthermore, I did some additional Googling of his name and found that the NY Daily News, the newspaper of my youth, the one I delivered, the one which used to have the best sports section in the world, had several articles where he is referred to as a board certified endocrinologist in one article, and a specialist in women's health in another. (There is no board certification in women's health, unless they meant OB-GYN, and he is not board certified in that, either). In another article, concerning the Haitian tragedy that is still unfolding as I write, he comments on how high humidity could increase survival times while buried in the rubble.

Thus, the good doctor has demonstrated just how lousy an idea it is to rely on the media for medical advice and information. Utterly sloppy of these august organs of the 4th Estate.

Please note that I was not surprised with my findings. I expected nothing more that this from Fox News, and those who bought the line. Their "research" seems to consist of determining whether a good story can hit the media, and whether it may be controversial. Having homeopathic like expertise is another criteria.

As for the Daily News, they have NO excuses. Their own internal archives demonstrate that there is a question regarding the doctor's "expertise". They should be ashamed of themselves.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Al-Qaeda of Autism

When I first started this blog, I did so because I had been censored on AoA, and came up with the idea that they exemplify the Age of Ignorance. I have no doubt, confirmed over the months since then, they are the cesspool of ignorance. However, out of every cesspool grows something. The past few months have shown that the growth is truly worthy of being born in a cesspool.

AoA has moved on from the mere censorship that had initially concerned me. Granted, I wrote here and here about some of their more nefarious tactics, most specifically "outing". "Outing" occurs when a person who has chosen a degree of anonymity by using a pseudonym has their real name linked. I have been outed by some of the drones of the AoA collective.

However, outing, and their other old tactics, are merely annoyances in the scheme of things. What has happened recently is that the True Believers of the AoA collective have taken several quantum steps further.

Back around Thanksgiving time 2009, the Collective posted an article which had a photoshopped image of several people sitting around what looked to be a Thanksgiving dinner table, preparing to eat a baby. Who were these people? The post includes a poorly photoshopped picture of prominent science-based medicine proponents feasting on a dead baby. The guests were journalist Alison Singer, the NIH's head honcho Tom Insel, journalist Trine Tsouderos, Science and Science Based Medicine Blogger and Editor Steve Novella, Amy Wallace and the "One They Fear The Most" bogeyman extraordinaire, vaccine developer, saver of the lives of thousand of children, Dr. Paul Offit.

The blogosphere was in an uproar, and the intellectual cowards of the AoA Collective removed the offending post. The photo is available elsewhere. I will not link to it.

Did this event constitute a set-back for the Drones? Not at all. It appears to have energized them into perpetrating even more outrageous attacks on those who have the nerve to disagree.

Fortunately, Trine Tsouderos and her editors at the courageous Chicago Tribune (I would live there if it were warmer in the winter) was not intimidated by the initial attack. Following the heritage of great journalists, the ones I learned about in my college course on the History of Journalism which was part of my minor in Journalism, they forged ahead, and continued to investigate and study the Evil Empire of the anti-vaccinationists masquerading as "pro-safe vaccines" advocates that infest the Autism community.

On January 17, 2010, the Tribune published the third article in Trine Tsouderos three part series. In this article she exposes Dr. Boyd Haley's probable illegal marketing of an industrial chemical agent as a supplement, to be administered to children with Autism.

Just who is Boyd Haley? Simple, he is the darling of the AoA Collective. However, a look at his record does show something interesting about this retired professor of chemistry.

Peter Bowditch of Ratbags asked Haley about "claim that mercury is 50% of thimerosal". Have you taken high school chemistry? If so, find your old text books and check out whether this has any meaning what-so-ever. While it is true that the one atom of Mercury comprises approximately 50% of the molecular weight of thimerosal, does this have any chemical or toxicological significance? Peter's exchange with Haley would lead anyone who has not taken high school chemistry to think so.

Now he is marketing this industrial chelator for human consumption, and IGNORING THE FDA's requests for information. Haley said, "... that the compound had been tested on rats and that a food safety study was conducted on 10 people[and himself, do the math = 11]". When she asked him to "...provide documentation of the studies, he stopped communicating with the Tribune."

Instead, the Drones of the Collective took over and, AoA mercilessly hunted down Tsouderos' family and outed them. Read Orac's excellent article and the one by Ken Reibel at LeftBrain/RightBrain. I am sure there are more, and I invite links in the comments. Please.

There have been many other attacks, too numerous for me to compile here. Others have, and links in the comments would be appreciated.

Now, what does this all mean? Simple, and it truly is. We now know that the Drones of the AoA collective will stoop as low as they can go and stop at nothing to silence those with whom they disagree. Initially, their tactics reminded me of the response by Scientology to the Time Magazine article by Behar. Do your own search, and see how ugly that got.

Orac mentioned in one of his articles (I cannot find it) that this also reminded him of Scientology.

However, we are both wrong. The tactics being used, and the overall strategy are pure terrorist based tactics that are being used to stifle and silence critics.

And, that is why the Age of Autism is now most correctly referred to as the Al-Qaeda of Autism.

I truly hope that the Tribune, and other news sources, pick up on this story and begin a year long counterattack on the terrorism. The power of the press, in Oliver Wendell Holmes' Free Market Place of Ideas, is the most potent weapon in the battle for truth.