Thursday, September 01, 2005

The "scientific method"?

I found an interesting little tidbit on the web about Dr. Roy Kerry, the Pennsylvania chelation doctor whose quackery and carelessness was almost certainly what killed an unfortunate five year old autistic boy named Abubakar Tariq Nadama last week. It comes from a page in the Google cache of August 25 for a page from a website called Juiceguy.com, which, as of this writing appears to be down. Fortunately, the cached page remains, and it gives us an insight into the mind of Dr. Kerry. Apparently he didn' t just administer quack remedies like chelation therapy for autism and various treatments for "environmental" illnesses and antiaging, but he used such remedies himself and apparently gave testimonials for them to sites like Juiceguy as well.

Dr. Kerry's testimonial starts:
I would consider myself a healthy and careful skeptic.” says Dr. Roy E. Kerry of Greenville, PA. Dr. Kerry has just completed a series of independent medical laboratory tests in order to verify Oasis’ claims on its products and the ACI Test. Dr. Kerry, a specialist in head and neck surgery, environmental medicine and soon to be certified in longevity medicine, has always been very interested in Anti-Aging. Upon hearing about the amazing products Oasis Wellness Network had to offer, he felt compelled to investigate.
Call yourself whatever you like, Dr. Kerry, but just calling yourself a "skeptic" doesn't make it so. Indeed, your very testimonial is strong evidence against your "skepticism," as is your hawking an altie "anti-aging" antioxidation concoction. The only question I have is this: What the heck is "longevity medicine" and why is an otolaryngologist doing hawking such dubious "medicine," given how much outside his specialty it is?

But, sadly, here's one of the funnier things I've ever read in any altie testimonial:
After establishing baseline values in nine different tests, including the ACI Test, measuring different bio-markers, Dr. Kerry began his 30 day journey to renewal complete with Oasis 30 Day Renewal System, Longevity Signal Formula and Anti Oxidant. As a scientist, Dr. Kerry was careful to include controls in his validation experiment. “I chose not to change my lifestyle, so the results would only reflect Oasis’ products.
"I chose not to change my lifestyle, so the results would only reflect Oasis' products"? This is Dr. Kerry's idea of the scientific method, of the proper way to skeptically evaluate a therapeutic intervention? This is Kerry's idea of proper "controls" for an experiment? Did this guy forget everything they taught him at the University of Pittsburgh? Apparently so, if he considers this lame test to be "scientific." How, specifically, did he make sure he didn't "change his lifestyle"? How, specifically, did he make sure that his knowledge that he was taking these products didn't subtly influence him to "change his lifestyle"? How does he account for the possibility of placebo effect? He doesn't say. Read the rest of his testimonial for an idea of just how poor his concept of what constitutes evidence-based medicine is.

You know, I think I may have gone too easy on this quack the first time I wrote about him. I sincerely hope that the State of Pennsylvania takes his medical license away forever. It would be even nicer if the parents whom he fooled would sue him for huge money, but sadly that seems unlikely, about as unlikely as it is that this death will stop this particular brand of quackery.

5 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 9/01/2005 10:39 AM, Anonymous firefalluk said...

I dont think you _can_ be too harsh on this dingbat: you wouldn't believe the b/s his defenders in the UK are spreading, wherever they can (my TV has hovered under impending doom repeatedly, as I resist the urge to throw boots, bricks & sharp pointy things).

Oh, and who exactly is going to certify him in longevity medicine? and can I get some, please?

 

At 9/01/2005 1:16 PM, Anonymous HCN said...

One could only hope that he loses his right to practice medicine. But unfortunately that does not seem to work all the time.

Hugh Fudenburg has no license to practice medicine in the state of South Carolina:
http://briandeer.com/wakefield/hugh-fudenberg.htm ... but parents of autism still pay him lots of money for his "cures": http://www.nitrf.org/

 

At 9/03/2005 11:23 PM, Blogger Prometheus said...

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that Dr. Kerry considers himself, "...a healthy and careful skeptic."

Skeptical of what? His testimonial for anti-aging medicine certainly belies that statement.

As an aside - and meaning no disrespect - most physicians I have met are not scientists in the true sense of the word. They have a great deal of scientific knowledge, but most are not familiar with the scientific method or how to evaluate a scientific claim.

This is not a reflection on them, personally, since the grand majority of college graduates in the sciences have the same shortcoming. And the process of medical school education does not lend itself to learning about how the scientific process works. I wish that it did, but I wouldn't want to extend medical school another two or three years (nor would the students rejoice at that prospect).

That said, the travails of Dr. Kerry are not likely to be an anomaly - as a casual reading of the websites of doctors, clinics and even hosptials will shortly demonstrate.

We can hope - probably in vain - that some of the fence-sitters will see this disaster and wake up. I just wish that wishing it so would make it happen. Alas, my cynicism is too great for my hope.


Prometheus.

 

At 9/13/2005 4:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have beeen a patient of Dr. Roy Kerry for over 30 years. He is a very caring, knowledgeable man, who is definitely NOT a quack! The "traditional" doctors are more of a quack than he is!

A relative of mine was fainting when she went into a hospital. Dr. Kerry did allergy tests and found that she was allergic to formaldehyde, newsprint, ethanol. Through allergy drops, she was able to overcome this problem. She had had numerous tests for heart, and everything else traditional m.d.'s could think of, and they could not find anything.

Dr. Kerry found solutions to a problem I had with exhaustion. I will not have any part of amalgam fillings, cholesterol meds, fosamax, or the propaganda of the pharmeceuticlal industry, dental and medical associations. I have a superior education, can think and decide for myself, and know that Dr. Kerry is AHEAD of his time.

How many doctors have lost 1 patient? Dr. Kerry would never do anything that would risk the life of any of his patients. He is not careless or uncaring. It is obvious you have never spent any time with him and are criticizing someone of whom you have little knowledge.

You suggest he forgot what he learned at Pitt. I know he didn't forget; he has just found better ways. Med schools know nothing about nutrition, so they don't teach anything about it. All they do is buy the propaganda from the drug companies, who are the ones who foot the bill for their research projects. Talk about Scientic procedure. How scientific is it to throw out results you don't want to hear, or to test a new med against a placebo rather than against the med that currently is in use for a condition. (That's what was done in the case of the statin meds for cholesterol).

Dr. Kerry knows the research extensively, for he mentions it frequently when I have questions for him. But the AMA chooses to ignore that research that they don't want to hear. Dr. Kerry investigates everything out there and decides for himself what is best for each patient.

Time will eventually show that Dr. Kerry and others in environmental medicine and homeopathy are the ones who truly are searching for ways that best help their patiens, rather than help the drug companies increase their profits, while they have no intention of curing disease, but instead want to increase the use (and therefore, sale,) of their product.

 

At 9/13/2005 6:24 PM, Anonymous HCN said...

If Dr. Kerry was really on top of the real research he would NOT have put an IV with EDTA into a kid for any reason... it is even out-dated for lead poisoning.

 

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