Naturopathic medicine

I just submitted a letter to the local paper concerning another letter they recently published. Here it is.

On 10/29 “Dr.” Christopher Maloney wrote a letter praising Naturopathic medicine. As is so common with charlatans, he was dangerously misleading.

Maloney begins by telling us that the regular flu vaccine has no effect on H1N1. He intentionally mentions this piece of irrelevant pedantry because he is setting up his punch-line: flu vaccines only provide 6 to 15 percent protection. This is a lie. Healthy adults face upwards of a 90% reduction in their chance of becoming infected with the flu (CDC). Beyond that, vaccines also dull the intensity of the flu should an individual actually face infection.

For his next dangerous joke, Maloney claims vaccines have no effect on deadly complications in any group. The non-mountebank truth is that they reduce hospitalization in the elderly by 50-60% (CDC). Death rate falls by 80% (CDC).

Next this quack recommends black elderberry for those waiting for a flu shot. PubMed features two peer-reviewed studies to the efficacy of this treatment (and not for the H1N1 virus specifically). It has some positive results, but the researchers note (correctly) that larger studies are needed. It does not, however, “block” the H1N1 virus, as Maloney claims.

Finally, Maloney brings out some false, unsupported statistics about stress. This is nothing more than the usual mantra for alternative medicine supporters.

The most interesting thing about this “doctor” is that he doesn’t mention that Naturopathic “medicine” is actually illegal in two states. Another 30 do not acknowledge it.

His recommendations are borrowed from basic nutritional information at best (and it’s far better to get that from someone with a proper education) and are downright dangerous at worst.

Go to your regular doctor.

On the upside, Maloney is not the swindler Andreas Moritz is. He is a charlatan and a mountebank for all this bunk misleading, but his concern seems to be more genuine and less about money. But he’s still wrong.

In the interest of not making a big, ugly blog post, I will include Maloney’s letter in the comment section.

5 Responses

  1. Here is Maloney’s letter. There is a link to it in the post, but it may die soon.

    Concerned parents need more than reminders to get children vaccinated. According to peer-reviewed studies, the “regular” flu vaccine has no effect on the new H1N1 virus (CDC and Australian Pandemic report, Aug. 2009).

    If the new swine flu vaccine conforms to the regular models, it will only provide 6 percent to 15 percent protection against the flu (Cochrane compilation of all studies).

    It will have no effect on deadly complications in any population group (Cochrane). No study of flu vaccinations has shown any benefit for children under 2, and every year half of those killed from vaccine side effects are under 2 years old. (Cochrane and CDC data for the last 10 years). Those promoting vaccination should provide published research to inform patients.

    Parents waiting for vaccinations can provide their children with black elderberry, which blocks the H1N1 virus. A single garlic capsule daily cuts in half the incidence and the severity of a flu episode for children.

    We all need to remember that increased stress doubles the risk of contracting the flu and losing sleep over it can raise your risk of the flu fivefold. Supplying children with probiotics (yogurt, fermented products, capsules) can lessen the nausea and diarrhea associated with this flu strain. We can weather this flu season with common sense and wise choices.

    Dr. Christopher Maloney


    Dr. Maloney is licensed by the state of Maine as a naturopathic doctor, who, according to state law may use and order for preventative and therapeutic purposes natural therapies and medications, including natural antibiotics and topical medicines.

  2. Stress has a huge role to play with the flu and indeed with the immune system in general. I don’t know where you get your information from since you never source it, you just seem to have a lot of opinions, which is fine, but not when you are tearing down others. Your disinformation campaign can be dangerous. Stress, either acute or chronic, shuts down many systems. In short term stress, that’s a good thing. In chronic long term, it is not. Glucocorticoids cause immune suppression which makes it very difficult to fight a virus. You can go to google scholar and put in glucocorticoids stress immune and find out all about it. Or you can go to google and put in sapolsky stress (you don’t even need to go to scholar). Robert Sapolsky is the professor from Stanford who specializes in the stress response and the immune system. A MacArthur genius grant award winner. You can watch him explain why stress will make you more vulnerable to the flu or digestive problems by shutting down your immune system here:

    You might want to also look at the role of mast cells in the brain and what role stress plays on them – remember mast cells release histamine. I’ll let you take it from there. Go do some research.

  3. I don’t know where you get your information from since you never source it, you just seem to have a lot of opinions, which is fine, but not when you are tearing down others.

    I sourced each claim. Several are from the CDC (which Maloney distorted). I also pointed out what can be found on PubMed – which isn’t what Maloney implied it was.

    Your disinformation campaign can be dangerous. Stress, either acute or chronic, shuts down many systems. In short term stress, that’s a good thing. In chronic long term, it is not.

    I did not say stress was either good or bad. I said Maloney made up statistics. Interestingly, here’s a case where someone actually didn’t source his claims, yet you seem to say nothing of it.

  4. One of the reasons there have not been more deaths and hospitalizations is precisely because of the response. 70 million vaccinated is no small number, especially in terms of herd immunity.

  5. I’m curious as why Michael Hawkins is so concerned with this Dr. Maloney. Is it a personal thing? I mean you have to be unhappy with yourself to go after someone and try to degrade his name. I was just sort of looking through stuff on this site and found all these posts. I mean naturopathic doctors do what they do. Conventional docs do what they do. Leave it at that? I mean you are trying to take this doc to court? What the hell? Get a life. I mean, I don’t mean to sound rude but why are you so set on bringing down another individual? I just wonder how someone can be so unhappy in their own life that they attack another. So what if he said the flu shot is not good? Is it affecting you? I mean there is so much more going on in the world to be worried about. If you want to do good for society and are so concered about peoples health then go be a research scientist. I mean you have to be a pretty unhappy individual to go and attack someone left and right all over the internet. You sound like a very unhappy person Michael Hawkins. I’m sorry, just sayin. (sorry about the run on sentences) Just wanted to let you know, leave the guy alone! Why spend so much time on tryin to bring people down, elevate people:)

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