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In the News: NYT "Correction" on Supplements, UPI/Reiki, Time Blasts Integrative Medicine Docs PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

In the News: NYT "Correction" on Supplement Dangers, United Press/Reiki, Time Blasts Integrative Medicine MDs

Summary: After pressure from diverse sources, the New York Times publishes a bogus "correction" on their sensationalist article on the harm from dietary supplements ... An article on Reiki featuring author and Reiki promoter Pamela Miles draws a huge following at, a part of the United Press International site, and leads to a follow-up "how to" piece. Plus, Oprah on energy medicine ... Scott Haig, MD, a Time magazine columnist lambastes medical doctors as money grubbers for their exploration of "naturopathics" and a whole list of other non-conventional approaches ...
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Praise with Faint Damning: New York Times "Corrects" Piece on Supplement Dangers

Image The New York Times finally printed a correction,
3 weeks after the publication, on the misleading article they printed on the harm caused by dietary supplements. The correction noted that the original article, by Times writer and author Dan Hurley, "overstated the number of adverse reactions to supplements reported in the database." The Times correction was actually used to re-make their point that there can be adverse events from use of supplements. The title was simply "Revisiting a Poison Control Database on Supplement Risks." The word "Correction" was in a type size half as large as the title itself. Readers were linked back to the Hurley article and Hurley's name is conspicuously absent from the page that corrects his sensationalizing of the database. Integrator advisor Michael Levin, whose reasoned demands and continuous pressure on the Times, as featured here in the Integrator, were part of the reason any correction was printed, notes that the two key points he made in his letter were not addressed. Says Levin in an email: "The issues of intentional actions (eg, suicide) and intentional use of multiple agents (eg, drugs) were not addressed." The Times "correction" is an example of praising with faint damning, the answer to the question: How can we turn our correction against the supplement industry? Or as Levin responded, in jest, "think we can get a correction to the correction?"

Reiki Articles Draw Huge Audience on United Press International Site

Reiki author and advocate Pamela Miles
Reiki practitioner, author and promoter Pamela Miles shared with the Integrator that a February 1, 2007 article, "Reiki: A Healing Touch" quickly soared to become one of the most visited articles on the United Press International site. Traffic was such that the news-wire decided to interview Miles for a follow-up piece on February 7, and also posted to UPI's site, as "Reiki: Learning to do it." The article is a good, short, Q & A. Miles, the author of Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide, has been a leading national proponent of Reiki's use in hospitals. Miles runs a Reiki newsletter out of her website.

On seeing this Integrator piece Miles wrote: “Never thought of myself as a Reiki promoter but I guess I can’t argue. Just trying to get credible information out there so more people can find relief and doctors don’t worry if their patients are using Reiki. By the way, Mehmet Oz (MD, author) mentioned Reiki on Oprah the other day. It was interesting to see her response. She had never had acupuncture and got a couple needles on the show). Her ending comment was 'Energy medicine, hmmm ... '" 

Time Magazine: Alt Med Portrayed as Income Scam for Medical Doctors

An issue of Time
An article in the February 12 issue of Time magazine, "Doctors Without Dollars" places the exploration of complementary and integrative medicine by medical doctors in a scam artist category. Scott Haig, MD, a regular columnist for Time, wrote of the incentives doctors have to seek "alternative medical income." He states:
"Graduating med students aren't blind; they see established physicians with busy practices dropping out. Looking ahead they see more headaches--more controls and regulations, more scrutiny, more liability, less money. So what has the resourceful American doc done? Welcome to the world of alternative medical income."
Haig aims his ire at cosmetic medicine, diagnostics and alternative medicine. He speaks of a pathologist who he knows:
"I once entrusted my patients' lives to his call on biopsy specimens. He began making a few extra bucks with naturopathics, then enough to quit real medicine altogether."
Haig tees off against what he says he says he "likes to call nothing-really-works-anyway-therapies." He is taken with the acronym "NRWATs" which he clearly feels best describes the field. Haig says of his former colleagues now presumably integrative medicine doctors:
"They've become chiropractors, osteopathic manipulators, prolotherapists, postural therapists, acupuncturists, even Therapeutic Touch practitioners."
CAM patients are presented as ranging from the "hopelessly deceived" to the "downright self-indulgent." Then, in jest, Haig says that he:
 " ... must admit that their patients come back again and again, seemingly happy with the treatments. And they pay them with real money--which seems, alas, to have become the whole idea."

: I would be very intrigued to see the income average of integrative medicine-oriented medical doctors as compared to those of cosmetic surgeons, diagnostic lab owners and then of conventional family practice doctors. My guess is that the integrative medicine doctors would run a spread that averaged no more than a family practice doctor. At the low end, we would find the MD who seeks more connection and whole-person relationship with their patients, sees fewer patients, but experiences more satisfaction. At the high end a chelation specialist or a pain specialist who uses acupuncture and prolotherapy and other methods. If anyone has data on income for this physician subset, let me know. Love to run it here.

What is clear from the survey on naturopathic incomes covered here  is that so-called "naturopathics" are not likely to send one quickly to retirement.
And please, are there more than a handful of medical doctors who have chosen to become chiropractors (or gone to naturopathic medical school, for that matter)? Therapeutic touch, of course, is a huge money maker. Not. Even short course acupuncture is hardly a quick ticket to big bucks.

Mission, rather than money, is the larger driver as I have known these cross-over medical doctors. Reporter Haig ought to show up at the North American Conference on Complementary and Integrative Medicine or the annual meeting of the American Holistic Medical Association if he wants to have his reporting influenced by even a taste of reality.

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