Sunday, May 8, 2011

200: Jon Kaiser

This may be our 200th loon, but it’s really nothing to celebrate, so let’s go for a relatively negligible (but still crazy) one.

According to the PR letters he sends out (well, spam), Dr. Jon Kaiser is “an esteemed HIV/AIDS and nutrition specialist who specializes in supporting immune system function with nutrition”. You may see where this is going already. “In the 1980's, Kaiser pioneered the use of nutritional supplements in HIV/AIDS patients to help them build stronger immune systems”, he combines “the best of natural and standard therapies" for HIV, he can report on remarkable results, and there are absolutely no scientific publications or studies performed on his unorthodox methods – and he wants to sell you the nutritional supplement K-PAX.

What, by the way, are “natural therapies”? According to Kaiser, “[a]n aggressive natural therapies program includes a combination of diet therapy, vitamins, herbs, exercise, and stress reduction. Emotional healing encompasses a proactive program of psychological healing techniques that ideally includes a spiritually-oriented practice (prayer, meditation, yoga, etc.)”.

And there you go. More here. Kaiser noticed the mild criticism and responded in your typical crackpot manner.

Diagnosis: Kaiser may be a fraud, or he may be well-intentioned and misguided. He might even (in theory) be right in his claims, for all we know (well, not in his prayer, meditation, yoga claims). The scary thing is that someone with such complete lack of understanding of science, evidence or critical thinking is aggressively marketing their products to the sick and desperate with grandiose but completely unsubstantiated claims. Thus, Kaiser definitely qualifies for an entry in this Encyclopedia.


  1. K-PAX? How'd he get Kevin Spacey inside of a pill? ;)

  2. Hmm. The thing is, I can see diet, vitamins, herbs, exercise, and stress reduction as being helpful when combined with common treatments. Generally, it makes sense that the more healthy you are the better your body will be able to cope. Even the prayer, meditation, yoga, etc, could be helpful when it comes down to mindset (not anything like actual miracles though), which can have effects (like a placebo that works because people think it does). This doesn't mean, however, that Mr. Kaiser is correct.

    But... the exaggeration and marketing is worrying. Scary even.