Thursday, August 22, 2013

#674: Patricia Fitzgerald

Patricia Fitzgerald is a licensed acupuncturist, clinical nutritionist, homeopath, and the “Wellness Editor” of Huffington Post. She took up the post in 2009 (adding to the publication’s already impressive list of fake experts), and is likely responsible for turning Huffpo’s health related section from being quackery friendly to being a seething pit of sheer woo. According to her bio she has a “Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine” and a “Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine,” which are as unaccredited as pseudo-degrees come – but she nevertheless calls herself “Dr.” on that background. She is also the founder and Medical Director of the Santa Monica Wellness Center and author of books such as The Detox Solution: The Missing Link to Radiant Health, Abundant Energy, Ideal Weight, and Peace of Mind. You don’t get much more anti-science and crackpot than this (more here).

Fitzgerald has recommended a “spring cleaning” for your liver with “detox” and praised Jenny McCarthy and her promotion of “biomedical” woo for autism, though at HuffPo she seems for the most part to be at least somewhat careful with the woo in her recommendations (which does not mean that she is not exceptionally wrong). She is still responsible for bringing the woo in big time, though, and she doesn’t always shy away from glittering lunacy. Her detox recommendations are entirely free of science, reality and evidence, for instance (and discussed here).

Her Santa Monica Wellness Center offers acupuncture, Emotional Freedom Technique, detoxification, and diagnostic testing such as “parasite and candida profile,” none of which has anything to do with reality or medicine, but is good for parting people in difficult situations from their money.

Diagnosis: As qualified for the position of health editor as Fred Phelps, but HuffPo has never really bothered any more with real qualifications than they have with reality and evidence when it comes to health. At least Fitzgerald is in a position where she can do plenty harm.

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