Monday, June 1, 2015

#1380: Paula Bickle

Paula Ruth Bickle runs – or at least used to run – the 5-day-a-week hour-long, Internet-based “Dr. Paula” radio show, where she would provide usually wrong medical and nutritional advice to people who call about serious health concerns. Many people are, in fact, adviced to treat themselves with products from American Longevity (founded by quack Joel Wallach), a multilevel marketing company where Bickle and her husband Howard are distributors. Of course, to get a fit between patient and product, Bickle also suggests that people should distrust prevailing medical opinions.

Bickle promotes herself as a qualified nutritionist, a nutritional biochemist, a distinguished educator, a groundbreaking researcher, a consumer advocate, and an authority on many health matters. It is worth mentioning, then, that her “Ph.D.” is from the infamous diploma mill Columbia Pacific University. Her CV does not state who issued her Master’s Degree, but since she has only two years of college, it is not unlikely that we’re talking an unaccredited institution. She also lists an impressive amount of research experience, though PubMed lists no publications. In particular, she claims that her research resulted in “moving DMPS to the allowed list of bulk compounds that can be used in the United States,” which is interestingly obviously false; DMPS is not approved, and is accordingly illegal to market for the prevention or treatment of any disease.

Her practices in Washington and Oregon are a long story of woo, chelation therapy promotion deception and Bickle being charged with practicing medicine without a license: in 1996 in Washington and in 1999 in Oregon (and again in 2000; relevant documents can be accessed here). She appears to have stopped now, but continues to provide the same kind of advice she did before through her Internet services.

A more detailed description can be found here. Fortunately, the quackwatch entry is the first hit on a search for “Paula Bickle” on Google.

Diagnosis: A sort of small-time Kevin Trudeau, it seems, though it is of course possible that Bickle is entirely honest but just so severely deluded that she actually thinks she may be helping anyone.

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