Monday, May 6, 2019

#2185: Lawrence Rosen

Lawrence Rosen is an “integrative” pediatrician and chair-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Clinical Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at UMDNJ/New Jersey Medical School, and Chief of Pediatric Integrative Medicine at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, medical advisor to the antivaccine organization the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center, and blogger for  The Whole Child blog. He is, in other words, not a nobody, but he is a crank and pseudoscientist through and through. Rosen is at least an antivaccine sympathizer, who opposes vaccine mandates (in particular mandates for the flu vaccine and Gardasil), and seems to think that thimerosal causes autism (though chooses to remain carefully vague about it) despite the fact that the hypothesis that it does is falsified beyond any vestige of doubt – which is, of course, a hallmark of pseudoscientific practice. He is also a speaker at anti-vaccine conferences, and was one of the “experts” who “vetted” the conspiracy theory flick “The Greater Good”, something that ought to prevent anyone even minimally reasonable from ever listening to his advice on anything ever again. He is also on the advisory board for the zealously delusional Holistic Moms Network.

Rosen has managed to establish himself as one of the leading promoters and advocates of woo in the US, and he promotes woo and pseudoscience in familiar ways: “Conventional Western medicine is about fixing disease, mainly acute illnesses. It’s oriented around disease labeling and treatment,” says Rosen, which is blatantly false, but rhetorically useful in promoting himself as a Brave Maverick Doctor who has seen the light and gone his own ways. And Rosen promotes the whole gamut of ineffectual nonsense regimes and treatments, backed up with fluff and appeals to nature, including homeopathyaromatherapy, herbal medicine, and guided imagery, “operated according to the principles of ecologically sustainable medicine” (which he is free define any way he likes, of course). Indeed, Rosen promotes oscillococcinum, no less, stating – with an apparently straight face – that: “Oscillococcinum has been found to be a good homeopathic treatment for children and adults with flu-like symptoms.” It is hard to imagine that he made the claim in good faith.

Now, Rosen targets his quackery at children in particular. His Whole Child Center practices “integrative medicine,” based “on a practitioner-client partnerships in which both conventional and alternative modalities are used to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential.” Their website does feature a quack Miranda warning, at least. They also feature Bob Sears’s vaccine book, a large tome of scare tactics and anecdotes of children experiencing problems after receiving vaccines, apparently straight from the VAERS database. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics published an article criticizing Sears’ callous and unprofessional conspiracy mongering, crackpottery, lies and general dimwittedness.

And critics? Rosen is nothing if not fond of the pharma shill gambit. It is very effective with certain audiences.

Diagnosis: Pseudoscientist, crackpot and quack, but of the charismatic and trust-inspiring kind; what he promotes, however, isn’t better grounded in reality or evidence than the stuff promoted by incoherent, raging lunatics in weird color schemes and random capitalization over at Maintain a safe distance.

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