Tuesday, September 17, 2013

#709: Burton Goldberg

Cancer woo is big industry. After all, woo survives and thrives on testimonials, and in the case of cancer there will generally be no testimonials when the patient experiences no perceivable beneficial effect during the treatment. Such default selection bias is a goldmine for any practitioner of woo and the list of questionable cancer treatments is virtually endless.

Burton Goldberg is one of many who contributes to the field, and he has apparently made quite a name for himself. He was, for instance, included in Suzanne Somers’ quackfest manifesto Knockout. Indeed, he seems to be a prolific author, and was (among other things) co-author (with W. John Diamond, and W. Lee Cowden) of Definitive Guide to Cancer, which is listed as a “nonrecommended book” by quackwatch. He also wrote the foreword to Alternative Medicine: the Definitive Guide (edited by John W. Anderson and Larry Trivieri), which was endorsed by Deepak Chopra; and that should tell you enough about that one.

For instance, Goldberg subjects cancer patients to “the Ondamed machine”, described as a biofeedback device that can tell a patient how to “restore homeostasis” (pretty much translatable to “unblocking qi” in Goldberg’s version), and Asyrus devices, which supposedly use “resonance” from quantum physics to measure “organ efficacy.” Yes, quantum. If you are serious about your woo, you do quantum woo, and Goldberg is serious about his woo.

While the efficacy of such devices is dubious, they are at least not directly dangerous. So serious medical experts are presumably more worried by Goldberg’s insulin potentiation therapy, which you should really, really stay away from if you care about health and well-being, coupled with whole body hyperthermia, which is not a good idea either.

Diagnosis: Goldberg seems currently to be one of the most widely recognized cancer woo proponents out there. Indeed, he appears to be something of a legend among cancer quacks, and must as such be considered very dangerous.

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