Sunday, August 30, 2015

#1448: Ted Carrick

Holly Carmichael may be worth a mention for this, but hardly a separate entry. It is hard to question the significance and perniciousness of Ted Carrick, however.

Frederick Ted” Carrick is a Canadian-American “Chiropractic Neurologist” and usually considered the father of modern chiropractic neurology. Chiropractic neurology is, of course, utter bullshit, but that hasn’t prevented the idea from gaining some currency among the reality-challenged segments of the population, and Carrick currently runs the Carrick Brain Centers, places to avoid like the plague if you suffer from any serious condition.

His wikipedia page might even give some people the impression of a distinguished career. In the 1980s, for instance, Carrick was asked to establish the chiropractic neurology diplomat certification program by the American Chiropractic Association, which is an organization to be wary of (partially, of course, precisely because they asked someone like Carrick to establish a diplomat certification program for them). He has also been a member of the clinical faculty of Life University’s LIFE Functional Neurology Center, Professor Emeritus of Neurology at Parker College, Distinguished Post Graduate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Logan College and Professor of Clinical Neurology at Carrick Institute, all organizations you’d be well advised to avoid. We are talking some serious pseudoscience here.

Among Carrick’s dubious contributions to pseudoscience are his studies” on blind spot mapping”. The mapping, which achieved frightening popularity in its time, is a simple paper-and-pencil test that the practitioners say can tell how your brain is functioning (other names include brain function testing”, brain mapping” or cortical mapping”) by detecting an enlarged blind spot in one eye, which is supposed to reflect a malfunction in the brain that can be treated by manipulating the neck on the same side. It is utter, complete nonsense, but the practice is often defended by Carrick’s study”, which is methodologically so bankrupt that he could just as well just have made it all up. Indeed, it is so bad that the James Randi Educational Foundation contacted Carrick and offered him the famous $1,000,000 prize (awarded to anyone who can demonstrate the existence of the paranormal under controlled conditions to eliminate the possibility of deliberate trickery or self-delusion) if he could demonstrate that his blind spot test worked. Carrick refused.

There is a report on one of his presentations here. The presentation was apparently … light on facts and science, but heavy on anecdotes.

Glenn Beck is apparently a fan of Carrick’s (after Carrick diagnosed him with a condition he almost certainly did not have and offered him a treatment that almost certainly does not work), which is, needless to say, not something to be proud of.

Diagnosis: A fine specimen of the cargo cult scientist, Carrick apparently enjoys a rather substantial fan base. Dangerous, in other words.


  1. You should perhaps do a more extensive research investigation prior to your dismissal of Dr. Carrick as some sort of quack. He currently has been appointed positions at both Harvard and the University of Cambridge. Some people thought the world was flat and laughed at those who thought it was round. Neuroscience is not a flat and static science; it is dynamic and evolving. Dr. Carrick is a pioneer in neuroscience. You best do some more investigation of your resources prior to trying to insult someone who is working very hard and diligently to assist those with otherwise retractable neurological conditions.

    1. “Harvard Macy Institute,” whatever that is < Harvard University. Which one do you think it was ;)

  2. As a chiropractor and actual career neuroscientist, who has ACTUALLY been faculty at Harvard, I can assure you that Carrick most certainly does NOT have any appointment at Harvard. His "methods" have no tenable or testable hypothesis and have no evidence of efficacy. He preys on people who need a guru.

    1. You write sing a pseudonym and show no credentials, only a claim of being a D.C., neuroscientist and Harvard faculty. I first met Dr Carrick when I was a student at Logan Chiropractic College (now Logan Chiropractic University) in St Louis. That is one very smart man. If he tells you the moon needs an adjustment, you'd better be looking for a rocket to get you there! He is no BS'er, as I suspect you may be.