Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#1475: Suzy Cohen

A.k.a. America’s Pharmacist™ also A.k.a. America’s Most Trusted Pharmacist®

Oh, yes, after reading this far you already know everything you need to know. Suzy Cohen apparently has some training as a pharmacist, a background she uses for what it’s worth in her (probably unintentional) efforts to mislead people with real (or imagined, but probably often real) illnesses and conditions through her syndicated column Ask the Pharmacist – and no: If you have a health-related problem, you definitely shouldn’t.

Coffee enemas, anyone? Yes, some people actually believe that you could derive tremendous health benefits by simply shooting that coffee directly into your rectum. The idea is precisely as silly and unsupported by anything resembling evidence as you would expect, but Cohen is on board. According to Cohen (but emphatically not reality) “coffee enemas may help relieve constipation, insomnia and cognitive problems; they may eliminate (or control) parasites, candida and other pathogens (without disrupting intestinal flora).” And hey, “[c]offee enemas are frequently used in natural cancer protocols such as the Gerson Therapy.” Yes, that Gerson therapy. It is, of course, all about the toxins: “You are exposed to a barrage of toxic compounds in your life, you can easily become overloaded. Some of you cannot detoxify properly. Coffee enemas help you make glutathione, an antioxidant and that sends poisons packing,” says Cohen. She doesn’t specify which toxins, of course. Nor does she provide any citations or even gesture toward any remotely coherent mechanism.

And for Huffington Post, Cohen has given us the rather deplorable article Feel Bad? It Could Be Lyme Unless Proven Otherwise,” in which she claims – you guessed it – that any otherwise unexplained maladies or feeling less-than-perfect may very well be the result “chronic Lyme disease,” which is almost certainly not a well-definable diagnosis. The lack of a proper definition has, unsurprisingly, not prevented a whole industry from forming around non-evidence-based treatments of this nebulous condition. Cohen, however, seems to base most of her information on the work of Dr. Richard Horowitz, one of several self-styled Lyme-literate medical doctors and brave mavericks who have made a career of diagnosing and treating conditions not recognized by mainstream medical science.

Cohen is otherwise “passionate about natural medicine” and promotes a number of nonsensical treatments, from Bach flower remedies to acupuncture for tinnitus. She has also said that “Antibiotics are actually derived from mold/fungus so it’s recommended that you avoid antibiotics if you have any fungal infection or various immune system disorders.” Yeah, that’s the level at which her understanding of biology and medicine is pitched. It hasn’t prevented her from writing several books.

Diagnosis: Crazy crackpot and pseudoscientist. Stay far, far away.