Friday, September 13, 2019

#2240: Sharum Sharif

Sharum Sharif is not a doctor but a “board-certified, licensed naturopathic physician” and graduate of Bastyr University. Of course, naturopathy is (dangerous) quackery based on pseudoscience, and “board-certified” and “licensed” just mean that other naturopaths have given Sharif their stamp of approval as part of an effort to protect their turf from other nonsense-based practitioners. Sharif is not someone you should consult if you suffer from an actual health-related issue. Sharif is also a homeopath, and “a graduate of the New England School of Homeopathy”, which justifies pride approximately as much as any diploma you can purchase by following a link in your spambox. Currently Sharif works as a “full-time as a naturopathic physician at his two clinics in Kent and Bellevue, Washington,” but is also affiliate clinical faculty at Bastyr. He is the author of a book on homeopathy called Visual Homeopathy.

At his practice, you will be subjected to the standard naturopathic battery of tests – some of them standard but completely unnecessary in the absence of specific diagnostic markers, but also “various alternative tests performed mainly by the naturopathic community,” including adrenal hormone testing to assess adrenal fatigue, a fake disease. Rest ye assured: Sharif will find something wrong with you. Then you may receive prescription for specific nutritional and herbal supplements – which probably won’t hurt but certainly won’t help (luckily you probably don’t have and couldn’t have the condition they’re supposed to remedy anyways) – prescriptions for homeopathic remedies “uniquely tailored for each concern”, and “natural hormones” (natural is apparently key). According to Sharif even “the most perplexing conditions, including auto-immune diseases and cancer, can be treated and ultimately potentially cured by following this truly holistic approach to healthcare.“ This is inaccurate.

Otherwise, Sharif’s website is notable for the density of standard false and misleading altmed tropes, such as their claim to treat “the whole person, not just the symptoms” (insinuating that real doctors don’t) and to “identify the root cause of his patients problem,” which is somewhat curious since homeopathy, in addition to all its other ludicrous bullshit, is premised on the idea that there is nothing to disease beyond the totality of your symptoms. Coherence doesn’t matter much when all you do is nonsense anyways, we suppose. Sharif does claim that homeopathy is science-based. He doesn’t cite any science, and basically just appeals to irrelevant authority (Luc Montagnier, Dana Ullmann (!) and some economist and social theorist), points out that homeopathy is 200 years old, which makes it younger than trepanation, and personal anecdotes (“I have seen results with homeopathic remedies that most people would consider miraculous”). He doesn’t have the faintest idea what “scientific” means, which comes as no surprise.

His presentation “Visual Homeopathy – Identifying a Person’s Constitutional Homeopathic Remedy in Minutes” at the 2010 American Association of Naturopathic Physicians Convention is briefly discussed here. At least it really is a nice illustration of the scary insanity that is naturopathy.

Diagnosis: He seems to be a true believer, which really doesn’t make his advice any better or his treatment of patients any less disconcerting. Perhaps not among the movers and shakers in the antiscience movement, but Sharif is in a position to cause real harm to real people.

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