Thursday, May 20, 2021

#2471: Paul Anderson


Paul Anderson is a naturopath and not a doctor, although many of his fans seem confused about that. And Anderson does have fans – indeed, Anderson currently seems to have established himself as a major-league quack and something of an authority in the altmed and conspiracy theory community.


Anderson runs something called Advanced Medical Technologies, which seems to be some kind of franchise system (apparently pseudoeducation promoter and quack authority Leanna Standish is affiliated with Anderson’s group) that offers e.g. infusion therapy (IV), hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), and infrared saunamild hyperthermia (IRMHT). According to Anderson, mild hyperthermia can be used for “anti-infective, cancer, toxicity and many others” – in a sense it can be used for that, but it’s not going to achieve anything. He also offers chelation therapy and “detox services”. None of his offered regimes are even remotely effective for the kinds of things quacks tend to use them for, and several of them are genuinely dangerous. In his promotional materials Anderson emphasizes that he e.g. uses “infusions that have been designed and formulated from the collective experience of over three decades from the minds of Dr. Anderson and the other physicians at AMT,” and that they are “customized and tailored” to you. Evidence for safety and efficacy seems to be less of an issue. The FDA has already cracked down on some providers of the kind of intravenous “micronutrient therapy Anderson offers, though it seems that Anderson himself has thus far escaped their attention; chelation therapy, meanwhile, can and demonstrably does kill, and is equally demonstrably useless – pace the claims of quacks – against anything but acute metal poisoning, which you are not suffering from. Detoxification therapies, against mostly unnamed “toxins”,  are a scam that is interestingly reminiscent of religious purification rituals and far less reminicent of medicine. Intravenous ozone, high dose vitamin C, and the wide range of other infusions Anderson offers are equally medically worthless.


Anderson might, however, be most famous for championing IV curcumin as a treatment, something that has demonstrably led to deaths. When a young woman in California died from the treatment Anderson advocates, the naturopaths circled the wagons and Anderson himself issued a tellingly clueless defense, mostly focusing on the fact that turmeric and curcumin are different things, something that the press initially got it mixed up and which was … really, really not the problem here. (The woman died from intravenous curcumin, which is what Anderson promotes.) Anderson and the quack cabal the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), of which Anderson is a prominent member, also emphasized the importance of using a licensed naturopath; Kim Kelly, the naturopath who administered the curcumin, was licensed in California, as if that matters, but it’s easy to see why naturopathic organizations might want to give an impression that she wasn’t.


Anderson is also a zealous and tireless campaigner against FDA attempts to rein in or create any sort of accountability system for compounding pharmacies of the kind that produced the curcumin that resulted in the aforementioned death. In 2019, for instance, Anderson testified before the Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee (a panel of experts advising the FDA) in support of sodium dichloroacetate, stating that his group had administered over 10,000 doses orally and IV as an adjunct treatment for cancer. Which is not evidence for the safety and efficacy of sodium dichloroacetate but should serve as a stark warning to anyone considering approaching Anderson’s group. The PCAC was not impressed.


He is apparently also heavily into epigenetics, since it’s very fashionable, and has even posted what he calls amaster class” in epigenetics, nutrigenomics, and cancer. It’s hard to believe that he has the faintest clue what the central terms he is using actually means (hint: “mutations” and “single-nucleotide polymorphisms” are not synonyms). But his intended audience probably doesn’t either. The “masterclass” is, or at least used to be, one of the first hits if you searched “cancer” on youtube, which suggests that Anderson’s deep misunderstandings and obfuscations are going to be many people’s first encounter with anything related to epigenetics and medicine, which is tragic.


And of course he has written a book: Outside the Box Cancer Therapies: Alternative Therapies That Treat and Prevent Cancer. We can’t claim to have read it, but if the excerpt on his website is an indication, it’s precisely the kind of unsupported nonsense you’d have expected from the title: mostly an alternative cancer cure testimonial with no relevant details that would allow one to assess it as even suggesting it would even be a starting point for forming a worthwhile hypothesis abourt anything. He also offers review courses for the naturopathic licensing examination, and various webinars. Indeed, Anderson apparently even teaches courses on IV infusions at Bastyr “University”, which tells you a lot more about the bullshit that passes for “education” at that institution and the opportunism that guides their course catalogues, than about Anderson. More worrisomely, some of Anderson’s deranged rants are given at conferences that real medical doctors can get continuing medical education creditsfor attending.


More recently, Anderson has been part of the American Association for Naturopathic Physician’s COVID-19 Task Force. Now, it is hardly very surprising that quacks and woomeisters have been using the pandemic to push their particular brands of woo and quackery hard, and the AANP is no exception. According to at least one of their press releases, the group urges physicians and hospitals to utilize IV Vitamin C as “an effective and affordable intervention” (it isn’t) for “high risk and hospitalized patients”, while also offering to be “a resource to physicians and organizations looking for clinical guidance in the proper use of this intervention”. Purely coincidentally, IV Vitamin C has been one of Anderson’s long-time sources of income; indeed, Anderson has “been using IVC safely and effectively … for over 20 years” and his review of the evidence “shows that the use of IVC in hospitalized COVID-19 patients has a high probability of reducing hospital stay, duration and improving outcomes.” We are not particularly surprised this was the outcome of Anderson’s own review; it is also completely contrary to what the evidence gained through real scientific studies actually tells us.


Diagnosis: One of the authorities in the naturopathic community – and living evidence of why naturopaths should not be considered authorities, licensed, or consulted for medical issues.

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