Saturday, October 28, 2017

Yale's ND Ali Dies of Cancer and MD Katz Calls Him "The Very Best of What Modern Medicine Could and Should Be"

here, the unfortunate news of someone's death from cancer, a naturopathic oncologist in activity, and the absurd elevation of the ND credential by ND Katz and Yale University, lovers of what I'll term 'epistemic unintegrity and epistemic secrets': 

001. at HuffPo, in "Outrageous Fortune: The Probability Of Prevention" [saved; also here](2017-10-27), MD Katz [a former professor I'd had in public health at YMS-UB] writes:

"for those who knew and loved Dr. Ather Ali [...] and I proudly count myself among them [...] the first naturopathic physician ever to join the faculty of the Yale School of Medicine [...] among the many roles he was playing at Yale at the time of his death [...] was Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at the renowned Smilow Cancer Hospital [...] a light has gone out in the world. Dr. Ali died this week at the absurd age of 42 [....from] a cancer that defied all treatments. I am sharing shock and sadness and a sense of something like dizziness with many of the best people I know around the world as we figure out how to react to this hole torn in the world [...] in the turbulence of strong emotion, I am still seeking for lessons and meaning [...] a bright light has been extinguished from the world. The rest of us must strive for the light of meaning in it, to defend against the darkness [...and he speaks of] the probabilities of prevention, and the potential primacy of outrageous fortune [...]";

there be some strong emotions, and some mighty hyperbole!  It shocks me that the mighty Yale would not do its homework as obviously naturopathy and its commitments DEFY modern medicine's ethical and epistemic obligations and realities.  It's THAT SIMPLE.  Here's an example: naturopathy patently calls anything science, and trades on that falsehood.  You can find that easily through Bastyr, ND Ali's alma mater.  Science's MEANING, in terms of naturopathy and ND Ali's alma mater, is made meaninglessness.  For no good reason except a failed medieval paradigm.  Yet Katz was "proud [...he] knew and loved [...he is] shocked [...of] sadness [...of] dizziness" which is truly "strong emotion", for his colleague.  Personally, I can understand, but, it seems professionally, Katz sees the loss of this ND as planet-effecting. Also, perhaps he's getting ahead of criticism here.  After all, if naturopathy is SO wonderful, where are its wonderful outcomes?  ND's, I'd think, shouldn't be just like everyone else in terms of their morbidities and mortality if SO WONDERFUL.  And I don't know why someone of medicine would professionally feel so PROFESSIONALLY about a naturopath generically speaking, and of naturopathy, an unethical sectarian pseudoscience.  Really.  I though the Katz woo-adoration cycle was over, that somehow he was rehabilitated.  Not.  He has lost his champion to something basically unpreventable and currently untreatable, which is sad, but why in the first place choose unethical sectarian pseudoscience and its commitments and perniciousness?

"many of you, of course, won’t know Dr. Ali, but he’s important to you just the same. He represents the very best of what modern medicine could, and should be [...]";

now, I think we're professionally speaking as opposed to 'the man himself', and I want to be clear about that.  MD Katz is lauding naturopathy here, as a MODEL, as an IDEAL.  I agree that naturopathy is "important", but only as an indicator of 'gaming the system', of degradation of standards and of false commerce in terms of academics and clinical activities. This, again, so so easy to show.  Now, though Katz states "the goal was and is to offer patients a wider spectrum of responsible options", I question his overall responsibility for this: lending esteem to naturopathic nonsense, grossly, merely by institutional association, and then being SILENT on naturopathy's essential and PATENT perversity and defectiveness.

"we met nearly a decade and a half ago, shortly after Ather completed his training in naturopathic medicine (a 4-year program) at Bastyr University. He was at first my resident in one of the nation’s few post-graduate training programs in integrative medicine, ours specifically in evidence-based integrative medicine, and exclusively for naturopathic physicians. [...] our intent was to come at this issue from the other direction, training naturopaths to appreciate conventional, modern approaches, and the underlying evidence [...]";

oh my!  This is QUITE an admission.  The intent of the program was to train NDs in things they didn't have training in, evidence, while all the while, Bastyr has continually termed itself "science-based."  So, in a major sense, MD Katz has a dog in the fight.  He is hugely invested in repackaging naturopathy, wrapping the naturopathic in an acceptable veneer through Yale, and creating a champion for this muddle.  And "evidence-based integrative medicine" is an odd term because when you parse it all down, since EBIM is a blend of science and nonscience-for-decades-and-centuries aka an epistemic muddle, aren't we here talking about the FUTILITY of for instance, scientifically justifying naturopathy's homeopathy, vitalism, supernaturalism, and kind?  It's like Katz knits soft and fuzzy hand puppets to disguise monstrous hands!  In the end, of course, it is a degradation of the threshold of evidence needed to truly pass scientific modern muster, and it is disguise that degrades rationality, IMHO.  So, SHOULD an unethical sectarian pseudoscientific education be embraced as a credential, even if blended with Yale stuff, as in "the very best of what modern medicine could and should be"?  It kind of makes the idea of credentials obsolete, of good and bad obsolete.  And that's absurd.  And MD Katz says he's looking for lessons!  I think we need a lesson in epistemic integrity.  And I'd argue this: MD Katz has suffered a great loss, but on the professional side, MD Katz's project of diluting epistemic quality is not a SOLUTION to say, for instance, ND Ali's aggressive cancer.  It is MORE rigorous SCIENCE that will lead to better interventions for such, not elevation of the patently science-ejected for decades and for centuries. That's a lesson I see here.

"Ather worked tirelessly to renounce the false choice between responsible use of evidence, and responsiveness to every need of the patient [...]";

this, in itself, is a false choice.  I've been struck by the willingness of MD Katz to offer, as a doctor in a white lab coat, a 'catering to all patient whims' as a kind of limitless concierge.  Why do this?  Definitely a coordination of patient activities is warranted, but it should be medicine plus other participants.  What MD Katz wants to do in great part is, IMHO, degrade the role of a physician into the role of a 'coordinator of all kinds' for fear of not offering EVERY thing or responding to EVERY thing the patient needs or wants.  For example, we're told Ali "worked to broaden the spectrum of treatment options" and I'm guessing that with a Bastyr ND, wherein anything is science, this opened the floodgates of woo to vulnerable cancer patients.  Because in Bastyrland, science and evidence are everywhere for everything.  Now, even MD Katz is aware of the disrepute that so much of naturopathy has earned.  He states "woo."

"Ather went on to publish dozens of peer-reviewed papers, playing a lead role in NIH-funded research demonstrating the effectiveness of massage therapy for osteoarthritis [...] just a month ago, Dr. Ali and colleagues published results of an important study of individualized diets for irritable bowel syndrome, which garnered high profile, and well-deserved media attention [...]";

well, that's not woo, I'd argue.  This is the ripoff of integrative medicine: only being able to support the mundane, but bundling in 'all kinds' for popularity.   But Katz is an expert of sophistry, as he also states this false choice: "those most inclined to consign all but the most orthodox of conventional practices to the realm they derisively call 'woo' [...] the concern espoused there is that an emphasis on natural medicine pulls us away from science and evidence [...] the credential most prominently associated with Ather is the ND degree, a doctoral degree in natural medicine, or naturopathy. That's NOT what woo is, IMHO, that which is NOT "most orthodox".  Katz doesn't apparently apply Bayesian or probabilistic weights to claims.  Massage and its claims, roughly, are not equal to homeopathy and its claims.  The mundane is not comparable to the fantastical.  This is just trash thinking: equating physiotherapy and nutrition, roughly, with magic beans, flying carpets, and unicorn tears.  AND truly and it doesn't take much for one to look and see that "natural medicine", as set up by the AANP-CAND AANMC and kind, the "natural medicine" that Katz is directly mentioning, TRULY degrades the labels naturopaths uses: "science" and "evidence."  Katz is such a kabuki experience, as in bizarre.

"[Ali] worked hard at the intricacies of science, and to be consummately gentle in all the intimacies of patient care [...] Ather was devoted to kinder, gentler, and more holistic treatment options whenever possible, but never without regard for scientific evidence [...]";

now, in terms of ND Ali's two Yale master's degrees, on top of his Bastyr ND, I am NOT aware of this first-and-foremost scholarship that SHOULD have been, IMHO, his utmost of concerns if he was such a champion of science and integrity: refuting the unethical sectarian pseudoscience that is an ND, the ND oath, NDs' praxis, and an ND license.  That RUSE perpetually endures.  Patient's deserve to know the TRUTH, particularly cancer patients.  It's sickening.  Intimate nondisclosure: not telling patient's 'are you aware that my primary credential as a physician working in oncology is actually basically an unethical sectarian pseudoscience?'  Neither MD Katz nor ND Ali, as far as I know, has EVER written an open letter to North American naturopathy to stop its woo, while warning society about that woo.  But that is part of an MD's obligations, of modern medicine's obligations.  Instead, there is silence and secrets!

"over the bridge of modern healthcare's troubled waters, where the competing priorities of art and science, reductionism and holism, evidence and empathy roil - Ather was the bridge [...] the trail is still there. It falls to us to tend it [...] there are misguided excesses";

and MD Katz still has lessons to teach, and apparently LEARN.  He's still setting up evidence VERSUS empathy, art VERSUS science, reductionism VERSUS holism WITHIN medicine.  Since holism is, for naturopathy, inclusive of the science-ejected vitalistic and the science-exterior supernatural and ABUNDANT other such kinds, it's obvious that for Katz it's not enough that medicine be an applied science, and within those boundaries.  He wants medicine to be all, unbounded, just like naturopathy wants science to be anything.  There certainly are "misguided excesses": like lauding and elevating the ND degree, in all its falseness and perversity, and keeping SILENT about patent organized falsehood.
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