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    ChiroWatch Back-Breaking Report

    What's the real story on chelation therapy?
    Is it safe? Are those who promote it honest, or are they just another spin doctor?

    • What did the CPSO really say about chelation therapy? "Physicians who practice medicine that is both safe and honest have nothing to fear from the College."

    • Members of the medical profession must be accountable to their peers, the public they serve and to the College
    • There is no alternative to good medicine
    • There are not and should not be any exemptions from accountability

    Vincent DeMarco - Who is he?

    1. Assistant professor of psychiatry at the Univ. of Toronto
    2. A recently certified anti-aging chelation therapist
    3. A $20 a seat alternative health guru
    4. Carolyn DeMarco's brother
    5. Shares space and phone number with the Kulhay Wellness Institute
    6. Some of his presentations are funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb
    7. All of the above?

    Is the truth stranger than fiction?

    Nominated for the Toronto Sun's Women on the Move award, Toronto chiropractor Katrina Kulhay has a new associate at her Wellness Centre at 15 St. Clair Ave. W.

    Katrina has long been the darling of Marilyn Linton who has done other stories on the Kulhay Wellness Centre over the years. It's almost as if she has a contract to produce articles about the clinic on a regular basis:

  • Therapists acquire that healing touch - March 29, 1999 Catherine Cartwright is one of a growing number of physical therapists who is expanding her knowledge to include a more hands-on approach.

    The certified athletic therapist who works out of the Kulhay Wellness Clinic in Toronto also practices osteopathy -- a manual therapy technique that looks at the total body and takes into account what goes on from head to toe.

    The way Cartwright distinguishes this from her work as an athletic therapist is that osteopathy is more a full-body approach. (BTW - osteopathy in Canada is not a regulated health profession, despite the name provided by Marilyn Linton in this article. If Cartwright is a registered physiotherapist, does that regulated health profession recognize "osteopathy" as a further definition of what a licensed physiotherapist is allowed to do? I also note with wonder and amazement that Linton also promotes reflexolgy, Reiki, therapeutic touch, and more. Marilyn's authoritative references can be found in this quote, "Word of mouth is the best source; these therapies are also listed in magazines such as Vitality, found in health food stores.")

  • Ear candling by Shannon Kulhay - August 22, 1999At The Kulhay Wellness Centre on St. Clair, Shannon Kulhay (a holistic therapist who does nutrition and allergy work along with ear candling) doesn't pretend it's the be-all and end-all of therapies.
  • So, why hasn't Marilyn gone to the Kulhay centre to interview their newest medical doctor and pose some simple questions about his credentials? The good doctor is none other than Vincent DeMarco, M.D.

    What's this you say, you thought that he was a psychiatrist? So did we. You thought he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, so did we. So did the Canadian Medical Directory, so did the printers of the program at the Total Health 2000 quack-filled alternative health expo in Toronto in March, 2000. And, get this, the Kulhay Wellness Centre promotes him the same way.

    DeMarco hasn't been with the Department of Psychiatry at the U of T since 1992 according to sources in two departments at the university. In fact, a letter was sent to Dr. DeMarco that he in fact should not be using that designation. In a letter from DeMarco to the University a day or so before the quack health festival, he apparently apologized for the errors.

    During the presentation on March 18, 2000 Vincent was introduced as an Assistant Professor and he didn't flinch, nor did he make corrections.. However, he did state that he had received a letter from the College of Physicians on March 17th and had to restrict his talk in some ways.

    So, why is he now part of an alternative medicine consortium in one of Toronto's more affluent areas? What possible training could he have taken that qualifies him to hang out a new shingle in a clinic better known for its anti-medical, anti-vaccine Thursday night pot-luck dinners where Kulhay and her friends charge young mothers $20 to see a $36.95 video from Australia about the risks of immunizations? Did he like the picture on her wall of Len Horowitz? What's the story here?

    Why does Vincent speak at quack health expos year after year?

    Why would a trained psychiatrist associate with the likes of Hulda Clark, or Len Horowitz, and those who feel that aliens from outer space are amongst us and have implanted crystals in our brains?

    How does Vincent explain to the public how he became involved in chelation therapy and why is he doing it at numerous quack expos?

    In order to catch of glimpse of what appears to be a major switch from allopathic psychiatry to plaque busting, EDTA dripping, anti-aging, unqualified by any legitimate non-psychiatric college, we should pay a visit to some of Vincent's recent links:

    He used to be a psychiatrist, but he's not listed with the University of Toronto's Psychiatry Department. In fact he hasn't had a faculty appointment since 1992. Yet his entry in the 1999 edition of the Canadian Medical Directory lists a number of hospital affiliations, but when we called them, they said he is not on their staff. That same listing also says that he is an Assistant Professor. Who is telling the truth?

    The Psychiatry department doesn't list their professors on their web site, but they do discuss their research, and chelation doesn't show up anywhere.

    Why not?

    The program for the Total Health 2000 expo below says that Vincent is an Assistant Professor in their department.

    But, now he is an anti-aging specialist.

  • Search Canada Newswire for Vincent DeMarco for links. You might be surprised at the results.

    Then a few short months later he becomes a chelation therapy expert. Why he's able to strip small plaques from your coronary arteries and claims that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario approves it. Wow, I'm impressed.

    • Here's how his credentials are presented on the Consumer Health Association's web site:

      Vincent Demarco, MD Toronto, Ontario

      Dr. Vince DeMarco is a keen diagnostician with a wide knowledge of both mainstream and complementary medicine. He is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, a member of the American College for the Advancement of Medicine, a diplomate of the American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine and a member of the Great Lakes College of Complementary Medicine.

      Medical Politics: Chelation Therapy Arrives in Ontario
      Saturday, 9:30 -10:10, Room 206

      Chelation therapy, traditionally used for the treatment of heavy metal toxicity, has recently been approved for the treatment of cardiovascular disease in Ontario by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. DeMarco will outline the clinical benefits of chelation therapy, focussing on cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and provide a model for assessment and treatment using chelation therapy. He will present a review of the political pressures preventing a wider application of this therapy."


    What's really scary folks is that those titles mean absolutely nothing.

    • Am. College for the Advancement of Medicine has no requirements at all beyond a license to practice. They were recently slapped down by the FTC. See below for links.

    • Here's their position paper on chelation:

    • Dr. Barrett's position on chelation and the ACAM:
    • Here's the Am. Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine:

      It costs you $150 U.S. per year to join. Just e-mail them at:a4m@worldhealth.net - e-mail them and ask them if he really is a member and what he had to do to join. I could sign up anyone if I wanted according to their own web page:

    • The Great Lakes College of Complementary Medicine is nothing more than a front group for what medical experts would consider to be quackery. In fact there are only three members from Ontario, two in the same practice in Dundas:

      Their group says this:

      The Scientific Advisory Committee also provides a forum for interchange on What is the Science behind any Alternative Therapy, e.g., homeopathy, EAV (electrodermal diagnosis), Iridiology, etc., and sometimes this may take the form of a position paper or White Paper. The committee is ready to work with any of the GLCCM members in the preparation of these documents. In other words this group looks for proof that EAV, homeopathy, or iridology is based in science. They area also looking for corporate sponsorship. I see that that part of their site is still under construction. I ask the public who is reading this to wake up and realize that if this doesn't support quack ideas who the hell does?

      There are some who support anti-aging medicine who feel that some people are out to sell them human growth hormone products that might not be quite right. Of course, only their supplier of HGH has the answers to their search for the fountain of youth.

      This AARP article is much more cautious.

      "hGH can cause side effects. Injecting hGH can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, edema, joint and muscle pain, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of congestive heart failure because of fluid retention. It can also worsen the effects of arthritis and diabetes."So why do these anti-aging folks tell people it's the "fountain of youth?

      Here's a press release about Dr. DeMarco's new specialty from Canada Newswire. The press release sounds very impressive indeed. Anti-aging medicine specialists and their business promoters have made headlines in many major business and news magazines over the last year. I wonder if Nick Nolte has made an appointment?

    • Here he is last year in yet another health expo. - I just love his picture next to all those other folks, don't you?

    • Take a look at who else was at this expo with him.

      In case you want to take in other quacks at this year's show: Here's the full schedule. Don't miss Len Horowitz. The last time I spoke to him was at a conference in Hamilton sponsored by a group of anti-vaccine dental hygienists held at Mohawk College.

      Almost every quack that was here last year has returned for this years' show. I assume that there will be a half dozen or so dentists, and a dozen or so chiropractors there as well. Their booths will be right next to those who sell pyramids and crystals to ward off evil spririts. Dozens of scammers and bunko artists will be there with their live cell microscopes, EAV metres, and light machines.

      We wonder why Health Canada, and the Revenue and Customs folks don't worry about all that cash that thousands of suckers will spend there. How in the world does Canada Customs allow these devices and these people through the gates at Pearson Airport?

      We invite all quackbusting members in good standing to hear Vincent DeMarco, Len Horowitz, and Hulda Clark at the show. I am sure that most of you will certainly want to speak with Michael Culbert at the American Biologics booth and ask him why their star patient announced at the expo last year, Tyrell Dueck, is dead?

      Have a great Totally Quacky 2000

  • Lying for Fun and Profit  by Kurt Butler
    Kurt Butler exposes the corruption that exists between radio broadcasters, newspapers and magazines when they hook up with
    medical quacks,
    chiropractors, and
    alternative medical
    "experts" to plug their products and wacko theories. Kurt's previous book was the
    Consumers Guide to Alternative Medicine
    with Stephen Barrett. Order this book, send a copy to your local AM radio station, newspaper and any patient who is taken in by people who spend money advertising in your area. It will be the best investment you can make to protect the public from quacks.

    Health Robbers - Barrett

    A Consumer's Guide to Alternative Medicine by Kurt Butler

    Lying for Fun and Profit  by Kurt Butler

    Quack: Tales of Medical Fraud from the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices

    Honey, Mud, Maggots, and other Medical Marvels

    A Consumer's Guide to Alternative Medicine

    Fundamentals of Complementary & Alternative Medicine

    VisorEdge

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    VisorEdge

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    More goodies on chelation and other quacks

  • ACIM-ASIM Observer comments on chelation The major danger from chelation therapy with EDTA therapy is no longer renal toxicity, as so little EDTA is typically used that it is relatively nonrenotoxic. The real danger is that chelation acts as a strong oxidant. EDTA's mutagenic and carcinogenic potential was demonstrated more than 15 years ago. Even worse, EDTA has potential as an oxidant to damage vascular endothelium, thus adding to the patient's pathological burden rather than reducing it. Isn't it odd that Dr. DeMarco and Katrina Kulhay failed to mention in their talk, and in the video tapes that they show at their clinic any of this information.

  • How do you spot health fraud? - University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Science More than 28 billion dollars are spent on health fraud each year in the United States, and the added human cost due to delayed treatment, poor diet, poisoning and emotional pain cannot be measured. Health fraud promotes products and cures that do not work or are not safe. It often makes victims of people who have the most to lose, such as the elderly and the chronically ill.

    Health fraud promoters attract people because they spend time with them and pay a great deal of attention to their needs. The promoters offer not only cures but also friendship and support. Often, they say their product or method can cure a number of health problems. They describe vague symptoms that could have many causes. The quacks use words that sound like real medical terms.

    Sometimes they have diplomas from fake schools or health organizations. If they do have advanced degrees, they are probably not in a health field. The health fraud advocate may be your best friend or even a health professional.

    Promoters use half-hour and even hour- long television programs to urge you to send in your money and try a new, revolutionary discovery. Because of the right to freedom of speech, the quack does not have to prove the claims are true. Instead, we must prove the claims are false.

    Bogus Clinics - Clinics with everything from chelation therapy for heart disease to coffee enemas for cancer give false hope and empty bank accounts to thousands of people. These clinics often are located just outside the United States borders, where they cannot be controlled by federal agencies.

    The clinics appeal to people who do not trust mainstream medicine or who have lost all hope for a medical cure. The clinics often use fake diagnostic tests such as cytotoxic testing for allergies, applied kinesiology for nutrition problems and yeast tests for infections.

    In some cases they use valid tests for the wrong reasons, such as hair analysis for vitamin deficiencies or oral glucose tolerance tests for low blood sugar. Some even use special devices, such as amalgameters that detect toxic levels of amalgam, a substance used for dental fillings and blamed for causing mercury poisoning.

    In some cases, if the person has no clear symptoms, these tests will discover some weakness that requires special extracts or treatments. The real tragedy occurs when a person delays valid medical care so long that it is too late.

  • Plain Prey - Award winning series from the Kansas City Star - How Mennonites get swindled by quack chiropractors who use quack devices and quack remedies. Medical science has produced many wondrous machines, but none was more alluring to the region's Mennonite or Amish communities than the one in Gary Edwards' Independence chiropractic office.

    Typically, the patient was ushered into an examining room where the chiropractor talked over any symptoms and then switched on what patients say he called "the Interro" or "the nutrition machine." Several independent accounts produce the same description: a computer screen and keyboard attached by wire to a stubby pencil-shaped probe.

    But the machine wasn't used on just anybody.

    "If a doctor or anybody but the Mennonite families asked about it," said Michelle Moore, who worked briefly for Edwards as a file clerk, "I was to say that it didn't exist."

    It was a special machine, she said, for special people.

    Edwards would touch the probe to points on a patient's hand, acupuncture-style, Amish patients said. Supposedly the Interro detected the body's electrical impulses. The computer software, in theory, measured those impulses to see how well various organs in the body worked. The diagnosis was instant.

    And completely worthless. The Interro does not work. It can treat nothing. It can make no valid diagnosis.

    So, why does the Kulhay Wellness Clinic use electrodermal testing procedures on their patients. In fact they seem to demand it, as one of their four or five required tests.

  • British Columbia Hansard - 1997S. Hawkins: Another issue. I get a lot of letters -- I'm sure the minister does as well -- from people who want different treatments covered under MSP. One thatwe've been getting a lot of letters for is chelation treatment. I wonder if the ministry has a position on that.

    Hon. J. MacPhail: Yes, I too get a lot of information from meetings around the issue of chelation therapy, and I very much respect the people who lobby me onthis. So my comments that I'm about to give to the House are really based on what health care professionals advise me of, because I, of course, would not make adecision around this or even offer any advice that wasn't evidence-based.

    The therapeutic agent ethylene diamine tetracetic acid, EDTA, is not an approved drug for use in Canada or in the United States, and that's what is used in chelationtherapy. But there is also a very active worldwide lobby group to have this treatment paid for by health care systems. In British Columbia we have asked theCollege of Physicians and Surgeons to deal with this issue.

    So really, until such time as EDTA is accepted by Health and Welfare Canada as a proven and safe form of treatment for coronary atherosclerosis, we're not goingto be funding any programs or covering the cost of this through the Medical Services Plan or Pharmacare. As I said, the College of Physicians and Surgeons isdealing with this issue as well.

    S. Hawkins: I appreciate the candid remarks by the minister. The minister is probably aware that in, I believe, Saskatchewan and Alberta, there's legislation onchelation, and, I believe -- and I could be wrong -- it is covered under MSP. These are the kinds of inquiries that come to me: if it's covered there, why isn't itcovered here? If there are concerns about a drug that perhaps isn't approved for a certain amount of therapy. . . . I know it is being used in the province. I believethere is a chelationist that works in the Okanagan. I know of patients that go to him and then write to me and ask: "Why aren't the treatments covered?"

    Is the ministry perhaps looking at this as a safety issue, then, for patients? If it is already out there and there's treatment being done, is there something the ministryis monitoring or following to make sure that patients are getting safe care? Or are we just channelling them off to the College of Physicians and Surgeons to handle?

    Hon. J. MacPhail: The situation in Alberta is that legislation was introduced in a private member's bill and passed, which allows a physician to practisealternative medicine without discipline from the College of Physicians and Surgeons as long as it's safe and doesn't harm the patient. But the service still remainsuninsured. In Saskatchewan the College of Physicians and Surgeons is undergoing a review around this matter, but it's not insured, either.

    We're continuing to follow the development around this treatment. The College of Physicians and Surgeons is responsible for the professional conduct and practicestandards of physicians in British Columbia. So the safe practice of medicine is their responsibility. During a recent meeting with them, they assured me that theywere very much concerned and on top of this issue, but once again advised me that they would not recommend any change around the provision of chelationtherapy.

    S. Hawkins: I have concerns about the safety of this treatment modality with regard to children, because I do get letters from parents, saying that their child isundergoing treatment for heavy metal or whatever. I try and refer them to the college, and I certainly refer them to the ministry. What does the ministry advise thesepeople that write to the ministry?

    Hon. J. MacPhail: Actually, chelation therapy is approved for heavy-metal poisoning, and it is an insured service. It's chelation therapy for atherosclerosisthat's not approved. So the proper recourse is for patients to go to the College of Physicians and Surgeons on that matter, and that's what we advise.

    S. Hawkins: Thanks for that clarification. I'll deal with that later. I have a few other questions, but perhaps I can clear those up with a little research of my own.

  • NCRHI Newsletter - Jan.-Feb. 1999
  • More news about another psychiatrist who delves into the wacky world alternoid medical devices, EAV metres, and then more stuff on chelation therapy.

    LAWSUIT OVER USE OF BOGUS MEDICAL DEVICE

    A board-certified psychiatrist in Nyack, NY has been sued by a patient he diagnosed as a hypochondriac for using a bogus medical device. The civil lawsuit, filedin state Superior Court in Paterson [NJ], says that Keith Bachman was seen by Dr. Michael Schachter and then given "electro-dermal testing." The machine, calleda Vega test, is supposed to diagnose problems through an electric probe pressed against the skin. A numerical readout on the machine's gauge reveals where theproblems are. Bachman was shown to have food allergies, an impacted molar, and dyspepsia. The article quoted several experts who call such machines a sham,and a FDA spokesperson confirmed that many of these machines are legal because they were grandfathered under a 1976 federal statute forbidding bogus medicaldevices. (This is the same machine that the CPSO in Ontario said that Dr. Joe Krop can continue to use on his patients, as long as he tells them that it is not approved. It's also similar to a machine that is used by the Kulhay clinic to pinpoint dozens of conditions and diseases that just don't exist. Another delusion of the alt. medical community.)

    FTC STOPS PROMOTION OF CHELATION THERAPY

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) put the brakes on efforts by the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM) to push chelation therapy as asafe and nonsurgical treatment for atherosclerosis. Chelation therapy uses a chemical to bond with metals in the bloodstream and draw them out. It's approved bythe FDA for treating conditions caused by heavy metals in the blood such as lead poisoning but has not been scientifically proven as effective for atherosclerosis.The ACAM, a California group of physicians and other practitioners who promote chelation, agreed to stop distributing a seven-page brochure on chelation therapy,which had also appeared on their website. As part of the agreement, the organization did not have to acknowledge guilt or wrongdoing. ACAM's president said thematerial didn't even constitute advertising and that the FTC action revealed the agency's bias toward traditional medicine. He denied the material containedinaccuracies.

    Stephen Barrett, MD, board chair of Quackwatch Inc., applauded the FTC's action. The government agency, which oversees the advertising of nonprescriptiondrugs, has taken an aggressive stance on the claims made by health products in the last two years. He said the agency has filed more "false advertising" claims inthe last two years than during the 1980s. The FTC issued 1,200 warnings after an international health claim Internet "surf day" Nov. 10, 1998 when numerousagencies surfed the Internet and assessed Web sites. Email the FTC to send complaints or comments about health claims on the Internet.

    Comment: Here's one effective way for the government to stop some of these rascals from getting the word out. Although it's impossible for the FTC to crackdown on everyone advertising products with misleading or false claims, such actions may encourage other companies and practitioners to think twice before theypush their products. It's also heartening to see the efforts in policing the Internet, which has become a haven for quacks promoting everything. (ACAM is the organization that Vincent DeMarco claims to be a member.)

    Alternative Medicine in Canada

    • Jozef Krop - victim or victor? - What did the CPSO find lacking?
    • The Committee also found that Dr. Kropís practice of preparing and injecting vaccines prepared from the patientís own blood and sputum fell below the standard of practice, as did his use of hair analysis to detect nutritional deficiency.
    • Regarding his use of the "Vega Machine", the Committee found "....that there is no scientifically-valid evidence to justify the use of the Vega electro diagnostic apparatus, or any other similar machine, as either a screening or a diagnostic tool.
    • "While the extensive testing many of these patients were subjected to...was undoubtedly paid for by OHIP, the costs of unconventional testing were borne by the patients. The Committee is aware of substantial sums expended by [patient]...and is concerned about the potential hardships of such expenditures.
    • Now isn't it amazing that Dr. DeMarco and the other physicians who work with Kulhay would take a chance and use the same modalities that hung Dr. Krop?


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