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I can strongly recommend a course … of … Goop

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Was giving a luxury brandzine the same name as a well-known industrial hand cleaner a mistake? Perhaps.

There are no surprises in Lindy West’s article about Gwenyth Paltrow’s first In Goop Health health and wellness expo.

There wasn’t a group vaginal steaming event. There’s nothing narsty in the aura photography tent. Irate support staff don’t rise up and pelt attendees with vaginal crystals and coccyx leeches.

I’m not making up the steam, stones or leeches. I didn’t misspell Good. In other words, the article about a health and fitness event for women contains everything one would expect.

The fact that it is an actor-turned-health-guru project aimed at people who could afford $500 – $1,500 to attend probably didn’t make that much of a difference in the content. For example:

After a brief history of Goop (“I started to wonder: Why do we all not feel well? Why is there so much cancer? Why are we all so tired?”), Paltrow introduces her personal physician, Dr Habib Sadeghi, DO.

The answer to these questions is some combination of life events, exposure to various things that make you not well and just plain aging. The reason that people of all walks of life are drawn to what Paltrow is selling is a combination of fear, confusion and dissatisfaction with the health care they are receiving.

And a desire to know what the knowingless men know not.

Women are more likely to be targeted by garbage merchants. We’ve been groomed for it. In addition to standard health concerns and the usual hurried health care encounters, we have to deal with societal sexism which impacts the health care we receive. And has a built multi-billion dollar industry on insecurity about ourselves and a horror of time’s passage. That’s how we’ve reached the point where women will let hastily trained health care providers take lasers to their genitals for cosmetic purposes.

It’s nuts. And it’s why health guidance from a beautiful famous woman and doctors who speak soothingly is so damn attractive.

He talks for an hour about “cosmic flow”; his left testicle; the “magnificence” of Gwyneth (“I’ve been down and I’ve touched her feet … and I’ll do it again”);

OK, the mention of his balls is a bit surprising. I assume the foot touching was done to check Paltrow’s circulation.

and his belief that “consciousness precedes phenotypic expression”, which means, basically, that all ailments are on some level psychosomatic and your ovarian cysts are really just little nodules of emotion – or something.

Now there’s a completely original thing for a doctor to say to women, but “consciousness precedes phenotypic expression” sounds mysterious enough to keep people from throwing their water bottles.

And of course there’ll be sport obsession with the current hip, happening body system.

The next panel, on gut health, counters Sadeghi’s consciousness theory with the assertion that all human illnesses are caused by antibiotics, ibuprofen, caesarean sections and legumes. The human gut is a rich rainforest, they say. Antibiotics are “napalm”, and taking one ibuprofen is “like swallowing a hand grenade”.

Another original thing: attempting to scare the shit out of laypeople – perhaps literally in this case – because talking to them like adults is too much effort. I mean, there certainly are things about the widespread use of antibotics that should leave everyone petrified, but it’s along the lines of Lots of people will get antibiotic resistant infections and die unprettily. I have no idea why NSAIDs are like live hand grenades.

And for attendees who don’t like sport, there’ll be sport scary stories about the biggest, baddest, bogey of all: Fat.

Someone relates an anecdote about a marathon runner who had to get a faecal transplant from her fat niece, and it made the marathon runner fat.

This would have been a good time for the irate support staff to start throwing the crotch rocks.

Or better yet, for any of the doctors on the panel to do some quick research and issue a correction: There is a case report which noted unexplained weight gain by the donor and the recipient, following a fecal transplant. In an example of everything wrong with science reporting, articles about the report made the unsupported claim that the donor – the minor daughter of the recipient – was overweight at the time of the transplant. Perhaps Paltrow does – as West jokes – intend to start selling her own crap.

I’m actually surprised it wasn’t on offer. This is a place after all where people were voluntarily receiving IV infusions. I can’t imagine they’d hesitate to down a few pills claiming to contain 100% organic, free-range Paltrow Poo. Maybe that was in the Collagen Garden  and West didn’t have access to that part of the shindig.

For attendees who don’t like variety there’s sport: Quacks talking about food.

Dr Steven Gundry, author of The Plant Paradox, reveals that from January to June inclusive, he consumes all his calories between 6pm and 8pm, because “we evolved to search for food all day and then fast”.

Pretty sure he meant search for food and then eat, but was light-headed from hunger.

It’s funny how our understanding of human evolution – of the point at which we were once our truest selves – can shift according to which restrictive diet is on-trend that day.

And that understanding is strangely selective. Not that I expect Dr. Gundry to spend his days roaming the aisles of Jeff Bezos’ latest acquisition. Or better yet, furricking in the hedgerows for his meals. However, the belief that the life of early humans was that organized is almost charming.

I am no anthropologist, but I suspect that if early human scored a handful of nuts at 8 a.m., he ate them at 8 a.m. And if she dug up some grubs at noon, she ate them at noon. And if they chased some hyenas away from a recently deceased gazelle at 4 p.m., they ate that at 4 p.m.

I’m never certain what people mean when they make evolution the basis for the diet du jour. It seems to range from wobbly biped up to right before attempts at what we recognize as agriculture, and certainly that lack of clarity must be part of the magic. However, I find it irritating.

As is this.

Gundry argues that human beings aren’t meant to eat any plants native to North America, because we are native to “Africa, Europe and Asia”.

This would doubtless come as a shock to the surviving descendants of people who ate native North American plants for thousands of years before Europeans showed up mob handed and spread small pox all over the place.

But do pause to appreciate the delicate balance of permissible and forbidden unnatural things that is a common hallmark of wooquack. Native North American plants are unnatural and forbidden (except for blueberries, it seems). Importing non-native plants (either for crops or straight to the grocery) is not natural but it’s permissible.

The trick is to make the marks think they’re getting some secret wisdom, not to make them think or to make them uncomfortable in ways that aren’t conducive to getting them to hand over the moolah.

As for Central and South America, I don’t know what people down there are supposed to do. I thought at first that he realized suggesting avocados, chocolate and cocaine would have been a step too far. But I checked his blog and two most recent entries about the benefits chocolate and the joys of avocado ice cream. Then I remembered he’s a quack.

At one point, Dr Amy Myers casually distinguishes between the gut bacteria Asian people need (because “they” eat a lot of seaweed) and the gut bacteria that “we” need. You don’t have to glance around the room to know who “we” are.

Neither does one have to glance at a map to know how completely fucking stupid such an assertion is.

There was even – to switch TV comedies for a moment – a course of leeches:

There is one moment I can’t stop thinking about. Near the end, Kerr casually mentions that she once tried leech therapy as part of her wellness practice: “One was on my coccyx because it’s really good to, like, detox the body, rejuvenate the body…

She popped one down her cod-piece breeches.

At any rate, there are a number of legitimate medical uses for the little suckers, but detoxing the body or curing Blackadder of his crush on his manservant aren’t on the list.

… I had a leech facial as well. And I kept the leeches. They’re in my koi pond.”

I’m going to start a maggot farm. When someone creates the quackified version of what is politely referred to as larval therapy, I’ll be rich.

However, it seems there was a little something for everyone at the event, even reporters.

Kerr’s body is almost certainly what those people mean when they say “a natural healthy shape”, because our society conflates conventional beauty with health. But, I don’t know – I might be fat, but I’ve never felt like I needed to get an IV drip on a patio in Culver City or put leeches on my butt to suck out toxins, and I’m grateful for that.

I guess Goop did make me feel well after all.

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  • efgoldman

    I never, ever understand how people – any people, any sex, any age over 12 or so – fall for shit like this.

    And then I see who’s living in the White House, and who’s the majority in both houses.

    And i understand, as if I didn’t before, that PT Barnum and HL Mencken are as correct as correct can be.

    • StellaB

      I was just talking to my mom this morning. My sister wants her to take a probiotic for GERD because, questionably altering the bacterial balance of the large bowel will somehow affect the gastroesophageal junction at the other end of the digestive tract. What the hell, it’s just money.

      • efgoldman

        What the hell, it’s just money.

        If it’s something she buys over the counter at a reputable chain, it isn’t likely to harm her.
        Not impossible, but not likely.

      • Hogan
        • busker type

          my god I love that strip.

    • The Great God Pan

      I knew a young guy (early 20s) who became convinced via the internet that everything wrong with him (inability to gain weight, lethargy, “brain fog,” etc.) was not due to a high metabolism and too much “medical” marijuana every day, but to his digestive system being colonized by out-of-control candida yeast, and that he needed to starve it out by fasting for a week (vegetable broth was OK).

      He was built like Jack Skellington to begin with and by the end of the week he looked like a walking corpse, just really noticeably sickly to anyone walking by. But by god he showed that candida infestation!

      Before that he got a perfectly fine front tooth pulled because he’d had a root canal done years earlier and a “holistic dentist” (somehow this is a legal thing you can be licensed for) convinced him that root canals are bad and any tooth that has had one is full of bacteria and that all his health complaints were due to this unhealthy tooth that needed to be pulled ASAP. And he couldn’t afford an implant so he was in his early 20s with a fucking removable front denture for no legitimate reason.

      I gently tried to convince him this was all nonsense but to no avail.

      • The dental thing is an old one. Back in the 1920s or so there was a theory that all sorts of chronic ailments were caused by occult dental infection. So people had all their teeth pulled. The the belief that gastrointestinal imbalance of some sort is a root of much disease is ancient, going back to Hippocrates. Grandma with her enema bag to cure septic shock in a child is something I have encountered.

        Of course bacterial overgrowth of the GI tract is a real thing we deal with and treat, but it’s nowhere near the menace it is made out to be. The fecal transplant thing does seem to help with one specific problem: Clostridium difficile enterocolitis, often cause by excessive antibiotic use. That therapy is still being studied but I know it’s used. Beyond treating C. difficile it’s woo.

        That stupid yeast connection thing has been around for decades, making it kind of new in the world of woo.

        Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB/Gyn, has an excellent and widely read blog in which she pursues Paltrow across the internets.

        • cpinva

          “Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB/Gyn, has an excellent and widely read blog in which she pursues Paltrow across the internets.”

          someone needs to, before she and her quack, grifter buddies hurt or kill someone. and then there’s the woman (an actress I believe, with zero medical training) telling people to not have their children get inoculations. per her uninformed self, inoculations supposedly cause autism. there is zero scientific evidence for this, but people believe her because she’s (apparently) famous.

          “There wasn’t a group vaginal steaming event.”

          ok, not fair, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing (and am still chuckling) at this. it also made me kind of nauseous. i’m trying (not very hard) to imagine a “group testicle steaming event”. nope, just can’t do it!

          • Ken

            I was going to say “sauna” – or “sweat lodge” – but I suppose it doesn’t count since it doesn’t target the genitalia. (And I really don’t want details of the quack procedure, thank you very much.)

            • weirdnoise

              Consider that the expression “blow smoke up [someone’s] ass” refers to an actual bygone era quack medical procedure…

          • njorl

            Every day of summer is testicle steaming day for me. Maybe one of those beaded car seat covers would help.

    • Bruce B.

      The context is that, as Shakezula said in her post, women have real problems that are systematically mishandled by doctors and health care generally. Women’s symptoms of heart attack overlap with but are distinct from those for men, for instance, and it’s only very recently that groups like the American Heart Association realized they’ve been seriously underestimating the rate of heart attacks in women. This kind of thing applies to essentially every condition from the life-threatening to the minor.

      It’s often particularly bad with problems cis men don’t have. Women’s pain and description of symptoms are routinely discounted – and not just by male doctors, it’s a thing female ones end up acculturated to do too, a lot of the time.

      It’s against this background that a lot of women, and a fair number of men who’ve had their problems discounted too, fall prey to appealing cranks.

      • cpinva

        oh, I understand this Bruce. I am not, by any means, discounting the legitimate concerns women have about their health, and the routine ways those very legitimate concerns get discounted by the (still mostly male) medical profession. remember, Freud made his bones with “female hysteria”, as a clinical diagnoses for nearly all of women’s health issues. things haven’t changed all that much, even with more women in the profession itself. bearing in mind, most of these female doctors are being taught/trained by male doctors, and picking up their bad/lazy ass habits in the process.

        • Origami Isopod

          bearing in mind, most of these female doctors are being taught/trained by male doctors, and picking up their bad/lazy ass habits in the process.

          In male-dominated professions there’s a lot of pressure to be “one of the boys.” This doesn’t absolve women doctors of being dismissive assholes, but it does explain why simply having women doctors doesn’t solve the problem.

        • LFC

          Freud made his bones with “female hysteria”, as a clinical diagnosis for nearly all of women’s health issues

          Don’t think this is quite right. Not saying that Freud was right about everything (he wasn’t of course), but the classic case of hysteria is where the patient described, say, a particular paralysis (e.g. cdn’t move such-and-such fingers in such-and-such a way) that Freud, b/c he was a neurologist by training, knew could not have a neurological/physical cause. Hence in that case it had to be something else that was going on.

      • Karen24

        On women’s issues being ignored: a high school classmate of mine died of a heart attack at age 32, leaving three kids between six weeks and four years old, because the ER doctor refused to believe that a 32-year-old woman complaining of weakness and chest pains could be having a heart attack and sent her home. Twice. By the fourth big day of this rodeo it was unavoidable as her blood pressure dropped and her hands were blue. She died on the careflight to Dallas, but being Texas and she being working class, her family couldn’t sue for malpractice. Her death confirmed me in my hard-core liberalism.

        • Pat

          My niece had kidney stones left untreated for 3 months, because the male ER doctors who saw them on the scan did not believe that kidney stones could cause someone that much pain.

          No lie.

          • Origami Isopod

            …. what the fuck. This goes beyond “sexist” into “completely unqualified to treat anybody.”

            • I mean, kidney stones are widely accepted as an 15-20 on the 1-10 pain scale, but also “I see something is in one of your kidneys, but NBD.”

              • Denverite

                Don’t overstate things. It could just be a cancerous lesion.

              • Stag Party Palin

                ‘Struth! I’ve had a disk rupture and kidney stones and the stones win. My belief in God wss tested because He put pain receptors in a place where you can’t do anything about it except wait.

        • econoclast

          Why can’t her family sue for malpractice? Isn’t usually on a contingency basis?

    • NewishLawyer

      You don’t understand how people want to be young, beautiful, and full of energy forever?

      I’m only 36 and very healthy. I don’t get sick really. But I still find my energy is burnt by the end of a workday and this can be a real drain on a sex life.

      Now I am smart enough not to try and patent medicine like promises/cure-alls. But if there was something that could boost my end of day energy….

      • N__B

        You don’t understand how people want to be young, beautiful, and full of energy forever?

        Sure, I understand. I also want to be rich, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to a seminar where Paltrow tells me to shove nickels up my ass to bring cosmic balance to my wallet.

        • NewishLawyer

          Fair but what is depressing is that no amount of mockery or anything seems to stop the hucksters. I’m suren GOOP fest made lots of money for GP. Amanda Chantal Bacon only seems to have grown her business after getting mocked on the Internet.

        • Ronan

          “I’m going to a seminar where Paltrow tells me to shove nickels up my ass”

          Whoah. Back up a second. Where’s this seminar on?

          • N__B

            So…a Pepper Potts fetish?

          • Nickleback.

        • Origami Isopod

          Everyone knows it’s not nickels you need to shove up there. (NSFW audio)

        • cpinva

          “I also want to be rich, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to a seminar where Paltrow tells me to shove nickels up my ass to bring cosmic balance to my wallet.”

          I believe Trump has the corner on that particular market. probably some of the same people who attended Ms. Paltrow’s hoedown.

        • kopr_felgon

          No, no, you’ve got to give *her* your nickels if you want to get rich. It’s simple mathematics

      • busker type

        have you tried cocaine? just a thought.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          Every so often, I get so overworked and over caffeinated that coffee stops working, and I ask myself, “if only there was something even stronger than coffee.
          Oh, right – there is…”

      • twbb

        “But I still find my energy is burnt by the end of a workday and this can be a real drain on a sex life.”

        That means your body is working as intended. If that was not happening, you would probably need to see a doctor.

        • John Revolta

          I don’t know but I’ve been told that lawyers, and young’uns in particular, sleep about 20 minutes a night these days. I suspect this could be troublesome.

      • DocAmazing

        I find coffee helpful.

      • njorl

        “But if there was something that could boost my end of day energy….”

        Wake up around 1 pm, avoid working for a living and you’ll have plenty of energy at the end of the day.

  • Woodrowfan

    this might be a good place to plug the Encyclopedia of American Loons. Warning, it can be a time suck if you start following links from one look to another.

    http://americanloons.blogspot.com/

  • Harkov311

    In case anyone was unaware what a nutball she is: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gwyneth_Paltrow

    • Marina Hyde at the Guardian has had several acerbic columns on Paltrow over the years, as part of her covering the Celebrity beat.

    • I’m always disappointed when I find out what a kook she is, and even more than that, when I remember that this is the life she chose instead of seriously pursuing her acting. I know that she peaked early*, and that Hollywood is not a fun place for actresses, even ones with Oscars, who don’t want to play wife and girlfriend parts for the rest of their lives. But while everyone else – Sandra Bullock, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Banks – is hustling and making opportunities happen, Paltrow just opted out. She’s not even doing MCU movies anymore (admittedly, I’m not entirely certain that’s her choice). It’s a waste of talent, and especially seeing as this is what she chose to do instead.

      * If I could just forestall the obvious moaning about Paltrow getting Cate Blanchett’s Oscar, I will say that I think they both gave great performances that year, but that Cate has done more with her career so in hindsight rewarding Paltrow achieved nothing. I do think Shakespeare in Love totally deserved that win, however, and I don’t care how good the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan is.

      • I’ve never understood why Shakespeare in Love gets so much flak. It’s a fun little movie with a lot of great performances.

        • Denverite

          I will say I saw it several months ago and thought that it had aged relatively poorly.

          • Ahuitzotl

            huh, I watched it a couple of months back & thought the reverse

      • TopsyJane

        Many female actors opt out if they can. After a certain point they decide the game isn’t worth the candle, and if they’re set up financially to quit or semi-retire, they do. That’s why they snap up those contracts with cosmetic companies when they can get them; it’s all money against the day when the phone stops ringing.

        That’s a rather odd grouping. Johannson is a sexy blonde in her early 30s at the peak of her fame and drawing power. Not a lot of hustling necessary at the moment. Bullock is in her fifties, and yeah, she has to hustle for roles in pictures one wouldn’t call masterpieces. Banks is in her 40s (and never had Paltrow’s star status to begin with, despite her talent).

        • Origami Isopod

          Agreed on all counts.

        • LFC

          Then there are actresses like Meryl Streep and Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, who, through a combination of talent and luck and prob. just sheer desire to act, get pretty good roles for their entire lives (Streep isn’t as old as the other two I mentioned, but I have a feeling she’ll be acting as long). Maybe Helen Mirren also.

          For some reason Dench’s serious roles don’t stay in my mind that much compared to her turns in the James Bond movies. (Which is unfair to her, of course, as she’s an excellent actress.)

          Sandra Bullock is good, but prob. not quite in the same category in terms of range and technique.

          Btw I don’t go to the movies often but happened recently to see My Cousin Rachel. V. good performance by Rachel Weisz (opposite Sam Claflin).

        • That’s a rather odd grouping.

          No, it’s a grouping that does exactly what I said it does. If you don’t think Johansson has been hustling, you haven’t been paying attention – once Marvel made it clear that they were going to leave all the money a potential Black Widow movie could have made on the table, she went out and made herself an action star, with a sideline in weird indies and art movies. She’s totally curating her career, and there’s no way that just happens. And Banks has been producing her own movies for years. I might have added Reese Witherspoon as another actress who realized that she needed to be proactive or Hollywood wouldn’t know what to do with her, Oscar or no Oscar.

          And while I agree that age plays a role here, that’s not the only factor. There are few roles for women, and the ones that do exist are usually wife and girlfriend roles. Even actresses who are at the top of their fame and attractiveness are having to fight for scraps, which is why we’re seeing a new generation who are creating their own opportunities. I’m just disappointed that Paltrow didn’t want to be one of them.

          • Cheap Wino

            Tangentially, I saw Wonder Woman last night and, without criticizing the movie or Gal Gadot at all (excellent addition to the comic book oeuvre, ’bout time DC), it did underscore just how phenomenal Johansson is. Marvel is blowing it completely if they’re not producing a Black Widow vehicle. Scarlett Johansson is otherworldly talented.

          • TopsyJane

            “…she went out and made herself an action star, with a sideline in weird indies and art movies. She’s totally curating her career, and there’s no way that just happens.”

            A lot of movie stars are doing this. If you can, you hook up with a successful franchise and then do indies on the side to get nominated. This dynamic wasn’t as much in play when Paltrow was a young star, certainly not for women. She also made some bad choices, so you could certainly say she wasn’t a good “curator” of her career.

  • Q.E.Dumbass

    One hopes that the successive larval therapists have the little good sense to screen out screwworms and Wohlfahrtia.

    Easily the best thing to come out of Paltrow’s House of Woo are the Covetton House commercials.

  • Hells Littlest Angel

    I don’t know what sort of comment to make. A snarky post about a snarky article. It seems like all the snark has been used up.

    I’d say at least she’s not ripping off poor people, but to her they probably are poor.

    • Happy Jack

      If they’re giving their money to Gwyneth instead of a MAGA PAC, I consider that a win.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        Unfortunately the majority of her marks are probably liberal, not conservative. I’ve seen a lot of progressives who constantly fall for the woo.

    • If any of you ladies are interested, I would be willing to give a talk about the cosmic flow of my left testicle and for less than half the going hourly rate. I can also assure you I have the best left testicle and it has the best cosmic flow. Send all inquiries to LGM, Inc. c/o Eric Loomis proprieter

      • BiloSagdiyev

        I heard past attendees had a ball!

        • Some balls are held for charity
          and some for fancy dress
          but the ones that are held for pleasure
          are the balls that I like best

      • Shantanu Saha

        Somehow I doubt even my wife is interested in the cosmic flow of my left testicle.

  • She didn’t invent it, but Oprah perfected the way to identify real problems that women have and then pitch all kinds of woo at it. Paltrow appears to just be following the model.

    • N__B

      There’s an unformed thought kicking around my skull about affinity fraud, but I’m not sure if it makes any sense.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    “Paltrow introduces her personal physician, Dr Habib Sadeghi, DO.”

    Sigh. We’re not all like that, guys. Although osteopathic medicine retains some wacky belief about the power of manipulative medicine, it’s a pretty mainstream branch of medicine now. We’re also supposedly more holistic in our approach, yet I used to lament that my school didn’t offer an actual class on “how to be an osteopath,” until I realized we did have that class, and it was basically called “4 years of extremely conventional medical education.”

    Anyways, this stuff permeates all levels. For 2 summers in college I interned at Famous Hero Cancer Research Center, and one of my Primary Investigators, an MD-PhD whose husband had won a Nobel prize, would say things like “I’m convinced that one day they’re going to discover that coffee is just as bad for you as cigarettes,” and “you go to France and THERE’S NO FAT PEOPLE. This is because when the French eat dinner they buy one tomato and a piece of sausage and slice it very thinly…”

    • twbb

      “Sigh. We’re not all like that, guys.”

      …did anyone say you were?

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        No, but Osteopathy is still viewed in many quarters as “alternative medicine” (eg by Quackwatch), and clearly there are some folks who profit from that perception, when it’s really just “alternative med school” at this point – we’ll soon even have the same residency match as the MDs.

        • I know the different letters can confuse laypeople, but if Quackwatch has DO down as alternative medicine, it needs to re-access WTF it’s doing.

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            Quackwatch is verging on RWNJitude. He classified Osteopathy as quackery bc some practitioners of osteopathic manipulation claim cranial manipulation can detect abnormalities in primal rhythms and can treat depression/anxiety etc. (yes I was taught about this, yes we all thought it was crap) ; but mostly because manipulative therapy doesn’t have a lot of RCTs and meta-analysis to back it up.

            Buddy, if that’s your standard for everything, there’s a cardiologist or a hundred thou I’d like you to meet…

            • Bruce B.

              Quackwatch is verging on RWNJitude.

              This is a recurring thing in folks who put a lot of time in on skepticism, in medicine at least as strongly as in other fields. “That woman can’t have the kind of problem she claims, because if she did, these fine men in mainstream medicine would already have properly diagnosed and treated it. So she’s just whining.” “That gay man is just psychosomatic and malingering, because if he had a real problem, these fine straight men in mainstream medicine would already have properly diagnosed and treated it.” And so forth and so on.

              There are some great debunkers who are alive to the problems in existing practice and sometimes actively involved in fixing them, and they are good folks. But there are a bunch who are, wittingly or otherwise, defenders of a lot of broken and iffy stuff, too.

              • twbb

                “This is a recurring thing in folks who put a lot of time in on skepticism, in medicine at least as strongly as in other fields”

                That does seem born out by my recent observations of the Michael Shermer crowd.

              • Origami Isopod

                This is a recurring thing in folks who put a lot of time in on skepticism, in medicine at least as strongly as in other fields.

                Yes indeed. For many, “skepticism” is simply a tool to bolster their own self-images as intellectually superior to others. They lack the willingness to question their own assumptions. The logical extreme of this is Bill Maher, or the “human biodiversity” shitbirds.

                • Karen24

                  In 1995 “Skeptic” mag published an article asserting that “political correctness” in the humanities was destroying every university in North America. By “political correctness” they meant only feminism, because the article contained nothing about anything else. I wrote a letter to the editor in response stating that I seriously doubted their tale because their evidence consisted of one professor who was fired for sexual harassment, who presented in the article his side of the story, and furthermore that English departments weren’t doing things like designing chemical weapons. My reward was SEVEN responses from the editorial staff shrieking about all the lives destroyed by raging gangs of harpies insisting on replacing Shakespeare with bell hooks. The next issue was a tongue bath for “evolutionary psychology.”

                • N__B

                  It’s been fascinating watching, in real time, as P. Z. Myers learned this.

                • Cheap Wino

                  I was a big Skeptic reader then and remember that happening! It was the evolutionary psychology issue that had me rethinking my support for the skeptic movement as a whole — I remember reading that article and thinking how much it was echoing the same kinds of things they were telling people to watch out for in quackery.

                  But I also remember thinking how bizarre it was that there was this whole spate of responses to a valid criticism of the bullshit political correctness article that I don’t think I even finished reading — often there was a back-and-forth but this was over the top. And that those responses were. . . hysterical.

            • And yet DOs get boarded and licensed by the state and credentialed and everything. Well done of him to see The Truth.

              Anyway, Dr. No Food Before 6 and Dr. Asians are All Seaweed Phages were both MDs.

              • Happy Jack

                So is Dr Oz.

                • Origami Isopod

                  And so is Jill Stein.

                • rea

                  And Rand Paul

                • Happy Jack

                  And Ben Carson.

                • Colin Day

                  And Andrew Wakefield(he has his degree if not his license)

                • N__B

                  Also, the pediatrician who treated me (briefly) when I was a little__B who my parents referred to for years as “Dr. Mengele.”

            • moops

              If your branch of medicine has an overabundance of quacks then that is something that needs to be addressed.

            • DocAmazing

              I’m a great fan of manipulative medicine for some things, and the lack of double-blind studies is something a number of us tried to address, but the osteopathic college we were working with wouldn’t pay the salaries of the DOs we were using to provide treatment. They were expected to volunteer their time as investigators.

              I know that “DO” is just an alternative way to spell “MD” these days, but there’s a place in the world for well-done manipulation.

              • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

                Yeah, I tried to get some research projects done in school, and our faculty were always saying it’s almost impossible to set up methodologically. Longitudinal / cohort type studies are easier. There’s also very little money to fund it, because all you’re doing is validating st DOs do anyway.

    • randy khan

      Speaking solely for myself, but the one doctor who I respected most when dealing with my mother’s Alzheimers was a DO. She was part of a group of neurologists, some MDs and some DOs. We went to her after my mother had been misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s, of all things, and the Parkinson’s meds did nothing for her. (Well, actually, they made some things worse when her previous neurologist kept upping the dose when the meds didn’t work.) The news she gave us was pretty much all bad, of course, but she knew what she was doing and was very patient with all of our questions. I also remember her, more or less unprompted, explaining the difference between DOs and MDs, which actually might be the only reason I remember she was a DO.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        ItMedical school has probably the most homogeneous curriculum of any pre-professional (or dare I say graduate) school out there. It’s the exact same material: same basic facts, same 5-10 textbooks etc. An elite med school gets you better/ more famous teachers, better tutors if you get in trouble (mine had none), more famous hospitals for your clinical rotations (and, likely, residency). Law school is similarly “caste-like” in terms of outcomes, I gather, but I can’t imagine the curriculum is so similar across schools as it is in medicine.

        Which is a long-winded way of saying something we all basically know: a whip-smart DO from an unprestigious school will be light years better than an Ivy League MD who likes to coast.

        • DocAmazing

          I’ve often said that one difference between med school and other graduate programs is that one can do very well in med school without ever having an original thought.

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            Amen. A lot of my friends who struggled with boards were brilliant people crippled by the need to understand medicine, not just regurgitate it.

        • mds

          a whip-smart DO from an unprestigious school will be light years better than an Ivy League MD who likes to coast.

          Having been around both Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine doctors and Yale School of Medicine doctors, I resoundingly second this sentiment.

    • Richard Hershberger

      Similarly with chiropractors. The original theory of chiropractic was total woo. But so was the original theory of mainstream medicine. If you doctor diagnosed you with having imbalanced humors, who would run screaming out of his office. Medical doctors figured out non-woo first, and good for them! It took some doing: “You are sick because your body has been invaded with creatures so tiny that they are invisible.” Yeah, right! That sounds totally woo, but turned out to be right, and the medical doctors figured it out.

      Good for them! Since then all the other approaches have either converged on reality, died out, or gone full grift. In some cases the same term is used for different directions. Nowadays, at least in the US, the vast majority of chiropractors are specialized physical therapists, with somewhat more authority to diagnose and act on their own rather than on a physician’s orders. The approach is slightly different from the version called “physical therapy,” so use whichever one works best for you. It would be unsurprising if you find little difference in outcome. If you find a chiropractor who explains to you how all disease is caused by spinal problems and you should never take drugs, put that guy in a museum. He is an archaic treasure to be preserved.

      D.O.’s? Functionally equivalent to M.D.s. Probably not so a hundred years ago. If I travel back in time and get sick, I’ll be sure to remember this.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        Interestingly enough, in a lot of ways, the way we hope medicine is practiced today (holistically, preventively, minimally invasive, using meds sparingly & as a last resort) is more how Osteopathy was practiced 100+ years ago than allopathic medicine was. Osteopathy was horn out of a revulsion towards a lot of the principles that turn people off about “Western medicine” for some time. Although the dogma is that DO practice has moved towards MD principles, I think a big reason DOs and MDs are basically equivalent today is because allopathic (MD) medicine arced towards a lot of longstanding osteopathic principles.

      • Nick never Nick

        What part of the chiropractic curriculum gives them the knowledge to diagnose and act on their own?

        • bw

          Yeah, this. I mean, they diagnose and act anyway, of course. But it’s quackery and in a few cases dangerously so.

          Incidentally, tons and tons of “regular” physical therapy has no reputable science supporting it either. The parts about rehabbing your torn ligaments and such are probably sound, but trigger points have never been proven to be real things that exist.

          • Is there another term besides trigger point for what you’re describing? I’m familiar with the ones that can be seen on ultrasound and stuck with a needle to release them.

            • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

              Trigger point is pretty standard as a term. They are somewhat sketchy given that some inject them with lidocaine, some inject saline, and some do “dry needling,” where you just insert a needle and “break up the fibers” by working it in several directions, yet some patients all get a degree of relief.

              But see my comments elsewhere re: demanding every medical treatment be validated by Cochrane / meta-analysis of outcomes using double-blinded RCTs, particularly low-cost zero-cost musculoskeletal treatments that are already in practice. There’s a lot of medicine that wouldn’t measure up.

    • Ken

      “I’m convinced that one day they’re going to discover that coffee is just as bad for you as cigarettes,” and “you go to France and THERE’S NO FAT PEOPLE”

      And here I thought it was because breakfast in France is a croissant, two espressos, and a pack of unfiltered cigarettes…

  • The Great God Pan

    I have no idea why NSAIDs are like live hand grenades.

    According to another article I read about this event, the claim is that ibuprofen will literally blow large holes in your “gut.” I think this is from the same doctor whose #1 health tip was (and I quote) “don’t eat.”

    • efgoldman

      the claim is that ibuprofen will literally blow large holes in your “gut.”

      ALL NSAIDs can (not “will”) cause or contribute to ulcers. That’s the nature of the chemicals. As always, it depends on how much of what, not over-medicating, and personal tolerance.

      HOWEVER, NSAIDs are completely contra-indicated in patients with advance kidney disease (raises hand). Apparently processing and metabolizing those chemicals contributes to accelerated frying of the kidneys and loss of function. Every doc I see (Primary, Nephrology specialist, Cardiologist) tells me every visit not to take any.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        NSAIDs also relax the blood vessels into the kidney to an unhealthy degree. I rotated with a whip-smart nephrologist who says she has zero NSAIDs in her home, they take Tylenol for everything (“take Tylenol first if you can” is pretty solid medical advice across the board).

        • efgoldman

          NSAIDs also relax the blood vessels into the kidney to an unhealthy degree.

          Being a music major and not a biologist, I don’t know what the actual mechanism is, but I took their word for it.

          BTW, my late mom graduated a three-year hospital nursing school ~1938-ish. She thought osteopaths were quacks. I suspect they taught her that.
          She wouldn’t allow dogs in the house, either (“she followed us home – can we keep her?”) I think she thought they were disease factories.

          • randy khan

            Or she just didn’t like dogs.

            • Origami Isopod

              Maybe. But Ashkenazi Jews of older generations often viewed common household pets as filthy. (Source: This book on shtetl culture.)

          • twbb

            “BTW, my late mom graduated a three-year hospital nursing school ~1938-ish. She thought osteopaths were quacks. I suspect they taught her that.”

            I am not a medical historian, but could she have been right in 1938? I know MDs and DOs have basically converged in terms of professional background now, but not sure when that happened.

            • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

              DOs were a renegade class for many decades (eg there used to be separate DO hospitals in many places), and resistance to their integration into mainstream medicine varied widely from state to state for a long time, usually based in the typical predictable human reasons. There’s still a bit of discrimination as far as DO schools being viewed as generally subpar, but that basically vanishes once residency ends.

              • twbb

                I’m talking about the actual practice though. I mean now I fully recognize DOs are legitimate physicians equivalent to MDs, and have been treated by them myself with no concerns on my end, but I was under the impression that DOs turned away from quackery later than MDs did. That certainly might have been before 1938, of course.

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            That was the dogma back then (go figure), and osteopaths often had to practice in supeparate hospitals. Is it possible she never worked with one?

            ps sorry to hear of your kidney disease. That is a very hard road sometimes.

            • efgoldman

              That was the dogma back then (go figure), and osteopaths often had to practice in supeparate hospitals. Is it possible she never worked with one?

              Not only possible, but a certainty.
              Plus, my mom (like her mother), once an opinion was formed, there was pretty much no way to change it.
              [Thank goodness her *political* opinions were informed by FDR]

        • Tsotate

          All a question of what else is wrong with you. Excessive use of NSAIDS damages your kidneys, but equivalent use of tylenol damages your liver.

      • JustRuss

        and

        Antibiotics are “napalm”,…

        I’ve only been on antibiotics a couple times, the last one was for staph, which turns out I did not actually have (Oooops!) Staph being very resistant, they have to give you the nastiest stuff there is, I’d say napalm is pretty accurate. I was absolutely miserable, because when all your gut bacteria get wiped out it’s not a lot of fun. Beats dying from staph though.

        • Karen24

          I had pneumonia in 2004, both lungs, plus bronchitis and reactive airway disease, which is swelling of the air passages in the throat below the tonsils. Basically, I had what killed most people in 1902. I had to take three flippin’ weeks of Levaquin, which is like Sarin for microbes. Everything tasted like metal and I was so wiped out from both the infection and antibiotics that I couldn’t do anything but watch TV, but I also couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t lay down. Those three weeks are what they’ll do to me in Room 101.

      • twbb

        Yep, I stay away from NSAIDs, on account of though one of my kidneys is doing a good job, the other one is outside my body somewhere and unable to fulfill its duties vis a vis me.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      I think this is from the same doctor whose #1 health tip was (and I quote) “don’t eat.”

      So, drink heavily?

      In this era of Trump/GOP, that seems like good advice.

    • Lurking Canadian

      Well, there is a perfect correlation between eating and dying, so maybe he’s on to something!

      • Ken

        Not quite – it’s estimated there have been 100 billion people, and 7 billion are still alive, so only 93% of people who eat have died.

        (This can of course be said about every aspect of human behavior.)

        • Ahuitzotl

          and at least some of those dead won’t ever have eaten, of course.

      • efgoldman

        there is a perfect correlation between eating and dying

        Inhaling oxygen’s bad for you too, for the same reason.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Brother Theodore tried ro warn us about food many years ago.

        https://youtube.com/watch?v=dC0DYqQiaWw

  • Sentient AI from the Future

    Now you wanna talk about bladder problems
    Then the man you wanna talk to will probably be my cousin Earl

    I guess you all know Earl
    He lives out on Route 13 out on that maggot farm
    Earl don’t like it when you get his maggot farm
    Confused with a worm farm
    A worm farm is for worms and a maggot farm is for maggots

    Sorry, its just so infrequent that I hear or read the phrase “maggot farm”

    • LosGatosCA

      Sorry, its just so infrequent that I hear or read the phrase “maggot farm”

      Until Trump’s lawyers showed up on cable, I wasn’t even aware of the concept.

    • rea

      Farmer Maggot was a Hobbit farmer who lived in Bamfurlong in the Marish region of Eastfarthing in the Shire. He had a large turnip-field and mushrooms grew abundantly on his land. Farmer Maggot often had to deal with Hobbits, like Frodo Baggins, stealing his mushrooms and was ferocious to trespassers. Farmer Maggot was married and had at least two sons and three daughters and many others belonging to the farm. He owned three dogs, Grip, Fang and Wolf, and used them to chase off any trespassers. His family served Frodo Baggins, Sam Gamgee, and Peregrin Took supper when they accidentally trespassed on their farm. Maggot later drove the Hobbits to Bucklebury ferry in his wagon, meeting Merry Brandybuck on the road. He said that a strange man came to Farmer Maggot and tried to bribe him to give him news of a hobbit by the name of “Baggins”.
      He was known to be acquainted with Tom Bombadil, who had a great deal of respect for him.

      –From the One Wiki to Rule them All
      http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Farmer_Maggot

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    It’s funny how our understanding of human evolution – of the point at which we were once our truest selves – can shift according to which restrictive diet is on-trend that day.

    Just talk to an evolutionary biologist/paleontologist: there is one 100% indication of human diet that can be inferred from evolution: humans are omnivores. NOT vegans, not carnivores: omnivores.

    We have omnivore teeth. Probably a “see food” diet also, too.

    • efgoldman

      Probably a “see food” diet also, too.

      I’ve wondered who the first hominid was who decided lobsters, clams, and crabs looked like food.

      • Thlayli

        Or squid.

      • randy khan

        Maybe the first hominid who saw another mammal eating them. Otters seem to like their mollusks and arthropods an awful lot.

        • Hogan

          Good answer. I always figured that whoever it was was hungry as hell and out of options.

          • Ken

            Also cassava and taro, both of which are poisonous without proper preparation. You have to be pretty desperate to say “Maybe if we grate it up finely and soak it in a couple of changes of water, it won’t kill everyone this time.”

            • LosGatosCA

              More likely, someone was trying to murder someone else but it didn’t work. When they reconstructed events the would be assassin noted – hey hiding this stuff where it gets serially waterlogged doesn’t work but it does taste good.

      • NewishLawyer

        Who discovered that weed made you high?

        • Hogan

          Jerry Garcia. It is known.

          • NewishLawyer

            Cab Calloway might be surprised at this.

            • Hogan

              Didn’t you hear me say “It is known”?

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                I thought law school taught people to catch those subtleties in wording

                ;)

                • rea

                  When he’s an OldishLawyer, like me, he’ll know that.

                • LeeEsq

                  Being deliberately obtuse is a good lawyer strategy sometimes.

                • rea

                  It is the strategy I do best!

                • LeeEsq

                  My clients are usually on the receiving end of said strategy.

              • twbb

                Should have said ipse dixit.

                • rea

                  res ipsa locquitur

        • LosGatosCA

          the gatherer who threw the scrub brush on the cave fire. And then the whole clan got high and had to go hunting for food in the middle of the night.

          • efgoldman

            had to go hunting for food in the middle of the night.

            And then they had to find the 24 hour cave where they could get Fritos and brownies.

      • Richard Hershberger

        I’ve wondered about the first person to eat anything from the blue cheese family. Moldy cheese: Mmmm! I am a devoted fan of the blue cheese family, but its merits couldn’t have been immediately obvious.

        • NewishLawyer

          “I know what we should do! We should take this perfectly good wheel of cheese and stick steel into it!”

        • LeeEsq

          I’ve wondered about civet coffee. “You know( insert South East Asian equivalent of Bob), I like coffee but I think we can make it better. We can put the beans through the intestine track of a small mammal and than sift through it’s feces for the beans and then make the coffee from that.”

          • wjts

            The story I heard is that plantation workers wanted to drink coffee, but the only way they could get beans was by fishing them out of civet turds.

            • LeeEsq

              That’s a more realistic and depressing explanation.

            • Nonsense. They were groping towards cross-species fecal transplantation.

        • I’ve wondered how many people used geoduck clams for hilarious practical jokes before someone took the dare to eat one.

        • The answer to most of these questions is “hunger”. Humans have had to become quite creative in terms of how to store food over the winter, or for traveling, or for shipping overseas. And, frequently, humans have had to become quite daring about what they are willing to eat when on a ship, or far from civilization, or in the dead of winter.

          • It’s a dynamic that still persists. Lobster used to be poor people’s food because it was all people in certain parts of the East coast had available to eat year-round. Then rich people figured out it tasted good, and suddenly it was a delicacy.

            The dynamic of food appropriation and how it intersects with class has probably been going on for all of human history. You start out eating things because you have to, figure out ways to make them taste good because you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t, and a couple of generations down the line it’s a luxury item your grandchildren can’t afford.

            • alex284

              I saw polenta in a grocery store when I was like 10 with my mother, and she said we couldn’t buy that because it’s poor people’s food. She’s from Argentina, lots of Italian immigrants, and during the wars polenta was definitely poor people food.

              I forgot about it for a few years until I read “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich. At some point someone asks her what she would like to eat, and she quips sarcastically “polenta-encrusted salmon”… you know, rich people food.

              • Richard Hershberger

                Polenta: Or as I call it, “grits.” Not that there is anything wrong with grits.

                • Tsotate

                  Polenta differs from grits in that the corn isn’t nixtamalized before being ground. The polenta equivalent in places that eat grits would be either “mush” or “hasty pudding”.

            • Cheap Wino

              As you pay $5.00 for that 8 oz. container of hummus at Whole Foods remember chick peas are food for starving peasants.

        • alex284

          I’m guessing that the practice of immediately throwing away any food that has any mold on it is fairly recent.

          • A LOT of cooking methods were originally ways to make food that had started to go off last longer. Candying (including of savory dishes), strong spiced marinades, stews. Refrigeration is maybe a hundred years old, and for a lot of the world cold houses weren’t an option. Most of our cooking techniques date back way further than that.

      • LeeEsq

        My understanding, based on Nature and Nova documentaries on PBS, is that the homo erectus that stayed in Africa evolved into homo sapiens partially because they started eating fish and shellfish while the ones that moved outside of Africa did not because they stuck with meats and plants.

        • wjts
        • Nick never Nick

          Anyone who has that specific an idea about human evolution is spinning dreams out of vague fossils scattered over hundreds of thousands of years. And, as wjts points out, evolution doesn’t work like that.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          ” the homo erectus that stayed in Africa evolved into homo sapiens partially because they started eating fish and shellfish”

          Clearly, it took a larger brain to figure out to only eat the shellfish in months with “R” in them.

          • Hogan

            And to wear white only between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

          • wjts

            That rule explains the salmonella epidemics that ravaged the French First Republic.

            • LeeEsq

              And that’s how Wellington beat Napoleon at Waterloo.

      • Origami Isopod

        I wonder who the first hominid was to try nattō. Or durian.

        • Someone with a bad head-cold?

        • LeeEsq

          Natto seems like one of those things that require deliberate thought rather than a happy accident to discover.

          • DocAmazing

            I always thought some prehistoric Japanese brewer was trying to make sake out of novel ingredients.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            It started out as spoiled horse forage, and the soldiers didn’t like the idea of throwing it out.

      • UserGoogol

        Eating insects is something humans have probably done for as long as there’s been humans, (even if many of us avoid doing it nowadays) and crustaceans are pretty much giant bugs. Molluscs require a bit of creative thinking, though.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Other primates go into water to get food. I believe the monkeys in Japan go after seaweed (them, too?!) and I’ve seen (on the TV) and orangutan trying to get at fish trapped in puddles after floodwaters recede.

        And, of course, the sasquatch has been know to get upset about people near certain clam beds and fishing spots, and swim out to anchored fishing boats to steal fish.

      • brettvk

        M. F. K. Fisher quoted Swift in one of the first cookbooks I read as a teen: ‘He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.’

    • Caepan

      I’ve always said that the bravest person in human history was the first one to be so unbelievably hungry that they ate the mushrooms growing out of cow manure.

      At least they were amply rewarded for this attempt.

  • fledermaus

    Hey that maggot farm is actual medicine:

    In 2004, the FDA cleared maggots for use as a medical device in the United States for the purpose of treatment of:

    Non-healing necrotic skin and soft tissue wounds
    Pressure ulcers
    Venous stasis ulcers
    Neuropathic foot ulcers
    Non-healing traumatic or post-surgical wounds

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      They eat only dead tissue, so they remove the absolute minimal amount of skin. Very helpful.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        “They eat only dead tissue, so they remove the absolute minimal amount of skin. Very helpful.”

        But ICK, plus not very profitable for Big Med.

        I suspect we’ll soon be seeing nano-flesh-eaters to replace the maggots, that solve both of those ‘problems’.

        At least until they escape the lab, and devour all life on Earth, that is.

        • Shantanu Saha

          Those nano-flesh-eaters are already here. They’re called MRSA.

          • Ahuitzotl

            necrotising fastitis? I dont think MRSA actually eats flesh, so much as just shrugs off all the antibiotics

    • Denverite

      I’m aware of at least one instance in which a nursing facility tried to pass off maggot infestation of a wound as “debridement.” People went to jail in that one IIRC.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        Someone able to think that quickly on their feet should have no trouble finding a job post-prison.

        • Denverite

          You’d be surprised how frequently it happens (maggot infestation at a LTC place, not the LTC trying to chart it as “debridement”). Lots and lots of nursing homes are in parts of the country with lots of fruit farming, and oftentimes the cheapest land is the land right by the orchards.

          • It’s depressing because by the time flies see as a patient’s pressure sores as a place to lay eggs, that patient has been neglected for a while.

            I remember the case you’re referring to, but can’t remember where or when, other than a while ago.

            • Denverite

              I think it was Michigan.

              • LosGatosCA

                Most good things happen in Michigan.

  • twbb

    “The reason that people of all walks of life are drawn to what Paltrow is selling is a combination of fear, confusion and dissatisfaction with the health care they are receiving”

    And arrogance.

    • Richard Hershberger

      And an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        I bet some people would pay to be poked with soft cushions by Gwynneth Paltrow.

  • LeeEsq

    GOOP sounds like one of those things where people were trying to create a pronouncible anogrym but ended up with something unfortunate sounding.

    • The Great God Pan

      Even worse, it is apparently her actual nickname.

      • NewishLawyer

        :/

      • LeeEsq

        Ewww.

      • Shalimar

        Rational Wiki says it is her initials, but her middle name is Kate so that doesn’t explain the 2 Os.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          Her middle name is Oo-Kate, but the 2 O’s are both silent and invisible.

  • NewishLawyer

    At the end of May, the Sunday Times Magazine had an article on Amanda Chantal Bacon’s celebrity wellness business:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/25/magazine/how-amanda-chantal-bacon-perfected-the-celebrity-wellness-business.html?_r=0

    If anything Amanda Chantal Bacon’s economic power and rise is even more disturbingly impressive because she had no celebrity name so to speak to build her company on. Though she did seem to grow up very wealthy and has a bit of the true believer in her as well as far as I can tell (though it is always hard to tell at this level. Can someone be a mark and a grifter simultaneously?)

    Slate Money also talked about GOOP and Bacon this week. There was a somewhat interesting argument that Paltrow and Bacon get it worse than Dr. Oz because they are women. There was also a maybe Slate-pitchy argument that Bacon and Paltrow are less harmful because they target a smaller and wealthier market as opposed to Dr. Oz who spins his bullshit nonsense to a wider market.

    • LeeEsq

      You might not be able to be a mark and grifter at the same time but marks make for the best employees a grifter can get. They can sell the cons with the ardent passion of true faith. I can see the argument that Paltrow and Bacon are better than Dr. Oz because of the much smaller and wealthier market. Fewer people get hurt.

      • Richard Hershberger

        I totally get the argument that grifting wealthy people is less immoral that grifting poor people. I imagine it is a different skill, though. I would think that grifitng wealthy people involves a lot of personal attention, while grifting poor people is more of a volume operation done somewhat at a remove. So grifting poor people is probably a more natural line if you aren’t much of a people person.

        • LeeEsq

          Grifting anybody seems to require a combination of playing to anxieties and flattery regardless of the wealth of the victim or the amount of personal care from what I see. You need people skills if your going to grift. Grifting the less wealthy require a lot of raw charisma, especially if your going to do it in seminar form.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          Visit Santa Barbara some time. Gwyneth is getting very late on the graft.

  • Hogan

    At one point, Dr Amy Myers casually distinguishes between the gut bacteria Asian people need (because “they” eat a lot of seaweed) and the gut bacteria that “we” need.

    Ah, so THAT’S how we know the earth to be banana-shaped!

    • cleter

      This new learning amazes me! Tell me again how sheep’s bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes!

      • Dr. Acula

        +1 Holy Grail

  • Nigel Tufnel

    Every time I see a reference to Goop (the hand cleaner), I am reminded that when I was in college (late 70s), I was in an amateur theatrical production with some friends. We had to deal with theatrical makeup, many of us for the first time, and we decided Goop would be the best way to get the makeup off, as opposed to cold cream or other less exotic alternatives. It worked pretty well as I recall, and when one guy was asked about it, he said, “Hey, I swear by this stuff!” Naturally, we started saying “I swear to Goop” instead of “I swear to God.” To this day, people are puzzled when I punctuate a statement with “it’s true, I swear to Goop!”

  • bw

    Seaweed was part of the traditional northern European diet for centuries.

    • LeeEsq

      They then discovered herring and never went back.

      • efgoldman

        They then discovered herring and never went back.

        Onward to lutefisk!

    • twbb

      I’ve been meaning to try and make Irish Moss custard for a while.

    • Sentient AI from the Future

      thats just the welsh, they don’t count. have you seen how they spell? wykkszzhh!

  • Denverite

    Or better yet, for any of the doctors on the panel to do some quick research and issue a correction: There is a case report which noted unexplained weight gain by the donor and the recipient, following a fecal transplant. In an example of everything wrong with science reporting, articles about the report made the unsupported claim that the donor – the minor daughter of the recipient – was overweight at the time of the transplant.

    That article on fecal transplantation was fascinating. I had no idea that transplant from someone with a more-than-normal BMI was contraindicated.

    • N__B

      Fecal transplantation: for when you’re not already full of shit.

      • Denverite

        Nah. You can be full of shit, it’s just your shit just ain’t good enough.

        (Seriously, though, I knew that it was used quite effectively for c diff colitis treatment, I just didn’t know the potential side effects.)

      • Origami Isopod
        • N__B

          That’s not a straw.

    • Based on the fact it was one case and the donor wasn’t overweight, I have no idea why that was the authors’ conclusion.

      • Denverite

        I mean, here’s the conclusion:

        With the occurrence of weight gain after FMT in this case, it is now our policy to use nonobese donors for FMT. The untoward consequences of using nonideal FMT donors are important, because patients may prefer to use a family member rather than an unrelated or unknown stool donor due to the perception that these sources are safer. However, studies have shown that FMT using a frozen inoculum from unrelated donors is effective in treating relapsing CDI [3]. In addition, most “professional” stool donors for FMT are selected on the basis of good health, including a normal BMI. This case serves as a note of caution when considering the use of nonideal donors for FMT, and we recommend selecting non-overweight donors for FMT.

        ETA: I think the idea is that at least some instances of obesity (probably a very small minority) are probably caused in some part by a gut microbial issue, and that it’s better safe than sorry and you should use a non-obese donor if possible.

        • Origami Isopod

          “professional” stool donors

          Imagine the business cards.

          • Denverite

            Or the free samples that pharma reps like to hand out.

            • Origami Isopod

              Or the swag. Little “stress balls” shaped like the poop emoji.

              • cpinva

                everyone on this site is probably going to hell, but we’ll enjoy the ride!

        • “professional” stool donors

          What are the wholesome, noble amateur stool donors to do in the face of this self-interested cartel’s hegemony???

          ETA: Of course it’s really the boss class’s fault. And the NCAA’s.

          • Origami Isopod

            What are the wholesome, noble amateur stool donors to do in the face of this self-interested cartel’s hegemony???

            It involves a deserving party’s doorstep, a brown paper bag, and a match or lighter.

            • Denverite

              You really think wasting the merch is a good idea?

              • Origami Isopod

                Why not? Lots more where that came from.

                • Denverite

                  Fair point. Plus, if you flood the market with cheap shit, it will drive down prices and no one wins.

                • N__B

                  I’m pretty sure that the jobs in the stool mines aren’t coming back.

                • Origami Isopod

                  #MAPA

  • Latverian Diplomat

    OK, the mention of his balls is a bit surprising.

    Not that surprising if he’s passing Traditional East Asian or South Asian Medicine through a New Age Woo filter.

  • Nick never Nick

    I think that men are just as susceptible to, and targeted by, scammers, but the scammers are of a different genre: quacks selling gold coins, guns, survivalist stuff, balding cures, giant penis pills, how to talk so women fuck you, etc.

    • LeeEsq

      I thought the last was called learning French or Italian?

      • Karen24

        That would actually work.

    • Karen24

      I think this is highly likely. Men fall for investment scams and survivalist crap; women fall for health woo.

    • Proto-Morlock

      That’s the Infowars store inventory, for realz. The marks have already come through the door.

    • cpinva

      “I think that men are just as susceptible to, and targeted by, scammers, but the scammers are of a different genre: quacks selling gold coins, guns, survivalist stuff, balding cures, giant penis pills, how to talk so women fuck you, etc.”

      you left out: 1. golf clubs that will immediately drop your score below par., and 2. fishing lures that will attract every fish within a hundred miles, even dead ones.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        And thousand-dollar gold-plated cables to improve the quality of your stereo sound.

        • Bubblegum Tate

          As a DJ/producer type, I thoroughly enjoy the audio cable woo. I halfway want to mess with the store employees who try to push that crap, but I don’t because it’s not their fault that pushing that crap is part of the job.

    • As I understand it, there’s a pretty active “supplement” industry that caters to fitness and gym buffs, guys trying to bulk up fast. Of course, the line between that and under-the-table steroid sales is probably pretty thin.

      (A couple of years ago someone pointed out to me that Sebastian Stan’s hairline seems to change dramatically whenever he’s training for a role in one of the Captain America movies. I suppose it’s not illegal if you’re doing it for a movie part instead of sports, but there are some potentially serious health risks to that sort of behavior.)

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        IIRC Arnold and Sly have both confessed to using steroids to get “cut” for movie roles. And apparently when we talk about how an actor on the cover of Shape or Men’s Health got an “amazing” body for a role, it was due to steroids at least as much as the workout regimen they claim will help you “get this body.” It makes sense when you consider how much money is riding on that role and the simple fact that bad eating habits at one meal can wipe out days of exercise, at least as far as body fat % goes.

  • brad

    Even not being a fan, I’m a bit disappointed in Lena Dunham that she’d be a part of all that. There’s no argument in favor of working with these grifters, aside from money.

  • Origami Isopod

    Could someone with talent at making .gifs please animate that logo so that the “G” is shaking up and down? Because every time I scroll past it, that’s what I think it is.

  • N__B

    Someone relates an anecdote about a marathon runner who had to get a faecal transplant

    …and the poor runner just got a fecal transplant instead and had to be treated for years for “missing A trauma.”

    • DocAmazing

      Short vowel syndrome.

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