Anyone who knows me well (or reads this blog on occasion) will know I have little tolerance for quacks who claim to have cures or magic potions for incurable diseases.

What’s the harm I hear you say? Well, in the least, ripping people off when they’re most vulnerable costs them money and is just plain asshatty.

At the worst, people can die, either as a result of the “treatment” or more commonly because they cease their evidence based therapies for the quackery.

A particular bug bear of mine is people who claim to have “cures” for Motor Neurone Disease (MND, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

I work in ALS research, so I know some stuff about the disease and the (lack of effective) treatments. And I also know it’s a bastard of a disease. People lose the ability to walk, to speak, to swallow, to breathe, but all the while their brain functions normally. So effectively, you’re watching yourself die. Devastating.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to name and shame a chiropractor who FBorked† this post about the current viral ALS Awareness Campaign, #ALSicebucketchallenge.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 3.31.45 pm

I’m not going to be polite about this. This was an arsehole thing to write, arsehole for several reasons.

1) No, to the best of my knowledge this is not a marketing scam. The challenge has raised $11.4 million since July 29 for the ALS Association of America.

2) No, in over 90% of cases, we do not know the causes of ALS*

3) No, getting heavy metals and “chemicals” (how the latter differ to minerals, which he says are good, I’ll never know and neither does Mr Dean apparently) will not get their “nervous system and organs function(ing) again.”

4) No, chiropractic adjustments will not give them “healing potential”, whatever that means, or “get the toxicity” out of their bodies.

5) No, ALS is not completely “prevetable” (sic).

#ALSicebucketchallenge has so far been spread around by President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Oprah, Ricky Gervais, and others and has resulted in increased awareness as well as a 50 times increase in donations to the ALS Association of America, which is a very good thing.

“According to The ALS Association spokeswoman Carrie Munk, the organization has collected $1.35 million from July 29 to Aug. 11. That’s not counting donations to chapter offices around the country, Munk said. During the same time period last year, donations totalled $22,000.

Tip ‘o the hat to the @roguechiro


If you would like to donate to ALS Research in Australia, please consider donating to our lab here. 100% of donations go to our research, no admin fees are taken out.

†I can no longer find this post on his FB page. I hope he had the decency to remove it. Asshat

*We have observed some correlations, for example, my team is working on the link between a toxin found in blue green algae, called BMAA, and ALS. We reported a plausible mechanism for this last year, and evidence continues to build that consuming foods contaminated with BMAA can trigger ALS. But this has not been unequivocally demonstrated.


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