An ILADS leader in his own words
On January 31, 2018, a podcast was recorded featuring Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) and ILADS doctors, including Dr. Ken Liegner, Dr. Samuel Shor, Dr. Thomas Moorcroft, and Leo Shea, PhD. ILADS and GLA both deny the overwhelming scientific consensus about diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.
ILADS and GLA promote some pretty bizarre beliefs.
In one section at 28:20 of the podcast, Moorcroft says the following:
“A lot of my patients are sensitive to Wi-Fi and so I just have them put their Wi-Fi on a timer so that it gets turned off at bedtime and it turns back in the morning. Some people will go through a little bit of a detox response over the first couple days and that clears out, and then they usually sleep a lot better.”
- There is no scientific support for “Wi-Fi sensitivity.”
- There’s no such thing as a “detox response” to turning off Wi-Fi.
Below is a larger excerpt from the call, in which a listener asks about unscientific diagnoses that chronic Lyme patients frequently claim to have: heavy metals and mold mycotoxins. The question starts at ~20:00.
- Moorcroft references Ritchie Shoemaker, who stopped practicing medicine after being disciplined by the Maryland Medical Board.
- Besides “chronic Lyme” not being a real diagnosis, Lyme disease has nothing to do with toxins, mold, Bartonella, or heavy metals.
- Kryptopyrroluria is not considered a real condition by scientists.
- Moorcroft’s analogy of “chronic burden” makes no sense. For example, Lyme-babesia coinfections are treatable. Coexposure to Lyme and Babesia do not result in worse long-term outcomes than Lyme disease alone.
- Mainstream dental organizations agree that mercury amalgams are safe and warn against unnecessary removal.
Moorcroft’s “detox” claims are enormous red flags. Dr. Edzard Ernst (a former quack himself) considers detox claims to be one of the “most popular ploys used by quacks”:
Many quacks surprise their patients by informing them that they are being poisoned. Subsequently, they insist that they need to ‘detox’ and, as it happens, their type of treatment is ideally suited to achieve this aim. Detox is short for detoxification which, in real medicine, is the term used for weaning addicts off their drugs. In alternative medicine, however, the term has become a marketing tool devoid of any medical sense.
The poisons in question are never accurately defined. Instead, you will hear vague terminologies such as metabolic waste products or environmental toxins. The reason for that lack of precision is simple: once the poison is named, we would be able to measure it and test the efficacy of the treatment in question in eliminating it from the body. But this is the last thing quacks want — because it would soon establish how bogus their claims really are.
None of the alternative therapies claimed to detox your body do, in fact, eliminate any toxin; all they do take from us is our cash.
Your body has organs (skin, lungs, kidneys, liver) which take care of most of the toxins you are exposed to. If any of these organs fail, you do not need homeopathic globuli, detoxifying diets, nor electric foot baths, nor any other charlatanry; in this case, you are more likely to need intensive care in an A&E department.
My advice is, as soon as you hear the word ‘detox’ from an alternative practitioner, ask for your money back and go home.
See also: ILADS doctor says a boy is harmed by Wi-Fi, so the parents sued the school.
The question asked of Moorcroft:
Dr. Moorcroft, can you address the role of both heavy metals and mold mycotoxins in the clinical picture of a chronic Lyme patient and what can be done to address these environmental toxins?
Thomas Moorcroft’s answer seems to have little basis in reality:
Well I think these are two really sort of important pieces in the role of treatment of chronic Lyme because I think rightfully so, we need to focus on these persistent infections because we’ve learned so much about how they, you know, all the different mechanisms they have for invading our immune system and such.
But in most of the patients I see, there’s more than one factor at play, and that could be a co-infection like Lyme and bartonellosis, but often we have Lyme and Bartonella as well as heavy metals and maybe some mold toxins.
So there’s usually a combination, and what I find both with the mold and the heavy metals is it primarily boils down to an inflammatory response. And I kind of look at things where we’re trying to find the root causes of the illness and so in any event, whatever that root cause is, it creates a toxic effect on the body. And these toxic effects are really just the things that are generating inflammation, and inflammation is that piece that leads to the signs and symptoms that all of us have come to know as associated with these diseases.
For example, like in heavy metals, mercury and lead are really commonly elevated, and I really try to make a distinction between an acute toxicity event which is one thing and what I typically see which is a chronic burden, which would be more like if you think about the kids who go to kindergarten with a backpack, they might have a lunch in it or a pair of gloves, but by the time they’re in middle school, they’ve got 40 or 50 pounds of books in their backpack, and so those heavy metals are kind of weighing them down. And you can suppress immune function. You can see decreased nerve conduction velocities. So a lot of our patients with brain fog and this sort of this inability to heal, there’s sort of an Achilles’ heel. Heavy metals can be part of that.
There’s also some work that’s been done on kryptopyrroluria and it looks like some major physical stressors or emotional stressors, including chronic infections, can trigger this genetic pathway that leads to us losing some minerals and vitamins at a faster rate than we would have if we didn’t have Lyme. And so in turn, often we find those patients having elevated levels of metals. And so it seems like, if this has been turned on, rather than putting the minerals back in to the tissues and the bone, we’re actually putting the heavy metals in. So a lot of our patients with Lyme disease end up having heavy metals at a much higher rate.
And when we look at the mold and mycotoxins, I think we have two sort of major things going on out there. One is you can have mold and then have mold exposure, and you may have a difficult time detoxifying the mold toxins. And the other one is that you can become chronically colonized, and we generally are looking at places like the nasal sinus cavities or, as Dr. Brewer talks about, also in the gut.
So these are kind of the major pieces we’re looking at. In either event, if it’s just a difficulty detoxifying because our human leukocyte antigens aren’t doing their job properly kind of like Dr. Shoemaker talks about or it’s a colonization or a little bit of both, it boils down to, we need to really get people out of this environmental exposure. And like mold, you might need to move out, and if we look over at heavy metals, we might actually have to think about maybe removing mercury amalgams, if that’s the case.
And then we need to detox our patients and there’s many different ways to do that, and I think the key piece that we see across all these treatment protocols is once we start to detoxify the patient, we also need to bind them. You’ll see a lot of use of cholestyramine and activated charcoals, and there’s a whole bunch of other types of binders that have been coming out to really suit the needs of our chronically ill patients. But there needs to be a binding, so that we don’t just dump the toxins into the colon and reabsorb them.
And then another piece that I always try to help people understand, is that our bodies are fantastic at healing, and our lymphatic system really relies a lot on movement, so any kind of movement, even if you see people walking and re-bounding, or just kind of up and down, if you can do a little more activity, that’s good, too. But anything that’s going to get you breathing a little heavy, moving the arms and legs, to really take advantage of the natural detoxifying system in the body are also going to be things that are helpful in these situations.
(LymeScience made its own transcript, which removes unnecessary words like “you know” . Please forgive us for any errors. The “official” transcript was posted later.)
Adam ruins detox cleanses
The TV show Adam Ruins Everything did an entertaining segment on Why Detox Cleanses are a Rip-Off. Adam Conover aptly states:
The fact is, toxins aren’t even a special type of chemical. It’s just become a trendy buzzword.
Dr. Edzard Ernst: Six signs you are being treated by a quack
Dara Mohammadi: You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth. So how do you get healthy?
Science-Based Medicine: The Detox Scam: How to spot it, and how to avoid it
Science-Based Medicine: “Detox”: Ritual purification masquerading as medicine and wellness