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Quackometer Under Fire

January 23, 2008 2 comments

You may or may not be aware of a website called The Quackometer. It is great fun because the writer (Le Canard Noir) has a wonderful time at the expense of, well, Quacks. The sort of quacks that suggest coffee enemas will cure your cancer, or that eating lots of wheatgrass will add chlorophyll to your blood and oxygenate it, which has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?

In 2006, the black duck wrote about Dr Joseph Chikelue Obi, who was drummed out of the GMC for being an obvious charlatan and rather nasty piece of work. He had been working at South Tyneside Hospital, not too far away from me. Here are some examples of what my local press had to say about him.

A couple of days ago, Netcetera, web host of the Quackometer, told the Duck that he should remove a couple of posts as their spineless response to this email message –

Dear Sirs,

Re Defamation

We advise Professor Dr Obi and the Royal College of Alternative Medicine. We are informed that you host the Quackometer`s website (copy evidence enclosed).

Our clients hereby give you formal notice that they are determined to sue you directly for the highly defamatory contents contained on the website should you fail to immediately shut down the website and delete all of the defamatory material relating to the Royal College of Alternative Medicine, Professor Dr Obi and our clients` lawfully registered Trademarks.

In case the defamation continues beyond 12 noon on Monday the 21st of January 2008, we are instructed to hold you fully liable to the tune of £1 Million (One Million Pounds) per day, together with additional punitive damages relating to the many months during which the defamatory material had and has been globally accessible via your server.

Kindly note that Google has already blocked the highly defamatory material from appearing on its search engines in the Republic of Ireland, and is currently in the process of extending the ban to other countries.

Please find enclosed photocopies of the two RCAM Trademarks and a copy letter of Good Standing from the Company Registration Office in Ireland, as well as copies of these highly defamatory articles.

Please provide an undertaking that no further reference concerning Professor Dr Obi and/or the Royal College of Alternative Medicine is going to appear anywhere within the Quackometer`s website.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Tanja Suessenbach

LLB, LLM

A nasty little threat I’m sure you agree. Now, what is Tanja complaining about? For starters, this –

Right Royal College of Pompous Quackery – Dublin

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I had to share this with you. Following on from my recent Quack Word ‘Doctor’ blog, I came across the Royal College of Alternative Medicine (RCAM) , a Dublin based – well, I’m not sure quite what it is…

What caught my eye was just the shameless aggrandisement of the site. It is quite hilarious, if not a little repetitive at times. Calling yourself ‘Doctor’ is somewhat pompous when all you have done is paid for some international postage. However, the man behind RCAM has absolutely no shame and titles himself as the:

Distinguished Provost of RCAM (Royal College of Alternative Medicine) Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi FRCAM(Dublin) FRIPH(UK) FACAM(USA) MICR(UK)

Wow! Probably, just Joe to his mates. Naturally, when you Google the qualification FRCAM(Dublin), there is only person who appears to revel in this achievement. I’ll leave the rest as an excercise for the reader.

The distinguished provost looks like he is just another pseudoscientific nutritionist, his spin being “Nutritional Immunomodulation”. This is obviously a lot more clever than Patrick Holfords mere ‘Optimum Nutrition’, but having only one ‘omnipill’ is probably a poorer commercial decision that Patrick’s vast range of supplements.

Obviously, Professor Obi has had a few problems with what probably amount to bewildering comments about his site as the legal threats and press releases concerning his ‘ethical’ responses to criticisms cover more space than anything else. ‘Ethical’ is a favourite word on the site.

The most recent press release states,

7th September 2006 : The Distinguished RCAM Provost , Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi FRCAM(Dublin) FRIPH(UK) FACAM(USA) MICR(UK) has formally accepted appointment as Chief Professorial Examiner for the Doctor of Science (DSc) programme in Evidence Based , Alternative Medicine (EBAM) of a highly respected International University in one of the British Commonwealth Protectorates.This new qualification is primarily aimed at Medical Graduates , Physicians, Surgeons, Pharmacists, Dentists , Osteopaths , Chiropractors , Opticians , Wellness Consultants , Herbalists , Acupuncturists , Naturopaths , Healers, Podiatrists , Chiropodists , Scientists , Healers ,Therapists, Homeopaths , Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Nurses wishing to ethically upgrade their current Qualifications in Alternative Medicine over an exceedingly intensive 12 – 36 month period of study.

British Commonwealth Protectorates? Could that be Dublin?

I really have no idea what this organisation is all about. But it looks like it could be getting quite big soon…

RCAM currently has International Vacancies for One Million (1,000,000) ‘Foundation Fellows’ (‘Movers and Shakers’) ; who will independently play a highly pivotal role in diligently mentoring (and regulating) it’s future Global Membership.So if you really think that you seriously have what it takes to become a ‘Leader’ in Alternative Medicine , then (perhaps) RCAM may definitely be exactly what the Doctor ordered for you.

One million. That’s a lot of quacks! And they are just to mentor (and regulate) the wider quack membership! This man has ambition.

The Big J really hates real doctors. This is his most recent press release…

RCAM would like to warmly commend the various Chieftans of the National Health Service of the United Kingdom for ethically and appropriately ignoring utterly misguided calls (from a rather amusing Group of thirteen Clinical Yestermen) to compel Hard-Working (and Tax-Paying) British Citizens to additionally pay for Life Enhancing Alternative Medicine Interventions out of their very own pockets – rather than get such treatments free via the NHS. RCAM would like to also categorically state that such exceedingly flawed ‘G-13’ demands that the National Health Service of the United Kingdom expediently abandon Alternative Medicine altogether (in total favour of Conventional Medicine) be diplomatically treated with the very utmost contempt which such unguarded verbal flippance duly deserves ; as none of these 13 ‘Eminent UK Scientists’ behind such calls has professionally attained Globally Acceptable Fellowship Qualifications in Alternative Medicine and as such cannot be deemed competent enough to make such sweeping ‘Shilly-Shally’ statements about the noble independent specialty of Alternative Medicine.

RCAM therefore publicly advises the General Public to lawfully go about their normal Wellness-Seeking Behaviour as usual – without any unwarranted prejudice or fear resulting from such highly self-serving, morally unethical , abjectly crude , totally unprofessional, utterly unstatesmanly, morbidly barbaric, wantonly uncivilized, profanely undemocratic and unspeakably sacrilegious perpetual affronts on the therapeutically formidable institution of Alternative Medicine.

Now, I do not have ‘Globally Acceptable Fellowship Qualifications’ in Santa Clause Studies to know he does not exist. But hey. I must be a morbidly barbaric and profanely undemocratic, unethical duck.

So, struggling around the acres of pomposity I find one place where Prof Joe might be making some money. You can call him to seek his wisdom, after pre-booking an hour’s slot (and handing over your credit card) for a mere 300 Euros. Alternatively, you can pay by the minute on the contact line for a trifling $10 per minute.

Its going to cost you $20 just for Joe to say Hello and to read out his numerous titles, qualifications and names. Not bad ‘ethical’ work.

And this –

Ethical Quackery, the Monarchy and Kate Moss

Thursday, October 12, 2006
No, this is not about our Defender of Quackery, our Quack-in-Chief His Royal Quackiness, Prince Charles, but about the Distinguished Provost of the Royal College of Alternative Medicine, Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi. And yes, it is just a rather lame story written solely to get a picture of Kate on my blog.

I’ve written a rather lazy blog on the distinguished professor before that was just a bit of a gawp at his quacktastic website and what looks like a health phone-line scam.

Well, I’ve done a little more digging with Google and it has revealed a few quack gems. It has been pretty hard work, since Google returns some 6,000 pages, the vast majority just appears to be Prof Obi’s self-promotion. However, if you persist in digging a few interesting facts turn up.

 

So, what has the little black duck found out about the “most Controversial Retired Physician and ‘A-List’ Medical Celebrity, Dr Joseph Chikelue Obi”?

Here we go…

1. The Irish Independent reports that his college does not exist at the Dublin address given on the web site. There’s a surprise! It’s just a front.

2. The Independent goes on. “In January 2003, he was suspended by for serious professional misconduct at South Tyneside District Hospital. Among the allegations made were that he failed to attend to patients, wrote strange notes about colleagues and at one point gave a dating agency phone number to a psychiatric patient.”

3. He was being investigated by the police for taking thousands of pounds of a 58 year old woman to in order to cure a long standing illness.

4. The GMC strike Dr Obi off their register for “serious professional misconduct”. So much for him being retired.

5. On another tack, Dr Obi has been involved in a little cyber-squatting. This looks as if it took place while he was a doctor – always after a few quid!

6. Since then, now self-titled Prof Obi, a few new avenues have been opened, including trying to entice Kate Moss away to one of his ’safe-houses’ in Ireland. Hat’s off!

He is quoted as saying:

“Under the European Convention on Human Rights, Miss Moss still has fundamental rights, just like anyone else out there, and as far as I am concerned, she is not guilty of anything until an Ethical Jury says so.”

(I mentioned before that ‘ethical’ was one of his favourite words.)

7. Prof Obi has been developing a Penis Enlarger (watch out Kate) that his own Royal College has now endorsed.

8. At least one person (out of the targeted million) has paid Prof Obi the fees for his college to accredit them. Dr Michael Keet (8 Canards) of the Central London College of Reflexology handed over ‘hundreds’. Do we feel sorry for out-quacked quacks? I guess we ought to.

9. For those of you wanting to see behind the grand titles and see the real human being, Joseph lists his interests as Comedy in London, Whole Food Nutrition and Christian Music. On this ‘Meetup’ site, he describes himself as “Just a very ordinary guy . . .”. That’s nice.

10. His name appears very often on the blog Abolish The General Medical Council (GMC), often reporting something he has got up to. The blog describes itself as:

An ethical blog for those who publicly feel that the General Medical Council (GMC) should be Statutorily Abolished in favour of a Medical Licensing Commission (MLC) to solely register and revalidate Doctors who practise Conventional Medicine in the UK. The Blog also recommends that the GMC/MLC hands all disciplinary functions over to an Independent Clinical Tribunal (ICT) in keeping with the EU Convention on Human Rights ; to avoid (both) Institutional Bias and Multiple Jeopardy.

Oooh. There is that word ‘ethical’ again. And ‘European Human Rights’. No name is given for the blog author but the avatar is a portrait of the queen. Another apparent obsession of Prof Obi – royalty. Could the author be none other than the Professor himself, a little agrieved for his ticking off? I hope you all click through to the blog. Maybe we will show up in his stats and whoever the writer is can get in contact and confirm one way or another.

I rather hope it is, as the final thing I turned up would just be fantastic…

11. Is the Distinguished Provost of the Royal College of Alternative Medicine, Professor Obi now selling ethical ring-tones? I do hope so.

Watch out Crazy Frog! Here comes the Crazy Provost…

If you look at the Quackometer now, you will see that both posts have been removed. This is a great shame, as the Prof deserves to be exposed. This sort of thing has happened before to the Quackometer when Homeopaths decided to threaten Netcetera, rather than discuss their complaints with the Duck. The result was that well over one hundred copies of the anti homeopathy post were posted around teh Interweb.

Guess what. I bet before the end of the week there may well be more than fifty copies of the original Duck posts scattered around teh webs. That would be fun.

Categories: Badscience

Five Minute Timewaster

January 22, 2008 1 comment

I came across an interesting site today, that amused me for, well, at least five minutes. Called Flickr Fight, the simple idea is to type in two search terms, and the site goes off to Flickr and returns with the numbers of pics tagged with your search terms. The one with the most, wins, obviously. You also get to see some odd pictures associated with some of the tags.

I tried it with Football and Tiddleywinks, and came up with an interesting result; Tiddleywinks had four pics, and football over a million. The problem with that search was there were no football photos in the results page – just a lot of Americans wearing armour, helmets and using a ball of the wrong shape.

Then I tried Clinton and Obama, and chalk and cheese. On the recent searches section of the page, I noticed a rather obvious search, Victoria Beckham and Gary Haliwell and the result was very odd. So odd in fact that I looked more carefully at the search terms, and realised that Gary Haliwell works at a chip shop in Darlington, and Geri Halliwell used to be a Turkish TV Presenter.

Pooi Geri still loses in a fair fight though.

That Spicy search has been on the recent searches section of that page all day. Either somebody is having a little laugh at our expense, or a lot of people are going to be very confused.

Categories: General

ASH Videos : Bendamustine

January 19, 2008 2 comments

The American Society of Heamatology recently had their annual conference. The top experts present were interviewed on various topics, and here are four brief excerpts on Bendamustine.

The first is Keating, looking very relaxed.

Secondly, here is Kipps.

O’Brien, who looks a lot younger than I expected.

Lastly, the old man, Rai. Such a softly spoken man.

These comments were obviously recorded before “Treanda” recieved approval by the FDA very recently. The FDA gave its approval on the basis of recently published clinical trials, comparing Bendamustine with Chlorambucil. Rai seems to be the only one who acknowledges that this “New” drug is in fact decades old. You can read Chaya’s interpretation of the trial results here. I would have liked the unseen interviewer to ask the following question,

“Why do you think that the dosage parameters for the Chlorambucil arm of these trials were far lower than accepted dosage levels for firstline treatment?”

(Chaya notes that – in both clinical trials they managed to test against a less than effective dosage of chlorambucil.)

It is also interesting to note that a few weeks ago, Treanda was approved by the FDA. Cephalon (who sell Treanda in the US) shares soared, and four senior directors of the company made a fortune selling some of their stock.

Big Pharma. Sheesh.

Categories: CLL

Preventing Colds And Flu (Some Readers Digest Tips)

January 3, 2008 1 comment

Not that I read the Readers Digest except when in doctors waiting rooms, but I was reading this article in, well, the Readers Digest today, and I thought it was worth sharing with CLLers. It consists of 23 tips to help prevent colds and flu, and they all seem pretty sensible, without much woo content, and they can’t do us any harm. Fact is, it seems like a good idea to read through this lot, and see how your own behaviour can be modified to fit.

I particularly likes the toothbrush tip, reproduced here –

Run your toothbrush through the microwave on high for 10 seconds to kill germs that can cause colds and other illnesses. You think it gets your teeth clean — and it does. But once you’re done brushing, your toothbrush is a breeding ground for germs. Sterilize it in the microwave before you use it…………

You may think I’m being a bit paranoid, but any CLLer could be considered to be immune compromised, and it would be silly to be complacent. I would add that this sort of thing has not taken over my life, but I wash my hands a little more often than I used to. I do take more care brushing my teeth, I get a flu shot, and try to get some herd immunity too by getting the family immunised too. As a CLLer in the UK, our immediate families also qualify for a flu shot, no matter their age.

Be careful if you have an electric toothbrush however, and just microwave the toothbrush bit, and not the electrics. You’d think that would be obvious wouldn’t you. I bet the Readers Digest get complaints from the intellectually challenged.

Categories: CLL