Despite Science, Alternatives Flourish

By Marvin Ross


Despite the tremendous advances that medical science has made over the past number of years, many persist in their unscientific beliefs about vitamins and alternative medicine. A few things cropped up in the last week to make my head hurt. First, the Journal of the American Medical Association released a report on vitamin and mineral supplements and their efficacy. They stated:

“most randomized clinical trials of vitamin and mineral supplements have not demonstrated clear benefits for primary or secondary prevention of chronic diseases not related to nutritional deficiency. Indeed, some trials suggest that micronutrient supplementation in amounts that exceed the recommended dietary allowance (RDA)—eg, high doses of beta carotene, folic acid, vitamin E, or selenium—may have harmful effects, including increased mortality, cancer, and hemorrhagic stroke”

They then go on to discuss what vitamins should be used for and that list is very specific.

At about the same time, it is revealed that Georgian College in Barrie Ontario is setting up a three year course in homeopathy. Dr Stephen Barrett of Quachwatch describes homeopathy as the ultimate fake. I remember an episode on Marketplace a few years ago where they tried to have people overdose on homeopathic medicines (distilled water) and no one could. The public outcry against Georgian College was so strong that they cancelled the program.

Next up was a notice that David Stephan was to be the keynote speaker at the Saskatoon Wellness Conference. Stephan is the man who, with his wife, was convicted for the death of their toddler who suffered from a very curable meningitis but was given vitamins and homeopathic potions instead. One of the products the child was given was EM Power Plus which is the product his father’s company manufactures and sells. More on that in a minute but the organizer of the event (and Stephan is to speak in other cities as well) is that “he judges his vendors based on their products, not on their personal lives.”

Nice but the two are intertwined. I’ve been writing about this product for years and the following is from an earlier Mind You blog:

The blog Neurocritic entitled one of its articles as EMPowered to Kill as one man with schizophrenia went off his meds to take EMP and brutally killed his father in a psychotic state. I have written on this case as well in Huffington Post. Health Canada has declared the product a health hazard on two occasions. I have written critical articles about this in various publications and an e-book with Dr Terry Polevoy and a former Health Canada investigator and now private detective in Calgary, Ron Reinold, called Pig Pills.

Stephan and his wife both worked at the Truehope website advising customers on their treatment. You can listen to some calls that were made to the call centre here.

One of the research gurus for Truehope is a psychologist at the University of Calgary, Bonnie Kaplan. Her research trial on EMP at the University of Calgary was shut down by Health Canada because it failed to meet the proper standards for a clinical trial but she now writes on mental health and vitamins for the Mad in America website. She also gives lectures where she tells the audience not to google her name (slide 3). She even went so far as to bring professional misconduct charges against Dr Terry Polevoy with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario because he criticized her work.

And yet, she was just named as one of the 150 Canadians who make a difference in mental health for the above work.

Meanwhile, the Schizophrenia Society of Canada states in its recent report on re-imagining itself that:

External stakeholders expressed concern that emphasis on a western medicine biological model of understanding of schizophrenia does not reflect the diversity of ways people from different cultural groups understand and explain mental illness.” (P13).

What can I say to this? OK some people do not agree with how science has tried to understand schizophrenia (and it has a long way to go), and would prefer to ignore treatments (again not perfect but reasonably effective) for their own folkways like exorcism to let the demons out as depicted in the graphic that goes with this.

How is that gonna work?

Probably as well as it did for a young Aboriginal girl from the Six Nations Reserve near me who decided to stop her chemo for what was first described as native healing. Her acute lymphoblastic leukemia was given a 75% probability of a cure with conventional medicine. The “traditional indigenous treatment” she sought out was at a vitamin cure spa in Florida called the Hippocrates Health Institute which is being sued by former staff who allege the company’s president Brian Clement is operating “a scam under Florida law” and practising medicine without a licence.

Sadly, Makala died.

PS I wrote this on Sunday morning and by late afternoon Sobey’s,  a grocery chain, had cancelled its sponsorship with the Wellness Expo and the organizers of the event had removed Stephan’s name from its list of speakers.

7 thoughts on “Despite Science, Alternatives Flourish

  1. Thank you Marvin for your warnings in this area. Beware of the quacks ! they mushroom overnight everywhere.

    These folks are highly suspect. See article in the Globe and Mail today by Andre Picard ” Child neglect does not deserve a platform.

    The article once again tells of the infamous Truehope Empower etc and its husband and wife team from the business who lost their young child because he was not referred to a proper medical team in good time ( David Stephan and wife are currently pushing Hope and wellness products ! They are appealing their conviction for child neglect to the higher court . Clearly David Stephan has no remorse.

    A certain Ph.d is involved here it would seem.

    See stuff related to these firms and how they are influencing people to go off antipsychotics for very real psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia and allied conditions

    .EMPowerplus, Truehope EMP+
     Not commercially affiliated (but pls don’t google my name)
    36-ingredients (bulkyminerals)  Developed in Alberta to help
    members of the founders’ families  Q’s? go to

    Dangerous bumph ! As my dad would say there is money in muck.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Folks peddling pig pills – Truehope, .EMPower – will call and threaten to sue anyone who suggests that they are charlatans. This often happened to the BC Schizophrenia Society. The thing to do is to ignore them and hang up. They have zero facts to back up their false & dangerous claims.
    And speaking of dangerous: The Schizophrenia Society of Canada (SSC) bases their new “reimagining” document on the same magical thinking and drivel spouted by Truehope & other hucksters who promise non-existent “recovery” from schizophrenia. SSC claims that proposals to change the mission of this once highly-respected organization are based on “the new science”. Meanwhile, families living with severe and persistent mental illness who created the SSC in 1979 will once again be left without a national voice because their Society has been hi-jacked. Heads should roll.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jane , I agree with you. The Schizophrenia Society of Canada was taken over by voices that were creating a lot of mumbo jumbo and not reflecting the true issues that need to be advocated for . As for their talk on creating a bigger tent !!!!!. For whom and why? Bill Jefferies must be stirring in his grave. i knew him and he would be very perplexed about the direction a once worthy organization has gone in. Sad to say getting that organization back on an honourable path is impossible. Hijacked is the word.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I was one of the founding members on the original executive committee of The Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics Society, Hamilton Chapter, in 1978 when I was 23, and I knew Bill Jefferies. We, as family members, felt that we finally had a seat at the table. We had a voice. Parents weren’t being blamed any more. Schizophrenia was a biochemical disease with a strong genetic component. Parent weren’t to blame. Medications were improving.

    I am sad that The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario has gone off its path of supporting families and fighting stigma by educating the public and health care professionals.

    The whole executive committee of the Hamilton Chapter resigned en masse in 2003 when we realized that the original mandate had changed (was hijacked).

    Keep up the good work, Marvin. You are making a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for making us aware of the Hamilton situation. Resignation by their board. As you may know we had a very vibrant chapter in Kingston from 1980 on and we raised all our own funds and eventually opened a small office with a small Grant from the Trillium Foundation,on the understanding that we manage to raise a bigger percentage of the grant each year. We did that and more and eventually did not only good work but saved many lives from falling through the cracks. We worked very hard to keep afloat and did with a lot of volunteer support to pay for a limited amount of office help. Many of us questioned the derailing of the mission and eventually we were taken over. I wonder now who helps, assist families get appropriate help for loved ones. It is time for a new organization. The need is obvious. Here we have lots of experience but are too weary to create a new organization. However i knew as others do that we did a great deal of good. Peterborough was also a chapter that did an immense amount of work.

      I have come to realize that the original name that Bill Jefferies came up with, was very appropriate.” Friends of schizophrenics.” We were truly that, and we have a lot of persons now in their fifties and sixties who are now stable thanks to the organization’s efforts. Younger people with the ailment are clearly being neglected. They have fallen through the craters in the heath care system.

      Liked by 2 people

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