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Chiropractic’s Answer to Swine Flu: Get Adjusted! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

pigChiropractors are already capitalizing on people’s swine flu fears. This webpage reproduces the text of a Swine Flu Handout chiropractors are giving their patients. It boils down to 6 recommendations:

  1. Build your immune system by getting adjusted.
  2. Limit the amount of sugar in your diet because sugar depresses the immune system.
  3. Avoid alcohol and white flour products.
  4. Drink more water
  5. Wash your hands frequently.
  6. Disinfect your rooms by spraying them with a solution of essential oils (4 drops to one cup of water).

Hey! One out of six isn’t bad. Handwashing is a good idea. The rest of this advice is useless balderdash and possibly even counterproductive.

They tell us “Studies show that being adjusted twice a week can increase your immune system function by up to 400%.” No they don’t. I couldn’t find even one such study. I did find a reference to “preliminary research” – apparently not published – that allegedly showed that patients who had received long term chiropractic care had 200% greater immune competence than patients who had not received chiropractic care and 400% greater than those who had cancer. This is uninterpretable because we are not told how the data were collected nor how “immune competence” was measured. Besides which, the damage from flu is due to the immune response, and in the 1918 epidemic it was the young, healthy people who were more likely to die. It’s conceivable that decreasing immune competence might be more protective.

There is NO credible evidence that chiropractic adjustments decrease the risk of catching ANYTHING. Ditto sugar, white flour and alcohol (unless perhaps indirectly due to secondary effects of overindulgence). Drinking more water? Were they perhaps thinking of homeopathy? And spraying dilute essential oils is probably as effective as having a witch doctor wave a bone and chant.

Instead of helping the public reduce their risk of infection, they are trying to boost their business and spread misinformation – swinish behavior indeed!

 

 

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written by mjh937, April 30, 2009
Regarding alcohol, perhaps if you drink too much you will forget to wash your hands? I have no problem with number 4, either. Most of us do not drink enough fluids. Of course it will have no affect on whether one gets the flu, but it is not bad advice.
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Craziness
written by JasonPatterson, April 30, 2009
I can easily understand how people will steal money from credulous buffoons via psychic readings and such, but it takes a whole extra level of sliminess to devolve into convincing people that they are protected from illness by pseudoscience like chiropractic care. I have a very difficult time believing that the majority of chiropractors believe what they are selling.

mjh937: As long as you are urinating regularly and aren't thirsty all the time, you're drinking enough fluids. Evolution solved this problem for us long since so that we don't have to think about how much we drink.
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written by Rustylizard, April 30, 2009
@Harriet Hall “Studies show that being adjusted twice a week can increase your immune system function by up to 400%.” No they don’t.

You're right, of course, but being adjusted twice a week can have another dramatic effect. It can decrease the thickness of your wallet by 400%.

Good article. They certainly didn't waste much time capitalizing on the current scare, did they? I'm sure the homeopathic folks will follow suit soon.
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Bad Math
written by Fanitullen, April 30, 2009
"You're right, of course, but being adjusted twice a week can have another dramatic effect. It can decrease the thickness of your wallet by 400%."

Uhm... No it can't. That would mean that you removed 4 times more money than there actually is. You can, by definition, not remove more than 100%.

But if there was a way, they would.
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written by Deneb, April 30, 2009
Well, you could always go into debt by 300%.

On the filpside, if you end up with spinal injury or a stroke due to your "treatement," you're likely to stay confined more and avoid coming in contact with infected people.
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written by GeekGoddess, April 30, 2009
I received this email at the same time I was reading Dr. Hall's post: Sorry for the length, but it has all the good stuff - scare tactics, conspiracies, and homeopathy!

The virus is infectious for about 2 days prior to symptom onset

- Virus sheds more than 7 days after symptom onset (possibly as long as 9 days) (this is unusual)

- Since it is such a novel (new) virus, there is no "herd immunity," so the "attack rate" is very high. This is the percentage of people who come down with a virus if exposed. Almost everyone who is exposed to this virus will become infected, though not all will be symptomatc. That is much higher than seasonal flu, which averages 10-15%. The "clinical attack rate" may be around 40-50%. This is the number of people who show symptoms. This is a huge number. It is hard to convey the seriousness of this.

- The virulence (deadliness) of this virus is as bad here as in Mexico, and there are folks on ventilators here in the US, right now. This has not been in the media, but a 23 month old near here is fighting for his life, and a pregnant woman just south of San Antonio is fighting for her life. In Mexico, these folks might have died already, but here in the US, folks are getting Tamiflu or Relenza quickly, and we have ready access to ventilators. What this means is that within a couple of weeks, regional hospitals will likely become overwhelmed.

- Some of the kids with positive cases in Comal County had more than 70 contacts before diagnosis.

- There are 10-25 times more actual cases (not "possible" cases -- actual), than what is being reported in the media. The way they fudge on reporting this is that it takes 3 days to get the confirmatory nod from the CDC on a given viral culture, but based on epidemiological grounds, we know that there are more than 10 cases for each "confirmed" case right now.

- During the night, we crossed the threshold for the definition of a WHO, Phase 6 global pandemic. This has not happened in any of our lifetimes so far. We are in uncharted territory.

- I expect President Obama will declare an emergency sometime in the next 72-96 hours. This may not happen, but if it doesn't, I will be surprised. When this happens, all public gathering will be cancelled for 10 days.

- I suggest all of us avoid public gatherings. Outdoor activities are not as likely to lead to infection. It is contained areas and close contact that are the biggest risk..

- Tamiflu is running out. There is a national stockpile, but it will have to be carefully managed, as it is not enough to treat the likely number of infections when this is full-blown. I don't think there is a big supply of Relenza, but I do not know those numbers. If I had to choose, I would take Relenza, as I think it gets more drug to the affected tissue than Tamiflu.

- You should avoid going to the ER if you think you have been exposed or are symptomatic. ER's south of here are becoming overwhelmed -- and I mean that -- already. It is coming in waves, but the waves are getting bigger.

- It appears that this flu produces a distinctive "hoarseness" in many victims. The symptoms, in general, match other flu's; namely, sore throat, body aches, headache, cough, and fever. Some have all these symptoms, while others may have only one or two.

- N-Acetyl-Cysteine -- a nutritional supplement available at the health food store or Wimberley Pharmacy, has been shown to prevent or lessen the severity of influenza. I suggest 1200mg, twice a day for adults, and 600mg twice a day in kids over 12. It would be hard to get kids under 12 to take it, but you could try opening the capsules and putting it on yogurt. For 40 pounds and up, 300-600 mg twice a day, for less than 40 pounds, half that.

- Oscillococinum, a homeopathic remedy, has been vindicated as quite effective in a large clinical trial in Europe, with an H1N1 variant. You can buy this at Hill Country Natural Foods, or the Wimberley Pharmacy.

I will try to keep everyone posted if I have any new information. Meanwhile, don't be afraid just avoid infection. The fewer people infected the easier it will be for our public officials to manage it.
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written by Alan3354, April 30, 2009
I drink only liquids, not just any fluids.
I breathe fluids.
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written by mjh937, April 30, 2009
Great. Now we have someone on this forum advocating supplements and homeopathic "remedies". I guess she has not spent much time reading this forum.
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written by sailor, April 30, 2009
mjh937, It sometimes pays to read forum remarks carefully before commenting.
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written by mjh937, April 30, 2009
GeekGodess and sailor, I apologize profusely. I stand corrected and chastised. I will try not to let it happen again.
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written by GoddessGeek, April 30, 2009
mjh937, It's ok. I spend *most* of my time on the forum

I did some research on the doctor who supposedly wrote this crap. Although he claims to have attended a well-known and respected medical school, googling his name links up with all sort of homeopath, special "Cardio-Health" pills, and invitations to align your chakra and get in touch with the Secret, as well. smilies/grin.gif
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written by inquisitiveraven, April 30, 2009
So, can we use quote tags here? It might've made GeekGoddess' post clearer.
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Business as usual
written by MJG, April 30, 2009
Hmmm, an environment of fear surrounding a public health issue? Really, the truly shocking thing would if the chiropractors, homeopaths, faith healers and other assorted quacks and scam artists DIDN'T swoop in like the vultures they are.
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written by MJG, April 30, 2009
"You're right, of course, but being adjusted twice a week can have another dramatic effect. It can decrease the thickness of your wallet by 400%."

Uhm... No it can't. That would mean that you removed 4 times more money than there actually is. You can, by definition, not remove more than 100%.

But if there was a way, they would.


Taking all the cash out of my wallet produced a reduction in thickness of about 3 percent. That's with two 20s, two 5s, and six singles in a three fold leather wallet. But my measurements are probably crap anyway. In any case, it's clear that original statement was meant purely as a metaphor for the reduction of an individual's total wealth. In which case, it's entirely possible to lower one's net worth by 400 percent if you take credit into account.

Yeah, I have too much time on my hands. I'm staying in bed today with a bad stomach ache. I probably have swine flu. Quick, someone send me some "essential oils"!
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written by MJG, April 30, 2009
Oops, Deneb made the 300% debt joke already. I must be getting delirious. Quick... someone crack my back!
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written by JasonPatterson, April 30, 2009
MJG, did you get into the white flour again? Darn it! How many times do I have to tell you that that stuff ruins your immune system. Now you're going to have to wear BOTH crystal pendants tomorrow...
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written by Skeptigirl, April 30, 2009
written by inquisitiveraven, April 30, 2009
So, can we use quote tags here? ..
See that little line of icons above the box you reply in? Ever wonder what they are for? smilies/wink.gif
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written by Skeptigirl, April 30, 2009
written by mjh937, April 30, 2009
...Most of us do not drink enough fluids.
Update: No one found any evidence to support the official government nutrition recommendation that everyone drink 8 glasses of water a day. I do believe that belief has been myth busted.

http://www.snopes.com/medical/myths/8glasses.asp
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Say ,Goddessgeek...
written by Brookston John, April 30, 2009
That doctor you were talking about didn't happen to be another well-known bald-headed fellow with a big white beard, did he?

Oh, "Oscillococinum", that "wonder stuff" that's made by letting chicken livers go putrid in a bottle of water, then rinsing the bottle 10 times and keeping rinse #10? My local Meijer store carries it, along with that "Zycam" garbage. I get better relief of cold symptoms from the liquor department.
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written by GeekGoddess, April 30, 2009
Brookstone John:
That doctor you were talking about didn't happen to be another well-known bald-headed fellow with a big white beard, did he?


Marc Gitterle. He turns up on Google, along with his friend "Dr Joe"
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written by Skeptigirl, April 30, 2009
Dr Hall: Besides which, the damage from flu is due to the immune response,

Here are 2 excellent resources for understanding this damaging over reaction of the immune system:

http://www.cytokinestorm.com/

http://www.fluwikie.com/index....okineStorm
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Recipe for Oscillococcinum
written by The SkepDoc, April 30, 2009
How to make the homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum: Take a tiny amount of duck liver and dilute the duck out of it until all you have left is the quack.
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written by bsoft16384, April 30, 2009
- During the night, we crossed the threshold for the definition of a WHO, Phase 6 global pandemic. This has not happened in any of our lifetimes so far. We are in uncharted territory.


WHO Phase 6 entails:

"community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region"

This has not happened, as the only country with "community-level outbreaks" right now is Mexico.

- I expect President Obama will declare an emergency sometime in the next 72-96 hours. This may not happen, but if it doesn't, I will be surprised. When this happens, all public gathering will be cancelled for 10 days.


We have already declared a "state of emergency", which is largely done to enable the utilization of emergency resources. I'm not sure what you're expecting, but Obama is not going to come out and say that the sky is falling.

I'm also not sure what you mean by "all public gathering will be cancelled for 10 days". If you're referring to the closure of public facilities (such as schools), this has already happened all over the US as well as in Mexico. I'm not entirely certain where you come up with the "10 days" figure (which most likely wouldn't be sufficient).

- Tamiflu is running out. There is a national stockpile, but it will have to be carefully managed, as it is not enough to treat the likely number of infections when this is full-blown. I don't think there is a big supply of Relenza, but I do not know those numbers. If I had to choose, I would take Relenza, as I think it gets more drug to the affected tissue than Tamiflu.


The national stockpile includes 50 million courses of treatment, and state stockpiles include another 23 million courses (these numbers include both oseltamivir and zanamivir). I have not seen any studies comparing the efficacy of the two drugs.

- You should avoid going to the ER if you think you have been exposed or are symptomatic. ER's south of here are becoming overwhelmed -- and I mean that -- already. It is coming in waves, but the waves are getting bigger.


Source, please? Reports from hospitals in my state (Colorado) indicate an increase in patients presenting with flu-like symptoms, but this is likely due to increased concern among the public.

In the event of a widespread outbreak, it is likely that hospitals will be overwhelmed. But we're not there yet. Not by a long shot.

- N-Acetyl-Cysteine -- a nutritional supplement available at the health food store or Wimberley Pharmacy, has been shown to prevent or lessen the severity of influenza. I suggest 1200mg, twice a day for adults, and 600mg twice a day in kids over 12. It would be hard to get kids under 12 to take it, but you could try opening the capsules and putting it on yogurt. For 40 pounds and up, 300-600 mg twice a day, for less than 40 pounds, half that.


Dispensing advice on drugs (you can classify Acetylcysteine as a "nutritional supplement" if you want, but the FDA does not) is dangerous and irresponsible.

- Oscillococinum, a homeopathic remedy, has been vindicated as quite effective in a large clinical trial in Europe, with an H1N1 variant. You can buy this at Hill Country Natural Foods, or the Wimberley Pharmacy.


There's that Wimberly Pharmacy again. Somehow I have a feeling that you have a financial connection.

Please, provide a link to your "large clinical trial in Europe". The fact that it was done with H1N1 isn't particularly impressive, considering that H1N1 was responsible for more than half of the influenza infections in 2006.

I have seen no compelling evidence that any homeopathic "medicine" is more effective than placebo, which is not at all surprising considering that homeopathic medicines do not contain any active compounds at all in any appreciable concentration.

I will try to keep everyone posted if I have any new information. Meanwhile, don't be afraid just avoid infection. The fewer people infected the easier it will be for our public officials to manage it.


No, please don't keep us posted with your "information". It's somewhat ironic that you are telling us not to be afraid after you spent so much time blowing the danger out of proportion with your fear-mongering post.

I'm going to get my advice from local and state health officials, the CDC, and the WHO. Not from some quack on a forum.

In the mean time, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes or face, avoid contact with sick people, stay home if you are sick, and contact a doctor if you have major symptoms (e.g. trouble breathing). The real ways to decrease the chances of infection are easy, free, and proven effective. Unlike diluted duck liver.
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written by GeekGoddess, April 30, 2009
bsoft16384

My post started

I received this email at the same time I was reading Dr. Hall's post: Sorry for the length, but it has all the good stuff - scare tactics, conspiracies, and homeopathy!


Posting from my phone didn't allow me to format the long cut-and-paste from the email very well. You have some great responses - I posted the name of the doctor who wrote it in a subsequent post, maybe you could look up his website and email and send it to him? I am going out on a limb here and stating that he doesn't read these comments.

Marc Gitterle. He turns up on Google, along with his friend "Dr Joe"


I googled him and found that he promotes quite a few 'health supplements' but this morning, like less than 5 minutes ago, found this

http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/medical/a/dr_gitterle.htm

After his hospital disavowed him, he's backtracked a bit.
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Thanks GeekGoddess!
written by Brookston John, May 01, 2009
From the description, I thought of Andy Weil. He has a degree from Harvard, but then got into the Woo biz, came up with some odd ideas and now markets his own line of "supplements" (pet food, too!) which to my way of thinking, really kills one's credibility.
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written by kazz, May 01, 2009
I had the misfortune of coming down with a bad cold/stomach bug as this was breaking. I have now had about a dozen people rather worriedly suggest that it might be swine flu. This is despite the fact that I am a virtual hermit, haven't left the country since I was about 14 and have had no contact with any farm animals or people who have recently been abroad... (Oh and I'm in the UK so a long way from the initial routes of infection).

I'm having enough problems dealing with my daughter's interpretation of the media hysteria and this wretched bug without adding woo into the mix. I really do wish people would think just a little before they committed themselves to the *we're all doomed* mindset.
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@mjh
written by BillyJoe, May 01, 2009
I have no problem with number 4, either. Most of us do not drink enough fluids.

Too late. This was true in the past, but as soon as that became common knowledge, people begun drinking non stop. There are those who take their bottle of water with them wherever they go, sipping constantly. So now the reverse is true. People drink too much and too often.

BJ
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just to add...
written by BillyJoe, May 01, 2009
As a reaction to the above, I regularly walk/run/climb through the local hills for four hours on the weekends without a single drink. And I am still alive.

But I see a couple of other posters have already skewered you on this one. smilies/wink.gif

BJ
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The Oscillococcinum "Study"
written by MAL_JD, May 01, 2009
So I approach this all as a Lawyer.

I search the wide Interwebs and found this:

http://www.ehealthland.com/Oscillococcinum.asp

If you scroll down on the page, you see, among other things, this:

In a double-blind, clinical trial of 478 patients published in The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 1989, researchers studied Oscillococcinum’s effect on nine influenza-like symptoms-fever, headaches, stiffness, lumbar and particular pain, shivers, cough, coryza and fatigue - versus a placebo. The proportion of patients who recovered within 48 hours of treatment was significantly superior among the Oscillo group than the placebo group.


They claim it was published in 1989 in the BJCP. I have spent my morning in research for another project I am working on which gave me an excuse to go through the BJCP Archives hosted at PubMed by the NIH (National Institute of Health). Volumes 27 - 28 cover 1989 with 12 Issues and 4 Supplements.

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g...obtype=pdf

As shocking as this may seem, I actually *found* the study. It is entitled, "A controlled evaluation of a homoeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes" and is found on page 329-335.

Upon careful reading of the study it is clear that it has many possible holes and errors which lead me to believe it is not the best designed study, but I am always willing to hear the opinions of any Clinicians on that.

-Martin A. Lessem, J.D.
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Never Believe One Study
written by The SkepDoc, May 01, 2009
It's easy to find a study to support anything, but critical thinkers put those studies into perspective with ALL the published studies. Wikipedia explains, "A 2000 clinical trial of Oscillococcinum found it to be superior to placebo in treatment and prevention of flu; however, it had a small size effect which made it of debatable clinical relevance.[2] A 2002 review says that the evidence for Oscillococcinum's effectiveness is small and not fully conclusive, and concludes that no homeopathic preparation is relevantly different from placebo or superior to other treatments.[2] In a 2007 review, the effectiveness of non-mainstream remedies against seasonal flu could not be established beyond reasonable doubt, and the evidence is found to be sparse and limited by "small sample sizes, low methodological quality, or clinically irrelevant effect sizes", and that the results strengthen using conventional approaches for flu.[3] A 2006 review didn't recommend the use of Oscillococcinum-like homeopathic preparations in prevention of flu or of its symptoms, but said that further research with larger sample sizes was warranted.[5] A 2005 review of flu treatments (vaccine, medicine, homeopathy) has concluded that the popularity of Oscillococcinum in France was unsupported by the current evidence as to its efficacy.[16] A 2003 review from the U.S.'s National Institutes of Health found that, in general, systematic reviews of homeopathic preparations have not found homeopathy to be a definitively proven treatment for any medical condition.[4]"

To top it all off, Edzard Ernst, who used to practice homeopathy and was the world's first professor of complementary medicine, reviewed all the scientific evidence and concluded (in his book "Trick or Treatment" with Simon Singh), "With respect to homeopathy, the evidence points towards a bogus industry that offers patients nothing more than a fantasy."

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@The SkepDoc
written by MAL_JD, May 01, 2009
I was more expressing shock that I actually found a study at all, especially as these homeopathic remedies usually have none.

I work in Pharmaceuticals, so I have spent part of the day reading it, and it really doesn't look like a great study. There is a distinct lack of a good stat set to give any truely meaningful data, and most importantly, although there is a placebo group there is no good baseline of true pharmaceuticals against which to judge the homeopathic remedy. Additionally, this is likely a drug which went straight to human testing, or if it had animal testing, it certainly isn't listed anywhere.

I will give them credit though. They *did* publish in a peer-reviewed journal, and that is more than most of these quacks have done.

As a twist of faith, I am currently involved in putting together a Baseline Study, so I was researching to find good, and bad, examples. I love getting paid to do this. LOL!

-Martin A. Lessem, J.D.
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On doctors (real & otherwise) and pandemics (real & otherwise)
written by Cosmic Connie, May 03, 2009
Re Dr. Marcus Gitterle, who wrote a disappearing blog post about the "swine flu", as well as a "private" email that went viral:

Yes, he's a real physician, who has a legit job in mainstream medicine. But, as someone mentioned above, he is also a long time friend and business partner of "Dr." Joe Vitale (whose Ph.D.s are not so real).
http://blog.mrfire.com/index.php?s=Gitterle

Now, I have no doubt that the good doctor (the M.D.) is genuinely concerned about public welfare and patient health, but one can't help wonder about any other agendas he might have in publishing info about the possible benefit of various nutritional supplements in containing the flu virus.

By the way, here is something that I haven't seen mentioned lately: Dr. Gitterle is also a longtime advocate of yagyas, or yagnas, which he (and his pal Joe) have referred to as "karmic surgery." A yagya is a pricey Hindu prayer ritual. (The article linked to below was not written by Dr. Gitterle or Joe Vitale, but mentions both of them.)
http://www.successguidelines.com/international/international_marketing_11.htm

The "best friend" Joe V mentioned in his testimonial (in the story linked to above) was actually his late ex-wife, who died in October of 2004. (Joe also partially credits yagyas for his "permanent" weight loss.)

Regarding the current flap about Dr. Gitterle's email: I realize that sometimes emails have unintended consequences; this can happen to anyone. However, I think that a public health professional should err on the side of discretion, and apparently Dr. Gitterle did not do this.
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written by Steel Rat, May 09, 2009
Too late. This was true in the past, but as soon as that became common knowledge, people begun drinking non stop. There are those who take their bottle of water with them wherever they go, sipping constantly. So now the reverse is true. People drink too much and too often.


I find I don't drink enough, which is contributing to the formation of kidney stones.
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written by BillyJoe, May 09, 2009
Hmmm...I hope I don't get an attack whilst on the mountain trails a couple of hours from civilisation.
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