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« "It Must be Jelly, 'cause Jam don't Shake like That": Darin Brown on "Viral Loads" | Main | Whose "Disease" is this Anyway? »

October 02, 2006


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noreen martin

Yes, Hank this is well stated. The beauty of the HAART or more accurately put, the sadness is the disease is given the credit for all of these nasty side effects. Never once, do they say, that what ever problem the patient is having is related to the drugs. It's always "your disease" or that elusive, mutating virus is causing all the havoic in the human body.

"Medicine isn't suppose to be dangerous to your health" but unfortunately it is. What ever happened to the old, Hippocratic Oath, first do no harm? It must be outdated.

Just like an old clunker car which is on it's last leg, medicine in this country needs a good overhaul or be sent to the scrap yard. When physicians do more harm than good (leading cause of death) with their medical mistakes and prescribed drugs, then the current paradigm of medicine must be revamped for the sake of society.


As you know, one of HAART's main functions is to prevent progression to AIDS. What you need to consider in this particular study is "How many of the 3000 individuals would have developed AIDS if they had not been given therapy?"

We know that the pre-HAART progression estimates were in the order of 40 cases of AIDS /100 person years. In this study HAART has cut this figure to 5.6/100 person years, quite an achievement. However, there were 11.4 recorded "grade 4 events" per 100 person years. These are essentially any serious event not attributable to the underlying disease. These will be mostly drug related, but as I am sure you know, events such as liver problems are more likely to be caused by coinfections of hepatitis B/C than due to drug events, and this is highlighted in the study.

Noreen, you say doctors blame the disease for all these nasty side effects. But dissidents take the extreme opposite stance and say the drugs are responsible for every possible problems. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere inbetween?

I accept the drugs cause considerable toxicity, but the alternative is far worse. The reality is that, whenever someone develops a problem, HIV dissidents always blame the drugs. Hell, no-one is even allowed to die of old age anymore if they are on treatment - its always that "evil toxic poison" that you blame. Remember that in middleaged men events such as heart attacks are not uncommon. HAART will increase the risk for these, but don't blame all heart attacks on HAART - that's just dishonest.

It is not possible to follow the tenet "First, do no harm." Since ALL drugs have side effects, their use is a trade off between risk and benefit. If doctors decided to never do harm, they would never do anything. If you really think physicians do more harm than good, then you are in a tiny minority which cannot accept the enormous benefits that medical science has delivered in the last century or so. Without "physicians", it is unlikely that you would even be alive today to hurl insults at them.



You back? Have you no shame whatsoever? [I suppose you do have some, as you hide behind initials. And yes, I will show you mine if you show me yours. :o)]

You are using the same "arguments" you attempted to use to defend the use of AZT in the AZT is worse than HIV post


before you and your helper withdrew in total disgrace.

Are you a HAART pushing MD by any chance? You sure as hell sound like one.


Hi George.
You back too? Try discussing/addressing the points rather than spewing out abuse would you. Or is that too hard for you?


"Without "physicians", it is unlikely that you would even be alive today to hurl insults at them."

Mr. DDT,

Do you know something about Mr. Barnes' health that we don't, or are you merely informing us that the entire human race is dependent on drug pushers for survival?

My husband says that without modern medical science we'd all be speaking Arabic by now. I'm not sure if he thinks that's a good thing. But I do know - in fact I've previously shared it with everybody here at Hank's - that his toenail was cured of fungus using no less than 2 drugs simultaneously several times a day for 3 months straight. Entirely risk free.

Those drugs were White Vinegar and Tea Tree oil.

The drug first recommended by our MD, Ketoconazole, was highly toxic for the liver, but he explained that liver risk for toenail benefit is a bargain of a trade off to any reasonable person.

When I later told him about the success we'd had with harmless, inexpensive vinegar, he said it seemed to him I was in a tiny minority which cannot accept the enormous benefits that medical science has delivered in the last century. He said I simply don't understand how modern medical science works.

I think if anyone can explain it to me, it must be you, Mr. DDT.
So please, let's begin again from "First do harm. . . "

[Note from Otis: "Dr." DDT, Try starting with this:

noreen martin

Come on DT, why do medicine men or women for that matter, think that if it is a herb or plant, that it will not work. Could it be that to keep one's medical license they must all march in step with the AMA, CDC, NIH and prescribe drugs. In fairness to the new doctors, the medical schools do not teach alternative medicine because of the financial backing of the drug companies. I live in a city with a medical school and am always being seen by young doctors from this school. They are hungry for this information but are not being given it in medical school.

Some drugs are quite effective and have a save track record, but unfortunately, in the interest of profits, more and more "harmful to the human body" drugs are being manufactured. When the cure is worse than the problem, then something is seriously wrong and most of us have a problem with that. Every day we are hearing on the news about estrogen patches, vioxx and celebrex victims and more. I guess that those who take the HAART are the disposables of society. Where is the outcry about all the AZT victims?

Yes, the truth does lie somewhere in-between. I have never felt that even the HAART doesn't have it's proper place in some cases. My bone of contention is to give it to HIV+'s or to persons classified with AIDS who do not have any symptoms whatsoever. Even in cases such as mine, when one has evened the playing field and restored one's health, then these medicines should be stopped. Try telling an infectious disease doctor that you are fine and do not want to take potent, medicines needlessly for the rest of your life. Then it will hit the fan!

Come on over to my website,, in a day after I make some changes and see a real live, ex-AIDS person and how well that I am doing without the HAART. I plan to post my CBC while on the HAART and while not on the HAART. I only take one drug now, Low Dose Naltrexone, because it works, has no side effects and a long, proven, safe track record.


good work at pointing out what should be obvious. Like the Padian study though, it's good to have folks like yourself speak sense to us, rather than the researchers who are indebted to maintain the paradigm, and are all too happy to obfuscate their own findings as well as trying to get us hapless laymen to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain".

You can spot the "cries for help" in almost any paper churned out by our esteemed researchers, though. This stuff has a way of getting past their own conscious desires to maintain a faulty paradigm, because their consciences are eating away at them, hoping somebody exposes them. What is that phrase..."hidden in plain sight"?


... one of HAART's main functions is to prevent progression to AIDS.

That's only true in the advertisements you may have read in professional literature. One of the real main functions of HAART is to make the patient vomit. Have a look around, you can't possibly miss it.

What you need to consider in this particular study is "How many of the 3000 individuals would have developed AIDS if they had not been given therapy?"

Yeah, we should consider. Unluckily, nobody in the whole universe can provide an answer to your question simply because you cannot repeat the experiment with the same people to whom you don't give the "therapy".

It is not possible to follow the tenet "First, do no harm."

Man, I can't believe it. Ready to go to absolutely ANY length to defend chemo poison, aren't you? Anyway. You wrote what you wrote and it will certainly take many years before another apologist will rise and shine as brightly as you do.

It is not possible to follow the tenet "First, do no harm."
I will quote this to all of those who until today could not possibly believe me when I told them about the nerd population that crowds today's medical science galleries. Now they will listen to me. I thank you for that.

noreen martin

To the good doctor, I guess that it would not be possible to first do no harm when giving treatments with drugs being the only option. Nevertheless, this seems to be the protocol in medicine from the tests to the treatments.

Let us take cancer for example, breast cancer in particular. Women over 40 are urged to undergo mammograms yearly and those under 40 sometimes too. Now, this all sounds innoncent, but is it. Mammograms are not perfect, can cause unnecessary stress and biopsies but worse than that they are contributing to cancer by the compression of a potential tumor and by the needless, cummulative, exposure to radiation, year after year. As a minimum, with only 4 x-rays to the breast,a women is given 1,000mr to the breast each year. Placing this into proper prospective, people generally reveive 100mr/year due to natural occuring radiation and then it is not isolated to one part of the body.

You will say, but we have to take the risks of radiation which is a known carcinogen. Not so. Thermography has been around for over 20 years, can detect changes in breast tissue 10 years prior to a tumor and does not involve pain nor radiation. This is just one example where the medical field could do better and "do no harm". However, how many thermograms are given each year compared to mammograms?

Let's say the person has cancer, what are the options? chemo, surgery and radiation treatment. Not too appealing especially when there is the Gerson diet, Johanna Budwig diet, essiac tea(herbs) and bio-electric medicine and a slew of supplements to name a few. How many of these treatments will be given to the cancer patient. You guessed it, none. No studies, no drugs, this doesn't mean that they are not effective treatments. However, they will not make a lot of money for the medical institutions and worse yet, won't even be discussed with the patient.


My contribution here seems to have provoked several off topic responses. Perhaps you guys don't wish to talk about the studies Hank discusses?

Anyhow - a few brief responses.

Noreen - by my comment that if it were not for doctors you would not be alive today I meant a general "you" and no one individual in particular. Few of us would be alive if over the last century medical science had not advanced as it has. Infant mortality 100 years ago was high, 3 kids in 5 did not survive to adulthood. Diseases were rife, and life expectancy low. This has all changed, partly through improved socioeconomic factors, nutrition, but also medical advances such as vaccination and antibiotics.

Noreen, you seem to imply that drugs are always toxic, and non-pharmaceuticals are safe because they are natural. I have news for you. Herbal remedies work because they have a pharmacologically active basis. Even tea tree oil which you think is "entirely risk free", has toxicities -including liver damage (quite ironic really considering your ketoconazole comments.) Fungal nail infections would probably be treated with terbinafine rather than ketoconazole. I accept there may be liver problems with ketoconazole, but again you assume that if a pharmaceutical drug is reported to cause a problem, this will ALWAYS occur. This is not so, and most illeffects are not common. Its like refusing to wear a seat belt because there are occasional reports of people being injured by the seat belt strap Drugs like Vioxx, which have probably indirectly saved many lives (because patients did not require nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories which can cause GI bleeding) were withdrawn because of a higher incidence of cardiovascular events above the background. Not everyone gets a heart attack if they are on this drug. Quoting a list of drugs which have been withdrawn because of side effects just to make the pharmaceutical industry look bad may look good to your readers, but for every drug withdrawn there are hundreds and hundreds of others that have a quite acceptable safety margin.

Henry, I have no problem you quoting my "First do no harm" statement, as long as it is not in isolation and out of context. Please use the rest of the comment also, so people can understand what I mean (although there is little chance you will do so). Harmless drugs are ineffective drugs - they have no pharmacological mode of action. All effective drugs will by definition have unwanted effects. A drug used for hypertension will on occasions make people hypotensive - this is common sense. A drug for reducing stomach acid to heal ulcers will lower the protective barrier for stomach infections, so "food poisoning" is more likely. Almost every chemical compound will have people who are allergic to it (and this includes ALL herbal remedies too). Everything is a trade off, a balance between risk and benefit. If a drug has risks that exceed its benefits, it will not make it to market, or even if it does it will soon be withdrawn. Drugs with frequent side effects are only used when there are no other options - as soon as better drugs are developed, they will be used instead. The pharmaceuticals market can be compared to other industries in this regard. Bad drugs are soon discarded for better ones because it makes sound economic sense for the companies producing them.

Darin Brown

"Harmless drugs are ineffective drugs - they have no pharmacological mode of action. All effective drugs will by definition have unwanted effects. A drug used for hypertension will on occasions make people hypotensive - this is common sense. A drug for reducing stomach acid to heal ulcers will lower the protective barrier for stomach infections, so "food poisoning" is more likely. Almost every chemical compound will have people who are allergic to it (and this includes ALL herbal remedies too)."

Watch it, DT. Everything you say applies to recreation drugs as well. If heroin is really a "blessedly untoxic drug", (Kreek/Cohen), then according to your statement above, it can't possibly achieve the profound effects it does on the brain and body. You're starting to sound like a defender of the drug-AIDS hypothesis!!

noreen martin

DT, I did not make the comment about the tea oil but since you brought it up, I will run with it. Yes, most drugs, over half if I am not mistaken do have a plant base. You see, the drug industry does not have a problem with that because they can patent some of the components and make tons of money and everybody is happy.

But when the consumer wants to use herbs, natural's best, the docs have a cow so to speak and we hear this old song that because it is natural it is not safe. Granted there are some poisonous plants such as mushrooms, etc, but overall mother nature's cupboard is much, mcuh safer than man's. Compare the plant deaths with the drug deaths in this country.

Medicine, when working properly, is great. However, man makes mistakes and we will call you out about this. You mentioned that the life expectancy has increased due to antibiotics and vaccinations. Both have their problems. Take antibiotics, physicians has misused them and now we have superbugs that are resistant to them. We keep making more and more powerful ones which causes problems to the patient. Take Cirpo for example, how many people are allergic to it, I cannot take it.

Vaccinations are another sore subject, pun intended! The theory behind them, like homeopathy, is a sound one. There again, man is the problem. How many times have vaccinations been contaminated and "HARMED" the child? Take the contaminated polio shots of the late 1950 and early 1960's with SV-40. Millions of American children were knowingly given these contaminated shots by our government. Now, many who received these vaccinations are getting a higher number of a certain type of brain cancer.

Should I mention the non-existent swine flu and the harm that it did to many to include paralysis and death. Why do we still have thimersol derivaties and other harmful ingredients in our vaccinations which many feel mercury has a part in autism?

You in a round about way touched on the problem. The drugs that have horrific side effects should never make it to the market. However, with the system that we have in place, "the fox guarding the hen house", no independent oversite of the drug companies, we are all at risk. The FDA does not do the job that it is suppose to do and if someone does become a whistle blower, look what happened to The Good Doctor, Dr. Jonathan Fisbein. It is a major problem in this country, when there are more drug lobbists in Washington than congressmen. I don't think that they should have a say about public health.


Sorry Noreen, I see now that it was Lise who wrote about tea tree oil.

There is no sound theory behind homeopathy.

The problem regarding vaccinations is that the initial vaccines were directed to the major killers, and the results were immediately obvious and gratifyingly wonderful. Risks such as encephalitis or carditis from small pox vaccine were deemed a small price to pay for the protection they offered. Even with diphtheria (and I am old enough to have seen cases) the possible side effects paled into insignificance compared to the disease. Lines have been blurred with more recent vaccines, where there is perceived either not to be a problem (Hep B, prevenar, gardasil) or where the disease is wrongly felt not to be an event with any entailed risk (measles,rubella). The risk/benefit margin has either got tighter, or is perceived to be tighter, and people concentrate on the risks and not the possible benefits.

Doctors do not promote the view that "because it is natural it is not safe", instead they will say that if it is natural, it has known (and unknown) chemicals, some of which might be harmful. The corollary that "if it is natural it is safe" is obviously wrong.

Take aspirin for example, a drug that has caused perhaps thousands of deaths from GI bleeding (but also helped countless people). The natural equivalents such as wintergreen etc are sometimes advocated as "natural aspirin, therfore safer". In fact these contain methyl salicylate, whcih the drug companies realised caused significant GI bleeding. They chemically created a "safer" version, acetyl salicylate, or aspirin as we know it, which actually is LESS damaging to the gastric mucosa (but not totally harmless). So the chemical drug is actually safer than the natural product.

Mother nature has produced some of the most toxic substances ever known. Pharmaceuticals will try and harness the effects of herbal/natural medicines, either to make them safer, or conversely to modify them so they are more active.

If I had heart failure, I would be happier taking chemically synthesised digoxin of known purity and concentration in a dose I know has been tested so that the correct levels are achieved with a set dose rather than chewing up some extract of foxglove (digitalis) which is of unknown purity and may be contaminated with other active chemicals, and which comes in an unknown strength so I don't know if I have taken too little or too much (digitalis toxicity was a big problem previously).

Chemicals are all around us in herbs/plants. All medicine tries to do is identify the active ingredients and develop a more reliable method of taking the chemical. Drug companies do this for profit, but that doesn't mean their product is automatically suspect. The profits available in the natural products/herbal/homeopathic market is vast, particularly as the manufacturers don't have R&D costs, don't have to do clinical studies and don't have to prove their medicines work. Their outlay is tiny, their profits huge. I mention this just to give some perspective to the "greedy big pharma" view. (And no, I don't work for them).

noreen martin

DT, tell the royals of England and others all around the world that homeopathy does not work. Granted, it is not as popular in America, yet, but this doesn't mean that it is useless.

Nobody is arguing that drugs are ineffective. The problem lies in the harm that is being caused by these new and modern assualts on society. I wonder how many of the over 50,000 Vioxx statistics would have taken this drug knowing the outcome. I do not think that 50,000 deaths is an acceptable consequence of the benefit of any drug.

Since this is a rethinker's site. Let's redirect the conversation back to the HAART. Surely, you will concede that the mono-therapy of AZT was disastous.

Yes, the next generation of HAART is certainly better than the first, but why would anyone take it every day of their life when there is doubt that HIV is the cause of AIDS, these drugs do have their problems, the Lancet says that people on the HAART aren't living any longer, etc.

I personally have a problem with this, if the cause of the problem is incorrect, then how can the treatment be correct? There are many HIV+'s who are refusing the drugs and are living normal lives. I do not know how many full, blown Aids persons are doing this, but I cannot believe that I am the only one. If science or scientists were really smart, they would follow these people. My belief is that they do not want to go there because it would prove that AIDS is a life-style disease and the current paradigm is incorrect.


Think about that. What kind of "medicine" causes life-threatening liver failure, heart attacks, white blood cell loss?

Most chemotherapeutic agents. In fact, almost all medications cause life-threatening illness at some frequency. The question is how often, and is the benefit worth the risk? Large numbers of people die routinely from aspirin. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) occasionally causes liver failure. The more dangerous or painful the illness, the greater the risk that people are willing to take.

I wonder how many of the over 50,000 Vioxx statistics would have taken this drug knowing the outcome.

Knowing the outcome? Hardly any. Knowing the risk? Probably quite a few. I know a number of people who have Vioxx stashed away. They've taken it before, and feel that its efficacy justifies the small risk.


Noreen, coming back to the HAART issue. You say that according to the Lancet "People on HAART aren't living any longer".

Your statement is incomplete. The Lancet article says people on HAART in 2002/3 aren't living any longer than people are doing on HAART in 1995/6.

See the difference?

What is clear is that people on HAART are living a whole lot longer than they were before HAART was ever available. The authors also discuss why the improvement in outcome has not been sustained in more recent time periods.

Oh, and I don't care what the Royals do here in the UK, but I believe Charles is still talking to his plants. Seeing as how the Lancet seems to be a trusted source of information for you, perhaps you would like to see what they say about homeopathy:

An accompanying editorial said it was time to pull the rug out from under the feet of the homeopaths.


Dr. DDT,

Tea tree oil for toenail fungus is applied topically - and not to the liver, you silly boy.

AND you can call me Noreen if you please, as long as you don't put words in my mouth.

But really, if to you I "seem to imply" from what I write,

"that drugs are always toxic, and non-pharmaceuticals are safe because they are natural"

I'd say you seem to imply to me that you are a condescending, prejudiced, second rate pharma parrot. In fact, Why don't you just send us the brochure, since you're obviously not able to adjust any of the birdie namnam you gulp up to suit this party?

I don't know where you pick up your girls Dr. DDT (Med. School?), if you honestly believe there's any of us out here in the real world who,

"assume that if a pharmaceutical drug is reported to cause a problem, this will ALWAYS occur."

With that attitude I'm not surprised you couldn't even distinguish between me and Noreen.

You and my husband both would make charming company for tea with this kind of conversation. Just remember to wake up the ladies before you leave and you'll be just fine.

But if there really are any letters after your name, I think this is as good a time as any to get off kids TV and show it. In your next post why don’t you for instance substitute this piece of no contents blabla with a real analysis and a real argument:

“Infant mortality 100 years ago was high, 3 kids in 5 did not survive to adulthood. Diseases were rife, and life expectancy low. This has all changed, partly through improved socioeconomic factors, nutrition, but also medical advances such as vaccination and antibiotics.”

I suggest you write something that shows you actually have the faintest inkling beyond the introduction leaflet to the “Little Doctor” junior play kit regarding the interrelationships between socio-economic factors, technology and the advance of 'modern medical science'.
Or write something that relates to the real world, not a pharma rep. never land where infant mortality had been 3 in 5 since Adam blamed Eve, and would have remained that way to Doomsday if modern medical science hadn’t all of a sudden arrived on this planet like HIV on the Murchison meteor.


Boy, Lise, did someone rattle your cage? Who would have thought my comment about tea tree oil could provoke such an outpouring of ad hominems. It seems to me you are the one living in fantasy land, blissfully ignorant of some of life's realities. Did my comments really threaten your cosy little denialist world so much?

I know your husband used tea tree oil topically, and not on his liver - Duh! Apart from well recognised hypersensitivity dermatitis, systemic absorbtion has been reported to occur, resulting in severe neurotoxicity in animals and more recently has been thought to afflict some kids who have had repeated doses to eliminate head lice.

In animals it also causes hepatic enzyme abnormalities - you know -one of the "grade 4 events" that you all get so worked up about when it occurs in an HIV-Hep C coinfected patient on HAART.

J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1994;32(4):461-4.
Carson CF, Riley TV. Toxicity of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia or tea tree oil.

Having said that, I accept it's pretty safe, particularly in adult humans when applied topically.

But "entirely risk free"? - hardly.

noreen martin

Cute, who rattled your cage! Boy, would I love to have DT, George and Lise at a coffee shop and watch the feathers fly. Of course I would have to interject a comment here or there.


Wow DT!

That's gotta be one of the most devastating ripostes I've ever seen. Hit the nail right on its denialist head too.

Ok buddy, now the only thing left is to go look up the literature on white winegar as well. If you can manage to find a study suggesting that if mice are immersed in the fluidum for more than 1 minute at the time they could develop acute respiratory stress, you'll not only have shown once and for all who's dodging the real points, you would also be guaranteed to shatter everybody's 'cosy little denialist world' forever.

Just one thing though, be honest now, man to man: you DID think Tea Tree oil was applied directly to the liver in treating toenails, didn't you?


Yes Mac, I did.

Following their rejection of their doctors suggestion of ketoconazole, Lise and hubby purchased an Olympus intra-abdominal endoscopy scope off EBay, she hit him over the head with a hammer and while he was unconscious she cut open his abdominal cavity to inject 15 ml of tea tree oil via the scope into the hepatic subcapsular space, repeating this procedure for the three months duration of treatment.

Recent Back-Door Graduated but Still Curious (XX/XY)

Dr. DT, or Dr. DDT (which is it?),

Hi! Wow that sounds like a lot of extra work. Can you explain to me, why it was necessary to buy the endoscopy device if Lise was going to render her poor hubby unconscious anyway? I know I am pretty stupid about these things but cut me some slack my biology prof. is a ditz and her secret website must never have big words like subscapular space because all she ever says about hepatics is hepatitis virus this and that one and one of them the C one you like so much her website tells her is not real since no laboratory has a culture of it and it is only a mess of PCR fragments whatever that means. Maybe I better ask Dr. Knobless that one becasue he knows a *lot* about viruses although not as much as Vira but a lot more than you.


Dr. DDT (I presume),

I'm a glad you've finally come clean on this important issue; it shows professional integrity.

Because, to tell you the truth, your initial post on the topic, which implied that Tea Tree oil administered one droplet at a time onto the toenail was truly a risk to the liver just didn't make much sense.

There are still a few factual errors for the record though.

1. Lise didn't reject the good doctor's initial advice. Hubby's liver did.

2. I don't know about those med. school girls, but I think it's very inappropriate of you to suggest that Lise would need something as crude as a hammer to anaesthetize her man.

However, I can well believe that the procedure you've described for us in such vivid detail was followed in every particular to produce the above mentioned 'hepatic enzyme abnormalities - you know -one of the "grade 4" events' everybody but Dr. Mengele gets so worked up about, in your laboratory animals.

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