[ed note: Michael Jorrin, who I dubbed “Doc Gumshoe” years ago, is a longtime medical writer (not a doctor) who writes for us about health and medicine topics a couple times a month. He chooses his own topics, and his words and opinions are his own.]
Travis lofted a couple of these over my transom knowing that they would pique my curiosity and perhaps stir up my dander.
The unusual thing about these promotions is that they both purport to be divinely inspired. One of them puts this statement right at the very top of the spiel:
And the other one leads off like this:
I’ll confess that I get those two promotions somewhat mixed up, and I’m trying my best at this moment to keep them clearly sorted out in my noggin. The fact is that they have a certain common element that makes it easy to confuse them, but they are hyping separate treatments.
The first treatment, under the heading of “Jesus’ Lost Words” is called “The Apostles’ Protocol.”
The second treatment, following the headline about the “One Christian Doctor” revealing five verified medical miracles, is called “The Garden of Eden Protocol.”
Now do you see why I get confused?
I do not actually think that the two promotions are in any way linked or in cahoots. As you’ll see, the kinds of treatments that each one is pushing are quite different, what they want you to buy is different, and the gurus backing up their miracle treatments are different. What they have in common is that they are more or less recruiting God to vouch for their honesty and reliability. I find that quite shabby, and it ramps up my skepticism quotient by several orders of magnitude. Unfortunately, posing as a deeply religious person, whether Christian, Jewish, or any other faith, is a frequent initial ploy in the confidence game. (Remember Bernie Madoff?) We know a wise, careful person who was conned by a financial advisor who made regular reference to his deep faith and closed all his business correspondence with the phrase “Have a blessed day.” He “advised” his clients to make several palpably unwise investments on which he made sweet commissions for himself. After all, what better way to gain someone’s confidence than to convince that person that you are a deeply devout follower of that person’s faith?
The “treatments” these two promotions are hyping are quite different, even though their approaches are similar. Let’s take them one at a time.
The “Apostle’s Protocol” leads off with the background story, which is that an ancient manuscript was discovered in a cave in Egypt in 1945, and when eminent scholars got around to deciphering it, here’s what they found:
“‘These are the hidden words that the living Jesus spoke…’
“And they knew they had found something extraordinary.
“Claremont Graduate University has confirmed this scroll is one of the very earliest in Christian history, dating to just a few years after the crucifixion.
“You see, what they discovered in this ancient text is NOT in the Bible…
“Even if you’re a devoted Christian and attend church or bible study regularly, it’s likely you’ve never heard of this incredible find.
“But here’s what I found really amazing…
“As you’re about to see, these lost words from Jesus reveal a groundbreaking health protocol…
“An ‘ancient medicine’ that’s stunned the neuroscientist community…
“And a fast acting, natural remedy that researchers from Scientific American, The Alzheimer’s Research Foundation and the Wake Forest University School of Medicine confirm has the potential to begin reversing some of the worse symptoms of Alzheimer’s… In as little as FOUR days.”
Then we get the short, astounding case histories, about Julie, age 49, who went from suicidal thoughts about her Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to complete memory transformation, and Mary, age 56, whose failing memory was cured in just two months, and Kirsten B. and John D., who experienced equally miraculous cures. But the cures of Alzheimer’s were by no means the whole thing. The so-called Apostles Protocol does more:
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“The Apostle’s Protocol is so Powerful It Can Physically Change the Shape of Your Brain and ‘Supercharge’ It… Without Any Surgery or Side Effects.”
The promotion then goes on to cite a genuine researcher in the field, and that gives us the clue as to what the Apostle’s Protocol might actually be. The researcher is Dr Dharma Singh Khalsa, who is President and Medical Director of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation. Dr Khalsa’s general emphasis is on holistic medicine, including acupuncture, and, in particular, meditation. The form of meditation he has employed with patients is called Kirtan Kriya, also known as chanting meditation. He has published several papers in medical journals, including a 2009 paper in Nuclear Medicine Communications entitled “Cerebral blood flow changes during chanting meditation,” and is now on the faculty of the University of New Mexico Medical School.
Dr Khalsa’s findings and conclusions are not particularly astounding or over the top. For example, in a study comparing the form of meditation he favors, Kirtan Kriya (KK) and undefined music listening, the conclusion was that KK meditation for 12 minutes per day AND music listening may improve stress, mood, well-being, and quality of life in adults with subjective cognitive decline, with the improvements being especially pronounced in the KK group. Another study concluded that meditation in general and KK in particular, along with diet modification, exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization, may be beneficial as part of an Alzheimer’s disease prevention program. Yet another study detected notable improvement trends in mood, anxiety, tension and fatigue with KK meditation; these trends correlated with changes in cerebral blood flow.
Okay, we’ve got it. Some forms of meditation may be good for us. I won’t quarrel with that. We’ve also learned – although not from Dr Khalsa – that the cognitive decline associated with AD hits people with less education and people who don’t use their brains harder than more educated people who keep their wits about them. How meditation is supposed to offset the accumulation of beta amyloid or Tau protein he doesn’t say. My impression is that Dr Khalsa’s meditation therapy is at root palliative. The brain crud continues to accumulate, but meditation helps to keep the less-affected brain areas in better shape, and in the meantime the possessors of those brains are feeling better about themselves.
The subjects in Dr Khalsa’s studies did not have advanced AD. In some cases, they are characterized as having “subjective cognitive decline,” which could mean anything from “I’m not as sharp as I used to be” to “Sometimes I forget where I left my car keys.” And he does not make the case that his meditation technique reverses AD. Dr Khalsa is a somewhat odd choice for the leading practitioner of a treatment based on “Jesus’ Lost Words,” since he is a Sikh. But no matter.
The Apostle’s Protocol promotion is exceedingly mysterious about exactly what Jesus was recommending. Here’s what it says:
“And that brings us back full circle, to the ‘lost scripture’ that I showed you at the start of this letter.
“It’s a Trove of Secret Knowledge From Jesus Himself
“It contained 114 cryptic verses, said to have been written down by one of the apostles.
“One verse was a quote Jesus said directly to this apostle:
‘When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower… then you will enter the kingdom.'”
Not sure if that’s an allusion to meditation or to levitation or who knows what. Apparently, AD isn’t the only condition that the Apostle’s Protocol cures. Here’s a bit more:
“And it gets better. This miraculous protocol also appears to have the power to CURE at least some cases of depression.
“Crush Depression Forever
“For example, Sam G., in Utah, used the protocol to CURE his severe depression:
‘Beginning around adolescence, I started suffering from cyclical bouts of intense depression… dying seemed far less complicated than living… It’s been more than two years since I started . And I’m going to tell you right now, still in half-disbelief myself: [the protocol] worked. I don’t mean I feel a little better. I mean the depression is gone. Completely.’
“And scientists are now discovering this protocol is more powerful than anyone thought possible.
“Medical Doctor Stunned when the Apostle’s Protocol CURED High Blood Pressure
“Do you or a loved one suffer from high blood pressure? If so, it might be time to throw your blood pressure pills in the trash.”
And there’s more yet…
“Are you starting to see how powerful this protocol is?
“Scientists Stunned: The Apostle’s Protocol is More Powerful than Morphine at Eliminating Chronic Pain.
“Do you suffer from chronic pain in your knees or hips… or from discomfort in any other areas of your body?
“If so, the Apostle’s protocol could be the answer to your suffering.”
The spokesman for the Apostle’s Protocol is a chap named Brad Lemley, and, to come to the point of his promotion, what he wants you to do is subscribe to his newsletter Natural Health Solutions for just $49 per year, with an absolute money-back guarantee if for any conceivable reason you are dissatisfied. Here’s what you get with that:
The question is, what does he really want you to do? Forty-nine bucks a year ain’t going to make him rich. Even if you decide to follow “Daniel’s Diabetic Miracle,” which, from what I’ve been able to glean, consists of a diet of lentils, Brad Lemley is not going to make any money on lentils. No, it’s the supplements that he really wants you to buy, and that’s where the money is.
My skepticism regarding supplements has been aired here before, and it is unchanged. My objections to this particular promotion are of two kinds. First, suggesting that the remedies being proposed are somehow divinely-inspired is nothing less than sleazy. But more important, when the promotion tells you to throw your high blood pressure pills in the trash, it could be doing you a major bad deed. Hypertension, as we all know, is a major cause of strokes and heart attacks, and if you have hypertension and you discontinue your medication and let it creep back up to pretreatment levels, you could be sealing your doom – with “Natural Health Solutions” as an accessory before the fact. I am willing to suspend my doubts about supplements to some degree; if the labeling is accurate, some supplements may confer some health benefits. But do not, based on the propaganda of supplements promoters, simply reject established medicine, which has greatly brought down the incidence of disease and mortality nearly everywhere.
And now, what about the “Garden of Eden Protocol?”
The hero of this one is Dr Mark Stengler, a ‘devout Christian’ who wishes to share with you his ‘blessed discoveries.’ (My flesh is already beginning to creep.) Here’s some of the presentation by Brian Chambers:
“An ancient system for treating and even CURING desperate, terminal patients.
“This technique is now doing things no other medicine on earth can do, stunning physicians, researchers and atheists alike…
“It causes late-stage cancerous tumors to disappear as if by magic.
“It cleans out arteries choked by deadly plaque.
“It reverses type II diabetes so you can go back to a normal life.
“It even cures the debilitating symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (without any drugs).
“I know these kinds of results defy “accepted” mainstream beliefs, but please…
“If you are suffering or recently received a disease diagnosis.
“If you’ve been praying for a friend or loved one.
“And if you believe in God’s divine power to save and to heal…
“The next few paragraphs may be the most important thing you ever read.
“Because if you fear cancer, strokes, heart attacks, MS, arthritis, diabetes or almost any disease that afflicts our mortal bodies…
“On this page, you will be given the knowledge and tools necessary to heal yourself.
“And I need to be crystal clear…
“What I’m about to tell you has nothing to do with the latest ‘miracle cure’ scam or pharmaceutical drug with horrible side effects.
“No, this pioneering Christian doctor has found a way to heal the sick… even those who have lost all hope… using an ancient kind of medicine.”
I didn’t count how many times this promotion makes a specifically religious reference, but it must run into the triple digits. It made me wonder whether the injunction against taking the name of the Lord in vain has a clause for repeat offenses.
The spiel goes on to name the diseases/conditions that the Garden of Eden Protocol will treat, citing a plethora of individual patients who have experienced these miraculous cures. No last names, of course, nor any possible means of verifying whether these are real people with real diseases that have really been successfully treated. Here’s what this miraculous protocol will cure: terminal cancer (all tumors disappeared), diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, memory problems, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, chronic pain, failing vision (including macular degeneration). Moreover, it will absolutely prevent strokes. I may have missed some, but that’s the main thrust.
The promotion makes it abundantly clear that to reap the benefits of these miraculous cures, one must absolutely ingest these natural healing substances exactly and precisely as prescribed and compounded by Dr Mark Stengler.
“You see, early in his career, Dr. Stengler made an astonishing discovery.
“He learned that most everything we need to heal our sick, broken and diseased bodies can be found right here on God’s green earth.
“And these disease-healing secrets are as ANCIENT as they are powerful.
“Do you recall what it says in James 1:17?
‘Every good and perfect gift comes down to us from God our Father.’
“Dr. Stengler firmly believes all of God’s cures have been here since the dawn of Mankind… just waiting to be discovered and put to use.
“Prostate cancer… dementia… heart disease… colon cancer… type II diabetes… whatever your health worry of today or tomorrow, there now exists a true, natural solution.
“In fact, Dr. Stengler has found that God gave us a sort-of natural pharmacy designed to work with our body’s own healing systems… to treat, reverse and even cure our worst diseases.
But although these ancient secrets always been here… you must know EXACTLY where to look.
“And EXACTLY how to use them.
“Finally, Dr. Stengler has taken all these blessed gifts — verified by the latest in medical science…
“…and developed special new protocols for the most dangerous diseases facing you and your family today.
“And those protocols are exactly what I’m going to share with you today.”
Brian Chambers then goes ahead and forthrightly reveals what some of these “true, natural solutions” are. One is orange juice, as endorsed by none other than Dr Linus Pauling. The other is a kind of mushroom, sometimes called “cloud mushroom” or “turkey-tail mushroom,” (Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor). But, of course, it will not work if you just go down to the grocery store and buy OJ and go on a mushroom hunt that yields those rare varieties. To attain the miraculous cures, you need to take them EXACTLY as per Dr Stengler’s instructions.
I need to acknowledge here that there is at least a tiny hint of validity in the claim that OJ, or, to be precise, Vitamin C, and certain chemicals in those mushrooms have some healthful properties. For example, recent data suggests that Vitamin C may prevent atrial fibrillation in patients who have undergone cardiac surgery. Atrial fib is a life-threatening complication after cardiac surgery, and a smallish study concludes that Vitamin C does appear significantly to lessen its incidence. As for those mushrooms, there seems to be serious academic interest in their potential anti-cancer properties. Whether this leads to bona fide therapies remains to be seen.
But Dr Stengler is not of the “wait and see” persuasion. He has a direct line of communication with the Almighty, and he is willing to share his insights with a very few of you. According to the presentation, he is willing to open the subscription list to his newsletter to the first 400 applicants. I do not know when this exceedingly generous offer first appeared, but it still seems to be open, so maybe 400 was a misprint and he really meant 400,000 – or 400 million.
Here’s the deal:
“There’s a small fee for getting Dr. Stengler’s monthly Health Revelations reports – it covers his time and the expense of producing them.
“But when I say ‘small’ I mean REALLY small – it works out to right about 20 cents a day.
“Yep, a couple of dimes for a monthly report with true cancer solutions, diabetes breakthroughs… and so many more of God’s natural solutions for the worst diseases you or your family could face in the future.
“I think you’ll agree that’s a bargain unlike anything else in modern healthcare.
“But Dr. Stengler wants to make sure his life-saving information reaches the people who need it most.
“He feels it’s his responsibility as a Christian and as a doctor.
“So for anyone over the age of 55, we’re making this entire package… your FREE 560-page Natural Healing Encyclopedia… a 12-month subscription to Health Revelations and your daily House Calls message from Dr. Stengler…
…available at a 50% discount.
“So that’s about 10 cents a day… or just 3 bucks a month… for the equivalent of having Dr. Stengler as your own personal physician and friend.”
You also get a couple of books along with the newsletter:
Clearly, neither Dr Stengler nor Mr Chambers are becoming wealthy on a dime a day from 400 new subscribers. No, my guess is that those subscribers – and who knows, a few hundred thousand more – are sales targets for those specific and exactly-formulated miracle cures that were revealed to Dr Stengler by Divine Grace.
The tiny grains of truth versus the giant deception
There are certainly grains of truth sprinkled throughout these tomes about life-saving faith-based cures. Meditation, whether chanting or otherwise, likely does reduce stress and may help to sweep away mental cobwebs – although not beta amyloid or Tau protein. All manner of substances contained in plants have medicinal properties. Previous Doc Gumshoe pieces have pointed out that the majority of antibiotics, many drugs that treat cardiovascular conditions, and one of the most successful cancer drugs, all come from “nature,” however you define it.
The giant deception is that the supplement-mongers are continually attempting to erect an impermeable wall between their “natural” remedies and the presumably “unnatural” and often harmful pharmaceutical products, which they claim are foisted upon us by a profit-crazed pharmaceutical industry. And they frequently go on to claim there is a conspiracy, which includes established medicine and the FDA, to suppress the “natural” cures, which would severely cut into their profit. It’s axiomatic Big Pharma is out to make money, and as much as possible. And a corollary to that axiom is that when Big Pharma sniffs that one of those zillions of molecules that are found in nature has disease-treating potential, they’re on it in a trice. They don’t suppress it. They tinker with it, test it, bring it to market, and reap the reward. The conspiracy theory is illusory, but persistent.
Thus, when Doc Gumshoe suggests, for instance, that meditation is not going to clear the plaque from the brains of persons with advanced Alzheimer’s, then Doc Gumshoe is assumed to be part of that conspiracy to suppress natural cures. That’s the thinking that gives rise to the “The Little Bible of 77 Censored Health Cures.”
The consequences of that deception is that too many otherwise rational people become convinced that pursuing healthful living and natural healing makes it unnecessary, and even unhealthy, to venture to the other side of that wall between natural healing and established medical practice.
I say, stay healthy by whatever means works best for you. But if you are struck by disease, get you to a p