WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF NOAKES REALLY IS FOUND INNOCENT?

Tim NoakesBy Marika Sboros

A South African news agency has published an anonymous article about scientist Tim Noakes. The headline: What will happen to Noakes if he really is found guilty? (Emphasis theirs.)

Health24 refers, of course, to the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) charge of unprofessional conduct against Noakes. It states that the HPCSA will “likely not be forgotten for erroneously reporting” that it had found Noakes guilty. It speculates on six penalties Noakes would face should the HPCSA find him guilty.

I’d say it raises another question: What will happen if Noakes really is found innocent? (Emphasis mine.) I speculate on five penalty areas facing the HPCSA and all those who have helped to prosecute Noakes. Read on and tell me what you think is more likely to be the case: 



VICTORY FOR TEICHOLZ IN BATTLE OF BUTTER

Nina TeicholzBy Marika Sboros

US investigative journalist Nina Teicholz calls it “a victory for science.” South African scientist Tim Noakes says it proves that one person can “change the world.” I say it’s a decisive defeat for medical, scientific and dietetic establishments in their ongoing war against the critics.

The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) has announced that it will not retract the peer-reviewed investigation it published by Teicholz in September 2015. The feature documents in detail how the US Dietary Guidelines (DGAs) have ignored vast amounts of rigorous scientific evidence. This evidence is on key issues such as saturated fats and low-carbohydrate diets.

Teicholz’s article has been the target of an unprecedented retraction effort that was organized by an advocacy group that has long defended those guidelines. The BMJ stance is becoming a lesson in unintended consequences for those attempting to stifle debate on the topic. It raises fundamental questions about who was behind the retraction effort and their motivation.



NOAKES: PROOF THAT SA SCIENTISTS TRIED TO SMEAR HIM?

Tim NoakesBy Marika Sboros

Did researchers at top South African universities make multiple mistakes in a major study deliberately? Was their aim to discredit low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diets? And was their real target scientist Prof Tim Noakes? Or are they just human, fallible and in this case, hopelessly error-prone?

A new study in the SAMJ (South African Medical Journal) re-examines the 2014 research by University of Cape Town (UCT) and Stellenbosch University (SU) scientists. It shows that the scientists have made many material errors that undermine their conclusions. It raises the question: mistake or mischief? Read on and make up your own mind.



FETTKE: VICTIM OF KANGAROO COURT DOWN UNDER? Part 2

Dr Gary Fettke and Belinda Fettke

Dr Gary Fettke and Belinda Fettke

In Part 2 of a two-part series, Foodmed.net looks at the strange case of Australian orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke. The country’s medical regulatory body has banned him for life from talking to patients about their sugar intake. Fettke just wants to save patients’ limbs and lives. Senators have come to his aid in an Australian Senate Inquiry. Wife Belinda also speaks up when Fettke feels he can’t speak out. 

By Marika Sboros

On November 16, 2016, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) issued an ambiguous statement relating to Dr Gary Fettke. AHPRA said that by law it could not disclose details of Fettke’s case – unless he gave permission. AHPRA then proceeded to do just that: disclose details. Senators conducting an inquiry into AHPRA’s medical complaints process were none too happy about that. 



FETTKE: VICTIM OF KANGAROO COURT DOWN UNDER? Part 1

Why does Australia’s medical regulatory body so badly want Dr Gary Fettke to stop talking to his patients about nutrition? In the first of a two-part series, here’s why legal experts say the campaign against him is Kafkaesque and a kangaroo court. Anything sound familiar?

 

Gary FettkeBy Marika Sboros

Is Australian orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke the victim of a real-life kangaroo court? The Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) has banned Fettke from mentioning the “s” word (sugar) to his patients now or in future. Legal experts say that AHPRA’s ban has all the hallmarks of a kangaroo court.

Senators conducting an inquiry into AHPRA’s secretive medical complaints process think so too. The senators haven’t said so in so many words. However, they made it clear in targeted questions and comments to AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher at the inquiry.

Claire Deeks, enrolled barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, also thinks so. She says that Fettke is probably the victim of “gross injustice”. What do you think?



KENDRICK: SWEDEN GETS IT RIGHT WITH ‘IDIOT’ DIETITIANS

Malcolm KendrickTrust Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick to get down and dirty to the heart of medical ethical dilemmas. Kendrick doesn’t suffer fools gladly. In particular dietitian fools who dish out dangerous dogma for obesity and diabetes. He reserves special antipathy for dietitian fools who try to silence doctors who go against that dogma.  

Here, Kendrick’s focus is Sweden and dietitians’ unsuccessful attempt to muzzle Dr Annika Dahlqvist. It’s an earlier blog, but eerily relevant today. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency has banned orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke from speaking to patients about diet. Dietitians complained that he was telling diabetics to avoid sugar. South African dietitians have joined forces with the Health Professions Council of SA to silence scientist Prof Tim Noakes. Kendrick makes a joke that is a serious commentary on the dietetic profession: ‘What do you call 500 dietitians lying at the bottom of the ocean?’  ‘A good start.’ – Marika Sboros



Cyber bullying virus – infection spreads among doctors

By Marika Sboros

cyber bullyingSomething is rotten in the state of nutrition science. In parts, it’s terminally ill. One symptom is cyber bullying. It’s a virus that is infecting doctors and dietitians on an unprecedented scale. These health professionals are also using their associations to spread the virus further and target nutrition experts who challenge conventional nutrition “wisdom”.

They are active on Twitter and Facebook hate pages. Those are toxic and unprofessional environments for doctors and dietitians to inhabit.

Two bloggers have started a series aimed at naming and shaming cyber bullies. It’s rough stuff but could help to stop infection rates. Cyber bullying creates significant collateral damage. It causes depression, even among doctors. It leads victims to kill themselves. Here’s the first in the series.



Noakes guilty of ‘remarkable patience in face of profound silliness’

tim-noakesBy Marika Sboros 

Here’s another doctor who doesn’t think that world-renowned scientist Prof Tim Noakes is the devil incarnate of nutrition science. Psychiatry professor Michael Simpson is withering about the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) case against Noakes.

Simpson describes the HPCSA as “totally unfit for purpose” and “Alice in Wonderland living in Pretoria”. He says that it is acting “bizarrely and improperly” in going after Noakes. “Nobody who has paid intelligent attention to the proceedings and the evidence could find (Noakes) guilty of anything at all,” Simpson says.

If Noakes is guilty of anything, it’s “remarkable patience in the face of profound and consistent silliness”. There’s more.



WHY CAN’T DR GARY FETTKE TALK TO PATIENTS ABOUT SUGAR?

Fettke

Dr Gary Fettke

By Marika Sboros

Australian orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke can no longer advise his diabetic patients on nutrition to prevent limb amputation. In particular, he cannot tell patients not to eat sugar. Why not? Because the country’s medical regulatory body, Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority (AHPRA), says so. AHPRA has gone further. Even if the dietary advice Fettke has given his patients so far ever becomes mainstream, it says he must still keep silent.

Doctors globally have reacted with surprise, shock and outrage in equal measure at AHPRA’s ruling. US professor of cellular biology Richard Feinman calls the action “unbelievable”. Feinman says AHPRA is “more concerned with saving face than saving lives”. Here’s why: 



LOW-CARB BEST FOR TYPE 1 DIABETES? YOU BET, SAYS STAPLETON!

Troy StapletonBy Marika Sboros

Ask Australian physician Dr Troy Stapleton if a low-carbohydrate diet is sustainable for type 1 diabetes and you get a one-word answer: “Yes.” Ask the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) and you get the opposite: “No.”

Who should you believe? All my money’s on Stapleton. He has type 1 diabetes. He has also used low-carb to control his condition for four years now. Stapleton has reduced his insulin intake significantly. He is feeling better than ever.

Stapleton gave a brilliant talk on the topic to Low Carb Down Under, available on video.  Here’s why.



Kosterich: why this man isn’t Australia’s Public Health Enemy!

Dr Joe Kosterich

Dr Joe Kosterich

Australian physician Dr Joe Kosterich is one of a growing and precious breed Down Under: a doctor with an open heart and mind. Like growing numbers of his colleagues, Kosterich is not in the thrall of drug or food companies. He doesn’t think he’s godlike. He doesn’t whip out a prescription pad every time he sees a patient.  

Kosterich is more interested in health than in sickness.  He has done the unthinkable to more conventional orthodox doctors and dietitians in Australia. He has come out in support of a man they like to say is dangerous. There is even a Facebook page devoted to demonising and ridiculing this man. It was described as a hate page in an Australian government Senate Enquiry. It certainly has all the hallmarks of a hate page. 

Doctors and dietitians who really should know better comment on the page in the most unsavoury, unprofessional way. Some use foul language to denigrate fellow health professionals. So who is this man they desperately want you to believe is Australia’s Public Health Enemy?  Read on to find out who the real threat to public health is in that country. – Marika Sboros



Cannabis: high time South Africa legalises the drug?

cannabisBy Marika Sboros

I would never accuse members of South Africa’s Central Drug Authority (CDA) of smoking cannabis – or “dagga” as it is more popularly known. However, the CDA’s views on drug-law reform suggest they are smoking something.

In the June edition of the SAMJ (South African Medical Journal), executive member Dr Dan Stein had interesting things to say. For starters, the CDA now favours “decriminalisation rather than the legalisation of cannabis” for personal use.  It has vigorously opposed that previously. Now it accepts that alcohol causes more harm globally than cannabis causes.

Those can seem like two big steps forward – or not. Cape Town GP Dr Keith Scott would say: “Not”. In a recent issue of the SAMJ, Scott lights up the debate on the drug’s benefits versus risks.



Zinn to parents: Don’t feed cereals to your babies!

Caryn ZinnBy Marika Sboros

Parents should not feed cereals to their infants as first foods, says New Zealand-based dietitian and academic, Dr Caryn Zinn. Zinn (pictured right) said this in her evidence in chief at the trial of University of Cape Town emeritus professor Tim Noakes,

It went to the heart of the matter of the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) case against Noakes in Cape Town on October 26. Here, in Part 2 of a two-part series on her testimony, Zinn looks at what science has to say about foods that parents should give infants: 



ZINN: ‘IT’S UNETHICAL FOR DIETITIANS NOT TO ADVISE LCHF’

Dr Caryn Zinn and advocate Dr Ravin 'Rocky' Ramdass

Dr Caryn Zinn and advocate Dr Ravin ‘Rocky’ Ramdass

By Marika Sboros

Three things embarrass New Zealand-based dietitian and academic Dr Caryn Zinn most these days. At university, she never questioned what lecturers said about diet. In her private practice, she prescribed low-fat diets to adults and children for 15 years.  As a university lecturer, she told students low-carb diets were dangerous.

Zinn said this in her evidence led by Advocate Dr Ravin “Rocky” Ramdass, for University of Cape Town emeritus professor Tim Noakes, at the fourth session of Health Professions Council Of SA (HPCSA) hearing against him on October 26.

In Part 1 of a two-part series on her evidence in chief, she explains why she believes that it’s unethical for dieitians who know about  LCHF (low-carb, high-fat) not to offer it as an option to patients.



TEICHOLZ: HOW LOW-FAT DIETS CAN KILL YOU

Nina Teicholz

Nina Teicholz

By Marika Sboros

At the heart of the trial of scientist Prof Tim Noakes is the diet-heart hypothesis – that saturated fat causes heart disease. US investigative journalist Nina Teicholz focused on the hypothesis in her testimony in Noakes’ favour at the fourth session of the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) hearing in Cape Town on October 25.

Teicholz showed how the creator of that hypothesis ignored evidence showing that sugar and others carbohydrate are far more likely causes of heart disease. Here, in Part 2 of a two-part series on her evidence, she shows why low-fat diets can be lethal. Teicholz also looks at the role of sugar in the rise of chronic diseases. She hows why people should go back to the way they used to eat before epidemics of obesity and diabetes took hold.  



TEICHOLZ EXPLODES FAT BOMBS IN NOAKES TRIAL

Nina Teicholz

US investigative journalist Nina Teicholz with Prof Tim Noakes

By Marika Sboros

Apart from jumping the gun on a “guilty” verdict, the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) has another big problem in its prosecution of scientist Prof Tim Noakes: all the evidence showing that low-fat diets increase the risk of heart disease.

If that were not bad enough, these diets also deprive infants and children of much-needed fats and other vital nutrients during their most formative years.

US investigative journalist Nina Teicholz presented this and other explosive evidence during her testimony as an expert witness for Noakes at the HPCSA’s fourth session of the hearing against him in Cape Town on October 25, 2016. In the first of a two-part series, here’s what she had to say. 



NOAKES ‘GUILTY’ VERDICT DEVOID OF ALL TRUTH: ADV JOAN ADAMS

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-7-49-51-amBy Marika Sboros

The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) released a press release today saying it has found Prof Tim Noakes guilty of unprofessional conduct.

That’s not possible, of course, since the case against him has not concluded. The HPCSA’s  Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) that is hearing the charge against Noakes, hasn’t even heard closing argument from lawyers on both sides yet. And it only intends issuing a ruling after that, on April 21, 2017. PCC chair Pretoria advocate Joan Adams has issued a tightly worded, clearly irate statement saying the HPCSA’s press release is “devoid of all truth”. Noakes’ lawyer Adam Pike went on radio to say much the same thing. Pike has announced that Noakes is considering legal action against the HPCSA.

Here’s what Adams had to say:



NOAKES TRIAL: DIETITIANS TRYING TO COVER THEIR BACKS?

Prof Tim Noakes with advocate Michael Van der Nest in the background.

Prof Tim Noakes with advocate Michael Van der Nest in the background.

By Marika Sboros

Are the dietitians behind the trial of Prof Tim Noakes attempting to distance themselves from the complaint to avoid the consequences that may flow if the ruling goes his way? Lawyers acting for Noakes have introduced documents, which seem to suggest that’s the case.

The last day of the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) latest hearing session against Noakes in Cape Town on October 26, 2016, ended on a dramatic note. Before closing his case, Johannesburg advocate Michael Van der Nest SC introduced a letter as evidence regarding the position of dietitian Claire Julsing Strydom and the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) in the charge against him.

HPCSA’s lawyers threw up their hands and objected vociferously but to no avail. They failed in their attempts to block the letter from being entered into evidence. Here’s what went down:



NOAKES TRIAL: ‘ANGEL’ HARCOMBE AIMS AT ITS HEART

Prof Tim Noakes with Dr Zoe Harcombe

Prof Tim Noakes with Dr Zoe Harcombe

By Marika Sboros

If South African scientist Prof Tim Noakes were enough to raise cardiologists’ blood pressure into the danger zone, British obesity researcher Dr Zoë Harcombe’s could fell them with a heart attack.

Noakes once memorably called statins “the single most ineffective drug ever invented”.  In her evidence at the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) hearing in Cape Town, Harcombe called them “one of the biggest crimes against humanity that the pharmaceutical industry has unleashed”.

She also said health professionals have a duty to tell the public that advice the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) gives is biased in favour of industry. Here’s why:



MISTAKE OR MISCHIEF: SCIENTISTS IN PLOT TO NAIL NOAKES?

Tim NoakesBy Marika Sboros

Mistake or mischief? Did top scientists at Stellenbosch and Cape Town universities honestly make so many mistakes in a major study? Did they really not know the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) would use it to charge scientist Prof Tim Noakes? Or was there something a little more contrived behind their research?

British obesity researcher Dr Zoë Harcombe asked those questions in her evidence-in-chief on day six of the HPCSA’s hearing against Noakes in Cape Town today. Harcombe is one of three expert witnesses for Noakes who have flown in from the UK, US and New Zealand.

The public has dubbed them “Tim’s Angels”. There was nothing angelic about Harcombe’s takedown of the study known as the “Naudé  Review”. Here’s what Harcombe had to say about it: