Tag: Health Professions Council of SA

DID SA, UK SCIENTISTS COMMIT FRAUD TO SILENCE NOAKES?

By Marika Sboros

Did South African scientists really commit scientific fraud to silence Prof Tim Noakes? The case against them is building.

The US peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE is now investigating the Naudé Review, which it published in July 2014. The Health Professions Council of SA used it as key evidence to charge Noakes with unprofessional conduct.

The HPCSA found Noakes not guilty on all points of the charge on April 21, 2017. Thereafter, Noakes’s instructing attorney, Adam Pike, of Pike Law, wrote to PLoS ONE. Senior editor Dr Renee Hoch replied to say that the journal is “conducting a full reassessment” of the review.

All the universities involved have refused to investigate or “reassess” their academics’ role in it. UCT Faculty of Health Sciences deputy dean of research Prof Karen Sliwa said that only one out of the six researchers is from UCT. Four are from Stellenbosch University, one from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Thus, it would “seem preferable” for Noakes to complain to Stellenbosch.

Noakes says that’s like the Anglican Church saying it won’t investigate paedophilia claims against its priests because the Catholic Church has more claims against its priests.



Why ADSA bullies desperately seeking to nail Noakes?

By Marika Sboros

There is so much that is so bizarre about dietitians trying to bully world-famous scientist Prof Tim Noakes into silence that I hardly know where to start. Even more bizarre is the Health Professions Council of SA helping dietitians to do that.

The HPCSA tells me it is pursuing its appeal against the comprehensive not guilty verdict for him on April 21, 2017, by its own Professional Conduct Committee. It has yet to come up with grounds except to say that its legal team has identified “significant errors and misdirections in the application of the law and the evaluation of the evidence” by the majority of the committee. Committee chair Pretoria advocate Joan Adams might vigorously dispute that view.

I am co-authoring a book with Noakes on the HPCSA’s trial of Noakes.  Penguin Random House will publish it in November 2017.  In it, we look at the Association for Dietetics in SA’s ongoing war with him. We also look at why ADSA’s former president Claire Julsing Strydom and current president, Cape Town dietitian and Woolworths consultant Maryke Gallagher are still so desperate to nail him.

And we look at a question that has puzzled me throughout. How did Strydom and Gallagher get the HPCSA to do their bidding quite so easily in this strange scientific saga? I am close to the answer.



NOAKES ‘ENERGISED, WRATHFUL’ AS HPCSA GOES AFTER HIM AGAIN

By Marika Sboros

So, the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) has appealed the not guilty verdict for Prof Tim Noakes. His lawyers are furious and up for the fight ahead. Noakes is “strangely elated”. He says that it will “allow the exposure of much about which the South African public would otherwise have remained ignorant”.

Of course, an appeal was always on the cards. The HPCSA’s legal team has the right of appeal. However, even die-hard opponents of Noakes see it as a vindictive, stupid move. It may come back to haunt the HPCSA and the lone, “horrified” dietitian who started the case against Noakes. And her organisation, the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA). And the many other dietitians, doctors and assorted academics involved in his prosecution.

His lawyers call the case against him a persecution. The appeal lends more credence to that. It also feeds speculation of vested interests behind the HPCSA’s failed bid to silence him on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF). The case has lasted more than three years and cost many millions of rands. If the HPCSA pursues its path, as looks likely, it could go on for years and cost millions more. Noakes’  lawyers see it as “more waste of everyone’s time and money”.

All for a single tweet in which Noakes said that good first foods for infants are LCHF.



ADSA FACES GROWING BACKLASH FOR ‘RECORD 17 LIES’ ABOUT NOAKES

By Marika Sboros

The Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) is facing a global backlash for its role in the trial of scientist Prof Tim Noakes. The backlash has grown faster in the wake of an ambiguous statement that ADSA released after the comprehensive verdict of not guilty for Noakes on a charge of unprofessional conduct for his views on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) foods.

American Ben Fury is one of many critics who has reacted with undisguised anger at ADSA’s statement. Along the way, he has identified “17 lies” that ADSA has told about its case against Noakes.

With so many lies in a single statement, Fury says that ADSA has set “a new record for being corporate stooges”.  He doesn’t stop there in a damning attack on ADSA’s executive, under current president Maryke Gallagher. He calls them “quislings”. Quisling is the word for a traitor, especially one who “collaborates with an enemy occupying force for personal gain”. It comes from the name of Norway’s pro-Nazi leader Vidkun Quisling during World War 2.



LIFE FOR ADSA AFTER NOAKES NOT GUILTY VERDICT?

ADSA president Maryke Gallagher and ‘crisis manager’ Neeran Naidoo

By Marika Sboros

If defeat is best viewed as a life lesson, the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) doesn’t seem to want to learn anything from it. ADSA lost its bid to silence Prof Tim Noakes on the science for low-carb, high-fat (LCHF). However, it is sticking to its dietary guns and South Africa’s industry-led nutrition guidelines.

ADSA President Maryke Gallagher has made it clear that ADSA will continue to dish out the low-fat, high-carb dietary advice it has always dispensed, and that the guidelines recommend.

That’s despite the Health Professions Council of SA’s  (HPCSA) comprehensive vindication of Noakes and, ultimately, the science for LCHF. The HPCSA found Noakes not guilty on 10 points of the charge of unprofessional conduct against him.

ADSA’s reputation and credibility are in free fall after its former president, Claire Julsing Strydom, set off the HPCSA hearing against Noakes. She complained about a single tweet Noakes made in February 2014. In it, he said that food first foods for infants are LCHF. by complaining about his tweet.

Critics say that ADSA’s involvement in the HPCSA’s protracted prosecution of Noakes simply his scientific views has drained it of life and turned it into a dietary dinosaur. It’s probably no surprise that ADSA has employed the services of a crisis manager, Hewers Communications CEO Neeran Naidoo, for some judicious reputation rehabilitation. ADSA released a public statement straight after the HPCSA’s not guilty verdict on April 21, 2017. Naidoo has asked Foodmed.net to run the statement in full. We have agreed. (Scroll down to see it below.)



NOAKES VERDICT: HE WON THE BATTLE BUT THE WAR GOES ON

By Marika Sboros

The ashes have settled on the unequivocal not guilty verdict for Prof Tim Noakes but what’s next? Will there be a scientific phoenix rising? Any prospect of even a breath of fresh evidential air flowing through stale halls of “conventional” dietary advice?

Not if the dietitians involved in the case against him have anything to do with it.

Immediately after the verdict on April 21, 2017, Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) president Maryke Gallagher was on TV. She made it clear that ADSA would not change the “conventional” (low-fat, high-carb) dietary advice it dishes out. ADSA also issued a general, highly ambiguous statement to that effect the same day.

Two days later, the Nutrition Society of SA was equally emphatic. The verdict has “absolutely no bearing or impact on the current or future status of nutrition or the dietary guidelines in South Africa”, it said.

Thus, the dietitians and their backers have sent a clear message to Noakes. He has won the battle but the war against him and low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) science goes on. However, Noakes has made it clear he is more than ready for scientific battle. In the second in a series of reviews of the verdict, here are some views on the implications of his resounding vindication.



NOAKES NOT GUILTY! NO HARM PROVEN, NO LAWS BROKEN

By Marika Sboros
Prof Tim Noakes is not guilty of unprofessional conduct. When Pretoria advocate Joan Adams announced the verdict yesterday, the hearing erupted into applause and cheers.

Adams said that the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) had not proved any of its case on a balance of probabilities. It had not proven any harm from his tweet or that he had breached any norms or standards of the medical profession.

Adams was Chair of the HPCSA’s Professional Conduct Committee, effectively the “judge” in this case. She said that her five-member committee had to reach a majority, not unanimous, decision. The Committee had ruled four to one in Noakes’ favour.

The ruling could not have gone more in Noakes’ favour if he had scripted it himself.



NOAKES TRIAL: WHO REALLY DISHES UP DANGEROUS ADVICE?

By Marika Sboros

Prof Tim Noakes gave scientifically correct information in his tweet, his lawyers have argued. His statement to wean babies onto LCHF (low-carb, high-fat) is correct. Thus it is not even “unconventional”. It is also not dangerous or life-threatening, as the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) claims.

Self-evidently, the HPCSA cannot prosecute Noakes successfully for a scientifically correct statement.

HPCSA lawyers are sticking to their prosecutorial guns. They claim that Noakes gave “unsolicited clinical advice” on a social network. They also claim that he gave the advice to everyone who saw it on Twitter. The advice is unconventional, dangerous and life-threatening, they say. And so is Noakes.

Noakes’ lawyers say that the HPCSA failed to prove all fundamentals of its case against Noakes. Instead of acknowledging failure, the HPCSA simply shifted the goal posts of the charge. It demonstrated a “win-at-all-costs” agenda against Noakes from the outset.

So, what’s really going down here?  In the final of a 2-Part review, Foodmed.net looks at the case so far. We also look at what the verdict will say about who really is dangerous.



NOAKES TRIAL: DID DISGRUNTLED DIETITIANS SET HIM UP?

By Marika Sboros

 

Prof Tim Noakes had no patient on Twitter and his tweet caused no harm to anyone. So, what did two days of heated legal argument prove in the case against him?

It clearly is an “unprecedented prosecution” of a distinguished scientist, as Noakes’ legal team describes it. Even counsel for the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) acknowledged Noakes as “an extraordinary South African”.

But has the HPCSA really done the unthinkable? Has it prosecuted – and persecuted – one of its most eminent health professionals on the whim of another? Certainly, few had heard of dietitian Claire Julsing Strydom before this case.

But is Strydom a malcontent, a disgruntled dietitian who went after Noakes because he disagreed with her? If not, why did the HPCSA take up her complaint that many consider frivolous? And why did it argue forcefully not just in Strydom’s corner but for all dietitians?

Why does the HPCSA believe that Noakes is wrong and Strydom is right? And that she has the right to freedom of expression but he does not?

Just as importantly, why has the HPCSA made a simple hearing over a single tweet into a full-blown trial? After all, its hearings are not supposed to be adversarial. Here’s Part 1 of a review of the case so far and what to expect next. In Part 2, we look at the verdict on who really dishes up dangerous advice. 



NOAKES: ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM PROVES HE’S INNOCENT?

By Marika Sboros

Prof Tim Noakes is guilty of unprofessional conduct on “a balance of probability”, advocate Ajay Bhoopchand argued yesterday. He also accused Noakes of using the Health Professions Council of SA’s (HPCSA) hearing to “settle personal scores”.

Johannesburg senior counsel Michael Van der Nest argued that Noakes is not guilty of unprofessional conduct.  The only ones using the hearing to settle scores are dietitians opposed to Noakes, he said.

The dietitian who lodged the complaint against Noakes did so because he wouldn’t agree with her on diet, Van der Nest said. And when she and her colleagues couldn’t persuade him to agree with her, she decided, on a whim, to ask the HPCSA to prosecute him.

The tweet regarding LCHF for infants presented a perfect pretext for a complaint against Noakes.

Somehow, the dietitian “miraculously” succeeded in getting the HPCSA to do her bidding, Van der Nest said. Thus, the case against Noakes has become an “unprecedented prosecution” of a scientist for his views on nutrition.



NOAKES AND THE WOMAN WHO HOLDS THE KEY TO HIS FATE

By Marika Sboros

What’s really behind the prosecution of scientist Prof Tim Noakes? Is it just a single tweet to a breastfeeding mother, which even she said she didn’t take seriously? Was one dietitian really so “horrified” that she reported Noakes – even though she dishes out the same information?

What of claims of a doctor-patient relationship between Noakes and the stranger on Twitter? The same dietitian admitted that there wasn’t one.

Or is it just because Noakes says things like “cardiology is an evidence-free zone”? (It often is, these days.) Or that he has exposed endocrinologists who preach that diabetes is irreversible? And that he exposes the malevolent influence on nutrition advice of food and drug industries and a shadowy international Coca-Cola proxy organisation? For proof, look to crack US investigative journalist Russ Greene.

What of the Medical Research Council (MRC) investigation into  staff member Dr Ali Dhansay? Dhansay was a key witness against Noakes.  Dhansay is a former president of the Coca-Cola proxy in South Africa. Will the MRC investigation reveal foul play? The Health Professions Council of SA  (HPCSA) has turned its hearing into a full-blown trial against Noakes resumes on April 4. Here’s a preview and a look at who holds the key to Noakes’ fate.



Naudé Review: no mistakes, mischief against Noakes? Fat chance!

Prof Tim Noakes. Picture: The Noakes Foundation

By Marika Sboros

“We made no mistakes and no mischief in our study debunking Banting and Prof Tim Noakes,” say South African scientists. They don’t use those exact words. However, that’s the gist of their letter, which the SAMJ has just published. It relates to the Naudé Review in PLoS One in June/July 2014 by Stellenbosch and Cape Town University researchers.

Noakes and British obesity researcher Dr Zoë Harcombe published their analysis of it in the SAMJ in December 2016. They found major errors. Therefore, they concluded, the review findings are “not robust”. That’s scientific speak for wrong. Noakes and Harcombe don’t use the words “scientific fraud” – yet. Instead, they diplomatically ask: “Mistake or mischief?” However, if the errors were not honest mistakes, then mischief is a euphemism. So, are these academics giving “alternative facts” to try to silence Noakes? Why should you (or anyone) believe the Naudé authors when they say there was no monkey business against Noakes? Because they say so?



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: 



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 a 2014 study by University of Cape Town (UCT) and Stellenbosch University (SU) scientists. It shows that the scientists made many material errors that undermine their conclusions. It raises the question: mistake or mischief? Read on and make up your own mind.



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.



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: ‘UNETHICAL FOR DIETITIANS NOT TO OFFER 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.



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.

Committee Chair, Pretoria advocate Joan Adams, has issued a tightly worded, clearly irate statement. She said that the HPCSA’s press release is “devoid of all truth”. Noakes’ lawyer Adam Pike said much the same thing on radio.  Pike also 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:



TEICHOLZ: HOW FOOD INDUSTRY INFLUENCES DIETARY ADVICE

Nina Teicholz

In the final of a three-part series on the evidence US investigative journalist Nina Teicholz gave at the trial of scientist Tim Noakes, she covers the vexed world of nutrition science politics. Teicholz told the hearing that this helped to explain how and why people in positions of power and authority were able to ignore all the evidence that did not fit their favoured hypothesis.

“We know that the food industry is large and powerful and plays a role in our nutrition policy,” Teicholz said. She took 10 years of research and interviewed hundreds of executives for her groundbreaking book, The Big Fat Surprise.

Teicholz told how she came to realise just how profoundly the food industry has influenced and continues to influence science. Here’s more of what she had to say: