Tag: HPCSA

ACADEMIC MOBBING AT UCT: SHOCKING, NEVERENDING STORY?

By Marika Sboros

Academic bullying or mobbing as it has become known is an ugly phenomenon. It’s a scourge, endemic in even the best universities in countries across the globe.

South Africa is no exception, as the extent of academic mobbing at the University of Cape Town (UCT) reveals.

A series of articles in the Cape Doctor magazine covers two egregious examples of academic mobbing at UCT. (Scroll down for a link to the online version.)

In a scorching editorial, editor Dr John Steer hits out at UCT for what many see as an entrenched culture of mobbing.



Noakes celebrates anniversary: victory over diet mobsters

Prof Tim Noakes receives a  standing ovation in London in 2018, with Dr Aseem Malhotra (centre) and Dr Peter Brukner (right)

By Marika Sboros

Prof Tim Noakes celebrated a remarkable anniversary recently. It was June 8, 2018, a year since he became a free man, legally speaking.

On that day, the legal sword of Damocles that the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) had dangled over his head for more than four years, disappeared.

Given its behaviour so far, the HPCSA did what many thought it wouldn’t do on that day. It dismissed its prosecution lawyers’ appeal against its comprehensive not-guilty verdict for Noakes in April 2017.

The HPCSA’s own appeal committee confirmed the not-guilty ruling in its entirety. It found Noakes not guilty on all 10 aspects of a charge of unprofessional conduct. Click here to read a report and the full decision. That decision reverberates to this day through medical, dietetic and scientific fraternities globally.

Noakes and I have included a chapter on the appeal in our new book, Real Food On Trial. The subtitle says it all: How the diet dictators tried to destroy a top scientist (Columbus, 2019). It’s an update of Lore of Nutrition, Challenging Conventional Dietary Beliefs (Penguin 2017).



DID WITS ETHICS CHIEF LOSE HER WAY JUST TO NAIL NOAKES?

Prof Amaboo ‘Ames’ Dhai

By Marika Sboros

Here’s an intriguing ethical and moral dilemma in the latest issue of the SAMJ (South African Medical Journal).

It’s in an article by University of the Witwatersrand bioethics head Prof Amaboo “Ames” Dhai. The title: The Life Esidimeni tragedy: Moral pathology and an ethical crisis.

In it, Dhai speaks of “core values of compassion, competence and autonomy”. Together with respect for fundamental human rights, these are “the foundation of ethical practice in healthcare”, she writes.

But why is that an ethical, moral dilemma and for whom? Well, for starters, for Dhai herself.



NOAKES FREE AT LAST, HPCSA LICKS ITS WOUNDS

By Marika Sboros

South African scientist Prof Tim Noakes is a free man. Noakes has won his final battle with the Health Professions Council of South Africa on a charge of professional misconduct for a single tweet.

The HPCSA’s committee has dismissed an appeal against the comprehensive not-guilty verdict for Noakes in April 2017. (Click here to read the full decision.)

The unanimous ruling came down late on Friday, June 8, 2018. It is as complete an exoneration as Noakes could have hoped for.



TIM NOAKES REALLY ‘ANTI-VAXX’? FAT CHANCE! PART 1

Prof Tim Noakes. Picture: The Noakes Foundation

By Marika Sboros

When some doctors run out of science or nasty things to say about Prof Tim Noakes, they resort to a canard:

They claim that Noakes is “anti-vax”. Or “anti-vaxx” as it more commonly appears.

Anti-vaxx is a loaded, pejorative term. It should be used for anyone who, as the name suggests, opposes vaccinations for whatever reason.

Instead, critics use it as an attack term to silence anyone who even mentions the word vaccines, unless in unqualified, glowing terms. It’s pretty serious stuff for a doctor to be accused of being anti-vaxx.



NOAKES: WILL ACADEMIC ‘MOBSTERS’ SILENCE HIM?

By Marika Sboros

How did a dietitian with a business to protect get the might of a South African state body to prosecute world-renowned scientist Prof Tim Noakes? That question is hanging in the ether.

It also raises questions around the role of academic “mobsters” in a case that legal experts say defies logic, scientific evidence and common sense.

The Health Profession’s Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has appealed its committee’s comprehensive not-guilty verdict for Noakes. The appeal concluded in Pretoria on February 23, 2018. Appeal Committee chair, advocate Justice Mogotsi, will rule before the end of March.



NOAKES: MEDICAL, SCIENTIFIC WORLD WATCHES AS HPCSA DECIDES HIS FATE

By Marika Sboros

South African scientist Prof Tim Noakes could know by the end of March if his regulatory body will fail in its last-ditch attempt to find him guilty.

And this time round, global medical and scientific communities are watching.

A group of independent doctors in the US launched a petition on February 19. The US-based Nutrition Coalition has supported it. The petition calls on the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to stop prosecuting Noakes. Before a week was up, more than 31,000 of the world’s leading doctors, scientists, dietitians and others had signed.

One signatory is Harvard physician and nutrition professor Walter Willett. Willett is no fan of low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets. However, Willet signals his support for the right of scientists right to express opinions that differ from his.

The HPCSA has appealed its Professional Conduct Committee’s comprehensive not-guilty verdict for Noakes in April 2017. The charge was unprofessional conduct for a single tweet in 2014. In it, he said that good first foods for infant weaning are LCHF.

Noakes’s lawyers have filed a cross-appeal going for costs. Their grounds are that the HPCSA has acted in bad faith throughout. They say that the HPCSA is a statutory body and therefore the law offers it no protection against “bad behaviour”.

The appeal was held in Pretoria from February 21 to 23 before a committee that the HPCSA appointed. The Committee Chair, advocate Justice Mogotsi, reserved his ruling till “some time before the end of March”.



KENDRICK: HPCSA VENDETTA AGAINST NOAKES ‘DANGER TO US ALL’

Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick isn’t a conspiracy theorist. Especially not when it comes to the trial of scientist Prof Tim Noakes. It would be funny were it not so deadly serious, Kendrick says. But it really isn’t funny at all. 

Kendrick says that the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is not involved in a conspiracy against Noakes. The HPCSA is pursuing a vendetta against him for daring to promote low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diets.

The HPCSA is appealing its own committee’s comprehensive not guilty verdict for Noakes in April 2017 on a charge of unprofessional conduct. The appeal begins in Pretoria today and runs until Friday.  



NOAKES: TOP DOCTORS GLOBALLY CALL ON HPCSA TO STOP PROSECUTING HIM!

By Marika Sboros

Top doctors and scientists in the US, Canada and Australia have signed an open letter to the Health Professions Council of South Africa. They want the HPCSA to stop prosecuting scientist Prof Tim Noakes for allegedly tweeting “unconventional advice” that was not evidence-based. They provide evidence to show that his tweet was evidence-based and thus not unconventional.

Among the signatories is Australian cricket team physician Dr Peter Brukner. Brukner is a professor of sports science at La Trobe University.

Others include leading US, Canadian and Australian endocrinologists, obesity specialists, obstetricians and gynaecologists, oncologists, orthopaedic surgeons, anatomical pathologists, nephrologists, internal medicine specialists, anaesthetists, psychiatrists and researchers.

They have disseminated the letter as a petition. At last count there were more than 9000 signatures. (Editor’s note: the number is now above 11,000.) Many of those are doctors, other health professionals and scientists.

The HPCSA is appealing its own committee’s comprehensive not guilty verdict for Noakes. That was in April 2017 on a charge of unprofessional conduct. The appeal takes place at its Pretoria offices from February 21 to 23, 2018.

The HPCSA has objected to a request by Noakes’s lawyers to introduce new evidence. It shows that dietitians from the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) had inside help from the HPCSA to set him up.

In a related move, South African paediatric surgeon Prof Alastair Millar has called the HPCSA’s case against Noakes ” madness and wasteful”.

“It makes one ashamed to be listed on the HPCSA register as a medical practitioner.”



NOAKES: HPCSA BACK ON WARPATH, BLOCKS EVIDENCE DIETITIANS SET HIM UP!

By Marika Sboros

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is back on the warpath against Prof Tim Noakes. It is appealing its own committee’s comprehensive not guilty verdict for Noakes in April 2017 on a charge of unprofessional conduct.

It will hold the appeal at its Pretoria offices from February 21 to 23, 2018.

The HPCSA claims that its Professional Conduct Committee “erred and misdirected themselves on the law and facts”.

It has objected to a request by Noakes’s lawyers to introduce incriminating new evidence. The evidence supports extensive evidence already on record suggesting that dietitians from the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) really did set him up. And they had help from inside the HPCSA.

The new evidence shows up in a PAIA (Protection of Access to Information Act) request. Instructing attorney, Adam Pike, of Pike Law, made the request to ADSA in June 2017.

Noakes’s legal team has filed a cross-appeal going for costs. They say that the HPCSA went after Noakes illegally. It had no sustainable case from the outset.



NOAKES: VIRTA HEALTH STUDY IS GOLD FOR DIABETICS

Picture:  NOAKES FOUNDATION

By Marika Sboros

Prof Tim Noakes has welcomed robust new evidence showing that simple dietary change really can reverse type 2 diabetes.

In other words, evidence showing that diabetes doesn’t have to be chronic, progressive and degenerative. And that diabetics don’t have to face an increased risk of heart attack, blindness, limb loss and declining mental function.

Physicians at the Virta Health company in the US have shown just that in a peer-reviewed study just published in Diabetes Review. Led by Virta medical director Dr Sarah Hallberg, it is a one-year trial. It shows that a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet puts 61% of patients with type 2 diabetes into remission.

That’s big. Yet many experts have quickly attacked the study. Noakes has written a letter to a Cape newspaper (scroll down to read it below), explaining why the study really is a watershed. He looks at why it gives diabetics and their families renewed hope.

And why, in essence, type 2 diabetes is “a condition of choice”.



DR EVELYNE BOURDUA-ROY: IS SHE CANADA’S TIM NOAKES?

By Marika Sboros

Quebec family physician Dr Èvelyne Bourdua-Roy looks set to become “Canada’s Tim Noakes”. Bourdua-Roy’s regulatory body, the Quebec College of Physicians, is investigating her for comments on diet and nutrition she made on a radio talk-show.

Nutritionists who may be members of Dietitians of Canada (DoC) lodged complaints with the College, claiming that Bourdua-Roy made  “inappropriate declarations”.

They also claim that she gave “medical opinions” that could “mislead the public on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF)/ketogenic diets”. (Ketogenic diets are very low-carb, very high-fat but low-to-moderate protein).

The parallels with Bourdua-Roy and  Prof Tim Noakes are striking even as there are differences. 



NOAKES: ‘HPCSA WILL LOSE NEW WAR AGAINST ME!’

By Marika Sboros

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is back on the warpath against Prof Tim Noakes. It has also thrown down legal gauntlets to Pretoria advocate Joan Adams.

Adams chaired the HPCSA’s Professional Conduct Committee that heard the charge of unprofessional conduct. She delivered the comprehensive, 60-page, four-to-one not-guilty verdict in Cape Town on April 21, 2017. The HPCSA announced its decision to appeal in early May but only gave grounds in August.

The HPCSA effectively claims that the committee, including three medical doctors, didn’t know what they were doing. They “fundamentally misconstrued their role in evaluating the evidence”. And they “erred and misdirected themselves on the law and the facts”. The HPCSA believe there’s a “reasonable chance” their Appeal Committee will overturn the entire verdict. They don’t just want a guilty ruling. They want a whole new “rehearing”.

Noakes calls that “malicious”. He says that the HPCSA face “five rather large roadblocks in its case against him”. Those include compelling new evidence of collusion between a dietitian on the HPCSA and the dietitians who reported him.



Lifestyle medicine: front in Big Religion’s war on red meat?

By Marika Sboros

Lifestyle medicine sounds benign enough. It may be a new front that Big Religion has opened in its war on red meat, says Dr Gary Fettke.

Fettke is an Australian orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in evidence-based nutrition. He spoke at the CrossFit health summit in Madison, Wisconsin on August 2, 2017.

His talk was on nutrition’s central role in everything. In other words, in health, politics, education, economics, environment and beliefs.

In the first of a two-part series, Fettke raised the taboo topic of religion and nutrition science. His focus was the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and its medical evangelism. In Part 2 here, Fettke looks at “unique” partnerships Adventists use to spread a belief-based anti-meat agenda.

The spectrum of partners is disparate. It veers from relationships with extreme animal rights groups to the World Health Organisation (WHO). It also now includes “lifestyle medicine”.



DID SA, UK SCIENTISTS DO SOMETHING DODGY TO NAIL NOAKES?

By Marika Sboros

Did South African scientists really do something scientifically dodgy just to silence Prof Tim Noakes? The case against them could be 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, say legal analysts, 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.