Tag: HPCSA

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. The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) could charge such a doctor with unprofessional conduct. It could strip that person of the licence needed to practise medicine.

Thus, say legal experts, and depending on the context, calling a doctor anti-vaxx can be highly defamatory. Or slanderous, if anyone says it publicly as some doctors do. Of course, it’s really only defamatory if the claim is untrue or malicious. That is, if there is a deliberate intention to denigrate and damage the doctor’s standing and reputation.

Yet Noakes has made it clear that he is not anti-vaxx. He has stated publicly that vaccination is one of modern medicine’s greatest life-saving achievements. He had vaccinations, as his children and grandchildren have had.

Despite that, some doctors and academics continue to claim otherwise. Many, if not most, are from Noakes’s alma mater, the University of Cape Town.

Leading the latest charge these days is Cape Town paediatrician and UCT graduate Alastair McAlpine, a long-time troll of Noakes on Twitter. McAlpine regularly attacks Noakes’s medical and scientific credibility and knowledge in inflammatory, defamatory terms.

He also recently acquired a new vehicle from which to launch attacks on Noakes: the Medical Brief website. Of six columns he has written since January, McAlpine devotes four to attacking Noakes. (One is an attack on me but includes  Noakes.)

His latest column repeats his claim that Noakes is “anti-vaxx”. (Click here for Noakes’s full response.)



NOAKES: WILL ACADEMIC ‘MOBSTERS’ FINALLY 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.

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.

The HPCSA charged Noakes with unprofessional conduct for a single tweet on February 4, 2014. In it, he said that good first foods for infants are LCHF (low-carb, high-fat). Johannesburg dietitian Claire Julsing Strydom reported Noakes to the HPCSA. She claimed that the tweet claiming was potentially “life-threatening”.

The answer to how Strydom persuaded the HPCSA to go after Noakes on that basis is easy to find. Why she succeeded in doing so is more complex – but not impossible to work out. The answer lies partly in voluminous, unanswered evidence that the Appeal Committee must review. It shows that Strydom had help from academics at top South African universities: Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the Witwatersrand. She also had help from academics at a minor institution, North-West (formerly Potchefstroom) University.

The evidence also suggests, as Noakes’s lawyers successfully argued in closing, that Strydom was just a vexatious, “disgruntled” dietitian. They also argued that the HPCSA had no sustainable case against him from the start.

But the answer also lies in evidence the Appeal Committee cannot review because Noakes’s instructing attorney, Adam Pike, only uncovered it after the not-guilty verdict. And increasingly, it lies in evidence of academic “mobsters” behind Strydom.



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

By Marika Sboros

South African scientist Prof Tim Noakes will know within 30 days if his regulatory body will fail in a last-ditch attempt to find him guilty. He will also know if it will have to pay dearly for doing so.

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 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 IS 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 isn’t funny at all. He says it’s clear that the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is pursuing a vendetta against Noakes. And that’s for daring to promote a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (LCHF).

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.  

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) set Noakes up from the start. And that it was an inside job –  from within the HPCSA.  The Appeal Committee – that the HPCSA sets up – will have to rule on that first.

In his latest blog, Kendrick compares Noakes’s case to Australian orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke and science investigative journalist Dr Maryanna Demasi. Both regularly challenge dogma on nutrition.

Kendrick says doctors and others globally must keep an eye on Noakes’s case. If not, he fears that the HPCSA will “shred” him on made-up charges, held in virtual secrecy. After that, the “industry-sponsored PR machine will get to work” and the HPCSA will spread more lies about Noakes. That will affect us all.

Kendrick quotes Winston Churchill: a lie is halfway round the world before the truth has a chance to get its boots on. Here’s what he says. – MARIKA SBOROS



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: WHY VIRTA HEALTH STUDY IS GOLD FOR DIABETICS

Picture:  NOAKES FOUNDATION

By Marika Sboros

You’d think all doctors and dietitians would join Prof Tim Noakes and many others in welcoming robust new evidence showing that a 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 showing that a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet puts 61% of patients with type 2 diabetes into remission.

That’s big. It shows that patients have a choice: to accept or not to accept conventional wisdom on diabetes. Yet many have been quick to attack the research and undermine its conclusions. 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 claim 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.



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.