Review: Kevin Trudeau’s Natural Cures, Part 1

As many who are critics and fans alike are aware, Kevin Trudeau, scam artist extraordinaire and mongrel of multi-level marketing, has a new book out, which is titled, More Natural Cures Revealed: Previously Censored Brand Name Products That Cure Disease. This one is a follow-up to his previous work of pulp fiction, Natural Cures "They" Don’t Want You to Know About.

I wrote a critical review of Trudeau’s infomercial in which he provided some very bogus information (known by critical thinkers as "lies"), which you can find at this link.

I thought it prudent to review his first book, Natural Cures, especially since in his latest work of admitted fiction, Trudeau instructs his readers to read it if they haven’t already. I spent the better part of two or three afternoons in my local Barnes & Noble, sucking down coffee (of course) and making notes from their copy of Trudeau’s nonsense. I refused to actually pay for it.

The following is my brief review on Natural Cures "They" Don’t Want You to Know About.

Trudeau structures his book in 15 chapters and three appendices:

  1. I should be dead now
  2. What’s wrong with health care in America?
  3. It’s all about money
  4. Who are "they"?
  5. Why are we sick?
  6. How to never get sick again
  7. Why people are fat
  8. How to lose weight effortlessly and keep it off forever
  9. How to read food labels
  10. Not convinced?
  11. Frequently asked questions
  12. Still not convinced?
  13. "Natural" cures for specific diseases
  14. Naturlcures.com
  15. The Solution

Appendix A. Free Bonus Materials: Newsletter articles
Appendix B. No-Hunger Bread: a true FDA horror story
Appendix C. How to find a health care practitioner

 

As is the case with all con-artists that wish to avoid legal problems due to their bogus "self-help" books, Trudeau begins with a disclaimer:

Before you read this book you had better check with your medical doctor, your friends, your politicians, your priest, your rabbi, your psychic, and anyone you feel is smarter than you, and see if you can get permission to read what I have to say.

Trudeau sets his tone of the book right from the beginning. He seeks to appeal to the natural human tendency to root for the underdog, but I hope, as I construct this criticism of his work, that it will be revealed that Trudeau is anything but an underdog. He is a con-artist. A fraud. Indeed, his "books" are frauds perpetrated on the real underdogs: the consumers that Trudeau pretends to be and advocate for. Trudeau is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing, which seeks to fleece the pocketbooks of people with a genuine need to find solutions in healthcare.

And so the tone of the book is begun, the affronted underdog, oppressed by "the establishment" who is restricting his rights to free speech. He then goes on to impart that everything in the book is his "opinion" and anything done by the reader without medical supervision is done at their own risk. The book, he maintains, is for "educational purposes only" and only a medical doctor can prescribe medications, punctuated by Trudeau’s commentary of "how sad!"

The "educational purpose" of Natural Cures would seem to be on how a con-artist is able to appeal to hopes and fears of his mark in order to get them to spend $30 on a book and potentially hundreds more on junk newsletters and a subscription website.

Kevin Trudeau Should be Dead.

Or at least that’s what the title of his first chapter would indicate. In it, Trudeau begins with a personal anecdote of being diagnosed with a heart problem: mitral valve prolapse (MVP). This heart condition, which Trudeau calls a "severe" condition, took days to get diagnosed by "three of the top heart specialists in America" who used "the most advanced medical diagnostic devices" was discovered by a single new age nutbar (Dr. Yiwen Tang of Century Center in Reno, NV) with a magical meridian energy device (the "Dermatron ") was able to find his MVP in just a few seconds! Moreover, it was a "natural, inexpensive, quick and painless" treatment that cured him. A "treatment" so secret and "forbidden" in America, that it is illegal!. But Trudeau claims that just two months after his "treatment," further diagnosis by doctors (real ones, apparently) revealed no heart problem.

Folks, this is how the book begins, and it continues in exactly the same bullshit fashion throughout. Let me explain:

Mitral valve prolapse is a common heart condition which affects up to 25% of the population. Those that have MVP typically have a minor problem with their mitral valve that allows small amounts of blood to leak back in the heart when the valve doesn’t properly close. Even the most novice of nurses trained to listen for it can hear the tell-tale "clicking" that accompanies the normal heartbeat and certainly any medical doctor could diagnose the condition in only a few seconds with a simple stethoscope (simple but definitely the only "advanced diagnostic device" needed!). You see, mitral valve prolapse is also known by its more common name: heart murmur; a late-systolic murmur to be exact.

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CORRECTION: I’ll leave the incorrect information in the paragraph above intact. Wondering if I was right about the ease with which MVP is detectable (I based my assumption on a conversation I recall with a nurse I once worked with a few years ago), I asked a pediatrician to fact check for me. That pediatrician is Clark Bartram over at Unintelligent Design, and I owe him a big thank you for setting me straight. I should have asked him sooner!

As it turns out, MVP is bit more complicated than most heart murmurs: “There are a number of cardiac issues that can lead to a murmur and not all murmurs are pathologic. Also the click is not always present, nor is a murmur. It is often an incidental finding with no significance (Clark Bartram).” He also noted that, while even skilled nurses and doctors might not be able to diagnose MVP with a stethoscope, as I so wrongly stated, the condition is easily detected by echocardiogram, which still makes Trudeau’s anecdote of taking weeks to be discovered through the most advanced diagnosti
c equipment a bit of balderdash.

Also provided was a new source of information, eMedicine, which notes: “In the US: MVP can be identified by echocardiography in 3-4% of the general population, and it is identified in 7% of autopsies.” The MV Prolapse site I linked to above gave a figure of 5-20%.

Trudeau says that physicians told him that the condition was "incurable," which is true if what is expected in the definition of "cure" is something that can be ingested or consumed to change the body’s physiology. But in cases that are serious, the mitral valve can be operated on, replacing the valve itself, thus "curing" the individual. The valve itself is faulty and a hereditary condition. Yet Trudeau claims to have a magical cure that he refuses to share with the world.

This magical cure is as much bullshit as the diagnosis he alleges to have received from the new age nutbar. Trudeau claims that the "Dermatron Machine" was able to diagnose his MVP. The only truth Trudeau offers in this chapter appears to be that the "Dermatron " is illegal and so is the treatment he claims: cellular injection therapy. There are good reasons.

The Dermatron

A good source of information on this quack device can be found at QuackWatch.com (Barrett 2005). From Dr. Barrett’s article there:

Proponents, claim these devices measure disturbances in the body’s flow of "electro-magnetic energy" along "acupuncture meridians." [1] Actually, these devices are little more than fancy galvanometers that measure electrical resistance of the patient’s skin when touched by a probe. The device emits a tiny direct electric current that flows through a wire from the device to a brass cylinder covered by moist gauze, which the patient holds in one hand. A second wire is connected from the device to a probe, which the operator touches to "acupuncture points" on the patient’s other hand or a foot. This completes a low-voltage circuit and the device registers the flow of current.

The information is then relayed to a gauge or computer screen that provides a numerical readout on a scale of 0  to 100. According to Voll’s theory: readings from 45 to 55 are normal ("balanced"); readings above 55 indicate inflammation of the organ "associated" with the "meridian" being tested; and readings below 45 suggest "organ stagnation and degeneration." The size of the number actually depends on how hard the probe is pressed against the patient’s skin.

Such devices aren’t complicated or magical. Nor do they do what their proponents claim. Not a single valid study has been conducted that demonstrates that they work. And it would be a simple experiment for the proponents to validate. Simply set up a double-blind experiment using both ill and non-ill subjects of whichever disease or ailment the proponents of the device are most comfortable with and record the results. Either it will detect and cure or it won’t.

Trudeau’s fans will doubtlessly note that he doesn’t indicate in chapter one that the device "cures" but others do elsewhere, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that the con-artist Trudeau is willing to support these claims if it furthers his own agenda –which, clearly, is to pad his wallet.

Devices similar to the Dermatron are used and claimed by other alternative medicine nutbars such as Hulda Clark, author of The Cure for All Cancers, and the idea was born of Reinhold Voll, a 1950s acupuncturist. The circuitry of modern devices of this sort are simple square-wave oscillators with a one or two resisters and capacitors and a potentiometer to give an oscillation, all running on a small battery of, perhaps, 9-volts. Clark’s claim is that such a device is able to cure cancer and provides instruction in her book to build such a device for minimal cost.

One wonders why there are no documented cases of cured cancer. That is, unless you buy into Trudeau’s crap. Trudeau uses a logical fallacy (among many, many others) called poisoning the well by setting up the reader to believe that the reason such claims aren’t validated is because "Big Pharm," the government, and medical doctors are suppressing it. And he expects you to believe it.

Never mind that going public with verifiable evidence for cures that can cheaply and quickly solve problems like cancer and MVP would make instant heroes and celebrities out of the doctor, government official, or pharmaceutical engineer that can validate them. Never mind that there are peer-review and oversight entities that would prevent such things. Never mind that even if most of the thousands of people who work in these fields were actually dishonest, that there would be almost zero chance that all of them are. Surely one of the "honest" government, pharmaceutical, or medical personnel is able to go public with evidence that a simple, $15 square-wave oscillator can dowse or divine what ails you and even cure you of cancer!

Cellular Injection Therapy

Yes. It’s illegal. And for good reason since the concept involves injecting cellular material from other species of animals into people.

Again, Dr. Stephen Barrett (2003) offers some well-researched information, useful to the lay-person who may be deceived by con-artists and fraudsters who care about your money and not your health as they claim. I’ll include Barrett’s citations.

  • A 1957 survey of 179 West German hospitals revealed 80 cases of serious immunological reactions, 30 of them fatal, in cellular treatment recipients (Gelband et al 1990).
  • In 1975, the AMA’s consumer magazine Today’s Health described how two men died from gas gangrene following injections of fetal sheep cells at the New Life Clinic near Fort Meyers, Florida, operated by Robert A. Peterson, Jr., D.O. The article noted that: (a) Peterson falsified the cause of death on the death certificate in an attempt to conceal what had happened, and (b) in Germany alone, 35 deaths had been traced to practitioners who had tried to use Niehans’s technique; and (c) Peterson subsequently had his license revoked and was indicted for mail fraud and tax evasion (Lindemann & Cubbison 1975)
  • In 1981, allergic reactions to calf thymus tissue derived from 5-day-old animals were reported in a study of patients with histiocytosis X (Osband et al 1981).
  • During the 1980s, cases were reported of polyradiculitis, leukoencephalitis, Guillian-Barré syndrome, immune complex vasculitis, encephalopathy, and a blistering skin disease resembling bullous pemphigoid (de Ritter et al 1987; Goebel et al 1986; Bohl et al 1989).
  • In 1987, the British journal Lancet reported on the death of a popular female athlete who had received several hundred injections of various cell preparations. She had developed a painful nerve condition, had been given dipyrone (a dangerous drug), and had gone into fatal shock (Lancet 1987).

In clo
sing of this portion of my review, I’ll add that there are good reasons why the Dermatron and "cellular injection therapy" are both illegal. They’re harmful. They’re sole purpose is to deceive those that are desperate for health care and take their money, regardless of the risks to their health or the shams they’re based on.

Throughout his book Trudeau condemns modern Western medicine and uses another logical fallacy, which is the appeal to the ancients or tradition. Trudeau maintains that alternative treatments, cures, and lifestyles are healthier and more advantageous and gives whole lists of "problems" with modern medicine, health and hygiene (many if not most items are simply wrong, out of context, or out-right lies). No one can deny that there are improvements that can be made in modern healthcare, and let us hope this will always be the case… who would want to live in a society where healthcare and medicine are rigid and unchanging where progress is absent? But it cannot be overlooked that modern Western medicine works. The average lifespan of cultures where Western medicine has not been introduced is far, far less than that of Western societies. Anthropological and archaeological evidence is very clear. Earlier humans had lifespans of about 40-45. In some African nations where Western medicine has yet to be consistently introduced, the average lifespan is about 35 even today.

I’ll continue this with additional parts, reviewing other chapters of Trudeau’s book of pseudoscience, lies and deception if this one gets a lot of hits and comments (good or bad).

 

References:

Barrett, Stephen (2003). Cellular Therapy. QuackWatch.com

Barrett, Stephen (2005). Quack "Electrodiagnostic" Devices. QuackWatch.com

Bohl J et al (1989). Complications following cell therapy. Zeitschrift fur Rechtsmedizin 103:1-20.

Gelband H et al (1990). Cellular treatment. In Unconventional cancer treatments. Washington, DC, U.S. Government Printing Office, pp 97-98.

Goebel HH et al. (1986). Fresh cell therapy followed by fatal coma. Journal of Neurology 233:242-247.

Lancet (1987). Cell therapy suspended. Lancet, Aug 29, p. 503.

Lindeman B, Cubbison C: (1975). Cellular therapy: A shabby clinic offered rejuvenation but delivered death. Today’s Health 53:36-41.

Osband ME et al. (1981). Histiocytosis-X. Demonstration of abnormal immunity, T-cell histamine H2-receptor deficiency, and successful treatment with thymic extract. New England Journal of Medicine. 304:146-153.

de Ridder M et al. (1987). Two cases of death following cell therapy. Deutsche Medizinische Wochenshrift 112:1006-1009.