Monday, September 19, 2011

Quack of the Month: Devi S. Nambudripad

There are a lot of snake oil salesmen in the autism world. Parents desperate to do something to help their ASD children are easy prey for peddlers of pseudo-scientific "treatments" and "cures."

So in the first installment of what I imagine will be an ongoing series on this blog, I present September 2011's Quack of the Month, Devi S. Nambudripad and her NAET (Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques) system.


"Quack quack!"

In her 1999 book, Say Good-Bye to Allergy-Related Autism, Dr. Nambudripad argues that autistic symptoms are the result of a build-up of allergens in a person's developing brain in his first three years of life. This is not an uncommon line of thought - think of how Ryan's brain interprets wheat gluten as an opiate.

But then she goes too far.

Nambudripad's method for diagnosing and treating "allergy-related autism" is a bit different than just eliminating problem foods from one's diet. Her primary diagnostic method is a form of applied kinesiology: the patient holds various items in his hand and the practitioner pushes on his arm to test muscle resistance. If the arm offers little resistance, she says, the fault lies in the specific substance held in the patient's hand. So if my arm shows weakness when I'm holding a carrot, I must be allergic to the carrot.

As absurd as this sounds, it gets weirder: if the patient is a young child or is somehow incapacitated, a SURROGATE may be used for the muscle test! The practitioner tests the surrogate while the surrogate is touching the patient, and the patient's energy flowing through the surrogate will make the surrogate's arm weak in the presence of whatever the patient is allergic to.

Wow.

The treatment is derived in a similar fashion. The patient holds a dietary supplement in one hand while the practitioner pulls the other arm, and the degree of muscle weakness shows how many supplements should be taken. The NAET online store has many herbal preparations with names like "Allergy Help Plus"  and "Pain Balance and More," each for around $25 per bottle. The average patient, according to the NAET website, requires 15-25 "treatments." Figure that your insurance probably won't cover this sort of thing, and you're looking at a hefty price tag.

Surely, if this were a viable method for treating autism (and pain! menopause! food allergies! eosinophilic esophagitis! heart palpitations! glaucoma in dogs! ulcerative colitis! psychic intuition!!! - seriously, check out the patient testimonials), I'm sure the wider medical community would have picked up on this sometime in the last 12 years, and researchers would have published their findings in journals more reputable than The Journal of NAET, Energetics and Complementary Medicine. Surely there wouldn't be such a long thread about it in the Museum of Hoaxes.

I'm going to call BS on this one.

18 comments:

  1. My friend's son started speaking for the first time in 2 years after he was treated for calcium mox......He is now in a regualar kindergarten. His autism/pdd diagnosis has been removed. It works. You should help your child get out of autism prison and try it!

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  2. smells like scientology, no, it stinks !

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  3. Dr. Nambudripad's N.A.E.T. has saved my children's lives. They had severe asthma and after our chiropractor eliminated so many of their allerigies using NAET, their asthma is almost non-existent. They were on a round of steroids every month, and now it has been needed only once every other year. I know the treatment sounds crazy, but I saw my neighbor's child eliminate her asthma and her peanut allergy through it, so we had to give our children that chance. It worked. You don't load your child up on supplements, you treat each allergy individually and over time, the reduction of allergies improves the health tremendously. Each treatment takes 24 hours to eliminate an allergy and that's it; it's done. Through NAET, my chiropractor is now eliminating my youngest daughter's irritable bowel syndrome, a diagnosis given when the doctors don't know what is wrong or how to help. Don't say it doesn't work just because it sounds so strange. The medical field won't even consider looking into it because they are literally trained to heal with medicines. Most won't investigate anything outside their realm. It's just the way it is. I use the best of "regular" medicine and this alternative medicine. My children are alive today because of both.

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    1. I applaud those that have the courage to speak up and say when something works, even when it is widely misunderstood because it comes from a different paradigm to the one that prevails in mainstream US culture. It's so sad that some people are so quick to not just dismiss, but ridicule and vilify things that they don't understand. Yes, there are quacks out there, (and we have to be discerning about this) BUT there are also sincere and effective pioneers out there, bringing different approaches, arising out of different paradigms, to the table. One day, I hope that more people will have the wisdom to understand that there are many different paradigms out there in our world, and that one cannot use the tools of one paradigm to evaluate a different paradigm. The bottom line is .. 'has this approach genuinely helped people?' If yes, then let's have the humility to acknowledge that perhaps the scientific method, despite having made great contributions to the world, doesn't have ALL the answers. It's just one of many paradigms and it has its place. It does not deserve to have a monopoly.

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    2. "...it is widely misunderstood because it comes from a different paradigm to the one that prevails in mainstream US culture."

      If by "US culture" you mean 99.9% of scientists, you know, those people who spent 9+ years in college learning how to do the science that you have so much difficulty understanding, then sure. At the end of the day, Nambudripad isn't a doctor or a scientist, she's a quack separating fools from their money. Science isn't "a different paradigm" among equivalent narratives. If you think it is then you desperately need to learn basic science (I'd start with high school biology and chemistry) -- or at least defer to those of us who have done the work.

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    3. Also the whole "maybe science doesn't have all the answers" is a red herring. Nobody asserts that scientists have "all the answers", whatever that may mean. Not having "all the answers" doesn't mean that your favorite magical nonsense is somehow true. Science requires a more substantial burden of proof than this "paradigm shifting" BS.

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    4. I am aware of Nabudripad's protocol through a friend of mine, a well-respected medical doctor who had to all but remove himself from society due to overwhelming allergies. He spent quite a while in her care and became a believer as his allergies receded under treatment. After learning the protocol, he was able to resume a normal life and in return for the gift of his health, he gave treatments for free to those who requested his help.

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  4. NAET did not work for me, period. I was being treated for allergies for several months. Most of the allergies did disappear temporarily but they all came back within a few months. IMO, NAET is more of a placebo effect than anything else.

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  5. You may have true allergies (IgE mediated allergies). They do not go away with standard NAET that helps with food sensitivities. You need to ask your NAET practitioner to test your blood for IgE -specific for a list of allergens. The lab results will help you understand why your desensitized allergies are returning.

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  6. Immune system response, their triggers the settings in which they are treated, how long they were their it is all so Complicated and inter-connected. If it works for some it does not mean it will work for everyone. If she represents herself as a healer for all and her medical degree that says something about about her choices. She found this by accident which means she doesn't understand the underlying principles so cannot explain /predict if her treatment will work. Go without expectations or regrets. Through personal experience: just don't give up and find support and joy where you can.

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  7. I am really upset that people accept money from desperate parents for this sort of junk. I only hope parents will please take their child to a board certified pediatrician if they suspect any food allergies.

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    1. Children or adult alike, NAET and muscle testing works. I suffered for 2 years with stomach issues that were affecting my eating and sleep. Numerous testing and certified doctors did not help me at all. NAET and a naturopath cured me in a month. I was a skeptic but out of desperation I thought I had nothing to lose (covered on my benefits). I am now a believer. Dont call it junk unless you have actually experienced it.

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    2. I used to work next to petroleum tanks and over time began to experience stuffiness and feeling like oil was coming out of my skin. I had no idea what it was other than maybe issues with dried seaweed flaking from the nearby beach during onshore breezes. I went to a chiropractor who happened to also be a NAET practitioner. He did not mention the NAET but for a sign in his office I asked him about it. He tested me for free and found I had a sensitivity to crude oil (not gasoline, diesel, or refined oil. He treated me one time and told me to stay away from it for 28 hours. I thought it was a joke but felt better and drove to work the next morning. As soon as I hit the breeze blowing across the tank farm, I felt kind of like I had fell into a vise and immediately had the stuffiness and oily feeling. I went back to the chiro and he retreated me and I stayed away form work for a day and a half and have never had an issue with that sensitivity since. That was 9 years ago.

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  8. If you think that muscle testing does not work then you have obviously not done your due diligence, which would be researching the subject first hand. You probably have never been tested and therefor have no basis for your claim. You may be simply taking someone else's word for it. If you have been appropriately tested (by someone with experience, not by your friend as a joke) then the results are undeniable and self-evident.

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  9. Yes, NAET does sound like the silliest bunch of drivel, except for the fact that it seems to work. I can only go by what I've personally seen. My fear of sailing and flying and my allergy to cats have reduced to barely noticeable. My daughter's asthma has drastically improved. My other daughter no longer has rashes. I'm not claiming NAET is a cure for everything nor that it always works, but it's always worked somewhat for us, when nothing else has. I believe there are a lot of people out there looking for medical or psychological treatments for problems that aren't medical or psychological in nature. It's just that we see a rash, or a pain, or an allergic reaction and think: Doctor. We see a phobia or an addiction and think: Psychologist. There may just be other kinds of problems we can get besides biological or mental.

    One problem with NAET is it's reliance on what looks like 1970's New Age mysticism: muscle testing, energized water, qi. It's hard to look at this stuff and not roll your eyes; it's certainly hard to pay for this sort of stuff and not feel not a prized imbecile. Again, except for the fact that it seems to work. Part of the problem is that we're used to diagnosis and treatment sounding like science class: hypotheses and tests and printed lab reports. NAET doesn't do that; it's about hold out your arm, don't move for 15 minutes, and avoid these things for 24 hours. It makes no sense to people raised on western medicine.

    Ultimately, this is about apples and oranges. Alternative healing isn't going to be like your doctor. And NAET probably shouldn't be your first reaction when you have a health issue. But if nothing else is working, you might want to give it a try and hold the sarcasm. Because in many cases it works just fine when nothing else has.

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    1. "except for the fact that it seems to work."

      Except it doesn't. In science we require more than just anecdotes from people on the internet. Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials are the standard. That's how we distinguish actual evidence from stories you'd like to believe are true. No recognized, mainstream health agency or professional society of scientists sees this pseudoscience as legitimate. Investigating modalities promoted by people with zero actual scientific training, when there is no plausible mechanism that accords with EVERYTHING we know about how the immune system works, is not only a waste of time and money but is also unethical. Case closed.

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    2. so we know everything about how the immune system works now?

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  10. It has really helped my 8 year old son. He was severely intolerant of about 60 different things, one of them being "grains" after developing severe tics, attention problems, and having a few seizures. We were down to a few organic meats and vegetables. Now he eats almost whatever he wants after a year of treatments. Last week, I gave my son something that neither of us realized had huge amounts of citric acid and he immediately got a whiplash tic hundreds of times a day, so bad that he stayed home from school so i could make sure he didn't injure himself. I took him to NAET and we treated him for the item I gave him. It took 2 treatments to work, but now he is eating that thing every day with no whiplash tic. We would never have had any idea what set him off if we hadn't eliminated so many of his other sensitivities. It calms the immune system down so the body can heal itself. It's been a life-saver. It's designed to both work with the body's somatic pathways that have been well known by Chinese medicine for 6,000 years AS WELL AS leverage belief/placebo. It does both. Things that don't do both will not work. The nocebo effect is as strong as the placebo effect-- if someone tells you you can't heal, your body will believe them! There is nothing in Western medicine we have found to work after unnecessary surgery, unnecessary medication, and between us and the insurance company spending well over $350,000 on risky, damaging things that only set us back!!! Makes this look technique look very cheap by comparison....and I literally think it has saved his life.

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Keep it civil, people.