The Voice of the Voiceless (sic) Campaign: Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

Subtitle: Conservatives Against Crazy Therapies #savethepillows (see video below).
Right wing website The College Fix misses the point in an article published last Friday (6/20).
The assumption on the part of Chris Doyle and author Claire Healey seems to be that incorrect information provided by college counseling or resource centers should lead to the addition of more incorrect information at those same centers. In other words, since LGBT centers say some things that might be inaccurate or can’t be proven, ex-gay supporters should be allowed to do the same thing.
This is not “right-minded” but rather wrong-headed.
Doyle can’t offer any evidence for his claims, and as his campaign shows, his group is hardly voiceless.
Conservatives should not react in a knee jerk fashion against what seems like viewpoint discrimination to simply offer what seems to be the opposite position (e.g., gay groups say gays can’t change, conservative groups then should support the notion that gays can change). What seems like the opposite position of the position you don’t like is not of necessity the correct one. In this case, it is true that research has not found a consensus around the causes of homosexuality. However, that does not mean that Doyle’s version of weak fathering and overbearing mothering is correct. In fact, that model doesn’t have support in research. There are many good empirical reasons to question that model for most gays.  Doyle’s therapy approach is based on that causal model which, in addition to the absence of any empirical support, opens it up to skepticism.
Two wrongs don’t create a “right-minded” stance and is a loser as a conservative position.
Chris Doyle’s mentor Richard Cohen in action:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtGouVqsmsg[/youtube]
Sorry, can’t imagine a college promoting this anti-science brand of ex-gay therapy but that is what Doyle’s IHF is known for.

John Catanzaro Fights Back and Starts Fund Raising; Hearing Slated for August

On Saturday (May 10), the Everett (WA) Daily Herald carried an article following up on naturopath John Catanzaro’s response to the suspension of his license in January over cancer vaccines provided by his clinic.  Although not a focus of the complaints against him, Catanzaro also claimed to have a professional relationship with the University of Washington and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University. Both institutions denied any connection to Catanzaro and Dana Farber Cancer Institute demanded that Catanzaro stop claiming that he was working with the clinic. Subsequently, all references to Dana Farber as well as to the University of Washington disappeared from his materials without explanation.
According to the DailyHerald, Catanzaro has launched a website to defend himself and serve as a platform to raise money. His defense now is in the court of public opinion, but his formal hearing before the naturopath board is not slated to take place until August 6-8 of this year.
Catanzaro also told the Herald that he hopes to raise money in order to reimburse cancer patients for funds spent on vaccines. According to the Herald, Catanzaro said, “These are stage 4 cancer patients waiting on treatments we had to throw away and I just want to be able to pay them back for all they’ve lost.”
It is unclear why unused vaccines would require payments from patients. Patients pay as they go for treatments and if the vaccines are not going to be used, the clinic might suffer loss but the patients should only have to pay for what they use. Furthermore, Catanzaro’s non-profit arm seems to have sufficient resources to cover these research costs. According to the 2012 990 for the HWIF Cancer Research Group, the organization set up to fund vaccine research, the organization had a fund balance of $818, 301. The document demonstrates that revenues from program fees exceeded clinic expenses by just over $300,000 in 2012. Perhaps 2013 was a leaner year (the 990 is not available) but it appears that the non-profit should be able to step in for patients.
In the media coverage since Catanzaro’s suspension, additional questions are still unanswered.
Catanzaro has yet to address why he told the public that he had working relationships with the University of Washington and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University. While he removed these references from his website after the lack of relationships came to light, he has not addressed the claims that he needed funds from clients to secure the services of Dana Farber. Dana Farber denied performing these services.
His relationship to his non-profit organization raises questions as well. According to the state of Washington, he is a director of the HWIFC Cancer Research Group, but his name does not show up as an officer or key employee on the organization’s IRS 990 report. According to the most recent 990, two of his employees, his wife and his accountant make up four of the six board members.  As with the 2011 990, the 2012 report also shows significant transactions between the non-profit organization and Catanzaro’s for profit business.

Seattle Times Reports on the Troubles of Mark Driscoll's Doctor John Catanzaro

Seattle Times health reporter Carol Ostrom filed a report today regarding suspended Seattle naturopath John Catanzaro. Regular readers here will recognize similar themes in this report but see some important new information as well.
The article leads with his suspension and notes that he has until March 14th to appeal. Originally, Catanzaro had 20 days to appeal but he filed a motion for an extension of time to prepare his appeal which was granted by a Seattle judge last week. According to Department of Health spokeswoman, Kelly Stowe, Catanzaro is not supposed to engage in the practice of naturopathic medicine while his license is suspended. However, according to his website, he appears to be continuing his practice.
The article also confirmed the reporting here and at Wartburg Watch that Catanzaro once claimed a relationship with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, but in fact, has no relationship with the clinic and that DFCI has asked Catanzaro to stop using the name in his materials.
According to Ostrom’s reporting, Mark Driscoll praised Catanzaro’s treatments which led to others in the church to seek out his services. Some former MHC members have related to me that Driscoll has stated publicly that the IV vitamin treatments cost over $1,000 each.
The Times article also delves into Catanzaro’s fundraising methods a bit. As the Times notes, patients have set up accounts to solicit funds for their individual care. While this is permitted, the donations may not be tax deductible as IRS rules (see page 6) appear to disallow donations which are earmarked for one person’s care.
 
 

John Catanzaro to Appeal License Suspension

On his website yesterday, John Catanzaro, Mark Driscoll’s naturopathpartially addressed the growing controversy surrounding his license suspension.

To our valued patients and friends of Health and Wellness Institute of Integrative Medicine:

From: Dr. John Catanzaro

As many of you know, the Washington Department of Health (WA DOH) has raised concerns about our use of experimental autologous peptide vaccine in research. We disagree with the WA DOH and are appealing. We are working diligently with our legal team on our appeal.

We continue to provide personalized wellness and cancer care and all of our physicians, nurse team and admin team are here to serve you. There will be no interruption in our ability to provide you excellent quality care.

We want to sincerely thank you for your support and understanding during this difficult time. Our admin team can assist you in identifying ways you can support us during this process.

Warm Regards,
Dr. John

The Washington Department of Health did more than raise “concerns.” The naturopath board suspended his license to practice. In contrast to the message of “no interruption,” he is not supposed to practice while it is suspended. According to the Washington board, he has until Monday, February 17 to appeal.

Catanzaro only partially addressed issues which have been raised. Prior to the state board’s action, Catanzaro claimed to have a collaborative relationship with Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Ken Anderson an oncologist at DFCI, and the University of Washington for the purpose of developing cancer vaccines. In recent days, DFCI, Ken Anderson and UW have denied collaboration with Catanzaro or his clinic. If I was considering alternative care, this would be a huge red flag for me.

Another question is how naturopaths in this group are able to treat cancer at all. Naturopaths must work collaboratively with a MD or DO in order to treat malignancies in the state of Washington.* None of the medical staff listed on the website are credentialed as a MD or DO.

*WAC 246-836-210 (4) Naturopathic physicians may not treat malignancies except in collaboration with a practitioner licensed under chapter 18.57 or 18.71 RCW.

Click the link to read the State of Washington complaint.

Reference to Dana Farber Cancer Institute Removed from John Catanzaro's Clinic Website; U of WA Says There is No Connection

Since John Catanzaro’s license to practice as a naturopath was suspended in January, many websites have been scrubbed. Immediately, Mars Hill Church removed all 18 of John Catanzaro’s articles from The Resurgence website (you can see the posts here). Then, after being warned by Harvard’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute, references to the alleged collaboration between Catanzaro’s Health and Wellness Institute for Integrative Medicine and Cancer Treatment and DFCI have been removed. The current link doesn’t mention DFCI, but last week it did:

The other reference to DFCI was on Catanzaro’s Linked In page, and now that is missing as well.

Unless Catanzaro can offer proof of a collaboration with DFCI (I have asked for such evidence), it appears that he never did have a connection. He also claimed to be collaborating with the University of Washington “in the development of personalized cancer defense vaccines.” About that claim, UW spokeswoman Bobbi Nodell told me, “We cannot find a connection to UW.”*
More Scrubbing
In May, 2013, Mark Driscoll promoted Catanzaro’s ebook on marijuana on Facebook and Twitter, but those links are now broken. (Google cache tells the tale. Click the links to see the posts – Facebook; Twitter)
Mark Driscoll’s foreward to Catanzaro’s book was once on the HWIFC website, but isn’t now.

Once Catanzaro promoted Driscoll’s ebook, Puff or Pass? as a free gift for subscribing to the HWIFC newsletter. Now it is missing.
One page that hasn’t disappeared (but I suspect will soon after this post goes up) is this reference by Catanzaro to Mark Driscoll as his pastor and his article titled, “A Christian Doctor’s Opinion on Pot.”
Here is another page still up on Facebook where Catanzaro is referred to as a “licensed physician.” However, if you click the link in this Facebook post you come to an empty page on The Resurgence website.
To see all posts on this topic, click this link.
*UPDATE: This comment was added after this article was posted.

Dana Farber Cancer Institute Issues Warning To John Catanzaro

As is also being reported at Wartburg Watch, Dana Farber Cancer Institute issued a strong warning regarding Seattle naturopath John Catanzaro.

Warren and Dee:
We have investigated the matter and taken steps to request that Dr. Catanzaro cease all unauthorized use of our name.
Sincerely, Teresa Herbert
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Communications Department

Previously, DFCI disclosed that oncologist Ken Anderson was not collaborating with Catanzaro to develop cancer vaccines.
There are other open questions that I hope DFCI will address next week but for now, this seems to be an indication that claims such as made on the HWIFC website will need to be removed:

We are developing individual treatment strategies that will enhance each patient’s ability to fight and win the cancer battle; effectively blending medical science and integrative treatment to reach the cure. To accomplish this we are collaborating with Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard as well as University of Washington in the development of personalized cancer defense vaccines.

Catanzaro’s Linked In page has been changed to remove reference to DFCI but this reference remains.
The folks behind Wartburg Watch have reported that they have been threatened since writing about Mr. Catanzaro’s cancer operation. I have as well. I do think Mr. Catanzaro should publicly condemn threats made with regard to coverage of his situation. I have emailed him and asked him several questions with no response.
I have also asked Mars Hill Church what prompted them to remove John Catanzaro’s articles from the Resurgence website with no reply.
Catanzaro is medical director of the HWIFC Cancer Research Group.  It is in this setting that the State of Washington’s naturopath board found the unauthorized use of cancer vaccines. The research group is registered with the IRS as a non-profit. You can review the 2011 990 form here. The form does not indicate that Catanzaro is medical director but it does show a substantial transaction of just over $344,000 between the non-profit and Catanzaro’s naturopath business.
Regarding the State of Washington complaint against Catanzaro, it appears that the board of naturopathy has already interviewed Catanzaro who, according to the board, was unable to verify Institutional Review Board approval or a Federalwide Assurance number. It is important to note that former patients brought the complaints which were then investigated by fellow naturopaths.
Prior posts on this topic:
Claims Of Resurgence Ex-Author And Naturopath Questioned By Esteemed Cancer Institute
John Catanzaro Speaks Out About His Cancer Vaccines; Mars Hill Church Is Silent
Naturopathic Doctor Touted By Mark Driscoll Suspended Over Experimental Cancer Vaccine

Claims Of Resurgence Ex-Author And Naturopath Questioned By Esteemed Cancer Institute

Last week, I wrote about John Catanzaro, a naturopath who Mark Driscoll has called his doctor. Driscoll has promoted Catanzaro in his sermons as the one who helped him overcome adrenal fatigue. This diagnosis is not a medical diagnosis but rather a theoretical concept often advanced by alternative medicine providers. Mars Hill promoted Catanzaro on the Resurgence website until recently when someone at MHC scrubbed all of Catazaro’s articles from the site. Although MHC has not given an explanation, the articles may have gone missing because Catanzaro’s license as a naturopath was suspended over allegations that he was giving untested cancer vaccines to patients.
To at least one patient, Catanzaro claimed he was working with Dr. Ken Anderson, an oncologist at Harvard’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute. On his Linked In page and his clinic website, he claims a special relationship with DFCI. However, it appears those claims are questionable.
On his Linked In page, Catanzaro says:

Dr. Catanzaro is pioneering movement toward personalized genetic and adaptive integrative immune treatment to fight cancer. He is working in a private movement with expert Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard cancer scientists in the area of cancer proteomics and molecular genetics in developing individualized HLA matched cancer peptide strategies through a subcontract with NeoBioLabs, Cambridge Ma.

Catanzaro’s clinic website says:

We are developing individual treatment strategies that will enhance each patient’s ability to fight and win the cancer battle; effectively blending medical science and integrative treatment to reach the cure. To accomplish this we are collaborating with Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard as well as University of Washington in the development of personalized cancer defense vaccines.

Consistent with Catanzaro’s claims, these bloggers describe a phone conversation where Catanzaro claimed he was working with DFCI and Ken Anderson to develop a cancer vaccine:

We are preparing for the development of the next immunotherapy vaccine with the Health & Wellness Center. I had a 2-hour conversation on the phone the other day with Dr. John Catanzaro, who talked us through why this vaccine is different and something to be particularly hopeful about… the most significant being that he is now partnering with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston!
The first time that Chelsa and I read anything speaking of a CURE for Multiple Myeloma was forwarded by a friend from an article published about advances by doctors at Dana-Farber. This provided us with a great deal of hope, as well as assurance that the treatment we are pursuing with Health & Wellness Center is legitimate. It was SUPER encouraging to hear Dr. John say that he is now partnering with Dr. Ken Anderson at the Dana-Farber Institute to develop the same kind of vaccine for Chelsa that Dana-Farber Institute has experienced so much success with. (I included some links below if you want to know more).

With the help of Dr. John Peteet, a friend at DFCI, I was able to make contact with Ken Anderson who replied simply that there is “no connection” between Catanzaro and Anderson.  A call to DFCI yielded a similar result. Teresa Herbert, spokeswoman for DFCI, told me:

Dr. Ken Anderson and John Catanzaro are not working on any projects together. They spoke on the phone once or twice but they are not working on any projects together and I am not aware that they ever were.

On his Linked In page above, Catanzaro mentions a sub-contract with NeoBioLabs. NBL is not a research group, but rather sells equipment and reagents used in research. In other words, the implication that Catanzaro is working with DFCI via NBL is misleading at best.*
Via email, twitter and Facebook, I asked Catanzaro and the Health and Wellness Institute for references or contacts at DFCI who could substantiate the claims but there has been no reply. Yesterday, Catanzaro appears to have responded indirectly to his suspension on his website. DFCI has promised to address several additional matters as soon as possible.
There are significant questions which remain for Catanzaro and DFCI to address. According to the information presented by Catanzaro’s patient, Catanzaro claimed that DFCI was being paid to help develop an individualized vaccine. However, since Catanzaro’s lab is not conducting approved clinical trials, it seems odd and frankly hard to believe that DFCI would provide the kind of services Catanzaro claims. Hopefully, DFCI can address this question soon. If there isn’t and hasn’t been a connection, then Mr. Catanzaro may have to explain more than his suspended license to his patients.
 
*Thanks to Dee Parsons for passing along the information on NBL.

John Catanzaro Speaks Out About His Cancer Vaccines; Mars Hill Church Is Silent

As reported last week, the license of Mark Driscoll’s naturopath, John Catanzaro was suspended by the Washington State Department of Health. According to the complaint, Catanzaro uses unapproved vaccines to treat cancer. Soon after the complaint was filed, Mars Hill Church removed all of the articles written by Catanzaro from the Resurgence website.
Now, Catanzaro has responded indirectly to the controversy. In an article on his website, he defends his approach by citing Frank Zappa and what he claims is an illustration of a successful use of the vaccines.  Regarding the use of the vaccine with one patient, Catanzaro wrote:

She did have very mild reactions from the chemo, but they were minimal because of the immune support. The immune support did not compromise her chemo regimen it enhanced its effectiveness. I considered this a success!

This is a very delicate topic. On one hand, you have Catanzaro and a cadre of satisfied patients who seem to view the vaccine treatment as integral to their successful battle against cancer. On the other hand, the mainstream medical community has a wonderful track record of advances against the disease via careful research and clinical trials. In my reporting on this subject, I do not mean to seem critical of anyone who is trying to do the best they know how to do.
In a future post (possibly today, maybe tomorrow), I want to present some information which can provide full disclosure for those considering vaccine treatments from naturopaths or other off-the-grid providers. The Mars Hill approach of just removing materials without comment (I have asked) and pretending that John Catanzaro never existed or was not promoted at MHC seems less than helpful. My understanding from anonymous sources I trust is that Catanzaro’s treatments costs thousands of dollars and were provided to senior staff at MHC as a benefit of employment. Now, he is a non-entity.  Mark Driscoll recommended Catanzaro and promoted the bogus diagnosis of adrenal fatigue as recently as this month in Christianity Today. Now, he is gone from the Resurgence website.
(H/t to Sean in the combox)

Naturopathic Doctor Touted By Mark Driscoll Suspended Over Experimental Cancer Vaccine

This story is interesting to me not so much because of the relationship between Driscoll and the naturopath, but because of Mars Hill’s response to the news out yesterday.
John Catanzaro is a naturopath with an office in Bothell, WA.  According to this blogger (who apparently was/is using one of the vaccines), Mark Driscoll has “sung praises” of Catanzaro. However, according to a complaint from the WA Department of Health, Catanzaro promotes unapproved cancer vaccines he has developed in his clinic. This practice led to his suspension, announced in this news report.
Driscoll wrote the Foreward to Catanzaro’s book on marijuana:

With the legalization of marijuana in Washington State I wrote a free ebook on the issue theologically and pastorally. I did not address the medical issues because that was beyond my scope of expertise. However, my doctor and friend Dr. John Catanzaro of Health and Wellness Institute was kind enough to research the medical aspects of marijuana usage and write them up. We genuinely hope this helps Christians make wise decisions and provide wise counsel especially parents and ministry leaders.
-Mark Driscoll, Pastor Mars Hill Church

By calling Catanzaro “my doctor,” this recommendation seems to indicate that Catanzaro is a physician. Catanzaro has written over 18 posts for Mars Hill Church’s The Resurgence website but the articles are now missing (Catanzaro’s bio and article list are still available on Google cache).  For instance, there is a series of articles on eastern practices and Christianity (now gone from The Resurgence website), and others on healthy pastors (e.g., this one on Google cache but not on the website).
Perhaps the church is warning the congregation in another way, but it seems odd to simply remove all references to Catanzaro with no explanation.
Catanzaro’s website video is now private.
This is not the first rodeo for Mr. Catanzaro and the Washington Department of Health.
Here is another video with description of the vaccines near the end of the clip.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cD2WInnbSw[/youtube]
 
 

Note To David Barton And Kenneth Copeland: PTSD Is Real

Kenneth Copeland’s and David Barton’s teaching on post-traumatic stress disorder struck a raw nerve.
On Veteran’s Day, Copeland and Barton claimed that the Old Testament book of Numbers 32 is a promise that soldiers who fight for God are promised that they will return from battle and can get rid of PTSD if they cast out demonic influences. Reaction was swift and negative. Predictably, left leaning groups castigated the two. However, equally strong was the reaction from evangelical and conservative circles. These groups have good reason to react negatively, the advice given by Barton and Copeland was dangerously misinformed.
I rarely treat PTSD these days. However, when I owned a group practice in Southern Ohio, I had a contract with the Veteran’s Administration to treat Vietnam Vets with PTSD. Before he died, my uncle struggled with his experiences in WWII, often using alcohol to quiet the raging memories inside. The intrusive thoughts and sense of dread are quite real to the person who suffers. Advances in brain imaging have begun to reveal some answers to why some people experience symptoms after trauma and others do not. And Numbers 32 has no role in the differences.
A recent VA study found that the parts of the brain which encode incoming information remain active in PTSD patients whereas non-sufferers show more neural flexibility. Study co-author Lisa James said, “The deficit that we see in PTSD is the absence of that ability to modulate.”
Acting along with pre-existing vulnerability, trauma seems to actually erode the resilience and mood regulating functions of the brain. A 2011 NIMH funded study found fewer neurons responsible for passing chemical messages through the brain in victims of trauma than in brains of controls participants. The brain scans below depicts the difference:

Patients with PTSD (right) had significantly fewer serotonin 1B receptors (yellow & red areas) in their brain stress circuits than healthy controls (left). PET scan images show destinations of a radioactive tracer that binds to serotonin 1B receptors. Front of brain is at bottom. Source: Alexander Neumeister, M.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine

A quick review of the other NIMH work and many other studies showing real changes as the result of trauma demonstrate the harmful nature of the advice given by Copeland and Barton.  One cannot just “get rid of it” as Copeland counseled.
Copeland and Barton should immediately offer an apology and point people to the VA and/or other credible medical and psychological professionals.