Explainers, Rad and Bad

The previous post mentioned some doctors who face facts about the width and depth of the current global public health problem, and who are very active in fighting misinformation. There are also some disturbingly contrary professional voices out there. One is celebrity doctor Joseph Mercola, D.O. Some people place a lot of importance on the difference between osteopaths and MDs. The main difference is that osteopathy is more holistic in approach, and the practitioners are more “hands-on,” using techniques like spinal manipulation and massage therapy.

Traditionally, osteopaths tended to gravitate to the field of Primary Care (while MDs specialize), though that is less true nowadays. Philosophically, a larger percentage of osteopaths, as compared to MDs, tend to be mavericks of one sort or another.

Dr. Mercola has stirred up controversy before, but in February he attracted intense criticism by saying that the anti-COVID vaccines can “alter your genetic coding, turning you into a viral protein factory that has no off-switch.” This attracted attention to the hundreds of similar articles he has published since COVID came to town. Some call him the chief spreader of coronavirus misinformation online.

A whole different type of oddball

And then, there are the mavericks of another kind — those who serve the greater good with what is sometimes regarded as weirdness. Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, M.D., who also has a Masters in Public Health, is described by journalist Steve Paulson as…

[…] the doctor who helped lead the United Nations campaign that eradicated smallpox, and for years he’s been warning about another pandemic that could kill millions of people.

Dr. Brilliant was a brand-new doctor in San Francisco during the peace and love era, where he knew Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, Wavy Gravy, and other icons of the time. With Stewart Brand, he co-founded The Well, one of the first online communities and arguably the most influential of them all.

After traveling on altruistic missions in various parts of the world, Dr. Brilliant visited the revered Hindu holy man Neem Karoli Baba (pictured above), who indicated that Dr. Brilliant should convince the United Nations to take him on as part of its smallpox eradication team. Paulson says,

Over the next few years he helped lead a team of 150,000 people from 170 countries […] to work together to wipe out the last traces of the deadly disease.

“I had the privilege of seeing the last case of smallpox,” Brilliant said. “A young girl named Rahima Banu had completed smallpox in October of 1975 and did not die. That was the last case in an unbroken chain of transmission of killer smallpox that went all the way back to Pharaoh Ramses and beyond, probably 10,000 years.”

This is why he is worth listening to on the subject of the current pandemic.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “What kind of doctor is a D.O.?,” MayoClinic.org, undated
Source: “The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online,” DNYUZ.com, 07/24/21
Source: The Hippie Doctor Who Helped Eradicate Smallpox,” ttbook.org, 03/27/20
Image by Ken Wieland/CC BY-SA 2.0

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
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Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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