When Ignorance is Dangerous: The Potentially Lethal Force of "Natural Healing"

Someone very close to me has a rare, incurable, degenerative disease called Friedreich's Ataxia. It is an autosomal recessive genetic condition; consequently, it is determined at conception whether or not the individual will develop FA.  Most children are not diagnosed until puberty as symptoms are rather late to manifest.  Although signs of FA are most noticeable in the neuromuscular system, the disease also has several potentially lethal side effects such as diabetes, scoliosis, and cardiovascular problems (namely, cardiomyopathy and tachycardia).  There is no cure, although there are many medical treatments available to help mitigate symptoms, slow progression, and alleviate suffering.

Because this is an issue close to my heart, I have read extensively on FA.  Consequently, I am fairly well-versed on the medical details of the disease; however, I fully admit that my understanding is often rather crude as I have had very little formal scientific education.  Regardless of my incomplete comprehension, I was still shocked by the blatant lies and dangerous advice promoted by this video that I stumbled across while surfing through YouTube:

Raw Food Detox Diet * Natural Healing from Friedreich's Ataxia ❤

I was horrified.  This man is actively discouraging parents from seeking medical care for the treatment of FA.  All I could imagine was a distraught parent returning home from the doctor's office after receiving this heartwrenching diagnosis for their child.  I could see this mom or dad scanning the internet, desperately searching for an answer or some measure of hope.  I then imagine this desperate parent finding this asshole's YouTube proclamation that fucking raw fruit and herbs will magically cure their child's irreversible genetic condition.

Of course, I had to comment.  However, I was careful to keep my comment respectful--as much as it killed me to show any sort of respect to this man--as I knew that any show of aggression on my part would only be painted as an operant of Big Bad Pharma.  This is my initial comment:

Why are you recommending a high-fruit diet for FA patients? Diabetes is a common complication of the disease; promoting a diet heavy in fructose seems irresponsible at best. Also, I hope that you encourage your friend and others to still seek medical attention and be regularly monitored for signs of cardiomyopathy and tachycardia. A whole-food diet may mitigate symptoms of FA, but it is incredibly irresponsible and cruel to promote false hope that somehow a raw diet will provide a cure.

To which he responded with this comment:

liferegenerator (uploader)@shine7157
If you have a disease just get healthy, it is so simple! For all the people who have eliminated this disease with a raw diet it was responsible and loving to promote this hope! Please get with the times! Diseases make money and health does not that is why you have been programmed to believe that something like this cannot be eliminated but I assure you if you eliminate the obstructions to the flow of life energy you will regain your health! So simple! So easy...Fasting/Raw foods

Apparently, he did not feel that his message had been properly delivered and proceeded to comment on my YouTube channel as well.  On a side note, I have my T|A profile listed as my homepage; as a result, he learned that I am an atheist and decided to include that in his response as well.  Here are the two comments left on my YouTube channel:

(22 hours ago)

Oh no wonder, another atheist trapped in the intellect! Disregard my last comment! Without faith in the infinite power you won't get well...Sorry! :(

(22 hours ago)

I read your website! I am sorry! I wish I could help you find the real Love of God! In your heart you know it is real! Allow it back into your life! :)

(Oh yes, apparently it is not the lack of FRUIT in my loved one's life but the lack of GOD that is allowing FA to continue its progression.  Sigh.)

Anyways, of course I had to respond with the following:

Apparently, your ten minutes of internet research have left you woefully uninformed about the full impact of Friedreich's Ataxia.  Your ignorance is clearly evidenced by your gross oversimplification of the disease.
By actively discouraging medical treatment, you are potentially contributing to worsened suffering and an earlier death caused by this condition.  Following your advice would only exacerbate the misery of FA.
FA is not simply a "nerve disease;" it is caused by an autosomal recessive genetic condition. Although the neuromuscular system displays the most noticeable symptoms, the disease has several potentially lethal consequences.  Patients must be closely monitored for the development of scoliosis, diabetes, and cardiovascular complications (namely, cardiomyopathy and tachycardia).  By dismissing this as some condition fabricated by Big Pharma and actively promoting the use of raw foods and herbs as the PRIMARY means of coping with this disease, you are wielding your ignorance as a dangerous force.
Also, you claim that I should recognize "all the people" who have been cured by following your nutritional plan.  Show me ONE documented case of a patient with diagnosed FA who has recovered from following a raw food diet and omitting conventional medical care.  You have no idea what it is like to watch someone whom you love deal with this.  Regardless of how entrenched you are in your own egoism, you are still fundamentally ignorant of the full spectrum of physical, psychological, and emotional problems incurred by victims of this disease.

I strongly urge you to either amend or remove this video.  Good nutrition is an indispensable part of mitigating the symptoms of any disease, but it is by no means a magical panacea for Friedreich's Ataxia.  Although your intentions may be good, please be aware that you are actually only making the situation worse.  Promote a good diet in conjuction with medical treatment, but to actively discredit the necessity of medical care in treating FA is unconscionable.


I really cannot express how angry this video makes me.  I know just how difficult FA can be even with all possible medical treatments and therapies.  I cannot bear to imagine a child--or anyone--forced to deal with the misery of this disease with nothing but a fucking wheat-grass shake and plate of raw fruit as treatment.

(Edit: Either YouTube is really screwed up, or this man has deleted most of my comments and blocked me from leaving further comments on the preceding video. In my opinion, his censorship of opposing opinions just proves that he knows he is wrong yet remains insistent upon deliberately promoting misinformation. He is now aware of the harm he is potentially causing and continues with his actions regardless.)

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It's the blocking of the comments that makes me the angriest; he is deliberately hiding the truth in order to push his products and capitalize upon desperate people.
If he is actually selling something something and claiming that it has these effects, then I believe that is illegal. It is false advertising.

If he is not selling anything, then what does he have to gain? Is he somehow getting donations from people who feel some sort of placebo effect? People who feed on ignorance do it for one reason: money. Can anyone verify exactly why he is doing this. I just REALLY doubt that he actually believes it and is trying to help people. That's just almost never the case.
He probably owns the company that he recommended for herbal mixes or whatever he called them.
I think he might be trying to sell something

can you dig it?!
I agree, GT. His channel is so blatantly promotional; he's not really trying to help anyone, he's just trying to make a buck. So sad.
He's a land shark alright and I'd say he found his qualifications on the back of a Kellog's Corn Flakes package. A Space Cadet maybe?

One definition of Space Cadet - "someone that does you head in so much you wanna kill em"

And old John Harvey Kellogg himself is another sad issue with things like the Race Betterment Foundation. From wiki "His dietary advice in the late 19th century, which was in part concerned with reducing sexual stimulation, discouraged meat-eating, but not emphatically so."
As far as I'm concerned, this should be illegal or at least heavily regulated. The same way you need a license to practice medicine or psychology, you should need a license of some time before spiiting out potentially dangerous nonsense on YouTube.

I completely agree. At the very least, a disclaimer should be required when delivering medical advice in the absence of medical training.
The question was "When is ignorance dangerous?" Well, you've found a great example with this video!

I wonder how many people have been injured by the advice of pseudoscience. Unfortunately there are (unqualified) folks who are promoting their product/answer without the proper testing for truth or effectiveness. Although they may mean well, belief should never replace fact.
I really can't tell how crazy this guy is. Part of me thinks that he is just so stupid that he believes his own propaganda and has good intentions underneath it all. Then the other part of me think that he knows how wrong he is and is just trying to make a quick buck, regardless of how many people he hurts. I'm becoming more inclined towards the latter as he continues to delete and block comments.
It's interesting to me that in the video where he is trying to sell his dvds he calls the money "a donation." What does that mean? Is he giving this money to charity? Or are people donating to help him buy more bananas?
Good question Leigh. Maybe he's set up as a 'charity' for taxation purposes? I know of one shonk who sells magnets & asks for 'donations;' maybe to avoid paying tax?


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