Chiropractors and Diabetes Gimmickry
November 13, 2017
The more I study the activities of chiropractors, the more I find myself comparing them to striptease dancing as depicted in my favorite humorous musical number from the 1962 movie “Gypsy.”
The scene is a dressing room in a burlesque theater in Wichita, Kansas. Louise Hovick (who eventually becomes striptease star Gypsy Rose Lee) is a young woman with a booking at the theater to sing and dance—but not strip. She encounters three seasoned strippers. She explains to them that she doesn’t have any talent for stripping.
One of the strippers, Miss Mazeppa, assures her: “To be a stripper, all you need to have is no talent.”
Another stripper, Tessie Tura, counters: “Pardon me! But to have no talent is not enough. What you need to have is an idea that makes you strip special!”
And so begins a performance of “You Gotta Have a Gimmick.”
Miss Mazeppa’s gimmick is to do it with a horn, which she proceeds to blow. Tessie Tura’s gimmick is to do it with ballet dancing. Miss Electra’s gimmick is to do it with a costume lit up like a Christmas tree.
Chiropractors also have gimmicks. I see their gimmicks as much more seductive than the gimmicks of strippers in “Gypsy.”
Chiropractic’s identity as a profession depends on a gimmick: promoting the implausible notion that chiropractors have special expertise to detect and adjust supposedly health compromising spinal dysfunctions that they call chiropractic subluxations or vertebral subluxation complexes. In January 2005, the World Federation of Chiropractic’s Task Force on Identity released a report of a survey of more than 3600 chiropractors in which 65 percent of respondents indicated that the phrase “management of vertebral subluxation and its impact on general health” fits chiropractic “perfectly” or almost perfectly. [See slide #30 here.]
Common chiropractic gimmicks include various technique systems based on various “philosophies” of chiropractic care and/or the use of supposedly special devices. Many chiropractors do it with Activator Methods. Many do it with Applied Kinesiology. Some do it with Bio Energetic Synchronization Technique (B.E.S.T.)—or other gimmicks of gobbledygook to unsuspecting and naive consumers.
Chiropractic pediatrics, for example, is a marketing gimmick masquerading as a health care specialty. Its evidence base is poor and many of its practitioners offer parents vaccination denialism propaganda.
Some chiropractors focus on marketing stem cell treatments. I recently attended a luncheon seminar about stem cell treatments for joint problems and was not surprised to discover that the speaker who identified himself as a “doctor” (which he said correctly but misleadingly means teacher) is a chiropractor. I’ll save that story for another column.
In states that give chiropractors broad scopes of practice, dietary supplement hucksterism is a gimmick. Many chiropractors focus on “chiropractic nutrition.”
Practice building courses that teach sales gimmicks for success are commonly promoted to recent graduates of chiropractic colleges and other success-seeking chiropractors including those interested in treating newborns and other children and those interested in treating specific diseases or organ defects.
Another common type of gimmick is to offer a supposedly revolutionary approach to treating a specific health problem. For example, some chiropractors claim to heal allergies by relieving "energy blockages." In recent years, some chiropractors have invested in expensive advertising with pitches offering free booklets and/or free dinner seminars to recruit patients who have diseases such as peripheral neuropathy (a common consequence of diabetes) and osteoarthritis.
Type 2 Diabetes Gimmicks
Some chiropractors have marketed themselves as type 2 diabetes treatment experts and have made unfounded, audacious promotional claims that could lead people with diabetes away from life-saving care and toward substandard care. In 2014, Robert Puleo, executive officer of California’s Board of Chiropractic, was quoted by Los Angeles Times consumer affairs columnist David Lazarus about newspaper ads making bold claims for breakthrough treatments for diabetes and other chronic illnesses: “It reeks of snake oil. There are some chiropractors out there who want to make a buck any way they can.”
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease characterized by insulin resistance, which means the body does not respond properly to the action of pancreatic hormone insulin to move the sugar glucose from the blood into bodily cells to provide energy. Blood levels of glucose become abnormally high, leading eventually to nerve, eye, kidney, dental, and cardiovascular system damage.
Markers of elevated risk for developing type 2 diabetes include overweight, obesity, physical inactivity, a family history of diabetes, age forty-five or older, high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides in the blood, having polycystic ovary syndrome, and having acanthosis nigricans. Some ethnic/racial groups are at elevated risk. Heredity plays an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes.
Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their disease by improving their diets and increasing their physical activity. Some require drug treatments to overcome insulin resistance and keep blood glucose at healthy levels. Those whose bodies cannot make enough insulin to overcome insulin resistance may need insulin as medication.
Jeffrey Murray Hockings
In 2011, Lazarus wrote about a free “Diabetes Breakthrough” dinner seminar at Los Angeles International Airport that attracted attendees with a newspaper ad promising “you will discover the hidden secrets about how to reverse your diabetes, reduce and eliminate your need and dependence on drugs, lose weight without exercise, explode your energy levels and the potential to become non-diabetic.” The main speaker was Jeff Hockings, a chiropractor who reportedly criticized doctors and drug companies for prospering by treating diabetes without curing it. Hocking claimed that diabetes can be “reversed” at an 85 percent success rate through three weeks of “cleansing,” dietary changes, “high-potency” herbs, and supplements provided exclusively by Hocking’s own company. The seminar recruited patients for an initial consultation for a cost of $87. The treatment program was said to cost from $1,000 to $15,000.
According to the website of California’s Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the chiropractic license status of Jeffrey Murray Hockings is “canceled” as of this writing. Hockings was cited twice in 2014 for his advertising, and he paid his citations in full in 2015.
Last year, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced that Hockings and another chiropractor, Dean Draluck, would have to cease marketing their Help Your Diabetes (HYD) program sales seminars in Iowa after Hockings refused to grant two older Iowans cancellations and refunds of $4,000 a piece.
Candice Alain Hall (McCowin)
In October 2013, California’s Board of Chiropractic Examiners received a complaint about an advertisement by Candice McCowin, DC (whose current name is Candice Alain Hall). The advertisement claimed: “… encouraging study on type 2 diabetes shows the disease can be reversed in as little as 1 week.” The ad offered:
A free guide has just been made available to type 2 diabetics detailing an approach more powerful than any drug known to modern science. The free diabetic guide explains in plain English how many diabetics have been able to reduce and eliminate their drugs and insulin injections, lose weight without exercise, reduce and eliminate the risk for diabetic complications, restore pancreatic function, and even become non-diabetic. The free guide also reveals rarely used diagnostic testing that is helping doctors understand potential causes of diabetes beyond weight gain, genetics and lack of exercise.
An expert reviewer for the Board concluded that the ad and guide violated California Code of Regulation section 311 (misleading advertising) and assessed a penalty of only $500 in 2014. According to the Board, Hall was cited again for her advertising in 2015.
Hall is currently in practice at Next Advanced Medicine with Neil K. Hersh, MD, whose licensure listing at the Medical Board of California indicates “none” for his board certification. His biographical summary at his practice’s website says he “embraces a ‘holistic approach’ to wellness, which includes nutritional support, dietary supplements, regular and varied exercise, and numerous forms of ‘alternative and complimentary’[sic] healthcare modalities.”
Since May 2016, I’ve had email exchanges and one conversation over the phone with a mostly satisfied patient of Next Advanced Medicine who contacted me after she read a previous article I wrote that mentioned the Hall’s 2014 penalty. She said she had previously been under the care of an endocrinologist for her hypothyroidism and had been taking the thyroid drug Synthroid for many years. Although she had not been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, she said she had a high body mass index and an elevated fasting blood sugar level. She said that, considering her risk characteristics for type 2 diabetes, her endocrinologist had prescribed for her the oral diabetes drug metformin as an ongoing preventive measure. Along with her husband, who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, she enrolled in the Next Advanced Medicine diabetes program.
She shared these comments about her experience with the program:
- At the seminar Hall offered to recruit prospective patients, she “felt oversold.”
- She “felt [Next Advanced Medicine] was more of a business than a medical practice.”
- She paid $8,000 out of pocket for six months of weekly visits with half of that amount reimbursed later by insurance.
- She rated as negatives the cost and feeling as part of a herd at time in a “very busy, over scheduled office.”
- She was told she is gluten intolerant on the basis of blood, stool, and saliva tests (even though no specific biomarker detectable in saliva, blood, or stools has been identified for non-celiac gluten sensitivity).
- She thought that the nutrition counseling was the highlight of the program. She was placed on a gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, soy-free diet along with recommended dietary supplements (included with weekly visits).
- She said she’s a great cook and creates wonderful replacement dishes for foods she no longer eats.
- She lost fifty pounds as of January 2017, maintained her weight loss through July, no longer requires use of a continuous positive air pressure machine to treat her sleep apnea, and claims her fibromyalgia is gone.
- She was taken off twelve of her previous fourteen medications (for asthma, prediabetes, and high blood pressure) prescribed by her regular doctors.
- She believes she avoided knee replacement, as her pains are “virtually GONE.”
- She continues to get probiotics from Next Advanced Medicine, but gets her medical care now from her endocrinologist, cardiologist, and family doctor.
- In July, she was found to have a kidney stone and was diagnosed with pancreatitis after passing out and crashing her car.
- Her husband, who was diagnosed with diabetes, has not been as strict with his eating and gained back some of the weight he had lost.
Testimonials, even when sincerely offered, are problematic as clinical evidence, especially regarding the value of any particular component of a multidimensional program. Nevertheless, losing dozens of pounds tends to be helpful for overweight people whether they are type 2 diabetics or not. It isn’t extraordinary to lose significant weight on a restrictive diet, especially for people with problematic diets to begin with. Investing large amounts of money in a lifestyle program, regardless of the value of any particular program component, can motivate lifestyle changes, but significant lifestyle change is notoriously difficult and tends to be the exception rather than the rule. Keeping lost weight off for the long term is essential, but it’s a difficult challenge.
James Joseph Martin
On August 4, 2016, California’s Board of Chiropractic Examiners announced that James Joseph Martin, who had been previously cited for his advertising, had been arrested for grand theft and practicing medicine without a license in conjunction with his misleading business activities promoting himself as a Doctor of Pastoral Science (D.PSc), “Thyroid and Diabetic Specialist,” practitioner of “Functional Neurology and Metabolic Medicine,” and “Head Physician,” and was ordered by a judge on July 22, 2016, not to practice chiropractic. However, on August 10, a Superior Court Judge in Sacramento ordered that, as a condition of Martin’s bail release, he could practice as a chiropractor limited to patient consultations, review of x-rays, and chiropractic adjustments under the supervision of another chiropractor. As of this writing, the Board of Chiropractors indicates his license status is valid.
Brandon Lee Babcock
As reported in December 2013 in The Salt Lake Tribune, Brandon Lee Babcock, DC. was sentenced to six months in jail, ordered to serve three years probation, and repay $3,804 in restitution after being convicted of six third-degree felony counts of exploiting a vulnerable adult. Babcock had promoted a nutritional type 2 diabetes reversal scheme that bilked older adults of thousands of dollars. He continued to do so even after April 2012, when Utah’s Division of Occupational Licensing suspended his chiropractic license by emergency order, and after August 2012, when, according to the Tribune article, West Jordan City revoked Babcock’s business license.
The Tribune article describes how his scheme worked. To recruit patients, he offered free gourmet dinners where attendees were shown video testimonials and given information about Babcock’s supposed “diabetes breakthrough.” He tricked patients into signing papers that established lines of credit with Chase Health Advance and he maxed out the $6,000 limit when patients tried to withdraw from his services. Some patients testified that Dr. Babcock and his staff misled them into signing up for credit without their knowledge or consent. Others said Babcock refused to provide refunds despite a thirty-day opt-out guarantee and a promise of 100 percent satisfaction.
Brandon and Heather Credeur
Colorado-based chiropractors Brandon Credeur, DC, (who was a classmate of Brandon Lee Babcock’s at Parker College of Chiropractic) and his wife Heather Credeur, DC, operate Functional Medicine Masters, a business that teaches chiropractors to build high-volume practices for treating chronic diseases with services offered on a cash, no-insurance basis. They claim that they had built a single-office practice of over $7.5 million in cash with 5,000 patients and that they can teach chiropractors to build multi-million dollar practices.
In a skeptical examination of “functional medicine” in practice, David Gorski, MD, PhD, wrote that “functional medicine”:
… combines the worst aspects of conventional medicine and alternative medicine. Specifically, it combines massive overtesting with a lack of science and a “make it up as you go along” ethic, all purportedly in the service of the "biochemical individuality" of each patient.
The Credeurs used newspaper advertising to attract diabetics to seminars following free gourmet dinners to promote their “functional endocrinology” treatments to diabetics and people with symptoms of low thyroid function. In April 2011, the ABC News-affiliated 7News Denver television station aired a critical CALL7 investigative report by Theresa Marchetta about how patients were misled by the Credeurs' advertising.
On August 30, 2011, NCMIC Insurance Company cancelled the Malpractice Insurance Claims Made policies for both Brandon D. Credeur, DC, and Heather A. Credeur, DC. The reason given in each case was “Does not meet underwriting standards.”
A September 2011 complaint from Colorado’s Board of Chiropractic Examiners against Brandon Credeur charged him with violations of the Board’s rules regarding scope of practice; misleading, deceptive, false, or unethical advertising; untrue, deceptive or misleading practices regarding unproven and/or unnecessary services; and record keeping requirements.
In October 2011, 7News Denver reported that:
- A woman had sued Brandon Credeur but died before the lawsuit was settled.
- A lawsuit by thirteen other patients accused Brandon Credeur of deceptive trade practices, professional negligence, misrepresentation (pretending to be an endocrinologist when he’s a chiropractor), and breach of contract; the lawsuit named both Credeurs, their Functional Endocrinology Center of Colorado, every incarnation of Brandon Credeur’s business name, and every chiropractor in Brandon’s office.
In November 2011, 7News Denver reported that the Credeurs continued to operate Functional Endocrinology Center of Colorado, but nearly all of the chiropractors left the practice. The report also noted that CALL7 investigators had received more than 200 calls and emails from patients who said the Credeurs’ claims were misleading.
In February 2012, 7News Denver reported that an osteopathic physician in Ohio who was not licensed to practice in Colorado wrote prescriptions for patients at the Credeurs’ Functional Endocrinology Center of Colorado.
Instead of losing their chiropractic licenses, as some of their former patients had expected, in September 2012, both Brandon Credeur and Heather Credeur admitted to nothing and agreed with the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners to keep better records. A “Stipulation and Final Agency Order” for Brandon and one for Heather are posted on the DORA website. Each order indicates that it shall constitute a “Letter of Admonition” regarding documentation of patient interactions in certain records. Brandon’s letter included this paragraph and Heather’s had the same paragraph with the exceptions of “her” instead of “his” and “she” instead of “he”:
The Board affirms that the scope of chiropractic practice includes diagnoses and treatment of human ailments, including those affecting the endocrine system. Respondent and the Board expressly agree that it is appropriate for Respondent to use the term “functional endocrinology” in his practice name and to describe his services provided that he continues to disclose his credential “D.C.” when referring to himself as “doctor” to make clear that he is a chiropractor and that his services are provided pursuant to his chiropractic credentials.
On June 19, 2013, the Colorado Medical Board sent an order to Brandon and Heather Credeur to cease and desist practicing medicine without a license. That same day, they declared bankruptcy to the dismay of former patients who had sued them to get their money back. On August 28, 2015, the Colorado Medical Board Licensing Panel vacated the cease and desist order without prejudice.
I noticed in the May 6, 2017 issue of the Los Angeles Times an ad that reminded me of the aforementioned chiropractors. The ad had this text (with all the odd capitalizations as in the original):
AMAZING DIABETES STUDY
Encouraging Study on TYPE II DIABETES Shows the disease CAN BE REVERSED in as little as 1 WEEK!
A free guide has just been made available to Type II Diabetics detailing an approach that appears to be more powerful than any drug known to modern science. The free diabetic guide explains in plain English how many diabetics have been able to reduce and eliminate their drugs and insulin injections, lose weight without exercise, reduce and eliminate the risk for diabetic complications, restore pancreatic function and even become non-diabetic. The free guide also reveals rarely used diagnostic testing that is helping doctors understand potential causes of diabetes beyond weight gain, genetics and lack of exercise.
To receive your free report (available while supplies last) call toll free 1-800-747-5828 or go to www.DiabetesLosAngeles.com
The bottom of the ad has a picture of a caduceus followed by the words:
Integrative Health Center
…transforming your health
I don’t object when chiropractors use the caduceus in their advertising, but I do discourage responsible medical doctors from using it to promote their practices.
Keith Blayney (2005) described the caduceus:
Many "medical" organisations use a symbol of a short rod entwined by two snakes and topped by a pair of wings, which is actually the caduceus or magic wand of the Greek god Hermes (Roman Mercury), messenger of the gods, inventor of (magical) incantations, conductor of the dead and protector of merchants and thieves.
Below the caduceus in the ad it says: “Dr. Yaniv Farbenbloom, DC”
I’m always bemused when I see chiropractors redundantly use “Dr.” before their names and “DC” (Doctor of Chiropractic) after their names. I take it to mean that they’re either trying a bit too hard to appear credible or they’re revealing that they realize that DC isn’t the most redoubtable of clinical doctorates even though more than 120 years have elapsed since chiropractic was dreamed up.
I called to request my free report and all nineteen pages of it arrived two days later with a page inserted providing ten testimonials (given without last names) praising Dr. Farbenbloom along with a two-page form letter offering a “Complimentary TYPE II DIABETES QUALIFICATION EVALUATION” date-stamped to indicate that the offer “EXPIRES May 15, 2017” and that the consultation normally costs $345. (When quoting from the documents, I use the capitalization, bolding, underlining, and italicization as in the original.)
The title of the report was:
“DIABETIC IGNORANCE: How Drug Companies, the Food Industry, and Some Doctors SET YOU UP for Failure”
Yes, it’s a typical hyped sales pitch used in promoting bizarro health care. It emphasizes cynical, sensationalist, medicine-bashing to undermine confidence in standard care while suggesting that a “risk-free” non-mainstream approach must be better. It’s a pitch that doesn’t require coherence and isn’t based on biological plausibility or rigorous clinical research.
Dr. Farbenbloom claims without providing evidence “… many diabetics are pushed into a one-drug-after-another system that often promotes the very disease it attempts to treat.” To the contrary, standard treatment of type 2 diabetes relies on medication only when the patients won’t or can’t manage their disease with healthy eating and exercise.
Dr. Farbenbloom writes:
I don’t really concern myself about ‘curing’ type II diabetes … I don’t really care about the diagnosis of type II diabetes … This type of thinking and philosophy has gotten us where we are today with respect to health in this country (which is pretty much at the bottom of the barrel). [p. 5]
To the contrary, improving diagnosis, in general, and for type 2 diabetes is needed to improve U.S. population health. And Dr. Farbenbloom should consider other factors including wasteful health-related spending on health disadvantages in the U.S. relative to other wealthy countries.
Although Dr. Farbenbloom doesn’t claim to cure diabetes, he insists:
Type II Diabetes Can ABSOLUTELY Be Reversed
He claims to address the root causes of diabetes unlike most doctors and says he sees type 2 diabetics in health care everyday:
- Walk away from prescription drugs and insulin
- Lose weight without exercise
- Increase their energy levels
- Improve their quality of life
- Make it to a point where they are Non-Diabetic [p. 9]
A reasonable reader might interpret that last bullet point as suggesting the equivalent of a cure. The American Diabetes Association does not see diabetes as curable. At best, it appears that some people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who sustain significant weight loss can have long periods of remission in terms of normalized blood sugar levels. Dr. Farbenbloom is willing to take credit for weight loss even though he also claims your weight doesn’t have much to do with diabetes.
… your doctor is likely not intentionally holding back information, it’s more likely that he or she does not have the information I have. [p. 13]
When you run ALL of the necessary tests to determine why a person can no longer regulate their blood sugar you find that each person has a different mechanism for their diabetes. [p. 14]
He asks (apparently falling for the popular misconception that more testing means better health care):
Has your doctor run every blood test that is important to your health? Or does your doctor just run what the insurance companies and the “standard of care” allow? [sic, p. 13]
He also suggests that males should be evaluated for “Andropause” and mentions as tests your doctor probably doesn’t order (without noting that routinely ordering such tests has not been shown to be a basis for selecting treatments leading to better health outcomes):
- adrenal stress index
- comprehensive digestive stool analysis
- complete thyroid panel
Andropause is a term used for age-related functional androgen (male sex hormones, most notably, testosterone) deficiency and is often represented as the male version of menopause. But age-related declines of testosterone production are not necessarily pathological. A 2013 paper noted dramatic increases in off-label prescribing of testosterone in thirty-seven countries from 2000 to 2011 in the absence of high-quality clinical evidence of safety and efficacy.
A Google search on “adrenal stress index” reveals that it is promoted by numerous “alternative” medicine practitioners. Dr. Farbenbloom doesn’t make clear how using this testing is in the best interests of his patients. In 2015, the Medical Board of California sent a public letter of reprimand to Diana Lynn Schwarzbein, MD, of Santa Barbara for diagnosing “adrenal burnout” by interpreting an adrenal stress index which indicated a simple departure from the standard of care.
Comprehensive digestive stool analysis and complete thyroid panel are types of test batteries commonly ordered by promoters of so-called functional medicine (FM) who, like Dr. Farbenbloom, claim to address biochemical individuality. David Gorski, MD, PhD, noted:
This search for “biochemical individuality” leads FM [functional medicine] practitioners to order incredible numbers of labs, as you will see, many of which, as Kimball Atwood pointed out a long time ago, are bogus and of no use, and many of which are routine lab tests that regular doctors order but often end up massively misinterpreted and abused. In particular, FM practitioners appear to like to order lab tests related to endocrinology.
According to Dr. Farbenbloom:
When you run ALL of the necessary tests to determine why a person can no longer regulate their blood sugar you find that each person has a different mechanism for their diabetes.
You need a treatment plan that is customized for you as an individual….
The point is this…You are not a diagnosis? [sic] Yet the medical establishment often designs treatment based upon a diagnosis. [p. 14-15]
Dr. Farbenbloom did not acknowledge that individualized diabetes management is mainstream medical practice. His prospective patients should recognize that, in addition to not being a diagnosis, they are also not the battery of “rarely used diagnostic testing” as mentioned in Dr. Farbenbloom’s ad.
His report doesn’t discuss the supposedly “amazing diabetes study” hyped in his newspaper ad. No evidence is provided that his testing-intensive approach to customizing care is advantageous for people with type 2 diabetes.
The last page of the report instructs readers to call for a free, no-obligation consultation by a stamped date (in my case May 29, 2017, which didn’t match the date stamped on the cover letter). The report ends with this message in a smaller font than used elsewhere in the report including his bashing of drug treatment, especially insulin, and his bashing of the pharmaceutical industry on pages 7 to 8:
Disclaimer: This guide is for informational purposes only. It is not designed to substitute for professional and individualized health advice. Please do not stop or start taking any prescription medication without the advice of your prescribing doctor, as this can be very dangerous to your health. You should always consult with your prescribing doctor regarding prescription drugs. [p. 19]
I didn’t reply to Dr. Farbenbloom’s invitation for a free consultation. Within a few days, I received a large postcard indicating “Time is Running Out: Only 5 Days Left!” And I soon received another envelope in the mail from him. It included the same report from the first mailing (although the stamped expiration date this time was May 22, 2017) along with the testimonials plus a three-page letter titled “Second Notice!” indicating the letter was about the “Free $345 gift. The letter includes these statements:
Frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t heard from you yet.
Whatever the reason – I’m giving you a second chance.
I didn’t the take the chance, but a few days later I received a two page letter headed with the words “Final Notice!” followed by:
“You Only Have Until May 29, 2017 [date-stamped] To See If You Qualify For My Type II Diabetes Reversal Program … FOR FREE!”
The final notice was accompanied by a page with the heading:
They Say … ”The PROOF Is In The Pudding.”
The page summarizes some lab results before and after treatment for one patient followed by four pages of the patients’ lab reports.
Along the way, I received that postcard again for a total of five mailings from Dr. Farbenbloom. I never made any of his deadlines to claim the consultation.
In June, the ad ran again in the Los Angeles Times. I’ve come expect limited time sales offers to be not as limited as advertised.
While Dr. Farbenbloom has a valid chiropractic license status as of this writing, California’s Board of Chiropractic Examiners reported that an accusation was filed against him in May 2015 and, on November 4, 2016, a disciplinary action of “Revoked, stayed, five-yr probation, thirty-day suspension” was taken. His alleged violation was described (p. 10) as:
Act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption committed in the course of the individual’s activities as a license holder, or otherwise; participation in any act of fraud or misrepresentation; knowingly making or signing a document related to the practice of chiropractic, which falsely represents the facts; participation in fraud/misrepresentation; unprofessional conduct/gross negligence.
I hope the Board will exercise due diligence in evaluating Dr. Farbenbloom’s promotional activities during his probationary period. I spotted an ad by Dr. Farbenbloom in the main section of the Sepember 17, 2017 Los Angeles Times for a “Free Diabetic Dinner Event” with a free gourmet meal for “Type II Diabetic Adults Only” at a “Convenient Sherman Oaks Location.” The ad stated:
You will discover how Type II Diabetics [sic] have been able to reverse their disease, reduce & eliminate drugs (including insulin), lose weight without exercise, explode their energy levels & become non-diabetic.
A similar ad by Dr. Farbenbloom also appeared in the next two Sunday editions of the Los Angeles Times.
I found an advertisement for a gourmet-meal dinner-workshop about diabetes on the website of Hoon Lim, DC, of Escondido, California along with two embedded videos, each featuring a patient’s testimonial. Dr. Lim’s ad makes claims similar to claims in Dr. Farbenbloom’s newspaper ad and free report. For example:
Stunning Research now suggests Type II Diabetes can begin to be REVERSED in As Little As 1 WEEK!
Don’t overlook the “begin to be” qualifier, which should lower a careful reader’s expectations for one-week progress.
Also the dinner event is described as offering benefits similar to what Dr. Farbenbloom advertises such as:
- How YOU can restore YOUR pancreatic function reverse YOUR diabetes and even become non-diabetic
And Dr. Lim includes the typical blaming of “Big Pharma” and “Big Food” along with doctor bashing:
“DIABETIC IGNORANCE: How Drug Companies, The Food Industry, and Some Doctors SET YOU UP for Failure”
I’m not surprised by the kind of expertise he claims:
- “Postgraduate Education in Functional Medicine and Clinical Nutrition to reverse Type II Diabetes”
As of this writing, California’s Board of Chiropractic Examiners have taken no disciplinary actions against Dr. Lim.
A friend of mine notified me that in September he spotted a chiropractor’s “AMAZING DIABETES STUDY” ad in the Chicago Tribune. It was similar to Dr. Farbenbloom’s May ad in the Los Angeles Times. By searching with Google on “AMAZING DIABETES STUDY,” I found other similar ads placed by chiropractors in Arizona, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.
I conclude that chiropractors throughout the United States have taken practice-building courses focused on “diabetes reversal” gimmickry. The promotion of advertising for “diabetes reversal” treatment by chiropractors should be viewed as interstate commerce and therefore, under the regulatory authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Considering the inadequacy of state licensing boards in regulating chiropractors who advertise “diabetes reversal” services, the need is urgent for the FTC to investigate and take appropriate actions to protect consumers.