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Why the Medical Establishment Attacks Columbia Pacific University, by Paul Hartal, Ph.D.
Why the Medical Establishment Attacks Columbia Pacific University
For many years Columbia Pacific University (CPU) was a state-approved innovative educational institution in San-Rafael, California. As a distance-learning and pioneering school CPU fulfilled a special need for a select constituency of accomplished individuals motivated by iconoclastic vision, innovative spirit and creativity. CPU's success, however, became an eye-sore for the establishment. Traditional universities felt threatened by its trail-blazing programs. They began to harass CPU. The marketing competition with traditional universities and its radical philosophy of education that challenges the worn-out medieval organizational frameworks of the accredited campus eventually led to the shutdown of CPU. In 1996 the Council for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education denied CPU's application for approval as a post-secondary degree granting school in California. Although CPU petitioned the Alameda County Superior Court for a writ of mandamus vacating the council's order and decision, the court denied the university's request. In December 1998 the California Supreme Court refused CPU's petition for review. While the judicial battles still continue in the California courts, the university has expanded by opening a new sister institution in Montana. This new institution, Columbia Commonwealth University, has received foreign accreditation but intends to seek U.S. accreditation as well. Meanwhile CPU of California has ceased accepting new students, and is concentrated solely on its judicial battles with the State.
The State's attempt to close down CPU in California also reflects the existing tensions between two diametrically opposed approaches to health care. These conflicting paradigms represent explosive flashpoints between the reductionism of mainstream medicine and the holism of integrative therapies. The ethos of holistic (or wholistic) health care played a fundamental role in the foundation of CPU in 1978. Its president, Richard Crews, M.D., a graduate of Harvard Medical School, incorporated into the CPU curriculum a special course of instruction known as the "Healthscription".The course was one of the basic requirements to complete for every graduate. It helped students to increase their knowledge of personal nutrition, exercise and stress management. It strove to empower students with high level wellness that increases the ability to learn more effectively and to function better in daily life.
In Natural Health, Natural Medicine , Dr. Andrew Weil, another graduate of Harvard Medical School, observes that conventional allopathic medicien excels at managing trauma, surgical emergencies, or acute bacterial infections, but it fails in the treatment of chronic degenerative disease, cancer, asthma, allergy, diabetes, lupus, mental illness, as well as other health problems.Moreover, studies published,e.g., in 1998 in The Journal of the American Medical association (JAMA), and in other reliable sources, reveal the failure of scientific medicine that has become itself a leading cause of death. The statistical data of medicine-induced iatrogenic injuries show that in the USA alone more people die of properly prescribed medications each year than the number of Americans killed in the entire Vietnam War. Furthermore, each year thousands of people perish because of diagnostic mistakes, equipment failure, infected hospitals, mismatching blood types, pharmaceutical errors and sham surgeries. In regard to the latter, a Congressional Subcommittee in the 1970s estimated that out of the over 20 million operations carried out in the USA every year, the annual number of unnecessary operations amounts to 2,4 million, resulting in 12,000 lost lives. There is no particular reason to believe that the situation today is better.
Thus, Voltaire's remark about the nescience of doctors remains to be valid:" Physicians pour drugs of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, into humans of which they know nothing". Robert Mendelsohn, M.D.,a former professor of medicine at the University of Illinois and chairman of medical licensing committee of that state,says that doctors "continue to treat their patients with their own forms of unscientific quackery, which won't stand up to the test of controlled studies". Despite the hard work and honest efforts of many medical doctors to cure people of their ailments, the misguided medical training, the systemic flaws of allopathic medicine predispose it to fail in providing optimal health care. Since without patients medical doctors cannot make a living, allopathic medicine is inherently sickness oriented. It pays only a lip service to prevention because it has no real interest in enduring health. The word 'doctor' connotes teacher. Yet doctors seldom teach people how to live in a healthy manner. The vested interests of mainstream medicine lie beyond the ideal of building up high level of well being in people. Medicine is a huge business. Through the institutionalized malpractice of conventional medicine, doctors become drug-pushers for pharmaceutical companies that market their products not to promote health but to satisfy their shareholders.
Wholistic therapies are much safer and cheaper. For example, research findings prove that relaxation techniques combined with life style changes can reduce high blood pressure faster and farther than the conventional medical treatment with drugs. Another case in point concerns the delivery of babies by certified-nurse midwives.According to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics babies delivered in the U.S. were much safer in the hands of nurse-midwives than in the hands of physicians. The study of 3.9 million, single, vaginal births of 35 to 43 weeks gestation attended by nurse-midwives in 1991 indicated a 19 per cent lower-mortality rate than similar births aided by medical doctors. Nurse midwives fared even better with regard to neonatal mortality, the deaths that occur during the first month of life. Neonatal mortality was 33 per cent lower among babies delivered by nurse midwives as against those attended by physicians.
The orchestrated assaults of mainstream medicine against holistic health care target CPU graduates as well. For example, Stephen Barrett, a former medical doctor who states his current licence status as "retired", operates on the Internet a "Quackwatch" that slanders CPU alumni with health related degrees."Dr." Barrett's written attacks against alternative medicine and practitioners suffer from a severe case of tunnel vision. His web site strives to brainwash the public and to install blind faith in the infallible authority of allopathic medicine. "Quackwatch" arrogantly pretends to hold a monopoly over the truth. It is exactly this sort of attitude against which Einstein warns in Ideas and Opinions: "Schools may interfere with the development of inward freedom through authoritarian influences". He stresses that we are exposed to too much education, and that "the development of science and of the creative activities of the spirit " requires inward freedom , "the independence of thought from the restrictions of authoritarian and social prejudices".
Mr. Barrett's "Quackwatch" misleads the public. His method of data selection is guided by the principle of not letting the facts interfere with his biased judgement of wholistic therapies. He is not known to have training in natural medicine, herbalism, chiropractic, ayurveda, yoga, acupuncture, homeopathy, or other alternative health care modalities, but nevertheless he dismisses all non allopathic practices as frauds. Giving his "expert" opinion concerning things that he demonstrates no expertise in, naturally, qualifies him as a master quack. His stand, however, is also irresponsible, because alternative therapies can assist people to enhance their well-being and to improve their quality of life. Non-conventional health care prevents disease and helps to overcome illness. Owing to the increasing disappointment of the public with the limitations and failures of mainstream medicine, nowadays more than 40 per cent of Americans turn to some forms of alternative or complementary therapies. A survey conducted in 1998 in the U.S. found that people who seek care from holistic therapies tend to be better educated than those who rely primarily on mainstream allopathic medicine.
Dated December 22, 1999, the Harvard affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital's Neurology Web Forum published on the Internet an article under the title :"PAC" Money for "quackwatch". It reveals that "the FDA and the Pharmaceutical Advertising Counsel ("PAC"), which represents some 35 major drug companies, have formed and co-founded a corporation under a joint letterhead, calling itself the National Council Against Health Fraud ("NCAHF")." Stephen Barrett, MD, who publishes "Quackwatch" on line, William Jarvis, MD, and others, are paid by PAC " to publicly discredit as unscientific or unknown any of all viable herbs, vitamins, homeopathic remedies or non-allopathic therapies, particularly those that are proven to have the most promise and present the greatest threat to the PAC members".
Grace Halloran, who graduated in 1977 from CPU with a Ph.D. in wholistic health science, is among those that Barrett singles out for attack on "Quackwatch". The information he posts on his web site about Dr. Halloran totally ignores her marvellous accomplishment, the creation of the first clinically tested treatment for macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetic retinopathy. In her book, Amazing Grace: Autobiography of a Survivor (North Star Publications, 1993), Halloran writes that she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa and confronted with a sentence of certain blindness , but rejected the verdict of conventional medicine according to which she contracted an untreatable condition. Instead, she developed an integrative program involving bio-electrical stimulation, eye-health exercises, color therapy, nutrition and other treatments. As Willie L. Brown Jr., the Mayor of San Francisco points out in his review of Dr. Halloran's book, she helped not only herself but him , and countless others. "Against pain, tragedy, and darkness, her extraordinary spirit struggled and prevailed...Grace Halloran has not merely survived, she has triumphed".
The orthotist Arthur L. Copes is another CPU alumnus whom Barrett tries to discredit on his "Quackwatch". In reality, Dr. Copes is a distinguished, internationally renowned inventor of a system involving a medical brace that eliminates the need for spinal surgery. The brace is used as part of the Copes system for the treatment of scoliosis, a progressive and degenerative disease that causes severe lateral curvature of the spine, ribs and pelvis. It affects especially young women. Physicians in the past regarded surgery as the only remedy for scoliosis. By 1983, after many years of study and practical management of scoliosis cases, Dr. Copes created a curvature-straightening brace utilizing air-injected pads developed by NASA. The lightweight structure functions on a parallel principle with the orthodontic braces used to straighten teeth. However, the Copes system also employs an integrative regimen which includes exercise, electrical stimulation of the muscle tissues, hydrotherapy, nutrition and diet. It has been remarkably successful, producing 80 per cent correction in 80 per cent of the patients treated in a period of 12 years. Its developer has trained many medical doctors and chiropractors in the non-surgical treatment of scoliosis.
Annemarie Colbin is also on the "Quackwatch" list. She earned her Master's degree in wholistic nutrition from CPU in 1984.She is a well-known author of such cookbooks as The Book of Whole Meals (Autumn Press, 1979; Ballantine Books, 1983), and Food and Healing (Ballantine Books, 1986). The latter deals with the relationship between food and health. It has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Polish and Chinese. Due to its great success Ballantine reissued it in 1996 in a 10th anniversary edition. In 1998 Dutton published Annemarie Colbin's Food and Our Bones: How to Prevent Osteoperosis Naturally. Currently, she is working on a doctoral degree at The Union Institute in Cincinnati.
A yoga instructor at MIT with a Ph.D. from CPU, Gurucharan Singh Khalsa also appears on "Quackwatch". He holds a Master's degree from the University of Boston. Dr. Khalsa recently co-authored Breathwalk , a book on a relaxation technique that integrates breathing, walking and meditation into specific exercise patterns that create vitality. As an alternative to traditional exercise, "breathwalk" is capable of revitalization and provides profound health benefits through the oxigenation of the body. According to Edward Hallowell, M.D., Breathwalk can "enhance your concentration, energy and sense of well-being". Herbert Benson, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and author of The Relaxation Response, notes that 'breathwalk" is a way to exercise and enhance our positive moods. The combination of exercise, walking and positive mood elevation helps the healing process. " I have explored the process of healing and the scientific foundations for the use of evidence-based techniques, like meditation, for over thirty years" , writes Dr. Benson. And he adds: " I am convinced of its applicability for all of us. I found in my research that there is a relaxation response produced by rhythmical exercise with focused attention as done in Breathwalk".
About the Author:
"The Songs of the Double Helix: Symmetry and Lyrical Conceptualism", in Symmetry 2000, London Portland Press, 2001, Ed. by T.C. Laurent, University of Uppsala and I. Hargittai, Tech University of Budapest
"Reflections on Miro", in Dreaming the Future by Clifford A. Pickover, Ph.D., New York: Pr
Pometheus Press, 2001
Awards in painting and poetry:
- The Brush and the Compass (Lanham: University Press of America, 1988)
- The Kidnapping of the Painter Miro (New York, Montreal: Elore, 1997)
- A History of Architecture (Jerusalem,: R. Mass, 1973)
- Love and Cosmos (Montreal: Galerie Alef, 1999)
- Prix de Paris,
- Poetry Canada , and many others
- Luxembourg Museum , Paris;
- Museum of Civilization, Ottawa;
- Sion Museum, Switzerland; Seoul International Fine Arts Center, Duncan Gallery , New York; University of Oregon; and many others
- "The Concept of Creativity", McGill University,
- "On the Healing Role of Art", University of Oregon;
- "Art and Space Exploration", Concordia University
- Centre for Art, Science and Technology, Montreal;
Originator of Lyrical Conceptualism
- Radnoti Highschool, Szeged, Hungary;1950-4;
- Science and Medicine, University of Szeged, 1955-7;
- B.A., Dipl. Ed., University of Jerusalem, 1961-6;
- M.A., Concordia University, Montreal; 1974-77;
- Ph.D. Columbia Pacific University, California, 1985-6
Doctoral Dissertation: Interface Dynamics: The Interaction of Art and Science; Internationally acclaimed volume published as The Brush and the Compass.