Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Aitch too oh what the hell did I just read

I'm not sure if the people who read this blog are aware of Dr. Rolando Arafiles. The short story is that this guy promoted a bunch of nonsensical and ineffective treatments for serious medical conditions and was selling expensive therapies of his own from the hospital, basically all of which were of highly dubious efficacy.

When a pair of nurses brought him up on this matter, they had charges brought against themselves as a matter of intimidation. Dr. Arafiles had connections in the legal system that let him do that, specifically the Winkler County Sheriff Robert Roberts, Jr. This is also part of the current investigation against him.

Another thing, just to mention, that has been brought against him was the claim that he "performed and billed for unnecessary genitourinary exams" which sounds similar to claims brought against other quack physicians. Of course, in those links you've got actual OB/GYN doctors, for whom such acts could more easily be hired -- what the hell was Arafiles doing? Checking the urine (or "urinary tract" *wink-wink*) for toxic heavy metals as quacks are so wont to do?

Now, as noted above, Arafiles was in some sense advertising his secondary source of income from the hospital. Specifically that meant doing some things such as selling a water alkalinizer for $1,475 or so. Now, just so we're on the same page, the name suggests that the device is meant to reduce the acidity of drinking of water, because apparently drinking water shouldn't be too acidic. On his web site selling these things, he claims it can reduce hypertension, diabetes, morning sickness, hangovers, kidney stones, obesity; that it can heal wounds faster, reduce acne, and mosturize skin; and that it has a smooth taste and can dissolve matter. Actually, I've got a big issue with that last point -- and that's that if it can do that, doesn't that mean it ends up absorbing some of the omnipresent environmental toxins that the sorts of doctors warning about the dangers of acidic water always are talking about?

Even then, there are some obvious issues to take with the claim that slightly acidic water is as bad for you, or at least not as good as the alkaline water. First of all, it's all going to go right into the stomach, which is basically a small tub of acid. Secondly, plenty of foods we eat are high in acid content. Although it would be disingenuous (i.e., the sort of strawman question such a doctor would make) to ask "Where are the lemons with severe acne and morning sickness then?" certainly nobody seems to have an issue with them, and I've heard plenty of claims that the only thing that will cure a cold is large amounts of Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid).

I have to say I love it when quacks can't agree on what's good for a person.

Anyway, on Arafiles's site selling the alkalinizer, there's a really funny picture. Click on it to get a bigger picture.


Yeah, folks. That's right. Water is a mysterious liquid. HOW DOES IT WORK?
Someone get ICP on the phone, we're probably about to have a breakthrough.

If you'd like to read more, see here:

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