Category Archives: Junk Science

Disrupted Physician

Disrupted Physician is one of my favorite whistleblower sites. Michael Langan is exposing nationwide fraud in Physicians Health Programs, and his work has inspired many other doctors and nurses subjected to medical license extortion to speak up and speak out against irrational authority — a pretty hot topic these days!

His case involves fraudulent drug test results and suppression of evidence in addition to the clear Establishment Clause violation described in this document: BRM_and_PHS_Must_Offer_Secular_Alternatives_to_AA_NA_in_Disciplinary_Contracts.pdf.

Marty Mann and the Disease Theory

Here’s a really interesting article in The Atlantic about how Marty Mann promoted the disease concept of addiction in order to get doctors to promote AA.

“Mann’s reply to Armstrong was both fascinating and revealing. She agreed with Armstrong regarding the inefficacy of conventional medicine regarding alcoholism; she also vouchsafed her commitment to AA and its less-than-generous opinion of conventional treatment enterprises. “Not that I, as a dyed-in-the-wool AA,” she wrote to Armstrong in reply, “believe that clinics, or any other medical or psychiatric means can straighten out very many “alkies” (although I know it can in some instances, here and there) but I do believe that the average individual will more readily go into a clinic to find out what to do for what ails them than they will investigate a layman’s organization such as ours [AA]. And also I believe that the very presence of a clinic will emphasize and advertise to the uninitiated that alcoholism is a disease which is to be treated, not hidden or punished.”

And here is a fascinating intellectual history of addiction as disease, Addiction as Accomplishment: The Discursive Construction of Disease by CRAIG REINARMAN —

“In 1942, the Alcoholism Movement was founded by Marty Mann, a public relations executive and former ‘‘drunk’’, and others. By 1944, she joined with Dr. E.M. Jellinek at Yale to create an organization whose purpose was to popularize the disease concept by putting it on a scientific footing. Note the chronology: science was not the source of the concept but a resource for promoting it. This organization later became the National Council on Alcoholism (NCA). Their goal was to create a new ‘‘scientific’’ approach that would allow them to get beyond the old, moralistic ‘‘wet’’ versus ‘‘dry’’ battle lines of the Temperance and Prohibition period (Roizen, 1991). While there were a few scientists doing research on alcohol in the 1930s, the bulk of the scientific research that Mann and her allies hoped would be the basis for their new disease concept had not yet been done. Indeed, they hoped the NCA would generate contributions needed to fund that research. The 1942 ‘‘Manifesto’’ of the Alcoholism Movement clearly stated that they sought to ‘‘inculcate’’ into public opinion the idea that alcoholics were ‘‘sick’’, and therefore ‘‘not responsible’’ for their drinking and its consequences, and were thus deserving of medical treatment (Anderson, 1942; Roizen, 1991; Room & Collins, 1983).”

Journal of the AMA 1939

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JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
Vol. 113(16), October 14, 1939

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. The story of how more than one hundred men have recovered from alcoholism. Cloth. Price $3.50. 400 pp.. New York: Works Publishing Company. 1939.
The seriousness of the psychiatric and social problem represented by addiction to alcohol is generally underestimated by those not immediately familiar with the tragedies in the families of victims or the resistance addicts offer to any effective treatment. Many psychiatrists regard addiction to alcohol as having a more pessimistic prognosis than schizophrenia. For many pears the public was beguiled into believing that short courses of enforced abstinence and catharsis in “institutes” and “rest homes” would do the trick, and now that the failure of such temporizing has become common knowledge, a considerable number of other forms of quack treatment have sprung up. The book under review is a curious combination of organizing propaganda and religious exhortation. It is in no sense a scientific book, although it is introduced by a letter from a physician who claims to know some of the anonymous contributors who have been “cured” of addiction to alcohol and have joined together in an organization which would save other addicts by a kind of religious conversion. The book contains instructions as to how to intrigue the alcoholic addict into the acceptance of divine guidance in place of alcohol in terms strongly reminiscent of Dale Carnegie and the adherents of the Buchman (“Oxford”) movement. The one valid thing in the book is the recognition of the seriousness of addiction to alcohol Other than this, the book has no scientific merit or interest.”

It then took Marty Mann and NCADD, and coercive EAP programs to promote the ‘disease model’ and gain acceptance by doctors who proceeded to be abused by their own EAPs. Here is a timeline showing what happened after this book review. NCADD History

Transorbital Lobotomy

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In 1948 Norbert Wiener, the author of Cybernetics: Or the Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, said: “[P]refrontal lobotomy … has recently been having a certain vogue, probably not unconnected with the fact that it makes the custodial care of many patients easier. Let me remark in passing that killing them makes their custodial care still easier.” — Wikipedia