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LEVELAND — After the director of its Wellness Institute was forced to walk back an anti-vaccine blog post over the weekend, the Cleveland Clinic revealed Monday that it has already spent months reevaluating the institute’s focus and expects to halt the sale of some alternative medicine products.

Clinic spokeswoman Eileen Shiel told STAT that hospital administrators are concerned that the institute’s focus has grown too unwieldy and less connected to the clinic’s broader mission of providing the best, evidence-based medicine and services to patients. She said the wellness center will likely stop selling some of its commercial products, such as homeopathy kits sold in the gift shop of its suburban Lyndhurst location, and move toward general wellness programs that would improve diet and lifestyle decisions by patients and its own employees.

On Friday, Wellness Institute Director Dr. Daniel Neides published a column whose anti-vaccine rhetoric drew a torrent of social media criticism. Neides, board-certified in family medicine, apologized for his rant soon after, and the clinic said he would be facing disciplinary action.

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In form and substance, the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute is about as far from a hospital as it gets. Its cavernous atrium in an affluent Cleveland suburb features a waterfall, rock-framed pool, and heavy indoor foliage. On Monday, you could have heard a pin drop, despite a steady stream of water and patients.

There was zero evidence of the turmoil at the center. But also missing were certain evidence-based services that most hospitals are known for — a contrast that is drawing criticism of these integrative medicine outposts, which have popped up at hospitals around the country.

The clinic’s wellness institute in Lyndhurst is one of several wellness centers the clinic operates in the Cleveland area. The Lyndhurst branch houses its administrative offices and provides Chinese herbal therapy, acupuncture, mind-body coaching, and hypnotherapy, among other services. Those offerings don’t explain Neides’s rant, which many of his colleagues, including those in integrative medicine, have denounced. But homeopathic kits and reiki services offer some sense of the huge canyon that exists between conventional hospital medicine, which usually rests on a foundation of clinical research, and what is considered treatment at these alternative medicine institutes.

Sheil said the clinic has been looking for chief wellness officer for six months (a different post than the one occupied by Neides). The existing wellness officer, Dr. Mike Roizen, will still work for the clinic in a different post. Sheil emphasized that Roizen’s work has been valuable in building the institute.

Cleveland clinic
The Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute features a waterfall, rock-framed pool, and heavy indoor foliage. Casey Ross/STAT

In the meantime, the clinic is trying to manage the public relations mishap.

The editor of cleveland.com, which published the column, wrote an explanation Monday of its relationship with Neides, who was allowed to directly publish his commentaries to the website with the help of the clinic’s own public relations staff.

Sheil said that hospital staff did not review the content before it was publishing, but staff took it down from the site on Sunday after Neides issued a retraction. Cleveland.com then re-published it, because, in the words of its editor, it is “loath to remove something that has become so central to a debate.”

Neides violated clinic policy by not having his content directly approved by the hospital system, Sheil said, but it is unclear what punishment he might face. She said the vetting of his column did not occur even though the public relations staff had the technical ability to post and remove the column.  

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  • Why is it that no one acknowledges that there are very few double-blind and placebo controlled trials testing vaccines? Even when some research uses a “placebo,” such placebo contain mercury or aluminum (and simply do not contain the pathogen). Therefore, both the vaccine AND the placebo contain neurotoxins of mercury or aluminum…and are thus not true tests for the SAFETY of vaccines.

    This fact is consistently and conveniently ignored…and that is why people deserve to be concerned, even very concerned, about the safety of vaccines.

    • You never did learn about the ethics of research, did you?

      It’s not ignored. It’s done with small trials, and the type of placebo matters little. You’re just another anti-vaxxer blogger and homeopathic quack with no real education, aren’t you?

      Let’s inform everyone who Dana Ullman is, shall we?

      “Hence, he has been arrested for practicing medicine without a license and is currently required to sign a contract with all his patients explaining to them that he is not a medical doctor.”

      http://americanloons.blogspot.com/2013/01/393-dana-ullman.html

      You are not in a position to judge how research is done, or what constitutes evidence based medicine, Mr. Ullman.

    • It is so typical of skeptics to attack me personally rather than discuss real research. Here’s a review of research published in one of the most respected medical journals in the world…and this review sharply critiques a previous review that asserted that there was no evidence that homeopathy worked:

      Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analyzed trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. October 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06/015. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18834714

    • Methinks that Jay Kanta has way too much time on his hands…or he is a paid shill…my condolence either way.

      He’s chosen to ignore ALL of my concerns about “evidence based medicine” and instead choses to personally attack me. How typical!

      For the record, I graduated from UC Berkeley as an ungraduate (with honors) and from their School of Public Health. Further, UC Berkeley’s alumni magazine was so proud of my work that they published a 5-page interview with me…and several Nobelists. See for yourself: https://web.archive.org/web/20040910125954/http://www.alumni.berkeley.edu/Alumni/Cal_Monthly/February_1999/QA_with_Dana_Ullman.asp

    • Moreover, there have been no challenge testing of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals. There is no research that has been done on the safety of combination vaccines or the impact of multiple vaccines. The public has a right to be concerned and get real answers instead of “trust us, we know what’s good for you” because there’s too much evidence of harm and absolutely no solutions on the horizon from mainstream medicine. In the meantime Homeopathic interventions such as CEASE therapy have repeatedly been able to undo vaccine damage to the benefit of families worldwide.

    • @Laurie:

      Please stop, you’re repeating the lies of bloggers.

      “Moreover, there have been no challenge testing of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals.”

      That’s because such a research design is highly unethical. Double blind methods are randomized, leading to not knowing who is vaccinated and who isn’t. It would also take an incredible population size to study it, to make sure that exposures were significant, which is also unethical. Please, unlike Mr. Ullman, you should recognize your lack of an education.

      “There is no research that has been done on the safety of combination vaccines or the impact of multiple vaccines.”

      This is also wrong, there are epidemiological reviews of schedules and impacts. DeStefano et al (2004) was one such research study. There are countless others. Please do not repeat the nonsense you have read on anti-vax blogs.

      “because there’s too much evidence of harm”

      Where? Even the VAERS self-submitted database indicates that vaccines are 99.999% and GREATER safe. That’s better than you own kitchen.

      “In the meantime Homeopathic interventions such as CEASE therapy have repeatedly been able to undo vaccine damage to the benefit of families worldwide.”

      This is a lie, unfortunately. CEASE has never been shown to work on anything except increasing the profitability of quacks.

    • vaccinesrevealed is a Youtube video made by non-scientists and non-experts that has no scientific validity.

    • Had you looked at the video, Jay, you would have found that it features Dr. Sherri Tenpenny who is a D.O. and an expert on vaccines and the damage they do.

      The problem for people like yourself, followers of the cult of scientism, is that you deny the validity of the real life experiences of people. Real science looks very carefully at these experiences, studies them and attempts to understand them and the knowledge they offer.

    • “Had you looked at the video, Jay, you would have found that it features Dr. Sherri Tenpenny who is a D.O. and an expert on vaccines and the damage they do.”

      Sherri Tenpenny isn’t an expert in anything. She’s not a scientist, she’s published no works in the scientific literature and would be considered “not credible” in any court that called her as a witness.

      She benefits from fears of vaccines through her online stores selling unregulated “cures” and “supplements”.

      “followers of the cult of scientism”

      This is why we laugh at the uneducated, like you.

    • WOW !!! More ad hominem. That’s all you have. I suggest you actually go to a court and observe the cases involving medicine. You’ll find that doctors are the people giving evidence. True even in this country’s vaccine courts. So, if vaccines are really safe, why have vaccine courts paid out millions of dollars in damages for vaccine injuries?

    • ” So, if vaccines are really safe, why have vaccine courts paid out millions of dollars in damages for vaccine injuries?”

      Because nothing in the world is 100% safe.

      Vaccines are 99.999% safe, or is even greater if you only look at the cases rewarded in the VICP court. That your kind exaggerates and makes up nonsense about vaccines has nothing to do with reality.

  • If the Cleveland Clinic is really practicing “evidence based medicine,” where is the evidence for the efficacy and safety for the use of multiple drugs used concurrently on infants, children, adults, and elders? On average, every man, woman, and child is prescribed 13 Rx drugs per year…and this doesn’t count the numerous OTC drugs prescribed. Where’s the evidence?

    And where’s the evidence from double-blind and placebo controlled trials for surgical procedures? I’m NOT against surgery…but we ALL acknowledge that giving a “placebo surgery” is unethical…and therefore, we admit that surgery is not proven in the same way that drugs are proven. In this light, we need to realize that many CAM therapies cannot be tested in the same way as drugs…but NO, the Cleveland Clinic wants double-blind and placebo controlled trials even if this isn’t even possible for many CAM treatments, let alone CAM protocols that require a mixture of treatments.

    The bottomline is that the Cleveland Clinic does NOT practice “evidence based medicine” when patients are prescribed more than ONE drug at a time and when they get surgical procedures…all of which account for 90+% of the care provided.

    • It is so typical of skeptics to attack me personally rather than discuss real research. Here’s a review of research published in one of the most respected medical journals in the world…and this review sharply critiques a previous review that asserted that there was no evidence that homeopathy worked:

      Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analyzed trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. October 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06/015. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18834714

    • For the record, I am proud of the fact that I was “arrested for practicing medicine without a license,” especially since I won that court case!

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/when-getting-arrested-for_b_9780342.html

      Perhaps this skeptic will now assert that Jesus should be ignored because he was arrested for practicing medicine without a license!?

      I’m proud to be in the same ballpark as other resistors to establishment thinking, as compared with the Big Pharma shills out there!

    • I mistook that paper for another meta-analysis that concluded exactly the opposite.

      It’s interesting that the author of that “paper” is from ” Karl and Veronica Carstens Foundation” which is a German institution organized purely to push the “natural and homeopathic agenda”.

      I will also point out that the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology is an “open access” journal, which means it’s all about pay-for-play, not quality and credibility. Sounds just like your crank “journal”.

    • How truly embarrassing for you to refer to the JOURNAL OF CLINICAL EPIDEMIOLOGY as a “crank” journal. You are not just showing your ignorance, you are proving it! Thanx…it is now too obvious.

      As for studies that compare homeopathic vs conventional medical treatment vs placebo, you tell another person that they are a “liar,” but again, you are showing AND proving your ignorance of the scientific literature.

      Here is one of my such studies published in respected conventional medical journals:

      Macías-Cortés EdC, Llanes-González L, Aguilar-Faisal L, Asbun-Bojalil J (2015) Individualized Homeopathic Treatment and Fluoxetine for Moderate to Severe Depression in Peri- and Postmenopausal Women (HOMDEP-MENOP Study): A Randomized, Double-Dummy, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0118440. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118440
      http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0118440

      And in the future, let me suggest that you show more humility, which is a fine attribute for a scientifically-minded person. Without humility, you simply humiliate yourself, as you seem to do a lot. Your combination of ignorance AND arrogance show a powerfully unscientific attitude that is typical of fundamentalists, not real scientists.

    • “Here is one of my such studies published in respected conventional medical journals: ”

      This isn’t even proper English, and it would attempt to indicate you were involved in that “study”, but you weren’t.

      First off, PLOS One publishes studies that are “innovative” and grants them less scrutiny than other journals would. PLOS One “studies” are typically looked as “we’ll wait for replication”.

      As for the study, the metrics used were HILARIOUS. That you don’t recognize it is another indication of your lack of education in science.

  • This is a wonderful example of Big Medicine’s authoritarian intolerance for new and innovative ideas. It also highlights how places like the Clev Clinic use holism as a gimmick to attract customers. The minute the going gets tough, they throw this guy overboard. It’s nothing more than slick deceptive marketing. True holistic care can’t survive in such a groupthink environment. Their hysterical reaction to his daring to speak his mind is an indication of how shallow and insecure they really are.

    • “Their hysterical reaction to his daring to speak his mind is an indication of how shallow and insecure they really are.”

      You do realize that the entire medical community is in an uproar over what Dr. Neides claimed without evidence, right? That’s because it goes against the very best research from all over the world.

      There is nothing “new” in what Neides has done, it’s all regurgitation of logical fallacies and appeals to ignorance. It’s old, stale and dangerous.

  • I appreciated reading Dr. Neides’ stance on vaccines and am saddened by the Cleveland Clinic’s response. It’s foolish to overlook the true life experience of hundreds of thousands of parents whose nightmare caring for their vaccine injured children is a never ending 365 24/7 challenge. Dr. Neides deserves praise, not condemnation.

    • “caring for their vaccine injured children”

      No diagnosis == no evidence. Sorry, many of us recognize your kind.

  • The evidence base for most mainstream medical treatments is pretty slim when you actually investigate them for yourself. Great gains have been made in Emergency medicine but the rest of it is sadly controlled by a profit-centric pharma industry. It’s also sad that baseless rhetoric is lobbed at Homeopathy which is actually the 2nd most utilized form of medicine worldwide! This system of medicine actually results in an over 80% patient satisfaction rate. It’s also sad that caring medical doctors like Neides are subject to intellectual terrorism and character assassination when they dare to question the status quo. Virtually every medical treatment that was touted 30 years ago has been proven wrong. How can anyone be so smug about vaccines and pretend that they cause no harm when millions of $$ have been awarded in liability claims?

  • What a shame this institution has decided not sell homeopathy kits. Contrary to claims that homeopathy is not evidence based there are 300 high quality studies showing it to be effective. There are replicated studies showing it to be effective in 23 disease conditions including ADHD, depression, female infertility, arsenic toxicity and blood coagulation. These studies can be seen at the web sites of the National Center for Homeopathy, extraordinarymedicine dot org and hpathy dot com. These sites provide study titles, journals they were published in and links to PubMed and also those journals so that readers can see the original papers.

    Homeopathy is actually the second most used system of medicine in the world today with TCM being first. Homeopathy has been used by hundreds of millions of people around the world for more than 200 years. This clinical use has resulted in 25,000 volumes of cured case records of all sorts of conditions including chronic serious one. This use also shows that homeopathy has an overwhelming safety record.

    People who would like to know what homeopathy can do for them and their families — and do it safely and inexpensively — will find hundreds of cured case records of conditions from type 2 diabetes to gangrene to Grave’s disease to addiction by googling “homeopathy cured cases”. These records are documented with CT scans, x-rays, histopathological reports, blood work and more.

    As a very satisfied homeopathic patient of 20 years I can only say that anyone who finds it has a friend for life.

    • “Contrary to claims that homeopathy is not evidence based there are 300 high quality studies showing it to be effective.”

      I’m sorry you don’t know what makes up a high quality study, but there are not 300 studies indicating that homeopathy works any better than a placebo.

    • Jay Kanta…….

      Denial of the facts does not change or invalidate those facts. BTW, there are also studies that show homeopathy is superior to conventional medicine and studies that show that people who use homeopathy are able to reduce or eliminate their conventional drugs. That’s where the rub comes in, isn’t it? People who use homeopathy reduce drug company profits and improve or are cured at the same time.

    • Actually, there are no credible studies showing homeopathy works to any statistical strength.

      You’re also not a scientist, and you failed to bring any of those “studies” you claim exist.

      “BTW, there are also studies that show homeopathy is superior to conventional medicine and studies that show that people who use homeopathy are able to reduce or eliminate their conventional drugs.”

      Don’t come here and lie.

    • Jay Kanta……

      You’ve been given four sites at which you could have researched these studies. Instead of doing that you simply make a blanket claim that they aren’t credible. If you had a genuine interest in homeopathy and homeopathic research you would done the research long ago. Instead you demand to be spoon fed (“….you failed to bring any of those ‘studies’ you claim exist….”.

      This is the “skeptic” platform:

      All of the studies showing homeopathy works are flawed or, as in your statement, not credible.

      All of the practitioners of homeopathy are liars as you claim Dana Ullman is. I am a homeopathic patient not a practitioner but you’re compelled to claim that I am also a liar.

      The plank in the “skeptic” platform you haven’t touched on yet is the claim that those who use homeopathy are deluded, uneducated and gullible people being used by homeopaths who are all scam artists……….every one of the 1/2 million of them most of whom are M.D.’s.

      The studies referenced have been published in the world’s most respected, peer-reviewed journals including The Lancet, British Medical Journal, Oncology, Pediatrics, Rheumatology, Archives of Emergency Medicine and the International Journal of Oncology. The editors of these journals are highly trained and highly experienced. I doubt very much they would publish studies which aren’t credible. If you feel they are, I suggest you contact the editors to discuss your concerns with them.

      “Skeptics” have no real arguments against homeopathy so are forced to fall back on ad hominem as you’ve proven here more than once.

    • I’m sorry you’re too ignorant to understand the logical fallacies that you’re committing, among them the “burden of proof” fallacy.

      None of those “journals” you mention have serious research showing homeopathy works against placebo when statistical strength is calculated.

      None of them.

      You’re hilarious about the “safety record”, since homeopathic solutions are water. Nothing more than water.

    • ““Skeptics” have no real arguments against homeopathy so are forced to fall back on ad hominem as you’ve proven here more than once.”

      Show me that water has memory. Show me that research. Show me the research that a dilution of a homeopathic compound is anything other than water, just plain water.

      Until then, here is a peer-reviewed article indicating that homeopathy is nothing but costly placebo. And you’re the gullible one buying into it.

      https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/cam02?

    • Interestingly, “skeptics” have no independent sources to reference so are forced to reference other “skeptics”. In this case you chose to reference the report by the NHMRC which is recognized to be the Australian marketing arm of big pharma. The report was widely criticized around the world for these reasons:

      The NHMRC conducted a review of reviews that does not accurately reflect the findings of the original research which does show that homeopathy is effective for particular conditions.

      RCT’s of homeopathy were not systematically and independently reviewed.

      Lab and animal studies were excluded.

      Studies not printed in English were excluded.

      No expert in homeopathy was appointed to the NHMRC Review Panel. That’s like asking dentists to evaluate studies on orthopaedic surgery.

      Some positive systematic reviews of clinical trials were discounted by claiming the conclusions were based on poor quality trials, but there was no discussion of what would be appropriate quality ratings.

      If a review of trials of conventional drugs were conducted using the same criteria they would be found to be ineffective which we all know they most often are.

      Finally, as I’ve already said, having no real argument against homeopathy “skeptics” are forced to fall back on ad hominem. Thanks for proving my point again.

  • It was refreshing to read Dr Neides “rant” and distressing to see the hospital’s reaction. Alternative medicine is the only hope we have in our toxic age. I fear that many like Dr Neides have been silenced again and again due to “political correctness” and what others deem proper. Give the guy a break. He’s talking about what he sees and knows. Not to mention free speech and all that. The rest of the medical community can’t handle the truth…

    • Alt med, where science is ignored in favor of a bottom line. Alt med was worth $3.4 billion per year and it’s increasing, because of gullible people like you.

      Know what we do with alt-med that works? We use it in regular medicine, and it becomes part of medicine.

      Alt-med stays “alt” because it doesn’t work.

  • Frankly, what has happened to the US health system regarding the mainstreaming of “alternative” or “integrative” medicine is a huge embarrassment. The science and evidence behind every single one of these alternatives is total crap. Homeopathy is the most ludicrous of all (homeopathy is not some version of “natural”. Seriously, look it up– it’s pure magical nonsense.)
    Big academic hospitals have adopted this nonsense for $. There’s also a general apathy and sense of “what’s the harm” among many in the medical community, including those in academic hospitals. Google “what’s the harm” and find the website of the same name documenting hundreds of cases of very real harm from pseudoscience in medicine.
    Thank you to Stat for continuing to hold medical pseudoscience to account.

  • This is clearly a gross curtailment of the freedom of speech. It appears Dr. Neides is not able to express his thoughts and concerns freely and is being bullied and intimidated into writing an apology. What a disgrace.
    Dr. Neides is not anti-vaccine. He is merely expressing his views about how ubiquitous exposure to toxins may have deleterious consequences for peoples’ health.
    Dr. Neides should be applauded for his courage in pointing out the significant issues and speaking out for the health of citizens, unlike the cowardly bullies who try to restrain him by hiding behind a nefarious screen of deception.

    • Mason, he wrote as a representative of Cleveland Clinic. If I write something that my employer disagrees with and post it not only in my name but associate it with my title and company, they would have every right to fire me. The way around this is simply to write solely representing yourself, which Dr. Neides could have done. He has no one but himself to blame.

    • Free speech can only be curtailed by the government. You do not have the right to say something stupid and be free from the repercussions of that speech.

      Most likely your inability to understand the Constitution is about equal with your inability to understand science and evidence.

    • Kanta, free speech can as much be curtailed by government forces as by societal sanctions. Try to outwardly shame your neighbor and see what happens.
      It appears you are not able to understand the vast amounts of literature that show vaccine side effects. Vaccines, like all medical procedures, come with serious health risks. People should rightly undertake medical procedures after having been properly informed ie having weighed the benefits vs risks.
      Know that you have every right to remain ignorant, and if you or your child do come down with a vaccine injury, you only have yourself to blame.

    • I agree, Mason. Their need to suppress his views are a sign of a medical system that has lost touch with its mission of healing the sick. Alternative methods are perceived as a threat to its existence rather than the welcome addition that they should be.

    • “Alternative methods are perceived as a threat to its existence rather than the welcome addition that they should be.”

      Alternative methods that show no efficacy when tested by actual scientists, or that are based on magic thinking are not evidence based and should not be used as a source of profit. That would be unethical.

      So people like Larry are asking institutions like Cleveland Clinic to be unethical….

      Where is the sense in that?

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