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Review of Quackwatch

Quackwatch reviews

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41 reviews
Alternative Medicine, Chiropractor, Health
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41 Reviews From Our Community


All Reviews

1 review
2 helpful votes

Mostly, every article is a strenuous exercise in confirmation bias. Though many alternative therapies have favorable studies, quackwatch consistently neglects them. Have you ever seen a section talking about the favorable studies for any therapy? Nope, because they're too busy trying to prove it wrong instead of seeking the truth. Two quick examples, the article on vision therapy fails to mention the CITT trial; the article on Chelation fails to mention the TACT trial. And those are just the recent studies on these topics.

It's good to be critical of *all* science-based anything. That's the whole point of science, but quackwatch is critical only of a few things and never critical of the rest. You can find some good questions raised for any given alternative therapy, but you have to read through a lot of bias.

Tip for consumers: If you are not accustomed to scientific inquiry or critical review then don't bother with the site. Another mentioned it's for dummies. Nope, it's only useful for those already familiar with critical review. It's a very biased site.

1 review
6 helpful votes

I went to quack watch to see what was offered. I have a Ph.D. In Nutrition from a top 5 university and I am deeply disappointed in the quality. I have fought nutrition quackery for over 30 years but I do it by evaluating the evidence as presented by quality studies and experts. There is a paucity of quality analysis on this site and conclusions drawn that are contrary to scientific evidence. As a result, I have to put this site among those that report quackery. Zero stars.

1 review
2 helpful votes

This article will explain what he is....

1 review
2 helpful votes

I manage online support groups for a neurological disease and sleep disorders. The theories about what causes these are far reaching and most are ridiculous. He has helped me prove that some of the doctors I suspected are "quacks", definitely ARE. It is good to have the proof right in front of me and saves me valuable time. Cannot thank him enough! It is amazing what some people will fall for or who they will believe. So when I see some article about what I research all of the time, he usually has the answer for me 90% of the time. I had one case of a "doctor" who said the neurological disease was made up and hyped up and made up by pharma companies to sell more drugs. Then, he discovered the court cases where the "doctor" had had her license to practice stripped in Canada and in several states in the US. Stops those online arguments fast when I have the facts in front of me. Court documents do not lie. I trust Dr. Barrett implicitly and have the highest respect for him.

2 reviews
16 helpful votes

Quackwatch is good for telling dumb, naive, and/or desperate people not to buy snake oil, like magic water blessed by the Virgin Mary or expensive "healing crystals". I totally agree with him about those things. But he also dismisses and attacks people who advocate natural remedies, and PREVENTIVE health measures like healthy eating; STRESS MANAGEMENT techniques like meditation, yoga, tai chi, qigong, deep breathing, etc; and people who are critical of the DRUGS, DRUGS, DRUGS for every little thing approach to health like Harvard trained psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin who believes that therapy is better than toxic drugs with their myriad dangerous side effects that the drug companies routinely minimize.

His knee-jerk "QUACK!" labeling of so many people just because they recommend natural remedies that many people have found relief from for hundreds or thousands of years is extremely ignorant and irresponsible and makes me not trust him because he obviously lacks wisdom and a balanced perspective

Quackwatch also seems to have BLIND FAITH in anything that calls itself "science." Barrett constantly talks about "science" but I wonder why he never mentions things like what Harvard trained Dr. Richard Horton, the editor of the medical journal The Lancet said about "science": The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.

Or the similar statements made by Dr. John Ioannidis, director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center and adjunct professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, who wrote the paper "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False".

"Science" is just as corrupt as politics and everything else because it is being done by greedy, morally and intellectually fallible human beings. It's not all good or all bad. But Quackwatch's information is very one sided about that and his condemning of people who dare to question the old ways of doing things is backwards and scary.

It's also misleading about supplements because often "no scientific proof" a supplement works only means that there was no big money to be made on a natural herb so no one was going to pay money to have many large studies run on it. It can still help. Lots of herbs that many people use and get wonderful relief from like Tulsi, Triphala, Valerian, etc, were unheard of in the west until recent decades. Barrett's small minded reasoning seems to be that doctors who recommend natural supplements without tons of "scientific proof" or who question the old ways of doing things are going against science and therefore "QUACKS!"

There have been constant news stories saying doctors grossly over-prescribe antibiotics and the AMA warning them to stop because it damages gut flora (Hypocrites said disease begins in the gut!) and causes antibiotic resistance. Why aren't the doctors doing that and why isn't that info in Quackwatch? And another news story a few years ago where the AMA warned doctors to stop passing out Ritalin so often because of dangerous physical and mental side-effects, and because we have no idea what the long term side-effects are to kid's growing brains. Why aren't the doctors heading those warnings and why isn't that info in Quackwatch???

1 review
11 helpful votes

Will the real quack please stand up?! Quack watch has no idea what it's talking about. Anytime I do research on natural cures this site comes up saying it doesn't work. Yet, why do I feel better after these treatments? Hmmmmm, something smells Fishy at quackwatch....
Especially when it comes to the Amen clinic, once again quack watch says no, best thing I ever did...

Tip for consumers: Don't believe what Quackwatch has to say, find out for yourself.

1 review
4 helpful votes

A site such as quackwatch serves to propagate the misinformed dealings of the pharmaceutical industry and offer no other solutions to the sites they deem unsatisfactory. Imagine if you went to a doctor and he said only his way was the right way and that was that. Dr. Steven Barrett is a retired psychiatrist and one should not expect anything but a biased answer concerning the information he provides on the sites he berates. According to some sites that give an autobiography of the good doctor; Dr. Barrett has become a "lightning rod" for controversy as a result of his criticisms of alternative medicine theories and practitioners. Barrett says he does not criticize conventional medicine because that would be "way outside his scope. While there are organizations out there that are controversial in their operations and unaccredited institutions of education that succeed in their endeavors to fool and relive those who seek an education in the field of alternative medicine of their money, Dr. Barrett offers no solution for those seeking such an education. This leads others to speculate that he is biased to alternative medicinal practices. Here is a partial list of Dr. Barrett's' works Consumer Health:

A Guide to Intelligent Decisions, Barrett S, London WM, Kroger M, Hall H, Baretz R (2013). (textbook, 9th ed.) McGraw-Hill, ISBN 978-0078028489

Dubious Cancer Treatment, Barrett SJ & Cassileth BR, editors (2001). Florida Division of the American Cancer Society

The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America, Barrett SJ, Jarvis WT, eds. (1993). Prometheus Books, ISBN 0-87975-855-4

Health Schemes, Scams, and Frauds, Barrett SJ (1991). Consumer Reports Books, ISBN 0-89043-330-5

Reader's Guide to Alternative Health Methods, Zwicky JF, Hafner AW, Barrett S, Jarvis WT (1993). American Medical Association, ISBN 0-89970-525-1

The Vitamin Pushers: How the "Health Food" Industry Is Selling America a Bill of Goods, Barrett SJ, Herbert V (1991). Prometheus Books, ISBN 0-87975-909-7

Vitamins and Minerals: Help or Harm?, Marshall CW (1983). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ISBN 0-397-53060-9 (edited by Barrett, won the American Medical Writers Association award for best book of 1983 for the general public, republished by Consumer Reports Books).

It is my opinion that Dr. Barrett could be a bit more open minded and stop reporting on that which is the obvious and report on those alternative and healthy lifestyle choices that in fact do help others. Don't worry we are not trying to put the pharmaceutical companies out of business, we are just trying to help people to find healthier lifestyles Dr. Barrett.

2 reviews
20 helpful votes

Barrett never achieved any success in his chosen medical profession. Because of that, he has found frustration. He is rabidly jealous of those that actually accomplish things. As an outlet for that frustration, he hatefully attacks his betters.

De-licensed MD Stephen Barrett, I believe, is one of those people whose ambitions, and opinions of himself, far exceed his abilities.

1 review
23 helpful votes

In reading through a Quackwatch article on Lyme disease, I was appalled by the lack of quality references. As a person who spent many years doing research to attain my PhD, I find the information in the article misleading, and based on poor or inefficient reference work. Such practice is commonly suspected as slanted within the "true" research community.

Based on reading this article, I would caution anyone to do their due diligence and look for higher quality research and reference sections. It is out there. Look for peer reviewed research by people with qualified backgrounds. DO NOT waste your time at Quackwatch! I certainly will not.

1 review
4 helpful votes

There are references listed at the bottom of every article that link to papers and studies with hard evidence. It's rare to see the site's detractors backing up their claims with proven facts. Use your best judgement. If one side can support their arguments with science and the other side cannot, who would you believe?

1 review
30 helpful votes

Stephen Barrett owns & operates

IMO this website is so dangerous it should be illegal. I don't even know where to start, but everything on the site is harmful & anyone w/ a brain needs to do the exact opposite of whatever he is saying. His arguments are so ridiculous it's laughable & really scary to me anyone takes this seriously. Come on, nobody profits off of telling people to eat healthy, get exercise or to take herbs which I know from suffering from depression for 30 years is the only thing that has helped me...medicine the doctors gave me made me worse w/ numerous side effects requiring even more medication & turned moderate depression into severe psychotic depression & bipolar disorder. They didn't cure anything. It's really common sense once you study & learn about how our bodies work & what they actually need to function.

I found this from but after googling his name it's definitely not hard to figure out who the real quack is.

Stephen Barrett - Professional Crackpot...
The Internet needs health information it can trust. Stephen Barrett doesn't provide it...

Barrett is one of those people whose ambitions and opinions of himself far exceeds his abilities. Without ANY qualifications he has set himself up as an expert in just about everything having to do with health care - and more.

And this from a man who is a professional failure.

Records show that Barrett never achieved any success in the medical profession. His claim to being a "retired Psychiatrist" is laughable. He is, in fact, a "failed Psychiatrist," and a "failed MD."

The Psychiatric profession rejected Barrett years ago, for Barrett could NOT pass the examinations necessary to become "Board Certified." Which, is no doubt why Barrett was, throughout his career, relegated to lower level "part time" positions.

Barrett, we know, was forced to give up his medical license in Pennsylvania in 1993 when his "part-time" employment at the State Mental Hospital was terminated, and he had so few (nine) private patients during his last five years of practice, that he couldn't afford the Malpractice Insurance premiums Pennsylvania requires.

In a job market in the United States, where there is a "doctor shortage," Stephen Barrett, after his termination by the State mental Hospital, couldn't find employment. He was in his mid-50s at the time. He should have been at the top of his craft - yet, apparently, he couldn't find work.

It is obvious, that, after one humiliation after another, in 1993 Barrett simply gave up his medical aspirations, turned in his MD license, and retreated, in bitterness and frustration, to his basement.

It was in that basement, where Barrett took up "quackbusting" - which, in reality, means that Barrett attacks "cutting-edge" health professionals and paradigms - those that ARE achieving success in their segment of health care.

And there, in "quackbusting" is where Barrett finally found the attention and recognition he seems to crave - for, a while, that is, until three California Judges, in a PUBLISHED Appeals Court decision, took a HARD look at Barrett's activities, and declared him "biased, and unworthy of credibility."

Bitterness against successful health professionals is Barrett's hallmark. To him they're all "quacks." In this, his essays are repetitive and pedestrian.

Barrett, in his writings, says the same things, the same way, every time - change the victim and the subject, and still you yawn your way through his offerings. It's like he's filling out a form somebody gave him...

Take an overactive self importance, couple it with glaring failure and rejection in his chosen profession, add a cup of molten hatred for those that do succeed, pop it in the oven - and out comes Stephen Barrett - self-styled "expert in everything."

Barrett, we know, along with his website, was named, among other things, in a racketeering (RICO) case in Federal Court in Colorado.

He's also being sued for his nefarious activities in Ontario, Canada.

Barrett, in the Canadian case, has formally admitted, according to Canadian law, to a number of situations put to him by the Plaintiff, including:

"The sole purpose of the activities of Barrett & Baratz are to discredit and cause damage and harm to health care practitioners, businesses that make alternative health therapies or products available, and advocates of non-allopathic therapies and health freedom."

"Barrett has interfered with the civil rights of numerous Americans, in his efforts to have his critics silenced."

"Barrett has strategically orchestrated the filing of legal actions in improper jurisdictions for the purpose of frustrating the victims of such lawsuits and increasing his victims costs."

"Barrett failed the exams he was required to pass to become a Board Certified Medical Doctor."

Barrett's Funding - TOP SECRET...

Barrett was cornered in a Federal case in the State of Oregon not long ago, and asked about his income. He testified that over the past two years he made a TOTAL of $54,000.

How then does he afford to carry on fourteen (14) separate legal actions at one time?

If each legal action cost him $100,000, that would come to 1.4 million dollars ($1,400,000).

How do you squeeze 1.4 million out of a $54,000 total income?

Good question...

1 review
23 helpful votes

a whole lot of unreferenced information written by a few people to dissuade readers from alternative therapy. After reading some of the articles on the website, quackwatch itself seems to be a big quack!

1 review
26 helpful votes

Notice that you can't contact anyone at the website?? You have to ask why it exists - but the answer is all too obvious. Big Pharma and too many medicos are feeling threatened by medicine that practices PREVENTION as well as TRUE HEALING. So they need websites like this to scare the mediocrity into thinking that ONLY big pharma and the bullying pocket lining medicos can treat them properly. Sadly that's why health insurance costs so much - we're all paying for the slashing, poisoning and burning all of which costs massive $'s and ensures the patients remain ill so they'll need on going so called therapies. It's not called "health care" called the SICKNESS INDUSTRY.

1 review
29 helpful votes

What a joke! Sooo basically everything and anything that isn't chemo or radiation is a scam??? You're fraudulent site should be shut down! I truly hope that the people that stumble upon this pathetic website are not gullible enough to believe this crap! What a pathetic piece of trash... Anyone considering any of these alternative therapies should research how cancer cells are developed and how cancer cell growth is promoted. Once you do you will understand the immense benefits of such treatments like: wheatgrass, chlorophyll, oxygenation, gerson, etc.

1 review
24 helpful votes

It appears that this site has ties to the pharmaceutical industry. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 20 years ago. I did the conventional therapy (drugs) only to feel worse than ever and to develop more and more negative symptoms. As soon as I began to use natural healing methods, my health began to improve. I no longer believe in drugs, which provide only a band aid effect as the disease rages on underneath. Quackwatch should be sending out information about all of the countless drugs that undermine health and kill millions of unsuspecting people. One only has to look at the side effects of drugs to wonder, "are people that take these drugs really that clueless?"

1 review
22 helpful votes

as a person who overcame mental illness with nutrition and alternative therapies and now as a therapist who has seen over 20,000 clients with phenomenal success...this guy Stephen Barrett, M.D. is the REAL QUACK...Sorry to him..he really's scary to see his affiliations with pharmaceutical companies the FDA and the like..Evil..HE IS

1 review
16 helpful votes

I have been a Cranio Sacral Therapist for many years now and have felt and SEEN amazing results. Clients that haven't had relief of pain for decades felt rejuvenated and alive again. When this site came to my attention it seemed as if there is only one side...and he is being a bully with no direct experience of the topics I have read. I refuse to read ignorance. He reminds me of a fat kid with acne that had no friends on the play ground because he $#*! himself.

1 review
15 helpful votes

Seeing is believing. I'll take natural alternatives over chemical synthetics, any day. This site is designed to discourage alternative treatments by instilling fear, so that big pharma can continue to lie with their bed partners who are mainstream, narrow minded Doctors. Natural Doctors treat the whole person, they don't just specialize in specific areas of the body so as to divide it in sections. When's the last time you went to a mainstream Doctor who was able to diagnose AND treat the thyroid, BP, liver, heart and digestive system all in one visit?

1 review
15 helpful votes

Perfect case of "pot calling kettle black". Stephen Barrett, M.D. is either a king of quacks or a stooge for the pharmaceutical industry. The volume of big pharmaceutical propaganda on the website would make Goebbles feel jelaus and inadequate.

1 review
8 helpful votes

This site is very informative about some of the underhanded or uninformed practices being performed in medicine both human and veterinary. Of course, this inflames the snake oil salesmen and their ilk so the site posts some of these comments. It also posts positive comments from visitors to the site. I would highly recommend this site to anyone seeking or thinking about seeking treatment in any kind of alternative medicine.

1 review
19 helpful votes

I am for modern medicine as well as alternative. But its sad that no one considers that some alternative medicines work. And generally dont come with 2 pages of side effects that come with them. So dont bash alternative medicine when modern medicine has problems of their own.

1 review
13 helpful votes

This website and its contributors are no different than those believe that nothing good exists...and Elvis is still alive. Unfortunately for Dr. Barrett, he has been marketed to just as much as those he complains about.....and global warming was promoted as quackery for years and look what's happening. He is just as much a product of promotion as everyone else. I suggest to people to do their own research on both sides of the fence because I have, as many people I know, experienced help in areas that he promotes as quackery.

1 review
1 helpful vote

Mot much

2 reviews
19 helpful votes

This site is terrifying. It presents itself as a non profit consumer protection site when in reality its only goal is to promote the pharmaceutical industry. It tries to discredit legitimate, state-licensed, legal health care practitioners. It bashes every government agency that endorses or promotes alternative medicine. It discounts the critical importance of nutrition in health. If there are 30 positive studies and 10 negative ones on a certain treatment, guess which ones get listed and which don't? Reader beware!

1 review
18 helpful votes

People would be ignorant to think that this site and their postings have the peoples best interest at heart.

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