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Gary Null's new absurd book on AIDS
      #34709 - 05/23/02 03:59 PM

A review from
Quack record
Bestselling health and fitness guru Gary Null weighs in on AIDS. Almost all of what he says is useless, dangerous and just plain wrong.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Peter Kurth

May 21, 2002 | Before I get down to discussing Gary Null, Ph.D., and his massive, irresponsible and nearly unreadable book, "AIDS: A Second Opinion," I need to confess my bias. I've been infected with HIV for a long time -- since 1983, by my own calculation. For 13 years, since I first discovered my sero status, I've been taking anti-retroviral medications, the so-called AIDS cocktail, in various strengths and combinations. I haven't been off the pills in all that time. Apart from neuropathy in my hands and feet, I'm in good health, with no detectable virus and T-cells in the normal range -- in other words, my immune system is functioning as it should.

By contrast, a friend, infected for as long as I've been, died a few days ago of "AIDS-related complications." This was someone who worked out, lifted weights and once walked the length and breadth of the state of Vermont to raise money for AIDS and prove he could do it. In recent years, two sero-positive friends have dropped dead of heart attacks after embarking on healthful, "life-enhancing" diet and exercise regimes. I can't be impartial about Gary Null's book. I am also not an idiot, which I think Null takes me for.

Null -- a nutritionist, lecturer, broadcaster, "educator" and "one of America's leading health and fitness writers and alternative practitioners," according to his publicity -- is the author of more than 100 books, treatises and tracts on stress-free living, anti-aging, proper eating, "springtime cleansing," "lifetime dieting," "healing with magnets," "juicing," weight management and "life changes." Gary Null, Ph.D., isn't just a man but an industry, whose Web site offers for sale not just "Gary Null's Friendly Fiber" -- "easy come, easy go" -- but a whole Sears catalog of pricey Gary Null products ("Gary's Incredible Green Stuff!" "Great New Videos Every Week!"), along with live chats, sermons, Web links and Null's philosophical musings on "world issues."

In addition to his role as a fitness guru, Null is the kind of pop-psych P.T. Barnum, never absent in a crisis, who will "help you find answers" to those really tough questions: "What rules don't I want to obey anymore?" "Who in my life is toxic?" "What can I do without a lot of money?" (Answer: "Pay attention to the oft-ignored simpler, non-materialistic side.")

He's also a longtime AIDS denialist, or "dissident," as they're called, part of a loose fraternity of scientists, patients and (mainly) quacks who insist that AIDS is a false epidemic; that HIV either doesn't cause it or doesn't really exist; that the medications normally taken to fight the virus are pure poison, foisted on a frightened population by the pharmaceutical industry -- and other claims, not all of them wacky, along this basic line. Generally, an AIDS dissident is one who rejects the accepted formula "HIV=AIDS" and proposes an alternative model -- and thus alternative treatments -- for a condition many doctors and their infected patients are now routinely calling "HIV disease."

Null himself has been beating the anti-AIDS drum since at least 1994, when he wrote a column for Penthouse magazine titled "AIDS Is Not a Death Sentence," and introduced four "survivors" with stories of natural healing -- one through "hypothermia," another with "bitter melon," a third "holistically" or with dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB), a briefly faddish "immunity booster," long ago proved, like the others, to be useless in defeating the virus. None of these therapies can be demonstrated to have worked for anyone.

Then as now, Null subscribed to a discredited "cofactor" theory of AIDS, which held that HIV couldn't and wouldn't spread far beyond the high-risk groups in which it was first observed -- intravenous drug users, homosexual men pursuing "a promiscuous, fast-track gay lifestyle," hemophiliacs and others unlucky enough to have needed "blood transfusions and blood-factor products," people whose immunity, Null baldly asserts, is likely to be compromised in the first place.

"Unfortunately," Null reported in Penthouse, "both blood transfusions and such products as Factor 8, taken by hemophiliacs, can cause immune suppression and make one more susceptible to any infection, including HIV." There was no knowing at the time he wrote the column how the burden of infection worldwide would shift increasingly to women, or how many healthcare workers, with one hapless prick of the needle, would experience the same course of illness as any promiscuous, fast-track lowlife. But now we do know, and Null still hasn't changed his tune.

In last year's primer, "Seven Steps to Perfect Health," Null recommended what he does to everyone, all the time, whether or not they're infected with a killer virus: a strict vegetarian diet; no processed foods; no dairy products, sugar, preservatives, coffee, tea or cola, etc.; multiple glasses every day of fresh fruit or vegetable juice -- preferably squeezed from a $249.95 "Gary Null Juicer"; whole grains; nuts; seeds; seaweed; enemas; exercise; stress reduction and "pure water," without fluoride or any other chemicals in it. You might want to look at your "environment," too, Null suggests, for dust, mold and the residue of poisonous household cleansers. But above all, "embrace change," get rid of those cynical, "toxic" attitudes and move forward to your goal!

Now, in "AIDS: A Second Opinion," Null promises "to bring both establishment and dissenting views of the AIDS crisis into one volume," to expose "half-truths" and provide "an unbiased, unflinching discussion of all sides" of the AIDS issue, "in clear, jargon-free prose." Don't you believe it.

From his windy introduction -- "The first half of the book will run through many of the championed ideas of the establishment ... and show that, brought to the bar of objective science, they are found wanting" -- to his final remarks about "African ontology" and the prominent role of his fellow AIDS dissidents at the last International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, you know exactly which side Null will come down on, if you didn't know it already. His book concludes with a slew of appendices, each offering an "AIDS Protocol" for natural healing, and each involving supplemental chemical, nutritional, herbal and vitamin therapies that would break the bank of most people with HIV in half an hour. You can take my word for that.

For years, at least until the Durban conference, it was largely the policy of AIDS researchers -- medical and service bodies alike -- not to engage the so-called dissidents in point-by-point debate. This has changed. The National Institutes of Health maintains an "Evidence that HIV Causes AIDS" fact sheet on its NIAID Web page along with up-to-date statistics about the worldwide spread of HIV that ought to curl Null's hair. But they won't.

When even Sen. Jesse Helms, long an opponent of foreign aid in any form, recommends an American appropriation of $500 million to fight AIDS in developing countries, Null's blithe disregard of the evidence seems less blinkered than criminal. "It is a life-changing experience to go [to South Africa] and confront physically what it means to have 22 million people HIV positive without any drugs, without any real infrastructure to deliver drugs," says Helms' unlikely ally in the global AIDS fight, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt. "We went to a hospital in Johannesburg and we went through pediatrics wards, and we learned that about half the babies born in the hospital are HIV positive. I asked, 'How long will these children live?' Some were in preemie incubators. And they said, 'Less than a year.'"

The strangest thing about "AIDS: A Second Opinion" is that it takes no account of real time, never mind real research, real statistics and real results. Some of the same "survivors" from Null's Penthouse days are quoted again here, but we're given no clue as to their current fate. At least, I couldn't find any, despite 73 pages of notes in the back of the book. And when the late Michael Callen is quoted as if he were still alive, I nearly jumped out of my skin. (Callen, once famous as a long-term survivor of AIDS and adamantly opposed to the use of AZT, has been dead since 1993.)

Every effort has been made to trick out Null's book as a scientific volume, which it's not; no scientist will read it, I predict, except to mock it or dismiss it wholesale. With the help of his co-writer, James Feast, Null does manage to lurch through the 20-year history of the AIDS epidemic in a more or less straight line. Here's perfidious Dr. Robert Gallo, snatching prizes and glory -- and money -- from his French rival, Dr. Luc Montagnier. There's Margaret Heckler, Ronald Reagan's secretary of health and human services, declaring that a vaccine for HIV would be ready in two years. The AZT controversy is rehashed to the point of madness, as if AZT monotherapy were still prescribed for anyone except expectant mothers, where its efficacy in preventing transmission of HIV from mother to child has been amply proved. As for the promised "jargon-free prose":

"By now I imagine that you may be thinking something that can be put like this: 'Gary, you claim to be even-handed, willing to seek positive approaches to health wherever they may be found, even, you have said, in the camp of the most rigid orthodoxy ... But when it comes right down to it, you are nothing but a sourpuss naysayer, who seems to condemn every bright idea the establishment comes up with, from vaccines to AZT. Now I suppose you will have something bad to say about drug cocktails.'"

Yes. I was thinking exactly something that could be put like that.

It isn't my place to tell anyone with HIV how and from whom they should get their treatment. Not that it matters much: The same people who can't afford milk thistle extract, L-Carnitine, olive leaf and human growth hormone can't afford $35, either, for a book that effectively directs them to spend more money.

Null's book is also so thick with misinformation and specious reasoning, so badly written and so very long, it squashes even the few sound points he has to make -- namely, that a complete overhaul of the American healthcare system is needed, that the pharmaceutical giants are, indeed, rapacious pigs, responsible for the deaths of millions, and that all patients need to be empowered for their own self-care: "Until AIDS patients are offered hope and nontoxic therapies, they must continue to follow their own intuition, do their own homework, and seek out help from like-minded individuals." To that alone -- and no more -- I say amen.

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Re: Gary Null's new absurd book on AIDS new
      #34741 - 05/24/02 03:42 PM

Gary null is a quack millionaire who would sell anything...he's only interested in money and getting as famous as possible.

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Re: Gary Null's new absurd book on AIDS new
      #34748 - 05/24/02 04:42 PM

Why are some o you people so threatened by the dissidents. Are you hiding somethin? I don't agree with everything people like TerryD says but I still find it interesting and not threatening. Lighten up and open you minds!

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Re: Gary Null's new absurd book on AIDS new
      #34753 - 05/24/02 05:04 PM

Who's threatened? It's like someone who is going around saying the world is flat or babies come from storks. It's just noise from silly people who didn't know what it was like before 1996 and everyone with HIV just died horrible disgusting deaths. They didn't witness the miracle of the meds! I wish my husband had lived long enough to take the medications! he died before he had a chance....I however am doing well with the medications. TerryD, Gary Null and people like them know so little but speak so much. The truth is so far away from what they say, it's frustrating to watch them get an audience...when I personally know how very wrong they are--I am living proof of how wrong they are! But they don't take the time to talk to people like me.

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Re: How do you spell Denial? new
      #34763 - 05/24/02 11:56 PM


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Re: Gary Null's new absurd book on AIDS new
      #34766 - 05/25/02 01:45 AM

He is a snake oil salesman and a true liar.

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Re: How do you spell Denial? new
      #34767 - 05/25/02 01:50 AM

I spell it a-s-s-h-o-l-e

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Beyond Flat Earth Medicine [Galileo or Gallo] new
      #34769 - 05/25/02 06:46 AM


How popular consensus and the medical establishment have often stubbornly clung to the wrong ideas, unable to think outside the box. When medically 'correct' wasn't always.

Any medical dictionary will tell you that influenza is caused by a virus or that scurvy results from lack of vitamin C - both pieces of common knowledge. Less well known is the fact that the majority of doctors and scientists started out with the wrong ideas about these and many other diseases. It is often the case that what becomes common knowledge has first to be argued by a lone dissenting voice against huge resistance. Science is regularly reminded that Nature is oblivious to democracy. Derek Freeman, who challenged Margaret Mead on Coming of Age in Samoa, once said, " To seek to dispose of a major scientific issue by a show of hands is a striking demonstration of the way in which belief can come to dominate the thinking of scholars." The prevailing hypothesis, in the long run, is a matter of natural selection - not popular opinion.

A Brief History of Mismanaged Epidemics
Disease Popular Consensus Actual Cause
Scurvy Contagious Malnutrition:
Vitamin C deficiency
Beri-beri Contagious Malnutrition:
Thiamin deficiency
Childbed Fever Non-contagious Contagious:
Doctors using
medical practices
Influenza Bacteria Virus
Pellagra Contagious Malnutrition:
Niacin deficiency
(1950s - 1970s, Japan) New Virus Iatrogenic:
Pharmaceutical drug
Table adapted from: What if everything you thought you knew about AIDS was wrong?
by Christine Maggiore

History recalls many disease conditions that led people to wrongly believe that an infectious agent was to blame. Often this is assumed when clusters of people fall ill in a short period of time. Scurvy was originally thought to be an infectious disease because sailors on long voyages tended to come down with it en masse. By the early 1600s some English naval officers were recognizing that citrus juice could prevent and cure scurvy. Reports to the Admiralty fell on deaf ears. When Dr. James Lind, a British naval surgeon, published a book in 1753 establishing that scurvy was in fact brought about by a nutritional deficiency it took 40 years for his discovery to be accepted by the prevailing medical orthodoxy of the day. Finally, the British navy changed its tack and provided sailors with scurvy prophylaxis in the form of lime and lemon juice -- thus giving rise to the nickname "limeys."

Pellagra was a low-level problem throughout the Southern USA for years, but by the 1900s crop failures and an economic downturn had raised it to epidemic proportions. Joseph Goldberger offered conclusive evidence that poor nutrition was the culprit in causing pellagra. Goldberger had trouble convincing others of what he had found. He spent the rest of his life looking for what exactly was missing in the diet that caused pellagra, but this would not be uncovered until after his death. He also was thwarted by the medical world's obsession with infectious disease, newly understood and in some cases treatable, and the political world's resistance to hearing that poor social conditions could cause disease. His ideas received the same offhand dismissal that AIDS dissidents now encounter.

Nutritional sciences were in their infancy at the start of the last century. Unknown was the concept that minerals and vitamins were necessary to prevent diseases caused by dietary deficiencies. Recurring nutritional deficiency diseases, including rickets, scurvy, beri-beri, and pellagra were thought to be infectious diseases. By 1900, biochemists and physiologists had identified protein, fat, and carbohydrates as the basic nutrients in food. By 1916, new data had led to the discovery that food contained vitamins, and the lack of "vital amines" could cause disease. These scientific discoveries and the resulting public health policies, such as food fortification programs, led to substantial reductions in nutritional deficiency diseases during the first half of the century. [MMWR 48(40);905-913]

Iatrogenic diseases, caused by medical treatment, can sometimes be the consequence the wrong ideas about the causes of illness. In the 19th century, puerperal or "childbed" fever was blamed variously on overcrowding, poor ventilation, the onset of lactation, or miasma. Semmelweis investigated and concluded that medical students who came directly from the dissecting room to the maternity ward carried the infection from mothers who had died of the disease to healthy mothers. (Doctors at that time were not in the practice of washing their hands.) His discovery, for a long time ignored, eventually lead to antisepsis in medical practice. One of the worst iatrogenic epidemics happened in Japan. The disease, called SMON, was blamed for over ten years on various viruses, until it was discovered that the drug used to fight the disease - Clioquinol (marketed by Ciba-Geigy under the name Entero-Vioform) - was actually its cause. By the time the government finally banned the drug in 1970, 11,000 people had been afflicted by SMON in Japan. Iatrogenic disease due to pharmaceutical drugs may be a far greater problem than we realize. One indication is the fact that 100,000 Americans die each year from adverse reactions to prescription drugs -- the USA's fourth-leading cause of death.

* Disease is considered to be a harmful deviation from the normal structural or functional state of an organism. A diseased organism commonly exhibits signs or symptoms indicative of its abnormal state. Thus, the normal condition of an organism must be understood in order to recognize the hallmarks of disease. Nevertheless, a sharp demarcation between disease and health is not always apparent. -- [Encyclopedia Britannica 1996]

In science as in the law, the affirmative theory bears the responsability for establishing itself. Those who critique it's establishment in fact, are not required to prove or replace another theory of it's aetiology, especially when immune dysfunction has a multi-factorially influenced set of unrelated conditions, or according to Alternative Medicine, all illness/wellness is on a continuum and the result of immune sufficiency or deficiency.

Alternative Medicine has long questioned the virus/germ theory of illness which is confirmed by the work of hundreds of Dissident Scientists, including Nobel Laureates, Members of the National Academy of Sciences and pioneers in their fields. Many often disconnect the alternative theories from the alternative therapies-- in how Alternative Medicine diagnoses illness. They treat symptoms, not syndromes as they do not recognize conventional disease classifications.

"For disease, all experience shows, are adjectives, not noun substantives."
"There are no specific diseases: there are [only] specific disease conditions."

Florence Nightingale (Nursing Pioneer, Dis-ease Dissident)

Interesting that AIDS Apologists, or those who defend the affirmative the 'HIV=AIDS' hypothesis, often compare AIDS Dissidents with Flat Earthers, but Galileo was a Dissident, the Flat Earthers were the mainstream scientific establishment.

There is a famous story about Galileo, that is relevant here, I think. Galileo was in trouble with the Church authorities, for his observation of Jupiter's moons, through his telescope. (The four moons that he saw are traditionally called the "Galilean" moons, after their discoverer.) Anyway, he offered to let an influential member of the Clergy look through the telescope at these moons, so that said clergyman would see what Galileo had seen. This pious man refused, saying that as long as he did not look, his religious faith could remain intact.

Sadly, we are dealing with a kind of medical "church", regarding the HIV theory; its members do not want their faith shaken (or stirred! :-) )

Scurvy was thought to be transmitted by a microbe for 200 years even while Dissident Scientists were arguing it was a Vitamin C deficiency. The implication was that Seamen or Sailors engaged in 'buggary' were sexually transmissing a 'bug.' Homosexuality was deemed a psychiatric disorder by the medical and scientific establishment until 1974, a decade later the medical diagnosis of GRID-- Gay Related Immune Dysfunction was described in the literature.

AIDS Dissident Scientific and Alternative Health Consumer Advocate

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Re: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine [Galileo or Gallo] new
      #34887 - 05/30/02 02:38 PM

Researchers may have made mistakes about other things but HIV causes AIDS and if you have HIV and want to live eventually you'll have to take triple combination therapy.
These are the facts in 2002. And even if you came up with the absurd name for yourself, "
AIDS Dissident Scientific and Alternative Health Consumer Advocate." YIKES! Does your mother know your calling yourself this? This has been proven over and over again. Just compare 1993 when everyone died of AIDS in the US. EVERYONE! to now in the US. So many of my friends died then and now with HIV they are living and working and everything--all due to the meds. So I don't know which planet you live on, but you are a criminal advocate...advocating for the destruction of people who could get help with the medications now available...and no they are not perfect, but they are better then DEATH! So get a life, get off these boards and go sucker someone somewhere else, cause you know not what you speak and your are making a fool of yourself with your silly double talk.

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Re: How do you spell Denial? new
      #162116 - 10/19/05 05:31 PM

I wanted to know if that was the girl version or guy...i dont think the asshole thing was necessary but it was very fun.

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