NEUROLOGY & EPILEPTOLOGY PEDIATRIC & ADOLESCENT
WILLIAM B. SVOBODA, M.D.
ST. FRANCIS MEDICAL PARK PLAZA
April 30, 1990
Robert W. Lobsinger
Dear Mr. Lobsinger:
I apologize for my delay in responding to your letter and packet. I appreciate the information and the tape. We moved our offices just before your packet arrived and I have been searching for the information on the nutritional status.
I am much reminded of the approaches described in the article "A Loss Of Nerve" (copy enclosed) which outlines some of the approaches used by Narconon.
Hubbard begins by stating truth-based generalizations to create an air of scientific foundation. Long-term deposition of many mineral and chemicals can be demonstrated, but not for all substances. The need for seeking medical approval for participation also emphasizes safety for these approaches could be fatal for a person with a cardiovascular disorder or an electrolyte imbalance. Finally, the observations against diet and food fadism as unproven claims is generally agreed upon. Once he has estabished these accepted truth, he can more easily make marginal statements that tend to be accepted as probable truth, in line with his statements preceding, although the unknowing reader is usually not familiar with the statistics alluded to.
Hubbard destroys his argument by stating that fat cells do not exist. Anyone looking through a microscope can see the fat cells. This statement speaks to hopes, not truths.
The concept of exchanging good oils for bad oils is unproven. In essence, although he speaks strongly against dietary fadism, he then proceeds to do just that.
The recommendations for various vitamins were compared to the recommendations of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Science in reference to other nutritional fadists, i.e., the megavitamin myth. This compares to Hubbard's listing:
Excesses of Vitamin A can cause brain swelling (pseudotumor cerebri) with transient losses of vision. Niacin does increase vascular circulation but in the acid form, it has been linked to high bilirubin (jaundice) and liver damage. It has been linked to psychiatry in that it cured pellegra psychoses, a niacin deficiency. Howsever illness may be based on both excesses and deficiencies. A person can die of dehydration (lack of water:) or can drown (an excess of water). The appropriate USC of niacin is in deficiency states. Excessive use can be toxic to the liver. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a series of position statements over the past decade speaking against the use of megavitamin and trace element therapies for various childhood behavioral and mental aspects, with strong emphasis on adversive reactions to excesses. These statements would apply to Hubbard's claims. The Niacin theory is just that, a theory, without any basis for the concept of "turning on and turning off."
Excesses of various minerals can cause GI problems and, of more concern can cause kidney problems including kidney stones.
Basically Hubbard's theories in general are just that - theories without controlled proof. He flings facts around wildly in excess, i.e., to drown the reader in facts in order to convince them that he knows, but he has little to reference and document the facts. A review of Hubbard's communications is that these directives are only theoretical observations without substantiating facts or details and with no reference for the reader to "check the source out."
There are many current so-called experts on "ecologic-metabolic" profiles in diagnosis arid treatment of various disorders, both mental and physical , with many theories on the loose. of the multiple claims published in fadist journals, few are substantiated by controlled studies and most are based on anecdotes and theories. Hubbard's "fat & oil" claims are but one of these and indeed resemble some of other claims, i.e., D. Horrobin's 'Evening Primrose Oil Miracle Worker of the Eighties' or A. Donald's 'The Powerful Healing Magic of the Evening Primrose', a recent fad that I have been in contact with. None of these have proven to be the promised cure when subjected to controlled trials. Of even more interest is that these usually claim to be safe when nearly every effective therapy has risks.
In general the program does not address why people get into drugs in first place. Scientology criticizes psychiatry (often correctly) for over-reliance on drugs rather than working with the client, yet all that Narconon does is substitutes the diet fad and exercise for the drug....still not working with the psychodynamics.
Dr. Bruce Roe has done an excellent job of a brief criticism from a biochemistry standpoint and I agree totally with his observations. He is more expertise [sic] in these areas than I.
The information you sent me about the Newkirk Narconon situation has been most helpful. My wife and I average about I major cult talk every 2 weeks and have thus been able to provide-warnings about Narconon actively to psychiatry, psychologists, social workers, counsellors, ministers, and the legal profession, as well as churches and all the school principles of Wichita. We have been giving out your warnings with emphasis.
I imagine you already know of and/or have seen the ads on TV (Fox Channel 4/24 of Wichita, et. al .) regarding the sponsorship of the Goodwill Games by Bridge Publications / Dianetics / Church of Scientology. These tend to be on late in the evenings. A group of us have been part of a letter writing campaign to CNN in protest. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission is looking into the relationship between Dianetics arid the Church of Scientology regarding the accuracy of their advertising. The information gathered will be reviewed by a panel of FTC lawyers with Scientology having 30 days to respond. The three options, as I understand it, is (1) the advertising can continue unchanged, (2) the advertising must be modified in certain ways, or (3) the advertising is banned in all media with violation resulting in legal action by the FTC.
Also I enclose a copy of some of the present battles in Tampa Florida regarding the battle between the IRS and Scientology.
Again, thank you for the tape and the information. Anything that I can do to help, please let me know. I am sorry that I was not able to come up with more information regarding the Communications on the Narconon Techniques for you.
William B. Svoboda MD