Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Looks like a duck

It was a devastating diagnosis. In less than 10 minutes, the Harley Street specialist had taken a pinprick of Wendy Roberts’s blood, examined it under a powerful microscope and concluded that she probably had cancer.

Naturally, she was terrified. And vulnerable.  Vulnerable to exploitation.

Because that’s what this guy – Errol Denton – does.  He uses a technique to diagnose cancer which – needless to say – cannot diagnose cancer, sells them a cue, then announces that they are cured.  Charming.

Miss Roberts, 40, was distraught: she had been feeling unwell and Errol Denton’s apparently expert opinion confirmed her worst fears.

“He told me my blood was dirty; he said it was toxic and said there was mould in it. He said I have markers for diabetes and he had only ever seen blood like mine in a cancer patient,” Miss Roberts said.

“I could hardly breathe. I was shaking all over and I began crying.”

This cost her £195.  Now I’m not a medical man but I’m fairly sure that blood can’t be ‘dirty’, let alone ‘mouldy’.  It looks to me like emotive language designed to make people scared.

Denton was a smooth talker and Miss Roberts did not doubt his credibility. Operating out of No 1 Harley Street, he promised that if she signed up to his treatment plan, he could cure her “toxic” blood.

I wonder how many of his patients he ‘diagnoses’ with cancer.  Denton has been found guilty of breaching ASA rules and (separately) fined £9k with £10k costs over claims that he can cure cancer. But he continues to practice, basically because he’s a quack and therefore not regulated.  This appears to mean that he can;t be shut down.  He hasn’t removed the claims from his various websites.  The plaque on his office door reads “Errol Denton BMC, CNM, Dip LSI, MSHN.”

Dr Archie Prentice, president of the Royal College of Pathologists, said last week that he did not recognise any of Denton’s qualifications.

He also said that there was no evidence at all for the claims Denton makes.

Fortunately, Miss Roberts had already been to a proper doctor and was awaiting the results of a biopsy when she went to see Denton.  She’s fine.

There are some legitimate diagnostic techniques which can be achieved through microscopic analysis of blood.  For example, the blood count House always seems to want is done that way. With a microscope of sufficient quality, doctors can glean a lot of detail about the shape, size and number of blood cells and whether platelets are present in the sample.  This is evidence that can aid diagnosis.  A different variety of microscopy can identify spirochetes. But it cannot be used to diagnose cancer.  If it could, why would doctors use invasive procedures such as biopsy?  

The quack keyterm to look out for is “live blood analysis”.  Practitioners advertising this are quacks offering diagnoses and other services which cannot be achieved in that way.  Needless to say, Denton’s sites are riddled with the term.

 

 

 

.  It’s based on a technique called darkfield microscopy, which is

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