The bizarre claims of Hulda Clark
Hulda Regehr Clark, 72, claims to cure cancer, AIDS, and many other serious diseases. She describes herself as an "independent research scientist" with bachelor and master's degrees from the University of Saskatchewan and a Ph.D. degree in physiology from the University of Minnesota (1958). She also lists a naturopathic (N.D.) degree from the Clayton College of Natural Health . Clayton is a nonaccredited correspondence school founded in 1980 and located in Birmingham Alabama. In 1985, when this school was called Dr. Clayton's School of Natural Healing, its "Doctor of Naturopathy" course was described in a magazine article as a "100-hour course" for which the tuition was $695 .
For several years, Clark's treatment has been administered at Century Nutrition, a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, where the basic fee for two weeks of "treatment" was $4,500 (plus 10% tax). This figure does not include the cost of a motel room (approximately $210/week); meals ($250/week); blood tests ($70 each); standard diagnostic imaging tests ($40 to $400); dental x-rays (at least $206); "individually tailored" supplements ($400 to $1,500 for a month supply); equipment (about $350); tooth extractions ($80 each); and partial or full dentures ($450).
Clark claims that all cancers and many other diseases are caused by "parasites, toxins, and pollutants" and can be cured by killing the parasites and ridding the body of environmental chemicals. Her book The Cure for All Cancers states:
All cancers are alike. They are all caused by a parasite. A single parasite! It is the human intestinal fluke. And if you kill this parasite, the cancer stops immediately. The tissue becomes normal again. In order to get cancer, you must have this parasite. . . .
This parasite typically lives in the intestine where it might do little harm, causing only colitis, Crohn's disease or irritable bowel syndrome, or perhaps nothing at all. But if it invades a different organ, like the uterus, kidneys or liver, it does a great deal of harm. If it establishes itself in the liver, it causes cancer! It only establishes itself in the liver of some people. These people have propyl alcohol in their body. All cancer patients (100%) have both propyl alcohol and the intestinal fluke in their livers. The solvent propyl alcohol is responsible for letting the fluke establish itself in the liver. In order to get cancer, you must have both the parasite and propyl alcohol in your body [3:1-2].
Clark further alleges:
The adult fluke -- which she misspells as Faciolopsis buskii -- "stays stuck to our intestine, (or liver, causing cancer, or uterus, causing endometriosis, or thymus, causing AIDS, or kidney, causing Hodgkin's disease)." [3:4] Or the pancreas, causing diabetes; the brain, causing Alzheimer's disease; the prostate (causing prostatitis; or the skin if you have Kaposi's sarcoma [3:35].
As soon as there are adults in the liver. . . . a growth factor, called ortho-phospho-tyrosine appears. Growth factors make cells divide. Now YOUR cells will begin to divide too! Now you have cancer. . . . Having propyl alcohol in your body allows the fluke to develop outside of the intestine [3:8].
When the fluke and all its stages have been killed, the ortho-phospho-tyrosine is gone! Your cancer is gone [3:9].
Clearly, you must do 3 things: (1) Kill the parasite and all its stages; (2) stop letting propyl alcohol into your body; and (3) flush out the metals and common toxins from your body so you can get well [3:10].
It is not unusual for someone to have a dozen (or more) of the parasites I have samples of. You can assume that you, too, have a dozen different parasites [3:10].
Three herbs, used together, can rid you of over 100 types of parasites: black walnut hulls, wormwood, and common cloves [3:11-12]. But the amino acids ornithine and arginine improve this recipe [3:15].
Use of these five products will kill the cancer-causing fluke in the first five days and the remaining parasites in another two weeks [3:19].
It takes 5 days to be cured of cancer regardless of the type you have. Surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy can be canceled because, after Clark's recipe cures the cancer, it cannot come back [3:introductory passage].
All metal (fillings, crowns, bridges, etc.) should be removed from the mouth, and all teeth with root canals should be extracted, because their presence damages the immune system [3:46-48].
To prevent recurrence, stay on a maintenance program of killing parasites and give yourself a high-dose program at least twice a year. Also treat all family members and household pets [3:23-26].
All of the above notions are absurd. In a recent talk that attacked widespread misbeliefs about parasites, the president of the American Society of Parasitologists noted that if Clark's pseudoscientific claims were correct, "the medical establishment and . . . professional pathologists are guilty of a gigantic and cruel fraud on the public." 
Patients who "cleanse" their intestines with Clark's recommended herbs may excrete what they think are parasites. However, in one instance I know of, a specimen of "parasites" turned out to be citrus fibers, presumably from grapefruit juice used for the "cleanse."
Clark is also using and promoting two devices. Her Syncrometer is claimed to identify diseased organs and toxic substances by noting whether the device makes various sounds when "test substances" are placed on a plate [3:373-427]. The device is simply a galvanometer that measures skin resistance to a low-voltage current that passes from the device through a probe touched to the patient's hand. Various models for home use can either be commercially purchased or made by the patient. Clark's "Zapper" is a low-voltage device that supposedly kills parasites, bacteria, and viruses with electrical energy, but does not harm human tissue. Its use is based on Clark's notion that all living things broadcast a characteristic range of radio frequencies and that the device can issue counter-frequencies that kill unwanted organisms . Neither device has any genuine diagnostic or therapeutic value.
Clark's books, herbal products, and "Zapper" devices said to be built to her specifications are marketed through many Web sites [A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I J], one of which is the Self Help Resource Center, administered by Clark's son Geoff. The Self-Health Research Center's "Testing Division" offers "synchrometer classes" twice a week, "scheduled as needed," for $175 . Geoff also issues certificates for Zapper devices that are "within specifications found in Dr. Clark's books." The devices range in price from about $10 for a simple model to more than $200 for devices that also make colloidal silver.
Her ideas are also advocated by the Dr. Clark Research Association, a group founded in 1998 by David P. Amrein, a Scientologist who describes himself as a freelance consultant in finance and taxes. Membership, which costs $40 per year, includes a subscription to the Dr. Clark Research Association Bulletin, which Amrein edits. The November 1999 issue stated that the Bulletin had a circulation of 1,500.
In November 1999, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced that it had stopped an Australian company (Raylight Pty Ltd) from advertising that its "Parasite Zapper" passes an electric current through a person's blood and is effective against the AIDS virus, parasites, hepatitis, herpes, obesity, and other serious conditions. The company also agreed to provide refunds to consumers who felt they had been mislead .
Pages 119-372 of The Cure for All Cancers contain "case histories" of 138 cancer patients, of whom 103 were "cured" and 35 who "did not carry out instructions or could not be followed." The standard way to determine whether a treatment is effective is to carefully record the nature of the patient's disease before treatment and to determine the patient's condition indefinitely. Clark's reports contain little information about the patient's history and no indication that Clark performed any physical examinations. The only follow-up reports are for a few patients who returned for further treatment -- usually a few weeks later. Cancer treatment results are normally expressed in terms of cancer-free status or survival over periods of years. Five-year survival rates are a common measure. Clark claims she can tell that patients are cured as soon as their ortho-phospho-tyrosine test is negative -- within days or even a few hours after her treatment is begun. This claim is preposterous.
Thirty-eight of the 103 reports indicate that the patient had been medically diagnosed with cancer, and most of these 38 had received standard treatment. In 59 other cases, however, there was no indication that the patient had undergone any medical test or treatment that would indicate the presence of a cancer. (In 10 other cases, which Clark diagnosed as HIV infection, there was no history suggestive of AIDS. In the rest, it was not clear whether the patient had been medically diagnosed with cancer.)
Judging from the reports, Clark's judgments were based entirely on the results of her own peculiar diagnostic tests. If "ortho-phospho-tyrosine" was found in the blood, the patient had cancer. If a "protein 24 antigen" was found in the blood, the patient had AIDS. And, anywhere from a few hours to several weeks later, if these tests became negative, Clark considered the patient cured. The book describes how some of the patients who had consulted Clark for other problems were startled to hear they had cancer or AIDS.
None of the reports provides any basis for concluding that Clark's treatment has the slightest value. The majority of the people described in the 103 case reports did not have cancer. Of those that did, most had received standard medical treatment or their tumors were in their early stages. In these cases, Clark pronounced them cured but did not follow what happened after they left her clinic -- so she could not possibly know how they did afterward. In some cases, she counted patients as cured even though she noted that they died within a few weeks after she treated them.
Two people who seem knowledgeable have informed me that Clark's borther, Henry Regehr, died of cancer depite treatment by her.
In September 1999, Clark was arrested in San Diego, California, based on a fugitive warrant from Indiana, where she faced charges of practicing medicine without a license. In November, a former patient filed suit accusing her of negligence and fraud.
The criminal case originated when Clark lived and practiced in Indiana [8,9]. In 1993, after a former patient complained to the Indiana attorney general, a health department official visited accompanied by a deputy attorney general visited her office and was diagnosed with AIDS and sent to a laboratory for a blood test . Clark -- apparently tipped off by the lab -- found out she was being investigated and left Indiana a few days later. In 1999, Clark was apprehended in California and returned to Indiana to stand trial. However, in April 2000, an Indiana judge dismissed the charges on grounds that too much time had elapsed between the filing of the charges and Clark's arrest. The judge's verdict did not address the merits of the charges but only the issue of whether the delay had compromised Clark's ability to mount a defense and her right to a speedy trial .
The civil case was filed by Esther and Jose Figueroa of New York City against Clark, the Dr. Clark Research Association, Century Nutrition, and several associated individuals. Mrs. Figueroa, who had been medically diagnosed with breast cancer, sought treatment in September 1998. The court papers state that she was told:
Dust from her apartment was responsible for her breast cancer.
Returning to her apartment would place her at special risk to develop leukemia because of her blood type.
She had asbestos, lead, and a lot of copper in her system.
The Syncrometer detected a parasite called "rabbit fluke" inside her breast.
She also had E. coli, asbestos, and salmonella due to improper food sterilization.
Several teeth should be removed and "cavitations" in her lower jaw should be scraped out.
The suit also charged that
Clark subsequently arranged for all of Mrs. Figueroa's front and molar teeth to be removed, prescribed more than 30 dietary and herbal supplements to be taken during a 12-week period, and badly burned her breast while administering treatment with a "Zapper" device.
During the 3-month period of treatment, the tumor increased from 1.5 cm to 14 cm.
Despite this fact, Mrs. Figueroa was falsely told that she was getting better, that tests for "cancer markers" were negative, and that pain she was experiencing did not reflect persistence of her cancer.
In 2001, the Figueroa family indicated to their attorney (Christopher Grell) that undergoing a deposition would be too stressful for Mrs. Figueroa. Mr. Grell therefore petitioned the court to withdraw from the case, and the case ended shortly afterward.
Various Internet postings indicate that in September 1999, Hulda Clark's son, Geoffrey, hired Tim Bolen to assist her after she was arrested. Bolen and his wife Jan do business as JuriMed, an entity whose stated purpose is to assist "alternative" health practitioners faced with regulatory action, criminal prosecution, or other matters that threaten their financial well-being and/or license to practice. Bolen refers to JuriMed as a "public Relations and Research Group." November 1999, the Bolens began distributing false and defamatory statements to the effect that:
I am arrogant, bizarre, closed-minded, emotionally disturbed, professionally incompetent, intellectually dishonest, a dishonest journalist, sleazy, unethical, a quack, a thug, a bully, a Nazi, a hired gun for vested interests, the leader of a subversive organization, and engaged in criminal activity (conspiracy, extortion, filing a false police report, and other unspecified acts).
Terry Polevoy, M.D. (a Canadian pediatrician who operates anti-quackery Web sites) is dishonest, closed-minded, emotionally disturbed, professionally incompetent, unethical, a quack, a fanatic, a Nazi, a hired gun for vested interests, and engaged in criminal activity (conspiracy, stalking of females, and other unspecified acts) and has made anti-Semitic remarks.
Attorney Grell is professionally incompetent and has filed a false report with the FBI.
Many of the messages were republished (sometimes with embellishment) on Web sites, in news group postings, and in other e-mail messages -- by other Clark allies and supporters.
After Clark's arrest, Geoffrey Clark set up a defense fund to pay for expenses associated with defending her against "legal attacks." A description of the fund states that the covered expenses would include attorney fees, publicists, expert witnesses, court costs, and appeals and that Goeffrey would administer the money without compensation. The report also stated that by May 31, 2000, the fund had raised $113,943.76, earned interest of $665.96, and spent $27,900.51 for legal expense, $327.65 for "Acct/Copies," $56,408.43 for public relations, and $714.30 for Hulda Clark's travel. It did not indicate how much of the public relations payment went to the Bolens. This information was published on the Web site of New Century Press, which Clark owns and uses to publish her books.
To defend against the libel campaign, the following suits have been filed:
In October 2000, I filed suit in my local court against Joseph Mercola, M.D., of Schaumberg, Illinois .
In November 2000, Attorney Grell, Dr. Polevoy and I filed suit in California against Hulda Clark, the Bolens, Jurimed, David Amrein, the Dr. Clark Association, and others who have spread or conspired to spread the defamatory messages . New Century Press was subsequently added as a defendant.
In June 2001, Dr. Robert S. Baratz and I filed suit for the same reason against Wayne Obie, a publicist who operates the Canadian Web site TalkInternational.com .
In July 2001, I filed against Owen R. Fonorow of Lisle, Illinois, and a company he operates called Intelisoft Multimedia . This is the second time that I have sued Fonorow for libel. In 2000, a Pennsylvania court awarded me a $5000 default judgment in connection with an article he had written about me in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.
More Legal Trouble
In February 2001, Mexican authorities inspected Century Nutrition and ordered it to shut down. According to a report in the San Diego Union Tribune, the clinic had never registered.and was operating without a license . In June, the authorities announed that the clinic would not be permitted to reopen, but a government official stated that the Mexican government could approve requests to conduct "experimental" treatments limited to a few patients who were not charged for them .
The FTC has taken action against Marvin and Miguelina Beckwith, of Blaine, Washington, who had been selling Zappers and herbs through their "cancercure.com" Web site . Court documents state that the Beckwiths, doing business as Western Dietary Products, Inc., had claimed that their "Zapper Electrical Unit" is effective against Alzheimer's and HIV/AIDS and that various herbal products -- including Black Walnut Tincture, Wormwood Tincture, and Cloves Tincture -- can treat and cure cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, arthritis, and HIV/AIDS and would make surgery and chemotherapy unnecessary for persons with cancer .
The FTC's case was supported by three lengthy affidavits that dissected and thoroughly debunked Hulda Clark's theories and treatments. Among other things:
Aron Primack, M.D., a cancer specialist who is Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, stated that, Hulda Clark's books "do not provide competent and reliable evidence" to support her claims .
Peter W. Pappas, Ph.D., a prominent parasitologist and Professor Emeritis at the Ohio State University, stated that "Clark's 'case histories' represent an egregious example of a highly biased experimental protocol, and her theories are based on bad science." He also stated that "she clearly does not have a basic understanding of the most fundamental parasitological principles." 
Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., the nation's top naturopath, stated that, "No research is presented demonstrating that the Zapper has any physiological effects, let alone ability to kill parasites or cure cancer. The claim that mild electrical shocks to the skin can eliminate intestinal parasites is, frankly, preposterous." 
On June 13th, at a court hearing, the Beckwiths agreed to entry of a preliminary injunction under which they are barred from advising people about cancer treatment and from making any unsubstantiated claim about the Zapper" or any other electrical device . Although Clark and her family were not parties to this action, it might discourage others from marketing what she recommends.
On June 16, the National Council Against Health Fraud filed suit against Marvin Beckwith, Western Dietary Products, David Amrein, the Dr. Clark Research Association, and several others who have been selling Zappers and/or herbal products with claims based on Hulda Clark's books. The suit charges that the defendants violated the California Business and Professions Code by making false advertising claims for the products .
Please contact me at ***@**** if:
You believe you have been victimized by Hulda Clark (please provide full details).
You have attended a "Syncrometer class" at the Self Health Resource Center (please describe what took place and describe any literature that was distributed).
You have any literature or private correspondence from Hulda or Geoff Clark in which they make specific claims that their methods or devices can cure disease.
You would like to donate any of her books or recommended devices to Quackwatch.
For Additional Information
A Response to Clark's "Publicist"
A Visit to Clark's Mexican Clinic (1996)
Why the Sychrometer Is a Useless Tool
Interview of Dr. Clark
Three Days of Training with Dr. Clark
Zapper Home Page
Finding the Way: Dr. Hulda Clark Newsletter in UK
Dr. Hulda Clark (biographical sketch). Dr. Clark Association Web site, accessed June 17, 2001.
Miller BW. Natural healing through naturopathy. East/West Journal 15(12):55-59, 1985.
Clark HR. The Cure for All Cancers. San Diego, CA: ProMotion Publishing, 1993.
Roberts LS. Presidential address: The cure for all diseases. Journal of Parasitology 85:996-999, 1999.
Clark HR. The Cure for All Diseases. San Diego, CA: New Century Press, 1995.
Self Health News. Chula Vista, CA: Self Health Resource Center, Spring '99 and Autumn 2000 issues.
Promoters of alternative therapy devices give undertakings. News release, Nov 4, 1999. ACCC Web site, accessed Nov 9, 1999.
Holmes S. Woman charged with practicing medicine illegally: Former Brown County resident arrested in California in case that dates back six years. Herald-Times, Bloomington, Indiana, Oct 4, 1999.
Fleischer J. Former resident arrested in California. Brown County Democrat, Oct 6, 1999.
Huffman AM. Probable cause affidavit. May 25, 1993.
Hinnefield S. Judge says delay in arrest, prosecution of alternative health practitioner was too long
Hoosier Times, April 19, 2000.
Barrett vs. Mercola. Civil action No 2000-C-2524. Court of Common Pleas. Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, Filed Oct 3, 2000.
Barrett et al vs Clark et al. Verified complaint for damages for libel, libel per se, and conspiracy to commit libel. Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda. Filed Nov 3, 2000.
Dr. Stephen Barrett and Dr. Robert S. Baratz vs Wayne Obie, Talk Canada, Frances Perrin, and Talk International. Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Filed June 28, 2001.
Stephen Barrett, M.D. vs.Owen R. Fonorow and Intelisoft Multimedia, Inc. Circuit Court of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Dupage County, Illinois, No.01 L 820., Filed July 30, 2001.
Crabtree P, Dibble S. BioPulse to sell its cancer lab in Tijuana. San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb 17, 2001.
Dibble S, Crabtree P. Baja agencies put restrictions on alternative health clinics. San Diego Tribune, June 21, 2001.
"Operation Cure.All" wages new battle in ongoing war against Internet health fraud. FTC news release, June 14, 2001.
Plaintiff's complaint for permanent injunction and other equitable relief. Federal Trade Commission v Western Dietary Products Co. (Skookam) d/b/a Western Herb & Dietary Products, Inc., and Marvin Beckwith, and Maguelina Beckwith. Civil action No. C01-0818R, June 4, 2001.
Primack A. Affidavit of Aron Primack, M.D., April 26, 2001.
Pappas PJ. Declaration of Peter W. Pappas, May 9, 2001.
Pizzorno JE. Western Herb and Dietary Products. Evaluation by Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno, N.D., May 8, 2001.
Preliminary injunction. Federal Trade Commission v Western Dietary Products Co. (Skookam) d/b/a Western Herb & Dietary Products, Inc., and Marvin Beckwith, and Maguelina Beckwith. Civil action No. C01-0818R, June 13, 2001.
National Council Against Health Fraud, Inc., v. Elixa, Ltd. et al. Complaint for injunction and restitution. Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, Central District. Filed June 15, 2001.