Hepatitis C Community
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17568 tn?1424977159

Why We Removed the Dr. Berkson Thread


We took down the thread about Dr. Berkson until we have a chance to check into his background, credentials and treatments.  Given this is a holiday weekend, we won't be able to do that until next week.  

We appreciate your patience and wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

Cindy Thompson
364 Responses
388154 tn?1306365291
If you reinstall it I want my thread "Jerkson,dont think its his name" to be a comment on that thread. And skip the title!!
I first tryed to post it as a comment there but it was gone, so I posted it as a separate thread instead. No need for that if its gonna come back is it?

Avatar universal
Do you plan to do that for any other doctors mentioned on the forum also?  How about recommendations and opinions that we post when people ask for input? Will you be fact-checking forum posts as well?

Plenty of doctors get mentioned in these threads.  I'm curious why you would prevent cognizant adults from discussing this particular Doctor and his protocol until you can personally check him out.  There were a number of posts in that thread asking for people to remain civil with each other to keep the thread going to allow discussion for the sake of those who are unable to do treatment or who choose to manage their HCV without treatment.  

I'm sure your intention is good but you're treating us like children.  Some people on that thread behaved like children and you're penalizing the rest of us for their behaviour. I request you pull the abusive and/or non-constructive posts and let the discussion continue.

Avatar universal
Thank you for checking into Dr. Berkson's qualifications.  Over the past few months he has been the subject of numerous threads by people pitching his clinic, unlike most other doctors whose names come up in discussions.  

Happy Thanksgiving.

Avatar universal
In the past, I talked with another moderator, Emily. She told me that discussing alternatives to interferon therapy is perfectly fine. This includes Lloyd Wright, colloidal silver, ozone, Chinese medicine,  herbs, and supplements.

If Dr Berkson is a quack-prove it in open discussion. Bring valid arguments. So far, in this discussion, the only response to people who are interested in Dr Berkson's approach was calling him Jerkson. Does this prove that his treatment is not working?
Why don't we see how Upbeat is doing and then decide on treatment effectiveness? Let this discussion continue.

If he would be a quack and a cheat, he would claim to eradicate this virus. He doesn't make such claims.

What if somebody comes here and says that he does treatment with Lloyd Wright, and will try to promote it? Will you remove this thread too? I am very interested in your response, because these threads will appear from time to time.

You need to put this thread back. If you find some posts abusive, delete them. But don't remove the entire thread, especially if you need several days to check something.  By the way, why don't you let adults who come to this forum check out Dr Berkson's credentials and methods of treatment themselves? We are perfectly capable of doing this. You do treat us like children who need to be spoon fed.

Avatar universal
"Thank you for checking into Dr. Berkson's qualifications.  Over the past few months he has been the subject of numerous threads by people pitching his clinic, unlike most other doctors whose names come up in discussions.  "

What you're really saying is that we need MedHelp to think for us. We're incapable of critical thinking and intelligent analysis about our own HCV management without MedHelp stepping in to do it for us.  "Numerous" threads?  I think that's quite an exaggeration.  I don't know what I think of him, personally. I'm not overly impressed with what I've seen so far however the discussion I find valuable and I'd like it to continue without people abusing each other.  If we can have people calling for conversations about fishbones and nailclippers, certainly we can discuss HCV management from outside the box and have a discussion that examines information presented from all angles and leave the interpretation up to each one of us individually.  We're invested enough to critically examine evidence presented, to ask questions in a quest to validate the information presented and to either accept or repudiate based on information presented.

I certainly don't need MedHelp to do that FOR me and neither do the other people here.  Certainly we can have the maturity to do that amongst ourselves?
Avatar universal
You are certainly entitled to your opinion, however, I do not require you to interpret for me, so please refrain from restating my post whih what you have decided I am "really saying," You have absolutely no basis for claiming to know my mind. English is my mother-tongue and I feel I can communicate effectively without assistance.  You do not need MedHelp to think for you.  Fair enough, then you will understand that I do not need you to think for me.

Of all the practitioners discussed on this forum, Berkson is the only one who has been the subject of such rabid devotion from followers who come on MH and "pitch" for his clinic, and bristle at any questions from non-believer members, who are variously labelled "pathetic" and "scared" and whatnot by devotees who espouse his clinic as a panacea for everything from liver disease to general malaise.  So I think it is appropriate for MH to examine the credentials, given the fact that a small group of posters aggressively promote his particular organization.

I am aware that you disagree, however I stand by my earlier statement.
Avatar universal
I wasn't interpreting for you.  I was interpreting for me.  I was stating my own opinion. I'm not interested in thinking for you.  I would like the right to think for myself without MedHelp choosing to do it for me.  A number of people on the thread requested that the discussion be allowed to stand so that THEY could think for THEMselves and interpret the information presented for THEMselves.  

The comments that were abusive came from both the pros and the cons of that discussion.  One-sided of you to mention the one and not the other - not very objective.  Frankly, the way someone comments on a subject is also informative and either lends credibility or detracts from it.  

MedHelp can examine his credentials - however, it's not going to matter all that much.  I would hazard to say that the majority of us wanted to examine his credentials for ourselves which is why we wanted the thread to continue, the discussion to continue, asked questions that we wanted answers to and did not want to be bullied out of the discussion by posters who want to deny us the ability to engage in a discussion we found useful.  The comments made by posters that were inappropriate were addressed by various other posters in that thread.  I think we can handle it.

I think it's inappropriate that a small group of posters aggressively try to prevent discussion that a number of posters clearly want to engage in and have stated as much.
Avatar universal
I haven't followed this discussion but If I couldn't do traditional tx successfully, I would certainly like to hear first-hand from members about other avenues of potential benefit.

I have no idea why the naysayers are so adamant but a cursory look on Janis or Wiki do not raise red flags that I can see. Am I missing something?

Here's what I found about Berkson in Janis and Friends, which says Berkson is published in a German medical journal, presumably something not many of us here can claim:


(He is an M.D. and holds a Ph.D in biological science.)

And a cursory look in Wiki states:

"The first human clinical studies using alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) in the United States were conducted by Fredrick C. Bartter, Burton M. Berkson, and associates from the National Institutes of Health in the 1970’s.[9][10][11] They administered intravenous ALA to 79 people with acute and severe liver damage at various medical centers across the United States and 75 recovered full liver function. Drs. Bartter and Berkson were appointed by the FDA as principal investigators for this therapeutic agent as an investigational drug and Dr. Berkson went on to use it successfully for the treatment of chronic liver disease (viral hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis, etc).[12]"

I think that discussing him without malice is something most members are capable of doing.  I do hope that MH restores the thread minus the malicious posts, if there were any.

For one thing, I'd love to see the thread and exercise my own judgement.


253566 tn?1219683299
I would like to see the alt discussion remain on MedHelp.

The trad MedGurus have destroyed my life, and some in that group have apologized for such, and we should be able to discuss openly alt treatments.

I went thru some "mad" alt suggestions including a medical intuitive and understand the desire to protect against quackery...

BUT I also have found this group of incredibly knowledgeable members very helpful in an open discussion toward MedHELP. And lord knows I need help. MWAH.
Avatar universal
Actually, I made no statement of any kind about abusive comments on the thread that is the subject of Cindy's post.  One sided?  I think not.
96938 tn?1189803458
I wonder if the vetting of Dr. Berkson stated above is similar to the processes of vetting for MedHelp's advertisers.
Avatar universal
Ha; I originally posted this in the wrong thread; some other thread in which MedHelp was being skewered.  ; )  For continuity's sake, I more or less recopied it here.  (I don't really know where I would draw the line, but none have been drawn in the past, to my knowledge.  For instance, colloidal silver threads get responded to and discredited without any moderation actions. -Willy)

Cindy, thank you for NOT deleting the thread.  I would like to see it returned.

Thank you for sharing your reason for the action and that it was merely under consideration and not a final action.
This is from your terms of use;
"Specifically, MedHelp, its licensors, and its suppliers make no representations or warranties about the following:

    * The accuracy, reliability, completeness, correctness, or timeliness of the Content, software, text, graphics, links, or communications provided on or through the use of the MedHelp Site.
    * The satisfaction of government regulations requiring disclosure of information on prescription drug products with regard to the Content contained on the MedHelp Site.
    * The accuracy, completeness or correctness, timeliness, or usefulness of any opinions, advice, services, or other information provided through the MedHelp Site.

Why enter into evaluation of content when you *clearly* state that you make NO representations about the content?

Further, if something experimental is banned from the forum such as experimental treatments, supplements, herbs, etcetera, how would you distinguish that from clinical trials?  What if the complained about drug or treatment is also in trials or will be?
I think you are on a slippery slope when you attempt to determine what we read or post.  Boards are for the free exchange of information, within the bounds of your terms of use agreement.  I think you are going to have a lot of problems trying to word some boundaries on what is allowed and what is not.  That will mean more problems, more disagreements, confusion;
more threads like this one.  ; )

In allowing a few complainers to determine what you allow for content you are allowing the few to determine what the majority will read.  I cannot believe that it could be so easy for a person or group of people to in effect prohibit a topic, forbid a discussion of a therapy, and in effect, determine what members can and can't read.

Medicine and medical knowledge is dynamic and constantly changing.  I don't feel you have any business determining what people post or comment on as long as they follow your rules.
We know it is experimental.  We have read your disclaimer.  You have been asked by many here to be less proactive in deleting threads.  Oddly some of those same people may be in support the forum moderation team becoming the benevolent and all knowing patriarch that determines what we may read.

Next, after banning experimental treatment topics could come banning any topic that undercuts current approved FDA approved treatments.  More good intentions......
(yes, we know you don't delete those threads because you only allow FDA approved TX.  You delete them because members *complain.*  The end result however is still the same; homogeneous, unoffensive, redacted content.)

Avatar universal
Thank you Cindy. You did the right thing. It was right to remove a thread that had nothing to do with Hepatitis C.  This is a HCV forum not an alternative medicine forum. Great job. Happy Thanksgiving
Avatar universal
You seem to have forgotten about the people with HCV where treatment has failed them, those who are doing the "watch and wait" and would hope to inhibit the progression of their fibrosis while they wait for less risky treatment options, those who are already beyond treatment and are trying to prolong their lives and for those who have other health issues that prohibit treatment.  You talk about HR's protocol - that is alternative medicine.  There are other alternatives that we need to discuss and that we should be able to discuss and freely share information about - not only interferon and ribavirin.  
Avatar universal
time to put it to rest. it is over. this type of hostility from you is exactly why that other thread was deleted. posts like that do nothing to help a forum. it just brings out the worse in people.
I know you are angry but go and try to enjoy Thanksgiving.
Avatar universal
Disagreeing with you is not being hostile.  It's simply stating an alternate point of view from you.  I'm not sure what "it" is that is "over".  If you're not interested in this thread and don't have anything constructive to add, then feel free to exit.  Those that wish to discuss can continue to do so.  

My Thanksgiving was in early October, btw.  Thanks for the sentiments just the same. It's your Thanksgiving however - please do go and enjoy.  
Avatar universal
(You wrote to Trish))
"this type of hostility from you is exactly why that other thread was deleted".
My point exactly.
Let people discuss, post, exchange information.  I think you have crossed *that* line on virtually all the Berkson threads.

I DO enjoy the feedback you provide, the practical and even cynical feedback.  I just think that a good discussion is of far more value than of a non-discussion because a topic, a person, or a supplement or therapy is verboten in a forum.

It hasn't existed here prior.....not that I've been aware of.  

I disagree, but I value your being a member here so we can differ.  It makes for a more educational and interesting forum.

Avatar universal
Just to clarify I meant the Dr Beserkson saga is over.

Thanks for the well wishes for the holiday. Actually I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I will enjoy it.
1116669 tn?1269146866
It seems to me that an advisory on meta discussion (discussion about discussion) and reminder to stay on the quintessential topic (Hep-C) might have been a better direction to take. Being both cirrhotic and a health care professional sensitizes me to the effusion the afflicted bring to such a forum but boy do I crave facts when I read these posts..... I have really grown to respect "I" statements regarding pathology and healing, e.g., I tried this and....., This is the protocol she/he advocated, etc.  But then I'm a newbie here..  d
388154 tn?1306365291
First I thought the thread was deleted because of abuse.
Then when my own thread also got deleted which there is no mention of here "thank you very much".
I haven´t checked my epost yet.

Yes then I realised the thread(s) must have been reported as spam, someone  is suspected of trying to promote a business I guess.

My first reaction when I saw that MH was gonna investigate was positiv I thought maybe they have resources most of us don´t have.

I also wanna take the opportunity to say i like you Cindy.
I have a strong intuition about people seldom fails me and you are a good person, respectful and kind.

I think everything has started to be much better after you have gotten more involved here.

take care!!


Ps it could be in order to explain ( clarify) why you MH has decided to investigate the good docs credibility
92903 tn?1309908311
By my way of thinking - which is admitedly a little off kilter - MH may open themselves to a degree of liability by this type of action. As they sway away from the stated neutral stance concerning the merit and accuaracy of posts, they could end up with liability for innacurate posts that are left to stand. A user could feel that since MH deletes posts about quackery, those that are left to stand must not be quacking.  
Avatar universal
what flguy said, maybe if the dr. purchased some ad space???? i'm a grown man. jerry
238010 tn?1420409872
I agree with Goof - MH is setting a dangerous precedent for itself...
148588 tn?1465782409
I also agree with G'dawg.
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