Post: Gots, Barrett, ESRI, and clinical ecology
Posted by Pat on 2/09/03
Dr. Ronald E. Gots testifies in court against MCS. He is
depended on more than any other person is to discredit MCS.
Yet, he is one of the most under qualified doctors in the field.
Gots said that MCS "defies classification as a disease. It
has no consistent characteristics, no uniform cause, no
objective or measurable features. It exists because a
patient believes it does and a doctor validates that
belief." - A comment known to be inaccurate as it ignores
the data on emission tomography brain scans, etc.
In his 1998 book, ?Chemical Sensitivity: The Truth About
Environmental Illness?, co-written with Stephen Barret, Gots
wrote (admitted that), "people do exist who are very
sensitive to various micro-organisms, noxious chemicals, and
common foods." He then goes on to say "there is no
scientific evidence that an immunologic basis exists for
such a symptom pattern". [Emphasis added]
MCS is not an immunologic disease, yet Gots and Barret
require the criteria of such for proof of MCS - but MCS does
not meet the criteria of an immunologic disease, hence, they
conclude that MCS is non-existent. That is poor judgement on
the their part, as it is a flawed epidemiological approach.
This is the exact same method used by other ?skeptical
doctors? to discount MCS. So much for ?objective?.
Dr. Gots has never treated a patient with MCS. He is trained
in pharmacology, and neither he, nor Barret have any
training or certification in toxicology. And Barrett, he?s a
retired psychiatrist. I bring this up because Gots is often
introduced as being ?a toxicologist?.
In addition, Gots and Barrett not actually done any
peer-reviewed studies on MCS. They only offer their
interpretations on anti-or-non-MCS studies, and completely
ignore peer-reviewed publications that contradict them. This
is hardly in line with the scientific method.
Despite this, Barrett finds it necessary to write anti-MCS
essays on his ?Quack Watch? web site. And Gots, well he?s
the head of the ?Environmental Sensitivities Research
Institute? (ESRI)- an Institute founded by pesticide
Not known to many, is the fact that fellow ESRI board member
Frank Mitchell had an important role in the writing of the
1998 Interagency Draft Report on MCS. Careful review of the
report shows some shocking discoveries. For starters, the
report omitted a 1996 EPA staff report showing that 58% of
people poisoned by chlorpyrifos developed MCS.
The American Academy of Allergy and Immunology cautioned
that "the diagnostic and therapeutic principles...of
clinical ecology [are]..unproven and experimental.
Individuals who are being treated in this manner should be
fully informed of its experimental nature."
However, clinical ecologists are doctors of the Total Body
Load hypothesis. I have not made any attempt to support that
view because there isn't strong evidence to support it. The
American Academy of Allergy and Immunology seems to be
unaware of the scientific literature in support of MCS.
It should also be noted that they refer to clinical ecology
treatment as "experimental", and not as "quackery". Rae
published a book in which he states that the treatment
methods of clinical ecology have helped (but not cured) over
30,000 MCS sufferers.
I disagree with the notion of clinical ecologists that MCS
is immune system mediated. I believe that the etiology of
MCS is that of poisoning. My belief is subject to change
however. I am very interested in the theory of Martin Pall
-- Professor of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences,
Washington State University -- which can be read at
It must be stressed (pardon the pun) that the available
scientific data proves that there are two groups of
chemically sensitive sufferers:
In group (1), there is a genuine sensitivity to chemicals on
a physical basis, which may lead to psychiatric problems if
the limbic area of the brain is affected (in most cases it is).
In group (2), the sufferers, for various reasons (usually
because a clinical ecologist has told them they are
sensitive to chemicals, without supportive testing!),
sincerely believe they are sensitive to chemicals on a
physical basis, but in fact are not. This is not to, in any
way, dismiss their suffering.
MCS skeptics commonly ignore the data on group (1), and
focus entirely on group (2). This is made clear in the
articles written by the MCS skeptic, Michael Fumento. Make
no mistake, I am not attacking his character. He is a great
writer. However, he appears to be unaware of a great deal of
data that contradicts his generalized conclusions.
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