Major Limitation #3:
Dr. Brogan Abundantly Promotes Non-Credible Resources Which Lack Peer-Review:
Source: Dr. Kelly Brogan’s website
“As Mark Twain said: ‘it’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they are fooled.’” (page 138)
In her new book, “A Mind of Your Own,” Holistic Psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan presents herself as a paranoid conspiracy theorist who cherry-picks her evidence. As it turns out, the majority of that evidence comes from non-credible resources which lack peer-review. “This isn’t New Age medicine; I will prove my claims and back my recommendations with current peer-reviewed studies from the world’s most esteemed publications,” she states but then continues on for all 293 pages of her book to abundantly promote junk science websites and non-medical professionals to back up all of her narrowly-presented and limited ideas (page 5)
As a medical professional, Dr. Brogan should understand and value the essence and importance of peer-review when presenting medical information to the public. The peer-review process ensures that the information and interventions we implement for our patients are evidence-based, promote best practice and ensure the highest level of safety possible. Dr. Brogan takes a proverbial dump (probably from all of those filtered, organic coffee enemas she promotes) on the peer-review process by making her most-cited source throughout her book none other than herself. She references readers to her own website and blogs over 30 times. This comes off as quite pompous considering that Dr. Brogan has not published a single research study.
Her second most references source was MadInAmerica.com, which she referenced over eight times and “employed” her readers to utilize (page 273). Dr. Brogan instructs readers to “employ the power of the Internet” and visit both her website and “Mad in America” to find support forums (page 273). “Mad In America,” a website which features dozens of writers from many different fields, promotes a mission that encourages a shift away from the current treatment modalities of the field of psychiatry and promotes anecdotal stories over the empirical evidence which is widely available to support many of the medicinal practices of psychiatry. Dr. Kelly Brogan is a writer Mad in America, so the fact that this is her second-most cited source demonstrates just how narrow and cherry-picked her presentation of data truly is.
The third source which Dr. Brogan cites the most is Mercola.com, which she references seven times on her notes pages. Surprise surprise…look who writes for Dr. Mercola’s website: Dr. Kelly Brogan. Dr. Mercola is one of the best examples of a non-credible resource as he promotes dangerous practices, encourages people to stray away from life-saving vaccines and promotes pseudoscience and dangerous misinformation. This link demonstrates just a few of the many examples of outlandish, dangerous things which Dr. Mercola has stated. Much like his colleague Dr. Brogan, Dr. Mercola criticizes “Big Pharma” for being profit-driven but then directs site users to his giant marketplace to purchase supplements and products, none of which have been approved by the FDA. In fact, the FDA has even issued warnings against Dr. Mercola for the dangerous products he promotes.
The fourth most cited resource in her book is GreenMedInfo, which Dr. Brogan references six times. And, of course, guess who writes for GreenMedInfo: Dr. Brogan. Just one glance at the “about” section of GreenMedInfo demonstrates just how non-credible this resource is as their mission is to promote expensive and medically-unnecessary “miracles” and “cures” to diseases, but then add a disclaimer that none of their products, none of which have received any FDA approval, are intended to cure any diseases at all. Their entire mission makes about as much sense as Dr. Brogan’s book.
“GreenMedInfo.com exists in order to provide convenient and open access to the biomedical research available today on the therapeutic value of natural substances in disease prevention and treatment. *
*The information we provide access to is not intended, nor designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.”
While noting that Dr. Brogan never once referenced an article or publication from the FDA once in her book, she suggested that readers refer to both the Thompson CDC Whistleblower papers and Health Impact News twice, as well as Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, Fierce Pharma Marketing, WebMD, The Salon, You Tube, and the largest anti-vaccine organization, The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). None of these websites are even close to credible. It’s incredibly disappointing that a well-trained, intelligent medical doctor like Dr. Brogan would choose to reference so many junk science websites which lack the most pivotal aspect of research: peer-review.
“I have a monkey mind.” (page 169)
Dr. Brogan states, “…there really isn’t much to support the efficacy of most medication and medical interventions.” (page 17) Perhaps if she relied on credible sources of information more often, she would know that this statement is far from the truth. Dr. Brogan only references reputable sources such as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and Mayo Clinic four times and references both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the New England Journal of Medicine only three times.
Dr. Brogan states, “If you had to define depression right, now…chances are, you’d say something about it being a ‘mood disorder’ or a ‘mental illness…’ but you would be mistaken.” Page 14) According to the Mayo Clinic, a reputable source of information which Dr. Brogan severely under-represents on her extensive list of 326 resources, depression is a mental illness and a mood disorder.
Dr. Brogan consistently cherry-picks and references non-credible resources throughout her book,and this next reference is just another example on that long list of occurrences. When offering some “peer-reviewed” resources regarding antidepressants, Dr. Brogan chooses to reference Dr. David Healy’s post from his personal website and not a research study or article. This is what Dr. David Healy has to say in this blog post:
“Our citizens would be far better off if we removed all the psychotropic drugs from the market, as doctors are unable to handle them. It is inescapable that their availability creates more harm than good. Psychiatrists should therefore do everything they can to treat as little as possible, in as short time as possible, or not at all, with psychotropic drugs.”
Dr. Brogan recommends that readers visit the website for HormonesMatter.org to see “extensively documented neurological and psychiatric conditions following common antibiotics…” (page 93). This is not a credible resource and it purely promotes anecdotal “evidence.,” none of which has been verified by any medical professionals.
Dr. Brogan states, “All you have to do is spend a few minutes on SurvivingAntidepressants.org, BeyondMeds.com, or SSRIstories.org to appreciate that we have created a monster.” (page 61) Much like VAERS, these websites are chock full of anecdotal stories of people’s experiences, none of which are verified by a medical professional so it’s a little unsettling that a medical doctor would tell patients to ignore large-scale, empirical data demonstrating that antidepressants are effective and necessary at times in favor of sensational, anecdotal, unverifiable stories.
Dr. Brogan refers her readers to go to her blog site to learn more about vaccines instead of referring them to the Centers for Disease Control or the FDA, the two major organizations behind the safety and recommendations. (page 138). She also refers readers to the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), one of the largest anti-vaccine organizations in the world and one which is not recommended or endorsed by any large medical association (page 315). Further, Dr. Brogan refers her readers to read more about vaccines from Health Impact News and Vanity Fair, neither of which are large, peer-reviewed organizations which are run by medical professionals who are qualified enough to provide advice on vaccines to the public (page 315). Lastly, vaccines have nothing to do with mental health, thereby making her mention of them completely inappropriate.
Dr. Brogan instructs readers to go through their homes and throw away products which are not “natural” and references several websites to follow as a guide, none of which are peer-reviewed, instead of referring readers to a more reputable organization such as the FDA which regulates these products in the first place. Which websites does she recommend? The Environmental Working Group, I Read Labels for You, Healthy Home Economist and of course yet another non-credible websites which she writes for: Fearless Parent.
Dr. Brogan states, “Start to think critically about what you buy, the medical advice you take, and what the media tells you to worry about.” (page 19). As an educated consumer and registered nurse, I definitely do follow this advice which is why I bought this book only to refute it, why I’m writing this blog post to warn readers about the misinformation which Dr. Brogan is promoting and why I am thrilled that major media sources have never shared her information or her books because they are not newsworthy or beneficial to the public.
Dr. Brogan is not only a paranoid conspiracy theorist with an irrational fear of the FDA and “Big Pharma” who cherry-picks her evidence but she is one who consistently chooses non-credible resources, many of which she writes for. For someone who accuses the pharmaceutical industry of unfounded crimes for being profit driven, readers of her book have to wonder whether Dr. Brogan received any kickbacks or additional bonuses from her bosses over at Mad in America, Mercola and GreenMedInfo for including these junk science sites as the top three of her most-cited resources.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for next time in which I present the #4 major limitation with Dr. Brogan work: promoting fear and misconception about Western Medicine, the very field from which she profits.
Angela Quinn, BSN, RN is a registered nurse on Long Island, NY. She is passionate about nursing and public health and is involved with a number of projects which promote life-saving vaccines. Angela volunteers as an Executive Board Member in Vaccine Advocacy for Nurses Who Vaccinate, is the founder of this blog, Correcting the Misconceptions of Anti-Vaccine Resources and is the creator of Future Nurse Abby.