I was quite upset last week to have forwarded to me by several patients and colleagues a blog written by Dr. Shoemaker on his Surviving
Mold website called “Dr. Joseph Brewer: Nasal Fungi, Anti-Fungals and Junk Science.”
This unprofessional diatribe against Dr. Brewer’s work and character is very disturbing to me.
I know both Dr. Brewer and Dr. Shoemaker well. I have taught with them, eaten dinner with them, studied with them and thoroughly enjoyed delving into the cutting edge of knowledge with them. Both are brilliant, caring physicians.
So when I read Dr. Shoemaker’s recent blog, which I can only describe as a rant, I find myself extremely disappointed. My biggest concern, which I will begin and end this discussion with, is that thousands of suffering patients may read Dr. Shoemaker’s blog and mistakenly believe that the treatments suggested by Dr. Brewer are not “scientific” and therefore forgo them, only to have their illness become much worse. Hundreds of patients treated by myself and Dr. Brewer have had their health improved or restored with his approach, and to overlook this central fact is missing the point entirely.
We are, and always will be, grateful to Dr. Shoemaker for his groundbreaking efforts to single-handedly bring to light the important and underappreciated subject of biotoxicity, especially mold toxicity. His grasp of the biotoxin pathway and the clarity it brings to our understanding these illnesses has brought healing to thousands of suffering patients.
But, like all new findings, this information does not yet constitute a
“science”. It is a preliminary process in the understanding of a very important cause of illness, but to imagine that it has achieved the status of a “science” is a considerable overstatement. Far from it, we have just begun to appreciate how much we do not know and that we have a long way to go to learn how to treat it optimally. Having personally treated well over a thousand patients with mold toxicity, I am grateful that our current knowledge allows us to help the majority of them, but also aware of how difficult this process is for many patients and that their progress may be painfully slow and sometimes not noticeable on any level. There is no question in my mind that we have a great deal to learn.
I do not intend to refute Dr. Shoemaker’s blog point by point.
It assumes that we have enough information to call his body of information
a science, and that we can, from what little we currently know, dissect new information as it is discovered and criticize it. I believe that one of the issues here that gets very little discussion is that we assume that when we talk about “mold toxic patients” we are all talking about the same patient population. I doubt that this is the case.
I know that Dr. Shoemaker has confined and focused his work on patients who have, exclusively, mold exposure. On the other hand, I know that Dr. Brewer and I, and many others, have practices filled with patients who have mold toxicity AND exposure to other environmental toxins, including heavy metals, Lyme disease with its attendant coinfections, chronic viral infections, multiple chemical sensitivities and many other factors, making comparisons between our patient populations, observations and results, difficult. These factors exponentially complicate the treatment of biotoxin illness. Adding another aspect to this complexity is that many of our mold toxic patients also have mold allergy which may also need to be included in the treatment program.
Having extensively used the protocols described by Dr. Shoemaker
and Dr. Brewer, there is no question in my mind that Dr. Brewer’s protocols
have significantly expanded our ability to diagnose and treat mold toxic patients. Patients who were treading water under my care are now improving or well. Patient after patient relate to me their improvements on the expanded use of biotoxin “binders” and to their use of antifungal medication taken as nasal sprays and orally. For most of my patients, it simply works.
Do we need more research in this area? Absolutely. Have we treated enough patients to know that this is a valuable treatment process? Yes, we have. Can we do better? I am sure we can, and as we continue to study this, we will. There are so few physicians doing this work, that we should be working together, not attacking each other.
But I beg of you, please do not throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water. While some of Dr. Shoemaker’s comments are worthy of study, most of his concerns reflect our lack of clinical certainty about this knowledge, and taken at face value would move us back by years in making the kind of progress that has begun. If you have taken the time to read Dr. Shoemaker’s blog, take the time to read the articles written by Dr. Brewer with his multiple citations from the medical literature, and let us move forward, not backwards.