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Linz's Mario Book—Updated!
Who Should Be the Republican Nominee?
Total votes: 18
Anne Heller, M.D? [From 'Silence of James Valliant's Defenders' Thread]
Submitted by Michael Moeller on Thu, 2009-12-10 21:58
I find Heller's treatment of Frank's drinking to be suspicious, to say the least. I will get to what might be some potential mendacity re her quote on page 357 in a second, but first a few remarks on the passage you quoted from the endnote on page 493. The passage that stems from on page 263 states:
Well, the first obvious question is why does she not give us that evidence? Why is she just asserting it, why not let the reader be the judge of the evidence she possesses? She has substituted her judgment for the reader's here. Is this "suggestion" based on Frank going to The Russian Tea Room after painting class? Who knows.
Now, to anybody who has known an addict or heavy drinker, the signs are often obvious. They are always itching for their next fix, the substance is often lingering around (like hidden bottles), their behavior is very erratic, they sleep late, often miss appointments and break promises, and on and on. By all accounts, these symptoms are missing from the accounts of Frank's behavior. I don't even think Babs has copped to seeing Frank drunk, which would be suspicious considering the amount they saw each other over a long period of time.
This is why I asked Linz if the Reismans had ever seen Frank drunk. According to Linz, George stated he had never seen Frank with a drink in his hand. Again, very suspicious considering they had considerable contact over a long period of time.
So did Heller bother to do what I did? Did she get testimony from others, particularly others without an axe to grind like Babs, regarding their observations of Frank's drinking? It seems to me in a "controversy" that is "bitterly disputed", you have an obligation to seek out this evidence if you think the "suggestion" is correct, especially where the testimony can be easily obtained (like testimony from the Reismans).
In any event, let's get to the good stuff on page 357:
First thing to note is: what happened to the "suggestion" that he drank heavily? Here she states it definitively. Did Anne Heller M.D. uncover new evidence between pages 263 and 357? Did she forget to go back and change page 263 and the endnote? Otherwise, I am not sure how the evidence goes from "suggesting" he drank heavily to definitively stating Frank drank heavily.
She states that it "seems to have been Dupuytren's syndrome", naming one symptom. I am sure there are a lot of other things that can cause painful hand contractions. So how did she come upon this diagnosis? She does not cite any sources in the back of the book. I see no medical records nor any testimony stating that Frank had Dupuytren's. Apparently, Anne Heller, M.D., came to this diagnosis via her own medical detective work.
Now, I had no idea what Dupuytren's was, so I did a Google search. The very first site that came up says that the causes of Dupuytren's are "unknown" and "may be associated with certain biochemical factors within the involved fascia". Well, that's not very supportive of Heller M.D.'s causes for Dupuytren's. I then checked The Mayo Clinic, which does not mention arteriosclerosis or liver cirrhosis as "risk factors". Mayo states that alcohol intake is associated with Dupuytren's, "although not everyone with Dupuytren's abuses alcohol". Next I checked Wikipedia. Again, nothing about arteriosclerosis. Wiki mentions people with liver cirrhosis among the primarily affected. Wiki states alcoholism among the "suspected, but unproven" causes.
Let's review Heller M.D.'s three causes in support of the Dupuytren's diagnosis. None of the sites note arteriosclerosis, which Heller uses as one of the two conditions for diagnosis. Only one site notes liver cirrhosis, which Frank did not have anyway according to Heller M.D.. Two of sites mention alcoholism, but Mayo says not all Dupuytren's sufferers drink and Wiki states that alcoholism is a "suspected, but unproven" cause. Hmmm, there seems to be a major problem here with Heller M.D.'s support for a Dupuytren's diagnosis, especially when you consider that hand problems can be caused by any number of things.
But here is what I find to be the real kicker: the one symptom Heller cites in support of the diagnosis is "painful contractions in the tendons of his hands". If you read these sites, Dupuytren's is "rarely painful", "not typically painful", and "usually painless". Furthermore, the first website above says deeper structures like "tendons" "are not directly involved". The disease seems to be characterized by lumps at the surface of the palm.
So the one symptom Heller M.D. cites does NOT support a diagnosis of Dupuytren's. What are these other symptoms she leaves out? Who knows, unless they are the ones she lists at the end of the paragraph, which include "thinness, pallor, silence". These may not be medical at all and could be explained by a zillion things.
I was suspicious when I first read that passage on page 357 because it seemed like an awfully propitious case of connect-the-dots. Hey, Frank had a hand problem, it "seems to be Dupuytren's". And guess what? Dupuytren's is associated with alcoholism. And guess what else? Frank drank heavily!! Voila!
So how did Anne Heller M.D. come to this Dupuytren's diagnosis again? Is she privy to some medical records or testimony she failed to relay? Or is Anne Heller M.D., expert diagnostician, ahead of her time in terms of the medical science on Dupuytren's (at least according to these online sources)?
Here's an alternative hypothesis: Anne Heller M.D. engaged in a some fancy footwork and started by working backwards. That is, Heller M.D. found that Frank had problems with his hands, found a hand disease that was associated with alcoholism, and then used it to support the claim that Frank drank heavily. This is just a hypothesis and maybe Heller has better reasons for her Dupuytren's diagnosis, but something smells just a little bit rotten here.
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