One Lone Courageous Doctor
Curing Strangled Voices (SD) Spasmodic Dysphonia vs The New York Times and The Entire Medical Establishment Guaranteeing No Cures
Excerpt from the Book
“All the News That’s Fit to Print.” It’s a wonderful slogan, and has graced page one of The New York Times ever since the late Nineteenth Century. In the days of New York’s newspaper wars and the resulting rise of yellow journalism, the slogan meant that The Times would not play up sordid stories of lust and murder, would not cater to the prurient interests of people. The New York City described in the pages of The Times was often quite different from the New York City chronicled by the tabloids. For good reason the paper became known as the Gray Lady of Times Square.
But, as The Times evolved into not just the dominant paper in the New York metropolitan area but also America’s newspaper of record, the slogan came to suggest that one of the paper’s goals is to print comprehensive and balanced reports on all important topics of general interest. I think most journalism experts would agree with me on two points. First, as a practical matter it is impossible for any single newspaper, even one with the lofty ideals and substantial resources of The Times, to achieve this goal. Second, nonetheless The Times has come closer to this goal than any other newspaper in the country, and for this deserves the admiration of its competitors and the gratitude of its readers.
However, as we will see, sometimes all the news that’s fit to print doesn’t get printed, and that fact was one of the reasons I wrote this book. Back on March 11, 1992, The Times ran a column by Jane E. Brody, the paper’s highly esteemed (and rightly so) health reporter. In that column she wrote that the only effective treatments for spasmodic dysphonia (SD)—“strangled voice”—are surgery or Botox injections. While it is true that many surgeons and physicians at the time maintained this view—after all, they were the people doing the surgery or giving the Botox injections—the fact is that there are no documented cases of either medical therapy or a single cure ever. However, there are many documented cases of an entirely different approach resulting in permanent cures by my different approach called Direct Voice Rehabilitation (DVR). I developed DVR [forty-five years ago] when I was associated with the Medical Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Later, in 1973, I published a textbook, Modern Techniques of Voice Rehabilitation, that described my cure for spasmodic dysphonia.
In 1980, I reported a series of documented cures of SD in the prestigious International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatry (IALP). The report was peer-reviewed. I also followed up SD cases I referred to Dr. Dedo, the surgeon for SD to realize the negative surgery outcomes in all too many cases. In 1994, the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) wrote that 2/3’s of those doing that surgery were 2/3’s worse off than before. I had also reported cures of SD at ASHA conventions in 1974, 1979, 1980, and 2000.
It’s understandable, then, why I was disturbed that Ms. Brody’s column omitted any mention at all of the cures I had achieved. After all, The Times is read in disproportionate numbers by physicians and other healthcare professionals, who were being told that two treatments for spasmodic dysphonia were effective when, in fact, I knew they were not. Moreover, the one treatment that was curative was omitted from her report.
Well, thought I, a succinct but fact-filled letter to the editor would result in a follow-up column about Direct Voice Rehabilitation. So within a few days I sent it off, along with a copy of Modern Techniques of Voice Rehabilitation and a printout of my peer-reviewed paper published in 1980 in The Proceedings of the 18th Congress of the International Association of Logopedics & Phoniatrics, in which I described cures for SD. I also cited my two consumer-oriented books (Change Your Voice, Change Your Life and Winning with Your Voice). I provided the names of the ENT doctors and the SD patients cured of SD to Ms. Brody. A simple phone call would lead Ms. Brody to other sources, and she would have a second column that would correct the dangerous misconceptions about surgery and Botox injections, and document that effectiveness of Direct Voice Rehabilitation.