News - September 19, 2012

Professor angry about anti-quacksalver nomination

Professor Savelkoul of Wageningen considers it an insult to be nominated for a quack doctor prize. 'I am a serious scientist,' he says and finds this a dubious honour.

Wageningen has again been placed in the limelight by the Dutch Society Against Quackery (VtdK). Professor Huub Savelkoul of Cell Biology and Immunology stands among those considered to have contributed most to quackery last year on the nomination list of the 'Meester Kackadorisprijs'. He feels that the nomination is 'an insult' and does not want to comment on its content.
The bone of contention is Savelkoul's research into the influence of magnetic fields on the immune system. 'There are no plausible hypotheses for this influence and most people in the profession think that the issue should be closed,' says Cees Renckens of the VtdK prize jury. 'With his research, Savelkoul is just prolonging this confusion.' He points to patients who blame unexplained health problems on electromagnetic radiation. The nomination does not touch on the quality of the research.
In addition, Savelkoul sometimes gives lectures on pseudo-science. Renckens: 'He therefore ranks among anthroposophists, homeopathists and all sorts of strange people. A man of his stature has no place there. He lends them credibility.' Earlier this year, Savelkoul participated in a lecture series on Biophysical Medicine organized by Studium Generale. He will speak during the training day of the regional society on critical injections (NVKP) on 17 November.
The nomination has rubbed Savelkoul the wrong way. Over the telephone, he tries to keep his calm. 'I am a serious scientist and I do not see myself in this context at all. Therefore, I do not want to be identified with it.' He does not want to comment on the content either. What's more, he reveals that he has sent a letter before the announcement to request Rector Magnificus Martin Kropff to forbid Resource to write about the nomination.