Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Old Business: Sweeping Stephen J D'Amato, MD FACEP Out With the Rest of the Trash

One last CALMARE/"Scrambler Therapy"/CTTC post, with my apologies.

I forgot about Dr. Stephen J. D'Amato.  In part because he cleverly disguises his involvement by changing the spelling of CALMARE.  He does not peddle the crap known as CALMARE, no sir!  His business is CALMARx.

I tire of these straw men, but imagine being newly diagnosed with CRPS.  Remember how you went from the beginning of the internet to the internet's fabled end in search of something, anything?  Perhaps you were being strung along by Worker's Compensation, a system soiled by the turds of Dr. Jose Ochoa and his years of accreted testimony, only unraveled over the past three or four years into the malicious, money-grubbing nonsense that it is and was.  Perhaps you lived in a region devoid of experts in the fields of neurology and pain management, the two fields best equipped to recognize and appropriately treat CRPS.  Today, there's much outreach to those likely to first see a developing CRPS case -- emergency room physicians and orthopedic surgeons (those brave enough to not fear litigation, those brave enough to diagnose and refer, an act more likely to engender eternal gratitude than a lawsuit).  Much of that is due to the steady and reliable work of RSDSA, Jim Broatch and his team.


It's sufficient to look at Dr. D'Amato's understanding of CRPS to know that he knows little to nothing about the disorder:

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is generally broken down into three stages:
Stage one: During stage one the patient may experience burning pain, muscle spasms, stiffening of the joints, rapid hair or nail growth near the site of the injury. There is also the possibility of vasospasm which causes skin discoloration and fluctuating skin temperatures.
Stage two: During stage two the patient will likely endure even more intense pain at the injury site, the swelling may spread, hair and nails growth may cease, the joints will begin to thicken making them less mobile, and loss of bone density will worsen.
Stage three: With progression into stage three the pain will become unyielding, and most of the damage done to the skin and bones may be irreversible if untreated. The limb's mobility will become severely limited, and the muscles that help flex the joints will spasm. In some cases the limb may develop contracture and loss of function along with constant very painful skin even to slight touch ( allodynia)
Great job at copying from some old text, some out of date online source... but this is one of the greatest myths and greatest wastes of time, the promulgation of the "stage" theory.  CRPS does not "break down" or neatly follow a path into any "stage" production.  There are still people -- intelligent people -- with CRPS who bemoan their "stage three" status, and many who have gone on to invent the dread "stage four." Don't ask, you really don't want to know.

Stage three one week, Stage one the next... that is the reality.  What is seen as a progression of symptoms is really just the perversion of CRPS, chameleon wannabe.  The "stage" explanation has been discredited for so long that I'm amazed to continue to see it so frequently.

Maybe it responds well to a newly diagnosed patient's need for some order to return to their understanding.

Maybe it's the easiest thing for a doctor to spout, not knowing what s/he really ought to convey in terms of information.  Maybe it's all that doctor knows.

D'Amato has more creativity than just that required to putz around with the CALMARE name -- he is also an inventor of myth.  But Snake-Oilers also cannot help but rely on the snake oil scientific standard of... THE TESTIMONIAL.  Right under his neat -- but erroneous -- categorization of CRPS as a disease of stages, comes this:

Who Commonly Suffers From Complex Regional Pain Syndrome 
CRPS can strike at any age, however the average age at diagnosis is 42 and is 3 times more frequent in females than males. There are also studies which theorize that certain people may be genetically predisposed to developing CRPS after a significant or minor injury. Aside from predisposition studies show that statistically it is possible to associate smoking with CRPS. One study in particular showed 68% of patients were smokers as opposed to 37% in the hospitalized controls.  
Our CRPS treatment at CALMARx PAIN RELIEF utilizes a unique method of electro-therapy and provides "incredible" results. View the testimonials below from our patients and their experiences.
None of his assertions are referenced to pertinent research.  The smoking information is fascinating, as is the hilarious mention of the "37% in the hospitalized controls." There are investigations ongoing into genetic predisposition, but even if a genetic predisposition exists, science is years away from confirming it, or identifying gene abnormalities or sequences that may lead to real treatments or preventive measures.  Some believe that there is a predisposition among  Ehlers Danlos syndrome (EDS) patients to develop CRPS, though it may also come down to something as simple as an increased tendency to injury, and how those injuries are or are not treated. The grand total of subjects upon which this baby-stage genetic theory was based?  Four.  Japanese researchers posit that patients who are members of families with "first degree history of family headache" are genetically pre-disposed to CRPS.  That gave me a headache, just reading the leaps and triple spins involved in the theorizing.  Here's the abstract, and may it have led to further funding and other types of ka-ching ka-ching for the involved:

We investigated whether headache and family history of headache are risk factors for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or not. Twenty-three CRPS patients and 69 healthy persons were interviewed whether or not they suffered from headache and had first-degree family history of headache. A headache sufferer was defined as a person who regularly suffered from headache for more than 2 days per month. Headache after an occurrence of CRPS (headache after an injury or operation in case of CRPS after an injury or operation) was excluded and just headache before an occurrence of CRPS was included. If a first-degree family had a regular headache, she or he was regarded as a headache sufferer regardless of the frequency of headache. Of the 23 patients with CRPS, 12 (52.2%) had suffered from headache before an occurrence of CRPS. Of the 69 healthy persons, 18 (26.1%) suffered from headache. Significant differences between patients and healthy persons were found. Of the 23 patients with CRPS, eight (34.8%) had a first-degree family history of headache. Of the 69 healthy persons, ten (14.5%) had a first-degree family history of headache. Significant differences between patients and healthy persons were found in a family history. The results suggest that headache and a first-degree family history of headache are risk factors for CRPS. To determine whether or not headache and first-degree family history of headache are risk factors for CRPS, further prospective studies with larger patient numbers should be carried out.
Elucidating the bias of questioning, translating that solid science to genetic research, or to whatever constitutes the science of predisposition (statistical analysis, I suppose, based on patient accounts), may lead to earthshattering... what?  Talk about an urgent need to settle on a diagnostic protocol...  Well, if it interests you, $39.95 will get you all the titillating details.

The same researchers who authored the "first-degree family history of headache" also came up with the theory that "Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1...Chlamydia Trachomatis, Borrelia Burgdorferi, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, human Herpes Virus type 6, and Circulatory Disturbances" may be root causes of CRPS, concluding that "virus infection theory is an attractive hypothesis that accounts for many enigmas of CRPS."

Stanton-Hicks is reported via a fellow blogger to have investigated a case in which identical twins developed CRPS... but I am, right now, unable to find the source of that reference.  And he's currently on The List -- just because of his love of gadgetry and intrathecal administration of drugs, the SCS, etcetera.  All in all, though, he's one of the trustworthy, dedicated, and more brilliant researchers in the field.  I'll forgive him his love of gadgetry as soon as CTTC is pulled from the trading floor.

Back to the Turd in question, Dr. D'Amato. I forgot to mention that he's been brave enough to wow the suffering CRPS patient with another synonym for the crap-science he's practicing -- "MC-5A technology," yes, just another synonym for CALMARE (or CALMARx, for the dyslexic) and "Scrambler Therapy."  But it sounds impressive, no?

He refers those seeking even more convincing of his CALMAR machine with many knobs via the titillating testimonial world of cutting-edge science to his YouTube channel, where, once again, CALMARE is pointedly misspelled as the title of his channel:   Calmar Pain Relief

Here is Nancy, who described a pattern of CRPS spread that I've certainly never heard of and that kind of defies the general layout of the nervous system (sympathetic or otherwise).  I am just so glad that she did not have her "spine filleted," as that would truly have been... weird.

I can tell you that people with CRPS -- and those blessed to have recovered -- could never have this lightness of tone, this unbearable lightness of being, or that hair color when referencing even the *memory* of their pain.

If you cannot see through this unsubstantiated bull crap, money-grubbing, soul-sucking exploitation of people living with severe chronic, never-relenting pain, get the hell off of my blog.  And QUICK, go put your life savings into this hot stock tip:  CTTC.

For shame, Dr. Stephen J. D'Amato, for shame.


  1. Hello,
    I would like to further comment on the negative press that Dr. D'Amato has received in this article. My daughter has had CRPS for 3 years and had every known treatment and therapy available. It was not until we received the Calmar therapy from Dr. D that she was given relief. Non invasive non painful no side effects. He is wonderful, his office staff is compassionate and caring. I am not sure where you are getting your information and I guarentee you that if you had/have CRPS and had one treatment from him you too would see what he does. His theory surrounding the Scrambler therapy is right on. I feel sorry for you that your ignorance and bitter feelings would cause you to choose suffering over a decrease in pain. There is no cure for CRPS and the full amount of therapy is financially less than one day in the hospital. I wish you the best of luck and would hope you would reconsider your choices and not cause others to base their choices on your lack of substantial information.

  2. Thanks so much for dropping by. The reason that there is so much bad press is that nothing, absolutely nothing, supports CALMARE/cttc/Scrambler therapy claims beyond vague testimonials that quite often make no sense and show very little understanding of the scientific underpinnings of CRPS.

    But I hope you feel better for defending the man. I am sure that the close attention and caring he and his staff exhibit are as helpful as anything else he does.

    Best of luck to your daughter. I've had CRPS for 11 years, in both legs, both arms, and in my face. I'd be interested in seeing testimonials that document the person's disease prior to CALMARE, their adherence to other therapies, and their knowledge of the history behind CALMARE.

    My lack of "substantial information" comes from having combed every bit of "research" and FDA filing that has been made; It comes from investigating the "inventor," and from understanding the psychology of pain.

    Be well!

  3. Actually Bianca, there is evidence that supports the Calmare/ST, and the workings of the "non pain" signals that are emmitted from the machine replacing the "painful" nerve signals(which is CRPS). All of this nerve pain and mis information of signals to the brain then trigger the autonomic response and wind up leading to the swelling and color changes, hair/nail growth and microvascular issues that cause the osteopenia. My daughter had the severe color changes and dystonia and when she was hooked up, after he found the correct placement of the leads and the correct "non pain signals", her color returned to normal and her toes are starting to become less dystonic. I have been in the medical profession for over 20 years and have never witnessed anything like it before.
    There is no cure to CRPS only treatment and all the other therapies are for the most part invasive, have side effects and for our situation did not work. The blocks, the ketamine, the SCS, the medications....The negative far outweighted the slight amount of relief if any that she would get. You need to get to the root of the problem and that is the nerve pain and how the brain is "mis-interpreting" these terrible signals and causing the myriad of other issues. Dr. D has 2 books of testimonials of before and after treatment and gets permission from his patients to record their progress. He has had some patients that were bad, they looked as if they were going to loose a limb. It is hard to discount that 90% of his patients have improvement. That is a huge number, and scientific research or not clinical trials or not it is a moot point. It works. Testimonials don't lie. Not everyone will respond but 9/10 are not bad odds. I would reconsider and look into it. And before you go and bash someone and call people names and accuse them of something that they are not guilty of you should have your "research" done and done correctly. It would be ashame if someone was to base their treatment choices on your lack of personal experience.
    Best of luck.

  4. I'm glad it worked for her. For you, and for her, that is all that matters.

    For the newly diagnosed, however, I would not want their first diagnostic or treatment experience to come at the hands of someone who has bought a CALMARE machine, taken the training, yet cannot coherently communicate about the current scientific understanding of CRPS.

    "Testimonials don't lie." I'd give that one another think!

    Good science doesn't lie. People, however, are prone to it, as well as to psychological persuasion. And, sadly, some people are misdiagnosed.

    But I don't want to engage in a battle when there is no respectable data over which to duel. The days of infomercial testimonials driving my health care decisions are long gone.

    May your daughter's healing be a lasting one, and the memory of the pain fade and never return.

    Be well!

  5. Oops. I keep forgetting, Kelly, to ask you to read ALL the posts about CALMARE/CTTC on the blog. D'Amato is small change to me in this battle. It is the financial destruction being wrought that people need to learn about. The fleecing of the desperate, I'd guess you'd call it.

    Anyway, if you copy and paste this link, it will list for you all the posts on CALMARE/CTTC/MARINEO, etc. -- including their own filing with the FDA as a "TENS unit." And that filing never indicated FDA "approval," it was permission to market *as* a TENS unit, only.

    Sometimes the posts will pop up out of chronological order. I believe that if you look just above the first post that appears, there is an option to put them in proper time sequence. I think you'll see that I've put in my time on this subject.

    Good luck to you, again... and good night!

  6. Bianca~I will not get into a war of words with you over this issue. Dr. D'Amato has a very in depth knowlege of CRPS and is able to explain the etiology of the disease and confirms that there is an understanding prior to moving on to treatment. He explains why Calmare works on 90%, why it may not work on 10%, why the medications, blocks, therapy may work. I only wish we would have done the Calmare Therapy first, instead of poisoning her with the pharmacutical chemicals, needles and hospital stays.
    I am only speaking of Dr. D'Amato when I say that the Calmare Therapy is the ticket. Just purchasing the machine and reading the owners manual is not enough. Dr. D did not do that. He went straight to the source, the inventor and was under his tutelage until he felt confident that his knowlege and understanding could benefit those in need. I cannot support the other MD's and their use of Calmare since I do not know them or how they administer Calmare, but I would not give them the negative feedback that you are giving Dr. D'Amato.
    I would invite you to contact him, I know he would love to talk to you. I hope for a recovery for you soon and a decrease in your pain!!!

  7. We're not "warring," trust me! I have no problem with you or your daughter's belief in Dr. D'Amato.

    But as this is my blog, I will also not have CALMARE/calmar/Scrambler/MC-5A promoted in any way here. People come here, not many, but about 300 a day, to find evidence-based information -- or just to read about my not-so-original POVs on issues of the day. I promote science, not pseudoscience. That's not to say that one day, Marineo or another researcher will actually organize a repeatable research study with a suitable array and open to peer review, and everything will change. I am open to change.

    Are you open to change? Are you willing, for example, to find out the truth about Giuseppe Marineo?

    Anyway... compare the "testimonial" by Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick to the ones posted by Dr. D'Amato. Please note that I am not endorsing the treatment, just comparing the level of information and transparency provided by each doctor/patient.

    3-Day Ketamine Treatment for CRPS

    I swear I'm not trying to get the last word... except that I will not let CALMARE have a pass on this blog. I've seen too much human misery brought on by financial and emotional resources spent on things that do not make sense, except in some sort of B. F. Skinner-type scenario.

    CALMARE, at least, does no physical harm, and is soothing.

    I also wish you and your daughter well, with huge hopes that she has undergone a permanent recovery/remission. If what Dr. D'Amato is doing has real merit, neither he nor you should worry about what one blogger thinks -- it will be big news that should spread like wildfire within the CRPS community. To really promote it, you should contact the good folks at -- they give everyone a fair shake.


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