Boston Hospital Reports Disciplining of Renowned Child Abuse Skeptic
Last September, we examined Dr. Michael Holick’s work as an expert witness for alleged abusers. In the wake of the article, his hospital notified Massachusetts’ medical board that it restricted his privileges.
by David Armstrong July 24, 2019
A Boston hospital has notified the Massachusetts medical board that it has restricted the work of a world-renowned endocrinologist criticized for espousing controversial theories as an expert witness for people accused of child abuse.
The action against Dr. Michael Holick is cited on his profile page on the board’s website under “health care facility discipline.” The listing is intended to alert members of the public who visit the site that Boston Medical Center, where Holick practices, has restricted his rights or privileges.
Last September, Propublica and The New Yorker reported that Holick had testified in hundreds of child abuse cases worldwide and almost always blamed broken bones and other injuries on a rare genetic disorder. At the time, Boston Medical Center said that it had barred Holick from treating or evaluating children under age 13 beginning in May 2017. But Holick continued evaluating children in suspected abuse cases as part of an approved research project, and it now turns out that the discipline was not reported to the board until this past February….
Earlier this decade, Holick began working as an expert witness in child abuse cases in the U.S. and abroad. He has consulted or testified in more than 300 cases, always on behalf of the accused. As of last September, he had never concluded that a child was abused, and he had almost always attributed the injuries to Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a condition that affects the connective tissues of the skin, bones and joints and has been linked to bone fragility in adults.
The ProPublica-New Yorker article focused on a social services investigation in South Carolina that found that 3-week-old twins had allegedly been abused. The parents consulted Holick, who concluded that both babies had Ehlers-Danlos, and that fractures attributed to abuse could have been caused by bone fragility associated with the genetic condition. Nearly eight months later, one of the twins suffered a severe brain injury and the child’s father was charged with abuse to inflict great bodily injury upon a child. That criminal case is pending….
His work has drawn rebukes from other physicians who specialize in treating patients with the genetic disorder. They cite a lack of research supporting Holick’s view that Ehlers-Danlos can cause broken bones in very young children. Holick has also been criticized for diagnosing the condition in children he didn’t examine in person….
Boston University has defended Holick’s right to testify about his Ehlers-Danlos theory in court. The dean of the medical school, Karen Antman, in a letter to another physician critical of Holick, wrote that she didn’t need to know the details of his expert defense work. “As a member of the Boston University School of Medicine faculty, academic freedom allows Dr. Holick to espouse his views without censorship from the University,” she wrote….
Elon Musk says he’s tested his brain microchip on monkeys, and it enabled one to control a computer with its mind
Isobel Asher Hamilton Jul. 17, 2019
Elon Musk’s neurotechnology company, Neuralink, has pulled back the veil on its ambitions to implant chips in people’s brains.
During a Q&A session at a live presentation on Tuesday, Musk surprised his Neuralink colleagues by announcing that the firm had tested its technology on monkeys with some success.
Musk said “a monkey has been able to control a computer with its brain,” though he did not elaborate further on what this involved….
Musk cofounded Neuralink in 2016. Its goal is to create a chip that could enable a “brain-computer interface.” And according to Musk, the company has already had some success — with monkeys.
During the 90-minute event, Musk and various senior staffers at Neuralink presented the company’s ambition to design a chip capable of being implanted in the human brain that could receive and transmit signals to the organ….