I have written this page with a unique scope and purpose.  This article is written from more of an editorial viewpoint addressing the subject of DNA adducts from Fluoroquinolones.  It is a historical perspective centered on my involvement with this theory.   Writing this page allows me to avoid having to repeatedly type a lengthy answer to questions several times a year.

A Hypothetical Scenario

A person new to the horrors of floxing usually turns to the internet in search of answers.   During an academic search on Fluoroquinolone Toxicity the person may or may not across a paper by Joseph King from Florida International University published onSurprised Academia, “Fluoroquinolone Toxicity – Human DNA-adduct Findings.” This papers theorizes that the ‘sole’ cause of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity is caused via DNA adduction.  His paper, coupled with his credentials, institution affiliation, makes the paper, on the surface, sounds plausible and appear to be a credible piece of authoritative science.  

Many readers, having believed they have discovered a gem, will go off in search of further information.  Some will even try to bring this information to their physician in hopes they can do something with it.  On occasion, the reader will come across my website and ask me if I have heard about this theory. Every now and then, a person will treat me as if I just fell off the turnip truck yesterday, saying they ‘discovered’ the reason for floxing, and point to this paper.   Most individuals, are usually quite humble, and are just looking for answers, not realizing the ‘back story’ that exists on this particular subject. 


Several years ago, Joseph King (JK), the author of the paper, came into the Fluoroquinolone community like a whirlwind.  Touting medical credentials, i.e..toxicologist, he claimed to have definitely ‘discovered’ what happens to cause Fluoroquinolone Toxicity.  For those who are new Fluoroquinolone Toxicity, the absolute cause of floxing has never been discovered (and it may never be due to the complexities involved of which I will not elucidate due to time and space).   JK’s definitive statements and plausible assertions,combined with his title and education, created, what Confucius would call, a proverbial sh*tstorm (firestorm for those more sensitive individuals).

What transpired next was for the stuff of story books.  The community, which is already easily prone to unstable ‘camps’ of ideas, became quite divided over his assertions.  Additionally, the Fluoroquinolone community is not without it’s own educated and forceful (colorful) individuals.  JK’s statements fueled a constant heated debate where ‘salvos’ of comments were fired back and forth in a verbal war either pro or con. Unfortunately, some of this debate got very personal and ugly, being incorporated into some people belief system. 

I attempted to stay neutral, although it was very hard.  My whole objective was ascertaining the veracity of the science. His assertions, if true, could lead to some breakthroughs Angry Man in Fluoroquinolone Toxicity research. 

A notable problem arose when certain academic members of the Fluoroquinolone community (myself NOT included, frankly I didn’t have the time nor energy to investigate him, just try to prove his theories) could not verify his credentials, nor verify the facts of his story.  This revelation further inflamed various camps of ideas. Accusations of fraud and questionable behavior circulated around the community. This led to large forums, mainly the larger Facebook groups, degrade into fighting whenever JK’s name of his theories were brought up.  Because of this, in many groups, it was forbidden to discuss JK and his theories. 

However, some individuals, including a few influential community members with financial means became ardent supporters.  Anytime someone legitimately criticized his theories these supporters would become angry, almost petulant.  In my opinion that suffered, and probably still do, from what I would call a form of the “backfire effect.”

The backfire effect is the tendency of some people to resist accepting evidence that conflicts with their beliefs. The effect is demonstrated when people presented with that conflicting information become even more convinced of their original beliefs rather than questioning them. The backfire effect is one manifestation of confirmation bias, the tendency of people to give more credence to evidence that supports their preexisting beliefs. 

This violates one of the fundamental laws of science, and that is, all theories should be subject to fair and legitimate scrutiny.  They, sadly, could not separate genuine critique of his theory from criticism of the man.  Some went so far as to build an organization around JK theory’s (which I do not endorse) and, in my opinion, detracts away from pursuing valid treatments.  

This is the back story.  Now, as the proverbial Paul Harvey used to say, “now for the rest of the story….”


Before I go forward, I need to throw in a few caveats that are foundational from my viewpoint. I had the pleasure of speaking with him by phone a few times several years ago but I never met him in person.   

First, to me, JK, the author of the above-mentioned paper, was, on all appearances, a very pleasant and, I believe, fairly educated man.  Unlike me, who has higher education but none in the medical field, JK touts credentials that seem medically impeccable (toxicologist).  This both lends credence to, and raises the level, of his assertions.  

Second, as I mentioned above, there are some within the FQ community who are still, to this day, ardent followers of JK’s theories.  I do not have any problem with any person who wants to follow or believe JK’s theories. Unfortunately, in my opinion, several of his followers do not take well to valid criticism of the science/theory and they equate criticism of JK’s adduct theory of FQ Toxicity as a direct attack on JK (which it is not).  Despite the polarizing nature of their behavior, for science to be valid it needs to stand up to scrutiny.  Although the animosity has died down some, alas, in the past, many inter-community political debates and arguments sprouted up around JK and even a mere mention of his theory would spawn conversations loaded with vitriol and anger.

Third, most of this info should be evident from rummaging around my website, so forgive me if I sound a bit self-aggrandizing, it is notHuh? intended to be.  I have reluctantly been immersed in (FQAD) for about 14 years, at the time of this writing.  I have testified to the FDA, been involved FQ lawsuits, worked with researchers at four academic institutions, and co-authored or assisted with with the publication of three academic papers, and have contributed data to several more.  I have been interviewed by media outlets, consulted by several MD’s, etc…and so on. 

Okay Dave, enough already, why are you telling me this?    This is to let you know that I am very familiar with the current, up-to-date, knowledge on the theories of FQ toxicity and again, I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday. Do I know it all?  No, of course not, but of the current academic knowledge, I have a pretty good grasp.

My Involvement 

Now that I have made you sick with the all the background and my inflated ego , let’s get to the crux of the issue.

Again, several years ago, when JK first appeared in the community with seemingly impeccable professional medical credentials his theory took the community like a firestorm.  I have to admit that I too was very excited and was eager to explore his supposed discovery with fervor hoping they would lead to positive outcomes.

Despite my education and above average (not expert) knowledge of genetics, the information that was being covered by his research was far superior to my rudimentary knowledge of DNA.  I however did have an ace, or actually several aces, in the hole.  My connections with Fluoroquinolone research allowed me relationships with U.S. based academic researchers whose knowledge vastly outpaces my own.

Fascinated by JK’s theories, I reached out to some of these scientific types and, understandably, some of them were interested in speaking with JK.  My intent was to help move JK’s discovery forward with the end goal of finding answers to FQAD.

JK mentioned certain scientific methods, laboratories, researchers, that were unique enough, that scientists involved in this realm, are at least aware of other scientists that do similar research.  In other words, in this level of academia, peers do not exist in a vacuum.  Although their individual research may be secretive, they are fully aware of other peers, their credentials, equipment used, labs, etc….

It is important to note that I hear “theories” about FQAD all the time, however JK’s assertions/theory/research carried significantly more weight than the average person because of his espoused credentials.  He publicly presenting his theories on that foundation as a Phd and a toxicologist, as opposed to someone like myself, who is an average ‘smuck’ just trying to make sense of it all. 

As not to wade waist deep into the fray and to make this long story short, some of the academic scholars who were peers in this level of research attempted to vet JK’s research. According to them, they were never able to verify his story to their satisfaction, i.e…claims, credentials, veracity, science, etc…  Their findings led credence to what some others in the Fluoroquinolone community were claiming.  

Since these academic researchers were unable to vet JK to their satisfaction, I became wary of the validity also.  I probably should have just moved on at this point but I didn’t want to risk ‘throwing the ‘baby out with the bathwater’ so I took it an extra step.  If there was something in his theory worth pursuing, I wanted to discover it.

The final straw for me came after I took JK’s theory to, what I would consider, some top experts for a yes or no opinion.  These scientists that were above the fray, so to speak, and the closest experts in the field of DNA adduction that I could interact with.  Also, they had not ‘horse in the race.’ In other words, they had no vested interest or bias in either debunking or approving JK’s theory, nor were they under any ‘pharmaceutical’ pressure to squelch any ideas. 

Super Smart People

The first was the world renown geneticist, Dr. Mark Noble PhD from the University of Rochester.  Dr. Mark Noble is a pioneeringSmart People researcher in the fields of stem cell biology and stem cell medicine who currently holds professorships in Genetics, Neurology, Neurobiology and Anatomy at U of Rochester School of Medicine. Dr. Noble has done work for the FQ community before and I have collaborated with him on FQ issues.   He is one of the smartest men I know. Seriously.

Dr. Mark Noble’s pioneering research in the fields of stem cell biology and stem cell medicine has made him very familiar with DNA adducts.  As matter of fact, DNA adducts are right up his alley, so to speak.  In a nutshell, Dr. Noble did not deny that FQ’s could cause adducts.  As a matter of fact he didn’t doubt that they do.  However, being familiar with adduct from a genetic/oncology point of view, he said that adducts cannot explain all the symptoms we see in FQAD.   To be completely transparent, Dr. Noble, had previously looked into FQ damage (read more here, and here) and the behest of a handful of us from the FQ community, she he is familiar with FQ’s.

The second person who shot down JK’s theory was a retired research chemist from Johnson and Johnson (incidentally someone who also worked on the development of Levaquin), who holds two Phd’s in chemistry and probably the second smartest guy I know.  I will not list his name here in public, but I have no problem revealing it in discussions since this man has spoken publicly about the FQ’s. 

Like I said before, there were other academic detractors as well but their their opinion was of little relevance after having been debunked by two such preeminent authorities.

For me, it was time to move on. 

For those who want to know a smidgen more let’s break this down a bit more in a non-technical way.

If you want to know more about DNA adducts, you can read my articles starting here.

Adducts Themselves

Could the FQ’s cause DNA adducts?  Yes, and in many people they probably do.  I do believe that there is some truth in JK’s theory.

But here is a little secret…. many other things in our world cause DNA adducts.  Things such as other pharmaceuticals, smoking, heavy metals, fats, and even hair coloring! 

Due to robust genetic repair mechanisms that exists in the human body (yes, I know they are more limited in mitochondrial DNA) adducts can be fluid and changing in both mass and location. 

Something Much More

All the scientists who rebutted universally agreed that adducts would not fully explain all of what is seen in floxing.   They agreed that something much more is going on that involves various amounts of damage to eukaryotic organelles (mitochondria, lysosomes, etc…) and through epigenetics and other methods such as cellular senescence we see a very complex trajectory.  Not all floxies follow the same path after floxing.

So What?

However, let me for a moment play the advocate.  Let’s say that we prove that adducts universally cause floxing.  So what?

How will that help us here and now?  Bottom line…. It won’t.

It won’t lead to a cure.  It won’t lead to any actionable treatment for those suffering now.  Frankly, I don’t see how it could even help those who are looking to sue the drug companies.

Even if you prove that FQ’s cause adducts, knowing that other things in nature cause adducts as well, how on the witness stand, can you prove they directly cause disease or damage?  And if you do, how does that lead to a cure?

It has always been my contention that we, as a community, should be focusing on how to detect ‘what’ is breaking in each person and then develop ways to treat those problems.

If the admission that Fluoroquinolones cause adducts would actually create a path to treatment, then count me in.  Unfortunately, I have not seen any evidence, not even a smidgen, of that reality.

In Conclusion

JK is a nice man who I have nothing against personally and never had.  Others involved in the past controversy surrounding DNA adducts conflated legitimate criticism to the level of personal attacks.  They built an organization around the theory/science that does not contribute to the unity of the community, instead it work counter to promoting unity and treatments.  But alas, unfortunately, this is the nature of the society we live in.

Although I have always had my doubts that proving Fluoroquinolone adducts would lead to cures, scientists much smarter than I have debunked the universality of Fluoroquinolone adducts.  Additionally, I have talked to those who have had mass spec adduct testing done in both the U.S. and Europe who have had inconclusive results, and yet others that have shown adducts as changing in mass over a given time period. 

Besides, if they get conclusive results, what does that do for us?  Nothing.

For me, I have long since moved on and am trying to create treatments based on my own personal testing.   But since I am one man, with limited funding, the best I can hope to accomplish is to develop damage pattern profile(s) for myself.

 The Answer?

The technology already exists to identify ‘what’ is breaking in each person, and that is metabolomics or methylome analyzation.  However, due to the fractionalized nature of the FQ community and since FQAD is not a true organic disease process, it is hard to ‘get attention’ and get the needed funding to tweak and develop new technology and large debacles such as what I have described here do not help.   

This is an absolute shame since there are researchers with the necessary equipment in the U.S. that can make the necessary breakthroughs that would lead to the hope of treatment for floxed individuals.