Big claims and big promises have the 10News I-Team asking big questions about a San Diego doctor.
» Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts» Like Us On Facebook
The man behind the clinic vaulted himself into the spotlight as he volunteered his treatments to baby Izaiah Wallis after a drunk driver slammed into his stroller, blinding and paralyzing the toddler from the waist down.
Dennis Maness runs the BrainTek Institute and offered to treat two-year-old Izaiah.
News outlets from across San Diego County reported on Maness' brain mapping therapy and how he used it on Izaiah. Maness claimed stimulating different parts of Izaiah's brain would retrain it. Izaiah's story and Maness' treatments are featured on the BrainTek Institute website.
"On the website he talks about some things I found pretty fishy," said Scott Lilienfeld, Ph.D., a renowned clinical psychologist at Emory University in Atlanta.
Lilienfeld reviewed Maness' treatments, and he said, "He seems to be making a lot of really grand claims without a lot of evidence to back them up."
Lilienfield studies therapies that are pseudo scientific -- things that seem like science but really aren't. He said what Maness is doing is not proven.
"Our techniques are noninvasive, painless and they do produce results," Maness claims on his website. "We can help you as we've helped thousands of others."
Maness told 10News through his lawyer he would not answer questions directly. His lawyer, Keith Greer, said Maness was not comfortable in a "hostile environment."
Initially, Maness said he was willing to answer questions directly.
"If you're going to do the story, you need the facts," he said in a voice message. "I'd like to take a look at your facts. I'd like to see the documentation. I'll answer any questions you've got."
Maness claims to be board certified in neurotherapy, but he is not certified in California.
He claims to hold doctorates in education and psychology and sent 10News diplomas from a little-known seminary in Georgia to prove it. They say he has a doctorate in Christian education and Christian psychology, but there's no way to confirm his degrees because the school is now out of business.
Maness also claims he pioneered discoveries in brain wave therapy. However, his discoveries are not published and have not been peer reviewed.
"To my knowledge, there is no published evidence at all. In fact, to my knowledge, not even any unpublished evidence that what he's doing works," Lilienfeld said. "At this point all we can do it put up our arms and shrug."
Maness claims he will soon post scientific papers related to his techniques that were written over the past 20 years.
On his website there are five seemingly satisfied customers who write testimonials to his treatments.
However, the pictures associated with the testimonials and represented as pictures of those who wrote them are not Maness patients. Instead they are pictures of actors or pictures taken from other websites.
"I watch TV commercials all the time and people pretend to be patients and actors and I don't see the difference," said Valerie Logan, Maness' office manager.
Maness emailed 10News explaining he uses actors to protect patients' identities.
There are also questions about Maness claim that he received a letter of commendation from a three-star Marine general for his work with post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to the Marine Corps., Maness was given a certificate of appreciation, not a letter of commendation. The Marines say the letter was for participating in a conference, not for work related to PTSD. They said claiming differently "would be a misrepresentation of the letter."
Izaiah's father, Jacob Wallis said he wanted nothing to do with an investigation into Maness' credentials.
Izaiah's family submitted the following statement to 10News after being contacted for a response but before they saw the report:
"On behalf of my son, baby Izaiah, and my entire family, we are sickened and appalled that ABC has for some unknown reason tried to discredit Dr. Dennis Maness who has been working with our son since he was released from the hospital following the tragic accident he suffered when hit by a teen drunk driver. Dr. Maness began working with Izaiah at our family's request and also at our request gave a press conference to update the San Diego community who has been so kind to us about our son's progress. Dr. Maness at NO time ever sought publicity at Izaiah's expense in fact quite the contrary has donated his services to Izaiah and is a very humble brilliant man who is helping thousands of people. Without Dr. Maness, Izaiah would not be the happy little boy he is today trying to pull himself up in bed, clap his hands and laugh. ABC's statements are unfounded, false and categorically denied as lies by our family. This is a private family matter that ABC has no business getting involved in. We are shocked that ABC would add to our suffering by doing a tabloid-like sensationalized lie like this about our son's medical care. When Children's Hospital told us to take Izaiah home and call hospice, thank God we didn't listen. Shame on you for using a suffering child for your ratings."
Copyright Do you have more information about this story? Click here to contact usCopyright 2011 by 10News.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.