The failure of alternative medicine

I previously blogged an editorial by NBC medical correspondent Robert Bazell, where he told scientists to “quit whining” about intelligent design and instead work on teaching “values.” While I agreed with him there on the science (he made it clear he gave no respect to “intelligent design” and other types of creationism), his suggestion that teachers and scientists spend more time worrying (and teaching) about more “practical” things such as biotechnology and medical ethics was just, in my opinion, wrong. Luckily, his new editorial on alternative medicine contains no such red herrings.

Bazell focuses on the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The core of Bazell’s argument is that, even though testing of all kinds of alternative medicines has been done over the last 15 years (at a cost of over $100 million annually), the results have all been negative–but no one cares, and because of regulatory laws that don’t require many “alternative” medicines and drugs to actually, y’know, work, it makes no difference anyway.

Last week’s study showing that the widely touted and sold supplement DHEA does nothing to slow the effects of aging was only the latest major piece of research with powerfully negative results from the National Institutes of Health Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. Previous placebo-controlled trials proved the uselessness of St. John’s Wort and saw palmetto for enlarged prostates, shark cartilage for cancer, echinacea for the common cold and glucosamine plus chondroitin sulphate for arthritis.

But it doesn’t matter much — few seem to care.

A problem, he notes, is that too few people actually care about what the research says. Instead, they rely on “well, this worked for my friend” types of rationalizations, and dish out their money on quackery:

The powerful industry that sells these products ignores the results and often finds allies who believe in them because of an anecdote or advertisement.

After the chondroitin results appeared, Jane Brody, the longtime health columnist for the New York Times who has always prided herself in offering advice based on scientific research, wrote that she would continue taking chondroitin for her knee pain because “it transformed my 11-year-old spaniel from an arthritic wreck into a companion with puppylike agility, giving him nearly six more active years.”

It’s hard to argue with anecdotes like that, and people taking these types of supplements in spite of the research, rather than because of it. Ironically, of course (as Orac can tell you), many who take these alternative meds do so because of a distaste for “big pharma” or “corporate medicine,” despite the fact that alternative medicine is just as much (if not more) of a moneymaker:

Marketers often sell them under the guise of a mom-and-pop alternative to big pharma. Yet the $29 billion-a-year dietary supplement industry wields such power that it got Congress to pass a law in 1994 that basically frees it to peddle almost anything that doesn’t kill people with claims of medical benefit that need not be proven.

No doubt some of the thousands of products sold as dietary supplements work well, but the industry that sells them has neither motivation nor desire to know which ones work and which don’t.

And this is the crux of the problem. There’s no reason for those who sell these supplements to prove they work, because it’s not a condition of their sale. They can just slap on the small-print disclaimer that their product hasn’t been proven effective in laboratory tests, or isn’t approved to treat such-and-such condition, and they can still market it. Nice work if you can get it. Even worse are the credentialed people they get to push it, and lend an air of credibility:

On [Dr. Andrew Weil's] Web site someone recently inquired if a supplement called NT was useful for fatigue. “I’m not convinced by the scant literature on the subject that there’s anything to recommend taking NT Factor for fatigue,” Dr. Weil replied, in a surprisingly forthright response.

But, then he added that the fatigue sufferer might want to try “Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), coenzyme Q10, the Ayurvedic herb ashwaganda or cordyceps, a traditional Chinese medicinal mushroom that may help fight fatigue and boost energy levels.”

I can find no evidence that any of these relieve fatigue any better than NT.

It gets better.

Dr. Weill concluded his answer by advising that a better-studied treatment might be something called Juvenon. At the bottom of the Web page appeared an ad from the manufacturer of Juvenon with the quote “I take Juvenon every day — Dr. Andrew Weil.”

Such crass commercialism would put most big drug companies to shame.

…and I’d add profit in general is a major target of many who oppose mainstream drug companies, but the commercialism displayed by “alternative” companies is somehow overlooked.

Unfortunately, what Bazell leaves out are suggestions about what to do now. Close down NCCAM altogether and immediately? We have a serious catch-22 here. We do want studies done on these “alternative” medicines, so we can justify saying they’re crap (or, be surprised when they actually work). But the problem is, as mentioned, that for the companies that make them, it doesn’t matter if they work–they can market them anyway, even if they’re no better than a sugar pill placebo. This loophole needs to be closed before any serious reform can be made to NCCAM–and that’s not going to be a politically popular arena to step into.

[Edited to add: Abel has a post on this up today as well--check it out for further reading].

Comments

  1. #1 quitter
    October 25, 2006

    I would argue that you should accept NCCAM as a necessary evil, and really, until altie medications kill a bunch of people and end up being regulated that’s the best science can do.

    What a lot of people fail to see about NCCAM, is that even though they publish negative results and the alties don’t listen, it is valuable information for medical practitioners who deal with patients taking this stuff. Further, NCCAM is run by serious scientists, and not the quacks that promote this stuff. It’s a hard job because you are trying to study people’s religion, but at least it hasn’t been handed over to people who actually buy into anecdotal reasoning and magical thinking. We shouldn’t look at what they’re doing as a concession to alties, because the alties aren’t running the agency. Instead we should look at it as a useful source of (mostly negative) information on altie treatments, and a way to systematize information on BS treatments to see in a scientific way what they do, don’t do, and common side-effects.

    Granted the alties never buy any results they put out. But who cares? They don’t believe in science period, and nothing will change their minds. NCCAM isn’t for them, it’s for us.

  2. #2 Guitar Eddie
    October 25, 2006

    “I would argue that you should accept NCCAM as a necessary evil, and really, until altie medications kill a bunch of people and end up being regulated that’s the best science can do.”

    That’s unfortunate. It’s also the same way we regulate the operation of motor vehicles on our public roads. Nothing is done about a dangerous intersection until several people are killed in an accident.

    GE

  3. #3 quitter
    October 25, 2006

    Sad but true, that’s just the way things work. Americans don’t respond to things until their is a crisis.

    The FDA, in its current incarnation, just regulated food until in 1937 a patent medication killed over 100 people, mostly children since it included ethylene glycol or anti-freeze. This lead to the formation of the FDA in 1938, and really all it was was a single rule. You couldn’t advertise an indication for a drug on its label unless you could prove its efficacy scientifically. This really resulted in the birth of modern pharmacology as a scientific field.

    Luckily most altie meds are so benign this is unlikely to occur, although ephedra took a few people down and had to be regulated. It’s more sad that we waste billions of dollars on this crap, and that real treatments may be avoided, but until they start killing people in large numbers, no action will be taken.

  4. #4 Tara C. Smith
    October 25, 2006

    Heading out the door, but note I didn’t say eliminate NCCAM; however, it’s absurd to allow these alternative meds to be sold when studies show that they’re obviously garbage. This is what needs to be reformed, in my opinion.

  5. #5 Stephen
    October 25, 2006

    I’ve experience alternative medicine myself.

    My wife has a bad back. Modern medicine, for the most
    part, failed. So, she sought out any quack with a concept
    and tried it. All told, and over a couple years, probably
    a couple thousand dollars was spent on this stuff.

    After exhausting alternative medicine, she signed up for
    a health club. She tried every exercise offered. One
    worked. It wasn’t the one i’d have expected. A treadmill.

    When her 18 month membership was nearing expiration, she
    asked me if we could simply buy a treadmill. After all,
    days when she used were “good back days” and those when
    she didn’t weren’t. I asked how much the membership was.
    It was some $350. We were able to buy a treadmill at Sears
    for less than this. Five years later, we replaced the belt,
    which cost another $35. It’s been good for my health too.

    Some of the stuff she’d gotten:

    A bright light. You’re supposed to expose yourself to it.
    (I’d rather be exposed to art.)

    A device that attaches to your skull and zaps you a little.

    A book with a ‘special diet’.

    A book about meditation.

    And so on. I think we still have this junk.

  6. #6 Unsympathetic reader
    October 25, 2006

    quitter writes: “Luckily most altie meds are so benign this is unlikely to occur, although ephedra took a few people down and had to be regulated.

    Many times, yes, but…
    Some produce hazardous problems in combination with other drugs (e.g. The effect of St. John’s Wort on drug metabolism).

  7. #7 Jen
    October 25, 2006

    “Luckily most altie meds are so benign this is unlikely to occur…”

    Even if altie meds are “benign” by themselves, people still spend money on them that they could be spending on mainstream remedies that actually work.

    Watched any infomercials in the wee hours lately? They are outrageous. Now, I think adults should be able to decide for themselves what they put in their own bodies – if someone really thinks a coffee enema will put them right, I’m not going to get in their way. But I don’t think hucksters should make money by lying to people about the efficacy and safety of altie “remedies.” This is, in my opinion, where the regulation is needed. The standard disclaimer – this product is not intended to diagnose or treat, blah, blah, blah – is just not enough.

  8. #8 quitter
    October 25, 2006

    I don’t disagree with anything here, really. Altie meds probably shouldn’t be sold after they’ve been proven ineffective, and yes, especially altie meds that activate the Cytochrome p450 systems are going to have consequences that can be deadly. The problem is that on their own they tend to be pretty benign, and you’ll notice that almost no altie-meds actually have an “indication” that they write on their bottle. This means they haven’t filed the paperwork with the FDA necessary to make a medicinal claim, and since they have no data these requests would be rejected. As a result they are sold as “food supplements” and thus avoid the regulatory restrictions that real drugs enjoy.

    What altie drugs do is advertise claims elsewhere, in brochures, on internet sites, in brochures, whatever, or they claim the drug “promotes wellness” or some such nonsense. Take Enzyte for example. They say it’s for “male enhancement.” In reality it is a relatively low dose of Gingko, and has never been shown to do anything, but a commercial that just hints about a positive indication is enough to make it sell like crazy. That’s more a job for the FTC, but the FTC is so stripped of resources right now they let all sorts of shit slide these days.

    So the problem is, you can’t just ban something without a specific bill from congress as long as these altie/snake oil peddlers use loopholes, create “educational” sites to promote nonsense, and sell an item that is regulated as a food. The FDA simply does not have the authority to pull them off the market. And until they kill somebody, there will never be enough outcry over waste to change this.

  9. #9 trrll
    October 25, 2006

    Most of the altie medications are fairly benign (with a few notable exceptions such as ephedrine). They might even have a bit of value simply as placebos (although the efficacy of plaebos is itself fairly controversial).

    I think NCCAM has value just because it makes it a little harder for the altie medication profiteers to argue that there is some kind of scientific conspiracy not to study such “natural cures,” because of all of the money they’d like their customers to believe we are making from the pharmaceutical industry. Of course, no matter how well the study is done, the true altie fanatics will always insist that there was something wrong with the study when it turns out not to do much of anything (or if it is active, to have a side effect profile not much better than conventional medications).

  10. #10 suirauqa
    October 25, 2006

    I have a pertinent question. What exactly is ‘alternative medicine’? Apart from the dietary supplements, random hormone pills, self-help books and magnetic hocus-pocus, what else comes under this group? Does one include Ayurvedic medicine of ancient India, Homeopathic medicine of Germany, Yunani medicine system of the Middle East, and traditional Herbal medicine as well as acupuncture system of China? In my limited experience and knowledge of these, there are three facts:

    (1) Some of these systems actually work; they have worked for a very long time, even before the advent of the modern (allopathic) system of medicine in these parts of the world. Acupuncture has actually been studied quite a lot in terms of acute and chronic pain management. Chinese herbal medicine, Ayurvedic and Yunani medicines – all of which are based on medicinal properties of herbs and spices – are all known to work, in a sufficiently large number of people despite their anecdotal status.

    (2) The active principles from many of the same herbs (some of them are even considered poisonous) are isolated (and then often artificially/chemically produced) and used in allopathic medicine. A ready example to mind is the common Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), whose extracts are used for preparations containing cardiac glycosides, particularly digoxin. The same plant extract is used to make the homeopathic medicine, Digitalis, which is purported to work in the same area of cardiovascular management.

    (3) The third fact – probably the most important one – is that there has been very, very little concerted study of these medicinal systems – study of any kind, biochemical, preclinical, let alone phased clinical studies.

    Proponents or practitioners of these medical systems often cite governmental or official apathy for that; the scientific establishment either looks at them with amused incredulity or shrugs them off. But the rigor and skepticism and analytics of a proper scientific study continue to elude them in most cases. In that case, NCCAM is taking a laudable step, debunking urban medicinal myths and looking for a useful alternative. However, they perhaps need to look beyond the dietary supplements and hormones and stuff, and set up studies to explore the traditional medical systems of different countries, where they might come up with some exciting leads.

    One more aspect, which homeopathic practitioners in particular crib about, is that the study design used for the modern medicine system, where one focuses on a particular therapeutic agent’s ability to interact with the components of a given disease (for example, inhibition of a biochemical pathway) is incompatible with their medicinal system, where extremely low doses of a potent, even poisonous, alkaloid or active principle of some herb is given to a patient to treat one or many associated conditions holistically. Therefore, the traditional parameters expected in the pre-clinical studies of modern medicine cannot be evaluated, such as actual demonstrable effect on the etiological agent (such a as a pathogen), dose-benefit ratio, prophylactic-therapeutic efficacy, PK/PD parameters and so forth.

    An immediate parallel flashes through my mind. Tara, and those who have studied in this field, would know that antibodies have certain defined mechanisms by which they work against the invading pathogens: they either bundle up the bugs, or help other immune components to sit on the bugs and poke holes, or allow immune cells to recognize and devour the bugs. A colleague of mine, in course of her research in bacterial infection, has found antibodies that do nothing of this sort, though they protect mice from that infection. She found that the bugs normally bring in a whole cascade of cellular immune response marked by immune chemicals (interleukins), and presence of these chemicals can cause tissue damage and eventual death of the host. The antibodies which protected did not work in the traditional way, but actually managed to reduce the host damage by shutting down the immune chemical flow.

    I took this example to mean that each disease condition brings upon its own pattern of interaction between various components of the physiological system, and which way the balance of these systems tilts – host damage or host benefit – is not fully understood yet. Therefore, I think it is possible that the homeopathic medicine system may work into that aspect. I don’t know; there should be a way to devise a proper study to look into this aspect.

    Whoof! Long post. Sorry ’bout that!

  11. #11 Robster
    October 25, 2006

    Re: the paragraph starting with “One more aspect…”

    Of course, the alties can’t be happy with a trial that determines if their snake oil actually works…

    I think it was SNL that had a skit in which people talked about how they chose a particular altie drug because there was absolutely no scientific proof that it worked.

  12. #12 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    October 25, 2006

    The failure of alternative medicine

    Consider the success of alternative medicine. It’s a large and enormously profitable business. The R&D budget is miniscule in comparison to that of evidence-based drug companies. Manufacturing costs are also not formidable; herbals are basically grinding up roots and leaves, magnets are cheap, etc. The customer base is huge, and not swayed by negative evidence. All this means they can offer an affordable product and still rake in huge profits. Did I mention that it’s profitable?

  13. #13 Clark
    October 26, 2006

    Tsk, tsk… . Putting the Glucosamine results into the ‘altie’ bucket is silly. There are a ton of randomized trials – e.g. in 2000 JAMA published a meta analysis of those studies that it probably had efficacy.

    And even the widely-quoted-in-the-lay-press negative study was actually indicative of a probable efficacy. E.g. p=0.09 on the primary endpoint for the combined Glucosamine/Chondroitin treatment. Yep, didn’t meet “stat sig”. But p=0.09 is only a 4.5% chance that occurred by chance. Also note that the most positive studies have been long lasting ones (e.g. lots of 3 yr randomized studies all showing stopping of disease progression as measured by joint separation) and this study was only 24 weeks.

    See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=16495392&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum.

    Trying to think of any other ‘altie’ treatment I’d defend (melatonin – nope, Q10 – nope, …). Can’t think of any. But Glucosamine probably does not deserve the title ‘altie’.

  14. #14 pat
    October 26, 2006

    Perhaps the biggest boon to “altie” medicine is evidence-based medicine’s own rotten and corrupt track record.(no no no, they don’t rip anyone off!)

  15. #15 jd
    October 26, 2006

    I mostly agree with what’s been posted here, but for me the bigger question–which Pat touches on–is why people are driven to altie meds. Mainstream medicine is hurried, harried, expensive, impersonal, abstract & so on. The patient has little of no control over her/his treatment. At least when one orders something off the internet & takes it every morning with OJ, one has a certain kind of control. If American primary care medicine were humane, altie meds might just wither away.

  16. #16 anonimouse
    October 26, 2006

    suirauqa,

    One more aspect, which homeopathic practitioners in particular crib about, is that the study design used for the modern medicine system, where one focuses on a particular therapeutic agent’s ability to interact with the components of a given disease (for example, inhibition of a biochemical pathway) is incompatible with their medicinal system, where extremely low doses of a potent, even poisonous, alkaloid or active principle of some herb is given to a patient to treat one or many associated conditions holistically. Therefore, the traditional parameters expected in the pre-clinical studies of modern medicine cannot be evaluated, such as actual demonstrable effect on the etiological agent (such a as a pathogen), dose-benefit ratio, prophylactic-therapeutic efficacy, PK/PD parameters and so forth.

    I’m sorry, but that’s woo nonsense. First off, homeopathy breaks about a billion different scientific principles. (at the dilutions of most homeopathic remedies, there would be ZERO amount of the active ingredient remaining) Secondly, homeopathy is based on magical thinking. Third, any treatment methodology which is based on the practitioner’s ability to divine what sugar pill to give a patient is laughable.

    Homeopathy is a joke, plain and simple, and we don’t need to continue to fund studies to show us that fact.

    I agree in part with some of your other statements (that some herbal remedies are indeed useful) but defending homeopathy is a bad, bad idea.

    Mustafa,

    Your statement is blasphemous. Alties are just trying to help, and they don’t care about the money. I’m sure they donate all their profits to the needy.

    Clark,

    I’m with you on glucosamine, which has at least a modicum of scientific data behind it to support at least the plausibility of it being an effective treatment for arthritis. I’m not convinced it works based on that data, but it’s certainly a major step up from homeopathy.

  17. #17 suirauqa
    October 26, 2006

    JD, while I agree with your statement about mainstream medicine, you did not point out the major reason why mainstream medicine is this way in the United States: the Health Insurance companies! As long as they retain the stranglehold on prescription medicine, it is going to reamin hurried, harried, expensive, impersonal and abstract. Come on, think of how many times a medicine prescribed by your doctor has been changed to its generic equivalent by your pharmacist. The moment Allegra D became OTC, my Health Insurance company stopped supporting any other allergy medication, despite the fact that Allegra D does not work for my condition. Now, every time my doctor prescribes a different medicine, I have to call my insurance to get the approval. After a knee injury, a friend of mine was advised a knee MRI; she had a hard time convincing the Insurance company that it was required. At one point, she was even told by the support person to take a Tylenol and be done with it!

    The fact that this can be done with impunity has eroded people’s belief in the necessity of taking approved medicines only. Besides, the multi-million dollar ad blitz on the TV, magazines, and elsewhere by the alternative medicine industry is continuously impinging upon the people’s psyche. Do you think in times of weakness, as in a less-than-healthy condition, they would easily resist the temptation to try out new-fangled therapies? As Tara remarked earlier, something should be done to prevent the publicization of unproven therapies; just a mandatory statutory warning, delivered quickly along with the commercial, is not going to be enough.

    That said, I don’t agree with the second part of your statement. Why do people need control over their medicines? What does a common person know about how a particular medicine is supposed to work, or how two medicines, usually prescribed for a single condition, may differ in their safety, efficacy and action? They should be able to trust their physicians, and trust that the particular medicines given to them are appropriate to their condition. Their duty is to take the prescribed dose, comply to the regimen, and report to the physician if they notice any change, absence thereof, or even a worsening condition.

    Oh, I know it does not work out that way! If I have to call my doctor, I have to go through three layers of secretaries, and then also, he would call me back – perhaps. There have been times when I have been sorely tempted to rush to the nearest grocery store, buy a generic OTC med or even a herbal supplement, and take it rather than going through all the hassle. OK, I confess I have done it, but only because I have the necessary knowledge to choose the correct medicine. But what of the common person-on-the-street? How would they cope?

    No wonder, alternative meds are doing such business!!

  18. #18 Unsympathetic reader
    October 26, 2006

    pat writes: “Perhaps the biggest boon to “altie” medicine is evidence-based medicine’s own rotten and corrupt track record.

    Right… So the best solution is to disregard a mostly working system of evaluation that has some problems but which has some legal ‘teeth’ for going after scofflaws, in favor of a non-systematic evaluation system with a known, low success rate, no reliable or established procedures for tracking problems & complications, a system rife with unreported & unmanaged conflicts of interest.

    Evolution in action…

  19. #19 Jen
    October 26, 2006

    suirauqa wrote: “Chinese herbal medicine, Ayurvedic and Yunani medicines – all of which are based on medicinal properties of herbs and spices – are all known to work, in a sufficiently large number of people despite their anecdotal status.”

    Ayurvedic medicine??? You’re kidding, right? Ayurvedic medicine is based on nonsensical principles – it ascribes healing powers to toxic metals like lead and mercury. An article in JAMA a few years back showed that 20% of the Ayurvedic herbal remedies available for sale in Boston contained toxic levels of lead, mercury, and arsenic. I guess if you kill enough brain cells from the heavy metal poisoning, you’ll think you’re getting better. Or maybe just forget what the original complaint was.

    Oh, and anecdotes, even “a sufficiently large number” of them is not the same as data.

  20. #20 suirauqa
    October 26, 2006

    Anonimouse, thanks for your comments. You said:

    I’m sorry, but that’s woo nonsense. First off, homeopathy breaks about a billion different scientific principles. (at the dilutions of most homeopathic remedies, there would be ZERO amount of the active ingredient remaining) Secondly, homeopathy is based on magical thinking. Third, any treatment methodology which is based on the practitioner’s ability to divine what sugar pill to give a patient is laughable.

    I am afraid I am not so easily dismissive. Could you furnish actual examples of the three points you raised? I don’t know about the United States, but in Third World countries, homeopathy is quite popular because (a) it is cheap (b) it surprisingly works. I remember when I was a child, we had a family physician, an old, old gentleman, who was trained in London in both Allopathic and Homeopathic systems of Medicine. To many, many people he was like God-send, because he was very good at what he did. And I do know for a fact that the homeopathic medicines that he had prescribed for me or members of my family always worked, and guess what, they still do, for those particular conditions.

    Now I am not sure if the homeopathy that you and I are referring to are the one and the same. Because of the unregulated nature of homeopathic medicines, quackery prevails like wildfire. One has to be careful in choosing the right practitioner.

    That said, let me take your points: First the dilution. Having worked for so many years with micro-quantities of stuff, dilutions, or the fact the extremely diluted stuff still works, do not faze me at all. I work with antibodies that recognize their antigen at a very, very high dilution. In immunology we have a phenomenon called prozone, where a diluted reagent may work much better than in a concentrated form. I am not sure that the active ingredients become zero at the homeopathic dilutions. As I mentioned in my original post, perhaps the active chemicals interface with cytokines and chemokines at those dilutions. Who knows?

    Second, magical thinking. Come, sir! You really think so? What arrant nonsense! If I stretch a point, perhaps I can guess that you are attempting to point at the holistic theory of homeopathy – are you? The idea that the medicine treats the individual as a whole, rather than a particular disease condition? I understand that it is a tall, as-yet-untested claim. But please remember, that even 15 years back, psychosomatic conditions, neurological sequelae of physiological problems and vice versa, were not clearly understood and were much derided as tenuous, quackery and so forth. It is only now that it has been accepted that many disease conditions have an organic as well as a psychological component. I think this may be what the holistic theory of homeopathy refers to.

    Third, about the sugar pill. Your knowledge of this, I am afraid, is incomplete at best. There is nothing to divine about the sugar pill! There is only one kind. If you choose, you may not use the sugar globule at all, just use the raw formulation (called ‘mother tincture’). Since the raw formulation (the alkaloid or other extracts) is often insoluble in water, it is dissolved in alcohol, which many people find distasteful – hence the sugar globules. It lends a sweet taste to the medicine in the mouth, and also helps in long term storage of the medicine, by adsorbing the medicine from the surrounding fluid tincture.

    If you wish to decry something, anything, it is your prerogative. But I wish you’d provide a bit of substantiation of your ideas!

  21. #21 Jen
    October 26, 2006

    jd wrote: “Mainstream medicine is hurried, harried, expensive, impersonal, abstract & so on. The patient has little of no control over her/his treatment.”

    I agree that doctors are hurried, but there are some things you can do to exert some control over the situation. It helps if you walk in with a written list of items to cover and make it clear you aren’t leaving until you’ve addressed everything on your list. As a last resort, you can fire you doctor. I’ve done it before. I can’t say it was easy, but it sure beat dealing with an arrogant prick who refused to listen to me.

  22. #22 suirauqa
    October 26, 2006

    Jen, I agree that anecdotal evidence is not data; it cannot be. There is no substitute for properly designed studies generating cold, hard data that one can evaluate and analyze. I thought that was the point I was making – for generating more of proper studies on the medicinal properties of herbs and spices. There have been such studies on ginger, garlic and turmeric and their anticancer properties (check PubMed or Medline, you’d know). You may not know that Ayurvedic medicine recognized the medicinal properties of these spices long, long back before modern medicine even knew of their existence.

    Dismissing the whole of Ayurvedic medicine as ‘based on nonsensical principles’ may be typical of western arrogance, but it is hardly creditable scientific attitude. I don’t know what kind of Ayurveda is practiced in Boston; but it is a fact that anything with an Eastern flavor becomes a fad in the United States with bundles of people jumping in the bandwagon without rhyme or reason or sense. If those medicines found in Boston had toxic levels of lead and mercury, by all means do not take them. A few years back, an Indian Ayurvedic practitioner’s medicines were similarly found to have an unacceptably high levels of steroids. By all means, dismiss, disregard, dismember such quackery.

    But one bad, incompetent, unscrupulous practitioner here and there does not make the whole theory of Ayurvedic medicine untenable. This – more than anything – illustrates the need to do proper research into the medicinal effects of plants, herbs and spices, and also to unmask quackery by solid experimental evidence.

  23. #23 Neal
    October 26, 2006

    Why is it so important that these ineffective alternative remedies are not available on the market (provided they’re not actively harmful)? I can understand the argument that a dollar spent on these treatments is a dollar not being spent on, but I think there are a few other things to consider here.

    To me, the huge number of anecdotes coupled with the absolute lack of clinical data on efficacy suggests that there is a large placebo effect going on here. That’s not insignificant. There’s a large amount of literature on outlook, attitude, and other psychological effects on disease outcomes (particularly cancer). Conversely, depression can negatively affect health outcomes. The recent focus on the effect of spirituality on health outcomes applies here also. I’m not just peddling superstition — I know this stuff is not efficacious in the way that, say, chemotherapy would be. But the psychological state of the patient does seem to impact long-term survival and quality of life for patients with chronic disease.

    To me, that’s the only potential “benefit” to keeping these alternative therapies on the market. Again, provided that the medicine taken is not harmful in itself or in conjunction with allopathic medication, the placebo effect might be helpful in some marginal sense. This is particularly true if you’re talking about an alternative course of medicine that’s administered in the course of some larger religious context.

    Also, there is a significant portion of the population that does not have access to cheap prescription drugs (as long as we’re just talking about the US). For many of them, the placebo effect of a meaningless homeopathic medication is better than nothing.

    Finally, I think that, whether or not NCCAM exists in its current form, it is a VERY GOOD IDEA for the government to have an institutional body reviewing the efficacy of these local cures. As we become more globalized and American consumers come into contact with more diverse cultural traditions, it’s going to be important to figure out whether these folk healing traditions are harmful. And it’s not as though traditional medicine ALWAYS turns out to be wrong or harmful — witness the recent studies validating the medicinal properties of turmeric, which is a staple of Indian traditional medicine.

  24. #24 did
    October 26, 2006

    suirauqa:

    Do you know what a 100C dilution is? An ingredient is diluted 100:1 100 times. After each dilution, 1% of the previous dilution remains. After 100 such dilutions, you have 1 part of the “active” ingredient for every 10^200 parts of non-active ingredients. As there are roughly 10^83 atoms in the universe, you’d need 10^117 UNIVERSES like ours to get ONE atom of, say, arsenic.

    I may not have the math exactly correct, but I hope you get the idea: that’s some pure water!

    did

  25. #25 pat
    October 26, 2006

    “Right… So the best solution is to disregard a mostly working system of evaluation that has some problems but which has some legal ‘teeth’ for going after scofflaws, in favor of a non-systematic evaluation system with a known, low success rate, no reliable or established procedures for tracking problems & complications, a system rife with unreported & unmanaged conflicts of interest.

    Evolution in action…”

    Those are your words Unsymp, not mine.

  26. #26 Unsympathetic reader
    October 26, 2006

    Just carrying through the thought process…

  27. #27 pat
    October 26, 2006

    “Just carrying through the thought process…”

    Just for the record:
    YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS!

  28. #28 bcpmoon
    October 26, 2006

    Re Ayurveda: That this system recognized the healing properties of some spices impresses me not a bit. What is the hit rate? It reminds me of astrology: If my claims are vague enough, I will have some positives and screw the effects of mercury (btw, the mercury is an integral part of ayurveda, its poisonous effects are removed by, well, magic).
    Re homeopathy: It is complete nonsense to state that this belief system (oooh, I feel the itch…) cannot be subjected to a rigorous trial. A homeopath could simply diagnose a group of patients, formulate the required remedy and then the double blinding and placeboisation will take place. So what? Simple! Not been done? Hmmm, wonder why…

  29. #29 Seth Manapio
    October 26, 2006

    “Second, magical thinking. Come, sir! You really think so?”

    ——–

    I can’t speak for anonimouse, but I sure do. I think that Homeopathy is a case where someone decided how things “should” work and then–without that pesky testing/analyzing phase that makes skeptical thinking so much work–decided that that was how they did work… despite the fact that the “should” flies directly in the face of every testable proposition of how things actually DO work. There’s no physical agent in homeopathy, and no indication that even if there were a physical agent, that it would do what they said it did. The theory itself isn’t verified by any observation.

    “In immunology we have a phenomenon called prozone, where a diluted reagent may work much better than in a concentrated form.

    Sure, there are correct concentrations of chemicals to achieve any particular reaction, but there is no general rule that vanishingly small concentrations always have any reaction at all. Homeopathy assumes that such a general rule applies, and thats just magical thinking.

  30. #30 Jen
    October 26, 2006

    suirauqa: “I don’t know what kind of Ayurveda is practiced in Boston…”

    Apparently the same kind that’s practiced in South Asia – the herbal preparations that were analyzed were manufactured there, not Boston.

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/292/23/2868

  31. #31 Robster
    October 26, 2006

    Ayurvedic Medicine as described by the Skeptics Dictionary.

    Sounds like as much of a scam as the rest of the alties.

  32. #32 trrll
    October 26, 2006

    Watched any infomercials in the wee hours lately? They are outrageous. Now, I think adults should be able to decide for themselves what they put in their own bodies – if someone really thinks a coffee enema will put them right, I’m not going to get in their way. But I don’t think hucksters should make money by lying to people about the efficacy and safety of altie “remedies.”

    I once had a Metabolife salesman threaten to have me ejected from a mall for telling people that ephedrine is a drug (she was insisting that her product was “drug-free”). In many cases, I think the marketing is the real problem. One of the reasons why the FDA has had such a hard time getting ephedrine off of the market is that in controlled studies it doesn’t look so bad, probably not any worse than its isomer pseudoephedrine that is the active ingredient in most OTC decongestants (or was before they started hiding it behind the counter because people were using it as a starting material to make methamphetamine). But it is one thing to give a drug like ephedrine at a regulated dose, and quite enough to give it out at a questionable dose along with an assurance that it is a harmless herb (Well if it’s harmless, I can take as much as I want, right? So if one pill doesn’t make me feel like the happy people in the ads, maybe I should take three)

  33. #33 MattXIV
    October 26, 2006

    quitter,

    I think ephedra was more of a drug prohibition issue than an alternative medicine issue. It’s active ingredients are pseudoephedrine (used a decongestant in many OTC formulations) and ephedrine (gets some use as a bronchodialator and as a stimulant). It got restricted because people were taking it for the stimulant properties and it was causing some adverse cardiac reactions – I’m guessing in a lot of cases high doses or stacking with other stimulants was involved. The ban was intended to stop the usage of ephedrine (and preparations containing it) as a stimulant in general by prohibiting it being marketed as such, including via the supplement loophole, which of course didn’t work (google VasoPro, which is an OTC product that is supposed to be used to treat asthma).

  34. #34 Unsympathetic reader
    October 26, 2006

    pat writes: Just for the record:
    YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS!”

    Helpful clarification for those who aren’t masters of the obvious.

  35. #35 quitter
    October 26, 2006

    Matt,
    I was actually referring to the various alt medications that had ephedra in them, rather than the also-available purified forms.

    I think some people (and I knew a few) thought that since their herb pill were “natural” that the active ingredients would be harmless. It turned out many alt medications included ephedra or substances rich in ephedra. Especially the ones advertising a herbal metabolism boost.

    There was no question ephedra was an active compound, which would make it different from most the crap on the shelves. The issue was the marketing of it as “natural” and “herbal” which tended to deceive people into thinking they are harmless.

  36. #36 pat
    October 26, 2006

    Unsymp,
    At least you live up to your moniker.

  37. #37 Cayte
    October 26, 2006

    Each study is followed by a flurry of interpretation and counter interpretation. This leads the public to believe there is more ambiguity than the official pronouncements let on. An example is the take on St. John’s wort by the American Botanical Council.
    http://herbalgram.com/default.asp?c=040902press

    To add to the confusion altie and mainstream vary from country to country. In France, for example, aromatherapy is mainstream. Part of the reason is the language barrier since some studies are published in the local language.

  38. #38 mark a
    October 26, 2006

    trrll, is the placebo effect really controversial? perhaps it depends on what is being studied, but in the allergy literature for example, where the end points are often subjective (improvement in nasal symptoms) typically placebo effect can account for a 10-30% effect. Thats not bad. Since many people who use altie meds often suffer from vague or subjective symptoms its not that hard to understand why there are so many “testimonials” out there. The problem is most people don’t believe or care about studies they care about what makes them feel better. I am no fan of altie claims and the sad fact, which is pointed out in the above referenced article; “Marketers often sell them under the guise of a mom-and-pop alternative to big pharma. Yet the $29 billion-a-year dietary supplement industry wields such power that it got Congress to pass a law in 1994 that basically frees it to peddle almost anything that doesn’t kill people with claims of medical benefit that need not be proven.” They really are no different than than any other big money making industry out there. They do practice spin better than Karl Rove though.

  39. #39 Dean Morrison
    October 26, 2006

    Just to point out we have our own problems in the UK:

    http://badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=559&sid=83a39d4e3cfbcb9fd8f09a7e69cb5d7e

  40. #40 Peter Barber
    October 27, 2006

    Clark wrote:

    Trying to think of any other ‘altie’ treatment I’d defend (melatonin – nope, Q10 – nope, …). Can’t think of any. But Glucosamine probably does not deserve the title ‘altie’.

    Interesting that you mention melatonin. My wife is a paediatric intensivist, and in the unit where she worked previously, melatonin is prescribed (off-licence) to the children to help them sleep. Maybe I should read up on melatonin … um, maybe I should have done so already, since I usually take it while travelling across time zones, and it seems to work for me.

    Whoa – did I just use the argument from personal experience? Oh no, I’m an altie… :-O

  41. #41 Lindsey Eck
    October 27, 2006

    In the U.S. we have some 47 million people with no health insurance, which means no primary care, just the emergency room. Then we have many more whose deductibles are so high that it puts them in the same situation.

    In my experience, these are mostly the people who turn to quack remedies. They know it’s not the same as what a real doctor would give you, but it’s all they can afford and it might help.

    http://www.corneroak.com

  42. #42 Seth Manapio
    October 27, 2006

    “with no health insurance, which means no primary care, just the emergency room”

    ————–

    Everyone I know without health insurance is an independent contractor, young professionals who think that they are healthy enough to get by without worrying about major medical. Some of them use medical savings accounts, others don’t… none of them get their medical care from the emergency room, they all go to doctors if they need to and pay full price for medication if they need it.

    I didn’t have health insurance for most of my twenties, it just never occurred to me to care. I certainly didn’t go to the emergency room, I went to a doctor if I needed to and payed cash.

    My point isn’t that everyone can afford health care, of course. My point is that your statement assumes facts that are not in evidence and a poor causal link: it simply isn’t a fact that you MUST have insurance to see a doctor, “no insurance” does not equal “no primary care”.

    Also, I’ll bet that a demographic study of alt-med users wouldn’t support your claim, I’ll bet that they go across all ethnic and income groups at about the same ratios as church attendance.

  43. #43 Seth Manapio
    October 27, 2006

    Just to back my self up:

    http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/05/uninsured-cps/index.htm#The

    The demographics of health insurance are complex.

  44. #44 jspreen
    October 27, 2006

    The core of Bazell’s argument is that, even though testing of all kinds of alternative medicines has been done over the last 15 years (at a cost of over $100 million annually), the results have all been negative–but no one cares

    What a truckload of bullshit!

    … have all been negative …

    No real testing of alternative medicine is ever done, unless it’s sure from the beginning that it’s crap. Any person proposing some promising approach is lapidated by the hordes of the pompous and self-righteous defenders of main stream medical poisoning who say they know what’s good for people, but who, when it really comes to it, know above all what’s good for their church.
    Luckily many people haven’t let go all common sense yet. They still notice that a person who goes to a hospital for chemo generally looks ten times worse after some months of treatment than before and they say: “No thanks, no chemo for me”.

    This is how the core argument should actually read:

    The core of intelligent people’s argument is that, even though testing of all kinds of chemo treatment has been done over the last 50 years (at a cost of over $100 billion annually), the results have all been negative–but no one cares

  45. #45 Frumious B
    October 27, 2006

    until altie medications kill a bunch of people and end up being regulated that’s the best science can do.

    Yeah, that’s totally how it happened with Ephedra.

  46. #46 pat
    October 27, 2006

    “until altie medications kill a bunch of people”

    I think “mainstream” has pole position.

  47. #47 Robster
    October 27, 2006

    Poor js. Still pushing the same bull.

    Never mind the successes in childhood cancers (80% success rate in treating solid tumors, St. Jude), testicular cancer, prostate cancer (most patients will die of advanced age after treatment instead of a recurrance of the tumor), or any of the improved survival rates for a multitude of other cancers. And then there are the viral diseases for which we have vaccines. Diseases that no longer threaten us. And don’t forget all the bacterial diseases that are treatable with antibiotics.

    Pat, you’ve already been hoisted on your own petard with your previous attempt at sarcasm. Modern medicine helps more people than alties do. Mainly because altie practitioners are using a tactic that has no scientific backing, relies on hocus pocus, and requires its practitioners to either be ignorant of science or willfully fraudulent. Smallpox vaccinations alone have saved more people from illness, disfiguring scars, and death than alternative medicine has ripped off.

  48. #48 Seth Manapio
    October 27, 2006

    A particularly horrifying example of Spreen’s idea of medicine.

    http://www.ariplex.com/ama/amamicha.htm

  49. #49 Robster
    October 27, 2006

    One thing I forgot to mention. Js is unhappy with the trials that have been performed that demonstrate that altie med doesn’t work. Mainly because he can’t get around his bias. He won’t accept any trial that contradicts his near religious beliefs. But the evidence doesn’t lie.

    I have lots of problems with how NCCAM is run. NCCAM gives the altie concepts far too much leeway and has ignored fraud in the past. Despite all this, NCCAM has yet to put forward any support for altie medicine.

  50. #50 Clark
    October 27, 2006

    Peter wrote:

    < >

    I was dissing all the longevity and youth restoring claims for melatonin. It probably works for Jet Lag, so it might well work for some other kinds of sleep disorders.

  51. #51 pat
    October 28, 2006

    “Pat, you’ve already been hoisted on your own petard with your previous attempt at sarcasm”

    I merely point out why perhaps people are driven to “altie” stuff. Then someone attempts to add to my thinking some total bull and now I am hoisted on my own petard? Did you get shot in the head, maybe?

    Again, I believe people are driven to altie meds because: “Perhaps the biggest boon to “altie” medicine is evidence-based medicine’s own rotten and corrupt track record.(no no no, they don’t rip anyone off!)”

    Is this wrong? Is this my “petard” you are hoisting me on? And how was I hoisted on it? Or did that fall onto your keyboard after reading too much Hornblower? You are free to disagree with it but you are not welcome, both you and seth, to be disagreeable and make stupid add-ons to my postings.

    “Modern medicine helps more people than alties do”

    Have I claimed otherwise?

    “Mainly because altie practitioners are using a tactic that has no scientific backing, relies on hocus pocus, and requires its practitioners to either be ignorant of science or willfully fraudulent.”

    Have I claimed otherwise?

    “Smallpox vaccinations alone have saved more people from illness, disfiguring scars, and death than alternative medicine has ripped off”

    Have I claimed otherwise?

    If this is how you respond to my hypothesis about why people are driven to “altie” medicine then I must conclude that you have a hole in your head or perhaps you got all messed up and meant to address someone else in which case all this may be forgotten. Have a nice day.

  52. #52 pat
    October 28, 2006

    “pat writes: Just for the record:
    YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS!”

    Helpful clarification for those who aren’t masters of the obvious”

    I had no idea you were such an “altie” Unsymp.

  53. #53 Robster
    October 28, 2006

    Pat, your statement framing evidence based medicine as corrupt and rotten with a habit of ripping people off (thats the insurance biz, sometimes hospital management, not the medicine) was without merit. When compared/ contrasted to altie medicine, it becomes ridiculous.

  54. #54 Unsympathetic reader
    October 28, 2006

    pat writes: “I merely point out why perhaps people are driven to “altie” stuff.

    I agree it’s a contributor. Lay people (& even many ‘technical’ people) do a pretty poor job of risk assessment as witnessed by problems with vaccination compliance.

    Again, I believe people are driven to altie meds because: “Perhaps the biggest boon to “altie” medicine is evidence-based medicine’s own rotten and corrupt track record.(no no no, they don’t rip anyone off!)”

    Perceived levels of corruption. Most cops in the US are honest and not corrupt though a few are. Likewise, most drug application, approval and marketing processes are perfectly legitimate. What people want is a level of certainty and/or safety that is a practical impossibility in new drug development. When they don’t get this, many run to alternative or ‘natural’ methods that don’t have any good statistics for assessment.

    Some people think they are getting out of the frying pan by switching to poorly characterized ‘alternate’ treatment, without realizing they’re actually jumping into the fire.

  55. #55 pat
    October 28, 2006

    No Robster, it is not without merit. Why dont you propose your own hypothesis as to why other people keep getting sucked into “altie” stuff.

    Unsymp. Happy to see we agree. It is indeed a perception problem. But I personnally believe mainstream is partly to blame for such perceptions.

  56. #56 pat
    October 28, 2006

    did I say “partly”?
    personnally I have had great success with some alternative therapies so I am not so viscious in trashing them but rather “open” to other ideas. but thats just me.

  57. #57 pat
    October 28, 2006

    My real beef with this blog-talk about “altie” which I tried to point out to Orac but eventually gave up on is that “altie” is a blanket term which really is nothing but vague babble. Maybe a bit more precision would help. For example:

    -Mainstream has helped more people than…homeopathy… or aromatherapy… or crystal therapy etc.

    Is Ozone therapy “altie”?

  58. #58 Robster
    October 28, 2006

    Why do some people choose altie meds?

    Because because people are superstitious, have issues with confirmation bias, believe conspiracy theories, and in general, have difficulty with critical thinking skills. Some feel that they need to do something to take control of their own health care, and choose to go altie instead of ask their doctors questions, which isn’t exactly an easy thing for everybody to do.

  59. #59 Robster
    October 28, 2006

    Ozone therapy is altie and is not based on science. It does not work. Some doctors do administer ozone therapies, and if they sell them as real treatments, then they are quacks.

  60. #60 pat
    October 29, 2006

    “Ozone therapy is altie and is not based on science. It does not work. Some doctors do administer ozone therapies, and if they sell them as real treatments, then they are quacks.”

    So it couldn’t have worked for me. It’s all in my head. Thanks for setting me straight! I knew you were going to send that link! I read that a long time ago and still, my own personal experience contradicts this doc’s predictions about ozone therapy, namely that it doesn’t work. It MAY work and has worked on at least one occasion so, as a layman I can’t possibly buy into your absolutist verdict on Ozone therapy.

  61. #61 Robster
    October 29, 2006

    What was it I said about confirmation bias?

  62. #62 Robster
    October 29, 2006

    I suppose I should add the “Pragmatic Fallacy”

  63. #63 pat
    October 29, 2006

    Robster I bet you have zero direct knowledge about ozone therapy and merely repeat what website like quackwatch dictate.

    Diagnose this: 2 year non-stop herpes blistering that nothing stopped. 12 sessions of Ozone therapy and it bugs me now 3-4 times a year and heals within 3 days. Dramatic change in the landscape it was for me but according to you it is all in my head.
    I am so thankful that my mainstream familly doc is not as blinded as you. How about stroke and heart attack victims recieving ozone as a first line treatment (not in the USA of course), often administered directly in the ambulance? Are the mainstream hospitals that administer it quacky?
    Robster, you can’t convince me but you can drag me through the mud. Have fun!

    ps: those links may just as well apply to you. And besides , wtf is that pragmatic fallacy you shove under my nose. HIV is ruled by pragmatic fallacy science too! And you love it!

  64. #64 Robster
    October 29, 2006

    Pragmatic fallacy. People say it works, but evidence goes no further than anecdotes. This does not compare with HIV/AIDS, which is a well backed theory, requiring no emotional pull such as “love.” I love my wife. I love my cats. Theories, I study and accept.

    Herpes. Chronic blistering. Extended period of time.

    Herpesvirus remains dormant in ganglia nerve cells. If the body is not able to control the dormant infection for some reason, the infection becomes active, and there is an outbreak.

    I’d say there are a few possible explanations.

    First, it could have taken a couple of years for your immune system to control the infection.

    Second, if you were on antibiotics for the period, or had a low level allergy, either of these can allow the virus to exist outside the ganglia for an exteneded period of time. Diet can also have an effect.

    Third, trying something new that you could put your faith in may have reduced your stress levels enough to bring the infection under control. Alternatively, your stress levels may have dropped at the same time as the ozone treatment for another reason.

    You say that other treatments were given, which would likely include -ciclovir drugs. That these did not control the infection is interesting. Different drugs should have been tried, and if they didn’t work, and you took the medication exactly according to the prescription, then you present with a very interesting and unusual case.

    Sorry if you consider this mud.

    There is no good reason to give heart attack or stroke victimes ozone, not with good clot busting drugs available. Oxygen O2 yes, but not ozone O3.

  65. #65 Seth Manapio
    October 29, 2006

    “2 year non-stop herpes blistering that nothing stopped. 12 sessions of Ozone therapy and it bugs me now 3-4 times a year and heals within 3 days. Dramatic change in the landscape it was for me but according to you it is all in my head.”

    —————

    Pat, I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think anyone could diagnose that situation without more information. At a minimum, I would think that you would have to provide a complete history: what medications you were using and when, what ozone treatments were provided and when, along with a log of herpes outbreaks for an extensive period before and after the therapy. If you could provide that kind of information, then you could possibly make a case that ozone really helped you in a clinical sense.

    It isn’t that no one believes you, I believe that you are sincere and you are not misleading us. Its just that I’m skeptical, and you aren’t bringing enough data to the table to overcome the skepticism. I know what you believe, but I also don’t know whether you changed medications 1 month before the ozone treatments or 1 month after or what the pattern of outbreaks truly was both before and after.

    One of the points of a study is to have a large enough population that random behavioral variables–like whether you switched to an aftershave that didn’t irritate your allergies–get smoothed out of the overall results. What you are providing is just an interesting anecdote… but not enough information for me to draw a conclusion from.

  66. #66 Chris Noble
    October 29, 2006

    According to the Perth Group AIDS is caused by oxidative stress.

    Ozone is a strong oxidising agent. Would it not cause AIDS.

    Another hallmark of “alternative medicine” is a syncretic belief structure.

  67. #67 pat
    October 30, 2006

    “It isn’t that no one believes you”
    Robster seems categorical.

    Thank you Seth for your sincerety. I was given Zovirax creams and eventually in pill form which I was required to take once a day for ever. Obviously I wasn’t really happy with “a-pill-a-day-for-the-rest-of-my-life”. I was off medication for a good full year before I went for Ozone so really none of it could be attributed to medication. 6 months approx. prior to the ozone, I had my amalgams removed. I also stay away from junk food. My episodes went from permanent skin fixtures to temporary lesions that heal up within 3-4days reoccuring perhaps 4 times a year. That is pretty much the history of it right there. So it must be either the amalgam removal, Ozone or no junk food or perhaps a combination of all three but I can safely rule out any mainstream intervention. But, like all treatments, I do not believe it is a cure all and maybe as Chris suggests it causes AIDS.
    Whatever one wishes to conclude about Ozone, I for one find it a bit preemptive to conclude off hand that there is no use for it whatsoever. It appears there is a use for it in stroke and heart attack victims. Robster spoke in haste.

    Chris says: “Another hallmark of “alternative medicine” is a syncretic belief structure”
    Another statement that says nothing.

    -Is not AIDS research also syncretic?
    -Can you be more specific about “alternative medicine”?
    -Did I say Ozone cures AIDS (which would make my belief structure syncretic)
    -Does the Perth Group advocate Ozone as a cure for AIDS (which would make their belief structure syncretic)

  68. #68 Robster
    October 30, 2006

    Pat, I just don’t think that it was ozone. Not eating junk food could be responsible, as chocolate and nuts can act as triggers for a herpes outbreak. Changes in stress level or your immune system finally gaining the upper hand are also possibilities. I think you are sincere, but I don’t think that ozone was responsible.

    I’ve looked, but have yet to find any information that supports your claim that ozone is used anywhere for the treatment of heart attack or stroke. It would be interesting if it were true, but beyond a suggested vasodilatory effect, there is no reason to think that ozone could have an effect in these cases. As ozone is likely involved in the hardening of arteries, administering it to these patients sounds counterproductive.

    I’m not being close minded but skeptical. I just require some level of proof, especially when the proposed mechanism behind an altie concept is so flawed.

  69. #69 pat
    October 30, 2006

    Robster, you will have to take that on with someone more knowledgable than me. I cannot PROVE it to you. I eat chocolate, nuts, drink coffee and smoke cigarettes, still. My stress level has only recently gotten better seeing I got divorced last year. My treatment was 7 years ago (I admit stress is a big factor). Ozone can harden the arteries, my naturopath confirmed this with me, but any hardening is meaningless seing the treatment is too short. Remember this is not something you do on a regular basis.

    “I just require some level of proof, especially when the proposed mechanism behind an altie concept is so flawed.”

    I don’t know how “flawed” the mechanism behind Ozone therapy is. The only 2 significant things I did was to have my amalgams removed and the ozone therapy and only the therapy coincided with an improvement within a week of initiating it. As far as I can tell more than a dozen countries have absorbed Ozone therapy into their medical system and even some states in the US I have recently found out. Germans are great fans of Ozone therapy and some of their ambulances are equiped with Ozone machines. I’ll see if I can’t find some “proof” online. Don’t hold your breath.
    To be skeptical is one thing, to dismiss something outright as quackery quite another.

  70. #70 anonimouse
    October 30, 2006

    I’m sorry, but arguing that mainstream medicine is bad doesn’t mean that alternative medicine works. Nobody has ever shown a correlation between the quality of regular medical care and the use of woo. That’s just an easy way for anti-establishment conspiracists to get a jab in.

    Between Pat’s woo testimonials and js’s lame wanna-be pseudointellectual nonsense, this post is a breeding ground for inanity.

  71. #71 Seth Manapio
    October 30, 2006

    “The only 2 significant things I did was to have my amalgams removed and the ozone therapy and only the therapy coincided with an improvement within a week of initiating it.”

    ————-

    Hey Pat,

    And the problem for mainstream medicine is that right there. We can’t assume we know what significant thing you did. Seriously. Did you move? Repaint? Buy a new car (say, within the previous or next 3 months? When you had the amalgam removed, were you prescribed antibiotics? Were your teeth cleaned? What was your prior dental history? Did you have any cavities or infections that the dentist treated? Did you take up/stop a daily walk? Switch brands of cigarrettes? Switch to lights? Do you smoke Winstons? There are literally thousands of questions that could be asked, any one of which could lead to a significant change in your body… not from your point of view, but from the point of view of the Herpes Virus.

    A diary of your outbreak history would be crucial to pinpoint what effects occurred when: your memory of the events may be good, but of course no ones memory is perfect and this is seven years ago. My memory of events seven years ago isn’t all that detailed.

    The point is, there are lots of things that could explain these events. And without a large study to smooth out all those wild card factors, and documentation to show what happened and when, we just can’t assume we know what is significant and what isn’t.

  72. #72 Robster
    October 30, 2006

    Removal of fillings could actually be the trigger we are looking for. If there was a cavity or infection that was cleaned out when the filling were removed, then we have the low level, chronic infection that is sometimes linked to chronic herpesvirus outbreaks. No woo needed.

    I find such detective work fun (I wish I could make a job of it sometimes), but Seth is right. There is no real way to find the event(s) that pushed things back in favor of your immune system.

    I do call shenanigans on the wider practice of ozone therapy. It is possible that it could have some positive use, just not for the reasons that alties would have us believe.

  73. #73 pat
    October 30, 2006

    All I can recall is that my improvement correlated perfectly with my ozone treatment. I had no infections with my teeth and after amalgam removal I still went 6 months with permanent outbreaks. I concede that there is a possibility Ozone had nothing to do with it but I can’t seem to pinpoint what it might have been. All I know is that only my naturopath cared to mention my immune system. Could it be that I healed simply because I chose to believe in it? Certainly. Do people die of AIDS because they believe it is deadly? Very possibly.

    ” There are literally thousands of questions that could be asked, any one of which could lead to a significant change in your body… not from your point of view, but from the point of view of the Herpes Virus”

    I think this is true for all diseases including HIV/AIDS (sorry to bring it up but I see that Chris is here) There are simply so many questions and variables that it is absurd to hear people say that HIV alone causes AIDS. If my immune system can be weak without HIV so can anybody elses. My naturopath is the only person after whom I have seen significant improvements in my health over-all. I love my “altie” doc even if I fail to understand why she makes things better. Is my belief in it alone enough? Maybe but that would be woo.

    Ps: I’m happy to be able to discuss it though.

  74. #74 pat
    October 30, 2006

    “Between Pat’s woo testimonials and js’s lame wanna-be pseudointellectual nonsense, this post is a breeding ground for inanity.”

    Anonymouse, if you believe I am being insincere I am sorry but I really hate your tone. Whatevah!

  75. #75 pat
    October 30, 2006

    Anonymouse says: “I’m sorry, but arguing that mainstream medicine is bad doesn’t mean that alternative medicine works”

    Did I even argue that? PAY ATTENTION DAMNIT!

  76. #76 Seth Manapio
    October 30, 2006

    “There are simply so many questions and variables that it is absurd to hear people say that HIV alone causes AIDS. If my immune system can be weak without HIV so can anybody elses.”

    ———–

    Pat, one difference is that people have done large scale studies and found that HIV is correllated strongly with AIDS. There is other evidence that I am sure you have been told about, including tissue culture studies, epedemiological studies, and so forth. There are good reasons to believe the HIV depresses the HELL out of your immune system.

    It is true, there are other diseases, situations, and physiological reasons for a depressed immune system, but AIDS is a catastrophic immune system collapse caused by HIV.

    It is no more absurd to say that than to say that rhinovirus causes the common cold, although many of the symptoms of the cold can be caused by other pathogens (flu, plague, pollen, etc), there is a virus that is the disease we call the common cold… when that virus is active in your body, you experience certain symptoms, whether you know it is there or not.

    Ditto HIV.

  77. #77 Cayte
    October 30, 2006

    Just today a doubleblind study showed positive effects of acupucture on arthritis.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061030071159.htm

    Also a study on curry for arthritis
    http://www.nutraingredients.com/news/ng.asp?n=71667-curcumin-turmeric-arthritis

  78. #78 pat
    October 30, 2006

    “AIDS is a catastrophic immune system collapse caused by HIV.”

    It can also been known as…what’s AIDS called without HIV again? I really can’t remember and won’t “do the google”.
    I will really really believe that when they can say how. But right now we’re stuck with only corrolation… which makes me go mmmm, there’s room for much error here.

    “…there is a virus that is the disease we call the common cold… when that virus is active in your body, you experience certain symptoms, whether you know it is there or not.”

    I will venture out on a limb here, but hasn’t the flu virus been shown HOW it causes the flu? And hasn’t the “flu” virus shown itself in MULTITUDES in infected hosts?
    I remain skeptical for many reasons not the least of which is the one of my friend suffering from the side effects of the meds and not from HIV and this is his own doctor saying so. I wish you could see the physical abomination he has become and no one can explain to him why his treatment is “helping”; he just hopes his doc and science are right and that he won’t die before his time. Trying to get back on topic here: Stuff is out there we have yet to trip over. A bit of an open mind can expand our knowledge; too much blinding by “woo-” and “altie-” bashing can make us miss an important turn.
    When and IF an “altie” breakthrough” comes around (which has, if you can remove non-descriptive “altie” from your mind), I fear this blog will be riding in the caboose, unless of course it denies that it is.

  79. #79 Seth Manapio
    October 30, 2006

    “I will really really believe that when they can say how.”

    ———

    They can say how. There are causal studies, tissue culture studies, etc. HIV is a virus that destroys the human immune system. There is a lot of evidence for this. We’ve debated it here endlessly, and you haven’t really examined the evidence or you wouldn’t have made the above statement.

    My understanding of HIV at this time is that the relationship between HIV and AIDS is well established. First, there is a lot of published work showing disease vectors, it is clear that there is a disease, and that disease is transmitted only through exchange of body fluids. Second, HIV positive patients have symptoms in common that are practically unknown in HIV negative patients. Third, there are in vitro studies of HIV’s interactions with lymphocytes, showing that this virus in particular is damaging to the human immune system.

    You want to ignore all that, go ahead. But you should probably have better reasons than you have so far expressed.

  80. #80 Seth Manapio
    October 30, 2006

    “Just today a doubleblind study showed positive effects of acupucture on arthritis.”

    ———————

    From the linked article Although the study was not a blind trial, its design was chosen to reflect general medical practice.

    I guess it would be almost impossible to set up a double blind trial of acupuncture. At the very least, the people sticking in the needles would have to know that they were doing it. But what is interesting is that the US government keeps tabs on and funds research on acupuncture and other alternative therapies. It isn’t that the “mainstream” has a closed mind, its just that most of this stuff doesn’t work.

    Acupuncture seems to be genuinely useful, which is interesting but not entirely surprising.

  81. #81 Robster
    October 30, 2006

    (woof, this is a long one, sorry)

    Actually, we know a lot about how HIV causes AIDS.

    If a concept moves from alternative to evidence based, it will be because of the evidence.

    Cayte, The link you provided to the arthritis/ accupuncture study describes the study as not being blinded. Double-blinded would require that neither the participants or observers knowing who is in what group. A good study design would include an experimental group (standard practice) and a sham group, with the points being unrelated to accupuncture. This way we could see if accupuncture points are important, or if the relaxation and needlesticks have an effect. Without this, the study is depressingly useless. I would rather see a single well designed study that gives an answer, regardless of the conclusion, than a thousand poor ones. A large number of classes I took in grad school involved taking papers apart and finding their flaws, so that we could attempt to not make the same mistakes.

    Here is a good skeptics view of acupuncture.

    The second study, regarding curcumin, appears much more sound. Since I work with NF-kB on occasion, I’ll have to look it up tomorrow. In fact, I may see if I can get my lunch buddies to go for a short walk over to the the almost on campus Thai restaurant. Their red curry w/tofu rocks my world. I’ve been craving it for days, now.

    One problem I could see with it is one known to curry eaters the world over. We smell funky after eating it. Giving a person a gemish curry injection would not work for most patients, so the group needs to seperate the different compounds. Not too difficult, actually. Then they could find the active coumounds. The story wouldn’t end there, though. Most people don’t want to give themselves daily injections, especially if their hands hurt. The active drugs would have to tested for oral bioavailability (ability to be absorbed and work if taken orally), toxicity, dose response curves, and half life (among other issues). If it is absorbed easily, has little toxicity, etc., great. More likely, you would have a bit of organic chemistry needed to develop a curcumin analog that not only worked as an anti arthritis drug and could be taken as a pill. Hopefully, the distinctive odor of a curry fanatic could be eliminated, too.

    Some form of curcumin extract analog could be useful in the future. Semisynthetic compounds, adapted from various plant, fungi, bacteria and animal sources are used throughout medicine. (my dissertation was based around one, camptothecin and it’s clinically used derivatives)

  82. #82 Cayte
    October 31, 2006

    ” It isn’t that the “mainstream” has a closed mind, its just that most of this stuff doesn’t work.”

    The “doent’t work” is an overstatement. It should be “it is unproved” or “it is not supported by NCCAM studies.” Positive double blind randomized tests provide strong support for a treatment but a negative test is inconclusive when it conflicts with other available studies.

    The outcomes are sensitive to factors such as dosage, length of test, population and measure used.
    Zoloft also failed by the primary measure of the test.

    It could be that other positive studies were positive because of chance. But it also be because the protocol was different.

  83. #83 coracle
    October 31, 2006

    Cayte and Robster, Terra Sigilata has an excellent couple of posts regarding Curcumin and it’s various news stories. Check them out at: Terra Sigilata

    Basically, much of the media hype follows in vitro work and, sadly, the bioavailability of Curcumin is too low to be effective. It is possible that further research will produce a synthetic analogue that is bioavailable, but then that would be ‘conventional’ medicine wouldn’t it?

  84. #84 ctd
    October 31, 2006

    Actually, we know a lot about how HIV causes AIDS.

    Nobody knows much about how HIV causes Aids. Even mainstream scientists write it all the time.

    We know that HIV causes Aids, yet we do not understand very well how.
    You can read this kind of weird knowledge anywhere you look.

  85. #85 Robster
    October 31, 2006

    Much vs a lot. We don’t know all the exact details, but the scientific literature does include a lot of information as to what those details either are or might be.

  86. #86 Seth Manapio
    October 31, 2006

    “We know that HIV causes Aids, yet we do not understand very well how. You can read this kind of weird knowledge anywhere you look.”

    ———

    Research questions remain in every meaningful field of study. Thats what makes them meaningful.

  87. #87 jspreen
    October 31, 2006

    Hey CTD, that’s insane! I’ve been on it for days or even weeks, but with one tiny post you made the hillbillies run for cover looking sillier then ever!

    We don’t know all the exact details, but the scientific literature does include a lot of information as to what those details either are or might be.

    Research questions remain in every meaningful field of study. That’s what makes them meaningful.

    R O T F L !!!!!! Man, I got tears running over my cheeks!

    Given the initial quote Actually, we know a lot about how HIV causes AIDS you blew them to smithereens! Congrats!

    information as to what those details either are or might be.

    Science !

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha ! What a crap.

    HIV=Aids=Junk science

    And also, of course:

    AIDS = Acquired Intelligence Deficiency Syndrome

    If you believe it exists, you have it.

  88. #88 Seth Manapio
    October 31, 2006

    spreen, shouldn’t you be helping Geerd Hamer kill some more people?

  89. #89 Seth Manapio
    October 31, 2006

    ctd, notice who you’ve attracted as an ally here. Jan Spreen is a known accomplice to German serial killer Geerd Hamer. Hamer has killed about 50 people in Europe, by convincing them that they should not treat their cancers. No individual, diagnosed with a malignant tumor, has been treated exclusively by Hamer and lived, although some of his patients have been rescued by surgery and chemotherapy.

    I admit, having someone who is criminally insane on your side is not proof against your case. But it should make you think.

    As to your original point, do you think it is all that telling? Does your one liner, with no research to back it up, no quotes, no description of what you mean by “much”, no comparison to other diseases, make clinical professionals look like “hillbillies?” To put this in terms that even Spreen can understand, “boy, you done brought a knife to a gun fight.”

    There are hundreds of studies of HIV in culture, that detail minute effects of the virus on specific parts of the immune system. Lentivirus’ as a class have been studied at great length. The mechanisms of HIV leading to AIDS are better understood than, for example, MS, alzheimers, and parkinsons. But why aren’t people jumping up and down and denying the research about those diseases?

    I’ll tell you why. Because AIDS actually does have behavioral vectors, unsafe sex, swapping needles. And those other diseases don’t. So right-wing deniers claim that AIDS is caused by drugs and anal sex, and left-wing deniers claim that it just can’t be sexually transmitted.

    Well, here’s a quote from a hillbilly researcher:

    When HIV-1-infected CEM cell cultures were exposed to CV-N in a dose-escalating manner, a total of eight different amino acid mutations exclusively located at N-glycosylation sites in the envelope surface gp120 were observed.

    Sounds a lot like we know something very specific about HIV infection, doesn’t it? I don’t read anywhere in there “we know HIV causes AIDS, we just don’t know how.” I read, “when cells are exposed to HIV, the following affect is observed.”

    We learn more about HIV and AIDS all the time. Unlike the denialist community, whose total contribution to human information is actually negative. Everyone on this blog is dumber for having read your comment. Try to do better next time.

  90. #90 anonimouse
    October 31, 2006

    Pat,

    First off, spell my pseudonym right.

    Secondly, I won’t engage in any name calling. I call you names, you shut up and take it. Got it?

    Thirdly,
    I remain skeptical for many reasons not the least of which is the one of my friend suffering from the side effects of the meds and not from HIV and this is his own doctor saying so. I wish you could see the physical abomination he has become and no one can explain to him why his treatment is “helping”; he just hopes his doc and science are right and that he won’t die before his time.

    Oh, goody. A (unconfirmed) anecdote! I’m sure your “friend’s” doctor is a fine fellow whose medical degree is coming in the mail any day now.

    But seriously, some drugs are nasty. The nasty drugs should only be given to people for whom the alternative is death. Last I checked, HIV turns into AIDS, which kills people. So unless your poor “friend” wants to succumb to AIDS, those nasty drugs are his best hope.

    A bit of an open mind can expand our knowledge; too much blinding by “woo-” and “altie-” bashing can make us miss an important turn.

    You might want to take that advice, genius, considering that you can’t possibly imagine that mainstream medicine does more good than harm.

    jan,

    Hey CTD, that’s insane! I’ve been on it for days or even weeks, but with one tiny post you made the hillbillies run for cover looking sillier then ever!

    If that’s the case, then why aren’t you in your bomb shelter already? Geez.

    Go hang out with your friends on the forums at http://www.ihavereallystupidideasiwanttoshare.com.

  91. #91 pat
    October 31, 2006

    “You might want to take that advice, genius, considering that you can’t possibly imagine that mainstream medicine does more good than harm.”

    You too must be mistaking me for someone else. How do you get to the conclusion that I : “can’t possibly imagine that mainstream medicine does more good than harm”?
    You must have been halucinating when you think you read that.

    “First off, spell my pseudonym right.”
    – I don’t give a damn

    “Secondly, I won’t engage in any name calling. I call you names, you shut up and take it. Got it?”
    -Screw you too
    End of correspondance

  92. #92 pat
    October 31, 2006

    Imaginary discussion between Pat and AnonYmousse.

    Pat: Well it’s a beautifull day today; the sun is shining and the sky is deep blue, aaaaah!

    AnonYmousse: Yeah, genius, just because the sun is shinning today doesn’t mean it NEVER rains! dumbass!

    Pat: huh?

  93. #93 jre
    October 31, 2006

    Pat –
    Not all of this abuse is really directed at you, personally and specifically.
    A good deal of it arises from the exasperation some of us with certain habits of thought feel when we discuss these matters with others who seem to have radically different habits of thought.
    To many of us, the three propositions
    1) HIV causes AIDS,
    2) antiretroviral drugs tend to slow or stop the progression of AIDS, and
    3 many antiretroviral drugs have harsh side effects
    are independent, and the truth of each must be judged on its own.

    We actually have strong evidence that all three are true, and your friend’s sad experience is one more bit of clinical evidence for the truth of the third.

    With great sympathy for your friend’s plight, and for your distress in seeing it, I can still say “This is a rough situation, and I wish like hell that your friend did not have to choose between the side effects of the treatment and a rapid progression of AIDS — but even this hard choice did not exist for the HIV-infected before these drugs were invented. Most of those unfortunate people simply died. We don’t know everything, but this is the best choice we can offer based on what we know today.”

    With all possible respect, Pat, I have to say that it sounds very much as if you do not see those three propositions as independent. Rather, it sounds as if you have rejected the idea of a hard choice on the “Wouldn’t it be nice” principle of reasoning, as in “Wouldn’t it be nice if HIV did not cause AIDS? Then there would be no need to take antiretrovirals with harsh side effects! We could find a cure for the real cause of the disease! That’s why I am skeptical that HIV causes AIDS.”

    I suspect that your own thought processes do not sound like that to you, but that’s how they sound to us. If you have not read any of the immense body of literature describing how the virus causes the disease, then you have little standing to say that the cause is unknown. Until you have, and can offer some cogent reason for rejecting the conclusions of the best-informed people in the field, your skepticism will seem to be motivated by wishful thinking.

    Which is deeply human, and perfectly natural, but a very poor way to get at the truth.

  94. #94 Robster
    October 31, 2006

    Still with the hillbilly lines. [rolls eyes]

    jspreen, go take a couple biology classes. You are embarrassing yourself again.

  95. #95 pat
    November 1, 2006

    It is nice of you to try and apply reason for the vitriolic behavior of Anonimouth et al. yet really it remains stupid and fundamentally intolerent behavior. But so it is in the “blogsphere”; people have lost their debating skills and risk more aggressiveness from behind the safety of their PC. Would people speak like this in real life we would quickly be reduced to an offshoot of the WWF. a verbis ad verbera?

    “your skepticism will seem to be motivated by wishful thinking. Which is deeply human, and perfectly natural, but a very poor way to get at the truth.”

    It is possible. Also the opposite is quite possible too. Mass medical dillusions from the past are well documented and this time around it may be happening with inappropriate financial and political meddling. Time will tell.

    Thank you though.

    Pat

  96. #96 Seth Manapio
    November 1, 2006

    “Mass medical dillusions from the past are well documented and this time around it may be happening with inappropriate financial and political meddling. Time will tell.”

    —————-

    Medical doctors being correct in the past is well documented and this time around it may be happening despite many smear campaigns. Time will tell.

    Not convinced by my reasoning? Then why on earth are you convinced by yours?

  97. #97 pat
    November 1, 2006

    “Medical doctors being correct in the past is well documented and this time around it may be happening despite many smear campaigns. Time will tell.

    Not convinced by my reasoning? Then why on earth are you convinced by yours?”

    You see how the argument can go both ways. Perhaps I am simply more skeptical than you when it come to AIDS reaserch specifically. The politics of it are far too detached from reality in my opinion and the avalanch of toxic -and really at the base of it all- “experimental” treatment leaves far too much of a gap for abuse and financial opportunism. The reason I lean towards my side of the argument is not the reseach itself (I am hardly qualified) but rather the corporate and political scandals that are surrounding it. You may think they are fringe events perpetrated by few but in my opinion it is not their numbers that matter but the influence they throw around. (read “Confessions of A Healthcare Hitman” and the myriad of really bad pharma press). It is my firm opinion that AIDS has been abused and exploited for the sole purpose of selling more drugs and it has worked; they are now fast-tracking more drugs than ever under the cover of ethics and compassion after having subverted those terms from our control mechanisms. That is why I am convinced of my argument and not yours.

  98. #98 anonimouse
    November 1, 2006

    I have no desire to engage trolls like pat or jspreen as anything other than the idiotic, self-righteous posers that they are. Clearly they’d rather pat themselves on the back for being right rather than accept the notion that their ideas are foolish. That to me is worth of insult. I don’t apologize for that.

  99. #99 Kevin
    November 1, 2006

    Seth says:
    Everyone I know without health insurance is an independent contractor, young professionals who think that they are healthy enough to get by without worrying about major medical.

    …I didn’t have health insurance for most of my twenties, it just never occurred to me to care.

    Perhaps, you should leave the confines of your gated community, Seth. You’re comments in this thread are self-righteous and elitist. There are plenty of people in both rural and urban settings in this country who cannot afford “primary care.” It may have never “occurred to to care” since you were perhaps born into a secure environment, but others don’t have that luxory since most of those without health insurance are working in low-pay jobs and even minor medical problems bring tremendous upheaval into their lives as they struggle to pay the bills. After all, medical bills are the number one cause for bankruptcy filings in this country.

    Some of the regular posters on this blog are unbelievably smug and entirely undeserving of that privilege. Just because you pronounce yourself as “genius” in all matters of the world does not make it so, nor do your silver-spooned credentials.

    Kevin

  100. #100 trrll
    November 1, 2006

    trrll, is the placebo effect really controversial? perhaps it depends on what is being studied, but in the allergy literature for example, where the end points are often subjective (improvement in nasal symptoms) typically placebo effect can account for a 10-30% effect. Thats not bad.

    Pain tends to show a particularly good placebo response also. However, it is very hard to find improvement in objective measures. There is a real disconnect between the modern literature and the older work, in which placebos were reported to have dramatic effects on objective as well as subjective measures. However, the modern studies are not directly comparable to older studies due to changes in ethical standards. At one time, it was considered acceptable to outright lie to the subjects about what they are being given. Today, a subject must be informed that they are in a placebo controlled study, and that there is a substantial likelihood that they will not receive the active drug at all. So were the old studies wrong, or has the power of placebos declined because the subjects level of belief is lower?

  101. #101 kevin
    November 1, 2006

    I have no desire to engage trolls like pat or jspreen as anything other than the idiotic, self-righteous posers that they are….. That to me is worth of insult. I don’t apologize for that.

    Someone as intellectually gifted as yourself, anonimouse (what a clever “handle”, btw) undoubtedly realizes that good diction is paramount to expressing oneself clearly so your “worth of insult” comment is troubling, considering what is at stake in this discussion. It most certainly had to have been a typo, but nevertheless, I find it disappointing that you would allow any imperfections to taint your vainglorious declarations.

    I do however appreciate your exquisite penchant for ill-formed hubris. Some of my favs from this thread:

    I’m sure your “friend’s” doctor is a fine fellow whose medical degree is coming in the mail any day now.

    …and we all know that a medical degree increases one’s intellectual prowess exponentionally from the very day on which it is bestowed. In fact, I never trust anyone’s opinion on any matter (but seriously) until they first submit the requisite “medical degree”.

    But seriously, some drugs are nasty. The nasty drugs should only be given to people for whom the alternative is death. Last I checked, HIV turns into AIDS, which kills people. So unless your poor “friend” wants to succumb to AIDS, those nasty drugs are his best hope.

    But seriously, does HIV really just “turn into AIDS”…oh, how exquisitely you capture the science behind that “turn into” process, all with that simple little phrase (diction, diction, diction!). I suspect that someone of your character would display the same willingness to rigidly imbibe the “nasty drugs” if you happen to develop “the AIDS”, n’est pas? Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see you and your ilk faced with a real personal health crisis, but I would imagine that you are not part of the class of people usually afflicted with “the AIDS”…this is, of course, just conjecture on my part. You may be poor, or black, or gay, or otherwise disenfranchised but something tells me that you shop a lot for things you don’t need..so much so that I can scarcely imagine how you have the time to level such considered opinions on this here blog.

    As for Pat and jspreen, they are in my opinion deserving of “pats on the back” for suffering through the self-congratulatory ire that most of the residents of this blog use to defend a doomed, but utterly precious HIV hypothesis.

    Kevin

  102. #102 mgr
    November 1, 2006

    Kevin:
    I can understand the scientific ignorance, but your failure to detect irony and sarcasm is mind boggling. When you are through with the ad hominens, and realize that you have no right to expect your or anyone else’s ignorance to be deserving of respect by those of us who have made the effort to elevate our knowledge, offer something salient as to why HIV is not a cause of AIDS.

    Mike

  103. #103 Seth Manapio
    November 1, 2006

    “Perhaps, you should leave the confines of your gated community, Seth.”

    ——–

    Kevin, I’ve lived in places that would make your skin crawl, unless you’re immune to scabies, and I’ve been about as poor as you can possibly be.

    So remove your head from your ass and try to think about the original point, which is that contrary to media coverage and common belief, you do not need health insurance to see a general practitioner. I know this cause I did it back when I didn’t have health insurance… making a whopping 10 bucks an hour as an iternerant laborer and paying my own SS out of that, I might add, which officially made me poorer than a mexican carpenter.

    And it didn’t occur to me to care, because I just wasn’t thinking about cancer or other catastrophic illnesses. Most twenty somethings don’t.

  104. #104 pat
    November 1, 2006

    “I have no desire to engage trolls like pat or jspreen as anything other than the idiotic…yadda, yadda, yadda…”

    Here, the definition of a troll: cruising the internet to spew out venom because during daylight hours “it” is a coward.

  105. #105 pat
    November 1, 2006

    “you are dumb because I am smarter than you”

    I’ll try to use that one in conversation and see what results I get.

  106. #106 Peter Barber
    November 1, 2006

    Here, the definition of a troll: cruising the internet to spew out venom because during daylight hours “it” is a coward.

    Signed, “pat” – real-world identity unknown.

    It’s perfectly acceptable not to identify yourself online – but if you don’t, then calling someone a “coward” is likely to backfire.

  107. #107 Peter Barber
    November 1, 2006

    Kevin,

    I suspect that someone of your character would display the same willingness to rigidly imbibe the “drugs nasty” if you happen to develop “the AIDS”, n’est pas?

    Can’t answer for anonimouse, but I have an MSc in toxicology and a medical training, and I would certainly be prepared to take ARVs as indicated if I was HIV+.

    By the way, it’s “n’est-ce pas”.

  108. #108 Robster
    November 1, 2006

    So, Kevin. You have been reading for a while, but haven’t picked up on the fact that there is a mountain of evidence backing up the HIV/AIDS theory? And you wonder why scorn is heaped on denialists?

    I think Pat is wrong, but not out of greed or malice. She truly wants to see her friend get better and doubts that modern medicine has the answer. It doesn’t have it yet, but I would suggest that he find a doctor with experience in modifying drug regimens. I have seen specialists do this and it can make a real difference. A friend of mine is a hero to the Lexington/ Central Ky HIV+ community because of his work. A state university hospital with a specialist may be what he needs.

    Spreen on the other hand is a shameless self promoter, supporting serial murdering medical frauds, hocus pocus, and various conflicting forms of woo, all without the most basic understanding of biology or the art of heckling.

  109. #109 Seth Manapio
    November 1, 2006

    “You see how the argument can go both ways. Perhaps I am simply more skeptical than you when it come to AIDS reaserch specifically.”

    —————

    Umm… no. First, the only argument that works both ways is yours. My argument is that there is solid physical evidence that HIV causes AIDS. This does not work both ways.

    Skeptical thinking involves evaluating evidence and finding solid reasons to give value to people’s truth claims. Your reasoning doesn’t involve judging any evidence, according to you, but rather is based on a vague notion that people, some of them unethical people, are making money selling medicine.

    When you have information that you are not competent to evaluate, its helpful to turn to an expert. In this area, for example, Tara Smith is a credible source because she isn’t writing a book about AIDS, isn’t dependent on AIDS research for her grant money, but does have the requisite expertise in biology to read and understand papers about HIV and AIDS. So what she says should carry some weight–but to you it doesn’t. Well, that isn’t skepticism, thats just plain refusal to believe that other people know stuff that you don’t.

    Skepticism forces me to ask about likelihood, as well. Is it likely that tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people, all over the world, are either cowed into submission or are actively involved in a massive conspiracy to kill millions of people, or that Peter Duesberg is simply wrong? And it really is that simple. I just don’t find it credible to think that a statistical totality of biologists, doctors, and pharmaceutical researchers are that stupid and unethical. And Rost’s book doesn’t offer any evidence that they are, quite the contrary.

    Finally, even if you were right, it wouldn’t matter. The effects of HIV aren’t related to human greed or human stupidity, except as these affect transmission. HIV has measurable effects, and would no matter how many unethical people said so.

  110. #110 pat
    November 1, 2006

    “It’s perfectly acceptable not to identify yourself online – but if you don’t, then calling someone a “coward” is likely to backfire.”

    Patrick Moore :)

  111. #111 Kevin
    November 1, 2006

    I can understand the scientific ignorance, but your failure to detect irony and sarcasm is mind boggling.

    No? I was thinking the very same thing about you, mgr. Of course, the roles are reversed in my version–with you being ignorant and unable to detect the irony and sarcasm. Wonder who’s really right?

    I was under the impression that ad hominems and the avoidance of salience were requirements for getting someone from this blog to actually debate the details of this issue. I mean, labeling those who disagree with you, pejoratively, using non-sequitors like “denialists” and “creationists” is overtly deceptive. I know no better way to disrepect someone than to use prejudiced language to achieve personal insult, while avoiding the content of their charges. That said, I guess that once the pleasantries are over lesser minds can get bored. But your concern for salience is duly noted, mgr. Perhaps, others of your persuasion will see fit to refrain from personally attacking people of my persuasion, while simultaneously eschewing the self-aggrandizing delusions that allow one to “argue from authority”, ad infinitum. (Perhaps, you need to read that again.) Otherwise, mutual respect will never be achieved.

    It really is pathetic that such ground rules have not naturally occurred between those on opposing sides of this debate. (And, yes, it is indeed a topic in need of public debate.) If the prevailing position is overwhelming and convincing, that position should have no problem addressing the very salient concerns that are well-documented in dissident literature.

    Following this board for the past 6 months has been a real eye-opener to the perverted protectionism that most of you resort to while attempting to defend the honor of the specious science supporting HIV as the cause of AIDS. Suprsingly, the very pedestrian Michael Crichton provided the following insight into the possible motivations for such behavior:

    Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

    How appropriate, n’est-ce pas? (“special thanks” to the french grammar angel)

    Kevin

  112. #112 pat
    November 1, 2006

    “Your reasoning doesn’t involve judging any evidence, according to you, but rather is based on a vague notion that people, some of them unethical people, are making money selling medicine.”

    Vague notion? Ok, where have you been these past ten years? There is a world outside the lab.

    “Finally, even if you were right, it wouldn’t matter. The effects of HIV aren’t related to human greed or human stupidity, except as these affect transmission. HIV has measurable effects, and would no matter how many unethical people said so.”

    Here also I disagree. I would matter very much indeed for the sake of those who rely on pharma for their medical supplies. If these can’t be trusted, then we can’t speak of “healthcare” but rather “health(who)cares?”
    Maybe I will be proven wrong about HIV AIDS but that doesn’t make me feel better about our medical supplies. You might know more about the promises of medical research but perhaps you are a little naive about the machinations of free-market capitalism. Capitalism has no real mechanisms left to guarantee that the “right thing” is done, only the right bottom line counts. Your research may be flawless but believe me, the political and supply side of AIDS is fuckedupbeyondallrecognition and I fully expect this blog and others to be more on the front lines about it and do less sniping at those that are. I am hoping for too much I fear.

    PS: Pat is of the male gender and Anonimousse remains a coward in my book; its passive- aggressive, sniping from the bushes is what gives it away. You are wrong because I am smarter and because you are wrong you are an asshole? c’mon 5 year-olds scoff at such childishness.

  113. #113 kevin
    November 1, 2006

    seth manapio:

    Kevin, I’ve lived in places that would make your skin crawl, unless you’re immune to scabies, and I’ve been about as poor as you can possibly be.

    Well, I pronounce you a very sad case, indeed, Seth…what with your impoverished background resulting in so little insight into how poverty leads to limited access to healthcare (not to mention many other resources).

    …which officially made me poorer than a mexican carpenter.

    Your sensitivity is legendary, but $10/hour for a young twentysomething is hardly impoverished. That mexican carpenter probably has a family.

    you do not need health insurance to see a general practitioner. I know this cause I did it back when I didn’t have health insurance…

    Nobody said that the uninsured cannot in the absolute sense see a general practitioner. The point is that they couldn’t financially afford to see that doctor, that they have to make a difficult choice which might affect someone other than themselves. Difficult concept for you, I suspect but you do see the dinstinction? And who’s got his head in his ass?

    Kevin

  114. #114 kevin
    November 2, 2006

    Robster
    I would suggest that he find a doctor with experience in modifying drug regimens.

    Do all “HIV specialists” get this in a wall-chart…”The Beginners Guide to Modifying HIV Drug Regimens”. Maybe Fauci could put it in thier “HIV care package” once their a card-carrying member of the AIDS Mafia….

    You have been reading for a while, but haven’t picked up on the fact that there is a mountain of evidence backing up the HIV/AIDS theory? And you wonder why scorn is heaped on denialists?

    Do you really think you deserve a reply after using the non-sequitor pejorative, “denialist”? Please see another recent post where I instruct you and your disingenuous brethren on the acceptable bounds for ad hominem sparring. You may need to print it out and study it for a while but if you like I’ll send you “a mountain of evidence” demonstrating that such tactics are deceitful and a far worse crime than simply being wrong.

    Kevin

  115. #115 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    Kevin, concensus with no evidence would be a refuge of scoundrels (citing the incredibly non-scientific Chrichton does not help you). We have evidence. Denialists have nothing beyond appeals to ignorance, authority and emotion, with hominim and ad nauseum thrown in for spice. They call themselves “rethinkers,” but if they seriously wanted to rethink anything, they would examine the data honestly and arrive at the supported concensus.

    Spreen and his ilk profit off of lying to people about the evidence, claiming victory every time they are shown to be wrong. They are really no different from creationists. Spreen’s bunch try to discourage people from being treated for life threatening illnesses. How that is better than profiting by treating people for life threatening illnesses, I don’t know.

    Of course, spreen will come off with the three rules of baloney. (1) Its all a conspiracy! (2) Modern science is completely wrong! (3) Only we have the real treatment (remarkably similar to Scientology, but without the aliens (except the Jews, they’re reptilian aliens))! Oh, and he’ll botch and insult or two.

  116. #116 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    Kevin, your first point is a straw man. Modifying treatment for AIDS patients isn’t something that average doctors do. It is a specialty. Hence specialist. Their treatments are based on current research and personal experience, and is constantly being updated.

    And I have been emailed “evidence” by denialists before. Never once was there any actual evidence (much like a book I was given on why God created the universe and there is no such thing as evolution). Just quote mining, self agrandisement, and ascientific junk.

    Don’t like them being called denialists? They are denying two decades of research, terabytes of articles, in favor of long disproven and abandoned hypotheses (or just plain magical thinking). Backing off of honest labels (denialist, fraud, etc) because you think to intimidate people with false politeness is not an option. You preach to me about perjoratives and then make statements about an AIDS Mafia. Wow. What gall.

  117. #117 pat
    November 2, 2006

    “I would suggest that he find a doctor with experience in modifying drug regimens”

    He has just such a doctor, constantly changing his regimen, not to fight a fast mutating retrovirus but to protect his liver and pretty much everything else dear to him. He is prescribed vacations from his “life-saving drugs”. What a cynical joke. Who descided anyway that dying from the side effects was better than dying of AIDS-related disease. When up to half the patients die of liver failure from the treatment rather than the disease itself is when my alarm bells go off that there is something foul inside the house. AIDS is ugly, so is liver failure.

  118. #118 pat
    November 2, 2006

    “Well, that isn’t skepticism, thats just plain refusal to believe that other people know stuff that you don’t.”

    I’ve admitted to not being qualified to read medical papers but I am highly qualified to read and comprehend the politics that ride with it. You think the evidence is solid? I think it is compromised by the bullshit that talks along with it. Yes, I believe that research is being ignored or massaged to fit business interests. The evidence for that is splashed across your newspaper on a daily basis. To ignore that would make one a reality-denialist.

  119. #119 Seth Manapio
    November 2, 2006

    “Nobody said that the uninsured cannot in the absolute sense see a general practitioner.”

    ———–

    Actually, Kevo, they did.

    In the U.S. we have some 47 million people with no health insurance, which means no primary care, just the emergency room.

    Then I said,

    My point isn’t that everyone can afford health care, of course. My point is that your statement assumes facts that are not in evidence and a poor causal link: it simply isn’t a fact that you MUST have insurance to see a doctor, “no insurance” does not equal “no primary care”.

    What is most amusing about you is that you are typing moral pronouncements about someone you don’t know and have never met, assuming you know something about my life history and philosophy from a few fragments you’ve barely read, and accusing others of being arrogant and self-righteous. Its pretty ironic.
    So, yeah, dude, I think you have your head firmly implanted in your ass, and I think that you should maybe try to read before you respond.

  120. #120 Seth Manapio
    November 2, 2006

    1. “Who descided anyway that dying from the side effects was better than dying of AIDS-related disease.”

    2. On Research:
    “The evidence for that is splashed across your newspaper on a daily basis.”
    ———

    1. Your friend made that call. Not anyone here. Not the big bad research community, not the pharmas, not his doctor. He did.

    2. No, it isn’t. Basic research scandals are extremely rare. And none of them affect the behavior of HIV in a Petri dish. You need to point to some particular studies, the actual results of which were tainted by politics, to even begin to make this case.

    My point is that there are people who can read these papers. Why do you think that ALL of them are lying to you? Specifically, what is Tara Smith’s motive for lying to the whole world?

  121. #121 Seth Manapio
    November 2, 2006

    Me: “HIV has measurable effects, and would no matter how many unethical people said so.”

    Pat: “Here also I disagree.”

    ————-

    Pat, the point is that these are unrelated issues. Whether or not the politics or free market system or the church or the illuminati are conspiring to sell overpriced drugs to an unsuspecting public, HIV exists. And does stuff. And the stuff it does is independent of politics and capitalism and the illuminati and the catholic church and the big pharmaceuticals, because its a frickin’ virus and is utterly unaware of politics and capitalism and the illuminati and big pharma.

    So, if you want to complain about the culture of HIV treatment, that is one topic. But if you want to claim that HIV does not cause AIDS, you need different evidence.

    This is why I call your position vague. Not because there aren’t unethical people in the world, and not because people don’t make money in pharmaceuticals, but because you are missing the bit between bad people in companies and hundreds of thousands of researchers, living all over the world, conspiring to put money in the pockets of unethical people at great human cost. That’s a sweeping indictment of a lot of people with absolutely no evidence behind it.

  122. #122 jspreen
    November 2, 2006

    Specifically, what is Tara Smith’s motive for lying to the whole world?

    There’s no motive because she is not lying. Lying is when you know that what you say is not the truth. Tara believes what she says and, like you do yourself, she’s merely repeating what everbody else says. Anyway, being an intellectual dwarf has nothing criminal in it so Tara cannot possible be accused of anything.

    Of course you accuse me of being a criminal, and I must learn to live with it, but finally I found that it’s not really difficult. And even, there’s some kind of thrill in being called names by intellectual dwarfs and main stream hillbillies, I swear there is.

    js

    http://www.nightsofarmour.com

    (it’s long time since I mentioned the URL you love so much, so here it is again, in case you forgot)

  123. #123 jspreen
    November 2, 2006

    Specifically, what is Tara Smith’s motive for lying to the whole world?

    There’s no motive because she is not lying. Lying is when you know that what you say is not the truth. Tara believes what she says and, like you do yourself, she’s merely repeating what everbody else says. Anyway, being an intellectual dwarf has nothing criminal in it so Tara cannot possible be accused of anything.

    Of course you accuse me of being a criminal, and I must learn to live with it, but finally I found that it’s not really difficult. And even, there’s some kind of thrill in being called names by intellectual dwarfs and main stream hillbillies, I swear there is.

  124. #124 coluche
    November 2, 2006

    js asked me to post this, he’s blocked again.– BH

    ——

    Specifically, what is Tara Smith’s motive for lying to the whole world?

    There’s no motive because she is not lying. Lying is when you know that what you say is not the truth. Tara believes what she says and, like you do yourself, she’s merely repeating what everbody else says. Anyway, being an intellectual dwarf has nothing criminal in it so Tara cannot possible be accused of anything.

    Of course you accuse me of being a criminal, and I must learn to live with it, but finally I found that it’s not really difficult. And even, there’s some kind of thrill in being called names by intellectual dwarfs and main stream hillbillies, I swear there is.

  125. #125 pat
    November 2, 2006

    “But if you want to claim that HIV does not cause AIDS, you need different evidence.”

    I don’t claim that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS but I have serious reservations about the quality of the research which in turn allows me to be skeptical of the claim. It is also my firm opinion that until causation has been established HIV may NOT be considered the sole cause of AIDS. When research sets out with the assumptions That HIV=AIDS then the outcome will always confirm the theory inspite of the fact that researchers are consistently baffled by their findings but explain it away with the reasoning: “well this must be a new kind of retrovirus”. Yes, a virus doesn’t care about politics but politics cares about viruses therefor this virus perhaps doesn’t really do the things we think it does. There are not hundreds of thousands of scientist working on discovering how this bug works. Perhaps only a few hundred actually are, the rest are doing peripheral research based on the assumption that HIV causes AIDS and considering that it is now fashionable to not test drugs thouroughly under the guise of ethics and compassion we really have no means to determine what effects are real and which are falsely assumed. If we are travelling down the wrong road, we will not know it before very long because we have removed the proper controls. The fact that up to half of HIV sufferers today die of med complications should make everyone worry and wonder. The most absurd argument I’ve heard about HIV meds is that it is preferable for people to die of the meds than of AIDS. Puke!

    “what is Tara Smith’s motive for lying to the whole world?”

    She has no motivation for lying nor does she do AIDS research (as far as I can tell). She merely believes and repeats what others tell her. Being wrong doesn’t make her a liar. Who is right will be for time to tell and it might be a while coming considering the fact that we are not comparing it with anything else (compassion, ethics).

    You wanted proof for research tampering? surely you remember HIVnet and Uganda, or was it botswana? mmm. Perhaps you remember the HUGE AZT doses in the early years of the disease and the stirr that has caused. Hit Hard, Hit Early. Yeah, kill the patient outright will stops viral replication alright! Long term non-progressors; a fluke of nature or a telling sign? idiopathic CD4-positive T lymphocytopenia? Exact same syndrome in the absence of HIV. Two identical syndromes with identical OI’s are two diferent diseases? I don’t think they are different just the language and politics that surround them are different but time will tell.

  126. #126 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    1. “Who descided anyway that dying from the side effects was better than dying of AIDS-related disease.”

    Seth, your response was pretty harsh. Pat’s friend is taking the drugs and is doing his best to deal with the side effects. I hope that he and his specialist can find a workable regimen.

    The people who decided that dying from the side effects is better than dying from AIDS are the ones that observed that people who are treated live longer than those that are not.

    The goals behind drug development for AIDS is to produce a drug that lengthens survival time and has a reduced toxicicity profile compared to previous drugs. This isn’t an easy job, and it isn’t something that happens quickly.

    For example, a cancer drug that I have been involved with in the efficacy testing phase was designed about 10 years ago. It was picked up by a major pharma company, but a competing drug won out because of oral bioavailability. The university where it was designed has decided to perform clinical trials with it, which will hopefull start in the next year or two. If successful (and we have ways to get around the oral uptake issue) it won’t enter clinical use for at least another five years.

  127. #127 Tara C. Smith
    November 2, 2006

    She merely believes and repeats what others tell her.

    Except, Pat, I have the experience to evaluate the biomedical literature that you admittedly lack. I’ve also contributed to that literature, so I know the process that these papers go through, and I’m familiar with experimental biology. So you can go ahead and think of me as a mere sheep if you like, but you’re opening a whole can of worms if you think ever scientist merely “believes what others tell them”–where does any of the original research come from? Is it all lies?

  128. #128 pat
    November 2, 2006

    “Your friend made that call. Not anyone here. Not the big bad research community, not the pharmas, not his doctor. He did.”

    He made that call based on what he was told, namely that he was going to die before his time without a doubt.

    “No, it isn’t. Basic research scandals are extremely rare. And none of them affect the behavior of HIV in a Petri dish”

    It appears that HIV does different things in vitro than in vivo… Science seems to agree that HIV infected cells in vitro don’t die. Montagnier even himself said that cells infected with HIV, in his original research, were dying but the dying stopped after having added antibiotics to the brew and we all know that viruses are unimpressed by antibiotics.

  129. #129 Unsympathetic reader
    November 2, 2006

    Antibiotics don’t necessarily just kill bacteria but can have other effects. Antibiotics do affect results of some experiments in cell culture and that is why we try very hard to avoid their use in our labs unless absolutely necessary.

  130. #130 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    Long term non progressors are actually strong support for HIV/AIDS. We have found mutations in some of these individuals that prevent HIV from infecting T cells as quickly. That these mutations are in genes coding for proteins that HIV requires for infecting cells is strong confirming evidence.

    Idiopathic CD4-positive T lymphocytopenia. If HIV and another disease (cause unknown) both cause depletion of CD4+ T cells, similar signs and symptoms would be expected. It is interesting, but not a blow to the HIV/AIDS theory. That it appears to be non-transmissable, while HIV is, is a clear seperation between the two, and the two should not be confused.

    Hepatitis B and C both can cause acute and chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. They are very different viruses, and chronic hepatitis is much less common in HepB patients, but their effects can be similar. This does not invalidate either.

  131. #131 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    From the abstract of an article on idiopathic CD4+ T-lymphocytopenia. Article requires subscription.

    “Many of the clinical and immunologic features are distinct from those found in AIDS, and our extensive virologic studies found no evidence of HIV infection.”

    Apparently this isn’t identical in presentation to HIV/AIDS. I’ll see if I can pull the article up later and post specifics. Also, the abstract says that the transmissibilty of this disease is still undetermined.

  132. #132 mgr
    November 2, 2006

    Kevin: so I need to add logic for what you need schooling on? The argument from authority is one where the arsertion ‘x’ is only supported by the statement, ‘I know because it is an opinion supported by my expertise’. If the assertion of expertise is then followed by specifics as to why a particular opinion is valid, it is not.

    “Seth says:
    ‘Everyone I know without health insurance is an independent contractor, young professionals who think that they are healthy enough to get by without worrying about major medical.’

    …I didn’t have health insurance for most of my twenties, it just never occurred to me to care.”

    Seth’s statement is ironic–it is just that no one cares to think of the ‘wages under the table’ ditchdigger, or the busboy at a restraurant as an ‘independent contractor’. This type of language is used to separate the working class from the middle class, to maintain an artificial separation between wage slaves.

    Your response strongly suggests that you do not have the experience of the working poor with families. What Seth accurately portrays is what happens when an affliction is acute–medical professionals are sought out, usually within the tattered safety net of free clinics, and public health agency offerings; when the affliction is chronic, and treatment can forestalled, then it may be foregone. This happened to me as a child in a single parent household, I could get my broken bones addressed, but dental and eye care would have to wait.

    In the law ‘expert’ testimony is recognized as having particular salience compared to the opinion of Joe Blow.

    You certainly have the right to debate what the policy towards HIV and AIDs should be, but you need to bring to the table something more than conspiracy and insistence on democracy. An equivalent agrument can be made within the framework of HIV causes AIDS where Big Pharma makes their bucks–it is not necessary to invoke the causaulity is suspect to make this claim.
    Mike

  133. #133 kevin
    November 2, 2006

    Setho wrote
    So, if you want to complain about the culture of HIV treatment, that is one topic. But if you want to claim that HIV does not cause AIDS, you need different evidence.

    Are these really two different topics? I think the multiple treatment failures by the current consensus is absolutely relevant to the claim that HIV is the cause of AIDS. After all, if you and your enlighted colleagues are the only ones capable of translating your HIV babble for mass consumption, what methods of adjudication do you recommend to those with less specialization? Using reason and political awareness to evaluate the real results of HIV science has provided considerable insight into the magical and mysterious ways in which bankrupt science perpetuates itself.

    When things are proven, it is relatively easy to provide a succinct explanation of that proof. In the case of HIV as the cause AIDS, no such explanation exists. Your repeated appeals to consensus will not change that. The science supporting HIV is full of contridications and archaic beliefs–do you remember the days of “hit hard, hit early”?–the contradictions, alone, are enough to take away the executive privilege to data interpretation that you so righteously appropriate.

    Kevin

  134. #134 Seth Manapio
    November 2, 2006

    “Are these really two different topics?”

    ———

    Yes. One is a social dialog about politics, and the other is a scientific dialog about physical reality.

  135. #135 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    Very little in biology can be explained in depth and not be complex. While scientists disagree on details, we do not disagree on the fact that HIV causes AIDS. This is not an appeal to concensus. It is based on evidence. Comparing early thinking on treatment strategies to those used today is like criticizing the use of steel because copper age and bronze age tools weren’t durable.

  136. #136 pat
    November 2, 2006

    “where does any of the original research come from? Is it all lies?”

    No offence Tara. The original papers on the subject of HIV/AIDS was a discovery by political decree and not through peer reviewed science. You can say that peer review happened later on but once you realize that HIV was declared by politics and not by science-although one scientist was the catalyst after having thieved it from another then lied about it before his back was up against a wall where he had no more wiggle room for denial (Gallo the denialist, lol). Oh, and then patenting the test on the same day- you start smelling a rat, no conspiracy theorist needed for back-up. You see how politics and greed had its hand in it since day one. It is not a hard sell to think that since it was onboard since the biggining it is still onboard today and still pulling the strings. Yes I believe the original science is corrupted and God knows what else has been happening behind the closed doors of corporate science. Montagnier said once that HIV alone cannot cause AIDS, then he went on to sign the Durban declaration which claims it is enough. I am sorry but that is the hallmark of blackmail; someone squeezed his nuts.

    From today’s daily newspaper splash:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/02/business/02paxil.html?ref=health

    I love this sentence:
    “We believe we acted appropriately, denied liability and moved to resolve this to avoid protracted litigation and the costs associated with that.”
    It happens daily with these people and no one seems to care very much. These people are a disgrace to you profession. We might think the world of you scientists but your bed-fellows are expensive corporate whores and their disease IS contagious.

  137. #137 pat
    November 2, 2006

    Oh, btw, I have noticed that your spam detection software is MIA. Thank goodness, I can now write without fear of it disappearing into some parallel universe ;).

    Thanks for the links Robster, I’ll follow up on them.

  138. #138 pat
    November 2, 2006

    “While scientists disagree on details, we do not disagree on the fact that HIV causes AIDS”

    Some scientists don’t agree with this sentence. Or are they not scientists? No, they are scientists too so it is not really backed up by clear, overwhealming evidence but rather by overwhealming concensus indeed.

  139. #139 Seth Manapio
    November 2, 2006

    “Seth, your response was pretty harsh. Pat’s friend is taking the drugs and is doing his best to deal with the side effects. I hope that he and his specialist can find a workable regimen.”

    ——————

    Okay, I’ll cop to that. And Pat, if you were upset by that, I apologize. I was just trying to make a point: according to our best understanding of the world, your friend is most likely alive because he is in treatment.

    And other than posting unfounded accusations, you don’t have any information that changes that understanding. Statements like your crass insult of Tara’s professional credibility aren’t particularly informative. And yes, I’m still waiting for you to produce the story of a single published study of HIV/AIDS (or anything in biology) where the results were changed as a result of politics.

  140. #140 kevin
    November 2, 2006

    Robster wrote:
    Idiopathic CD4-positive T lymphocytopenia. If HIV and another disease (cause unknown) both cause depletion of CD4+ T cells, similar signs and symptoms would be expected. It is interesting, but not a blow to the HIV/AIDS theory. That it appears to be non-transmissable, while HIV is, is a clear seperation between the two, and the two should not be confused.

    What a bunch of hogwash. Oh, it’s interesting but not a blow to HIV. Thanks for clarifying that for me, Robster. I might have found the opposite to be true had I not been privy to your expert opinion.

    Kevin

  141. #141 kevin
    November 2, 2006

    Mike wrote:
    An equivalent agrument can be made within the framework of HIV causes AIDS where Big Pharma makes their bucks–it is not necessary to invoke the causaulity is suspect to make this claim.

    If the shoe fits…

    As far as HIV is concerned, big bucks for Big Pharma is a big motivation for sustaining causality where none has been proven.

    It is also well-documented that competing “expert opinions” are usually the rule of thumb in the court of law. You seem to think that only those experts who agree with you have a right to be heard. Expertise is a very subjective business, indeed. Of course, you will most likely respond with the usual apologists’ appeal to authority, based solely on compliance with the current consensus.

    If your feelings won’t be too hurt, Mike, I think I’ll go elsewhere for my logic lessons. I don’t feel like running in circles today.

  142. #142 Seth Manapio
    November 2, 2006

    “What a bunch of hogwash.”

    ———

    And if you follow Kevins thinking, runny noses caused by allergies are a major blow to the rhinovirus theory of the cold.

  143. #143 kevin
    November 2, 2006

    Seth wrote:
    Yes. One is a social dialog about politics, and the other is a scientific dialog about physical reality.

    Science is inherently social…always has been, always will be. Ask Duesburg about the societal influences in resource allocation. Objectivity may be the goal, but it is rarely achieved. As for HIV science, well, the “scientific dialogue” is barely recognizable as science, at all. It’s far more conducive to an interpretation of its social dynamics, particularly the laughably unscientific, non-placebo controlled clinical trials by which treatment with ARVs receives its justification.

  144. #144 pat
    November 2, 2006

    I was not upset by that remark Seth so your apology is unnecessary and let me apologize also to Tara, I didn’t mean to discredit her superior knowledge of biology, I was simply trying to say that business was the main motor behind the science and therefor should not be viewed as absolute let alone trustworthy. I believe Tara and most the world including myself are being taken for the ride of our lives.

    “I’m still waiting for you to produce the story of a single published study of HIV/AIDS (or anything in biology) where the results were changed as a result of politics.”

    http://www.honestdoctor.org/images/documents/NIHreinstates.pdf
    http://www.honestdoctor.org/images/documents/GrassleyReinstatement.pdf
    http://www.gmfreeireland.org/resources/documents/science/scandals/index.php
    http://www.ucsusa.org/
    http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/interference/
    http://www.stanford.edu/~dgermain/volume4-2/articles4-2/scandalsInBiomedicalResearch.html
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v433/n7028/full/433801a.html
    http://www.reviewingaids.org/awiki/index.php/Document:Lang
    etc…

  145. #145 pat
    November 2, 2006

    Damn, I mentioned the spam software and now it is back.

  146. #146 kevin
    November 2, 2006

    Robster wrote:

    Comparing early thinking on treatment strategies to those used today is like criticizing the use of steel because copper age and bronze age tools weren’t durable.

    I beg to differ with your comparison, Robster. It’s misleading and careless–per usual. Copper and bronze were relegated to more appropriate uses after the emergence of steel. Thousands of scared human beings were not directly harmed by that transition.

    The archaic treatments associated with HIV have not come to pass, so kindly. Ignoring the controversial AZT, the recently thwarted “viral load” approach continues to harm HIV+s. In fact, I imagine there are those in rural areas still being treated based on the “hit hard, hit early” nonsense proposed by Ho and his “viral load” wizardry. Then again, that’s an apologists’ sorespot; I wouldn’t want to own-up to such shoddy “science”, either.

    Nevertheless, wasn’t Ho’s paper, which most agree has been thoroughly debunked, wasn’t it a product of the rigorous peer-review process about which all you blog scientists are always yelping?

    Kevin

  147. #147 kevin
    November 2, 2006

    Statements like your crass insult of Tara’s professional credibility aren’t particularly informative.

    I disagree, Seth. I found it to be both informative and eloquently rendered. Here it is again for those who might have missed it.

    Pat wrote:
    She has no motivation for lying nor does she do AIDS research (as far as I can tell). She merely believes and repeats what others tell her. Being wrong doesn’t make her a liar.

    Perhaps, you’re just not used to such brevity, concerning matters of truth.

    Kevin

  148. #148 Seth Manapio
    November 2, 2006

    “As for HIV science, well, the “scientific dialogue” is barely recognizable as science, at all.”

    ———-

    Nice rhetoric. Totally unfounded, but nice rhetoric.

    Again: the relationship between HIV and the human body is simply independent of political issues.

    These are separate questions.

  149. #149 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    Got evidence to the contrary, Kevin? Of course not.

    Both cause CD4 T cell depletion. There are similarities and differences. Admittedly, this paper is from 1993, so more may be known. From the above cited paper on Idiopathic CD4+ T Lymphocytopenia,

    In HIV infection lymphocyte levels are maintained at a higher level by the early increase in CD8+ cells in response to the infection(27); the patients with idiopathic CD4+ T-lymphocytopenia, who do not have this increase, tend more often to have lymphopenia than comparable HIV-infected persons matched according to percentage of CD4+ T cells. Thus, without a compensatory increase in another cell population, the decrease in the count of CD4+ T cells, which make up the largest single fraction of peripheral-blood lymphocytes, is sufficient to explain the greater lymphocytopenia seen in idiopathic CD4+ T-lymphocytopenia than in HIV infection. The increase in the percentage of CD8+ cells in this syndrome is probably only a reciprocal increase due to the drop in the percentage of CD4+ T cells and similar to the reciprocal increases in the percentages of B cells (CD19+) and natural killer cells (CD3-CD16/56+).

    Immunoglobulin levels are usually elevated in patients with HIV infection(28). Our patients with idiopathic CD4+ T-lymphocytopenia had either normal or slightly low levels, which, at least in the case of IgG, were lower than those of normal controls. This may also be due to a lack of help from CD4+ T cells in immunoglobulin production in idiopathic CD4+ T-lymphocytopenia without the direct stimulation of such production seen in HIV infection(29).

    The lack of progressive changes in the CD4+ cell count over time in some of these patients also differs from the invariably progressive drop in counts in HIV infection. Although three of the patients we studied have had low counts for several years, the natural history of this condition is still unknown.

    The functional effect of the low CD4+ T-cell counts is evident in the lack of significant response to both nonspecific mitogens and specific soluble antigens in the lymphocyte-transformation assay. In this respect, these patients resemble those with low CD4+ T-cell counts due to HIV infection(30).

    Quick summary…
    HIV infection
    ~low CD4+
    ~increased CD8+ count
    ~increased immunoglobulin levels
    ~untreated, leads to progressively decreasing CD4+ levels
    ~decreased response to mitogens and antigens

    Idiopathic CD4+ lymphosytopenia low CD4+
    ~low CD4+
    ~no increase in CD8+ count
    ~normal to slightly lower immunoglobulin levels
    ~low CD4+ levels are stable
    ~decreased response to mitogens and antigens

    So the two aren’t the same, but it doesn’t keep AIDS denialists from repeating the falsehood that they present with the exact same signs and symptoms.

  150. #150 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    Hmmm. Must have been careless with the [/i] tag. The quote from the article ends with “CD4+ T-cell counts due to HIV infection(30).”

  151. #151 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    “I beg to differ with your comparison, Robster. It’s misleading and careless–per usual. Copper and bronze were relegated to more appropriate uses after the emergence of steel. Thousands of scared human beings were not directly harmed by that transition.”

    Too bad. We don’t use the same treatments and drug regimens as we used to. We have better ones and better combinations. Old ones have been abandoned except for certain situations. Its spot on.

    And the transitions from copper to bronze to iron did tend to be violent as one civilizaton invaded another with their more advanced weapons.

  152. #152 pat
    November 2, 2006

    I may have to withdraw seeing I am being filtered by rogue spam software and I don’t care to spend my time writing posts that may not appear (it has happened, without malice). In case I do, I would like to thank those who chose their words with care and respect for the open diologue.

    Cheerio.

  153. #153 pat
    November 2, 2006

    I was not upset by that remark Seth so your apology is unnecessary and let me apologize also to Tara, I didn’t mean to discredit her superior knowledge of biology, I was simply trying to say that business was the main motor behind the science and therefor should not be viewed as absolute. I believe Tara and most the world including myself are being taken for the ride of our lives.

    “I’m still waiting for you to produce the story of a single published study of HIV/AIDS (or anything in biology) where the results were changed as a result of politics.”

    http://www.honestdoctor.org/images/documents/NIHreinstates.pdf
    http://www.honestdoctor.org/images/documents/GrassleyReinstatement.pdf
    http://www.gmfreeireland.org/resources/documents/science/scandals/index.php
    http://www.ucsusa.org/
    http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/interference/
    http://www.stanford.edu/~dgermain/volume4-2/articles4-2/scandalsInBiomedicalResearch.html
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v433/n7028/full/433801a.html
    http://www.reviewingaids.org/awiki/index.php/Document:Lang

    should I go on?

  154. #154 Seth Manapio
    November 2, 2006

    “Perhaps, you’re just not used to such brevity, concerning matters of truth.”

    ——–

    Or perhaps you mean “truthiness.”

  155. #155 pat
    November 2, 2006

    “Quick summary…
    HIV infection
    ~low CD4+
    ~increased CD8+ count
    ~increased immunoglobulin levels
    ~untreated, leads to progressively decreasing CD4+ levels
    ~decreased response to mitogens and antigens

    Idiopathic CD4+ lymphosytopenia low CD4+
    ~low CD4+
    ~no increase in CD8+ count
    ~normal to slightly lower immunoglobulin levels
    ~low CD4+ levels are stable
    ~decreased response to mitogens and antigens”

    A question Robster.

    Are the two comparisons with untreated groups or are the HIV+ groups on ARVs or are they both on ARVs. I am asking because I have no subscription to these online papers.

  156. #156 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    The only therapies the patients discussed in the article were ones to treat OIs that they had experienced. The statements as to how HIV patients are different is likely in reference to untreated individuals.

    Here are the citations listed…
    27 Cooper DA, Tindall B, Wilson EJ, Imrie AA, Penny R. Characterization of T lymphocyte responses during primary infection with human immunodeficiency virus. J Infect Dis 1988;157:889-896.

    Observed patients as they went through seroconversion.

    28 Chess Q, Daniels J, North E, Macris NT. Serum immunoglobulin elevations in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS): IgG, IgA, IgM, and IgD. Diagn Immunol 1984;2:148-153.

    Compared AIDS patients to healthy individuals.

    29 Schnittman SM, Lane HC, Higgins SA, Folks T, Fauci AS. Direct polyclonal activation of human B lymphocytes by the acquired immune deficiency syndrome virus. Science 1986;233:1084-1086.

    B cells isolated from whole blood of HIV negative, healthy individuals were exposed to HIV. May be related to observed growth stimulation of B cells in HIV infected individuals.

    30 Lane HC, Depper JM, Greene WC, Whalen G, Waldmann TA, Fauci AS. Qualitative analysis of immune function in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. N Engl J Med 1985;313:79-84.

    Studied lymphocyte subtypes from AIDS patients

  157. #157 pat
    November 2, 2006

    If I could now have a synopsis in english please :/

  158. #158 jspreen
    November 2, 2006

    where does any of the original research come from? Is it all lies?

    No, it’s not all lies. Research done by people who do not think for themselves but sheepishly copy and paste, doesn’t become a lie, but simple nonsense.

  159. #159 Seth Manapio
    November 2, 2006

    “If I could now have a synopsis in english please :/”

    ———-
    Robster said:

    “The statements as to how HIV patients are different is likely in reference to untreated individuals.”

  160. #160 pat
    November 2, 2006

    …is “likely” in reference to untreated individuals? Surely there is a way to answer my question with more authority than with “likely”.

    I was not asking for synopsis of the sentence but for the list of mmm, data. Actually abstracts (not that they would enter my thick cranial bone).

  161. #161 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    Sorry. Citation 27 follows HIV positive patients as they seroconvert.

    Citation 28 compares HIV+ patients with HIV- healthy patients regarding their serum antibody levels.

    Citation 29 examines B cells isolated from whole blood of HIV negative, healthy individuals. The B cells were exposed to HIV, and began dividing. It is hypothesized that this may be related to observed growth stimulation of B cells in HIV infected individuals.

    Citation 30 looked at levels of different types of T cells present in the blood of HIV+ individuals compared to HIV- individuals.

    This previously published information is then used as a baseline to compare the idiopathic CD4+ lymphocytopenia patients to.

  162. #162 Robster
    November 2, 2006

    If you like, I can go pull the abstracts again. Those four citations are not the only ones available, but depending on the author, a paper is cited because it may be the first to find a certain bit of evidence, or is considered the best paper in the field. There are often several papers on any one subject, and since authors are limited to a certain number of citations, we get stuck with having to pick and choose.

  163. #163 pat
    November 3, 2006

    I was not upset by that remark Seth so your apology is unnecessary and let me apologize also to Tara, I didn’t mean to discredit her superior knowledge of biology, I was simply trying to say that business was the main motor behind the science and therefor should not be viewed as absolute nor even be trusted. I believe Tara and most the world including myself are being taken for the ride of our lives.

    “I’m still waiting for you to produce the story of a single published study of HIV/AIDS (or anything in biology) where the results were changed as a result of politics.”

    http://www.honestdoctor.org/images/documents/NIHreinstates.pdf
    http://www.honestdoctor.org/images/documents/GrassleyReinstatement.pdf
    http://www.gmfreeireland.org/resources/documents/science/scandals/index.php
    http://www.ucsusa.org/
    http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/interference/
    http://www.stanford.edu/~dgermain/volume4-2/articles4-2/scandalsInBiomedicalResearch.html
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v433/n7028/full/433801a.html
    http://www.reviewingaids.org/awiki/index.php/Document:Lang

  164. #164 pat
    November 3, 2006

    Here’s a copy-paste example from one of the likns:

    “The underlying factor: money

    The underlying factor leading to most data fabrication in both the biotech industry and academia is money. Recent studies show researchers with a financial tie to industry may have a “conflict of interest”, and be more likely to publish positive results. Likewise, academia is funded largely by grants, and the best grants are typically awarded to the researchers with the most publications in the best scientific journals.

    Covering up negative data is a cause for concern. “It probably happens more often than we realize because we only see the cases where someone has figured this out after the fact,” says Dr. Mildred Cho of the Bioethics Department at Stanford University, and an associate professor of pediatrics.

    Such unethical practices, when discovered, demoralize the public’s trust in biomedical research. “Trust is a very important and precious commodity, and [life science scandals] chip away at the public’s trust,” she remarks. “You can see this, for example, in clinical trial participations – they have gone down over the past few years. It becomes very difficult to get people to participate in something they don’t trust.”

    further down…

    “…Only after it was taken off the market did editors of The New England Journal of Medicine discover that the authors of the Vioxx article had OMITTED data that could have illuminated potential fatalities due to the drug. Furthermore, it was also found that of the 32 scientists chosen by the FDA to evaluate the drug, 10 were affiliated with manufacturers of the same painkiller. Merck & Co. has since lost its third Vioxx suit, and has been charged with over $21 billion in damages.”

    (emph. mine)

    It doesn’t name anyone in particular but this is from fellow “non-altie” scientists

  165. #165 pat
    November 3, 2006

    …which reminds me of my very first post on this thread that drew so much venom out of some.

    “Perhaps the biggest boon to “altie” medicine is evidence-based medicine’s own rotten and corrupt track record.(no no no, they don’t rip anyone off!)”

  166. #166 pat
    November 3, 2006

    …which reminds me of my very first post on this thread that drew so much venom out of some.

    “Perhaps the biggest boon to “altie” medicine is evidence-based medicine’s own rotten and corrupt track record.(no no no, they don’t rip anyone off!)”

  167. #167 pat
    November 3, 2006

    sorry for the double/triple posts. This software and my browser are confusing the hell out of me

  168. #168 Seth Manapio
    November 3, 2006

    Clearly, this will take some time to go through. I predict the following: Every single case (if genuine) will have been discovered by mainstream scientists. If I am correct, my point will be the following: Science, unlike alternative medicince, is self-correcting.

  169. #169 Seth Manapio
    November 3, 2006

    Two honest doctor refs: unethical, but not falsified research.

  170. #170 Seth Manapio
    November 3, 2006

    German study: not peer reviewed, not published, and the whistleblower is a mainstream scientist, as predicted.

  171. #171 pat
    November 3, 2006

    “I predict the following: Every single case (if genuine) will have been discovered by mainstream scientists. If I am correct, my point will be the following: Science, unlike alternative medicince, is self-correcting.”

    You can label them any old way you like; mainstream, altie or Bozo the clown. Let me temporarily adopt your blinders here:

    “Mainstream scientists will uncover that mainstream science is unethical and corrupt as well”

    without your blinders I read:

    “Scientist will uncover scientific fraud”.

    simple and straight to the point

    “Two honest doctor refs: unethical, but not falsified research.”

    Am I the only one who thinks “unethical” is a big friggin’ deal? Throw it out, fire the QUACKS who led it and those who tried to cover up the unethical events and start again. That is like saying: “Ok we lied about the threat of WMD, but you still have to prove to us that it was wrong to invade” ( I am not implying that you have anything for Dubbya)

  172. #172 ctd
    November 6, 2006

    ctd, notice who you’ve attracted as an ally here. Jan Spreen is a known accomplice to German serial killer Geerd Hamer.

    No, I hadn’t noticed. But I noticed your foul mouthed language so I did some closer reading of spreen’s contributions. I wouldn’t say that I fully agree with everything but Hamer’s findings seem very promising and I don’t understand your silly spewing of venom. Hamer’s approach is quite logical and simple and it’s a mystery to me how the New Medecin can be so definitely beyond your capacities of comprehension.

    Maybe your anger is simply but irreversibly coded in your first name:

    Seth: (?), prop. n. (Egyptian Mythology) An evil beast-headed god with high square ears and a long snout; his was the brother and murderer of Osiris. Called also Set

  173. #173 Seth Manapio
    November 6, 2006

    “Maybe your anger is simply but irreversibly coded in your first name:”

    ========

    I’m sorry, I thought we were members of a twenty-first century civilization. My bad.

    If you want to be die of cancer, Hamers non-treatment has a 100% success rate. This is a simple fact. It is totally within my comprehension, I grasped it, determined one of its predictions with Jan Spreen’s help, and thus was able to utterly falsify the theory… which was already falsified by the existence and effectiveness of vaccines, by in-vitro examinations bacteria, in vivo experiments on plants and animals, and basically every rigourous observation of disease made by anyone for the last 300 years or so.

    I’m a little angry, but thats because I don’t like charlatans, killers, or quacks.

    I have a question for you: Why shouldn’t a murdering quack make me angry? Why are you unable to empathize with the families of Hamer’s victims?

  174. #174 Robster
    November 6, 2006

    ctd, lol. Hamer is logical and promising? His claims are completely nutty and as Seth noted, falsified. Hamer’s thought process is non-scientific and his claims are not backed up by evidence. It is phrenology with modern technology.

  175. #175 pat
    November 6, 2006

    Without trying to take Hamers side, seeing I don’t know much about him…

    “Why shouldn’t a murdering quack make me angry”

    …calling it murder implies that you believe he is premeditated about his will to kill. Do you believe Hamer wants to kill people? That is bold. perhaps manslaughter would be more accurate for you to use. “Murder” makes you sound hysterical.

  176. #176 Seth Manapio
    November 6, 2006

    “Do you believe Hamer wants to kill people?”

    ———–

    Hamer is intentionally convincing people not to seek traditional treatment, and I believe that he knows they will die as a result. Perhaps this is more accurately called manslaughter… but he is certainly making fraudulent claims that lead directly to people’s death. I agree that I cannot prove intent, but I think there is a strong case for it.

    Maybe he just doesn’t care if his victims live or not, that is certainly a possibility.

  177. #177 pat
    November 6, 2006

    There is a real possibility too that he really believes in his theory which would make the deaths unintentional. Arguing the pros and cons of Hamers theory would be more educational to everyone rather than attacking his character. The theory is always independant from the theorist.
    Not trying to play the Nazi card here but it also serves as a good example. Hitler is dead but National Socialismus unfortunately persists without him. It is the theory that needs debunking and not the theorist.

  178. #178 Seth Manapio
    November 6, 2006

    “Arguing the pros and cons of Hamers theory would be more educational to everyone rather than attacking his character.”

    ———–

    Been there, debunked that, got the t-shirt. There are no pros, and the con is that if you believe him, your cancer will kill you.

    He could just be insane, I’ll give you that. Still a murderer, though. Priests who claim they love little boys are still molesting them.

  179. #179 Robster
    November 6, 2006

    True. Hamer either knows that he is wrong and doesn’t care that what he advocates kills people, or he is self deluded, perhaps making him less culpable, legally.

  180. #180 jspreen
    November 6, 2006

    Do you believe Hamer wants to kill people? That is bold.

    Seth has read a reference quote to an article in a German tabloid and since that’s the only kind of literature that has direct access to his foggy brain, it’s the only thing he remembers about Hamer.

    In the Middle Ages you only had to cry “There’s a witch” and point to an old lady to have her burned.
    Today you cry “There’s a dangerous charlatan killer selling quack” and the doctor is up shit creek, no matter how brilliant his approach.
    The millions killed by chemo, who asks questions? Nowadays the whole fucking planet has been lulled into believing that chemo poisoning and X-ray burning are good for badly ill people so we may presume that some incorruptible and independent minds set apart, intelligence and healthy common sense has definitely left the brains of the inhabitants of the Earth.

  181. #181 Seth Manapio
    November 6, 2006

    “Seth has read a reference quote to an article in a German tabloid and since that’s the only kind of literature that has direct access to his foggy brain, it’s the only thing he remembers about Hamer.”

    ——–

    Well, that and Hamers own sites in english, and a large number of other sites translated from the German (some recommended by Jan Spreen) book reviews, medical articles… a lot of things really. I understand Hamer, and a major prediction of his theory is not supported by brain scans of said survivors. Hamer, and you, are simply wrong. Why do you insist on holding on to this fantasy? Is it to supress your own sick guilt at being a party to murder?

  182. #182 Kevin
    November 6, 2006

    There are often several papers on any one subject, and since authors are limited to a certain number of citations, we get stuck with having to pick and choose.

    Therein lies a big part of the problem with HIV research: so much money is flowing into so many different pockets that it is difficult to keep up with all of the lousy publications. All of the “scientists” are just publishing to maintain their status in academia, anyway. Few revelations to be had and even less collabration, so convuluted meaningless data gathering has become the modus operandi of the HIV scientist. That’s why the studies often yield contradictory results. But fear not, no matter what your findings are, the interpretation of the results will meet the pre-defined criteria; truth be damned.

    Academic masturbation, at it’s worst.

    Kevin

  183. #183 kevin
    November 6, 2006

    Seth wrote:
    Perhaps this is more accurately called manslaughter… but he is certainly making fraudulent claims that lead directly to people’s death. I agree that I cannot prove intent, but I think there is a strong case for it.

    Maybe he just doesn’t care if his victims live or not, that is certainly a possibility.

    Do you really think the bohemoth of modern medicine really and truly care if individual patients (or victims–reader’s choice) live or die. If they do care, it’s only in reference to how much money they can extort out of each and every one of them before the final death knell. Or, because they may be able to collect some meaningless data point to gain FDA approval for the next great cancer drug. You are soooooooooooo naive; it’s certainly a possibility, lol.

    Lung cancer is the most common cancer in human beings and allopathic medicine has made virtually nil progress in improving 5-year prognosis. Death rate is still over 90%, but they sure as hell make those last few years or months hellacious for those they treat.

    That’s far more criminal than giving hope to the condemned.

    Kevin

  184. #184 Kevin
    November 6, 2006

    How old are you, Seth. Are you sure you’re old enough to be in front of a pc, unsupervised? There’s lots of quackery on the web.

    Maybe once you’ve gained some life experience, the world will inexplicably burst into color for you, and you’ll realize that the most interesting facets of life are anything but black and white.

    Then again, you may just be dumb. If that’s the case, carrry on.

    Kevin

  185. #185 kevin
    November 6, 2006

    Lung cancer is the most common cancer in human beings

    From above…should’ve read

    Lung cancer is the most deadly cancer in human beings

    Kevin

  186. #186 Robster
    November 6, 2006

    Kevin, did that have a point?

    Shorter Kevin #1, There is just too much information out there for me to understand, so I like stuff I can get.

    Shorter Kevin #2, Some doctors in evidence based medicine might not be interested in their patients, so making profit from fake cures and false hope with a smile is better than actually trying. (untreated lung cancer 5 year survival rates aproaches 0%, statistically similar to that of Hamer’s quackery)

    Also, the 5 year survival rate is low, but for lung cancer in the US, it is 13%, not less than 10%. Maybe one in twenty patients doesn’t matter to you, but it does to me. However, there have been improvements in other cancers, making your statement simply wrong. Better access to care and earlier detection alone could raise this into the 60 to 70th percentile, excepting small cell lung cancer, which is more agressive and hard to treat (30% might be possible).

  187. #187 Robster
    November 6, 2006

    Kevin, you are still wrong. Deadliest probably belongs to the thankfully rare pancreatic cancer. IIRC, it is about 1%.

  188. #188 kevin
    November 6, 2006

    Robster wrote:
    True. Hamer either knows that he is wrong and doesn’t care that what he advocates kills people, or he is self deluded, perhaps making him less culpable, legally.

    Finally!!!
    A nugget of reason from an apologist.

    Even a deluded man can muster great compassion. In fact, it’s usually requisite. Then again, maybe Hamer really is a murderer, as young Seth so passionately asserts.

    Regardless, how one chooses to deal with a cancer diagnosis is ultimately the decision of the patient. Allopathic medicine can sometimes cure certain cancers but that by no means, absolves it from its miserable failure in exploring the incredible influence of the mind on healing. Nor, does it give authorities the right to legally prosecute someone who wishes to give hope to the terminally ill by exploring that mind-body connection in severe illness. For some people, the latter might be more advantageous.

    Kevin

  189. #189 Seth Manapio
    November 6, 2006

    “Do you really think the bohemoth of modern medicine really and truly care if individual patients (or victims–reader’s choice) live or die.”

    ———–

    No. Structures don’t have human feelings. But my doctor cares whether I live or die, and takes responsibility to some extent for my quality of life. That is why he tries to equip himself with good information, so that he can diagnose and treat any medical issues I have and give me the best advice he can. If he recognizes an edge to his own knowledge, he will send me to a specialist. My doctor cares about whether I am sick or well.

    Interestingly, and in stark contrast to Hamer, 100% of the patients who go to my doctor with a life threatening illness don’t die as a result of following his advice.

    You make a big thing about “giving hope to the condemned.” I have no expectation that you can understand why that is a bad thing. However, Hamer doesn’t only treat people with inoperable cancer. He advises against all surgery, even to people who have an excellent prognosis without chemotherapy or other heroic measures. That is, if you were to find a tiny polyp on your back, Hamer would advise you to allow it to grow until it got into the bone. That is not “giving hope to the condemed”, that is lethally bad advice. And if every time somebody lets their cancer go that far, they die, you have to think that he knows its lethally bad advice.

    Maybe Hamer belongs in an asylum, not a prison. Is he sick in that he is delusional, or is he sick in that he wants people to die… I don’t know? Either way, as I said earlier, it is at the very least manslaughter.

  190. #190 Robster
    November 6, 2006

    Allopathic medicine can sometimes cure certain cancers but that by no means, absolves it from its miserable failure in exploring the incredible influence of the mind on healing. Nor, does it give authorities the right to legally prosecute someone who wishes to give hope to the terminally ill by exploring that mind-body connection in severe illness.

    It is the patient’s right to make bad decisions, it is the responsability of both the medical community and the authorities to prevent fraud and malpractice. Hamer and his follower, jspreen, support giving lots of hope with exceptionaly bad medical advice.

    I have no problem with somebody exploring a nebulous mind body connection, but doing that to the exclusion of medical treatment… bad choice. Someone giving medical advice to that end is dangerous malpractice.

  191. #191 kevin
    November 7, 2006

    Robster:
    Also, the 5 year survival rate is low, but for lung cancer in the US, it is 13%, not less than 10%. Maybe one in twenty patients doesn’t matter to you, but it does to me. However, there have been improvements in other cancers, making your statement simply wrong. Better access to care and earlier detection alone could raise this into the 60 to 70th percentile, excepting small cell lung cancer, which is more agressive and hard to treat (30% might be possible).

    First, your “Kevin summaries” are excrutiatingly inadequate, Robster. They are perfect examples of your own brand of stylized ignorance. I realize that you aspire to write with precision, but insincere translations of superior intellects will not advance your own poor prognosis as a worthy commentator.

    That said, your “lung cancer” commentary is equally ill-advised:
    http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/statistics/
    http://archives.cnn.com/2000/HEALTH/cancer/11/16/lung.cancer/index.html
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8942447/site/newsweek

    The first link will show you the statistics from 2002. Lung cancer kills more Americans than all other common cancers combined. It is in that sense that it is termed the “deadliest”. The same grim fact applies worldwide. Also, note that out of over 100,000 cases in males, there are over 90,000 deaths annually. That’s a 10% survival rate, annually, but I referred to 5-year survival rates in my original post. Continuing, the data for women is similar with a slightly higher annual survival rate. However, The 5-year survival rate, once again is less known (patients aren’t always followed for so long), but it is believed to be less than 5% since almost all lung cancers are currently diagnosed as Stage IV, per the recent study involving CT scanning:
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/546661
    This study is a real eye-opener. It seems that our wonderful heathcare system, which you all have noted is steeped in compassion and highly patient-centric…it seems that this system of compassion has neglected to properly screen at-risk patients for the deadliest of cancers due to cost (or so one imagines that to be the only plausible reason), even though its efficacy to cost ratio apparently parrallels the rather routine procedure of performing mammograms on aging women. Maybe, the fact that most lung cancers occur in smokers has something to do with the neglect. How’s that for compassion?

    Regardless, the current status quo is not improving mortality rates:
    http://planning.cancer.gov/disease/Lung-Snapshot.pdf
    The overall mortality rate has been in flat-line since 1983, while the mortality rate in women is rising. Now, that’s progress!

    In summary (no need to repeat this step, Robster), I do not think that Hamer’s theory on cancer is valid, and people should seek consultation from allopathic sources when diagnosed with cancer. However, treatment should be not compulsory. The fact is that cancer is often fatal, and the treatment is often worse than the natural progression of the disease. Anyone who denies this has never experienced the horrors of terminal cancer first hand.

    Seth wrote:
    You make a big thing about “giving hope to the condemned.” I have no expectation that you can understand why that is a bad thing.

    And I have no expectation that you will ever know true compassion, nor that you will ever understand how important hope is to healing. Remove the blinders and see the modern traditional medical construct for what it really is…a cold, inhumane processing of patients by often desensitized caregivers. Profit margins are obviously more important than a single individual’s health improvement. Sure there are good doctors, but most of them are existing the system since it is virtually impossible to provide personal, holistic health care in the age of the HMO. No where is that more evident than in caring for cancer patients and, for that matter, AIDs patients, where fear is more profitable than hope.

    Kevin

  192. #192 kevin_#2
    November 7, 2006

    It’s seems that my posts are being censored by the curs who run this blog. Gestapo tactics are the last resort of cowards, truly. Nevertheless, I guess all the sad sycophants of this blog can go back to the self-congratulation extravaganza you seem to prefer. Debate is apparently unwelcome.

    Good riddance.

    Kevin

  193. #193 Robster
    November 7, 2006

    Shorter Kevin: I can’s support my arguements and claims, so I’ll blame the spam filter and leave. (but not before I call you all nazis!)

  194. #194 Kevin
    November 7, 2006

    Shorter Kevin: I can’s support my arguements and claims, so I’ll blame the spam filter and leave. (but not before I call you all nazis!)

    You’re my intellectual inferior, Robster, and your “Kevin summaries” only serve to illustrate that point. I could of course attempt to summarize your posts, but that would be manipulative and highly insincere since there is so little worth in most of them.

    Perhaps, it was the spam filter since I did include several links in my reply to your poorly worded post regarding lung cancer mortality. Your colleagues in the AIDS fellowship are so quick with the censorship whenever a dissident backs you in a corner that it is possible I over-reacted. However, you’ll have to wait for my reposting since I don’t have time to continue your education, at present.

    Kevin

  195. #195 Tara C. Smith
    November 7, 2006

    *sigh* I get so annoyed by the “omigod, I’m being censored!” accusations, especially after a thread has gone as long as this one without anyone being “censored.” Kevin, indeed your post got sent to the spam filter due to the number of links; it’s published now.

    Sincerely,

    Your friendly neighborhood cur

  196. #196 Seth Manapio
    November 7, 2006

    “However, treatment should be not compulsory.”

    ————

    Kevin, no one suggested that treatment should be compulsory. Where do you get such weird ideas?

    However, it should be noted that proper use of evidence based medicine, especially early screening, can boost the 5 year survival rate for lung cancer from 5% to 70%[cite]. Now, if you want to make an argument that this is strong evidence for the efficacy of early screening, no one will disagree with you. But its hard to see how this data in any way supports the value of “alternative” medicince, which has no effective screening at all.

    You also cited an article that quotes a five year survival rate of 15%, not five. And the brits seem to believe that US five year survival rates are about 13% for men and 17% for women. Also, if you want to calculate survival rates, you can’t go with diagnosis p/year versus mortality/pyear. This is because the dead may have been diagnosed more than a year ago. So you did that calculation wrong.

    Other than that, though, congratulations on actually entering the debate with some facts, Kevin. Its about time. If you can manage to stop talking about how wonderfully smart you are, you might begin to earn some respect.

  197. #197 Robster
    November 7, 2006

    Kevin, Thanks for the vote of confidence. Despite your bravado and attempt to intimidate, I’m not impressed. Shall we whip out our frontal lobes and see who has more grey matter? At least your insults are better than those of spreen. Your posts which I summarised (with humor) were far less well written and clear than the more recent. To your arrogant attacks, I have only one thing to say. Yawn.

    But, because I am a jerk, though, I’ll add, shorter Kevin: I can’t handle being mocked! Whaaaah! :)

    Pancreatic cancer is deadlier than lung cancer based on survival rates. Lung cancer kills more people, but pancreatic has a lower 5 year survival chance.

    From the MSNBC link…
    Nearly 60 percent of patients still die within a year of diagnosis, and 85 percent die within five.

    Oops.

    The planning.cancer.gov link shows lung cancer and mortality decreasing for menales, increasing for women. Likely has something to do with an increase in the numbers of woman smokers and detection. Which is good, because detection is my next point.

    CT scanning can detect lung tumors earlier. Great. Just like I suggested in my inferior, I mean previous, post. With early detection comes increased survival. This new development does not condemn past efforts, however. Admittedly, it will take time to move this into the mainstream. Not because medical science and doctors lack compassion, but because managed healthcare is a slow to change boondoggle.

  198. #198 Robster
    November 7, 2006

    men, not menales. heh.

  199. #199 Seth Manapio
    November 8, 2006

    “You’re my intellectual inferior, Robster”

    ————–

    No. No he isn’t. Not by a long shot. And statements like that don’t help your case, quite the opposite.

    Look, Kevin… if you want to say someone is dumber than you, it helps if you don’t say really stupid things first. For example, freaking out at the discovery of automatic anti-spam software shows that you aren’t a careful or methodical thinker and also reveals a specific area of ignorance. Thinking that you can derive an annual survial rate (or one-year survival) a single years diagnosis/deaths stats shows that you don’t understand statistics at all. And finally, the articles you reference back up Rob’s numbers overall, the MSNBC article cites 15% 5 year survival, and none of those citations back your 5% figure.

    And even if your math were correct for calculating one year survival rates, the note “Use caution in comparing incidence and death counts” at the bottom of page really should have been a red flag to you that you should, you know, use caution comparing incidence and death counts.

    This is all okay, you don’t have to know stats or be a thorough reader or researcher or even a methodical thinker to play here, but you do if you don’t want people to laugh until they wet their pants when you declare yourself to be someone elses intellectual superior.

    More coming from the spam filter, and Robster’s numbers are referenced at http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=669263

  200. #201 Robster
    November 8, 2006

    Between the Dems picking up the House (perhaps the Senate) and yous guys, my day is made.

  201. #202 Robster
    November 8, 2006

    Orac has a followup on his previous Germanic New Medicine piece about the human toll that it takes. It concentrates on one of the cases that Seth brought up during that whole discussion.

  202. #203 Ria Swift
    November 9, 2006

    Most of what I’ve read hear sounds to me like blind pundits who have swallowed everything they’be been told and taught…it’s a bit disturbing, especially from people who say they are scientist but really know nothing about alternative medicines but think they do. The field is huge and you talk like you know something about it when all you’ve talked about is one miniscule aspect. Reporting on the findings of a few herbs does not an assessment of alternative medicines make regardless of who does the study.

    Thinking that allopathic medicine is not in it for the money is just silly. Thinking that the scientific testing of medicines that prove what chemical had what reaction on what part of the body is myopic. I am amazed how medicine and smart, intelligent, well meaning people only see what they want to see. It’s just ignorant to think that just because something has not been put through the rigourous trials of a medicinal study means it isn’t any good. It scares me to read what most of you have written. You worship big medicine like it has all the answers and clearly it does not. I can’t tell you how many nights I sat at our dinner table watching my pharmacist father call doctors telling them how they prescribed the wrong medicine for Mrs. Jones…and how she would now be in the hospital from a contraindication because the doc did not know the patients history well enough to make sure they got the right drug. Or how I watched my mother die from lung cancer because it was misdiagnosed for over a year. Do you have any idea how many people have gone through the traditional medical hoops and gotten no help and when the doc couldn’t help them sent them packing? Most people, I am aware of, come to alternative medicines when they can no longer get help from their docs, are tired of the side effects of the medicines, do not want another surgery or just plain ole don’t like the system. It’s not more complicated than that…and people who choose these things are not uneducated, people off the street who just don’t want to get a RX. They are people as intelligent as you all. You make yourselves feel good by thinking otherwise.

    I was born sick with a severe kidney infection that should have killed me but didn’t. I was treated for 13 years unsuccessfully. I also had cancer 3 times and after several surgeries and more than a year of chemotherapy I got cancer again. I choose not to poison myself or be cut up again…I refused medical treatment and went onto find alternative therapies, which worked…thank you very much. For the past 20 years I have immersed myself in alternative therapies, studying, researching, practicing with great success.

    Western medicine does not treat the whole person…this is their first mistake. Their 2nd is thinking they know everything, which they do not. Their 3rd is underestimating their clients. Their 4th is that they keep looking in the same direction for the different answers, which they don’t get. Their 5th is not taking people like me, who have beaten cancer through natural means – twice and not finding out what they did. In fact, when I’ve told doctors that I did cure cancer without allopathic medicines they have a hard time even looking at me let alone asking me what I did. That astounds me, is that good science? I think not. Seems more like fear and plain old egotistical stupidity. A true scientist would want to know what I did. I’ve never met a doc yet who looked me in the eye with enough respect for me or healing in general to want to know what process I did to cure me. How stupid is that? The thought of it is so beyond their conception of healing cancer they can’t even generate a simple question? Baffling isn’t it?

    If western medicine is working so well why do we keep building these gigantic hospitals…if the system is working I would think we would need less hospitals, not more. When I see clients they heal in a relatively short period of time. I don’t get them hooked on me. I teach them to care for themselves and I teach them to care for all aspects of their being not just their physical bodies. True healing comes from a beings ability to integrate all of it’s processes. We are a composite of interactions that modern medicine ignores. If you haven’t found evidence that many alternative medicines work you are not looking in the right places. Just like allopathic medicines, some alt. medicines work for some things while not working for others. I’ve been through the system all my life and it is by far one of the most dysfunctional systems on the planet. Any good, older doctor will tell you the same thing. Docs are often not healthy people…how can they cure the rest of us when they are overworked, undercared for, stressed out, burned out, etc. Open your eyes guys the picture you paint ain’t all that great. Thankfully altie meds as you call them are not going away. If they were I don’t think major medical centers would be incorporating integrative med. depts into their hospitals. And people are not stupid and should never succumb to the power of their doctor. Question everything or be a stupid sheep…had I followed my docs advice…I woudn’t be writing this to you…I’d be one of those wacky spirits floating around someplace laughing at the rest of you.

  203. #204 Seth Manapio
    November 9, 2006

    Ria,

    One of the great tragedies of modern medicine is that no matter how many stories like yours exist, these crazy scientist types keep trying to run “controlled studies” to “verify” the promises of whatever therapy is being offered. They seem to want to hold “alternative” therapies to the same standards that they hold their own therapies! How myopic!

    People like yourself, who want to push anecdotally supported medicine, don’t get a fair shake. These stupid scientists and doctors are blinded by their own experiences of watching patients die horrible deaths from untreated cancer, and they can’t see that your personal experience is much more valuable than the cumulative results of decades of dedicated research by thousands of people all over the world. This is because they think they know everything, and cannot accept that in fact, you know everything.

  204. #205 Robster
    November 9, 2006

    Thinking that allopathic medicine is not in it for the money is just silly.

    Nobody said that. But the same can and must be said for alt medicine.

    Thinking that the scientific testing of medicines that prove what chemical had what reaction on what part of the body is myopic.

    I actually agree with you on this. There are far too many researchers who only look at a the effect of a med on a single gene, etc. Luckily, clinical and preclinical trials look at the whole person and look for all kinds of negative effects. Like Seth points out, we need lots of evidence, not one person who makes a difficult to verify claim.

    I am sorry that you lost your mother to lung cancer. It is a horrible disease, and my family are currently days away from the loss of a close family friend. Misdiagnosing lung cancer is all too common. Improved testing techniques are on the way, and should help prevent more people from going through what you and your family did.

    Without knowing more about your personal history, your life has been saved by evidence based medicine on several occaisions. You credit alternative meds for your most recent triumph over cancer, but say that you had been on chemo for a year prior to the observed recurrance. As a skeptic, I have to question if the chemo had the effect, and not the alternative meds.

    You say you practice with great success. You are aware that with 80% of diseases, an untreated patient will just get better? For these, evidence based medicine focuses on limiting symptoms and eliminating the cause (antibiotics in the case of bacteria).

    Their 2nd is thinking they know everything, which they do not.

    If we knew everything, there would be no need for science. No scientist would say that we know everything, rather, that we are pretty damn sure about some things, have good ideas about others, don’t know much about the rest, including that they even exists. But we do have a framework available for testing such things. When alternative medicine is subjected to this framework, it either passes or fails. If it passes, it is refined, adapted, and ceases to be alternative because it is now evidence based.

    I’ve told doctors that I did cure cancer without allopathic medicines they have a hard time even looking at me let alone asking me what I did. That astounds me, is that good science? I think not.

    Most MDs are not trained as scientists. They are not equipped to study such a question, especially when they won’t get paid for it. They are also not paid to trust their patients, who often lie or omit important imformation. When you tell an MD that you beat cancer with natural means, you are also telling them that it is likely that they are wasting their time, as you are less likely to follow their advice or complete courses of medication than the general populace (who has trouble with compliance in the first place). I don’t find that baffling at all.

    If western medicine is working so well why do we keep building these gigantic hospitals…if the system is working I would think we would need less hospitals, not more.

    Ummmm, no. Population growth has more to do with building more hospitals. People are doing an awful job taking care of themselves as well. This is another factor.

    If you haven’t found evidence that many alternative medicines work you are not looking in the right places.

    If the evidence was there, the altie med would be adapted, adopted and improved into the field of evidence based medicine. Hence the inclusion of “integrative” medicine (along with NCCAM grants). It also keeps people from going to quacks who tell them that they should add this herb (that will interact badly with their meds) or drop their meds altogether. My problem is when they attribute effects with unmeasurable and unquatifiable “energy” or other magical thinking. Luckily, the hospital I work at dropped some of that language from their website after I suggested that it made the hospital look kooky. If I was a cancer patient, I might get a massage to help deal with stress, but I would run from the hospital that told me that it would restore my qi flow.

    Docs are often not healthy people…how can they cure the rest of us when they are overworked, undercared for, stressed out, burned out, etc.

    The two have nothing to do with each other. Doctors are people, with all of the failings that come with that. The overeat, don’t exercize enough, don’t deal with stress, work too hard, etc. In short, they are just like us. That doesn’t mean that medicine doesn’t work, only that people are fallible.

  205. #206 Robster
    November 9, 2006

    “You are aware that with 80% of diseases, an untreated patient will just get better?”

    I should say that this is a gross oversimplification, and for some of those 80%, people don’t get better because of an unforseen complication. Other times, better doesn’t mean as good as before.

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    February 14, 2009

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  207. #208 kürtçe müzik dinle
    July 23, 2011

    You’re my intellectual inferior, Robster….

  208. #209 Hair care tips
    August 6, 2011

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