Respectful Insolence

When I originally conceived of doing a weekly feature entitled “Your Friday Dose of Woo,” I did it almost on a whim. Now that I’ve reached the second week, I’ve realized that this is going to be harder than I thought. No, it’s not that it’s hard to find suitable targets. Quite the opposite, in fact. There’s just too much woo out there, that it’s really hard to choose a suitable subject. I had a hellacious time trying to pick one particular instance of woo that tickled my fancy enough to dedicate a blog post to it.

Of course, I did think about doing a followup to last week’s Friday Dose of Woo about the quantum homeopathy. I was even assisted in this endeavor by readers who were kind enough to send me a PDF of the complete article by Lionel Milgrom from which the abstract I quoted came. Not only that, but it turns out that Dr. Milgrom is a prolific little bastard when it comes to fusing quantum mechanic jargon with homeopathy to produce a highly toxic mixture of woo whose effect on my brain was such that I’m still recovering from trying to read the whole thing. Indeed, another reader sent me four articles by Milgrom, all chock full of the same toxic woo brew (apologies to our latest host of the Skeptics’ Circle). After a few pages, my brain’s energy field must have become quantumly entangled with that of Dr. Milgrom at the subatomic level. Or something. Either way, my brain hurt too much before I could finish all of that woo. I think my neurons were rebelling as the homeopathic quantum woo field assaulted them.

Maybe next week. Milgrom’s papers represent perhaps the most target rich woo environment I’ve ever seen. In a way, it’s almost too easy–other than the brain pain, of course. But then, what’s a little pain in the service of critical thinking?

Fortunately, after much searching through links that I had saved, I found just the thing to cleanse my chakra after prolonged exposure to Milgrom’s quantum homeopathic altie woo: Allergy Antidotes. When I saw this therapeutic technique, which I had never heard of before, billed as an “Energy Psychology Treatment of Allergy-like Reactions ,” I knew I had my woo for this week.

So what can Sandi Radomski, the proprietor of Allergy Antidotes and apparently a licensed social worker and naturopath, do for you?

According to the Allergy Antidotes website, it’s a three-step process:

STEP 1: Assess whether substance sensitivities are a possible cause of symptoms.

This is all well and good, but somehow I’m guessing that Allergy Antidotes will find that virtually every patient’s symptoms are caused by “substance sensitivities.” Why do I think that? Just a hunch. You’ll see why.

STEP 2: Identify specific reactive substances. Any symptom can be from a substance sensitivity. In turn, any substance can potentially weaken the body’s energy system. Possible culprits range from toxic chemicals such as petrochemicals, to non-toxic substances such as eggs and vitamin C. Since everything is suspect, a methodical system is required to assess whether a particular substance is weakening a person’s energy system.

Reactive substances can be easily identified using non-invasive muscle testing. This variety of muscle testing, adapted from Applied Kinesiology, involves the patient holding or thinking about different substances while applying consistent pressure to the patient’s outstretched arm. If the arm “gives way” (weakens) it is an indication that the held substance is weakening the muscle energy system.

Uh-oh. Applied kinesiology (AK)? We’re talking some serious dubiosity here. (OK, I mean “dubiousness,” but I just liked the sound of “dubiosity.” In fact, I may just use the term “dubosity” in the future.) AK is a pseudoscience the basic premise of which is that every organ dysfunction is accompanied by weakness in specific muscles. Practitioners thus go through elaborate measurements of the strengths of various muscles. In this case, Allergy Antidote is applying AK to alleged allergies or sensitivities to specific substances. Heck, the patient doesn’t even have to hold the substance; he just has to think about it, and AK can diagnose it as a cause of “weakening of the muscle energy system.” Neat, eh?

Too bad AK makes no sense physiologically and there is no scientific evidence that it does what practitioners claim:

Although the claims of applied kinesiology are so far removed from scientific reality that testing them might seem a waste of time, competent researchers have subjected the muscle-testing procedures to several well-designed controlled tests and demonstrated what should be obvious to rational persons. Some have found no difference in muscle response from one substance to another, while others have found no difference between the results with test substances and with placebos. One study, for example, found that three practitioners testing eleven subjects made significantly different assessments; their diagnoses of nutritional deficiencies did not correspond to the nutrient levels obtain by blood serum analysis; and that the responses to nutrient substances did not significantly differ from responses to placebos [9]. Another study found no effect from administering the nutrients “expected” to strengthen a muscle diagnosed as “weak” by AK practitioners.” [10] Other researchers who conducted an elaborate double-blind trial concluded that “muscle response appeared to be a random phenomenon.” [11] Another study showed that suggestion can influence the outcome of muscle-testing. During part of this experiment, college students were told that chewing M&M candies would give them instant energy that would probably make them test stronger. Five out of nine did so [12]. In yet another study, four AK practitioners tested seven patieents who were extremely sensitive to wasp venom. Altogether, 140 muscle tests were done to see how the patients responded to preparations of venom or salt water in a bottle. If the test were valid, the venom bottles should result in “strong” reactions and the salt-water bottles should produce “weak” test reactions. However, the practitioners were unable to identify which bottles contained which.

But, hey, alties never let a little thing like science stand in the way of their favored therapy, now have they?

So what’s the next step, if for whatever reason the unfortunate patient can’t completely isolate himself from the allegedly offending substance that is supposedly responsible for his symptoms, whatever those symptoms may be? (And it doesn’t seem to matter too much to Allergy Antidotes what the specific symptoms are, be they multiple sclerosis, allergies to dogs, digestive problems, back pain, or migraines.) Well, step right up:

STEP 3: Use energy psychology techniques to reprogram the body to no longer react negatively to the reactive substances. The reprogrammed body no longer views the substance as a poison. All treatments are done with the patient’s focus on the reactive substance. The patient holds the substance, or holds a tube with the energetic signature of the substance, or holds piece of paper with the name of the substance, or says or thinks about the substance. By stimulating acupuncture points, we eliminate the energy imbalance in relation to that substance, thereby ending the body’s negative reaction.

Silly me. I always thought that allergic reactions involved little things like histamine release by mast cells in response to an allergen, with all its attendant effects. I guess I’m just old-fashioned. Fortunately for her altie customers, Sandi Radomski’s more hip and with it when it comes to defining allergies. She doesn’t let a little thing like a medical or scientific definition stand in her way:

It is important that I am not referring to allergy in the strict medical definition of a histamine reaction. Basically I am defining “allergy” as an abnormal response to a food, drug, or something in our environment that usually does not cause symptoms in most people. I am viewing an allergy as anything that weakens the body’s energy system. This work has grown out of the discoveries of Dr. Roger Callahan who found that an energy toxin or anything that weakens the energy system can cause emotional and physical symptoms.

Allergies can cause real problems for people; some people even die from allergic reactions to various substances. I wish I could redefine diseases or abnormal physiology like that. I wonder if it would work if I redefined cancer as a “weakening of the energy system” and applied Randomski’s techniques to treating it. Oh, wait. There are already other alties who do something fairly similar to that and claim fantastic success. They even have the testimonials to prove it! Never mind.

It turns out that Dr. Roger Callahan is the inventor of thought field therapy (TFT). Basically, TFT involves tapping various points in the body to “rebalance its natural energy system.” That’s it. It’s that simple. Indeed, TFT has been called psychological acupuncture, except, I guess, you don’t need all those nasty needles to do it. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence other than testimonials and badly designed studies showing that it does anything. (I do, however, like the term “energy toxins.” It sounds way cooler than just “toxins.”)

Of course, Roger Callahan’s disciple, Gary Craig, who invented a variant of TFT known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), just loves Randomski’s work:

I give you a gift and her name is Sandi Radomski… She has created a professional, easy to understand manual that is a MUST READ for serious students of these procedures.

She certainly was a gift to me–for my Friday Woo!

My absolute favorite part of Radomski’s treatment, though, is the “Laser Spray“:

The Laser Spray Treatment entails stimulating the reflex points on the ears, hands and feet with a laser beam to balance the body’s energy system in relation to an energy toxin. The energy toxin can be a reactive substance, negative emotion or thought or traumatic scene. Slowly spray the laser beam over the entire ears (front and back), hands, and/or feet while the patient is holding or thinking about the energy toxin.

You have your choice of the eTox Laser, the basic model, or you could go for the Advanced Laser:

The Advanced Laser is also 635nm. An added feature is its On/Off switch, which frees you from having to continually press a button to shine the laser. Another plus is a wider beam than the eTox Laser, covering a larger area at one time. Numerous healing experiences have been reported from using the Advanced laser with Allergy Antidote’s new LaserLight Technique™. It is also helpful for skin conditions such as mosquito bites, psoriasis and fascia.

Imagine that! It even has a switch! I’m still trying to figure out what disease “fascia” is, though. Fascia is a normal body structure, specifically a specialized connective tissue surrounding muscles, joints, and bones and doesn’t really have anything to do with the skin. Also, it’s not a disease. Of course, given that “fascia” is not a disease, I’m guessing that the Advanced Laser can probably “cure” it. I’m also guessing that telling patients that you’re going to use a laser to “balance their energy fields” sounds a lot more impressive than saying you’ll be tapping on them. In surgery, I see the same phenomenon when patients ask me If I’ll be using a laser during their breast biopsy. (No, I have to tell them, just an old-fashioned scalpel and electrocautery.) Marketing is everything.

Of course, never forget that all of this Allergy Antidote stuff is scientific! How do we know? Radomski says so:

Dr. Penny Montgomery and Dr. Margaret Ayers have conducted two landmark studies with great relevance to the treatment of allergy-like reactions to substances. Using real time EEG findings, Drs. Montgomery and Ayers have discovered specific brain wave patterns that denote sensitivity to a particular substance. In the first study, they have successfully proven that brain waves return to normal after using N.A.E.T. (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) – a similar procedure to Spinal Release – to clear the reaction. The importance of this research is in documenting not only the presence of the sensitivity but the effectiveness of the treatment as well. The second study documents changes in brain waves when the subject merely holds an energy frequency tube containing a substance to which he or she is reactive, illustrating the effectiveness of Energy Frequency Tubes to detect and treat sensitivity reactions.

I did several PubMed searches and was unable to find any studies in the peer-reviewed literature by Montgomery and Ayers. When I searched for Montgomery alone, I was unable to find a PubMed citation for her more recent than 1976 (assuming I have the correct P. Montgomery). I couldn’t find any PubMed citations for Margaret Ayers, but I did find that she runs some sort of company called Neuropathways. I also found both of them listed as speakers at a conference on neurofeedback and an ISNR professional workshop, where I learned that Dr. Montgomery is in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. (Where else?) Whatever Ayers’ or Montgomery’s research is or may have been, it’s not published in the appropriate scientific journals in the last 30 years, and therefore I can’t evaluate it properly. They do, however, appear to have a number of publications in books and non-peer-reviewed journals and magazines, including newsletters, my preferred source for hardcore scientific studies.

You know, I just had an idea, with all this talk of energy manipulation and biofeedback to cure allergies and other diseases and abnormalities. It all certainly sounds like a treatment modality that is crying out for a quantum approach to its theory and application, don’t you think? So….Sandi Radomski, meet Lionel Milgrom. Lionel Milgrom, meet Sandi Radomski. I think you two could make beautiful woo together!

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Tags: Thought Field Therapy, Homeopathy, Applied Kinesiology, Allergy, Alternative medicine, Sandi Radomski, Emotional Freedom Techniques

Comments

  1. #1 epador
    July 7, 2006

    Looks like someone beat you to dubiosity:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Dubiosity

  2. #2 impatientpatient
    July 7, 2006

    I wonder if this would work for peanut and mild allergies- the life threatening ones!!! All those kids I work with that could DIE — here is a cure.

    Tell me something- what do you think about stress and negative emotions exacerbating allergies and asthma??? I know that people believe it can be controlled through happy thoughts. (Shinga at Breath Spa for Kids is a breathing expert). Is this woo too?

    Allergies are WAY too important to screw with. Having had an allergy to a cologne my husband wore- documented- I will tell you that it was awful to just break out into hives without reason. It was a relief to finally have an answer. THat said, doctors treat these things with suspicion, which I think causes people who don’t argue with them to find an alternative practitioner. (for the record I had a complete FIT when the doctor told me I was not having a reaction and not to waste his time….Sure enough I had a visible reaction within half an hour of exposure. My daughter had a similar reaction to the tetanus vaccine and it took three scratch tests and a lot of negativity from her doc before he finally saw that neither of us were lying or looking for attention.) Both Allergists.

    This is one reason I believe that people see nut bars- because real docs are kind of snotty and mean sometimes, and MOST people would rather slink away rather than confront the attitude head on. A natural therapy based practitioner tends to have endless time and patience and a good attitude and a pleasant demeanor.

    I will tell you—– any time I have not liked my doctor’s tone or orders , I have either switched or had a discussion as to why I feel their attitude or level of care was inappropriate. When need be I have offered to document what happened. Considering that I would NEVER dare to be like this if I did not know I was right, it has been effective.

    Maybe we should offer ball transplants so more patients can feel comfortable talking to real doctors about issues and questions that they have that are impacting the quality of MEDICAL care they are receiving????

  3. #3 Hyperion
    July 7, 2006

    impatientpatient,

    I’ve actually seen some interesting research on how the physician-patient relationship impacts healthcare quality (usually in terms of geriatric long-term care). My (admittedly limited) experience is that some physicians may find themselves more focused on solving the problem at hand (ie what is the source of symptoms, what is the most effective treatment) than on managing the patient. Part of the responsibility, though, rests on the patient to divulge as much information as possible with regards to their history and to ask questions if they don’t understand or disagree with the doctor’s advice. Some patients may make the equal and opposite mistake, and see the physician as just a white coat and stethoscope, rather than as a human being.

    Part of how alties work their craft is by doing the opposite: attempting to engage their victims on a personal level, which may initially seem appealing, but won’t be very successful if they don’t have real solutions to offer.

    I was going to post a quick comment suggesting that there was a correlation between woo and lack of insurance coverage, but your comment actually raises an interesting policy question. Dammit, I need to stop reading this blog on my days off.

  4. #4 M
    July 7, 2006

    Hyperion – do you have references for the research on physcian-patient relationships? I’m trying to persuade a friend that wanting to change psychiatrists does not make her a Bad Person :)

  5. #5 impatientpatient
    July 7, 2006

    Doctors don’t get paid to “care” though. And in this wholistic health mindset, even if all someone does is make you feel better emotionally, somehow that is seen as a cure. Oh look- you and your mom made up because your naturopath chakra guy said that that negative energy could block healing- well you still have cancer but you now have your mom too—- YOU WON!!! You are emotianlly healed.

    No different than God- well he didn’t answer your prayer to heal you, but look at all the friends and family that are supporting you. Maybe that is the real answer to prayer—- people love you and care about you.

    You still croak in two months in both scenarios but everyone else feels so uplifted- GAAAACK!!!!

    Re- the physician patient relationship. A relationship must go both ways with a patient having autonomy and not just blindly following orders. A doctor needs to differentiate between the patient and the disease sometimes. And both parties need to have some common sense. A patient that is not honest about their past or what they are doing now can mess up a treatment. The doctor should be able to call them on that . If a doctor is rude and calls a patient a liar when they are not, a patient should be strong enough to challenge that. Questions should be encouraged.

    I dunno….. I have NEVER been to a quack, but at times have been tempted, just to see what bullshit advice I would be offered.

    Oh- and my health plan through work apparently covers some of it- why I am not sure. I think it is ridiculous though.

  6. #6 anjou
    July 7, 2006

    M– go to pub med– run searches by therapeautic alliance– also Lester Luborskey (sp?) is someone who has done research on this area in psych. Match/strength of alliance between therapist and patient generally found to improve outcome.

  7. #7 LBBP
    July 7, 2006

    …all chock full of the same toxic woo brew (apologies to our latest host of the Skeptics’ Circle).

    Apologies? None required, that’s a nice compliment and a good plug.

  8. #8 Shinga
    July 7, 2006

    Oddly enough, I posted something on allergy and allergy testing, yesterday: Food Allergy and Intolerance Testing: Makes Me See Red. There is absolutely no mention in there of “happy thoughts” – in fact, I doubt there is any such reference in the whole of my blog.

    Stress goes way beyond negative thoughts – I have stressed the research that links asthma exacerbations and “negative life events” and I have given the published-peer reviewed references that I am discussing there.

    Similarly, in Does Environmental Exposure To Violence Contribute To Poorer Lung Function Or Asthma In Children?, I have listed the references and distinguished between journal papers and conference papers that have yet to be peer-reviewed and published in a journal. In fact, rather tiresomely, on re-reading that blog entry, I realise that I used a version of the phrase “preliminary results that await validation by peer-review” some 3 times in 3 paragraphs when I am discussing conference papers.

    I would be interested to learn if there are journal papers (or even conference papers that are slated for publication) that rebut the association between children’s exposure to stress, violence, aggression and poorer lung function or asthma.

    Regards – Shinga

  9. #9 Scenedesmeriffic
    July 7, 2006

    It shocks me that people actually pay money for an applied kinesiologist to tap on them, shine a laserpointer on them, and tell them to think happy thoughts. How much are these poor suckers being asked to shell out for these treatments?

  10. #10 impatientpatient
    July 7, 2006

    there are preliminary studies that point towards poorer lung function in children who are exposed to parental fighting at home and violence in the community or in school

    **************************************************

    Parents may increasingly be advised to help their children to practise quiet time and to encourage activities that promote their resilience.

    ******************************************************

    Both quotes from Shinga’s site-

    Firstly, I asked if it was woo, because I don’t know. I know there are mind body connections to disease processes in some instances that can make things worse. BUT___ until the measurable science- not psychology stuff, but MRI evidence as well as well documented blood levels of everything measurable that can and will happen to a body in acute AND chronic situations, I err on the side of not believing everything I read. Or hear. Partly from PERSONAL experience, and partly because I really do think that these things can be used to dumb down medicine and scientific inquiry for political and monetary purposes.

    The first quote I pulled from the site because if there is violence at home it would stand to reason that kids are probably not the number one focus and therefore, neither is their health. If there is violence at school and the school is supposed to manage health issues too, well what would the odds be that if they are doing piss poor in one area, that they would probably be doing just as badly in another?? Having had kids in school myself, I can tell you that one actually can tell how things are going to go in a lot of other directions when one looks at how discipline problems are dealt with. Working as an educational aide, I can tell you that I manage both the calssroom climate AND the medical condition to which I am assigned. They have an effect on each other.

    I worked with a kid with type 1 diabetes who was presenting as a behaviour problem- certainly what was happening in his body affected his behaviour, and stress could lower his blood sugar incredibly quickly. That was a measurable cause and effect. And immediate.

    So I don’t discount mind body in some areas.

    But- back to asthma management and violence and teaching resilience…… Hmmmmm. Do you really think that people who want to tear out each others eyes are truly going to really care about how to manage asthma by teaching resilience? And, if they are intent on tearing out each others eyes, do you not think that little things like actually giving medications on time as well as proper nutrition and rest and the like may not fall by the wayside? And does resilience not have in it a component happiness and acceptance of ones lot in life??? What exactly is there to be happy about and accept when the people around you are beating you up and each other??

    I may be hair splitting and I may be being unfair but having lived through a chronic pain situation with a family member and being told it could be cured/managed by attitude, chiro, acupuncture laughter and breathing techniques as well as by being closer to one’s family and friends , I tend towards doubt. Especially since when it doesn’t work the patient is blamed for lack of faith or improper technique. Could someone please tell me the right way and amount to laugh each day to cure an entrapped nerve???

    So back to Orac’s article and my earlier response—— do we not agree that quacks like he posts about are charlatans that use big words and calming personalities to dupe unthinking and desperate people into believing their crap and paying a lot of money for the privelege because REAL doctors can seem/be abrasive and abrupt? Not ALLLLLLL real docs, and not all the time. As well, medical treatment for things like cancer can seem extremely frightening , invasive and UN NATURAL—– leading to a mistaken belief that natural is inherently better.

  11. #11 Hyperion
    July 7, 2006

    M,

    John Schumacher’s work is what I’m most familiar with. Unfortunately, some of the stuff I have is draft awaiting pub, and therefore priveledged, but he published an excellent study in JAMDA a few months ago:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15871869&dopt=Citation

    “CONCLUSION: Physicians caring for residents of AL facilities should consider how residents, families, and staff stakeholders may influence their patient care for AL residents in terms of their authority, decision-making, communication, and continuity of care.”

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a full copy with me, and don’t have access to the journal from home, and the abstract really doesn’t explain much…still, see if you can find any of his other papers. He’s speaking at a conference I’m working on next month, and he’s pretty well respected by patients’ advocates, physicians, and administrators.

  12. #12 Shinga
    July 7, 2006

    Impatient Patient – by and large if you are waiting for an MRI confirmation of asthma, good luck with that! Do I take it that anything that doesn’t meet your exacting standards is effectively charged with being woo? Do tell me the multiple clinical tests for asthma in young children and the differential diagnoses for which there are tests.

    What is your problem with the first quotation that you highlight? I gave the reference for it – rebut it, or argue with the researchers’ analysis.

    As for the rest – some of it could have been taken verbatim from a post I wrote about a situation that Flea described concerning children who are obese, asthmatic and living chaotic lives. You commented (favourably) on that post, but to remind you, I wrote:

    It sounds as if those children lead chaotic lives and that their mother is doing what she can but doesn’t have the resources or energy to make the concerted intervention that would be necessary to control the children’s weight and to mitigate the impact of their asthma…Some schools are running programmes that are targeted at sedentary children or those with asthma or breathing disorders. These programmes are helpful but there is a limit as to what can be achieved if it is not practical to rely upon support at home.

    If you mean hedonism when you write about happiness – it is not an automatic component of resilience. There is some interesting research that is looking into the tandem interaction of genetics and childhood maltreatment. There is some fine research on resilience and its impact on people’s well-being. And again, I don’t believe you find the phrase “acceptance of your lot in life” or anything like it on my blog.

    As for the rest of your post, I can’t disentangle when you are writing about me or when you are addressing another topic.

    I invite you to rebut the papers etc. that I discuss. I invite you to rebut the science that those researchers propose or to comment on the fact that they do report that their meta-analyses are observational at present and that they are currently unable to do more than speculate about the causal mechanisms. I do expect the courtesy of cited references in return.

    Regards – Shinga

  13. #13 Renee
    July 7, 2006

    With reference to the word ‘fascia’ used in the paragraph about the Advanced Laser –

    Perhaps they meant ‘fasciitis? But is it the necrotizing variety, or simple plantar fasciitis?

  14. #14 Jurjen Smies
    July 7, 2006

    That “eTox” laser looks suspiciously like the laser pointer I have in my bag for presentations, only with metallic endcaps and clip instead of black. The beam is even the same wavelength, ~650nm (note: frequency is expressed in Hertz, wavelength is expressed in meters, a distinction of which Ms Radomski is evidently ignorant). The main difference appears to be that, whereas the “eTox” sells for fifty bucks, I picked mine up at Office Depot for about twelve.

  15. #15 David Harmon
    July 7, 2006

    About that “dubiosity” — I’m afraid I’ve made an example of you over at a sister blog ;-) :

    http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2006/07/evolution_of_the_english_langu.php

  16. #16 impatientpatient
    July 7, 2006

    Shinga
    Whoooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

    Yes- I am sorry IF I a sound like I am attacking YOU PERSONALLY!!! I am not. And that is why -again- I asked if this is woo.

    Think Kenneth Lay- stress hormones- the effects of stress etc…. are what “people” are saying cause his heart attack. There is some understanding as to the mechanism of this.

    In a lot of cases I do think that stress can add to the severity of the disease. But in charging PARENTS with the responsibility of mitigating stress in their kids lives, I think one has to

    a) look at individual situations

    and

    b) use appropriate medications PROPERLY!!

    WAYYYYYYYYYY before they start looking at peoples home lives and meddling.

    Trust me Shinga I have seen what can happen in a bunch of situations when people have asthma. I had a friend die of an asthma attack when we were teenagers, my cousin has had it for thirty five years , my daughter’s best friend has it, my sister has it,my other sister has it, three kids that I worked with at school this year had it, my kids last year had it and we had an serious asthma attack at hockey this year and ON AND ON AND ON. The things that exacerbated their asthma were weather and environment and disease (flu /cold) related- they did not have anything to do with their home situations, or what was happening at school. Or in their jobs and home lives if they were adults.

    Where I am from there is a lot of industrial pollution. We live in a cloud. When the wind blows the way we are…. shit happens. I think that to blame stress as much or more as pollution or genetic factors or weather is to blame the patient or their family. That is a hallmark of woo in my opinion.

    MRI’s were NOT specific for asthma obviously. The blood test were. I was generalizing when I should have been specifying I guess.

    http://www.askdrray.com/april2006healthnewsletter.html#vitaminddeficiencyaffectsasthma

    Follow this link- It is not exactly what I wanted, but it does show SOME of the NEW ideas about asthma and vitamin d deficiency. Maybe – just maybe- we can agree that proper nutrition in the mother during pregnancy may help prevent diseases or their severity…… This has been shown to be true in regards to folic acid and spina bifida —- again I am intimately familiar with THAT disease as I have two siblings with it…… both in wheelchairs and all that neat stuff.

    I really distrust the idea that breathing as descibed here
    http://www.metta.org.uk/therap/buteyko.asp

    can affect my health, or that I can OVER breathe end up with” Habitual hyperventilation (sometimes known as hyperventilation syndrome) {which} occurs as the result of breathing a larger than volume of air than the body can use, washing out too much carbon dioxide (CO2) over an extended period. This may be only 10% too much, or 300% too much. ”

    “The work of a Russian doctor, Konstantin Buteyko suggest that breathing patterns are fundamental to the natural and effective treatment of asthma. Although the book describes how the Buteyko method works, and provides some simple self-help exercises for asthma sufferers who wish to treat themselves it is advisable for sufferers to visit a practitioner.”

    So they can charge you 40 punds an hour to learn how to breathe…..

    And yes- if there is no science behind something I basically say forget it now. It took five years of going through Workers insurance HELL to get me to figure out that they were only interested in pretending to do something when they offered laughter therapy, and acupuncture and breathing techniques as management techniques for a nerve that was essentially stuck to the inside of the spine and could not stretch. My derisory attitude stems from being told by many people that the state of my marriage was a CAUSE rather than an effect of what was happening to my spouse’s body. I am glad that I do not have to deal with their head games any more, and grateful that we survived this last five years of using pharma drugs that were prescribed stupidly as well as trying every single alternative treatment that they would pay for.

    Shinga- I have to work a midnite shift so I need to get some sleep. I will look at the stuff I pulled off the web while researching MY situation and will cite what I can find from there- just not now.

    I do not mean to be a bitch- really. I did love your post. And I silently argued with some of your other stuff. But you are right. Until I am able to properly cite and spew quotes that back me up, I should not rely on preliminary stuff, or anecdotes or life experience only. Thank you for the direction.

  17. #17 impatientpatient
    July 7, 2006

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15322208&dopt=Abstract

    Vitamin D and asthma

    Vitamin D receptor-deficient mice fail to develop experimental allergic asthma.

    “However, VDR-deficient mice failed to develop experimental allergic asthma, suggesting an important role for the vitamin D endocrine system in the generation of Th2-driven inflammation in the lung.”

    MS (which used to be attributed to malingering in a lot of cases) and some cancers also have a HUGE amount to do with levels of Vitamin D. Which is why it is posited that the higher up or down from the equator one lives the bigger the health risk for some disease.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16546242&query_hl=3&itool=pubmed_DocSum

    “Epidemiology of disease risks in relation to vitamin D insufficiency.

    Grant WB.

    Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC), 2107 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 403B, San Francisco, CA 94109-2529, USA.

    Vitamin D from ultraviolet-B (UVB) irradiance, food, and supplements is receiving increased attention lately for its role in maintaining optimal health. Although the calcemic effects of vitamin D have been known for about a century, the non-calcemic effects have been studied intently only during the past two-three decades. The strongest links to the beneficial roles of UVB and vitamin D to date are for bone and muscle conditions and diseases. There is also a preponderance of evidence from a variety of studies that vitamin D reduces the risk of colon cancer, with 1000 IU/day of vitamin D or serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels >33ng/mL (82nmol/L) associated with a 50% lower incidence of colorectal cancer. There is also reasonable evidence that vitamin D reduces the risk of breast, lung, ovarian, and prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There is weaker, primarily ecologic, evidence for the role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of an additional dozen types of cancer. There is reasonably strong ecologic and case-control evidence that vitamin D reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases including such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes mellitus, and weaker evidence for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension and stroke. It is noted that mechanisms whereby vitamin D exerts its effect are generally well understood for the various conditions and diseases discussed here.”

    Now- if I had access to these I would read them and see exactly what they say.

    WHich would be preferable to just reading the abstract.

    But considering that I am researching Vitamin D and its effects on the immune system for something to do I am pretty sure that this is at least a little bit accurate.

    OH- and did I mention that I worked with a type one diabetic with asthma and his asthma was not in ANY way affected by the stress of learning how to cope with diabetes at a tender age. It was affected by the bugs that were a CONSTANT that year—- and the weather and the crap in the air like pollution and pollen. ANd really really cold dry air.

  18. #18 impatientpatient
    July 7, 2006

    by and large if you are waiting for an MRI confirmation of asthma, good luck with that!

    http://www.imaging.robarts.ca/~gep/ResearchInterestsProjects.htm

    I am waiting!!! ;)

  19. #19 impatientpatient
    July 7, 2006

    Waiting some more……..

    http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2003/05/mri527.html

    http://www.mtbeurope.info/news/2005/508012.htm

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=16253848&dopt=Abstract

    http://www.forschung3r.ch/en/projects/pr_82_02.html

    And this one—-

    http://asthma.about.com/od/asthmanewsresearch/a/brainstructure.htm
    Emotional conditions such as being scared, happy, laughing, crying and other strong emotional responses and stressful situations have been known to trigger asthma for a long time. This study is interesting as it actually has been able to identify some of the areas of the brain associated with asthma symptoms. Perhaps in the future scientisits can use the knowledge to tailor drugs to help calm those portions of the brain and treat asthma symptoms in the brain.

    So … apparently ANY strong emotion, not just violent ones can trigger asthma in some cases. What should we do now?? I mean I tease my babies at school about there being “no laughing at school- it is a serious place…” but really…

    And Shinga- here is what I mean by teaching happiness…

    Anthony Seldon, the headmaster of Wellington College, explained: “We have been focusing too much on academics and missing something far more important.

    “To me, the most important job of any school is to turn out young men and women who are happy and secure – more important than the latest bulletin from the Department for Education about whatever.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2138389.html

    I just don’t get it…..

    Right now my daughter is taking the Canadian equivalent of this course and finds it a waste of her time. Her teacher is FAKE happy, talks down to the kids and essentially is giving them the same information I HAVE OVER THE YEARS—- except we have to pay for this information now, because SOME people are idiots. Sex ed, religion and spirituality and resilience are all things that should be the parent’s business. In fact, most teacher people I have met who have had kids go through the course call it Parenting 101. I truly did think about challenging her taking that class based on religious (or irreligious) grounds alone.

  20. #20 Shinga
    July 8, 2006

    Post 1 – not entirely sure where you think I’ve written anything to disagree with that.

    Trust me – you’ve not worked with more people with asthma or respiratory diseases than I have.

    Vitamins, minerals, fats, foods and supplements are the frequent topic of research in asthma: the results are mixed. Magnesium moves in and out of fashion on a regular basis.

    So, you disagree with other people and use that to disagree with my posts? Eh?

    Posts 1 and 2 – not quite sure why you are bringing in the Vitamin D and asthma research.

    Post 3 – this is a research interest. As the sponsors say, “Traditional pulmonary tests (eg. spirometry, blood gas analysis and plethysmography), are still the front-line techniques for assessment of respiratory diseases and although definitive for lung compromise, only provide global measures of lung disease and are not specific to region or type of disease (fibrosis, inflammation, etc).”. So – yes, you will be waiting for quite some time.

    As for the remainder of the references – they are about the potential. The Duke one announces, “The next step, the researchers say, will be to apply the method to study mice genetically altered to have asthma”. The Haczku et al – again, still in development with mice. The Beckman – the rat studies are not imminently going to be translated into a front-line test.

    The ‘About’ summary of that research is not particularly good but I didn’t see any basis for the leap that laughing should be discouraged. There have been several studies about mirth as a trigger for asthma exacerbations: the researchers mostly say that we don’t understand the mechanism here but the PNI benefits are such that certainly mirth should not be avoided. As for About’s speculation – “Perhaps in the future scientisits can use the knowledge to tailor drugs to help calm those portions of the brain and treat asthma symptoms in the brain”. I really don’t understand why you’ve cited this. If you are interested in the neural circuitry underlying the interaction between emotion and asthma symptom exacerbation, then Rosenkranz and colleagues offer an interesting overview.

    You’ve raised the issue of Wellington School and the resilience teaching there on previous occasions – I think that you were adequately answered there. If you haven’t read up on the material that you were referred to, then that’s your choice. Since the last time you mentioned the topic, we have had a report on Child and Adolescent Mental Health in the UK that makes very dispiriting reading. The agencies are not able to cope with this level of need. Neither our health system nor schools can cope. I’d ask what your suggestion is, but I am not clear why you think this is ‘woo’ and what it has to do with me beyond the fact that I think it is an interesting area of study and may have something to offer to trials/studies that observe poorer lung function/asthma exacerbations in children.

    Again – I invite you to rebut the papers etc. that I discuss. I invite you to rebut the science that those researchers propose or to comment on the fact that they do report that their meta-analyses are observational at present and that they are currently unable to do more than speculate about the causal mechanisms. I do expect the courtesy of cited references in return. I invite you to comment on what I have written and the sources that I cite rather than the work of others to whom I have no connection.

    Regards – Shinga

  21. #21 Keith Douglas
    July 8, 2006

    “I am viewing an allergy as anything that weakens the body’s energy system” – an allergy affects the synthesis of ATP? :)

  22. #22 Samantha Vimes
    July 9, 2006

    Re: “learning to breathe” when you’re asthmatic

    Means you can be having serious back pain from the effort of your breathing, dark circles under your eyes, a feeling of heaviness in your legs, and an itch in your lungs,

    and still blow more than 100% for an “average person your age” on a peak flow meter.

    Leading to doctors who tell you it’s not a problem, just excercise more.

    I played saxophone for 8 years, ran 3 miles a day as a teen, and learned to breathe for singing, on top of it all. I used to be able to blow out a candle at 7 feet without spilling the wax, my airstream was so controlled.
    A nurse, when told this, put away the peak flow meter and agreed it wasn’t the best way of measuring my asthma. The doctor, however, showed me with his fingers, how the bronchials shrink in an asthma attack. “You can’t push as much air through a smaller tube.” WTF? I know enough physics to know that the pressure (in this case, supplied by the movement of the diaphragm) behind the flow of a liquid– or air– determines how much is moved. The size of the opening determines how fast it moves.
    But I didn’t have the breath to argue with him.
    I went back to my GP instead of the specialist for further treatment for my asthma.

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