Respectful Insolence

I admit it.

I’m a gadget freak. I sometimes think I should have gone into radiology. If you’re a radiologist and work with MRI, CT scans, PET scanners, and numerous other cool gadgets. Of course, you also have to sit in dark rooms in the basement of the hospital and stare at films for several years to learn the basics of reading simple radiographs in order to qualify to work with the cool toys, not to that you also have to learn how to do barium enemas and other similarly unpleasant tests. Other times, I think that I should have become a radiation oncologist. Radiation oncology is a great specialty. They think like surgeons, given that their treatment modality, like surgery, attacks the local disease. Even better, they get to play with ├╝ber-cool toys too and learn a lot of radiation physics, more than pretty much any other medical specialty. Indeed, I spent two and a half years in a radiation oncology lab doing research on antiangiogenic therapy combined with radiation. On top of that, there are few radiation oncology emergencies (acute spinal cord compression by tumor, acute superior vena cava syndrome, or cerebral edema from brain metastases come to mind); radiation oncologists tend to be very well compensated (so much so that it’s hard to recruit academic radiation oncologists because so many of them want to go into private practice); and the lifestyle is pretty mellow.

What’s not to like?

Of course, being a radiologist or radiation oncologist involves therapies and diagnostic modalities that require a fair amount of skill and have significant limitations. In the case of radiation therapy, for example, there are all sorts of potential complications, depending upon where the radiation treatment is being delivered and how much . Radiation to the head and neck, for example, has this nasty tendency to take out the salivary glands, producing the most unpleasant complication of xerostomia, and any radiation to the abdomen has the risk of causing radiation enteritis and bowel obstruction.

But if I were into woo, I could play with cool machines like the EPFX/QXCI without consequences:

The EPFX / QXCI , Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface. The EPFX / QXCI measures subtle electrical factors of the body. The patient is attached by the means of a head harness, ankle straps and wrist straps to a small digital box connected externally to the computer in the serial port. This small box is known as the interface box and is connected to the same port where you would normally connect the printer. By means of an automatic computer callibration, the patient’s electrical parameters are measured. This is known as the “handshake” between the computer and the patient. This provides the EPFX / QXCI with a baseline from which to begin the test. Once calibration is complete the EPFX / QXCI subjects the patient to minute electrical impulses and monitors how the patient reacts in terms of a high score. A reaction score is given to each tested item. The higher the number the more specific that item is for the patient. Once the main concerns have been established and highlighted, the practitioner can then begin a more thorough investigation of the patients current state of health. A unique feature of the EPFX / QXCI is the ability to “window in” on the main concerns of the patient.

I mean, who wouldn’t like a device that has a main screen that looks like this:


i-ad1d3cc312c9d7b6b31937e852e92a2c-Clasp32 QXCI Panel Shots Tour.jpg

OK, OK, I realize that the interface is too busy and it has that annoying hyper-colored Windows look to it, but come on. This thing has to record a lot of information! I mean, this machine has it all! Biofeedback and even homeopathic activation! Come on, don’t you want to try it out? It’s a veritable woo controller provided to you as a Windows program to control this “quantum biofeedback machine.” (Of course, given my bias, I know the interface would look a lot better on a Mac.) There are screens to enter acupuncture data, nutrition and homeopathy, dark field blood analysis, iridology, chakra and aura “balancing,” and orgone generator. I mean, is there any woo that this device can’t accommodate? Heck, it even has a screen to enter data if a patient’s been treated with Hulda Clark’s Zapper:

i-7ce46b7661aa0cc98b5c0afd4f9197ac-HuldaClark.jpg

Of course, all this is nice, but it’s just the computer interface for the machine. What is it? What does this machine actually do? Oh, it’s so much more than just a computer for keeping track of all the woo that a patient’s undergone. It’s quantum:

The EPFX/QXCI is a state of the art evoked potential bio-feedback system for stress detection and stress reduction, designed by a Complementary Health Practitioner, Professor Bill Nelson. See his article, “The EPFX and The Verbal Mind”.

During testing, the EPFX/QXCI device resonates with thousands of tissues, organs, nutrients, toxins and allergens for one hundredth of a second each, and records the degree to which your body reacts. This type of rapid testing is known as the Xrroid process.

The stress of living in today’s environmentally complicated world can lead to many pressures upon the body system. These stresses often result in a lowered immune system, chronic pain, low performance, depression, insomnia and emotional ups and downs. The EPFX/QXCI is an extraordinary device that can help balance the over-stressed body system. Through its approach it can tabulate your system’s adrenal level, its ability to heal, the flow of energy through your system, levels of water and oxygen in your body, as well as your cellular health. It measures thousands of different parameters of your body system including spinal energy flow and toxicity. The EPFX/QXCI can help correct underlying causes of allergies, food sensitivities, weight gain, digestive and bowel problems, stress, fatigue, insomnia, depression, arthritis, skin problems, headaches and migraines. Best of all, it can not only read these imbalances, but it can help correct them because it works on 20 separate channels simultaneously, talking back and forth with your body, making corrections as it goes. All corrections are made through the skin — nothing is internal. And it does this — not through bio-chemistry, the way of traditional medicine – but through bio-physics! This is quantum mechanics — once the physics of the body is balanced, the chemistry follows of its own accord. The EPFX/QXCI has an accuracy founded in 20 years of research in the field of biofeedback medicine. The EPFX/QXCI scans the body and assists in detailed assessment, helping to correct the body via homeopathic bio-resonance auto frequencies. The treatments and tests are noninvasive and relaxing! The program enhances clients’ general health, increases wellness through awareness, improves performance, increases energy levels, relaxes and decreases stress.

Ah, yes, I know I’m dealing with only the finest, most potent woo when the woo-meisters start invoking quantum theory, particularly when they say it’s working through 20 channels simultaneously and uses homeopathic bio-resonance.

Hey, wait a minute!

What the heck is “homeopathic bioresonance,” anyway? Let’s forget about the other woo words for a minute and think about it. Homepathic remedies imply two principles “like cures like” and the concept that a solution is made more potent by diluting it to the point where there isn’t even a single molecule of the active substance left. The only thing I can think of is that homeopathic bioresonance is meant to imply that whatever this “bioresonance” is must have been somehow diluted to the point where something (the body’s “aura” or “energy”) has some sort of “memory” of this resonance, much as homeopaths claim that water somehow retains a “memory” of the molecules that have been diluted and that this is supposedly the basis for homeopathy’s “effectiveness.” Of course, given that this is an electronic instrument, I have to wonder: If the bioresonance is truly “homeopathic,” then presumably it must be diluted so much that it is undetectable. Thus, there is no physically plausible way for this machine to detect it. So how does the machine measure it and “feed it back”? Or am I missing something?

Or is it just “quantum”? Inquiring minds want to know.

Maybe this will help me understand:

The EPFX / QXCI scans the patient’s body like a virus-scan on a computer, looking for everything from viruses, deficiencies, weaknesses, allergies, abnormalities and food sensitivities. It reports on the biological reactivity and resonance in your body and indicates needs, dysfunctions and vulnerabilities. The information provided is fundamentally different from X-rays, blood tests, etc.., as it tells us about the energetic state of your body and the direction in which the body is focusing its energy.

Nope. Didn’t help. Maybe this will help:

Once it’s measured vitamin levels, amino acids, nutrients, food substances, minerals, enzymes, natural sugars, toxins, hormone levels, muscle tone, disease, bacteria moulds, fungi, viruses and the health and balance of internal organs, it then compares these figures against a “norm”.

I didn’t know it was possible to measure amino acids, nutrients, minerals, enzymes, “toxins,” hormone levels, and so much more with a simple device with electrodes attached to the skin of the scalp and extremities. Such a device would be very handy if it worked. Not quite as elegant as a Star Trek tricorder, but pretty damned cool nonetheless. I wonder why hospitals aren’t using it. It must be that evil big pharma suppressing it. Oh, and the laboratory companies like LabCorp that make their money running blood and urine tests.

Of course, no good woo would be complete without a treatise on why it supposedly works, and this woo is no exception. Indeed, there is a link to a 261 page book on the theoretical underpinnings of “quantum biology.” Here’s just a taste of what’s in these 261 pages (no, I didn’t read it all; my mind would have cracked from the homeopathic quantum woo if I had):

What is the difference between a living being and an inorganic object? One important difference is the entropy equilibrium into which inorganic objects fall. A glass, for example, will assume whatever temperature prevails around it. When an object is dead it obeys the laws of thermodynamics, when a living organism dies it returns to the world of thermodynamics. The laws of thermodynamics are the laws of death.

A drinking glass is governed by the second law of thermodynamics, which states that everything is becoming less and less organized or concentrated– that everything is becoming homogenized. The glass may be very cold to begin with (e.g., 35 degrees F), but put it into a warm room and the coolness soon dissipates and becomes less concentrated, becoming distributed evenly in the surrounding environment.

The human body, on the other hand, will resist (to an extent) the prevailing temperature by remaining at 98.6 degrees F even if it is very cold or very hot around me. My body is now struggling to maintain a precise core temperature of 98.6 in the face of the cool (70 degrees) temperature of this room.

Brownian Motion prevails in the molecules of an inanimate object. This means that they are constantly vibrating in a random pattern. They are entropic (randomly moving), and fall under the purview of mechanistic analysis.

The molecules making up a living organism, however, are not subject to Brownian Motion, and are under quantum order. When a cell dies (due to radiation, toxins, or trauma) the molecules of the cell shift to Brownian Motion as they switch from quantum control to entropic deterioration.

Mechanism, thermodynamics and entropy are thus most relevant to inanimate objects, while quantum dynamics are most relevant to living systems. The quantum dynamics rest on factors of energetic, photonic, magnetic and vibrational elements– in addition to the chemical ones. For every shift in quantum levels photons (light) must be absorbed or released. Photon control is dictated by electromagnetic fields which become critical to life.

If we compare a cell from my toe to a cell from my cheekbone, we’ll find on gross analysis that they’re completely different cells. Yet, if we look deeper, we’ll find that the DNA of the two cells is the same. The DNA of one cell is identical with that of another cell.

Further, if we implant the toe cell into the cheekbone and wait awhile, we’ll find that it is no longer a toe cell. It enters a new bio-quantic field and slowly becomes a cheekbone cell.

Wrong.

Geez, this guy really doesn’t understand basic biology, does he? Cells contain the same DNA, but different sets of genes are turned on or off in different cells. The mechanisms that control this are complex and only partially understood, but there is no need to invoke quantum mechanics or “bioquantic” fields to explain them. And, by the way, when a plastic surgeon transplants a “toe cell” (whatever that is) into the cheekbone, it does not become a “cheekbone cell.” Let’s look at it this way: When a plastic surgeon transplants, for example, a muscle flap from one part of the body to another, it remains a muscle flap. The skin on it remains skin, and the muscle does not turn into another type of tissue. When a plastic surgeon uses muscle from a woman’s abdomen to reconstruct her breast after a mastectomy, it remains a muscle flap. It does not magically turn into a breast. It just looks like a breast, which is the reason these flaps are used in the first place and a testament to the amazing skill of plastic surgeons and the even more amazing ability of the human body to integrate tissues from elsewhere in the body into a new location. Basically, most cells in the adult are what we call “terminally differentiated,” which means that they cannot turn into another type of cell. The terminal differentiation of cells is one reason that embryonic stem cells hold so much promise. Not yet differentiated, they have the potential to be induced to become virtually any kind of cell in the body.

In addition, he doesn’t seem to understand basic chemistry and biology, either. Where did he get the idea that there is no Brownian motion in life? What does he mean by “quantum order”? While it’s true that it remains a mystery what the difference between non-living and living matter is, given that one second before a cell or organism can be alive and the next minute it’s dead, even though the molecular composition hasn’t changed, invoking quantum theory to claim that life is “quantum order” and death is “thermodynamics” is no little different than handwaving and saying that God did it. Indeed, if you substitute the word “magic” for “quantum theory” or “quantum order” in this book, you’ll see that the two terms are more or less interchangeable in this woo. Besides, quantum theory applies to all matter; there’s no reason or evidence to suspect that some sort of quantum “order” applies to life and that quantum theory doesn’t apply to dead organic matter. I suppose that it’s possible that quantum theory could have something to do with the difference between life and non-life, but, even if it did, thermodynamics still applies to both. Indeed energy usage by an organism can be quite well described by classical thermodynamics (and was before quantum mechanics was formalized) without any need to resort to quantum theory.

In any case, the treatise above is so chock full of woo that I’ve kept a copy around in case YFDoW ever lacks for a target. (The chapter entitled “Cancer Seen Through Quantum Theory” alone could provide considerable material.)

The beauty of this woo is that quantum theory is invoked to explain almost every “alternative medicine,” from homeopathy to acupuncture, and it’s all packed into a single volume of concentrated woo (a veritable black hole of woo, so to speak). Better, they’ve even been kind enough to write a computer program that not only keeps track of all the other woo you’ve been subjected to in your life (presumably in order to track the various woo interactions) but also “revitalizes you” somehow. Just don’t ask the manufacturers exactly how, as this is what they’ll tell you:

As the EPFX / QXCI has been devised using the principles of Quantum Physics, that question is easier asked than answered. Basically, during treatment, the EPFX / QXCI measures the body’s resonance/reactance pattern and determines what benefit has occurred in the time period since the last measurement (less than a second earlier). If there has not been an improvement, the input resonance is altered. It maintains each beneficial setting as long as it is helping and changes it as soon as it is no longer useful.

Simple, isn’t it? So obvious. (I do so love the part about how that question is “easier asked than answered.”)

You know, on second thought, after seeing this particular gadget, maybe I’d be better off sticking with surgery.

Comments

  1. #1 Bronze Dog
    January 19, 2007

    Doggerel #17.1: Quantum, brought to you by Infophile.

  2. #2 Prup aka Jim Benton
    January 19, 2007

    Oh wonderful. Mechanized loopiness, and even a 261 page book to go with it. But c’mon, admit it. You WANT one of these machines. Not for its *ahem* diagnostic advantages, but because you know that if you brought it out at a party — even a party for SkepCirc participants — there wouldn’t be a person there who could resist testing it out on themselves. I know I’d be on the line the same way we try these wacky tests that pop up every so often.

  3. #3 Nigel
    January 19, 2007

    I googled epfx / qxci and I see I can have the full kit for only $17,950.00
    Maybe someone here has the intestinal fortitude to phone their 1-800 number ………

  4. #4 notmercury
    January 19, 2007

    That is one slick GUI.[cough] If that kind of technology doesn’t make you feel like you’ve actually earned a medical degree, I don’t know what will.

    I know Rashid Buttar uses the Ondamed device but I wonder when he’ll invest in one of these babies. I hear this thing works wonders for autism and ADHD.

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

  5. #5 Blake Stacey
    January 19, 2007

    An “Xrroid” sounds like a painful inflamation of the X. And this —

    The patient is attached by the means of a head harness, ankle straps and wrist straps to a small digital box

    — this is just kinky.

  6. #6 JohnA
    January 19, 2007

    Orac, how do you find this stuff?! I have to admit, this is by far the most oturageous thing I have ever seen. I write software, and that interface is hilarious! So many options…I feel sorry for the poor coder that had to meet with the client to build that garbage. Even now he’s gnawing his straps in a rubber room. Wow.

  7. #7 Dunc
    January 19, 2007

    OK, OK, I realize that the interface is too busy and it has that annoying hyper-colored Windows look to it, but come on.

    Well, I take your point about the nasty WinXP colour scheme, but that GUI abortion takes it to a whole new level. What is it with these people, that they feel the need to use as many different colours and typefaces at once as humanly possible?

    Have you read the testimonials? Try this on for size:

    I specialize in cancer therapies and with the EPFX / QXCI I have a 100% success rate with patients suffering from brain tumors.

    Some examples: A lady arrived in my clinic a few days after the arrival of the EPFX / QXCI and she was told she had one month to live. She is currently pregnant with her second child. No sign of a tumor.

    Last year a lady patient was told, “Don’t make any plans for Christmas.” I have her latest hospital report, “No evidence of a tumor.”

    Another male patient was told two years ago to get his affairs in order. Well, he is still here and is currently building a house for himself single handed.

    I have many more examples.

    […]

    Dr. A.C. Laubach-Bourne

    Funnily enough, Google finds only a handful of hits for “Dr. A.C. Laubach-Bourne”, all in connection with this device. You’d think someone with that sort of success rate would show up somewhere…

  8. #8 Flex
    January 19, 2007

    “homeopathic bioresonance” may be a combination of the idea that oscillating electric fields can heal with the homeopathic idea that smaller amounts have a greater effect.

    So, this device may be claiming to provide the most powerful healing possible by diluting any electric field applied by the device to undetectable levels.

    Of course, by that logic, not having the device connected at all provids an even greater healing power. Maybe the connection to the device is necessary in order to allow the quantum to flow?

    And is it just me, or does ‘Xrroid’ suggest something painful associated with the nether end? ‘Quantum Xrroid’ is hardly better.

  9. #9 Brian
    January 19, 2007

    “The laws of thermodynamics are the laws of death.”

    Wow.

    I mean, just, WOW!

    This would look so cool as a sign up in a Chem/Physics department…

  10. #11 Michael Saelim
    January 19, 2007

    So, since I’m a physics major, I should be getting a M.D. degree instead of a Ph.D? But then again, “The laws of thermodynamics are the laws of death.” Perhaps it should be a M.D.D: Medical Doctor of DOOM!

    Physics-wise, I don’t think I can enumerate everything that’s wrong, because it seems that there is absolutely nothing that’s right. The hyphen between “bio” and “physics” is the automatic giveaway that they have no idea what’s going on.

  11. #12 Interrobang
    January 19, 2007

    That interface makes me scream. I’m a technical writer, and I’m trying very, very hard not to imagine what’s in that “simple help manual.” I’m trying even harder not to imagine writing the damn thing, and I don’t even want to speculate about the possibility of thinking about what happened to the poor schlub who did. (Possibly the coder wrote the documentation, which probably means that if he ever does gnaw through those straps, someone out there is going to get an axe to the noggin.)

    Incidentally, one of the things they tell you in the tech writing biz is never to refer to things as “simple,” because your “simple” is oftentimes someone else’s “mindbogglingly difficult.” In this case, I think more of the former than the latter.

  12. #13 khan
    January 19, 2007

    Tangled up in woo.

    The descriptions of woo always sound like they were written using something similar to Dilberts Mission Statement Generator.

  13. #14 Justin Hirsh
    January 19, 2007

    That is the ugliest interface I’ve seen this side of a circa-1998 Angelfire page. Neon pink and neon green? Did a 10-year-old girl’s notebook explode and spread bad ideas all over the design department?

    I must admit I am curious about the ‘Virtual Reality’ button though. :(

  14. #15 Ktesibios
    January 19, 2007

    Looks like this gadget has an interesting history:

    http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Tests/xrroid.html

    It would be interesting to reverse engineer their little box and figure out what, if anything, it actually does, but $18k a pop makes for a pretty effective deterrent.

  15. #16 dzd
    January 19, 2007

    If this were on the Mac it would be written in RealBasic and be all brushed metal. (retching)

  16. #17 Coin
    January 19, 2007

    The EPFX / QXCI , Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface. The EPFX / QXCI measures subtle electrical factors of the body.

    So.. wait, it’s just a Scientology e-meter then, isn’t it?

    Or is it rather one of those scales that measures conductivity to calculate your body fat content?

  17. #18 Brendan
    January 19, 2007

    I’m willing to bet that inside the black bok is little more than a random number generator and a hard drive full of woo-tastic terminology. That probably makes it the single most accurate woo-based diagnostic tool on the market. . .

  18. #19 Lucas McCarty
    January 19, 2007

    “The laws of thermodynamics are the laws of death.”

    Correct. Fire a gun, the gunpowder ignites and Newton’s law on every reaction having an equal and opposite reaction takes effect, the bullet is sent packing at great speed. Someone dies.

    It’s all true!

    Homoepathic Activation? Do you have to keep clicking it then to stop it activating?

  19. #20 Brian X
    January 20, 2007

    I have to say, that GUI makes me think one thing:

    Uff da.

    And I’m not even from Minnesota.

    And I can’t help but notice that there’s a Zapper setting listed on there for prion diseases. Is that a result of Mad Liver Fluke Disease?

  20. #21 William the Coroner
    January 20, 2007

    Yeah rays docs may have cool toys, but they also develop sonar for communication, and pasty white skin. It’s the surgeons that get all the girls.

  21. #22 Nix
    January 20, 2007

    I find the quotes from Dr. Voris’s Declaration (reproduced in that quackwatch page) simply fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another embedded system control program, medical or no, that has porn embedded in it. (I wonder: if these devices are networked, is this a sign that the thing turns into a spam source when you hook it up? It would be very convenient for a fraudster and fugitive like Nelson to have come to… *arrangements* with the criminal gangs behind much spam…)

  22. #23 M
    January 20, 2007

    “The patient is attached by the means of a head harness, ankle straps and wrist straps to a small digital box connected externally to the computer in the serial port. This small box is known as the interface box and is connected to the same port where you would normally connect the printer.”

    I know there’s so much else to wonder at, but I feel I have to point out that people don’t attach their printers through the serial port. They used to do it through the parallel port (as known as the printer port) and now they use USB.

  23. #24 epador
    January 20, 2007

    Until this comes with Intel core duo processors and a black polycarbonate shell that sucks up body oils into permanent shiny fingerprints, I refuse to be impressed.

  24. #25 RadGrrl
    January 22, 2007

    Reading the description of attaching the patient with a head harness brings to mind a scene from Ghostbusters. I am picturing Rick Moranis with a metal colander on his head, hooked up to a computer. And Lo, the image on the monitor is his EVIL alter ego!

  25. #26 Christophe Thill
    January 22, 2007

    Well, the human body may be able to regulate its own temperature, while the wine glass sitting in front of it is not. But neither are frogs, reptiles, arthropods, and many others still. So this is not a great criterium to tell a living being from an inorganic object.

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