Respectful Insolence

A couple of days ago, I couldn’t resist discussing a recent article in the New York Times about recent discoveries in cancer research. I considered the article to be a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. While the article did a pretty good job of describing recent discoveries about how noncoding RNA, the tumor microenvironment, and even microbes are involved in the pathogenesis of cancer, it had an annoying spin that portrayed some of these discoveries as being much shinier and newer than they actually are. At the time, I noted that quacks would certainly use this article as a jumping-off point to attack conventional medicine, and, of course, they did.

My expectation when I first encountered the NYT article was that someone like everyone’s favorite quack and all-around conspiracy theorist Mike Adams or everyone’s favorite entrepreneurial crank Joe Mercola would leap all over the article. To my surprise, neither did. On the other hand, another of my “favorite” crank organizations, namely the International Medical Veritas Association, leapt into the breach where the more famous cranks didn’t. One interesting thing I learned delving into this nonsense is that there are apparently two different “Medical Veritas” organizations. The first one (and the one I’m most familiar with) is Medical Veritas International and publishes the infamous Medical Veritas journal, which is is apparently no longer being published and used to bill itself as the “journal of medical truth.” It was also rabidly anti-vaccine and HIV/AIDS denialist. The second organization is the International Medical Veritas Association. This latter organization is headed up by an acupuncturist Mark Sircus, who writes the IMVA blog.

At this point I can’t help but wonder what this fascination is with “truth” among medical cranks. The fascination is so strong that we have not just one, but apparently two, cranks groups named, in essence, “medical truth.” As I always say, medicine and science are not about “truth.” They are about testing hypotheses, designing models, and developing theories that make useful predictions about how nature behaves. “Truth” is not what scientists are about, but it is apparently what cranks are about. Perhaps that’s why they favor such simplistic answers and cling to them with religious fervor. But I digress.

Sircus, it turns out, fancies himself a cancer expert and penned a lovely little ditty he entitled Cancer Still a Mystery to Medical Science. In many ways, that might be true, but as I’ve pointed out, just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean that you can fill in the gaps with whatever nonsense that catches your fancy, or, as Dara O’Briain puts it, “Science knows it doesn’t know everything; otherwise, it’d stop.” Sircus, in a single article, not only shows the arrogance of ignorance, he reveals a quack technique that I’ve noticed before but have never really seen done so blatantly:

Quite a few people make quite a lot of money by insisting on complicating the subject of cancer. Medical scientists continue to explore the far reaches of cell physiology in their still deeply frustrated attempt to understand cancer. As they explore further, the picture only becomes more complicated as a recent article in the New York Times demonstrates. It is just too hard for complicated minds to sum up cancer in simple terms–as tissue rot–that takes us quickly and painfully to our deaths if not resolved.

For the last decade cancer research has been guided by a common vision of how a single cell, out competing its neighbors, evolves into a malignant tumor. Like ostriches with their heads cemented into the ground they have obsessed with their “common vision” no matter what evidence has been revealed. These mainstream medical scientists admit that, “new theories are still coming out that will possibly change how we treat the disease.” “They just keep on getting deeper and deeper into the mire of all that DNA stuff………..needing more research money, never finding anything that makes any difference for anyone,” writes Claudia French, RN.

See what I mean? According to Sircus, physicians make money by “complicating” the subject of cancer. To Sircus and the quacks, cancer isn’t “complicated.” Oh, no! It’s seeming complexity, such as what I’ve written about time and time again is a plot to keep you–yes, you!–from being able to understand cancer and thus be “empowered” (i.e., fleeced) by those who “understand” cancer. The rest of the article then reads like a laundry list of cancer quackery. For example, we have vitamin C quackery in which Sircus cites a recent study published in Cancer Research to support his case. The problem, of course, as is so often the case when promoters of quackery cite scientific studies regarding vitamin C and cancer is that he extrapolates far beyond what the study supports. Basically, the study showed that low ascorbate levels were associated with more aggressive phenotypes in endometrial cancer, as well as elevated levels of a protein called HIF-1, which is associated with hypoxia and increased angiogenesis. That’s about it. Instead of citing the study itself, Sircus cites a news story about the study, a news story that happened to have an opening paragraph that misrepresented the finding of the study as having found that “Vitamin C can help curb the growth of cancer cells.” Nothing in the study demonstrated that, but that doesn’t stop Sircus from boldly (and ignorantly) proclaiming, “Oncologists never made it to first grade as far as knowledge of nutrition and its role in health and disease.”

Of course, according to Sircus, hiding the role of nutrition in cancer is all part of the medical conspiracy:

How the Times medical editorial staff let this essay through is beyond me and how they could say, “Understanding how cancer starts with a single cell and then grows into a tumor is fundamental into one day preventing the disease,” is ridiculous. When it dawns on you that the article mentions not one word about nutritional deficiencies or anything about increasing exposures to heavy metals, toxic chemicals or radiation, we can see that there are people who really don’t want to understand cancer and how it can be avoided or cured.

The “reigning paradigm, a kind of Big Bang theory” for the cancer field, is just what they say it is–a theory and a cherished chosen belief system that we already know is full of holes. Doctors and dentists and just about everyone we know eats up the cancer Big Bang theory with fanatic fervor. It is so much fun to be a part of the in crowd and who wants ones medical board breathing down ones neck? We have to have some empathy for the doctors too afraid to buck the lockstep but we can only go so far in sparing them the consequence of harming people.

That’s right. At first, it seems to Sircus that the NYT had somehow bucked the conspiracy and slipped up, revealing some of its secrets and just how little scientists supposedly know about cancer, except that it was really a clever ruse in that it didn’t mention the things that really cause cancer. And, of course, I can’t help but reiterate that the fact that there are deficiencies in our scientific understanding of cancer, that we don’t know everything about cancer, does not imply that the quacks favored by Sircus do. It’s a classic appeal to ignorance, a sort of “God of the gaps” favored by creationists, except that instead of inserting God into holes in our understanding of cancer, as creationists do to holes in our understanding of evolution, quacks insert whatever quackery or magical thinking they happen to believe in. It’s the same process of science denial, just without necessarily requiring gods. It does, however, require religious thinking not unlike belief in god. Indeed, the very language that Sircus uses is infused with terms about belief, not the least of which is referring to the current scientific concepts about cancer biology as a “cherished chosen belief system” and the dedication of scientists and physicians to them as “fanatical fervor.”

There is one part of the NYT article, though, that Sircus liked. After chastising the editors for not mentioning nutrition or “toxic chemicals” and for not likening cancer to “literally rotting inside and dying from the loss of function, gathering infectious forces, and losing strength from malnutrition as the cancer cells eat us out of house and home,” Sircus discusses the microbe-cancer link mentioned in the NYT article. As you might recall, the NYT article spent a fair amount of verbiage (for a newspaper article) discussing how normal cells are coopted by cancers to assist in their growth and invasion, but in reality what interests Sircus the most is the part of the article discussing how interactions between the microbes that live on and in us (known as our “microbiome”) and our own cells resulting in cancer. Here’s where Sircus makes a hilariously off-base leap:

The germ theory of cancer is quite legitimate though medical authorities continue to crucify Dr. Tullio Simoncini for his focus on fungus and yeast as a central part of the cancer paradigm. Long before Simoncini walked the earth we have had research connecting fungus to cancer. Fungus is a microbe, and many scientists believe viruses, fungi and bacteria are all different stages of the microbe life cycle. Neither Dr. Dannenberg nor Dr. Simoncini is a medical heretic but many subjects in our contemporary civilization are just too taboo.

Wow. So much wrong concentrated into such a short paragraph. First of all, one must wonder who these “many” scientists are who don’t know the difference between viruses, fungi, and bacteria, all of which are hugely different organisms, not “different stages of the microbe life cycle.” Yes, ideas popularized by Antoine Béchamp do pop up in the strangest places, don’t they? Of course, Sircus is being disingenuous when he invokes Tullio Simoncini as a “legitimate scientist” who’s being “crucified” because he believes cancer is caused by a fungus. However, that’s not quite what Simoncini claims.

I’ve written extensively about the quack who is known as Tullio Simoncini before, beginning three years ago when I first came across him. Basically, Simoncini claims not that all cancer is caused by fungus, which would be wrong but not as insane as what he does preach, which is that all cancer is a fungus and that tumors are the body’s defense against this fungus, an idea very similar in a way to Robert O. Young’s idea that tumors are a defense against “cells spoiled by acid.” In other words, cancerous tumors are not the disease; they’re the body’s normal reaction.

If you don’t believe just how quacky Tullio Simoncini is, here is an interview with him for you to consider:

You can see just how dumb this video is by listening to Dr. Simoncini pontificate in the first couple of minutes of the video that whenever he sees a cancerous tumor in the body, the lumps are “always white.” He emphasizes this amazing observation several times, so apparently important is it. Yes, that was the observation that supposedly led him to his idea (I refuse to dignify it with the term “hypothesis”) that tumors are in fact due to fungus. In response, the host gushes about how brilliant that is and how obvious it is.

But that’s not the quackiest thing Simoncini preaches. Simoncini claims that the way to kill this “fungus”/”cancer” is with baking soda. Yes, baking soda. Simoncini injects baking soda into tumors and claims to be able to cure cancer that way, and his quackery has resulted in the deaths of patients and major delays in treatment in others. Not surprisingly, he’s been prosecuted in Italy and stripped of his medical license and is under investigation in the Netherlands for his quackery. Of late, Simoncini has been hawking his wares on UFO/conspiracy-type media outlets.

This is the man to whom Sircus refers to claim scientific respectability for his ideas! Yet it is enough for Sircus to conclude:

It really is hard to understand how the New York Times piece failed to mention any of these other important factors about cancer. We all have reason to distrust the field of oncology and medical science itself. Both consistently demonstrate criminal ignorance when it comes to cancer, what causes it, how to prevent it, and what to do about it when one gets it.

That’s the message of quacks. They want to convince you that doctors and scientists don’t know anything about cancer, that their incomplete understanding of the utter complexity of cancer is due to ideology and belief, not evidence. More importantly, they want you to believe in a view of cancer that is simple, neat, and, although sometimes based on a grain of science misinterpreted, utterly wrong.

Comments

  1. #1 palindrom
    August 25, 2011

    Excellent post, thanks.

    I wonder — how much does the psychiatric profession know about how the minds of cranks work?

    I’m a scientist in another field, and I’ve come across an amazing number of people who somehow think that they understand science better than the professionals. The level of delusion seems to go from fairly mild up to full-blown mental illness. I’d think the relation between the milder forms and the true crazies would be of considerable interest (e.g., is it a continuum? Does wacky ideation about science tend to indicate underlying mental illness? Is it associated with other eccentricities? And so on.)

    Does anyone know the state of play in the psychiatric field?

  2. #2 augustine
    August 25, 2011

    palidrone

    I’m a scientist in another field, and I’ve come across an amazing number of people who somehow think that they understand science better than the professionals. The level of delusion seems to go from fairly mild up to full-blown mental illness.

    What a great way to censor and control people. Medically diagnose them and call them crazy. No one can refuse medically mandated medical treatment. Voila. Government mandated control via the medical profession. A perfect merger of scientism and politics.

    Go on. You have my ear. Rationalize this with evidence and reason.

  3. #3 c0nc0rdance
    August 25, 2011

    I frequently have family members ask me “Why don’t we have a cure for cancer yet?”

    My response is: “The same reason we don’t have a cure for car failures” Cancer is built into our biology. Normal cell regulation is a tightrope walk, a long period of near-perfect homeostatic “green zone” existence. Just like a car, good maintenance helps, good engineering can extend, but eventually, degradation/dysregulation occurs and pushes us out of the green. Sometimes we can fix it, for a time, but every car is destined for the junk heap at some point in the future.

    It in inconceivable to me that there will be some single therapeutic that “fixes cancer” in the same way that I can’t imagine a single procedure that “fixes car failure”, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying to push back the burden of disease. We should be realistic about our goal, though: longer, happier lives for everyone. That’s something research is delivering on, I think.

    If you decide to switch posts, Orac, we’d love to have you in Texas. One of the few things I’m happy about here is the CPRIT program, which has spent over 300 million dollars on research and clinical translation.

  4. #4 Denice Walter
    August 25, 2011

    Again, woo-meisters’ “theories” reveal little about the subject matter at hand and volumes about the authors’ pitiable lack of education in science, and, if I be so bold as to say it, their level of thinking in general. If you know *anything* at all about how cancer progresses you will immediately recognise the absurdity of postulating a “cure” by nutritional means such as vitamin C, alkaline foods, or green juices.

    Purely by chance ( and “chance” rules all, doesn’t it?), yesterday I heard the most patently ridiculous, breathtakingly stupid, and self-serving mercenary nonsense ever suited up in *noir* novella-style trappings: grandiose braggadocio uninhibited by higher mental functioning. It was by none other than Gary Null ( The Gary Null Show; progressiveradionetwork.com; 8/24/11).

    He tells his enraptured audience how one of his followers took him to an old farm house where an elderly woman showed him slides of her late husband’s “suppressed” research: “before” and “after” slides of various tissues affected by different diseases ( including cancer). He had “discovered” that all illness can be eradicated by submitting it to the proper vibration. And he had figured out the frequencies! And the medical establishment shut him down!

    Null’s beliefs includes ideas about herbs, foods, and supplements having specific frequencies and he has spoken widely about his own “research” into human personality types being dependent upon energies, as well as energy medicine and healing ( he is both a healer and a “sensitive”). He rants about how SBM is a sham and a put-on : they don’t know the “Truth”- they’re only in it for the money! Medicine is corporate, bought and paid for by Pharma.

    Why do idiots like him ( or Adams or Sircus) even have an audience? He simultaneously presents himself as an accomplished, ground-breaking researcher -really, he does- and a folksy “regular guy- not an elitist who spends his or her life in an ivory tower. Like us.

    True, probably his core audience of die-hards is small *but* aspects of his repetoire leak out into the mainstream via the internet: I have seen his crap quoted all over, given creedence and respect.

    People are frightened by cancer and seek simple answers *that don’t exist*- charlatans are only too willing to provide spurious, dangerous alternatives to reality while padding their own wallets and building their own little empires and palacial retreats.

    Do I think that there is mental illness involved when a person endangers others’ health to increase their own bank accounts? I won’t speculate but others have: Seth Kalichman calls HIV/AIDS denialists who push an agenda narcissists and possibly being in “malignant” denial.

  5. #5 Composer99
    August 25, 2011

    I note Sircus misrepresents the predominant thinking on cancer causality as a sort of ‘Big Bang theory’ (and he appears to be playing the ‘it’s just a theory’ language game, as well).

  6. #6 Composer99
    August 25, 2011

    From Denice @3:

    He tells his enraptured audience how one of his followers took him to an old farm house where an elderly woman showed him slides of her late husband’s “suppressed” research: “before” and “after” slides of various tissues affected by different diseases ( including cancer). He had “discovered” that all illness can be eradicated by submitting it to the proper vibration. And he had figured out the frequencies! And the medical establishment shut him down!

    I’m sure the estate and/or defenders of a certain Mr Rife will be on the scene to deal with this plagiarism soon enough. :)

    Also:

    Do I think that there is mental illness involved when a person endangers others’ health to increase their own bank accounts? I won’t speculate but others have

    I will here indulge in a little speculation and suggest at least a mild form of psychopathy: lack of empathy, lying & manipulativeness, egocentricity & grandiosity, and, dare I suggest, remorselessness, are traits which often shine through in the most unrepentant of quacks.

  7. #7 Mike
    August 25, 2011

    “Fungus is a microbe, and many scientists believe viruses, fungi and bacteria are all different stages of the microbe life cycle.”

    [citation needed] anyone?

    Wow . . . this one just made my brain hurt.

    As you so aptly say, Orac. The stupid. It burns.

  8. #8 Krebiozen
    August 25, 2011

    palindrom,
    I think the Dunning–Kruger effect is close to what you are referring to, though it’s not an overt mental illness, at its extreme it’s close.

    Mark Sircus has been bugging me for years. When it comes to misquoting, misinterpreting and distorting scientific research he is a master. I once found he had quoted from a question about magnesium in strokes on Medscape where the answer was the exact opposite to what the partial quote he used implied. He has also claimed that because patients on chemotherapy are sometimes given sodium bicarbonate to alkalize the urine to encourage excretion of toxic byproducts and avoid damage to the kidneys, it is actually the bicarbonate that is destroying the tumor.

  9. #9 palindrom
    August 25, 2011

    Sircus may be playing on public skepticism of the “big bang theory” in his effort to discredit mainstream cancer research. The big bang is, after all, remote, arcane, and in the public mind impossible to imagine, let alone prove. So, like Rodney Dangerfield, it “don’t get no respect”.

    This is ironic, since in reality there are multiple lines of very persuasive evidence pointing to the fact that it occurred. Unfortunately, the really stunning pieces of evidence are all a bit arcane — the microwave background spectrum, and perhaps most jaw-droppingly powerful of all, the angular correlation spectrum of the microwave background fluctuations (see my point?).

    As usual, Wikipedia does a good job on this stuff if you’re interested –

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_microwave_background

  10. #10 Dangerous Bacon
    August 25, 2011

    I can understand wooist complaints about science recognizing the complexities of cancer and the myriad factors that lead to tumor development. It’s so comforting to believe that all cancer is the same entity, that there’s a single trigger, and that cancer can be prevented or treated with a simple, cheap, safe remedy.

    But wooists themselves postulate a complex range of causes of cancer (i.e. “nutritional deficiencies…increasing exposures to heavy metals, toxic chemicals or radiation” as mentioned by Sircus in his article). Just in the category of “nutritional deficiences” alone, there are a myriad of woo theories. Then we have fungus (including the dreaded Candida) and various other microbes (do Sircus and those “many scientists” he cites believe that parasites are also part of the same microbe life cycle? Hulda Clark must be turning cartwheels in her grave). Add to that acid-base “imbalance” and non-specific stresses on immune or other systems, and it’s clear that the woo crowd has no simple explanation.

    And if preventing or curing cancer is so simple, why are there a gazillion different supplements, gadgets and remedies promoted by alties? Shouldn’t there just be one simple agreed-upon cure?

    Sorry, the “you’re making things too complex” argument falls flat when the alties’ own repertoire is vastly more complicated than what mainstream medicine proposes.

    If there are any lingering doubts about how deeply Sircus has descended into quackery (beyond the howler regarding fungi, bacteria and viruses all being part of a unified microbe life cycle), here’s an article promoting his beliefs on the magickal healing properties of seawater:

    The Greatest Miracle from the Sea

    Magnesium chloride solutions gained from sea water evaporation (or by industrial pharmaceutical fabrication) offers a medical miracle to humanity, one that many have sought but have not found. Nothing short of a miracle is to be expected with increases in the cellular levels of magnesium…Approximately nine out of ten people will show dramatic improvements in the state of their health when they replete their magnesium levels and the very best way to do that is with magnesium chloride gained from the sea…Hidden in each cubic mile of ocean water is enough healing power to put the pharmaceutical companies out of business.”

    “To use ocean water as blood plasma, it must be diluted with ultra-pure water to the same concentration as blood plasma: namely, nine grams of salt per liter. “Just think what a safe, effective, plentiful substitute for blood transfusion would mean to the world: no side effects, no blood-type matching needed, no pathogen screening required, and it would be a true plasma with proven healing properties in itself,” writes Dianne Jacobs Thompson in Nexus Magazine.””

    The above quotes are from a website called (drumroll please) Truthquest.

    Seawater has been a staple among quacks for a very long time. Here for instance is a 1961 Time article decrying it and other forms of quackery. The more things change…

  11. #11 Chris
    August 25, 2011

    Oh My Dog! The guy is an acupuncturist with the letters “OMD” behind his name. Oriental Medical Doctor. And it is only an honorary degree. Yikes.

    I’m not sure if it is a psychological issue with the man, as much he really does not have clue. He most likely never had any real education past high school, much less took any real science in high school. His biography at this pretend mail order online school lists his education as “Institute of Traditional Medicine in Santa Fe, N.M., and in the School of Traditional Medicine of New England in Boston.” One exists now in California, the other I can’t find except in connection with Mr. Sircus (he is not a doctor!).

    He really does not have a clue. He is right up there with Robert O. Young.

    (Since ND is “Not a Doctor”, what is a good phrase for OMD? “Odd Mythical Doctor”?)

  12. #12 Scott Cunningham
    August 25, 2011

    From Marc Sircus

    The germ theory of cancer is quite legitimate though medical authorities continue to crucify Dr. Tullio Simoncini for his focus on fungus and yeast as a central part of the cancer paradigm.

    Swing and a miss. He accepts cancer can be caused by infectious agents, but instead of mentioning, oh, let’s say human papilloma viruses, he goes for the fungus woo.

    It’s like cranks define themselves in opposition to reality. If science suggested the Earth was roundish, they’d have to insist it was a perfectly round sphere and surround it with crystal regular polyhedrons.

  13. #13 Chris
    August 25, 2011

    I have a comment in moderation. I checked Sircus’ credentials. In short he does not have any. His Oriental Medical Doctor title is actually honorary. He is as much a “doctor” as Robert O. Young. Like Young, he probably skipped taking science in high school, and did not attend a real college. He is definitely uneducated, or more appropriately just educated in pure nonsense.

  14. #14 Denice Walter
    August 25, 2011

    @ Dangerous Bacon:
    Lots of salt woo recently: Mike Adams trumpetting sea salt as a necessity, Tibetan salt “lamps”, and my own fave, sea salt beauty products, “Dead Sea Salts”, for bath, skin care etc. This way they can market the spiritual connection to Israel allowing them to target at least two religious groups.

    I shop at a designer mall in southern NY state where the Dead Sea Salt products are hawked from a cart by young salespeople as you walk past, inviting you to try the miracle of sea salt hand creme or whatever. I prefer squalene, as in vaccines: works for me.

  15. #15 Poodle Stomper
    August 25, 2011

    Simonchini is yet another example of when quacks become dangerously stupid. I truly wonder how many people have fallen for his crap and suffered for it.

    I wonder if anyone has ever asked him why HeLa cells (were derived from the cervical cancer) are still genetically human.

    ALS is fungal? He should read the current Nature journal that actually identified the cause of X-linked familial ALS (hint, it seems to be due to errors in protein recycling pathways, not fungi).

  16. #16 Edith Prickly
    August 25, 2011

    He tells his enraptured audience how one of his followers took him to an old farm house where an elderly woman showed him slides of her late husband’s “suppressed” research: “before” and “after” slides of various tissues affected by different diseases ( including cancer). He had “discovered” that all illness can be eradicated by submitting it to the proper vibration. And he had figured out the frequencies! And the medical establishment shut him down!

    I’ve heard a variation on this vibration theory – from a martial arts instructor who was heavily involved in MLM scheme for quacky supplements (Hunza water, noni juice, etc.) He claimed doing a particular sort of Chinese meditation was supposed to raise your cellular vibration to the point where nothing could infect you. Yeah, whatever. Luckily he wasn’t my sensei, so I wasn’t subjected to constant pressure to believe his nonsense or buy the supplements. I never could decide how much of it he really believed and how much was cynical sales pitch, but he had more than his share of ego and grandiosity which he tried to disguise as “Eastern wisdom.”

  17. #17 In Vitro Infidelium
    August 25, 2011

    I wonder — how much does the psychiatric profession know about how the minds of cranks work?

    About as much as it knows about non crank minds – pretty much bugger all. Psychiatry is founded on crankism. Not a single precept of Freud or Jung or their respective followers (cult like in many cases) has panned out as a scientific principle and psychiatry has only achieved a modicum of scientific validity by its incorporation (often with little legitimacy from the psychiatric side) of neurology and neurochemistry. The failure of ‘therapy’ approaches to deliver cost effective long term treatments of psychological illness has pushed psychiatry into the adoption of a ‘behaviouralist’ philosophy in support of what is often little more than ‘compliance medicine’ the function of which is to make the psychologically distressed ‘manageable’ for purposes of cost and social convenience. All of which seems somewhat insuffiencient as a platform from which to challenge the real harms of crankery. Scepticism and demonstrable science are by far the most effective tools with which to deconstruct crankery, resorting to ad hominemist psychobabblery is merely to embrace a pot and kettle continuum.

  18. #18 cervantes
    August 25, 2011

    Orac — Where do you find the time to read all of this crap? And how do you keep your blood pressure under control when you do?

  19. #19 dusonfnp
    August 25, 2011

    Interesting. According to the quacks in Part 1, scientists and SBM practitioners over-simplify cancer, to the extent that the quacks anthropomorphize cancer as being “willful and calculating.” Simultaneously, another subset of quacks in part 2 claim that scientists and SBM practitioners over-complicate cancer. Whatever sells their woo best, I guess…..

    And fungi are part of the bacteria life-cycle and vice versa? Wow. Basic biology FAIL.

  20. #20 Edith Prickly
    August 25, 2011

    Seawater has been a staple among quacks for a very long time. Here for instance is a 1961 Time article decrying it and other forms of quackery. The more things change…

    The woo has certainly stayed the same, but the (rightly) skeptical tone of the news article has mostly been lost as well as the adversarial stance of the government officials. Now Arianna Huffington gives a free platform to any quack with a book/treatment/product to sell, Dr. Oz puts them on his TV show and never asks any tough questions and certain senators block any efforts to control the woo-pushers.

    Hidden in each cubic mile of ocean water is enough healing power to put the pharmaceutical companies out of business.”

    So does that mean fish are immortal?

  21. #21 Calli Arcale
    August 25, 2011

    Dangerous Bacon:

    “To use ocean water as blood plasma, it must be diluted with ultra-pure water to the same concentration as blood plasma: namely, nine grams of salt per liter. “Just think what a safe, effective, plentiful substitute for blood transfusion would mean to the world: no side effects, no blood-type matching needed, no pathogen screening required, and it would be a true plasma with proven healing properties in itself,” writes Dianne Jacobs Thompson in Nexus Magazine.””

    *boggles*

    Okay, so *assuming* you can take all the nasties out of the seawater before transfusing it (I seem to recall it’s already pretty close to the salinity of human blood, so I don’t know why he wants to dilute it), what exactly does that site think red blood cells and platelets are for?

  22. #22 Heliantus
    August 25, 2011

    @ Calli Arcale

    what exactly does that site think red blood cells and platelets are for?

    Well, he (she? Dianne?) talks about “blood plasma”, so I guess he is only interested in plasma transfusion, not in red cell transfusion. IANAD, but I dimly remember these have different applications.
    But now, you can talk of all these dissolved human proteins in plasma. Blood coagulation factors, albumin, globulins. There are not going to be much of them in ocean water either.

    Moreover, from the article

    no pathogen screening required

    From seawater? With all these fishes crapping, rutting and dying in it? With the ocean being the endpoint of a lot of sewage originating from landbound animals?
    Bathing in seawater is not the same as drinking it is not the same as injecting it.
    Sure, you won’t catch HIV from seawater transfusion (I hope?). But I’m not exactly sure thus a transfusion wouldn’t contain any germ very happy to find a cozy, warm home.

  23. #23 palindrom
    August 25, 2011

    In Vitro Infidelium @20 — I don’t have an informed opinion on the validity of psychiatry, but there’s something interesting going on in the minds of true cranks — they are immune to rational argument, and suffer from clearly delusional thinking.

    “Dunning-Kruger” doesn’t quite fit, since many of them know lots of stuff — they’re just hopefully wrong about how it fits together (think, e.g., conspiracy theorists who know mind-numbing amounts of detail, but weirdly can’t see how wildly implausible their ideas are).

    But their delusions don’t rise to the level of, say, auditory hallucinations. However hopeless the theoretical structure of psychiatry may be, shrinks see a lot of people with varying degrees of craziness, and I’d think some of the more thoughtful ones might have some interesting observations.

    One last thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if many quacks are indeed psychopaths, but I’ll bet a lot of them are not — they really believe what they’re saying. They are cranks, and hence not persuadable by rational argument. Quackery is, in that case, the fatal intersection of delusion, desparation (on the part of the patient), and the profit motive.

  24. #24 palindrom
    August 25, 2011

    Oops — in the previous comment, paragraph 2, I meant to write “they’re hopelessly wrong”.

    I’m not thinking that they’re only “hopefully wrong”!

  25. #25 puppygod
    August 25, 2011

    @palindrom

    In most cases all crank behaviors can be explained by one of the most common and basic psychological phenomenon: reduction of cognitive dissonance. Everybody is doing this. It’s just that some people have it cranked up (ha!) to eleven.

    Check out wiki page on cognitive dissonance. It’s actually pretty well written.

  26. #26 herr doktor bimler
    August 25, 2011

    The “reigning paradigm, a kind of Big Bang theory” for the cancer field, is just what they say it is–a theory

    So the Unified Theory of cancer specialists is their absence of a Unified Theory. They’re tricky like that.
    Perhaps this makes sense to someone but I prefer to think of it as a Zen koan.

  27. #27 Krebiozen
    August 25, 2011

    I prefer to think of it as a Zen koan

    The sound of one man quacking?

  28. #28 aquarian
    August 26, 2011

    you sound angry and that is bad for your health

  29. #29 Chris
    August 26, 2011

    aquarian, who is your cryptic statement meant for?

    Krebiozen? Because that is known as a “joke.” You do know what jokes are, don’t you?

  30. #30 In Vitro Infidelium
    August 26, 2011

    @ 23
    I would argue there is no such thing as ‘irrational thinking’ – by its very nature thinking is a rational process, the fact that an individual isn’t willing to share the logical processes demanded by science doesn’t mean that for them they are not following wholly rational processes. The only exception would be disordered thinking, produced by anything from too much alcohol to schizophrenic delusion. In scientific terms delusions are an essental part of managing human conciousness – the very personalities that we are employing to negotiate this communication are ‘delusiary’, they are not however of psychiatric relevance unless they are inescapably distressing to the individual. I may believe in faeries – so long as my belief, which may include my seeing, hearing and touching faeries, supports the course of my life as it is experienced by me, then there is no basis to invoke psychopathy. In the circumstance where my belief underwrites my being a danger to others(driving while drunk/engaging in mass murder), and I have no cognition of that harm, or where my belief excuses my acceptances of responsibility for the harm, then the question of sociopathy must arise. However as few psychiatrists accept sociopathy as a psychiatric condition, it is necessary to invoke some alternate process of judgement – moral, philosophical, legal etc for my harmful behaviour. The exception of course is where a demonstrable psychiatric illness is in play, but that is rarely demonstrable where the individual inflicting harm on others is not themselves experiencing notable distress. This http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/23/anders-behring-breivik-norway-attacks case will no doubt raise some interesting observations on the nature of psychopathy ans sociopathy.

    Medicalising thinking that we do not approve of is itself an unreasoned process, particularly it ignores the logical converse of the process – that is the medicalised state (of being in psychological distress) is subject to disapproval -what other area of medicine could attract such an absurd proposition ?

  31. #31 hyperdeath
    August 26, 2011

    Posted by: palindrom

    “Dunning-Kruger” doesn’t quite fit, since many of them know lots of stuff — they’re just hopefully wrong about how it fits together (think, e.g., conspiracy theorists who know mind-numbing amounts of detail, but weirdly can’t see how wildly implausible their ideas are).

    I don’t agree with the “know[ing] lots of stuff” statement. Many cranks have a large store of impressive-sounding factoids, but very few have a general understanding of the field. For example, 9/11 Truthers may know the melting point of steel, and the temperature of burning jet fuel (and delight in pointing out that the former is higher than the latter), but they lack the basic knowledge to put this information in context. Similarly, anti-vaxxers may have memorized the high-dose side-effects of all vaccine additives, but their understanding stops there.

    The factoids are used like incantations, rather than the premises of logical arguments. They may be able to scream out “VACCINES CONTAIN ANTIFREEZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”, but as soon as the debate leads into the toxicology and pharmokinetics of formaldehyde, or notions of statistical risk, they have no argument besides another (or often the same) incantation.

  32. #32 Collin
    August 26, 2011

    I’ve never understood why people say science doesn’t deal with truth. If all the well-established facts found by science aren’t true, what are they? Just because religion and paranoia have coopted the word “truth” for their own purposes does not oblige anyone to find an alternative word or phrase for science. They have also coopted the word “energy”, yet I’ve never heard anyone suggest that the concept of energy in physical science has to be renamed.

    This refusal to use words like truth, fact, and reality in scientific discourse is driving science down the drain.

  33. #33 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 26, 2011

    Science has several perfectly good terms that are more precise and useful than the confusing term “truth”. Observation is one, fact is another. Confirmation is a good one as well (as in “the experiment confirmed the predictions of the hypothesis.”).

    The problem with truth is that people confuse it with an absolute term (as it’s used in Boolean algebra) instead of the relative term it is. Are Newton’s laws of motion true? Well, they accurately predict what we observe for a wide range of conditions in multiple reference frames. However, special relativity adds factors to Newton’s laws that become significant at high enough speeds and more accurately predicts what’s observed under those conditions than do the original laws. So does that make Newton’s laws false?

    Likewise to a reasonable degree of precision the Earth is a sphere, but it bulges. Does that mean that the statement that the Earth is spherical is false? Could we ever agree on the true shape of the Earth?

    Who needs those kinds of arguments? It’s like arguing with your kids – “You came home at 11 last night!” “That’s not true” (because it was really 11:03:50).

  34. #34 W. Kevin Vicklund
    August 26, 2011

    One interesting thing I learned delving into this nonsense is that there are apparently two different “Medical Veritas” organizations. The first one … is Medical Veritas International… The second organization is the International Medical Veritas Association.

    Splitters!

  35. #35 Krebiozen
    August 26, 2011

    In Vitro Infidelium,

    I would argue there is no such thing as ‘irrational thinking’

    Having had the privilege (?) of talking to a few people with serious mental health problems I beg to differ. In schizophrenia normal linear thought processes sometimes become disrupted. I once spent a long time talking to a friend I now know was having a schizophrenic episode, gently trying to point out the non-sequiturs in his thinking, but this just made him very agitated.

    Less extreme examples can be seen in some of the trolls who post here regularly. You can point out to them that their thought processes behind their arguments are not logical, but once you pin them down to specifics they start spouting incoherent word salad. That or they disappear and then return weeks or months later with the same old nonsense.

    I don’t think this is the phenomenon we see in quacks. I think this is about ‘true belief’. Once someone has, for whatever reason, come to believe something completely, they will only see evidence that supports that belief. Any evidence that doesn’t support that belief is dismissed as unreliable, simply ignored, or is distorted so it does fit that belief.

    We all suffer from this tendency to some extent, of course, which is why it important to question our own beliefs from time to time. It’s also the reason cherry-picking evidence is dangerous. We frequently see people here who have come up with a theory, and have then scoured the literature looking for evidence to support it (a certain commenter who believes that radiation is good for us comes to mind here), ignoring any evidence that doesn’t fit.

    Go to any website about homeopathy or acupuncture and look at their inevitable page on research and you will see exactly what I mean. You won’t find any evidence that doesn’t support their views there.

    It is always important to look at all the evidence and try to assess its quality objectively before coming to anything approaching a ‘true belief’ about anything.

  36. #36 Roadstergal
    August 26, 2011

    Splitters!

    We’re the People’s Front of Judea!

  37. #37 KiWE John
    August 27, 2011

    Orac, I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say cancer is complicated. So is nature, and the food that it provides.
    By far the most comprehensive Scientific study of nutrition ever conducted “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell shows that the more meat a population eats, the higher is the rate of cancer and those who don’t eat meat don’t get cancer! This book should be required reading for any medical practitioner. If you doubt this statement then read his book and see the statistics, especially those which came from Government statistics from different countries.
    This study shows that we would be well advised to get back to eating organic natural foods, instead of the huge amounts of processed foods to which are added addictive poisons, such as aspartame, monosodium glutamate and artificial colourings and flavours, which if one searches the literature scientifically, are known to produce cancer and all sorts of other health problems . Not to mention genetically modified foodstuffs, on which there is really insufficient evidence to determine any long term effects on both people and the environment. If Governmental regulatory Food and Health Authorities would do their research properly, all these food ingredients would be banned.
    The sooner we can get back to living in a natural environment without all the industrial pollution spewing into our water and soil, and contaminating our food and eliminate all the unnatural poisonous pesticides, growth hormones, addictive poisons, and use organic Natural health foods, the sooner the health of the population will improve, and cancer be eliminated.

    Hippocrates, sometimes called the “Father” of modern medicine said:
    “Everything in excess is opposed to nature.”

    If anyone reads this who has a genuine concern for healing fellow human beings who have cancer (and other ailments e.g. gout, diabetes, obesity and many more) without using drugs or radiation therapy, please watch this movie below. This is a Non-Profit Cure for Cancer and many other Diseases/Ailments,-which has been around for 75 years, but has been discredited and “outlawed” by the mainstream Medical Profession, because there is no money to be made from it! I believe The Gerson Clinic (located in Mexico, because it is not allowed to practice in the US) would welcome a clinical trial to prove the effectiveness of their therapy. Is the real Hippocratic oath being practiced, today, or is it only the money and prestige that attracts people to become Doctors? Remember that Hippocrates himself said “let medicine be your food and food be your medicine”.
    I must admit I don’t know how good natural food prevents or heals cancer. However, not to treat someone with a potential cure, when Doctors say ”Sorry, we can do no more… you have 3 to 6 months to live” just because we don’t know how it works, seems rather heartless to the person “about to die”.
    The Gerson Miracle movie link is at:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbIixJI_oa4
    There are many other natural cures for cancer out there like marijuana paste which have been simply labelled ‘quackery” but have never had proper clinical trials, because if they actually worked, there would be no money to be made, and people could “do their own cure”.
    Does the medical Profession really care about even looking at any possibilities for alternative medicine, which says it has a much better track record of healing, or does it simply dismiss anything other than pharmaceuticals and radiation therapy, out-of-hand and label it as “Quackery”, because there is no money to be made out of it?

  38. #38 Militant Agnostic
    August 28, 2011

    I must admit I don’t know how that good natural food prevents or heals cancer.

    FTFY

    Orac has “looked at” the Gerson Protocol – it doesn’t work. In fact, a naturopath did a follow up study on people allegedly cured by Gerson and found most of them had died of cancer. The first rule of testimonials is “Dead Men Tell No Tales”

  39. #39 herr doktor bimler
    August 28, 2011

    those who don’t eat meat don’t get cancer

    How many vegetarians with cancer would it take to convince you that you’re talking crap?

  40. #40 Rogo5
    August 28, 2011

    Second rule of testimonials: “Some people will do anything for money.”
    Third rule of testimonials: “Nobody wants to be wrong or look bad” (hence they lie about “great results” they received from a useless treatment to “save” themselves).
    Forth rule of testimonials: “People will believe what they want to believe”.

  41. #41 Chris
    August 28, 2011

    herry doktor bimler:

    How many vegetarians with cancer would it take to convince you that you’re talking crap?

    Like my next door neighbor who died of pancreatic cancer about 18 months ago. His wife asked me to watch their house during his memorial service. Thieves watch obituaries for memorial notices… so I spent that very sunny winter day pruning my grape vines that separate our property. It is much easier to watch their house from a ladder.

    I miss Bill.

  42. #42 Bev
    August 28, 2011

    I guess we can argue about the correct protocol for finding the cure to cancer, but that would achieve little. Even Dr Burzynski and his controversial (yet effective) cure for some cancers using antineoplastons more than suggests that there is a genetic component, so I would think that it is more than just an organic non meat diet. (Although, such a diet, closer to nature, will certain help the average person stay healthier for longer..) Yet with Dr Buurzynski, he has worked out that what is not in the human who develops a type of cancer, but is in a person who is cancer free, is the key. So he adds the missing component and has had wonderful success. Pretty close to nature, if you ask me.
    I would disagree that by reading a single book we can take it as the gospel truth. But I do think that the more we can work closely with the way nature works, the more success we will have.
    Secondly, the way the work is done can also work more closely with nature. That is, less riding on the mighty buck, more collaboration, non repetition by competing companies to get their product on the market first. Working together to solve the problems rather than behind secret curtains. By making all these companies non profit would be a good start.
    If we worked more towards focusing on the true goal we are trying to achieve, then the rest must fall into place. I think it needs to be clarified, in each research project – is the goal really aimed at finding the cure or making a buck.

  43. #43 Militant Agnostic
    August 28, 2011

    Fifth rule of testimonials: “Fictitious people will say anything you want them to”.

  44. #44 lilady
    August 28, 2011

    Fifth rule of testimonials: People who talk about Gerson and his main “treatment” of coffee enemas really are talking crap.

    Sixth rule of testimonials: People who talk about curing cancer with marijuana paste reek like dirty sock puppets.

  45. #45 Militant Agnostic
    August 28, 2011

    This study shows that we would be well advised to get back to eating organic natural foods

    In what way is a vegetarian diet natural? Our ancestors weren’t so fussy about what they ate.

    Yet with Dr Buurzynski, he has worked out that what is not in the human who develops a type of cancer, but is in a person who is cancer free

  46. #46 Chris
    August 28, 2011

    Bev:

    Even Dr Burzynski and his controversial (yet effective) cure

    Citation, please?

  47. #47 Rogo5
    August 28, 2011

    @ Militant Agnostic

    Sixth rule of testimonials: “Nothing is taken to heart better than the caring advice of a friend.” Translation: “Nothing sells better than the ‘advice’ from a ‘friend’.”
    Seventh rule of testimonials: “The magic/magical image is always better than reality.”

    Perhaps we should compile a list on the rules of testimonials. Maybe if we did, hopefully a lot less people would get suckered into emotional reasoning and waste time and money (while potentially putting their own health in danger) into buying “revolutionary” New Age/alternative medicine products and advice.

  48. #48 herr doktor bimler
    August 28, 2011

    Even Dr Burzynski and his controversial (yet effective) cure

    It doesn’t work but makes Burzynski a lot of money. I fail to see any controversy here.
    The “dirty sock puppet smell” is getting stronger.

  49. #49 Krebiozen
    August 28, 2011

    By far the most comprehensive Scientific study of nutrition ever conducted “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell shows that the more meat a population eats, the higher is the rate of cancer and those who don’t eat meat don’t get cancer! This book should be required reading for any medical practitioner.

    Colin Campbell is a good example of the sort of true believer I mentioned above. He knew exactly what he wanted to prove before he wrote “The China Study” and cherry-picked data to support his beliefs.

    I believe The Gerson Clinic (located in Mexico, because it is not allowed to practice in the US) would welcome a clinical trial to prove the effectiveness of their therapy.

    Gerson therapy is ineffective even by their own figures, and the Gonzalez protocol, which is based on Gerson’s, has been subjected to a clinical trial which found that patients on conventional treatment lived 3 times as long.

    Burzynski has been running clinical trials for decades; I believe it is the only way he is legally allowed to sell his unproven therapies to patients; there are 61 neoplaston clinical trials registered with the Clinical Trials website at present, most of them are of unknown status, a number have been withdrawn, few have been published. One that has is a phase II trial of neoplastons for glioma which is discussed here (‘Alternative Cancer Cures: “Unproven” or “Disproven”?’ an article well worth reading if you haven’t seen it):

    Nine patients were accrued, six of whom were able to be evaluated for response. There were no objective responses, and all six showed evidence of tumor progression after treatment durations of between 16 to 66 days. The mean time to treatment failure (progression or discontinuation due to toxicity) was 29 days. All nine patients died before the study closed, all but one death being due to tumor progression.

    Why anyone would describe this as “effective” is beyond me.

  50. #50 Krebiozen
    August 28, 2011

    KiWE John,
    Please take a look at this page. It addresses some of the myths you repeat.

    I have a longer comment in moderation due to too many links.

  51. #51 Denice Walter
    August 28, 2011

    Those who advocate alt med cancer “cures” play fast and loose with data – if it exists : often, I feel that their “information” presented on websites, films,( e.g. Null, Adams) and books, including Somers’, resembles fiction more than science. Because that’s what it is.

    I have listened/ read both of the aforementioned proselytisers ( since 2000 and 2006 or 2007, respectively) and have encountered variants of the same stories, slightly revised and tweaked, to support Burzynski, the Gersons ( *pere et fille*), Gonzales, and others. In brief, these “researchers” present innovative “cures” much to the consternation of authoritarian experts who are entrenched in vested interests ( pharma; powerful positions) who then suppress the “results” and ridicule the “brilliant” work. However, the Brave Mavericks continue despite opposition and even prosecution, “saving” and “curing” people.

    Usually, the anecdotes use global language- “everyone”, “improves”, “cured”, “great results” and testimonial reigns supreme. There are very few RCTs comparing the standard treatment with the “innovative”- the few that exist ( e.g. Gonzales/ use search box above) look rather un-promising, actually, *abysmal* might be a better word; these realistic studies are *never* cited by the alt meddlers.

    Why do people fall for this? Because they have poor educations in science, are overwhelmed by fear, have difficulty dealing with the probabalistic expectations SBM offers- i.e. uncertainty, they engage in wishful thinking ( see Quackwatch)- there are probably other causes *but* the issue revolves around the fictions invented by those who have an axe to grind, an ego to inflate, and a supplement, book, film, or brand to sell.

    There’s another issue lurking beneath the surface: mistrust of science/ innovation and disdain for the educated and the so-called elite- our “good old boys” ( and “girls”- there are a few) play to this sentiment that pits “intellectuals” against “regular people”. Much folksiness and “down-home”-ism enters the picture as well as the advertising copy: capitalising on recent political trends- it’s a Herbal tea party, if you will; both woo-meisters support Libertarian Ron Paul on their respective websites as well as “Health Freedom”. I wonder why?

  52. #52 Denice Walter
    August 28, 2011

    Those who advocate alt med cancer “cures” play fast and loose with data – if it exists : often, I feel that their “information” presented on websites, films,( e.g. Null, Adams) and books, including Somers’, resembles fiction more than science. Because that’s what it is.

    I have listened/ read both of the aforementioned proselytisers ( since 2000 and 2006 or 2007, respectively) and have encountered variants of the same stories, slightly revised and tweaked, to support Burzynski, the Gersons ( *pere et fille*), Gonzales, and others. In brief, these “researchers” present innovative “cures” much to the consternation of authoritarian experts who are entrenched in vested interests ( pharma; powerful positions) who then suppress the “results” and ridicule the “brilliant” work. However, the Brave Mavericks continue despite opposition and even prosecution, “saving” and “curing” people.

    Usually, the anecdotes use global language- “everyone”, “improves”, “cured”, “great results” and testimonial reigns supreme. There are very few RCTs comparing the standard treatment with the “innovative”- the few that exist ( e.g. Gonzales/ use search box above) look rather un-promising, actually, *abysmal* might be a better word; these realistic studies are *never* cited by the alt meddlers.

    Why do people fall for this? Because they have poor educations in science, are overwhelmed by fear, have difficulty dealing with the probabalistic expectations SBM offers- i.e. uncertainty, they engage in wishful thinking ( see Quackwatch)- there are probably other causes *but* the issue revolves around the fictions invented by those who have an axe to grind, an ego to inflate, and a supplement, book, film, or brand to sell.

    There’s another issue lurking beneath the surface: mistrust of science/ innovation and disdain for the educated and the so-called elite- our “good old boys” ( and “girls”- there are a few) play to this sentiment that pits “intellectuals” against “regular people”. Much folksiness and “down-home”-ism enters the picture as well as the advertising copy: capitalising on recent political trends- it’s a Herbal tea party, if you will; both woo-meisters support Libertarian Ron Paul on their respective websites as well as “Health Freedom”. I wonder why?

  53. #53 DW
    August 28, 2011

    - Oops!-Sorry about that double: I guess the inter-toobs got wettened by the storm.

  54. #54 herr doktor bimler
    August 28, 2011

    both woo-meisters support Libertarian Ron Paul on their respective websites as well as “Health Freedom”.

    The other day I was searching for something else and came across a website hawking some “dietary supplement” / herbal nostrum called “Neu Becalm’d”. The website is so multi-coloured and poorly designed that the exact purpose of the concoction is hard to tell, but I think it purports (ironically enough) to treat ADHD.

    Anyway, the marketers feel VERY STRONGLY that the Govt. is exceeding its powers when it stops them making unproven claims about curing illness:

    “If you disagree with this type of governmental control, consider taking all LEGAL steps to effect righteous change, for your family’s future health.”

    At the same time they clearly approve of some functions of the Federal Govt… like issuing patents (“Do they continue giving out patents for something that doesn’t work? Duh”) and enforcing those patents against competitors (they claim to have “won a $7 million US Federal Court judgment” against someone stealing their formula).

  55. #55 KiWE John
    August 28, 2011

    Firstly, I may have been a bit harsh on the medical profession in my first post, but it certainly prompted a lot of responses. However, except for Krebiozen and Dennis Walter, there wasn’t any scientific studies referenced to back up these passionately held opinions.
    herry doctor bimler, regarding vegetarians dying of cancer: perhaps you have access to reliable statistics on people who have been vegetarians all their life dying/not dying of cancer – if you do, would you please provide a reference. I have provided mine – ‘The China Study”.
    Militant Agnostic, I would be interested to know what Orec actually did when you said he ‘looked at’ the Gerson Therapy. Did he simply take the “study” of a naturopath, who may have been losing patients to the Gerson Therapy and wanted to discredit it?

    What I am hoping for is an open minded Professional Medical scientific investigation into the results of applying the Gerson Therapy to cancer patients. My limited understanding is that many, if not most of the patients who use it, have been diagnosed by Medical Professionals that they only have a short time to live and in desperation they turn to this therapy. It appears that the cure rate of this therapy (those who are still alive after 5 years) is about 60 to 80%, But according to their Medical diagnoses, this should be ZERO! Why the big discrepancy? Maybe there is something to this treatment after all! Maybe they all die and they are lying, but if so why are the patients in the documentary (link below) still alive after many years and say they have their original documented Medical Diagnosis which said they only have months to live? If they ALL die, why would ANYONE go there? Many patients say they were prompted to use the Therapy, by word of mouth of someone who WAS cured.
    Why not contact Charlotte Gerson, herself? I believe she would be happy to discuss the therapy with you and probably invite you to come and see for yourself. Or better still send some cancer patients to her clinic in Tiujana, Mexico who have been diagnosed with only a short time to live and who want to get healed.

    Please, keep an open mind and watch this documentary, done by someone who was out to discover if The Gerson Therapy actually worked or not. The link is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp8u3FWxh8Q
    Note that this is a different film to the one in my first post.

    Krebiozen and Dennis Walter, this documentary also films at a recognised Medical Hospital in Fukushima, Japan called The Loma Linda Clinic who treat about 500 patients with the Gerson Therapy. One of the Doctors who works there, Professor Yoshihiko Hoshino M.D. had colon cancer, which metastacized to his liver. He used The Gerson Therapy on himself, and the cancer completely disappeared in about a year. Over 16 years later he is still cancer free, and this clinic now treat ALL their patients with The Gerson Therapy. If this is a hoax, it is a very elaborate one, and if the Gerson Therapy doesn’t work, then why does this hospital keep going?. Why not contact Professor Yoshihiko Hoshino and see – he speaks English. – please watch the documentary. I have also heard that another Hospital is being built in Japan, specifically to use the Gerson Therapy on cancer patients. They must have some evidence or faith that it works, surely? I would be very surprised if the study you reference for The Gerson Clinic Study on Melanoma was not funded by the Pharmaceutical industry, who go to extrememe lengths to discredit any treatment they can’t make money from. This was part of my point in the first post. Doctors are trained to apply their methods for treating patients and any other treatments are glossed over at best. I guess all those who are reading this post have been trained this way, so I am probably wasting my breath. But I ask you all, most sincerely, to consider, what if Big Pharma is controlling the media, what people hear/read, everything Medical professionals are taught, what to prescribe, what to think, what to believe and they are the ones who are actually lying to you?
    “Tell a lie often enough and people will believe it” -Adolf Hitler

    Here is a very short testimony from a young lady who was cured of fibromyalgia – maybe she is lying – but what if she is telling the truth? There is also a phone number for Gerson, if you wish to call:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhYs1AIodBk&NR=1

    I hope I have put just a little doubt in your minds…. probably not, but the way that healing people by the Medical Profession is controlled, reminds me of another quote, on which I will end:

    “The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists” –J. Edgar Hoover

  56. #56 herr doktor bimler
    August 29, 2011

    herry doctor bimler, regarding vegetarians dying of cancer: perhaps you have access to reliable statistics on people who have been vegetarians all their life dying/not dying of cancer

    Your statement was unequivocal, unambiguous and unqualified: “those who don’t eat meat don’t get cancer”. Full stop. You told us that cancer is a disease limited exclusively to non-vegetarians.

    Statistics are not required to falsify the claim. The existence of one vegetarian with cancer is sufficient.

  57. #57 Chris
    August 29, 2011

    Denice Walter’s first name is not Dennis.

    And when we ask for evidence, we expect real science. Not youtube videos. Did you click on any of the links (they are the words in blue text) on comment #49 by Krebiozen?

  58. #58 Chris
    August 29, 2011

    My comment was directed towards KiWE John. Who seems to have not read Dr. Hall’s article on ScienceBasedMedicine that Krebiozen linked to that was about “The China Study.”

  59. #59 herr doktor bimler
    August 29, 2011

    Denice Walter’s first name is not Dennis.
    And my first name is not Herry.

    I believe The Gerson Clinic (located in Mexico, because it is not allowed to practice in the US) would welcome a clinical trial to prove the effectiveness of their therapy.

    This was not the case in 1986, when Charlotte Gerson Straus

    said in a recent TV broadcast that statistics have not been published because the establishment would try to compare her results with theirs, which would be unfair, because the patients who come to her have mostly been declared terminal and are close to death. “Comparing my patients with those undergoing standard treatment is like comparing apples to oranges.”

    As for the claimed survival rates from the Gerson protocol,

    the Institute’s survival statistics are based on a combination of the doctor’s estimate that the departing patient has a “reasonable chance of surviving,” plus feelings that the Institute staff have about the status of people who call in.

    – That’s according to the Institute’s Executive Vice President.
    (Source: http://cancertreatmentwatch.org/reports/gerson.shtml)

  60. #60 herr doktor bimler
    August 29, 2011

    “Tell a lie often enough and people will believe it” -Adolf Hitler

    This aphorism does seem to be popular among conspiracy theorists… especially the various denialist groups specialising in climate change, evolution and alternative histories. Usually it’s attributed to Goebbels, sometimes to Lenin, sometimes to Stalin. Who knows who made it up?

    “Repeat a made-up quotation often enough and people will believe the misattribution” — HDB.

  61. #61 Militant Agnostic
    August 29, 2011

    What I am hoping for is an open minded Professional Medical scientific investigation into the results of applying the Gerson Therapy to cancer patients.

    It has been done with regard to the nearly identical Gonzalez treatment as you would have discovered if you had read the comments.

    I find it utterly hilarious that you quote J Edgar Hoover, a notorious “Reds under the bed” paranoid. Do you wear that hat shiny side in or out?

    Seriously, your evidence consists of youtube videos? If that is good evidence, then Sasquatch is real, aliens are abducting people, and the world is governed by shape shifting lizards.

    Herr Doctor Bimmler

    Statistics are not required to falsify the claim. The existence of one vegetarian with cancer is sufficient.

    How about a raw food vegan (Canadian Punk Rocker Bif Naked) with breast cancer. Fortunately she eschewed the woo and went for the surgery and chemotherapy.

  62. #62 lilady
    August 29, 2011

    @ herr doktor bimler: Thanks for the referral to “Neu Becalm’d”…I actually read that drivel.

    It seems that Dr. Terry Neher is the Executive Director of the Chemical Dependency Training Coalition, Olympia, Washington which I believe may be a training program for those wanting to become alcohol and drug “counsellors”. Dr. Neher is also the V.P. of the manufacturer, Neuro Genesis, Park City Texas which sells various “supplements” on the internet and through Multi-Level Marketers who are their “dealers”.

    I located the four patents they claim to hold at the U.S. Patent Office; one purports to decrease the intake of ETOH, another purports to decrease cocaine intake. The other two patents purportedly are “stress relieving” substances.

    Of course the manufacturer is located in Texas…home of presidential hopeful Rick Perry and home of Libertarian Congressman Ron Paul. Texas recently passed State legislation along with financial incentives to have incandescent bulb manufacturers open factories. This in spite of Federal Legislation enacted in 2007 (The Energy Independence & Security Act) that would see the phasing out of most incandescent lighting bulbs in favor of CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) during 2012-2014 and in spite of a failed attempt earlier this year, led by another Texas Congressman and co-sponsored by 36 other Right Wing Republicans to gut the original bill…”State’s Rights”, you know.

    Yes, I read all the (ancient) research papers on the ingredients in “Neu Becalm’d” marketed as a cure-all for ADD and ADHD and formerly patented/marketed to treat addicts and for stress relief. I have come to the conclusion that “Neu Becalm’d” is alte Scheiße.

  63. #63 Militant Agnostic
    August 29, 2011

    the Institute’s survival statistics are based on a combination of the doctor’s estimate that the departing patient has a “reasonable chance of surviving,” plus feelings that the Institute staff have about the status of people who call in.

    In other words, any patient that leaves the clinic alive is counted as a success. Many years ago a couple of my buddies had an import auto wrecking business. They told their customers that the used tires they sold were “guaranteed to hold air until you leave the shop”. I guess honesty is important when you rely on repeat business, something that is not an issue for the Gerson Clinic.

  64. #64 Denice Walter
    August 29, 2011

    @ Chris:

    Oh, thank you so very much for clarifing the issue! We wouldn’t want anyone to think that there might be gender-bending @ RI.

  65. #65 Krebiozen
    August 29, 2011

    Top blokes Dennis, Chris and Harry, I won’t hear a word against them ;-)

  66. #66 Krebiozen
    August 29, 2011

    KiWE John,
    In a prospective study of over 6000 people in the UK vegetarianism appeared to reduce the risk of all cancers by about 11%, but increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 39%. If diet cannot reliably prevent cancer, I find it very hard to see how it can cure it.

    As I wrote above, I’m not at all impressed with ‘The China Study’. If you read this critical review you will see why.

    I linked to “an open minded Professional Medical scientific investigation into the results of applying the Gerson Therapy to cancer patients”, based on the figures published by the Gerson Clinic themselves, analysed by a doctor who knows what he is talking about. Their own figures do not support their claims. Many people with cancer are afraid, and easily persuaded by people who offer them a definite (though mythical) cure, unlike real doctors who offer realistic uncertainty.

    I would be very surprised if the study you reference for The Gerson Clinic Study on Melanoma was not funded by the Pharmaceutical industry, who go to extrememe lengths to discredit any treatment they can’t make money from.

    The study was funded by the Gerson Research Organization. You can read it here. There is no dispute about the numbers, just about the interpretation. It seems to me that if there can be argument about whether the numbers show what the Gerson Clinic claims, the results cannot possibly be as unequivocal as you suggest.

    I have tried to watch ‘The Beautiful Truth’, really I have, but it is so riddled with ridiculous claims that I know for a fact to be untrue that I can’t get very far, it’s not good for my health. Even the quotes at the very beginning of the film are misleading at best. I will take a look at the other movie you linked to, but I don’t promise to watch it all.

  67. #67 DW
    August 29, 2011

    @ Krebiozen:

    Thanks, my brother! And you should see me in my black suit!

  68. #68 Chris
    August 29, 2011

    Denice Walter:

    Oh, thank you so very much for clarifing the issue!

    It was mostly as a way to show how well he could read. If he screws up names, how well does he read anything else? That is, if he reads the stuff. He keeps going on about certain cancer treatments even after being told they are worthless, repeatedly (at least by Krebiozen).

  69. #69 herr doktor bimler
    August 29, 2011

    If he screws up names, how well does he read anything else?

    The made-up Hitler-said-it quotation did leave me with an impression that KiWE John is relying on chain e-mails as a source of information.

    I particularly liked the argument that if the Gerson Institute continues to receive customers, this is proof that the Gerson therapy works; while if mainstream cancer therapists continue to receive customers, this is proof that they are running a conspiratorial campaign of deceit to keep the sheeple misinformed.

  70. #70 Healthy
    August 30, 2011

    Feet pain is not nice but people can live with it but when you enter the territory of something as serious as cancer you should start to understand your responsability and the consequences of your words. It’s funny how these brands can sue negative commenters of their products but they don’t get a generic health fraud sue.
    I somehow like the backslash given to some doctors, as in every speciallity they sometimes take a position and don’t care about checking what is really proved and what is highly doubtful when it falls a bit out of their field and just stick to the old protocol.

    To find research funding and peers please visit The Aging Portfolio.

  71. #71 KiWE John
    August 30, 2011

    I do apologise, most ashamedly, to Herr Doktor Bimler and Denice Walter for misspelling your names.
    I have read most of http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/ ……whew…what an ordeal!
    ..and come to the same conclusion that Dr Campbell did in his respose at http://tynan.com/chinastudyresponse , namely:
    “In short, she [Denise Minger] has done what she claims that should not be done–focusing on narrowly defined data rather than searching for overarching messages, focusing on the trees instead of the forest.”
    As for vegetarians not dying of cancer; I understand that Dr Campbell was referring to those who were vegetarians for their whole lifetime.
    I have clicked on all the blue links I could find and read them. I agree, the evidence here is definitely against The Gerson Therapy healing cancer.
    To see what scientific evidence http://www.gerson.org, has to offer, in their defence, here is one research paper available in it’s entirety on their wabsite which says it explains why the Gerson cancer therapy cures. The rationale appears to be quite sound:
    http://gerson-research.org/docs/CopeFW-1978-1/index.html
    There is also a long list of research pertaining to the Gerson Therapy, to which you medical experts may have access. Please, if someone could help me here, by looking at the Gerson evidence, for me, since I no longer have access to scientific Journals (I am retired from science, and only do some consulting work on Health & Safety and Environmental issues). If you would be so kind as to access one or two of their references and let me know what you think. Some of these research papers are in reputable, peer reviewed scientific publications:
    http://gerson-research.org/bibliography/index.html#CopeFW-1978-1
    I can appreciate that none of you may have the time or inclination to do this for me, and I understand, you are busy Medical Professionals. But the Hospitals in Japan using this therapy, bug me….. they must believe it works. Just look at the last 10 minutes or so of the video from my last post.
    Thank you for your help and concern, and for your contributions to my quest, to date.

  72. #72 herr doktor bimler
    August 31, 2011

    As for vegetarians not dying of cancer; I understand that Dr Campbell was referring to those who were vegetarians for their whole lifetime.

    This is like one of those “Where’s Wally” puzzles, but with goalposts rather than Wally. Find the goalposts! They’re in the picture somewhere!

  73. #73 Dianne Jacobs Thompson
    January 19, 2012

    Dear Poster,

    Thank you for mentioning my website “Truthquest” although that is not the correct name. It’s http://truthquest2.com and the article I put on my website was indeed written by me and published by the magazine Nexus following a great deal of research on the subject. At the time I wrote the article, it was about the possibility of substituting diluted seawater for blood plasma, with all of it’s contaminants and other problems. I had not yet began using it as medicine because the company I buy it from was still in the beginning stages of getting licensed. It was used extensively as medicine in France around the turn of the twentieth century. For photos and case histories from the French medical archives, go to http://oceanplasma.org/documents/mysterious.html and click on the photo at the top. My own experience using seawater came some time after my article. I had a serious back injury from a fall (while substitute teaching in a classroom) that damaged my lower spine and caused it to fuse, as well as injuring my SI joints. I could hardly walk and was in constant pain, particularly at night. The seawater, which remineralizes the body and balances mineral ratio imbalances, ended the pain, and instead of the predicted spinal degeneration my doctor warned me was inevitable, my back stabilized and may even have improved. It also brought my cancer-level pH (6. and below) up to a normal range above 7. I had tried for over 4 years to raise my alkaline level without success. It also helped symptoms of adrenal insufficiency. I had adrenal-related conjunctivitis with blurry vision. Within 2-3 days I went from being able to work on the computer for 5-10 minutes at a time, back to research and writing all day and half the night. I know first hand what seawater is capable of doing. After all, tears, amniotic fluids, and blood plasma are essentially seawater, so a pure infusion of what our body is already bathed in has healing potential. That is, if mankind quits using the oceans as it’s personal toilet.

    As for cancer, after a naturopath cured my stomach cancer in 1979 (I’m 64 years old) without drugs or surgery, I went back and watched him do it for other patients for 2 1/2 years. It wasn’t very complicated. He had a far more difficult time treating patients with deeply entrenched asthma, and diabetics who had been on insulin for more than 30 days, after which their pancreas was irreparably damaged.

    It’s not very difficult to understand, either. A low oxygen environment forces aerobic (requiring free oxygen to survive) cells to transform into a type of cell that lives through fermentation for respiration instead, or die. That is essentially the description of fungal cells. And what cuts off free oxygen from cells? Cellular wastes that are not properly eliminated, toxins, overly acidic materials–gunk and debris that interferes with blood, oxygen and healthy food materials, chemical controls (hormones) and other forces that control cell life. My doctor tested for food intolerances and cell salt deficiencies, got rid of the wrong things in the diet, put good stuff in, corrected deficiency states, supported weak or unbalanced glandular function and provided a type of treatment that stimulated the immune system and blood circulation. The aim was to provoke the body to detoxify itself in it’s own way. For me, it lasted the last two weeks of a five week treatment. I was so ill I wanted to shoot the doctor, but after it was over, I felt like I’d gone to a body factory and gotten a new one. Stomach cancer, chronic bronchitis, ovarian cysts, arthritis, hypothroidism–all gone. It took me 20 years to get sick again, and then it was from stress and injury, not disease.

    I’ve also used black salves, although that’s a hard way to go because any doctor who would even prescribe pain meds risks losing his license and going to prison. Besides that, they don’t change the body chemistry as needed, they just remove abnormal tissues. On my home page, the photos of the thigh where salve is applied to a tumor resulting from an injury and lowered immunity following adrenal exhaustion is MINE. I did a photo documentation of the whole thing. That’s a poor man’s solution. I couldn’t afford to go back to the naturopath 200 miles away and stay for treatment. Healthy cells require a slightly alkaline environment, so OF COURSE anything that helps to alkalize an overly acidic internal milieu is helpful.

    Dianne Jacobs Thompson

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