I frequently call homeopathy The One Quackery to Rule Them All, but there are times when I am not so sure that that’s the case. You see, there is…another. I’m referring, of course, to what is referred to as “energy medicine.” What energy medicine modalities have in common is that they postulate that there is some sort “energy field” around humans that can be manipulated for therapeutic intent or that somehow practitioners can channel “healing energy” from elsewhere. For example, as I’ve discussed many times before, reiki is based on the concept that reiki masters can channel this fantastical healing energy from something called the Universal Source. That’s why I frequently liken reiki to faith healing, because, at its core, that’s what it is. Substitute God for the Universal Source, and it’s easy to see why. So what’s different about therapeutic touch (TT)? Basically, it’s the same thing, except that TT practitioners claim that they can wave their hands over patients (touching is actually usually not involved) and manipulate the human “energy field” to therapeutic intent. It’s a specialty so ridiculous that even a 11-year-old girl could show that TT practitioners cannot detect “human energy fields,” much less manipulate them.

None of this, of course, stops advocates from not only practicing “energy medicine” but designing nonsensically quackademic experiments testing “energy medicine.”

I hadn’t seen a particularly silly bit of seemingly “basic science” on energy medicine published in quite a while; that is, until now. The other day a study was brought to my attention. It’s a study by someone we’ve met before, Gloria Gronowicz at the University of Connecticut Health Center. Depressingly, she’s in the Department of Surgery there, and, equally depressingly, she did a study entitled Therapeutic Touch Has Significant Effects on Mouse Breast Cancer Metastasis and Immune Responses but Not Primary Tumor Size.

Basically, this is a mouse tumor model study. Amusingly, it works with a tumor model very similar to mouse tumor models I’ve worked with in my laboratory before. Specifically, the tumor model used is the 6-thioguanine-resistant 66cl4 cell line, which was derived from an aggressive 4T1 mouse mammary carcinoma that can metastasize from the primary tumor to popliteal lymph nodes (lymph nodes behind the knee joint). I’ve used the 4T1 tumor before. Basically, “syngeneic,” means it’s derived from the same mouse strain and is transplantable. That means that it can grow in mice with intact immune systems as long as they’re the same strain from which the tumor was derived. In fact, I know the man, Dr. Fred Miller, who derived the cell line and supplied the cells to Dr. Liisa Kuhn, the corresponding author of this publication.

I always love reading the introductions and methods to papers like this, particularly the explanation of TT and the justification for doing the study. For some reason, authors of pretty much every study of this type can’t resist an appeal to popularity, claiming that because so many people use “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), then killing mice to study magic is justified. In this case, the authors claim that, of all CAM, patients report the most benefit from “energy medicine” or “biofield” therapies. Drolly (unintentionally, of course), they note, “Scientific evidence for the possible reasons for this benefit is needed. As a first step we undertook a cancer study in animals to remove psychosocial factors.”

Gronowicz et al owe me a new keyboard for that one, as I spit up the iced tea I was drinking when I read that part. I suppose that on a strictly literal basis it’s true. Animals don’t have psychosocial factors. Well, that’s not entirely true. Mice don’t like being alone, for instance. They don’t like being too crowded either. They’re sensitive to how many mice are placed in a single cage. In any case, what the investigators did was to inject tumor cells into the footpads of the mice. To be honest, I’m not sure at all why they chose this route. Usually, with 4T1 cells, we inject them into the flanks of the mouse or into the mammary fat pad. However, these are mere quibbles with respect to methodology when it comes to mouse tumor model experiments. To truly appreciate the hilarity of the methods, you must read how the investigators administered TT to the mice:

TT treatments commenced 24 h after cell injection and were repeated twice a week for the entire period. Two mice at a time were placed into large tissue culture flasks (Sarstedt, Newtown, NC, 18 cm × 11.5 cm × 4 cm) with bedding by a technician through a premade hinged door. Previous studies from our laboratory had shown that tissue culture plastic did not impede human biofield treatments [36]. Flasks were clamped two feet in the air in a ring stand at the end of an L-shaped room. Practitioners alternated treatments so that each practitioner treated mice once a week. Treatment lasted 10 min with hands kept 2–10 inches from all sides of the flask without touching (TT1). Briefly the treatment sequelae were centering, assessment, treatment, and evaluation and followed previously published protocols [29, 36]. The control/mock group consisted of placing two mice in a similar flask and setup for ten minutes twice a week (CA1) at the other end of the same L-shaped room with a non-TT person standing next to the flask. The third group of mice was PBS-injected and received no treatment (PBS1). On the 26th day, mice had developed large tumors in their foot pad and were euthanized.

I love the bit about how prior studies showed that putting the mice in a tissue culture flask “did not impede human biofield treatments.” I was half-tempted to look up the paper referenced to see exactly how they had determined this critical bit of information, but then I figured I already had enough amusement for one night sitting right in front of me in the form of this paper. I also didn’t want to risk another keyboard or have to go dry while I wrote this. In any case, for full ridiculousness, just try to visualize what is going on here. Healing touch practitioners apparently stood over the large tissue culture flasks holding two mice each. The flasks were suspended two feet in the air by being clamped to a ring stand. They then held their hand over the flask containing the mouse and thought real hard or did whatever it is TT practitioners do to manipulate the human biofield, except they did it on mice. I couldn’t help but chuckle. A skilled filmmaker could easily make a comedy out this. How, for instance, does a TT practitioner trained on humans detect the mouse energy field? It is, after all, presumably so much smaller and squeakier than a human energy field.

Even more hilariously, the controls consisted of mice placed in the same flask but just having a non-TT practitioner just stand next to it. This must be because the healing power from a real TT practitioner is so awesome that it can’t be the TT practitioner just standing in the same room with the mouse but not exercising his or her skill. Note how the point is made that the control mice were placed at the other end of an L-shaped room. It’s as though the TT practitioners think that the residual energy of their awesomeness might affect the control mouse if they were placed in the same part of the room. Or maybe they did the controls and the TT mice at the same time. It’s not discussed. They also had a no-tumor arm, in which the mice just got a saline injection not containing any tumor cells, presumably for normal values for blood levels of everything they were measuring. Then, investigators repeated the experiment, except that mice were treated with TT or fake TT for two weeks prior to being injected with tumors. I’m telling ya, ya can’t make stuff up like this up. At least, I can’t.

Not surprisingly, the TT had no effect on the growth of the primary tumors. Indeed, the tumor volumes were about as close to each other as I’ve ever seen. Similarly, tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis were unchanged in the primary tumors, as one would expect. One thing I did notice is that the authors let these tumors get rather large, and surely they must have become painful. 220 mm3 is not that big a tumor when it’s in the flank or mammary fat pad, but it’s quite large for a mouse to have on its footpad, which is only a few millimeters in thickness, at most. In the second experiment, the tumors were allowed to grow to grow to as much as 330 mm3. Where was the University of Connecticut’s IACUC during all this? I realize that in this model the tumor has to be on the foot pad because the lymphatic vessels from the foot pad drain to the popliteal lymph nodes being assessed for metastases, but come on.

In any case, the authors’ positive results ended up being not particularly impressive. The authors did clonogenic assays, in which the popliteal lymph nodes were dissociated into a cell suspension and plated to see how many colonies of tumor cells grow. There does appear to be a modest decrease in the number of metastases to the popliteal lymph nodes reported, but the variability is high. Indeed, the authors had to do this to get their result to be statistically significant:

For the metastasis assay, most mice had 2–9 cancer cell colonies/lymph node. In the contralateral control limb (C), no tumors developed and no metastatic colonies were found (Figure 2). In contrast, every mouse had metastatic colonies in the mock-treated group (CA). In the TT-treated group (TT), three mice had no metastatic colonies while the remaining mice had some colonies. One mouse had 7-fold more colonies (76 colonies) than the mean. If this extreme outlier is excluded since it is greater than two standard deviations from the mean, TT significantly decreased metastasis compared to the mock-treated group (Figure 2).

Sorry about that outlier, but if you had to remove the outlier to get a statistically significant result, your result was probably not significant, and you still have to explain the outlier. Believe me, I know. I’ve had this sort of result before. Just because a value is two standard deviations from the mean is not sufficient reason to discard it. I will give the authors some credit, though. They did state that they removed the outlier and that without its removal, their results were not statistically significant. Now if only they didn’t keep referring from that point on to the differences in metastases to the popliteal lymph nodes as being statistically significant when in reality their own results show that TT didn’t affect the size of the primary tumors or the number of popliteal metastases. That‘s the real result: No effect on tumor growth or lymph node metastasis.

So all we’re left with is a fishing expedition among cytokines.

The authors look at a whole slew of cytokines and find some differences, none particularly striking, specifically decreases in IL-1α, IL-1β, MIG, and MIP-2. Of course, they used a commercial kit to check 32 cytokines, of which 11 were elevated in cancer and four were reported as decreased by TT therapy. All differences reported are modest. Also some differences in T-lymphocyte populations were noted. It’s hard not to wonder if this means anything at all, given that TT had no effect on primary tumors or metastases, as we would expect there to be no effect from such magic.

One thing I noticed as I read this study is that it all sounded rather familiar. In fact, so it was. I had written about this study before, only at the time it was just a poster presentation. Here we are, several months later, and the paper is published not in a good journal but in a quack journal, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. At the time, I noticed that no mention of blinding was made. In the paper, the same thing is almost true. No mention of blinding is made other than that the core facility doing flow cytometry was blinded to experimental groups to which the samples belonged. Imagine my relief. That doesn’t change that the people measuring the tumors, counting the clonogenic assays, and measuring the cytokines almost certainly were not blinded to experimental group. Cytokine measurements can be very sensitive to how the sample is collected. If, for instance, the mice being euthanized were subject to different levels of stress right before death, that could produce differences in cytokine profiles. Remember, the blood was collected immediately postmortem by sticking a needle into the mouse’s heart.

So what could explain these results? Leave it to the authors to take a stab at it. First, let’s recall their justification for choosing TT:

Several reasons for choosing Therapeutic Touch for this study were the method of practice, which is an uncomplicated, well-defined protocol consisting of four steps, easily amenable for reproducibility of practice in a research trial and simple to perform in any setting [29]. The rigorous training program and credentialing process for practitioners, mostly nurses in all of our studies, was also important for consistency. There are no religious ties to the practice, so issues such as the role of prayer or religion are not involved in the interpretation of results. The first step in the practice is to set an intention, which is for the “highest good” of the subject. Finally, TT treatments do not require physical touch, so there is no heat transfer or variable handling of the subject being studied.

So the mice didn’t have to practice a specific religion to benefit. Imagine my relief.

Except that we know there was differential handling. The TT group held their hands over the flasks containing the two mice for ten minutes, while the control mice simply had some lab tech stand next to their flask for ten minutes. Similarly, the “control” mice, the mice with no tumors, who were used to produce control cytokine profiles and white blood cells were not regularly removed from their cages and placed in tissue culture flasks at all, unlike both the TT and sham TT groups. I would therefore question whether they were a proper control group for the cytokine measurements, particularly in light of the authors’ cluelessness:

A possible explanation of our findings is that the mice recognize and respond positively in a psychosocial manner to the biofield practitioner [46]. In studying psychosocial stress with inflammation and cancer, mouse models have shown that specific psychosocial stress factors produce generalized immune dysfunction, which particularly affects cytokine production resulting in changes in the numbers and function of specific leukocytes [47]. An alternative explanation of our findings is that the opposite of stress, such as exposure to a familiar and nonthreatening individual, may promote normal immune function. Mice attribute human contact with food, water, and positive environmental stimulation. Recently, rodents have been shown to detect and respond to the state of their social partners [48], and perhaps rodents may also respond positively to repeated human interactions. Thus, mammals may be capable of “felt affective experiences” [48]. On the other hand, mice that were placed in a similar apparatus by the same non-TT individual (CA group) did not manifest these changes in immune function suggesting that the TT treatment itself was responsible for the significant effects.

The problem is that the mice in the non-TT group were not handled the same way as the mice in the TT group, as I described above. Nor was the no-tumor control group handled the same way. More importantly, if it is true that differences in handling explain the results, then there is no need to invoke magic mouse energy fields manipulated by TT practitioners as the reason why there were modest changes in the cytokine profiles of the mice treated with TT. Just chalk it up to differences in handling, no magic required. Oh, and, big surprise, pretreating with extra TT didn’t change anything.

Papers like this simultaneously amuse and appall me. They amuse me because, well, they are ridiculous. Just the vision of earnest TT practitioners holding their hands between two to ten inches from a large tissue culture flask containing two mice are inherently ridiculous. However, it is appalling that many mice were forced to endure tumors growing on their footpads and then death to test whether TT practitioners can magically manipulate their mousy energy fields to cure their cancers. It’s also appalling that money was spent on this that could have been used in real cancer research.

On the other hand, I took a look at the foundation that funded this study, the Trivedi Foundation, which touts itself as giving “Scientific Research Grants to Raise the Consciousness of Living and Nonliving Materials Through the Authenticity of Modern Science”:

The Trivedi Effect® is a natural phenomenon that is harnessed from the universe and is capable of transforming living organisms and non-living materials to operate at a higher level and serve a greater purpose for the welfare of humanity. This phenomenon was discovered through the powerful energy transmissions of Mahendra Trivedi. Through the transmission of this energy, the recipient establishes a deep connection to the Creator, or Universal Intelligence, and awakens their Divine potential. He has since been able to transform three other individuals into Trivedi Masters™ who now have the ability to harness this energy.

The Trivedi Effect® has been scientifically proven to transform all living organisms, such as animals, seeds, plants, crops, fungi, bacteria, viruses, cancer cells and humans. Further scientific exploration has revealed that this energy has no limitations because it has the ability to transform the very structure of the atom: the building blocks of life itself. This means that the Trivedi Effect® is able to transform the very thing that this world is built upon. The Trivedi Effect® has the intelligence and profound capability to transform anything and everything. It is the ONE thing that CAN transform ANY thing.

On second thought, maybe paying to test whether waving hands over mice with breast cancer tumors in their foot pads can cure their cancer isn’t the worst thing a foundation like this could spend money on. Just peruse the website. This is Deepak Chopra-level woo. Besides, who wants people like this transforming the very structure of the atom and the building blocks of life itself. In any case, regardless of its proclaimed ability to “transform anything and everything,” one thing it can’t transform is woo into science.

Comments

  1. #1 Mrs Woo
    July 16, 2015

    I was a bit sickened to imagine the misery of footpad cancer myself. Who designed this study and why did they pick such a cruel location?

    I have gotten a lot sicker, with fatigue causing a lot of limitation. Mr Woo has suggested that we just aren’t “doing spirituality right.” TT, different label.

  2. #2 MI Dawn
    July 16, 2015

    Dear Mrs Woo – sorry that you aren’t doing well and fatigue messing things up. Sending internet hugs and hopes that you improve soon.

  3. #3 Helianthus
    July 16, 2015

    The Trivedi Effect® is a natural phenomenon

    Glad to see something entirely natural has been registered and trademarked by a private company.
    I was told it was impossible to do, that’s why Big Pharma don’t want to sell vitamins.*

    * sarcasm

    @ Orac

    Animals don’t have psychosocial factors.

    Animals don’t have human psychosocial factors.*
    As you point out, quite a number of animals seem to react to the presence of other animals of the same kind.

    * OTOH, human-like psychosocial factors?

    I love the bit about how prior studies showed that putting the mice in a tissue culture flask “did not impede human biofield treatments.”

    I would have been more impressed if they have put a mouse inside a strong magnetic field and showed they could reach the poor animal with their biofields.
    A fridge magnet slapped on the mouse doesn’t count.

    IIRC, there was one study 6-8 years ago there even having the control group separated from the treated group was not enough to “impede human biofield treatments.” Mice (or rats?) were cured of cancer all the same in both groups.

    These biofields seem very pervasive. Better be careful where you point that finger.

  4. #4 Eric Lund
    July 16, 2015

    Where was the University of Connecticut’s IACUC during all this?

    I had a similar thought. Experiments on live animals are supposed to be approved by an IRB. Was that true of this experiment?

    Just because a value is two standard deviations from the mean is not sufficient reason to discard it.

    Assuming a normal distribution, about one out of twenty samples will be more than two standard deviations from the mean. That’s why p=0.05 is considered a magical number for statistical significance.

    A possible explanation of our findings is that the mice recognize and respond positively in a psychosocial manner to the biofield practitioner [46].

    Breaking news: Water is wet, bears defecate in the woods, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. At least they admit, via the citation, that this alleged thought isn’t entirely original.

    IMNSHO, the Force from Star Wars is a better conceived piece of woo than theraputic touch. Despite the handwaving retcon of midichlorians as a physiological source of the Force, the Force is shown in-universe to have actual effects (lightning, Darth Vader’s Force chokehold, etc.). And its creators understand that it’s fiction. TT is fiction, too, but its advocates don’t seem to understand this.

  5. #5 JGC
    July 16, 2015

    IIRC, there was one study 6-8 years ago there even having the control group separated from the treated group was not enough to “impede human biofield treatments.” Mice (or rats?) were cured of cancer all the same in both groups.

    That’s probably one of William Bengston’s studies, where the energy healing applied was so apparently so potent it cured not only the experimental mice who received it but the control mice that didn’t receive any treatment.

    bengston’s explanation for no statistical difference between the outcomes in the treated and untreated groups by invoking “some mysterious quantum-mystical effect that actually made my control group part of the experimental group, experiencing the benefits of hands-on healing even though the hands weren’t ever on them.”

    There was an extended discussion of why this actually represents an utter fail at http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/06/05/reiki-versus-dogs-just-being-dogs/

  6. #6 doug
    July 16, 2015

    This utterly incompetent idiot is concerned with the plastic of the mouse containers, but is apparently oblivious to the influence of the “ring stand”, presumably the typical arrangement of aluminum or stainless steel rods held together with metallic clamps, on “electromagnetic fields.”
    The test and control subjects were at different ends of a room, with no mention made of assessing the room for existing “electromagnetic fields.” Neither is there any mention of assessing the room for other energy sources potentially noxious to mice but imperceptible to humans, such as high flicker amplitude in the lighting, sounds at ultrasonic (again, to humans) frequencies, or even odor sources. There is no mention of evaluation of other proximate materials that absorb or reflect radiated energy. She clearly has never been anywhere near and EMI/RFI test chamber.
    She is bloody well clueless about “energy.” Her methods are crap.

    She asserts that mice associate humans with bringing food and water. Unless the mice are deprived of food and water at times, I call bullsh!t. If they are given special treats occasionally, then maybe. Otherwise, the food hopper and the water bottle are always full, and the human is just something that comes to bring annoyance – or worse.

    She should take up magic hand waving. She is crap at science.

  7. #7 JGC
    July 16, 2015

    I wonder if the fact that the room was L-shaped was deliberate, or just what was available. There’s a Chinese folk belief that evil ‘spirits’ i.e. harmful energy can only travel in straight lines that;s reflected in a lot of theri architecture-I wonder if the designers have some similar unstated belief that energy healing ‘vibrations’ can’t turn corners as well?

  8. #8 Chris Hickie
    July 16, 2015

    Why didn’t the non-TT person moved their hands in exactly the same fashion as the TT practitioner instead of just standing there for the control/mock group? I’m picturing a mouse stuffed into a tube, already stressed out by it…and here is a big human waving their hands around them; the mock/control group instead just got to stay stuffed in the tube without the added stress of hands moving around them.

    FYI, this was my medical school. I hope there a some on the faculty there willing to speak up on this nonsense.

  9. #9 Denice Walter
    July 16, 2015

    @ doug:

    Unfortunately, I have learned through woo-meisters that what WE ( i.e. those educated in physics, chemistry, biology, physiology) refer to as ‘energy’ and what THEY refer to as ‘energy’ have little in common.

    The energy to which they refer is not merely a physical phenomenon BUT is endowed with various psycho-social, emotional, epigenetic, cultural, possibly bioluminescent, spiritual, religious, moral and biodynamic qualities which are indeed tame-able only by those pure of heart and committed to pseudo-science.

    For example, one woo-meister claims that everything is an ‘energy exchange’ then, prosaically describes human interactions such as sexual attraction, learning from a mentor and dealing with a child that would better be understood as psychological events that we’ve studied for the past century or more. That’s the level to which descend in this realm of wishful thinking and practical magic.

    When I first came across this nonsense I was reminded of a long essay by Jung ( altho’ I’m not a Jungian) that discusses ‘psychic’ ( that is, ‘psychological’) energy in terms of archaic concepts of mana, prana, ruach, chi, and libido ( as general’ life energy’ not especially sexual).

    In other words, ‘energy’ as naively conceived by observers in relation to human activities and beliefs. A person puts ‘energy’ into achieving a certain outcome, a person feels ‘energetic’, an argument is ‘heated’, an active person expends more energy than average. A strong intention, belief or need involves more energy.

    And, as if this isn’t bad enough, a few gifted healers/ sensitives are able to adjust or ‘tune’ the out-of-whack energies of others to more resemble their own perfect vibrations. In addition, particularly pure foods, water, supplements and activities can also remedy bad vibes.

  10. #10 JP
    July 16, 2015

    How they got the mice in there, I can only imagine because the necks of those tissue culture flasks are kind of narrow, albeit probably wide enough to stuff a mouse in with only minimal trauma. The flasks were suspended two feet in the air by being clamped to a ring stand.

    I read this passage over a couple of times – I have been a bit slow in the mornings lately – and still came away with the image of the mice being suspended in the air by their front or hind paws. (Possibly I got stuck on the word “clamped.”) “What is this?” I thought, “Some kind of freakish interspecies BDSM?! What purpose could this possible serve?!”

    I did eventually figure out what was actually meant.

    If this country could just get on board with the metric system*, these confusions would not be so commonplace.

    *Okay, that probably would not fix my problems.

  11. #11 chris watts
    los angeles
    July 16, 2015

    Hiya –

    in today’s blog, you said ” In any case, regardless of its proclaimed ability to “transform anything and everything,” one thing it can transform is woo into science.”

    but probably meant to say:

    ” In any case, regardless of its proclaimed ability to “transform anything and everything,” one thing it can’t transform is woo into science.”

    or something like that.

    You can send my free homeopathic cancer cure kit to me at the address on file. Hi ho!

    chris

  12. #12 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 16, 2015

    #4 Eric Lund
    All experiments were approved by the Animal Care Committee of the University of Connecticut Health Center.

    This does not give me a lot of confidence in the ACC. Possibly Burzynski Ethics committee (whatever it’s called in the States) were moonlighting

    I see that the paper was published in a reputable profitable journal or at least with a profitable profitable publisher. The write-up for Hindawi Publishing Corporation on Beale’s list is most interesting.

    I had a look at the large tissue culture container study. Didn’t check out the journal but interesttingly enough all the authors were from the University of Connecticut Health Center and included Gronowicz G

    I don’t think I want to ever go to the University of Connecticut Health Center.

    I did think the experimental design was impeccable. One could divide up a 2nd or 3rd year undergraduate research design class into groups and hold a contest to see which group could find the most problems. Is there anything they did not do wrong?

  13. #13 Denice Walter
    July 16, 2015

    @ JP:

    ” Some kind of freakish interspecies BDSM?!”

    You win the internet!

  14. #14 Murmur
    UK-ia
    July 16, 2015

    Is that Frank Zappa and Alex Harvey I can hear turning in their respective graves?

    Altogether now:

    Let me put my hands on you!

    It’ll cure your asthma too!

  15. #15 Garnetstar
    July 16, 2015

    This study is ridiculous, and if there’s some foundation out there who knows how to change the structure of the atom, they need to inform the Pentagon. (Today is the anniversary of the Trinity test.)

    But, my friend who is the director of a palliative care unit at a hospital also hears reports of TT “working” the best. She asks her outpatients if they’re using any CAM, so she knows what they’re doing. (She doesn’t try to discourage them from it, unless it’s something harmful, because all the patients are terminal.) She also asks if the CAM is “helpful”, just out of curiosity. And, TT is reported by the patients to “work” the best.

    From what I’ve seen of TT practioners on TV, they stand very close to the patient, and move their hands very close over their body. It’s a half-hour or more of concentrated attention from another human being, who is focusing solely on you, whom you know is wishing strongly for you to feel better, and who is moving their hands so closely over you that you can feel their warmth on any bare skin.

    That’s why it “works” or “helps” better than swallowing a “remedy” or having thin needles stuck into you. It wouldn’t work as well if the patient was inside a plastic culture flask suspended on a ringstand.

  16. #16 sheepmilker
    July 16, 2015

    I served on an ACC (Animal Care Committee) for several years and we would NEVER have approved something like this. Something about “prior plausibility”…

  17. #17 Not a Troll
    July 16, 2015

    ” In any case, regardless of its proclaimed ability to “transform anything and everything,” one thing it can transform is woo into science.”

    Did you mean “can not” transform?

    You nailed it with this article. My keyboard is drying now (learned long ago to only drink water sitting in front of a computer).

  18. #18 Takiar
    Sherbrooke
    July 16, 2015

    For the ethics committee, if they function like here, they don’t really judge scientific merit. For that, they rely on whether the study is funded (to them, if it’s funded, then someone decided there was scientific merit, though such a funding source would have elicited bright red flags here). Footpad tumors is another red flag that would have been required a thorough explanation of why not anywhere else. That’s sloppy work there.

  19. #19 Sarah A
    July 16, 2015

    Out of morbid curiosity, I looked up the reference they cite as evidence that TT can work through a tissue culture flask. It was an experiment similar to this one (L-shaped room, non-practitioner control, etc.) except that they had their TT practitioners do that voodoo that they do on cell cultures and basically just assessed everything they could think of: gene expression, DNA replication, etc. Same basic strategy as this paper: go on a fishing expedition and run a bunch of different statistical tests on every possible pairwise comparison, then ignore the fact that most of the results showed no statistically significant difference, cherry-pick the few just-barely significant results, and speculate wildly about what they “suggest.”

    Also, a minor point re: how they got the mice in the flasks – although their sentence structure is a bit ambiguous it sounds like they’re saying that they made a hinged door in the flask itself (for those who don’t know, culture flasks are shaped like a flat rectangular prism with a neck, not the classic tapered “flask” shape.) I imagine you could get a mouse into the neck of a flask that big, but can you imagine trying to get it out again afterwards? As someone who does animal research, it saddens me that mice were sacrificed for this worthless piece of dreck.

  20. #20 TBruce
    July 16, 2015

    From what I’ve seen of TT practioners on TV, they stand very close to the patient, and move their hands very close over their body. It’s a half-hour or more of concentrated attention from another human being, who is focusing solely on you, whom you know is wishing strongly for you to feel better, and who is moving their hands so closely over you that you can feel their warmth on any bare skin.

    Maybe it’s my ethnic background (predominantly Celtic) but that would freak me the hell out. When I’m ailing, I want a comfortable place to lie down, some ginger ale and to be left in peace.

  21. #21 shay
    July 16, 2015

    Ask anyone of junior rank who has ever pissed off a senior noncom about directly channeled energy. It’s certainly therapeutic, but not in the way Gronowicz et cie mean.

  22. #22 Garnetstar
    July 16, 2015

    TBruce, well you see, I’m Italian. Need I say more? 🙂

    Actually, it’s that the patients aren’t just ailing, they are terminally ill, so the focus and attention is more likely to be soothing and welcome.

  23. #23 sadmar
    July 16, 2015

    “The mouse energy field is, after all, so much smaller and squeakier,” had me in stitches. Brilliant!

    My first reaction to this: What’s up at UConn? Can medical science faculty there publish comedy-gold travesties of scientific method in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine and have that count for promotion and tenure? Curious about this “quack journal” I clicked on the link to the study…

    Second reaction: Why is Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine on this NIH PubMed index? From reading here, where folks always ask for PubMed cites, I had the impression that implied some legitimacy, a passing through some filter of scientific legitimacy. There’s a header for the journal at the top of the citation page: I click on the link for “Editorial Board”…

    Third reaction: I am gob-smacked that the editorial board of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine had no less than 319 members. No typo: three hundred and nineteen. The members are affiliated with institutions all over the world, including such major US universities as Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Vanderbilt, Emory, UCLA, UCSD, UC Irvine, Florida, U of Miami, Texas, Ohio State, Maryland, Minnesota and Florida State (from the U.S. News top 100), and such prestigious medical facilities as Massachusetts General and Cancer Treatment Centers of America… (I joke about the prestige in the last one, of course). Hmmm…

    Fourth reaction: I see Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine comes from an outfit by the name of Hindawi Publishing. I wonder if that’s a subsidiary of
    the Uranus Corporation, and consider the possibility some Philip K. Dickian reality shift has dropped me into a Cheech and Chong sketch, but the Google informs me Hindawi is a highly profitable (50% margin) publisher of pay-to-play science journals, infamous for soliciting submissions by mass spam emails. So UConn has ponied up $2250 (hopefully provided by Trivedi, rather than the general fund) to get Gronowicz et al’s paper into EBsCAM. Nice little racket Trivedi has going there with woo-cademia and the ‘open source’ publishing thing…

    Thought five: The EBsCAM header declares it has an ‘Impact Factor’ of 2.18. I have no idea what that means, so I do some more Google, and eventually discover two supposedly more rigorous science journal ranking systems: Eigenfactor, which EBsCAM in the 82nd percentile; and SCImago, which has EBsCAM in ‘the first quartile’. Hmm. There are apparently over 1100 science journals in these rankings, which would mean over 900 of them are less influential — and perhaps worse — than a pay-model rag that publishes a study of how hand-waving effects cancer growth in lab mice that have stuffed into plastic flasks. I start to wonder whether Gronowicz paper could have moved up the pecking order if her team had used a control that didn’t beg the whole question of TT ‘energy fields’ — say shamki involving a lab tech mimicing the gestures of the reiki master to see any measured ‘effect’ was just due to cancerous mice being calmed by hand-waving. Oh hell, I dunno stats from my arse, but if Orac says they dumped an ‘outlier’ that sounds squeeky enough to me that I wonder what the peer-reviewers were thinking. Or do I mean drinking?

    Seeks sicks 6: EBsCAM “currently has an acceptance rate of 36%”. So what do the 64% of papers they reject look like, where do they come from, and what happens to them? Having been passed-over by EBsCAM, do the authors then get them published in The Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, The Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, or The Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, all of which are in the 3rd quartile per SCImago? Wait… There’s one journal called Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and another, different one called The Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine? The later, which refers to itself as JEBCAM (and I imagine this as the great karmic unconsciousness referencing the killer-quack-friendly legislation shepherded into law under the former governor of Florida) is published by Sage, and must be lame since it only has 32 members on its editorial board… One of whom is Edzard Ernst!?

    Summation: At this point my head is so filled with WTF about ‘scholarship in medical science’, I don’t know what to say – except maybe anybody who lives in this glass house would have a lot of damn gall throwing bricks at Social Text… 😉

    Q: What’s the scientific term for the application of Therapeutic Touch to mice?

    A: Squeeky reiki.

  24. #24 Eric Lund
    July 16, 2015

    For the ethics committee, if they function like here, they don’t really judge scientific merit. For that, they rely on whether the study is funded

    I can’t speak for Canada, but in the US, the IRB is supposed to review any proposed research (even before it is sent to potential funding agencies) that involves human or animal subjects (there are other things, like historical artifacts, that trigger an IRB review, but they aren’t relevant to this discussion). So the IRB should have seen the proposal even before it was sent to the foundation in question. That means that either the IRB didn’t care, or the proposers did not include the protocol in their proposal. There may be cases where a protocol is designed or revised after proposal submission, but the PI needs to have a very good reason for doing so, and the IRB is still supposed to approve it–meaning that either (again) the IRB didn’t care, or they were deliberately bypassed. So there was a major lapse here, either on the IRB’s part or on the PI’s.

    And then there’s the issue of this foundation. The UConn Office of Sponsored Research (or whatever they call it) probably doesn’t care as long as the checks don’t bounce, but something tells me that this may not have been a competitive proposal.

  25. #25 shay
    July 16, 2015

    Actually, it’s that the patients aren’t just ailing, they are terminally ill, so the focus and attention is more likely to be soothing and welcome.

    Wouldn’t giving them a golden retriever accomplish the same thing?

  26. #26 Eric Lund
    July 16, 2015

    The EBsCAM header declares it has an ‘Impact Factor’ of 2.18….EBsCAM “currently has an acceptance rate of 36%”.

    The journal in question may be trying to game their impact factor stats. Obviously higher impact factors are better (at least when comparing journals within a field), but one way to boost your impact factor is by focusing on “sexy” papers and rejecting papers that are obviously unlikely to be cited. (Nature and Science are among the journals alleged to be playing this game.) Not coincidentally, this procedure also boosts your rejection rate, which is another way to make your journal seem better than it is. In addition, some journals (again, Nature and Science are among them) include news focus stories, which boost the numerator (more cites) of the impact factor without boosting the denominator (these stories aren’t counted as articles). Given Hindawi’s dodgy reputation, it seems at least plausible that they are playing these sorts of games.

    In my field, an impact factor of 2.18 would be typical of a decent second-tier journal. But that’s not necessarily true in biomedical fields; I suspect impact factors in my field are lower than most other science fields, but in some humanities fields that would be a rather high impact factor.

  27. #27 Rich Woods
    Englandland
    July 16, 2015

    @shay #25:

    Wouldn’t giving them a golden retriever accomplish the same thing?

    Shh! I’m holding out for my very own dragon on the NHS.

  28. #28 shay
    July 16, 2015

    I should think goldens would be easier on the housekeeping staff.

    (sadmar — squeaky reiki. Oy).

  29. #29 JGC
    July 16, 2015

    Wouldn’t giving them a golden retriever accomplish the same thing?

    When my soon-to-be youngest finally got out of the hospital/re-hab center, it took several weeks before she figured out every dog she saw wasn’t a therapy dog put there just to cheer her up.

  30. #30 Chris
    July 16, 2015

    How did they get an IRB for tihs? The size of the flask they put two mice in was noted as “18 cm × 11.5 cm × 4 cm).” For us Americans that is about: 7′ high, a bit over 4″ wide, and 1.5′ thick.

    Since my kids did go through a rodent pet stage which included one mouse I am familiar on how much room they like to have. Even though the mouse was small, it did like to move around. Well, until it died. Then I told them no more rodents and gave the habitats to daughter’s first grade teacher.

    Was there no oversight on the treatment of the animals at that university?

  31. #31 JP
    July 16, 2015

    my soon-to-be youngest

    Oh G-d, does this mean what it seems like it means?

  32. #32 Rich Woods
    Downwind by a good margin
    July 16, 2015

    Previous studies from our laboratory had shown that tissue culture plastic did not impede human biofield treatments [36]

    I wanted to see what other materials they’d tested, to have some confidence in this claim about tissue culture plastic. Also, the nature of the materials which did and did not impede the treatment would tell us something about the nature of this putative energy field. For example, if they failed to detect any effect through a barrier made of ten-inch thick stainless steel, coated with an inch of beryllium and backed by three feet of lead, we could pretty much discount highly-energetic free neutrons, couldn’t we? (I’m sure that would come as a comfort to the mice.) At the other end of the mice-containing spectrum, a thin sheet of paper is going to block most alpha particles but not a great deal else.

    But it seems the study wasn’t actually a study of materials at all. It was simply another claim that TT worked, poorly supported by evidence at that. Gronowicz completely mis-characterises the study and draws a flawed conclusion, which gives us a valuable insight into her woo-soaked way of thinking. Not that we really needed another line into that.

  33. #33 mho
    July 16, 2015

    Shay, my cancer center brought in golden retrievers 8 years ago–and look, I’m still alive! Actually, the wife of a partner needed to speak to him, and it was too hot to leave the dogs in the car. I’m sure it was the goldens, not the chemotherapy because dogs are all natural.
    I wonder if Blue Heelers are better healers?

  34. #34 doug
    July 16, 2015

    Tissue culture flasks are usually made of polystyrene, which is a long way from fur on a triboelectric series chart. I can imagine tiny and unpleasant little lightning bolts following the mousies around inside the flasks.

    but that would freak me the hell out.

    It wouldn’t freak me out, but I’d last about three minutes before I started trying to rip the “therapist’s” arms out of their sockets. Give me the golden retriever or some mouseses.

    As for ethics, I don’t have a great deal of confidence in any reviewing agency. The AVMA, for instance, supports suffocating chickens with fire fighting foam if it is expedient.

  35. #35 JGC
    July 16, 2015

    It means the adoption hasn’t been finalized, and rght now I’m still her foster dad.

    Sorry for any confusion…

  36. #36 JP
    July 16, 2015

    It means the adoption hasn’t been finalized, and rght now I’m still her foster dad.

    Oh, good. Thinking about it a little bit more, I realized that probably an unhappier meaning would not be so casually construed. At least by normal people, anyway, I talk about seriously awful things in a casual manner all the time.

  37. #37 sadmar
    July 16, 2015

    @ doug #6
    At my last employer, the student video editing lab I built / maintained / all-but-lived-in was in a relatively new ‘Science’ building, surrounded by Physics and Astrophysics labs. At one point we got a new, bigger Panasonic monitor for our dubbing/playback cart. I plugged it in, turned it on, before firing up the video source connected to the input — and a kind of psychedelic splotchy color pattern appeared on the otherwise black screen.of the CRT. While wondering if the monitor was defective, I wheeled the cart to a different position in the room — and the pattern changed as the monitor moved through space. I unplugged it, took it down the elevator to the first floor lobby, and tried it there. No color pattern. Back in the lab, I played with all the other electrical things in the room — the computer systems, video gear, both the fluorescent and incandescent-on-dimmers overhead lights. None of them were the source of – or had any effect on – whatever EMR/RFI was being picked up by the circuits in the monitor. I showed the phenomenon to the Computer Science prof whose student lab was in the other half of the room, and he was as puzzled as I was. We observed some more. The elevator machinery for the building was across the hall, and had some big electric motors and and associated control systems, but operation of the elevator had no effect on the pattern either. We wondered if there could be something in adjacent science lab, but we got a look see, and no, no suspects there and besides there was a good sized storage space in between with nothing plugged in. Eventually, we just shrugged and went back to work…

    Per Denice @ #9, we might grant Gronowicz et al understand the ‘bio-energy field’ of living creatures as something other than EMR, but the fact they ‘tested’ the plastic for potential blockage of this ‘energy’ means they have to considered it could be affected by the physical properties of the ‘research’ environment – none of the others of which they bothered to catalog, test, control for, yada yada yada.

    So, forget Gronowicz, and mull over a peer review process that fails to meet the intellectual standards of Rufus T. Firefly:

    Why, a 2nd year undergraduate could understand what’s wrong with this research design! Run out and find me a 2nd year undergraduate; I can’t make head or tail of it.

    And here’s a link to the Uranus Corporation (just 1:18, I think y’all will appreciate it):
    https://youtu.be/008BPUdQ1XA
    “At Uranus, things come out a little differently.”

  38. #38 KayMarie
    July 16, 2015

    @Chris #30

    I thought the small container suspended in mid air was only for the hand waving part.

    I assumed they were in standard research rodent cages when they weren’t being pestered.

  39. #39 KayMarie
    July 16, 2015

    #32

    Doesn’t look like other materials were tested, that article is on cells in culture dishes so not sure it even applies to intact critters.

  40. #40 doug
    July 16, 2015

    CRT monitors are subject to magnetic fields because the electron beam is magnetically “deflected” (scanned). Residual magnetism in steel parts around the tube can cause strange patterns, which is why CRT monitors generally include a degaussing coil to demagnetize the bits each time the monitor is turned on. In severe cases, manual degaussing with an external coil is required. Of course with the near total demise of CRTs, this is no longer an issue.

    It is great sport (for the twisted and depraved) to hold a strong permanent magnet up to the face of a color TV CRT while the uninitiated are watching.

    CRT monitors are one of the things that have been identified as noxious to some animals. Conventional television monitors had a horizontal scan rate of about 16 kHz. A combination of magnetostriction in certain materials and coils of wire where strands could move microscopically in response to magnetic fields could make the things audibly quite loud at 16 kHz. Computer CRTs suffered the same problems, but the scan rate was usually higher, so fewer animals could hear it. The power supplies used in almost all modern electronic equipment similarly emit high frequency “audio” noise, though again the more modern types operate at frequencies that are ultrasonic even to meeces. Electronic “ballasts” for fluorescent lights can emit frequencies audible to small critters. Then there’s high frequency noise from fan blades.

  41. #41 Rich Woods
    The ground floor
    July 16, 2015

    The elevator machinery for the building was across the hall, and had some big electric motors and and associated control systems, but operation of the elevator had no effect on the pattern either.

    Several years ago we noticed a tendency for our office’s electronically-controlled security door to lock and unlock by itself, on about a 90 second cycle.

    Strict scientific observation* gave rise to a hypothesised sharp sonic connection with the elevator 25 feet away. Further analysis determined that the elevator wasn’t going anywhere, and the conclusion was reached that there was some effin’ scary sparking action going on with the elevator motors. A suitably qualified elevator technician was called to investigate the problem. We should also have got someone out to investigate why the security door was so crap, but we got bored.

    * Preceded by large amounts of joking and bullshitting.

  42. #42 Rich Woods
    July 16, 2015

    @doug #40:

    A combination of magnetostriction in certain materials and coils of wire where strands could move microscopically in response to magnetic fields could make the things audibly quite loud at 16 kHz.

    My first introduction to a computer system more complex than a ZX Spectrum was in September 1983, when I got to play with a Pr1me minicomputer. Its boards were housed in an open-sided wardrobe-sized cabinet (for adequate ventilation, naturally), and they ran so slow (by today’s standards) that they sang to you.

    There were stories that people had written CPU/RAM-intensive software to exploit this effect, with varying degrees of success. The Holy Grail was generally acknowledged to be a rendition of Delia Derbyshire’s original 1963 Doctor Who theme tune.

  43. #43 LW
    July 16, 2015

    “the role of prayer or religion are not involved in the interpretation of results”

    Oh God, please let this mouse’s tumors support my hypothesis…

  44. #44 sadmar
    July 16, 2015

    “Was there no oversight on the treatment of the animals at that university?”

    C’mon, Chris! Did you miss the part where they provided BEDDING for the two mice in each 7x4x1.5″ flask? It’s not like these people are monsters or anything. They gave Mickey and Minnie pillows to rest those 330 cubic-mm footpad tumors they gave them. That’s less than 7mm per side and mouse feet are… Well, like you said, the mice were just going to move around a little before they died anyway. Or, in the wild, they’d just make a nuisance of themselves chewing through walls and stuff before some cat comes along, boxes their little brains to jelly, and drops them on the living room carpet as a present to its human before heading off to much down some kibble. It’s a better life for us and them if they spend their days in a cozy cushioned home before being humanely euthanized, especially since they’re helping us cure cancer, transform the very nature of the atom, and whatnot. Just think, if there were enough Trivedi Masters™, they could create pest resistant crops without resorting to glysophate or GMOs, and it would be safe because the Trivedi Effect® is a Natural transformation harnessed from the Intelligence of the Universe!

    Hmm…

    OK, Chris. Jig’s up. I’m onto you. I hope Monsanto’s paying you well for your faux animal-rights shill act, and you sleep well knowing your blocking the energy transmissions Mahenda Trivedi is trying to use to serve a greater purpose for the welfare of humanity.
    [/sarcasm]

    Actually, I suspect Gronowicz measured at least one other effect of TT on mouse biology, and is hiding her findings: the Trivedi Effect® functions very nicely to transform mouse droppings into cash…

  45. #45 Denice Walter
    July 16, 2015

    @ TBruce:

    Although I’m not Celtic I would be freaked out nonetheless.

    Ever see video of those churches/ prayer meetings wherein they heal someone complete with laying-on-of-hands ?

    Actually I have mixed feelings about touching in general.
    It can be good. BUT some people go overboard- kiss everyone in the room hello even if they have just met them.
    Have to touch people if they talk to them.

  46. #46 JustaTech
    July 16, 2015

    I can see how you would get mice *into* a T-flask; they like small spaces so they’d probably go pretty willingly through the neck. But there is no way in heck you could get them back *out* of a T-flask without some kind of door.

    Eric Lund: You keep saying IRB. For animal studies it’s an IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee).

    Which reminds me of a joke.
    What happens when you cross a hamster and an octopus?
    A visit from your IACUC and the termination of your grant.

  47. #47 Denice Walter
    July 16, 2015

    JP saith:

    “I talk about seriously awful things in a casual manner all the time”

    BUT then, she studied Russian lit I imagine,

  48. #48 JustaTech
    July 16, 2015

    Doug @40: It’s not just CRTs. One facility I knew had to get all their fancy motion-activated lights removed because the sonic sweep of the motion detector was so upsetting to the mice that the entire facility stopped breeding.

  49. #49 Roadstergal
    July 16, 2015

    “When my soon-to-be youngest finally got out of the hospital/re-hab center, it took several weeks before she figured out every dog she saw wasn’t a therapy dog put there just to cheer her up.”

    I firmly believe that every dog on earth is a therapy dog put here just to cheer me up*. Well, maybe not the purse-dogs.

    I would laugh, but I’m just depressed for the poor mice. Jamming them in a TC flask and giving them massive tumors in order to bolster your own personal bullshit. Horrid.

    Although I should note that they don’t seem to have been crammed through that narrow neck: “with bedding by a technician through a premade hinged door.” Sounds like they built a little door into the flask. Tiny mercies.

    (*They seem to firmly believe I am here just to be licked and to feed them.)

    • #50 Orac
      July 16, 2015

      I missed the part about the hinged door when reading the methods. Brain fart from blogging after midnight…

  50. #51 Roadstergal
    July 16, 2015

    At that point, I don’t see why letting them stay in their plastic cages while they get hands waved at them wouldn’t be just as scientifically valid. For the very lax interpretation of the word that allows this study, of course.

  51. #52 Narad
    July 16, 2015

    Conventional television monitors had a horizontal scan rate of about 16 kHz. A combination of magnetostriction in certain materials and coils of wire where strands could move microscopically in response to magnetic fields could make the things audibly quite loud at 16 kHz.

    More simply, a loose flyback transformer will do the same thing.

  52. #53 dz
    July 16, 2015

    As I can be quite sarcastic, my first thought was’Can the flasks block long distance reiki?’ How do we know that someone was not send long distance reiki therapy to the test mice? I would think that there must be occational error when sending long distance reiki healing. What if some one is California is trying to heal someone in Boston, but missed and healed the mice instead. If I am going to believe these results, they will need to prove that the flasks are reiki proof.
    http://reikidistancehealing.org/qanda.php#Q5

  53. #54 capnkrunch
    July 16, 2015

    dz@53
    You make a great point. We really need more research into blocking long distance reiki so we can reexamine how it confounds other studies. Maybe it’s not chemotherapy but rather interference from long distance reiki. Maybe vaccines do cause autism but studies show otherwise because the authors failed to control for reiki.

  54. #55 Jenora Feuer
    July 16, 2015

    More simply, a loose flyback transformer will do the same thing.

    Twenty-five years ago, I spent some time working at a place that still used IBM 3270-series terminals. During the first training class there, the demonstration model we were being shown how to use was one that had been pulled off of actual usage because of its tendency to overheat and shut down.

    Every time it shut down, four people of the forty or so in the room (including me, but not including any of the instructors) would quite visibly cringe from the loud and extremely high-pitched squeal the machine would put out. It took an annoying amount of effort to convince some of those people that yes, the broken terminal actually was making a lot of noise.

  55. #56 sadmar
    July 16, 2015

    KM #38:
    The reikied mice and the lab-guy-just-stands-there ‘control’ group were put in the flasks for 10 minutes, twice a week. There’s no mention of where they were “housed’ the other 10,060 minutes of the week, what sorts and degrees of human contact they may have had during that time, whether they were alone or shared space with other mice in the study, what the physical nature of the space surrounding the mouse housing may have been, or whether all these things were identical for each mouse in the study. Not that any such factors could POSSIBLY have anything to do with whatever they measured, compared to 20 minutes of hand-wavnd waving.

    Speaking of things Gronowicz et al don’t bother to tell us, that includes how many TT practitioners were employed in the sample, what criteria were used to select them, how the authenticity and representativeness of their TT therapy was verified… But the number of practitioners appears to have been “two”. We’re told nothing about any other ways these two make have been like or different from each other, or from other self-proclaimed TT practioners, or from the “non-TT person standing next to the flask” of the ‘control’ group – the language is also ambiguous as to whether this was the same individual in person in all sessions, or who-knows-how-many different folks. If there were only one or two ‘non-TT persons’ used, that’s a small sample, and wouldn’t rule out a hypothesis that a significant percentage of human beings project energy fields that affect metatasis of foot cancer in BALB/c mice whether they wave their hands or not, but just aren’t aware of having that ‘gift’. And why didn’t Gronowicz control for ‘non-TT’ by having the TT practitoners just stand next to the flasks w/o doing the hand thing? Or rather, why didn’t the peer reviewers find any of this worrisome?

    What’s on display here is the sort of reductionism of human characteristics, expression and behavior that is endemic in the so-called ‘social sciences’. The ‘researcher’ makes-up some abstract binary category distinction, and treats it like a self-evident natural phenomenon with utterly unified and identical states of ‘present/absent’. In this case, you’re a TT practitioner if you say you area, all TT practitioners and every one of their their methods, and yea, every individual session of application are interchangeable. And everyone on Earth who does not claim to be a TT practitioner isn’t one, and all of them – and anything any of them may do while standing bored, sympathetic, or in gleeful scopophilic sadism next to a pair of mice trapped in a tiny flask – are likewise functionally the same and interchangeable. Even if you’re loopy enough to think hand-waving can direct a human energy field to re-orient the energy field of a mouse yielding some bio-physical change, that reductionism ought to stop you dead in your tracks…

    The WTF of the premises just assumed here knows no end. If a TT-practioner’s energy field interacts with a patient’s energy field, how on Earth do you posit that has a bio-physical effect on the patient, but results in no change to the practitioner? Maybe I should apply for a grant to study the physiological change in newly minted reiki masters by euthanizing one subject group before they treat any patients, and another after each gives 40 treatments to the same patient with non-sbm-treatable physiology-based chronic pain, and then comparing thorough autopsy results…

  56. #57 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    July 16, 2015

    There is an iPhone app, Sound Grenade, that emits a very high pitched squeal after, say, 3 minuets or so. That’s just long enough to walk over to a young cow-orker who can still hear sounds that high (too many years of lead slinging and rock & roll narrowed my hearing), and bust a gut trying to not laugh as he slaps his CRT trying to fix the loose flyback transformer.

    Ahhh, the days of cubical warfare…

  57. #58 Not a Troll
    July 16, 2015

    Gak. CRT monitors. I could watch the screen flicker at 75 Hz. Yes, it is headache inducing in addition to making your co-workers think you’re crazy.

  58. #59 Mrs Woo
    Among piles, boxes and anxious furry beings
    July 16, 2015

    @shay #25 from Mr Woo: Yes!

    @ MI Dawn #2 – Thank you – I think moving, the stress of this type of move and all the complications of it, have hit me kind of hard. Teenagers and their angst on top of it isn’t making it much easier. Moving somewhere would be easier than moving into incompleteness. We’re barely getting places together to keep the animals contained, and planning to find a camper or something until the house is finished for us, so everything goes to plastic containers with silica gel in the barn and we cross our fingers while my century farmer husband considers it a pioneering adventure. Thank you so much for the warm empathy across the interwebs…

  59. #60 Narad
    July 16, 2015

    Ahhh, the days of cubical warfare…

    Until two years ago, when I had to move, I was keeping alive a 1977 RCA XL-100 ColorTrak. The one with the “space-age” rocker-switch remote (which I had long since lost, which is just as well, given that it had a habit of randomly turning on the set at full blast).

    If I still had a scope, I could have put the service manual to better use, but there was a lot of swapping in and out of modules that needed trivial rebuilding because I wasn’t that dedicated.

    But I digress. Yah, that flyback occasionally needed whacking a gentle suggestion to reseat itself.

  60. #61 JP
    July 16, 2015

    Huh; so there is something to whacking a TV. My dad used to “fix” ours that way, and I seem to remember it working, but I wasn’t sure if it was a real thing or not.

    On occasion, when streaming video is choppy or slow on my laptop, I get an urge to smack it, but I know it will not help.

  61. #62 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 16, 2015

    #23 sadmar

    For info on Hindawi Publishing Corporation google Beale’s list and Hindawi Publishing Corporation in the search box. It is a very profitable publishing organization. FYI getting on Beale’s list is not a good thing.

    It is very likely most members of the editorial board have no idea they are on it. http://deevybee.blogspot.com/2015/02/journals-without-editors-what-is-going.html

    I have heard of cases where some authors didn’t even know that they had written such and such paper.

  62. #63 Tsu Dho Nimh
    July 16, 2015

    Why did the Med Center’s IRB even allow this waste of mice?

    If you are going to test a drug, you first have to show that there IS a drug. I’d make them demonstrate this “TT Field” before they could proceed. Then they could try their TT on cancer cell cultures and show me they could affect cells.

    Then, with ROBUST and REPRODUCIBLE results from those, they might get a mouse.

  63. #64 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    July 16, 2015

    I’m sickened by Orac’s photo showing a one eyed mouse cradled in a natural rubber latex glove. ;-(

    Is there no decency for mice in medical research?

  64. #65 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    July 16, 2015

    In continuation to # 65,

    If the scientists used natural rubber latex gloves during the experiment how did the “energy medicine” pass through the rubber gloves and into the mouse?

    Natural rubber is a material with large ρ and small σ, even a very large electric field in rubber makes almost no current flow through it.

  65. #66 Slugdoc
    United States
    July 17, 2015

    What really steams me about this article is that some anti-animal testing group or person could point to this study as a proof of the wastefulness and negligence of animal testing….. and they’d be right.

    The IRB that approved this nonsense should be removed. I work with people that don’t want to work with vertebrates any more (frogs and fish, mostly) because the paperwork is too onerous, and these people got mice to torture with their magic?

    Argh. I have no words.

  66. #67 Lawrence
    July 17, 2015

    Either the MJD above is a Poe, or MJD has gone completely off the deep end…..

  67. #68 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    July 17, 2015

    @ Lawrence #67,

    Even when I agree with Orac you needle me…

    Furthermore, when he uses photo’s showing natural rubber latex gloves I can’t resist the urge to comment.

    Congratulations on SB-277 in that your a persistent and persuasive pro-vaxxer.

  68. #69 Chris
    July 17, 2015

    MJB, how do you know they are latex gloves? They look just like the nitrile gloves in our pantry. Daughter uses them when she cleans the litter box, and if I remember I use them to chop hot peppers.

  69. #70 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    July 17, 2015

    @ Chris #69,

    If you look closely at the photo the mouse’s left paw is elevated, an indication of latex sensitivity.

    Furthermore, if the scientists ran such an experiment as Orac described they also foolishly used natural rubber latex gloves (See #65).

    I’m glad your using nitrile gloves Chris!

  70. #71 ChrisP
    July 17, 2015

    I wonder if Blue Heelers are better healers?

    Almost certainly, Heelers would round up all those pesky little cancer cells and shunt them off into a corner of the yard.

    Golden retrievers just run around with their tongues hanging out, going “Look at me”.

  71. #72 Helianthus
    July 17, 2015

    @ MJD

    If you look closely at the photo the mouse’s left paw is elevated, an indication of latex sensitivity.

    You are kidding, right?
    You must be, or you seriously need help. I am not joking.

    The gloves could be latex, but a quadruped rodent having an elevated front paw is only an indication of curiosity (of the “should I get closer or should I run away” type).
    Heck, dogs and cats often take a similar position when investigating something new.

    Oh, and the mouse is “one-eyed” because its left eye is on its head’s left side, and thus hidden by the way the picture was framed. Rodents’ eyes are more far apart than those of hairless monkeys.

  72. #73 ChrisP
    July 17, 2015

    Oh, and the mouse is “one-eyed” because its left eye is on its head’s left side, and thus hidden by the way the picture was framed.

    Come on. How do you know that this mouse doesn’t have part of its head missing? Heh? Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it is there.

    Indeed, this might be a 3-eyed mouse.

  73. #74 Helianthus
    July 17, 2015

    @ ChrisP

    Come on. How do you know that this mouse doesn’t have part of its head missing?

    Reminds me of a (real-life) exchange between a lawyer and the medical coroner at some trial. It went something like this:

    “So, doctor, what was the status of Mr Smith when you started examining him?”
    “I had his corpse in the morgue and his brain in a jar on my desk.”
    “Were you sure Mr Smith was dead?”
    “Well, no,, he could have been walking around and pretending to be a lawyer.”

  74. #75 Helianthus
    July 17, 2015

    @ Sadmar

    If a TT-practioner’s energy field interacts with a patient’s energy field, how on Earth do you posit that has a bio-physical effect on the patient, but results in no change to the practitioner?

    Apparently you need intent to trigger the effect. OTOH, apparently you can spread the good juices around you without even noticing.
    What happens if the customer is resentful of the energy healer? (by example, he suspects the healer and his wife strongly intertwined their biofields?)

    There is also the question of the morphic field’s elastic resonance. Once you modify someone’s biofield, how long until the morphic field snaps back to its usual shape, out of sheer habit?

  75. #76 Narad
    July 17, 2015

    FYI getting on Beale’s list is not a good thing.

    Hindawi isn’t, FWIW.

  76. #77 Narad
    July 17, 2015

    I could watch the screen flicker at 75 Hz. Yes, it is headache inducing in addition to making your co-workers think you’re crazy.

    What’s the typical multiplexing frequency of a cheap LED alarm clock?

  77. #78 Krebiozen
    July 17, 2015

    I remember the discussion here about Bengston’s mice – was it really 3 years ago? IIRC we had a couple of TT practitioners here claiming that they used it to increase the survival of cancer patients more effectively than conventional cancer treatment. Their evidence was underwhelming.

    Come on. How do you know that this mouse doesn’t have part of its head missing?

    That reminds me of “Seeing”, Douglas Harding’s flavor of zen mysticism, that claims that you will experience enlightenment if you realize that you have no head (i.e.you never see your own head). One of my brothers is into Harding, and I sort of get it.

  78. #79 Krebiozen
    July 17, 2015

    I could watch the screen flicker at 75 Hz. Yes, it is headache inducing in addition to making your co-workers think you’re crazy.

    It was flickering fluorescent lights that used to drive me crazy, and no one else was bothered. Does anyone know why some people can see these things while others can’t?

    Years ago I got recruited as a (paid) guinea pig for a psychology study into subliminal images. I could see all the subliminal images and describe to the experimenter what they were, thoroughly surprising her and making me useless for the experiment. I still got my £5 as I recall.

  79. #80 doug
    July 17, 2015

    They are very clearly synthetic polyisoprene gloves, it’s a young rat, not a mouse, and it is holding its foot where it is because it’s more comfortable than awkwardly putting it on the closest finger.

  80. #81 Helianthus
    July 17, 2015

    @ doug

    Oï. I hope the thread is not headed into a repeat of the “what color is this dress” event 🙂

    Actually, you may be right on all points. I was not sold on nitrile gloves because I’m used to them being more blue, but latex is more yellow-ish. Polyisoprene is indeed likely
    And yeah, I’ll go with the animal wanting to be comfortable.
    It’s a young rat, really?
    I would have sworn… But I’m no expert in small furry animals.

  81. #82 doug
    July 17, 2015

    Helianthus, I’m really just mocking MJD.

    I can no more tell that they are polyisoprene by appearance than dippy can tell they are latex. Synthetic polyisoprene gloves are quite expensive and appear to be “popularly” sold as sterile surgical gloves (because they have the desirable properties of latex). There are also lots of ultra-low protein (post-processed) natural latex gloves available.
    I have nitrile gloves in blue, green and purple. They also come in pink, white and black, and Kimberly-Clark has their “Sterling” offering which is a rather spiffy silvery tone.

    I’m not 100% sure it is a rat, but the proportions of the head, particularly the muzzle, looks more like rat than mouse to me. Just as we need to see the port side to know how many eyes are there, we need to see the stern to help distinguish rat from mouse.

  82. #83 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 17, 2015

    #76 Nard
    RE: Hindawi Publishing Corporation “isn’t”

    It was there at 2015-07-17 08:13 unless I am really messing up my search specs
    http://scholarlyoa.com/?s=Hindawi+Publishing+Corporation

    Presumably Beale changed his mind?

  83. #84 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 17, 2015

    #76 Narad
    That should be 2015-07-17 08:13 EDT

  84. #85 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 17, 2015

    #78 Krebiozen

    I can see my nose (well one side at a time). Does this mean I have some strange thing floating above my shoulders? Maybe the equivalent of a pilot fish?

  85. #86 palindrom
    July 17, 2015

    Krebiozen @78 — In Thomas Pynchon’s “Inherent Vice”, one character tells another “Watch your head!” as they pass through some small space.

    The reply is “How would I do that?”

    Pynchon is a great fan of stupid jokes. A minor character in Gravity’s Rainbow, a German secretary, is named “Miss Mueller-Hochleben”. It occurred to me about a month after I’d read it that the name translates to “Miller High Life”, a popular brand of beer in the US.

  86. #87 Eric Lund
    July 17, 2015

    I have heard of cases where some authors didn’t even know that they had written such and such paper.

    On one or two occasions I learned of a paper on which I was a co-author when I saw the published paper. Some corresponding authors are better than others about contacting co-authors before submitting the publication. Luckily, these weren’t dodgy papers, but there is a reason co-authors are supposed to approve manuscripts before submission.

    The situation described at your link has happened before, with an Elsevier journal no less–and Elsevier is supposed to be one of the more reputable publishers. I don’t have time to search right now, but a few years ago somebody noticed a mathematics journal that featured a disproportionate number of articles authored by its then editor, who resigned in the wake of the scandal. There seems to have been a similar resolution in this case, but Elsevier really needs to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future. Once a coincidence, twice a conspiracy, as the saying goes.

  87. #88 ChrisP
    July 17, 2015

    I have met some people over the years with a latex fetish, but MJD takes this to quite a different level.

  88. #89 Lurker
    July 17, 2015

    I’ll have to differ with Orac on this one: It’s not Chopra-level woo, it’s worse:

    1) The Trivedi Foundation is a cult based on the idea that its founder has some kind of unique connexion to supernatural power and can pass it along to his initiates. Those kinds of cults do not end well.

    See also this page: http://trivedifoundation.org/mahendra-trivedi/ particularly the video title ‘Journey to Spiritual Leader.’ That guy is seriously into _himself_ in a manner that reminds me of Scientology or the Moonies.

    One of his initiates is a family member or at least has the same last name. We’ve all heard of Duck Dynasty, perhaps the Trivedians are getting ready to launch Quack Dynasty?

    2) This: ‘Guided by the vision of Mahendra Trivedi, the Trivedi Foundation is committed to supporting _research that provides a basis for the development of new products and services_, which will greatly enhance quality of life.’ They’re trying to ‘productise’ their woo. That or solicit investors, er, uh, donors.

    But unlike Chopra, who is only out to sell books and speaking engagements, these Trivedians are out to productise The Magical Energy Itself.

    Pseudo-Hindu guru cult meets Prosperity Gospel. Two horrid heresies for the price of one.

    3) The fact that they think nothing of treating a lab full of mice with gratuitous cruelty in order to prove a point, indicates that they rate particularly low on compassion for other living things. _Those_ kinds of cults especially do not end well.

    I would have to say that Chopra is downright warm & fuzzy compared to this Trivedi fellow. If I had to choose which one to get stuck with on a jammed lift, I’d choose Chopra in a heartbeat, because goofy is better than creepy any day.

    BTW, his little cult is in Nevada USA, a place known for its gambling establishments. There is something fitting about that.

  89. #90 .Mrs Woo
    chaos
    July 17, 2015

    On the whole laying on of hands thing:

    The first faith healing the Mr took me to was like something out of a movie, or maybe a National Geographic special. It started with a chair and two men, but of course, that wasn’t near enough good will and healing energy. The one man’s wife believed herself to be a bit gifted in a lot of the heavenly gifts, and had to join in, and so everyone was invited. So I am sitting in the middle of a crowd of people, two men’s hands clamped tight on my shoulders while they take turns praying, one shaking (I guess he had more? Less?), then they put oil on me (that is in the New Testament at least). Since I have had oil annointed on me again, so I have decided they definitely were generous – it was running down behind my ears, dribbling down the back of my neck…- and there are people touching me in various places praying while some are waving and babbling in tongues…

    I felt terribly awkward.

    When I am told by his church it is my fault that their faith cannot heal me, I do not know what to say. When. I was a little girl who was just starting to be suspicious about Santa Claus, my mother developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I was raised a good little Baptist, taken to church from the day they discharged my mom and me from the hospital. It wouldn’t have occurred to me not to believe prayer would be answered. Of course I prayed that mommy would get better and everything would be fine again. She didn’t even last seven months, and the same adults that taught me Jesus Loves Me told me that I couldn’t understand or question God’s will. So when faith healers tell me it is my inability to believe that God wants me well (or the universal constant, or most painfully – the ones who tell me how much I love being sick), I do not have an answer.

    I can’t imagine a lot of people being comfortable being in a faith healing. I know I personally don’t have the right “type” to be the center of that kind of focus and scrutiny, be it one person or ten. The other day when I was so sick, no one here even fed me, and I didn’t care until 8:30 that night.

  90. #91 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 17, 2015

    #87 Eric Lund

    In terms of the author not knowing he/she was on the paper, I meant it was not a case of not realizing the paper had been published but not even knowing who the other authors were.

    Off-topic but my advisor had the great story of her “husband” doing the dog & pony show for his first academic job and making a great impression until someone on faculty who knew her but not him ask him how “Mary” was and he had no idea who his wife was.

    Ironically her real husband actually got the job a little while later.

    The editor issue that Devee Bishop was blogging about may well have been a misunderstanding although I have my doubts.

  91. #92 JGC
    July 17, 2015

    All this concern over a one-eyed mouse, but no one’s bothered by is clearly a photograph of a severed human hand?

  92. #93 Krebiozen
    July 17, 2015

    jrkrideau,

    I can see my nose (well one side at a time). Does this mean I have some strange thing floating above my shoulders? Maybe the equivalent of a pilot fish?

    We all have a strange ghostly thing floating above our shoulders I suppose. The idea is that fully realizing that your subjective experience of the world is all that you will ever experience is somehow liberating. A couple of hundred micrograms of LSD does something similar, as I recall, somewhat more persuasively.

  93. #94 Murmur
    UK-ia
    July 17, 2015

    Mrs Woo (89), that is horrifying!

    My response to your husband’s church and all those “good Christians” would be short, sharp and recommending that they go forth and multiply.

    Victim blaming be thy name.

    Anyone, should I be in such a position, who comes near me with any woo or attempt to blame me for any illness will get similar, no matter how “well meaning” they are.

  94. #95 JP
    July 17, 2015

    Since I have had oil annointed on me again, so I have decided they definitely were generous – it was running down behind my ears, dribbling down the back of my neck…- and there are people touching me in various places praying while some are waving and babbling in tongues…

    My dad’s family has been irreligious as far back as anybody can remember, but I’m pretty sure it was a visit as a teenager to a Pentecostal, “Holy Roller” type church that led my dad to declare all organized religion to be “a bunch of hocus pocus” for the rest of his days.

  95. #96 Denice Walter
    July 17, 2015

    @ Mrs Woo:

    That’s terrible!
    I have no idea how you can find alternate sources of support / care because you don’t seem to be living with people who either don’t care or CAN”T care for you ( I know that MR Woo is ill but the children aren’t).
    Tell people about your situation.

  96. #97 Denice Walter
    July 17, 2015

    that is YOU SEEM TO BE LIVING

  97. #98 JP
    July 17, 2015

    Mrs. Woo does seem to be living, but yeah, I just actually read that last sentence with comprehension, and it is sad and worrying.

  98. #99 palindrom
    July 17, 2015

    Well, Narad is quite the expert in computer typesetting, but even I wouldn’t accuse him of having a LaTeX fetish.

    There are times I wish I was allergic to LaTeX, like when I’m searching for a missing curly brace in the deluxetable environoment. Bah.

  99. #100 Chris
    July 17, 2015

    Helianthus: “I was not sold on nitrile gloves because I’m used to them being more blue,”

    These are the white Nitrile gloves in our pantry:
    http://www.costco.com/Kirkland-Signature%E2%84%A2-Nitrile-Exam-Gloves-400ct.product.100127801.html

    And that rodent seems a bit large for a mouse. But it could be.

    palindrom: “There are times I wish I was allergic to LaTeX, like when I’m searching for a missing curly brace in the deluxetable environoment. Bah”

    Groan. I used that for a while to do a newsletter. It was so long ago that there was no “What You See Is What You Get” graphics monitor. I had to walk to the window of the printer room and have someone hand me my test pages before I could make corrections.

  100. #101 palindrom
    July 17, 2015

    Chris @99. Ah, memories!

    People who get nostalgic often don’t remember just how awkward and inconvenient things were way back when.

  101. #102 Roadstergal
    Sniffing the autoclaved bedding
    July 17, 2015

    That does look like a latex glove. Nitrile have a different sheen… and that totally looks like a Balb/C mouse.

    Since reading and commenting yesterday, last night I could not stop thinking about mice coming in and out of the necks of flasks while making that *pthun* sound of a pneumatic tube.

  102. #103 Mrs Woo
    Where air conditioning and Cheerios are my friend
    July 17, 2015

    Well, after visiting the doctor that morning (the doctor and I had rearranged meds and I had a bad reaction to the new one; even though it is new and low dose, I wanted to be sure and yes, I had to wean off, and a better safe than sorry blood test was in order) I retreated to the bedroom with a bag of Cheerios. Mr Woo came up at some point and laid down beside me. Later he was gone. It was really a bad day. The next day was much better. Today not so much. Two steps forward and all that. Tomorrow I get to quit the evil gunk entirely!

    There really is no one to tell. A day spent in bed alone sick is a day sick. No close family. We have moved so slowly because Mr Woo struggles with balance when he does too much, I can only do so much, and we don’t feel right bothering our busy adult children when we can get by ourselves, just over several months instead of a week or two. Pride goeth before a fall…

    Anyhow – the faith healing – it was brought to mind by someone discussing laying on of hands vs close hovering, amount of attention. There is this expectancy by the practitioner when they are done – depending on the type, they will either be very assured and pretty much tell you you are healed, or they will very earnestly inquire about your improvement. I suspect the ones that proclaim healing might be more experienced.

    Like any alt-med, failure for the morality to work is purely the fault of the patient. For me, knowing that part of pain is perception (though I have never considered “pain” a problem ever in my life, it is listed as one symptom), part of fatigue is perception, part of disability is attitude… when I am accused by a faith healer that my lack of faith is a problem, my very analytical side really starts considering that. You know – if I could still believe in a God who did whatever you told Him just because you said so (that doesn’t even make sense), could I see miraculous improvement?

    Perhaps my biggest problem is that I think so much!

  103. #104 RobRN
    July 17, 2015

    #22 Garnetstar:

    I’ve lived in Italy… Italians can actually TALK by just waving hand gestures – it’s AMAZING! Is that a form of TT?

  104. #105 RobRN
    July 17, 2015

    Which is better… TT or HT???

    Few are aware of the parallel and competing history of both. Those promoting Therapeutic Touch (TT) versus Healing Touch (HT) have been at each others throats for decades. I believe that HT is a splinter off of TT. Nursing CEUs have actually been granted for both in a number of states!

  105. #106 doug
    July 17, 2015

    presumptive original image source

  106. #107 Mrs Woo
    July 17, 2015

    @RobRN-it might be – the Italians have always made me feel better!

  107. #108 Eric Lund
    July 17, 2015

    In terms of the author not knowing he/she was on the paper, I meant it was not a case of not realizing the paper had been published but not even knowing who the other authors were.

    Is it something that can be attributed to duplicate names? If you were to try to look for my papers in the ADS database (the rough equivalent of PubMed for physical sciences), you will find a bunch of papers by the ATLAS collaboration (one of the groups that recently discovered the Higgs boson). ADS is by default fairly generous about name matching, and by those criteria I match one of the 3000+ members of the ATLAS collaboration. If you look for me on Google Scholar, you will find a bunch of papers by a plant biologist who was active in the first half of the 20th century. Neither of these people are related to me. It gets worse for people with certain common surnames (e.g., Smith, Kim, Wang). I even know of a case of two scientists with identical (in Pinyin; I’m told they use different characters in their native Chinese) names, both in my relatively narrow specialty. So it’s not completely absurd to have publications that aren’t really yours because they are your namesake’s papers. In my experience, ResearchGate doesn’t help this issue, because you don’t always know if the F. M. Lastname they think is your co-author really is the F. M. Lastname who was your actual co-author. There is a certain person who was on one of my papers, but ResearchGate thinks it’s some other guy in a different field who has a similar name.

    The only motive I can see for adding somebody’s name to a paper when that person doesn’t even know you is to give your paper undeserved credibility from having Prof. Bigshot on the author list.

  108. #109 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 17, 2015

    #107 Eric Lund

    The only motive I can see for adding somebody’s name to a paper when that person doesn’t even know you is to give your paper undeserved credibility from having Prof. Bigshot on the author list.

    And your point is … ?

    The reports of this were some time ago, perhaps in the ’80s and I am hazy on the details and source (Chronicle of Higher Education for one or two perhaps?) But it seemed clear that they were deliberate attempt to capitalize on Mr. Big’s name.

    Don’t forget, before the big internet databases, one had to either read the relevant journals or go through huge paper abstract books when looking for a topic or a paper. The main one I was used to was Psych Abstracts and IIRC they were in at least two very weighty tomes that cross-referenced something with something. I haven’t even seen them since the 1980s but they were not something one read for pleasure.

    My guess is that for something like Chemistry or some of the biological sciences one needed a fork-lift just to get them from shelf to table.

    How likely is someone to look themself up in the abstracts? You know what you wrote and have the reprints in the office.

    Place the article in a journal where Mr Big’s name carries weight but that he is very unlikely to read and you’re likely home free.

    OTOH I do know of two chemists with exactly the same, somewhat unusual, name who are sometimes mistaken for one another. Luckily, they are in fairly different fields of chemistry.

  109. #110 Not a Troll
    July 17, 2015

    I guess we don’t have to worry about those CRT monitors any longer. Woo has hit tech. Not as bad as an influence in medicine but still not good because rational thought is again out the window.

    San Francisco techies are hiring this Wiccan witch to protect their computers from viruses and offices from evil spirits

    And she makes $200/hr.

  110. #111 Roman Werpachowski
    July 18, 2015

    “I suppose that on a strictly literal basis it’s true. Animals don’t have psychosocial factors.”

    What is the basis for this assertion?

  111. #112 Mark
    Pennsylvania
    July 18, 2015

    Are practitioners with larger hands able to exert their effect from greater distances? Can the practitioner undo the effects if he crosses his hands? Does wearing copper-infused gloves magnify the effect? There is so much to learn about this subject!

  112. #113 Not a Troll
    July 19, 2015

    Krebiozen @ #76,

    I have seen it referred to as “fast eyes” before but these days G_ogle is littered with too much about video game play rates to return anything useful on the biology of it all. But at least we know you’re not crazy.

    Your comment reminded me of the reaction of maintenance men when i would report a fluorescent bulb flickering. I always figured they were lazy and didn’t want to see it but they probably really didn’t see it. After awhile i stopped reporting on the lights because by the time the bulb was near death and others could see it, it was a quick death after that. Then their laziness paid off in that it would take several weeks for them to change the dead bulb. And, during that time I had relief from both the flicker and the intensely bright light these things give off.

  113. #114 Not a Troll
    July 19, 2015

    One thing of interest on NN that I managed to decipher a link to was an Emergency Preparedness Checklist.

    I like neat camping gear and you can find cool stuff on the survival sites. Most all of these sites have a prepper’s list which rarely contains the exact same items outside of a few standard ones. Mike Adams list is mostly standard fare with some squirrely listings like “sponges for cleaning things when there’s no power” as if that makes any sense. But I have to hand it to him for product placement with “Immune boosting herbal tinctures and supplements”. I’ve never seen something like that on any list ever, and I’m positive it would be the first thing to be chucked in any real survival situation yet here it is on his list. Outstanding.

  114. #115 Not a Troll
    July 19, 2015

    ^ and that was on the wrong thread. How?

  115. #116 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 19, 2015

    The only motive I can see for adding somebody’s name to a paper when that person doesn’t even know you is to give your paper undeserved credibility from having Prof. Bigshot on the author list.

    I am reminded somehow of the Alpher-Bethe-Gamow paper of 1948, though that doesn’t quite fit the description.

  116. #117 Chris
    July 19, 2015

    NaT: “How?”

    Talent? You may have had RI on multiple tabs.

  117. #118 Not a Troll
    July 19, 2015

    Yep; I had multiple tabs open. That and multitasking (which is going to be the death of me).

  118. #119 Chris
    July 19, 2015

    Been there, done that. Presently scanning almost sixty year letters from my grandmother to a relative, and speed watching Season Four of Game of Thrones.

  119. #120 Denice Walter
    July 19, 2015

    @ Chris:

    re Season Four GoT.
    I started watching GoT over a year ago as someone brought videos. I don’t know. Often great production values, good acting, perceptiveness about human nature/ culture, costuming
    BUT yiiiiiiiiiiiiii egregious bloody violence, rape, dismemberment of various appendages..
    I read Book 1 and part of 2.
    I’d be interested in your opinion.

  120. #121 Chris
    July 19, 2015

    It is a bloody soap opera. There is a reason I watch with software that lets me play it up to twice the speed with sound, and doing something else.

    The letters include my grandmother’s reaction to my parents eloping, then later my grandmother’s stroke and other interesting matters (like the end of WWII and my dad going off to Korea).

  121. #122 Denice Walter
    July 19, 2015

    @ Chris:

    Agreed.
    The earliest episodes I saw led me to expect much more.
    I DO like the dragons visually though,

  122. #123 Chris
    July 19, 2015

    I like the costumes. From the letters I learned my mother majored in costume design in college for a while.

  123. #124 Denice Walter
    July 19, 2015

    @ Chris:

    Right.
    Cersei gets the best outfits.

  124. #125 Chris
    July 20, 2015

    Last week I went to the Star Wars Costume Exhibit. It was fabulous to see the ombre silks and velvet, along with everything else. I just wished my mother was alive to see it.

    Now I know why some years my mom made me absolutely fabulous Halloween costumes. Then I tried my best to do the same for my kids, which made the youngest become a cosplayer. Which is why I woke up one Saturday morning to several gray skinned aliens in my living room preparing to go to a local “Con”. (friends of youngest, who had sculpted many of the alien horns)

  125. #126 Antaeus Feldspar
    July 20, 2015

    Glad to see something entirely natural has been registered and trademarked by a private company.

    I was told it was impossible to do, that’s why Big Pharma don’t want to sell vitamins.*

    * sarcasm

    Actually, the common alt-med wheeze is that natural things can’t be patented which is why Big Pharm etc. etc.

    However, trademarks are a different type of intellectual property; they lay claim not (necessarily) to the actual subject, but to a means of describing it that identifies the entities standing behind the product. It’s literally about the “marks” of “trade”; you might make Vitamin C tablets that are just as good as those sold by SunFree corporation under the name “SunFree NutriC”, but if you call your product “NutriC”, consumers are going to think “Oh, NutriC! That’s the stuff made by SunFree!” and think they’re dealing with that entity when they’re not. That’s not legal, because you’re taking advantage of (and jeopardizing) a reputation that’s not yours.

    What remains legal, however, is a delightful little trick that I call “the Awaketin* gambit”. Many years ago, when I entered college, our welcome packets included a sample of No-Doze pills. The label on the side proudly proclaimed that their product was the only one that included the ingredient Awaketin*! The small print noted:

    * Awaketin is a trade name for caffeine.

    They were technically telling the truth: all their competitors may have been using the exact same ingredient, but they were the only ones using that ingredient and calling it “Awaketin”!

  126. #127 dusonfnp
    July 20, 2015

    How would a ” protrusion into our dimension of vastly hyperintelligent pandimensional beings” respond to all this flask-stuffing and arm-waving?

  127. #128 JustaTech
    July 20, 2015

    Chris @124: That was a fantastic exhibit. Though very skewed to the “new” movies, mostly because they didn’t have the budget (or knowledge) to do any really fantastic costumes for the “old” three.

  128. #129 Not a Troll
    July 20, 2015

    Chris, I think it’s wonderful that you have all those letters from your grandmother. I really didn’t get to know my grandparents (early deaths or far away) and would love to have more than I do to remember them by and learn more about my family.

    Sometimes I envy kids growing up today. They are going to have lots of records of themselves and their families. But, then again, maybe I don’t. I wouldn’t want all my adolescent transgressions saved “forever” on the web.

  129. #130 Chris
    July 20, 2015

    JustaTech: “Though very skewed to the “new” movies, ”

    Oh, that budget! I just wanted to dive into those ombre dyed velvets. I hoping there was a book to go with the exhibit, but there was not. There was book just on the costumes of the original three movies. There was one for the new movies, but it was limited edition and no long available.

    Not a Troll, it is wonderful. My grandmother had her stroke about the time I was born. There are letters of about that time where my mother is living overseas (the Panama Canal Zone), with a newborn, a six year old son who had issues with his previous school, and a mother who had become delusional and violent. So I never knew my grandmother, though my brother said she had the greatest lap to sit on. He missed her dearly.

    So my mother’s cousin (who was like a sister to her) kept those letters. I am so grateful my 2nd cousin (her daughter) sent them to me as she was clearing out her house.

  130. […] Very Respectable Academic Physicians and Scientists wasting their time studying faith healing like healing touch and reiki, prescientific medicine based on primitive vitalism such as traditional Chinese medicine and (of […]

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