And now for something completely different...
Well, not really. It's a little different, but regular readers will soon recognize it as a variation on the same old theme. One topic I've been writing about since the very beginning of this blog is the alternative medicine cancer cure testimonial, or, more specifically, the breast cancer cure testimonial. Indeed, one of the very first (perhaps the very first) of my "classic" Orac-length deconstructions was about this very topic. It's a topic that's come up again and again, even quite recently. To make a long story short, many breast cancer cure testimonials involve either lesions that are not cancer, lesions where it's unclear whether the cancer has changed, or, most commonly, stories in which the cancer has been removed surgically and the woman refuses adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy, such as Suzanne Somers' or Hollie Quinn's breast cancer cure testimonial. In these latter forms of breast cancer cure testimonials, it was the surgery that cured the cancer, but naturally the woo-prone, having refused the adjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiation that decrease the chance of the cancer coming back, decide that it was the woo du jour that they chose that actually saved them.
Another topic—or should I say character?—that has popped up frequently is one Robert O. Young. As you might recall, he is the seller of what he likes to call the "pH Miracle Living" diet/cure/lifestyle/whatever. Basically, he sells the idea that acid is the cause of all disease and alkalinization is the cure. The utter ridiculousness of the concept becomes obvious when Young claims that cancers are all liquids, and this liquid is the “toxic acidic waste product of metabolism or energy consumption"; that viruses are all molecular acids; and that sepsis is not caused by bacterial infection. Yes, Young's quackery is truly awesome to behold from the point of view of a skeptic who just can't believe that anyone could believe or promote something as completely unmoored from reality as Young's pH woo. On the other hand, one can only weep at women like Kim Tinkham, who paid the ultimate price for trusting Young.
He's at it again, this time promoting "lung cancer reversal without surgery" from a woman named Inger Hartelius:
Summer 2011 I went to the doctor for a health check. I’d been feeling tired and had lost a lot of weight. I ended up having an x-ray, to see if there was anything wrong.
They found a spot on my left lung and I was sent for a Biopsy. On the 21.st of July 2011 they told me the tumor was cancer and there were traces in the lymphatic system around the area.
I do not smoke and I am known as the person in the family who is very conscious about eating healthy food – so nobody could explain why I’d got lung cancer.
The doctor who’d informed me about the results said I should have radiation and chemo.
After my family and I had received the diagnosis about the spot in my lung we began searching for ways to help cure me without radiation and chemo.
I bet you can see where this is going. Ms. Hartelius' children gave her a book by Andreas Moritz entitled Cancer Is Not An Illness. Regular readers might recall Andreas Moritz. He's a guy who, in a typical case of thuggery by quacks, threatened to sue a college student who wrote a blog criticizing his quackery. He's also a kindred spirit to Robert Young in that he apparently believes that cancer is not a disease, but rather a manifestation of...well, it's not exactly clear. With Robert Young, cancer is "cells spoiled by acid" and the tumor is a reaction of the body to that. To Moritz, cancer is some sort of "survival mechanism," a reaction to "negative emotions" that are the "real" source of the cancer. If you want to get an idea of just how dumb Moritz is, I'll quote a bit from one of his articles:
Cancer cells are not part of a malicious disease process. When cancer cells spread (metastasize) throughout the body, it is not their purpose or goal to disrupt the body’s vitals functions, infect healthy cells and obliterate their host (the body). Self-destruction is not the theme of any cell unless, of course, it is old and worn-out and ready to be turned-over and replaced. Cancer cells, like all other cells, know that if the body dies, they will die as well. Just because some people assume that cancer cells are there to destroy the body does not mean cancer cells have such a purpose or ability.
Unfortunately, Ms. Hartelius bought into this load of fetid dingos' kidneys. I can imagine what she must have been going through. She had just been given a life-changing, life-threatening diagnosis. She's facing chemotherapy and radiation. Quackery of the sort practiced by Robert O. Young is seductive, particularly in that it promises the possibility of "taking control" and of curing her disease without the unpleasantness and potential complications of standard medical treatment, particularly when she declares, "I knew when the diagnosis was given to me that I’d never go into a traditional treatment. I would rather die from the cancer."
She might get that opportunity.
So what happened? First, Ms. Hartelius tried to find a doctor in Europe who was "trained" by Dr. Young. The very thought that any physician would actually be clueless enough to want to subordinate himself to Young and "train" in his methods is profoundly embarrassing to me, but apparently there are such utterly useless physicians out there. Be that as it may, Ms. Hartelius apparently had difficulty finding such a doctor and instead decided to fly out to see Young. She was so impressed that she characterized Young's "clinic" as "Paradise instead of a hospital" and reported leaving the pH Miracle Center "believing in and trusting the program," no doubt because Young is, in my opinion, a consummate con man.
Ultimately, Hartelius was referred to doctor in Denmark who was apparently so useless and clueless that she was "trained" by Robert O. Young named Dr. Pernille Knudtzon, who thinks that "changing the paradigm" in medicine should include quackery like Robert O. Young. She's also undergoing a veritable cornucopia of dubious treatments, including lymph massage and and that quackeries of quackeries (reflexology) and talking with a psychologist and coach nearly every week to keep her mind focused on the "positive choice" she has taken. The problem, of course, is that her choice to forget about science-based therapy is not exactly a "positive" choice.
So what is the result of all this? According to Ms. Hartelius, it's that:
My health is now much better than it was before, I sleep at night, my weight is stable, my lung capacity has grown – I feel so much more alive – which is hard to explain. I have no signs that I’m sick with cancer and now I know I am not going to die of this cancer.
Wow! This sure sounds convincing, doesn't it? Well, not really. Did you notice something about this testimonial? I did. Read it again and see if you notice it too. Notice how Ms. Hartelius doesn't say anything objective about her tumor. She didn't say that it has shrunk or disappeared. In fact, she didn't say anything about it at all. She just said that she "feels more alive" and that she "knows" that she isn't going to die of this cancer. How she knows this, I have no idea, but apparently she "knows."
What this tells me one of two things. One possibility is that the biopsy was the kind that removes the whole tumor, such as a thoracoscopic biopsy, and surgery is what has put Ms. Hartelius in remission. I have no idea if that's true, but another, perhaps more likely, possibility is that she underwent a core needle biopsy and the tumor is still there but she isn't mentioning that. Yes, that's probably the most likely explanation, basically the same explanation that Kim Tinkham gave, namely that the tumor is still there but she "knows" that it won't harm her. Unfortunately, lung cancer generally doesn't work that way, and I fear that Ms. Hartelius is only fooling herself.
After having paid attention to cancer quackery for more than a decade now, there's one thing I still can't figure out, and that's how people like Robert O. Young get away with it. Think about it. Young splits his time between living in Alpine, Utah and Rancho del Sol, an avocado and grapefruit ranch in Valley Center, California. There, he uses the quackery that is live blood analysis and his alkaline diet as a treatment for cancer, leading unwary patients like Kim Tinkham to their deaths with impunity.
After all these years, I still just don't get it.
And when her cancer metastasizes and isn't cured, the quacks will blame the failure of the woo on...
She undoubtedly will be found lacking in her resolve and "intention" which defeated the miracle of the woo.
As an aside, regarding Dr. Knudtzon - her 'mentors were Inger Marie Haut (who died of cancer in Spain after trying treatments from around the world) and Poul Holm. She's apparently bought out their clinic or something.
There's an old promotion flyer available here http://portal.mja.dk/vedhaeft/sundheds-97349183.pdf
The cost to attend the lecture was 13.50 USD (2010 rates), while a consultation would run you 290.00 USD.
"Check on or follow up on your health"
"Here you'll obtain a greater understanding of your health challenges. Experience what a microscope can tell us about your blood, so you can make changes in time. We're looking at your living blood, that shows us the cause/effect relationships and reveals your health status. You'll receive concrete recommendations to dietary changes and individual supervision. You'll receive tools to make your blood even more active and functional. The body works healthier and fresher when the necessary vitamins and nutrients are brought to cells, tissue organs and waste byproducts are removed"
Thanks for my :headdesk: of the day!
When cancer cells spread (metastasize) throughout the body, it is not their purpose or goal to disrupt the body’s vitals functions, infect healthy cells and obliterate their host
Well, host obliteration is not the purpose of most virus or bacteria infections, either.
Their goal, like for cancerous cells, like for all living beings, is just to live.
(although some pathogens, and some cancer cells, do disturb vital functions on purpose, like the immune system, because it helps them survive)
It's just too bad that their urge to feed and reproduce is not tempered by some magical understanding that, if they take too much from the host, the host will die.
I bet you can see where this is going. Ms. Hartelius’ children gave her a book by Andreas Moritz entitled Cancer Is Not An Illness.
Maybe her children don't like her very much.
Is it ever possible to help someone like Ms. Hartelius? When someone is so set on wishful thinking? When ignorance of science is touted as a virtue? And when they are so desperate to lambast medicine despite it only trying to help?
It isn't possible to help her. No matter how much evidence you collect, clinical trial data, surveillance data, etc - you will never move her to abandon her 'cure'. That's a hallmark of the 'woo' crowd. Her bias is so strong it's a moot point to even discuss it with her.
And Reality is right; when she dies from cancer, her 'woo' healers will blame it all on her and not their quackery.
How do these guys stay in business? Seriously. You'd think that even if they didn't have criminal charges brought against them (Negligent Homicide, maybe?) that a few Wrongful Death suits in civil court by the surviving families would be the proverbial ten ton hammer.
You'd think it would be pretty basic to show statistically that the treatment was fraudulent, no? That the life expectancy of someone who undergoes this so-called treatment is no better than someone who remained untreated, and certainly far less than someone who undergoes standard treatment.
Or am I just missing something here?
Regarding "It’s just too bad that their urge to feed and reproduce is not tempered by some magical understanding that, if they take too much from the host, the host will die."
I do have read somewhere that it is possible there is some kind of evolution in bacteria and viruses that make them "less deadly" over time, since it is better for them in the long run, but this is about evolutionary time (millenia probably) not on a single host.
This woman has choose to die instead than being threaten for cancer. I accept this choice (it is her life, after all. I know some people who claim that, if the choice is between hard chemiotherapy for some month of life more and death, they would choose death). But she is wasting resourches into stupid programs that will never work and try to lure other into the woo. Those quacks seems like marmaids to me. Not the nice ones. The ones who try to lure you onto rocks with pretty songs to eat you.
Thats the Sirens. And it is rather apt in a way.
The woomesiters sing beautiful songs, hoping to lure you away from the long hard path with sweet promises of ease and bliss. And by the time the victim realises it's too late (if they do at all) - their wallet has been devoured and they're about the hit the stage IV rocks.
I suspect that is why a lot of them reside just outside the border.
Mrs. Hartelius states:
"At home I have been:
Eating alkaline food
Drinking 4 liters of Greens, and green milk every day
Exercising every day – running on the beach
Sitting in my infrared sauna
Jumbling on a rebounder
Using a nebulizer
Practicing yoga every week"
Just what medication is she using in her nebulizer?
At the risk of incurring Orac's wrath, another science blogger wrote about Danielle who had rejected treatment for Stage III breast cancer, for Dr. Robert O. Young's *treatment*. Danielle's husband Brad, entered the fray to discuss his *extensive research* into Young's *treatment*.
Green milk? Where I live, milk is white.
It's not easy being green.
Green milk? Where I live, milk is white.
Not if you leave it at the back of the fridge for long enough, because you are so busy juicing, cleaning the juicer, rebounding, nebulizing, buying alkaline lemons, doing yoga...
What the heck is "green milk"? Aside from what you put on the green cereal you're having with your green eggs and ham?
Also, Krebiozen, alkaline lemons are a really good trick. (ISTR some dim bulb on here a while ago, like quite a while ago, insisting that there were too such things, but perhaps I'm mistaken. Funny stuff, anyway.)
Magical thinking usually seems to be heavily involved in role-playing. You are both the author -- and the main character -- of the story you write in your head.
Like a writer, you are privy to all the background information, aware of all the underlying connections, and secure in the conviction that there is, after all, a theme to what happens, a point behind everything, and a satisfactory resolution at the end. The focus then is is on the Brave Maverick Heroes and Heroines, those who aren't afraid to fly in the face of the common sense of the world and listen instead to their intuition. That "intuition" speaks in a Third Person Omniscient voice. You're the reader, too. You have to trust it.
When cancer cells spread (metastasize) throughout the body, it is not their purpose or goal to disrupt the body’s vitals functions, infect healthy cells and obliterate their host.
Doesn't Moritz understand that, lacking self-awareness, intelligence and foresight, a cancer cell doesn't have a goal?
I see that the "A New Life - A New Beginning" blog no longer exists at blogspot.ca., from lilady's post above. Does anyone know the fate of Danielle?
“It’s just too bad that their urge to feed and reproduce is not tempered by some magical understanding that, if they take too much from the host, the host will die.”
When human beings haven't grasped that point about their environment, it's not really fair to expect it from cancer cells.
Good stuff on Talk Of The Nation.
If cannabis is a therapeutic drug, then should it be treated exactly like every other therapeutic drug?
"I dont think Dr. Bertha has ever tried THC, so its like talking to a WALL."
I can imagine:
"We want every research studying the pain management properties of any opiates to get stoned on them first so they 'understand' the properties of the chemicals first hand.".
Personally, I'd be fascinated to see dose response and other properties studied properly.
somewhat OTT, but another example of alt-health purveyors suing: http://insulaindoielii.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/colon-help-sues-wordpre…
Robert O Young states in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (choke,sputter, gag!)that he's putingt up a number of breast cancer cure video testimonials on his Face Book page. http://wdryoungphoreverww.facebook.com/
In addition to the cancer testimonials he has a number of videos up with Type 1 diabetics claiming they have had their diabetes reversed on his pH Miracle diet. One commenter offered the opinion that he hoped the young diabetic girl would have a better outcome than Kim Tinkham and here's the response by Young.
" Keith I pray that you will understand the truth when I tell you that Kim Tinkham did NOT die from breast cancer as my detractors and internet criminals would like you to believe. When Kim was on the pH Miracle lifesytle she was healthy and vibrant and was cancer free for 5 years. She went off the pH Miracle protocol and within one year she was diagnosed with liver cancer. Kim then chose to have chemo therapy and died from the medical treatments for liver cancer. So now you know the truth!!! Keith who are you really? One of my detractors who knows nothing about my work?"
On Young's blog he makes the claim along with posting a You Tube video that an oncologist with pancreatic cancer has reversed her disease with his diet. .http://articlesofhealth.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-oncological-medical-doct…
Problem is the woman died more than a year ago of ..........you guessed it pancreatic cancer. http://www.pamsca.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=142:…
I do have read somewhere that it is possible there is some kind of evolution in bacteria and viruses that make them “less deadly” over time, since it is better for them in the long run, but this is about evolutionary time (millenia probably) not on a single host.
I was just trying to keep it simple (and on-topic). But yes, micro-organisms do evolve to adapt themselves to the human environment. And it's actually faster than millennia (evolution happens really fast when a new generation pops up every day).
I'm not a specialist in epidemiology, so I may be a bit wrong. From that I read, vaccines and other prevention methods (including hygiene) tend to select less aggressive strains, because you reduce the number of available hosts and the pathogen needs more time to find a new host to jump to. Evolution at work, under pressure from the environment.
More generally, pathogens and their hosts form an ecosystem, and natural selection will tend to favor the pathogens which are able to propagate without wiping out the local host population (not because the predator has magically acquired ethics, but simply because it will die with the last prey). So a few pathogen strains may become more tame as they reach a dynamic equilibrium in their relationship with the host, and as the hosts learn - or evolve - to deal with them.
Note that it doesn't mean that the aggressive strains will disappear - they may still be around, or new ones could appear; they are just kept at bay by the tamer versions, who are for now filling the niche.
On the other hand, if there are more than one reservoir of hosts, or if you keep increasing the number of hosts the pathogen is exposed to (say, by developing airplane transportation), then the pathogen doesn't have an evolutionary incentive to limit its aggressiveness (example: the flu). As long as there is another host to jump to, anything goes...
In the UK we have the Cancer Act which specifically makes any mention of an untested 'cure' illegal. The act was passed in 1939 if memory serves.
Do you over there have any similar statutes.
Or do they all live just over the Southern Border?
Sorry, I am Italian, in my language, marmaid and sirens are both "sirena", I didn't know it was different in english, but that is what I meant with the analogy :)
Thank you :D
Also: black-and-white thinking, saviour complexes rampant, delusions of grandeur, quasi-religious *rewards and punishments* forthcoming, apocalyptic formats translated to environmental/ health ideas( the world will be destroyed, you'll get cancer et al), Demonology. A poor, humble person comes out of nowhere to *reveal* the truth, astounding the elders... where
have we heard that one before?
As I am wont to say: scratch woo, and you'll get religion.
They write scenarios that aren't even original.
@Mike - I suspect another part of it is actually shame and/or a real belief that there isn't any real hope in traditional treatment. When the person dies of the woo treatment, the family assures themselves it would have been the same outcome with traditional treatment and that the woo version was a more peaceful, happy death (probably totally ignoring any pain or distress at the end and/or any medical treatment used to help ameliorate her suffering).
A few DO realize it and do file lawsuits (against Dr. B immediately comes to mind) and/or try to create their own truth websites embracing real medicine, but when a person is grasping for straws, detractors are shrugged away as "sour grapes" or "not positive enough for it to have worked" and it's full speed ahead.
I actually kind of think that some are from Mr Woo's unfortunate mindset where they have spent so much time in alternative news, alternative views, etc., that they are made too suspicious of mainstream medicine to ever be convinced to try chemotherapy even if it means adding years to their life. :(
Personally, I’d be fascinated to see [THC] dose response and other properties studied properly.
Me too. Cannabis extracts seem to have promising effects. However, some proponents lose me when they say they don't want to take a THC pills (or whatever controlled extract), and they just want to smoke weed.
@ herr doktor bimler
When human beings haven’t grasped that point about their environment, it’s not really fair to expect it from cancer cells.
You are preaching to the choir, doctor, on both parts of your sentence :-(
I, too, wondered what happened to Danielle. I wasn't able to find anything, but one of the links I went to popped out this gem: "Marty Pagel, PhD, awarded $2 million NIH grant to study impact of baking soda on breast cancer" http://azcc.arizona.edu/node/4187 Could someone knowledgeable explain it to me?
However, some proponents lose me when they say they don’t want to take a THC pills (or whatever controlled extract), and they just want to smoke weed.
Part of this is legitimately the desire to fairly rapidly autotitrate. On the other hand, if they're also gobbling brownies and so forth, the position is plainly weakened and has to fall back on CBN:THC:CDB ratios and other minor components.
This is a little off the subject, but still relevant. Currently there is a heartbreaking story playing out in San Diego that involves a young man of 19 who has osteosarcoma. He has been on and off chemo and radiation therapy for the last few years. His cancer has returned now with a vengeance and the doctors don't have much left to offer him in the way of treatment. He lives in Washington State.
The family is suffering great financial hardship and is asking for donations. Enter ROBERT O YOUNG!! He has sold the family on the idea that if they bring him to his pH Miracle Living Center in San Diego he can successfully treat his cancer. The cost of Young's treatment is $2,000.00 per day and he will require several weeks (6-8). The families home is in foreclosure and the father is out of work. To pay for Young's treatment they are requesting donations and have planned fundraisers. The family is desperate and grasping for hope.
The young man, Thomas Dooty arrived at Young's pH Miracle Center on Sept 17th. The last update was on Sept 27th. It's been nearly 2 weeks and no word from the family about how he's doing. You can tell from the pictures that he is quite ill. Up until the last update 2 weeks ago the mother posted every day. I wonder what is happening with this unfortunate young guy?
Link to Face Book http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heal-Thomas/165259886873647
Link to blog http://www.healthomas.com/Heal_Thomas/Home.html
How does Robert O Young continue to get away with this? Can someone please tell me how this is NOT practicing medicine without a license?
WRT the cannabis piece...
The cannabis proponent drove me up a wall by repeating this phrase:
Yes. The flower is the part with the most cannabinoids.
This is why it is the part of the plant used most often. If you want the maximum dose, that's where you get it.
I think that some cannabis proponents are definitely woo-ish.
Study the various active compounds to determine the ones with the most desirable therapeutic effect?
No! That's unnatural. Use the whole plant, that's best.
(I supposed they turn their nose up at hashish.)
Study the active compounds to determine the ones with the least adverse effects? (Manage pain and nausea without making complex tasks like driving dangerous.)
NO! You can't deprive suffering patients!
Study and quantify the effects of various doses?
No! Cannabis doses should be determined by the patient.
(Why am I reminded of that youtube about a drug seeking patient in the ER?)
Oh, c'mon. If it's such a wonder drug, let's have trials to prove it. If some components are more effective than others, let's find out which ones so we can breed plants with a higher percentage of the best cannabinoids and a lower percentage of the ones that create adverse effects.
I thought there had been limited trials on cannabinoids in the treatment of conditions like MS.
(Anecdote time again) a Cleaner we had on a naval base had quite awful bouts and the only thing which stopped her shaking was an occasional spliff.
We used to quietly send her home and crack on with her work ourselves.
Offtopic but AoA's Dachelbot is running far and wide with adults autistics meeting the police forces. I had brief thought about John Best...
New blog post up, in french, about my workstation:
English one to follow.
I'm taking a graduate diploma of counselling from a university with a wonderful science based health department and this course specially focuses on counsellors who work in health, care and medical settings. No where in my course did it say any of the various therapy modalities we are learning that we are capable of using them to "cure" any medical ailment. I'm pretty sure I would have remembered "This how you cure cancer."
So I'm waiting. In 6 to 10 days for the results of the biopsy and endocervical tissue samples taken on Wednesday. I am hoping it isn't cancer, but there is that very strong possibility. While I don't relish the idea of chemo or radiation, I am not so stupid to believe that anything else will give me a better chance at recovery. To a degree I am fortunate since cervical cancer is the most successfully treatable cancer, and after having 6 children, safe to say I am done building my family so I have no problem saying good bye to my 'girl parts' so to speak, should it come to that. The thought of having cancer is scary and I am profoundly terrified of throwing up and losing my hair too, but I am more afraid of dying and leaving my autistic son and my quite possibly autistic partner with nobody who will understand or be able to take care of them. So I will do what will give me the best chance to survive, regardless of how unpleasant it will be for me to go through.
@ Lara: **Try to keep yourself calm through the waiting period.**
You are getting good care and whatever the result might be, you have the fortitude to get through any and all treatment that you might require.
Easy for me to say...I'm not the one who is waiting :-)
Thank lilady. I try to keep myself distracted. My son helps with that simply because he is as high maintenance as he is. Finding myself in a situation facing a possible cancer diagnosis, I can imagine what these other people are going through, but to seek out treatments which are so obviously not based in science just scares me and it angers me that these charlatans are allowed to pawn off this crap as treatment to these vulnerable individuals. It is not unlike war profiteering, in my opinion, and that is illegal.
The wait is the hardest part. I kept my sister's spirits up while she waited to hear her results.
Once she knew for sure, it was both sad and a relief - sad for the diagnosis of breast cancer - but a relief that now she could move on with treatment, etc.
Lara dear, you know we all have great respect and admiration for you and your activities on this blog, and other science blogs.
We are all anxiously awaiting your test results because we think of you affectionately as one of the *RI Regulars* and of course, the ladies of RI have your back.
Also, Krebiozen, alkaline lemons are a really good trick. (ISTR some dim bulb on here a while ago, like quite a while ago, insisting that there were too such things, but perhaps I’m mistaken. Funny stuff, anyway.)
The thing about lemons is interesting (or at least it is to me) as it reveals a very basic (pun intended) lack of understanding in Young and his ilk. Lemons contain a lot of citric acid, which is neutralized (mostly by bicarbonate) to form carbon dioxide which is exhaled, and citrate which is excreted in the urine. Citrate is mildly alkaline, so ingesting lemons will result in more alkaline urine. From a scientific view, ingesting lemons increases the acidity of the body, by using up alkaline bicarbonate.
A very common CAM idea is that urine is simply an overflow from the body, which is why they think measuring its pH gives an accurate idea of body pH. Since the kidneys actively excrete some things and reabsorb others, this is simply incorrect. But this is where the idea that lemons are alkaline comes from, as they produce alkaline urine.
The idea that the human body is like a bucket into which food and drink is thrown and which overflows as urine seems quite pervasive on planet CAM. I think that's why CAM proponents seem to think our bodies have no ability to excrete mercury, or detoxify formaldehyde, for example, and apparently have no awareness at all of homoeostatic mechanisms like bicarbonate buffering. It's as if the past 200 years of science never happened for them.
You miss one little forward-slash and the link is screwed. Sorry about that.
There have been some trials using cannabis to treat SYMPTOMS of certain diseases. Some success has been shown.
I've heard this repeated as "Cannabis can be used to treat MS!". When challenged, they walk it back and acknowledge cannabis doesn't affect the disease process at all - but does alleviate a few symptoms.
I think the best argument for cannabis is that it isn't as toxic as the alternatives. Further study should document relative effectiveness, limitations and which components show the most promise.
Who could ever forget the pothead troll "jacob" and his hundreds of sockies that infested this blog, last year?
He shows up occasionally on some other blogs. Recently he showed up on another science blog...then he was removed.
@Lara: yes, do let us know. Unfortunately not close enough to you to give virtual hugs, help, or a cup of your beverage of choice, but all the above are offered virtually. (((hugs)))
O/T but a new set of trolls from AoA is busy posting at the LaCrosse Tribune blog. They continue to smear Brian Deer and are now smearing me.
Lara, not close enough to give virtual hugs, but just like the other ladies I'm thinking of you. It's people like you that makes me want to destroy any cancer quack, those people who try to prey on vunerable people. Sometimes I tend to call them murderers in white coats. Hope you get the right help, from real doctors.
@ Lara Lohne ( AKA: Venna):
A few things- first of all, although there is a possiblity of a cancer diagnosis, try not to think in terms of 100% perfect vs 100% catastrophe: the problems being diagnosed fall along a spectrum- like most things in life- and while I hope that you have ABSOLUTELY no problem, it might be a relatively minor problem instead of a full-bore, all-out dilemma. Similarly, treatments fall along another spectrum that resembles that as well.
Some people feel much better if they read EVERY SINGLE source of information while others might be scaring themselves: I don't know you so I can't guess where you fall along this scale - you know that better than I do. For myself, the more I study the better I feel, this has helped me deal better with others' illnesses and I imagine that it would serve me well if I was concerned about myself. Also when I had to counsel people with a serious dx, I felt it my responsibility to understand all of the SBM I was able to so that I could discuss their worries intelligently with them.
It's important to talk to people you trust and who understand you: you seem to be someone who might have a few of them around because you are certainly affable. Don't be afraid to lean on others a bit.: I'm sure that the reverse situation has been true often.
If you need treatment of any sort, you will also need to delegate some chores/ responsibilities while you recover- at least for a short while- like they say on the airlines, if passengers need oxygen, take care of YOURSELF first, so you can help others..
Which brings me to the advice which I wish more people actually had the luxury to follow:
take care of yourself and try to find good things for yourself- what feels good, what alleviates your worries, what helps you in OTHER ways un-related to the isssues at hand, what might have a long term usefulness in your life.
I used to suggest that people enjoy music, novels and movies, perhaps learn a skill or craft ( adult education, computer based as well), indulge in sybaritic pleasures ( spa, salon, home relaxation).
A few non- clients who have long-term issues ( depression and a family tragedy, respectively) have created outlets that involve sport ( both) while one enjoys a very expensive salon for haircuts and nail care ( it's a guy yet) that provides an aesthetic, poshly self-centred experience. The other ( a woman) creates artistically through sewing clothes for herself and others.
All course all of this takes time and money- but if you can't spend those on yourself- at least a LITTLE- oh come on! You NEED them. Try to schedule a little something every day- even if it's 20 minutes.
Take care! We all hope for the best.
My new name for Robert O Young is "Darwin's Executioner". He leads the medically naive and the scientifically ignorant away from real medical treatment and to an early demise.
I'm not sure Susan. I think people who are confronted with an illness that is potentially killing and a treatments that aren't considered a walk in the park either, are perhaps very vulnerable to people promissing a good health without all those nasty things happening to them. I'm not sure this only happens to the medically naive and scientifically ignorant.
take care, Lara -big hugs!
I'm working on a new scale called the Hahnemann Scale of Quackery. Homeopathy is a 10.
Anything claiming to cure cancer or AIDS is rated on a scale of 7 to 11.
What's really fun is, a lot of them claim you can cure cancer with diet. You can't, of course. You can lose a few pounds, control type 2 diabetes, but not cure cancer. This is at the same time that they maintain a leftist image. Of course, that image is a lie, and claiming you can cure cancer by eating obscure (to the Western palate) tropical fruit is more than a little bourgeois.
Shouldn't a proper Hahnemann Scale of Quackery go from 1 to .00000000001?
Re green milk.
Judging by her name it sounds like Ms Hartelius might come from my neck of the woods.
When talking about green milk (or green bread, green lentils, green whatnots) we usually refer to ecologically/environmentally friendly produced milk.
@Lara , I've absolutely had a few recent cancer scares myself recently and my heart goes out to you. I'd like to say I'm sorry, as I'm typing this with the flu, but whoever the wonderful soul that it was who said this is all on a spectrum is right. For me the waiting was harder than an actual diagnosis itself and with a friend who ended up being tested and diagnosed with cancer, her view really gave me some perspective. Cancer is the diagnosis but a prognosis is guesswork and there's always hope. It's really helped me to see her undergo her treatments with the gratitude she has access to doctors and medicines that give her a chance at beating this. My thoughts are with you and thank you for sharing your story with us.
this won't be popular, maybe it's not appropriate - -
Perhaps people who prefer magical thinking should be excluded from conventional cancer treatments after a certain time. Why?
If someone consciously makes a decision to let cancer go untreated (treating with magic/nutrition/lifestyle is roughly equal to magic once cancer is established) then after a year or two they will have an advanced, difficult to treat cancer. Treating them will now drain enormous amounts of resources from whatever one's insurance pool is, and tie up scarce medical talent and facilities. Much like people who insist on believing "super-thermite" brought down the WTC, they've made a willful choice: they have the correct information freely available but have refused it.
Such treatments should be reserved for people who did not willingly injure themselves by choosing to allow their cancer to grow unmonitored and untreated.
Re green milk - I think that's generally understood here. The snarky comments are simply around the sad delusions of her chosen course.
Also - diet cancer cures are not at all restricted to lefties. We have extreme right-wing folks here touting raw fruit/veggies diets & the like. This a good arena for convergence of irrationality.
My thoughts are with you.
The Hahnemann Scale should be logarithmic, log10.
Dilutions: XXX = 3; 30C = 60, etc.
Lara, I'm rooting for you and a good report and/or prognosis. Take care of yourself.
Such treatments should be reserved for people who did not willingly injure themselves by choosing to allow their cancer to grow unmonitored and untreated.
Oh, do elaborate on the legal standard that you would use to undergird this one.
You guys are all so awesome and thank you so much for the well wishes.
Thanks also for the advice. I try to remember what I've read so far, that even if it is positive, treatment options are varied depending on how advanced it is, whether or not it's spread to my lymphatic system or not.
The waiting is the worst for me too, but I know it needs to take this long so they are sure do check it thoroughly. I'm one of those people that is like tell me what's wrong so I can get to work on fixing it. It probably stems from years working in tech support and customer service.
I will keep everyone updated. I'm trying to stay positive, hoping for the best. But at the same time preparing for the worst. I'm like a boy scout, always prepared. I'm just not sure how one would prepare for something like this.
The best luck to you. Whatever happens.
And, yeah, I really hate the waiting part.
I'd be a bit more careful when denigrating other health care practitioners for their knowledge about the link between acidosis and the developement of cancer and, therefore, for including an alkalising diet and alkalising medicines as part of a holistic treatment for people with cancer.
Note the following excerpt from a study as an example which backs up the cancer-acidosis connection:
"Tumor micromilieu often shows pronounced acidosis forcing cells to adapt their phenotype towards enhanced tumorigenesis induced by altered cellular (mitogen-activated protein kinase) signalling and transcriptional regulation."
I'd like to add that the practitioner - doctor, naturopath or other healthcare practitioner - does not cure the patient. A holistic practitioner merely provides information about what constitutes a healthy diet / lifestyle, taking into account a unique range of contributing factors (medical history, diet, constitution, family history, current lifestyle, exposure to environmental toxins, etc.), as well as providing medicinal support. It's up to the patient to adopt the diet / lifestyle recommended and to take the medicines in the prescribed doses. No ethical naturopath, for example, will claim to be curing another person. The body cures itself if given adequately health-promoting conditions, which, yes, includes an alkalising diet.
Waiting "with" you, Lara, on this side of the world.
Echoing the good wishes.
@Lara Lohne (AKA: Venna):
It's not just the ladies here, although us guys seem to be outnumbered sometimes. I wish you well, too, remembering what my wife went through between first indication and surgery. (It all went OK, although she still misses the 8 cm of small bowel that the pathologist got.)
I'll put the link at the bottom so you can see the full text. I'm going to post some excerpts.
..exists for the sole purpose of telling the Truth about..
We have been taught a pack of lies.
..is a natural function of life.
Hospitals offer no measure of safety for ...
..we are pro-TRUTH.
We only tell the truth.
..we acknowledge that there is pain for almost every _____, but we know that _____ live through the pain.
..is not always without risk, but we believe that life is not without risk.
..stop giving their authority away and recognize that they are their own authority.
We want to tell the truth and tell the truth and tell the truth until..
As promised, the link:
I did not realize how many times they managed to use the word "truth" in less than a page and a half until I copy-and-pasted the excerpts. The one thing that the Trust Birth ideology has that supports its ideas is that most of the time, mothers and babies survive the process.
Where Trust Birth diverges from mainstream care is what events are preventable (a significant number of deaths and injuries) and what aspects of the experience are optional (pain, discomfort, nausea).
Some things are similar to certain alt med thinking:
you possess an innate knowledge of how to do something, you only need to DISCOVER this
the experience is mystical, enlightening, empowering
conventional science meddles, interferes, even endangers
and of course,
Trust Us Because We Have The TRUTH!
In case you haven't predicted this yet, adverse outcomes are blamed on either:
Not following the protocol
or, and this one is usually unique to birth:
It's As Safe As Life Gets.
IOW - Since we can't reduce the risk to zero, we aren't going to try to reduce it at all and if anything goes wrong - It Was Fate. Or for the religious - It Was Divine Will.
I think its all too easy for people without cancer to point fingers at those like me and assume that we are ignorant or stupid. I am a nurse with advanced degrees and I'm no dummy. When I learned from one of the top cancer centers in the world that chemo therapy and radiation following surgery would at best only give me a 2-3% improvement in overall survival while making me feel like shit I decided to try traditional chinese herbal medicine by a practitioner who had studied western oncology. Its expensive, which makes me skeptical, but so are my copays and deductibles for all that western medicine has to offer, primarily surgery, which will take away most of my quality of life by removing organs, muscles and nerves (I have high grade unclassified retroperitoneal sarcoma--a poor prognosis) I've researched this, and I'm being cautious (e.g. checking my renal and liver functions as I know some of these can have trace toxicities)and I will pull the plug on this at the first sign of any issues. I just had to speak out because I felt the overall tone of your site was]essentially cruel.
@Anj, I read an article a few years ago that explained how to tell, just by word selection if someone is knowingly or willfully lying. I don't remember a lot of it, but one thing I did bring back with me was the amount of times they used truth in their statements was telling, because they believe if they say it often enough then people will believe them more. Also people who start their statements with phrases like, "In all honesty" or "To be perfectly honest" are also very frequently lying. I wasn't aware of that and actually used to use those phrases all the time. Knowing that it can be taken as actually lying by another person, I stopped using them. Just interesting that the more emphatically a person insists they are telling the truth, the more likely it is that they are lying, and know they are lying.
I read an article a few years ago that explained how to tell, just by word selection if someone is knowingly or willfully lying.
There was some amusing work out of Cornell not too long ago on automated detection of stooge Amazon reviews (NYT; it has a link to the full PDF).
OT - but it's Sunday, things are quiet and I doubt that this will interfere with anyone's church-going, drinking or sport-watching:
Today @ AoA, Cathy Jameson describes her 9 1/2 year old son, Ronan, as an "incredibly-smart-yet-trapped-inside-his-body little boy". While I have no idea about his intellectual capacity or indeed, his diagnosis, other than autism, I venture a guess that her own ideas on the subject are highly fanciful. This common meme by vaccines-cause-autism parents fits in with their viewpoint that their child was 'stolen' but somehow remains hidden beneath the surface, asleep, perhaps like an enchanted character in a faery story,just waiting to be awoken from an evil spell.
Perhaps bio-medical approaches break spells.
Her son is not verbal and can't express himself HOWEVER he goes over to the computer and puts on a song by Nine Inch Nails, which drones:
I used to have a voice/ Now I never make a sound
I'm still inside of here/ A little bit comes bleeding through.
Ms Jameson interprets this- as well as how he behaves- as a fulfillment of her ideas: a trapped soul struggling to break free from bondage**, when the child signs "head" and "hurt" she appears to take this as validation of her beliefs: yes, he is suffering the same existential anxiety as Trent Reznor,song writer. I would tend to interpret this in a more physical manner, that he has a headache.
Actually the sentiments expressed might be more believable if they emanated from a fashionably dark, introspective adolescent or an adult woman who has read too many vampire novels. Which may be the case here. Small kids- even if they have no disabilities- don't think like that or express themselves like that except perhaps in movies written by people like Ms Jameson.
Children need to learn that all other people don't share their own perspective and ideas or desires; children by age 8 or so understand that to communicate with younger kids, you have to simplify your message. These social cognitive skills develop not entirely synchronised with purely cognitive skills and not all people wind up with the same level of skill as adults. As we can apparently see ourselves.
all too often.
Ms Jameson can't read her own child if she introjects her
ideas into his actions and signing and sees instead a mirror reflecting her own stuff and feelings of martyrdom. I can't understand how her so-called sensitivity can in any way assist her child on the difficult path that lies ahead of him.
Of course, I'm not a parent*** so how could I possibly understand her plight or strong willed determination to set things straight ( or whatever they're saying lately) : yes, people like myself can't relate to family illness, disappointment, difficulties in life or feeling morose. Obviously you have to be one of the elect @ AoA or TMR to feel that- only THEY suffer.
I hereby rest my case.
** I wouldn't be surprised at all if the song is about... um.. another type of, er,, bondage.
*** OOPS... I said that magic word and now am forever assigned to the ninth circle of hell or wherever non-parents with opinions about children and their welfare are sent.
I’d be a bit more careful when denigrating other health care practitioners for their knowledge about the link between acidosis and the developement of cancer and, therefore, for including an alkalising diet and alkalising medicines as part of a holistic treatment for people with cancer. Note the following excerpt from a study as an example which backs up the cancer-acidosis connection:
I'd be a bit more careful trying to interpret studies that you don't understand. That study and excerpt do not back up the cancer-acidosis connection in the slightest. You repeat the same gross misunderstanding you can find on a thousand websites.
Encapsulated, malignant tumors tend to have a poor blood supply, which means they have difficulty getting rid of the normal acidic waste products of metabolism. That's why that the interior of tumors is usually more acidic than other tissues, and that tumor cells will adapt to survive in more acidic conditions. They also have lower oxygen levels for the same reason. Acidity and low oxygen levels are the results of the nature of a tumor, not the causes.
This does not mean that acidic conditions in the rest of the body or low oxygen levels cause cancer; they don't. Neither does this mean that consuming 'alkaline foods' or even sodium bicarbonate will increase the pH of the interior of a tumor. If you did consume enough sodium bicarbonate to make you body more alkaline you might well end up in the emergency room with respiratory collapse, as does happen from time to time. Your rate of breathing is determined by your blood pH - the lower it is the faster you breathe. If you alkalize your blood excessively you will stop breathing long before the pH inside a tumor is affected. Even if you could increase the pH of a tumor it is very unlikely this would have any lasting effect.
The cell culture paper cited above does nothing to preclude that "alkalising diet and alkalising medicines" in the context of cancer prevention or control are anything other than fanciful nonsense.
@ Denice Walter:
"Of course, I’m not a parent*** so how could I possibly understand her plight or strong willed determination to set things straight ( or whatever they’re saying lately) : yes, people like myself can’t relate to family illness, disappointment, difficulties in life or feeling morose. Obviously you have to be one of the elect @ AoA or TMR to feel that- only THEY suffer.
I hereby rest my case."
Autismum has addressed this issue of non-parents speaking out on behalf of autistic children. I immediately thought of you, Denice.
Long story short, this and other papers don't justify the generalised statements used to support "alkaline treatment" of cancer.
(They do mean that you have to be careful when making specific statements about tumours and their environment (as Krebiozen).)
I have no idea how a parent deals with not being able to communicate with their child. I've almost forgotten my two sons' preverbal days (delayed expressive speech), but I still remember the frustration.
Nine years is a long time to be a frustrated parent. I don't agree with her claims, but her frustration is apparent. Imagine the frustration of a parent who hears all the success stories about "recovered" children and sees their own chances for a miracle dwindling. Torture.
A holistic practitioner merely provides information about what constitutes a healthy diet / lifestyle
Part of a "healthy diet / lifestyle" is of course to choose one's parents appropriately, and to have enough money* to pick and choose one's food, occupation, and accommodation. Anyone choosing the wrong ancestry only has themselves to blame.
For me, a "healthy diet / lifestyle" includes "not reading toxic, victim-blaming bullsh1t from holistic-healing morons", as it adversely affects my blood pressure.
"Having enough money" can be taken for granted, or else one would not be seeing a 'holistic practitioner'.
When I conversed with parents of young adults with SMI, I was occasionally told that I couldn't EVER understand their situation: fortunately most of the parents felt otherwise and realised that although I was never in EXACTLY the same situation as they were, I might have the ability to vaguely imagine what it's like to be in their shoes- suffering is a universal condition. You never know for sure where another person has been or what they have experienced.
You'll notice that ability to understand others' points of view or experience is also an aspect of social cognition. Some people don't do well in that area.
-btw- whilst I am in the ninth circle of hell, you're in a less malignant place because you're a mother- so maybe the eighth for you- oh no,no,no wait- that one's for *fraud*. Well, another circle then.
Of course they're frustrated and stressed HOWEVER I think that some of them ride that straight to the bank of public opinion in their own enclaves- it gives them street cred amongst those who bemoan and wail their way to recognition ( see Kim-"I'm no Mother Theresa"- Stagliano). Secondary gain.Thus torment is a valuable commodity to be recounted regularly to their fans.
People in impossible situations often seek counselling or assistance. It's shocking to me that a few in this crowd ( AoA, TMR, Canary Party) are believe it or not, counsellors, social workers, psychologists...
Quite a few of their screeds include indignation at the suggestions of professionals including counsellors and doctors. Rather than accepting their situation, they fantasise an ideal child who was stolen while they have to cope with the 'shell' left behind- who is -btw- a real child;
I feel sorry for these children : what type of self-image will the parents' ideas will create for them?
Just because you're a parent, you don't automatically know what's good for your child.
I now randomly mention one S. I. McMillen because David Barton has doubled down on warnings about salt consumption being contrary to biblical instruction.
Lara, sending every possible possible vibe I can your way. Wish I could do more.
Lara I am praying for you and your family that things go well for you.
Denice W. I like your advice to find something to do for yourself to keep your sanity. I just got a diagnosis of rapid onset Glaucoma and I have lost around half of my sight in my right eye. It's not cancer but I am still terrified. I have two kids on the ASD spectrum and I am going to have to step back and re-organize my life.
@ Kelly M. Bray:
I'm so sorry that you have vision loss from glaucoma. Is there any chance that an operation or a laser procedure will stop the progression of glaucoma?
I wonder if alties tend to be at least a little more comfortable with surgury (especially tumor-removal) than they are with most other scientific medical practices? When I try to think like an altie, surgury "feels" more okay to me, because at least they're not putting anything "unnatural" into the body, merely removing it, which is the premise of a great deal of woo.
Another reason I had that thought is because of Orac's summary of these kinds of stories – the alt-med user is typically willing to undergo surgury but not chemo. Of course, that could also be a bias of selection – alties who avoid even surgury are very unlikely to be able to truthfully report the cancer's disappearence, or even live long enough to talk about how great they now feel.
@ Kelly M Bray:
I wish you well; interestingly enough, one of my ( myriad) cousins was involved in an auto accident, sustaining complex eye injuries with glaucoma developing in her *less* damaged eye. She does quite well and lives a better life than what most of us had feared when the accident happened 20 years ago: she's married, works, drives and has several animals to care for- well beyond the call of duty.
Losing any ability is frightening because our identities are wrapped up in what we DO, how we negotiate amongst our fellows and our active choices in career and daily life. In addition, you have more responsibilities because of your children- so there are practical issues beyond the luxury of existential questions.
Vision is terribly important for independent, modern creatures like us: we don't live in village where family connection would allow us to share responsibilities- I'm sure you often felt burdened by your duties AS THEY WERE - prior to the visual problems- because you are often ALL on your own. I know how that feels, sometimes I feel as I'm watching out for several people and I don't have ANY children. Competent people often find themselves in this position- so along with the stress comes pride of accomplishment- a trade-off, I'd say.
You have to find long-term goals involving development of skills you choose to work on as well as re-apportioning duties in your day-to-day life: I don't know your situation , so I can't be more specific. Although your children may ( or may not) need assistance when they are older, you can never overly prepare anyone - autistic or not- for the trials and travailles of independent living.
If the question of totally independent living is not feasible for them in the future, still helping them towards better living skills may assist them later if they need to live in a facility BECAUSE those with more skils have more choices and can be accepted in better places: it's not ' independent/ not independent' but HOW independent ( 10%- 90%) people are that matters.
My mother always used to say that if you learn more skills you never are wasting your time learning because we- none of us- know what will be required of us at some future date. Amazing how these mottos apear to come true.
sarcogal49, I hope you're also carefully researching everything that your herbal practitioner is giving you. There is no overall quality control of Chinese herbal medicines and quite a number of them have been found to have been cut with powerful prescription drugs, or contaminated with heavy metals.
@Kelly M Bray
Thank you so much for your well wishes and good luck to you with your vision loss. It's difficult enough taking care of one autistic child with full faculties, I can't even imagine what it must be like for you with two and altered vision. All my best feelings and thoughts for you. You need them more then I do I think.
Green milk? Easy! Add green food coloring to the milk of your choice. These people might want to get special vegetarian homeopathic green food coloring. Just saying.
For those who wanted me to let them know, I just got a call with the results from my biopsy done last week. There are minor cell changes but they are benign! Need to follow up in 6 months to make sure nothing has changed, but still this is good news!
Kelly: I hate to add more responsibilities on your plate, but have you considered a therapy/guide dog for either you or your kids?
Lara: Oh, I'm so happy for you! I know this is a dicey thing to say here, but I've been praying for you. I hope that's okay. ;)
Woo hoo! I'm glad to hear that!
Now, even though you're quite alright, I *still* think that its important to find activities/ studies for yourself and your own benefit...you know everyone needs a "room of her own" if you catch my drift.
@Antaeus: Well, I think that in this case, it means as much as my thinking of her and hoping things would work out OK. And that is always appreciated. (and I never snark at my friends who, when things are going badly for me, tell me that. I know they care for me and I appreciate the thoughtfulness)
@ Lara...great news!
@ Denice Walter...Dear hubby left this AM for four days guys-only trip to the Adirondacks. I'm soooo missing him...if you get my drift.
I'm left to wonder just how often these people give testimonials *prior* to the return of their cancer. I bet they don't get too many of their comments published and promoted by these quacks after that happens.
@ Lara -- Congratulations and best wishes going forward!
I'm so glad I came to this thread late so I had the wait and the results all at once. From one autism mummy to another ((CWTCH)).
Please don't forget that you have so many friends here and on FB who are sending you so much love.
@Denice and Lilady,
I wrote that post because the autism mothers (now a term used more often than not to refer to the subset of credulous autism mothers exclusively) royally do my head in with their woe is me bollocks and I was seething with anger about the way in which a good friend of mine (Steve Summers who's written fab guest posts for me) was being addressed and re-diagnosed.
As for green milk, no thanks but we did used to put milk in the soda stream and get fizzy(ish) cow juice. It was disgusting.
Sorry to necromance, but I heard through the grapevine that cancer quack Andreas Moritz died recently of undisclosed causes. Wanted to see whether Orac had written anything about it. Coincidentally, this is the most recent blurb mentioning Moritz, and it was posted less than 2 weeks before his death.
Do you suppose Moritz died of cancer? The irony...