Eric Merola apparently doesn't like what Orac writes about Stanislaw Burzynski

As our great Lord Draconis Zeneca promises, besides the fantasies of filthy lucre in the minds of our opponents, there are other rewards to being one of his shills and minions besides getting to blog to my heart's content about the pseudoscience and quackery that is "alternative" medicine. One of them is that sometimes I find out that my victim target subject notices me.

So it was, when I became aware on Facebook that Eric Merola noticed me. Merola, as you might recall, is the producer of that paean to Stanislaw Burzynski, entitled, unimaginatively and awkwardly enough, Burzynski the Movie - Cancer Is a Serious Business. that would have made Leni Riefenstahl blush were she alive to have seen it. Actually, I'm not so sure that Riefenstahl as a filmmaker would have blushed because of the blatantness and lack of subtlety of Merola's pro-Burzynski propaganda as been thoroughly disgusted by Merola's utterly unimaginative and talentless filmmaking technique. He's a hack. As I pointed out in my original review of the movie, not only is Burzynski the Movie a pile of slanted misinformation, but it's a horrible movie just from a movie-making standpoint. Subtlety isn't in Merola's skillset. Nor is finding a narrator who doesn't creep the audience out. Actually, storytelling appears not to be in Merola's skillset either. I'm not joking when I say that, were I a "pioneering cancer researcher" of Burzynski's ilk, I'd insist on better. After all, Burzynski certainly has the bucks to afford better. Don't believe the movie's that bad? Watch the entire movie for yourself on YouTube and judge for yourself. If you can stand it.

But what, pray tell, does Mr. Merola have to say about harmless, lovable little Orac? In case you don't have a Facebook account, I'll quote him and provide the link (in case you are on Facebook and want to be amused by the comments that follow):

ALERT! Hi everyone. The "anti-Burzynski" bloggers have been posting a new "hate" blog, filled with defamation, discrimination, outright falsehoods, virtually every day and more over the last two weeks. They have always been there, but for some reason they have decided to do all they can to try to deter any new patients from going to the clinic. These same people are also responsible for safe-guarding the propaganda contained within the Wikipedia pages on Dr. B. Burzynski is in the process of preparing to publish all of his Phase 2 trials, which is a halmark in his approval process. Perhaps those leading this campaign, most likely the hired PhRMA gun "Orac" have been given instructions to launch an all-out assault on Burzynski—since the establishment has failed so miserably finding any credible or useful evidence by using legal ground to do so. Just google "Burzynski" and see. It doesn't do any good to use rational discourse with these people in the comment sections, as there is nothing rational about them, but it should be pointed out to all Burzynski and scientific-innovation supporters.

Orac? A "hate blog"? Come on. It's nothing but butterflies and puppies here. And kitty cats and cute babies too. Hate? Orac doesn't have a hateful bone in his body. Actually, I should say that Orac doesn't have a hateful circuit in his clear Plexiglass box of multicolored blinking lights. Nor does Orac ever try to edit Wikipedia. He tried it once a long time ago and decided it was too much work to keep up with the cranks trying to burnish their heros' credentials. He can't do Wikipedia and maintain the output of this blog, and he likes blogging much better than slogging in the slime that can be Wikipedia. So he leaves it to other skeptics more suited to that task, giving them his gratitude and admiration. (No cash, alas.)

Of course, Mr. Merola doth protest a bit too much. It is true that before this post I had written three posts about Stanislaw Burzynski since November 2. However, before that I hadn't done a post about him since August and then June before that. If you look at my output over the last year or so, I blog about Burzynski on average maybe once every month or two, often with long stretches where I don't discuss him at all. This blog is about much more than Burzynski after all. There are antivaccinationists. There are quacks. There are other cranks. And there is science, mostly (but not always) medical.

It's also particularly amusing that Mr. Merola accuses me of "leading" the whole Burzynski thing. I do nothing of the sort. In fact, I focus on Burzynski in my blog arguably less than many other blogs, including The 21st Floor and Skeptical Humanities, for example. Indeed, it was not I, but Bob Blaskiewicz, who created a Storify page telling the online story of patients who went to Burzynski for treatment and talked about it on social media. I am, however, a cancer surgeon and researcher, and perhaps that's why Mr. Merola singles me out.

Be that as it may, I feel the need to conclude with one final observation. Mr. Merola claims that Stanislaw Burzynski is "preparing to publish all of his Phase 2 trials." His claim would be more convincing were it not for the fact that Burzynski has been "preparing to publish all of his Phase 2 trials" at least since the 1990s and been claiming to do clinical trials for 30 years. He has yet to produce even a single bit of compelling evidence that his antineoplaston therapy works against deadly cancers in humans. Certainly he has produced nothing that supports the extravagant claims that Merola makes for Burzynski's work. (Presumably Burzynski wouldn't have allowed Merola to make these claims if he didn't want them made.) As for his "publications," as I've pointed out before, Burzynski hasn't published in a halfway reputable journal since at least 2006, and that was a review article. The last actual study he appears to have published that's in an PubMed-indexed journal was in 2003. From my perspective, it's long past time for Burzynski to put up or shut up. In fact, he had a fantastic opportunity to "put up" back in the 1990s, when the NCI actually showed interest in his antineoplastons. He failed.

Of course, one can't help but wonder if he wants to keep failing. It's very lucrative to be able to project the appearance that his antineoplastons are promising therapy. Cold, hard evidence would put a stop to that rather quickly.

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As I write this, 2013 is drawing to a close, with only a little more than 12 hours to go before the crowds now gathering at Times Square and elsewhere ring in 2014. For some of you, 2014 has already arrived or will arrive many hours before it does for me. I'm not normally one to do much navel…
About a week and a half ago, I noted that the FDA had apparently paid every skeptic's favorite cancer doctor who is not an oncologist, Stanislaw Burzynski, a visit, while taking notice of a particularly credulous piece of puff journalism that portrayed Dr. Burzynski as a "brave maverick doctor"…
Film producer Eric Merola seems to think that there is a conspiracy of skeptics (whom he calls The Skeptics) hell bent on harassing his hero, Brave Maverick Doctor Stanislaw Burzynski. According to his latest film Burzynski: Cancer Is A Serious Business, Part 2 (henceforth referred to as Burzynski…
Today's post will be relatively brief (for an Orac post, that is). The reason is that it's some very sad news that depresses me greatly. It's also because I don't want to distract too much from the announcement I'd like to highlight. About a month and a half ago, around the same time that Stanislaw…

We actually discussed Burzynski, among others, in a scientific integrity/ethics course I recently took, where the discussion was centered around medical issues. Someone made a great point regarding the fact that he is charging patients to be part of Phase 2 trials, which is highly unusual. Setting aside the ethics of whether or not this constitutes an exploitation of the clinical trial system so that someone can make money off of an unproven therapy, and assuming one is legitimately trying to prove that something works, there is still a giant flaw in the design. If you're actually attempting to show scientifically that something works, having it cost $100,000 out of pocket) to take part of automatically skews the data and is a massive form of selection bias. Even if one then claims a small increase in success over traditional treatment, it would still be less valid as a conclusion because you're comparing (on average) cancer patients with more available funds to cancer patients with less available funds, which could make a huge difference in other underlying health issues.

By i have my doubts (not verified) on 10 Nov 2012 #permalink

Just visited the facebook comments ... too priceless! I guess you need your "liver qi" moved...

By Bogeymama (not verified) on 10 Nov 2012 #permalink

that would have made Leni Riefenstahl blush were she alive to have seen it.

Oh, come on, a Godwin point right from the start :-)
On second thoughts, her "Triumph of the Will" is certainly a good reference point when talking about the merits of movies designed to glorify someone.

These same people are also responsible for safe-guarding the propaganda contained within the Wikipedia pages

Coincidence, I just watched a documentary about Wikipedia and how it's working on my (French) TV.
When you believe that Wikipedia is plotting against you, you have gone past the sanity horizon and are still accelerating.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 10 Nov 2012 #permalink

I'm wondering why Merola didn't link to this blog. I was sooo looking forward to some of their posts here.

@lilady

I actually remembered when merola posted here a while back. Pretty entertaining to have his idiocy on full display.

But I wonder if his little mindless minions will bother to post here. Could make for some great entertainment with goodness how much ad hominems, brain-dead arguments, and broken irony machines come out of it.

The link to his Facebook page is dead. Seems like he took the cowardly way out.

By Kelly M Bray (not verified) on 10 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ novalox: I read through Orac's review of the Burzynski movie and Merola did post...under a variety of sockies.

A number of other comments were submitted by Burzynski/Merola groupies. It was great fun.

The link to his Facebook page is dead. Seems like he took the cowardly way out.

Brave Sir Eric of Memory Hole seems to have forgotten about that "caching" thing.

"To be honest, I’m quite disgusted – many commenters are talking about how greedy and corrupt “the opposition”, the FDA and “the cancer industry”

This is pretty common. When crowds were looting a liquor store and rent-a-center on Far Rockaway last week, one of the looters proclaimed "they've been stealing from us".

One can see the same thing among denialists and conspiracy theorists - act in x vile manner, deny they are doing x, declare "omigod x is everywhere! they're coming to get YOU1!", accuse another target of x. See: George Rekers et al.

Funny thing, the tactic still works.

By Spectator (not verified) on 10 Nov 2012 #permalink

It’s a great pity some of those writing comments can see what they write can be played against their hero, e.g.

“It's a disgrace what some people do for some lousy money! Medicine should be about saving lives and helping people! Not about greedy profits! Shame on those who are behind these dirty strategies which cause those who would benefit from this therapy not to be given funding or allowed to carry on with the treatment! I hope that one day they will feel the weight of those lives that have been cut short through their greedy ways. Good luck to Dr. Burzynski and big thank you for saving lives of so many!”

(I’m keen on the idea that if you can change just the target of a claim and the statement still be made, then the claim is "empty" as it clearly can’t distinguish between the different targets.)

MESSAGE BEGINS--------------------------

Shills and Minions,

We are on our way to the 498th Orionis Sector Subjugation and Pacification Conference on the Kthrakxxkx homeworld, which means 4 sols of having to endure the ghastly stink of chiton, endless insectoid speeches and lavish, elaborate banquets of inedible puddings. I am not thrilled to attend, but I am thrilled that you are following our secret plan GPC-7749-BZKY. We must suppress the maverick Burzykini's Phase II trials at all costs. I'm glad to see that you've all ramped up the rhetoric and misinformation about Burkzinnyki and his Sooper-Natural™ Kancer Kure©®.
If the other humans give approval to the selfless Bunzinykis's Antineowhatevers, much of the evil glee we derive from the torture of humans with unnecessary chemotherapeutic and radiological "treatments" will be a thing of the past. Not to mention the depletion of our normally overflowing coffers and the commensurate reduction in the flow of PharmaLucre™ from yrs vry trly.
This simply must not happen. I know that the Operation: Truly Horrible Cancer Treatment isn't a particularly popular program with your kind, and some of you shills and minions have trouble looking the other way, but we're evil Pharma Overlords, we simply have to do bad things or we lose face with the other Overlords and then they make fun of us and someone ends up getting disintegrated. You certainly don't want that.
So continue to attack, attack, attack, the plucky Buzkillskinkly and his rebel cadres. We must not allow his safe, tasty, all-natural, chewable Sooper-Natural™ Kancer-Kure©® to be approved.

That is all.

Lord Draconis Zeneca VH7ihL
Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Dispenser of General Unpleasantness

Glaxxon Sector V Flagship "Screams of the Vanquished"
000010110101110101111010101011111

----------------------------MESSAGE ENDS

By Glaxxon Pharma… (not verified) on 10 Nov 2012 #permalink

In my previous comment "can see" should read "can't see" - sorry.

DNB - Indeed!

Ahh, my fellow conspirators, greetings. Remember, all must be in readiness for the day our plan comes to fruition. We cannot of course have anyone finding our special deluxe extra special antineoplaston replacing therapy, lest our extra income from chemotherapy be diverted into . . . chemotherapy.

"Mr. Merola claims that Stanislaw Burzynski is “preparing to publish all of his Phase 2 trials.” His claim would be more convincing were it not for the fact that Burzynski..."

is proclaiming left, right and centre that Phase 3 trials are being done.

"Preparing to publish"

*passes out from laughing so hard*

Wow, good job all those soft little puppies and kittens broke my fall. They're so cute and fluffy-wuffy, and look at those bright laser-shooting ey... Hang on a sec.

Orac, these aren't puppies and kittens. They're Lord Draconis' latest hatchlings dressed as baby mammals! How endearing and unusual. Being a minion is fabulous.

Does it mean we can get a sneak preview of Stan's published data? Oh I do hope so!

In unrelated internet biz, someone was pulling the old

"I'm not shaming/abusing you for being gullible shills of Big Pharma, I'm trying to EDUCATE you!".

Educate. Right. So I tested one of my internet theories and looked up:
"The Truth About Formula"
as an exact search.

I didn't have to cherry pick at all. The first page was all the same thing: formula bad, breast feeding good with the usual conspiracy theories specific to formula and formula manufacturers.

If anyone else would like to try this test, I'd be delighted to know what your results are.

My dearest fellow shills and sister minions:

While his Lordship is away attending another boring conference on another disastrously awful, disgusting planet I have acquired Sir Richard's newly renovated island for our latest 'Autumn Training Seminar' where we train newcomers, discuss our methodology and oh, I don't know, give speeches or something.. whatever you do at corporate travel events.

I think that it's important for us to get to know each other better and bond: secluded, luxurious appointments make that task all the easier- it's team building. I understand that we each will be assigned our own private Balinese hoilday hut, the bars will be open 24 hrs, the houseboys are all pretty, there's a zip line, scuba and we each get our own little catamaran!
And DLC- relax, no volcanoes are involved this time.. that was Draconis' idea of a joke.

Mr Bailey is supplying me with a few very large floral silk squares so that I can create my own sarongs. Ladies are asked to dress appropriately: think posh tropical baccanal.
Gentlemen may wear as lttle as they like. It starts Tuesday.

I hope to see all of you- level 6, 7 and 8. Be there or be square.

Most sincerely yours,
DW

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 11 Nov 2012 #permalink

MESSAGE BEGINS------------------

Shills and Minions,

Listen to Cadre Leader DW, Dark Lady, etc., etc. She has our full support for plying you with fruity, heavily decorated beverages and showering you with luxury goods. And I promise, there will be no hatchlings terraside this time. How many times do I have to tell you it was an accident. All of the Obsidian Units' intake irises have been shielded to prevent stowaways. And besides, Shill, Class III, Elburto knows how to charm the little dears with balloon animals and raw meat.
Oh, meat! What I wouldn't kill for some solid food and silence right about now.

Enjoy your conference

Lord Draconis Zeneca VH7ihL

Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Monkey Master of Mars, Life (and Death) of the Party

Glaxxon KthrakxxK Prime Consulate
0001010111010011110101010101110001

By Glaxxon Pharma… (not verified) on 11 Nov 2012 #permalink

pentagonal maybe. New-minions continue to train in the coastal rain forest.

"Eric Merola apparently doesn’t like what Orac writes about Stanislaw Burzynski"

A- So what? Eric Mercola's a twat! Why whould we care?
B- So what? Stanislaw Burzynski's a twat! Why should we care?

Orac's the only one out of the three in the title here who isn't a twat - why should we care about the other two?

By David N. Andre… (not verified) on 11 Nov 2012 #permalink

Eric Merola apparently doesn’t like what Orac writes about Stanislaw Burzynski.

Big effin' deal.

Oh noes. Someone's arsehurt on the internet. Say it isn't so!

Like David N. Andrews M. Ed., C.P.S.E (I'm SO going to just start using all letters DNAMEdCPSE!) says, if they weren't complete twats, we might actually care.

My dearest Lord Draconis,

You are not to trouble your scaly, crested head AT ALL about it! Everything is already arranged and I made sure that since you were going to be absent ( enagaged in the gory details of subjugating and pacifying galaxies; after all, SOMEBODY has to do it!) we would persue many of the activities that our species loves so much ( and you loathe)- frolicking in the warm sea, eating Thai food, dancing until dawn, riding Vespas, playing games of chance, drinking gin or Scotch, sleeping with people we hardly know and telling our comrades about the exploits of our own distant ancestors.

I know you always get upset when after 6 drinks or so we all start crying and telling how much we love each other and then either vomit or pass out. It's effective team building amongst socially adept primates.
Aren't you happy to be spared that at least!

-btw- we will spend HOURS and HOURS - maybe even days- expounding, in precise detail, all of our own personal tales in the war on woo and alt media- I'll bet that you are just ACHING to hear that! Imagine the fun! Some of us even have charts and graphs! PLUS I have hired a few experts - top guns, if you will- to speak about their own travails and triumphs. There will be seventeen of them.

Although we will certainly sorely miss your exciting presence and sparkling persona, we will soldier on because we know that what you're doing is SO much more important than our trivial and extremely replacable and paltry contributions.

We ALL sacrifice so much for PharmaCOM.

Most sincerely yours,
DW

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 11 Nov 2012 #permalink

"it’s long past time for Burzynski to put up or shut up"

I haven't got a clue what Orac warbles on about amongst his pretentious, innane (or insane----as you wish) ramblings but Orac seems to spend a lot of time on pointless effort. Maybe Orac should do something useful with his life, like, helping people. Don't imagine conspiracies or attempt to see falsehood and fraud - just listen to the people who have been cured.
What a great deal of nonsense writing above: Orac "put up or shut up".

M AG BE IN --- -- --- --

hill & Min ns, URGEN VITA ORMA ION!

Do NOT s d an f my sp ial s x ys f r ur ast , awf , monk bits! This tranm on isn oo ll by 'throb s Mas nis I'll hav we spo suic e issi ns for all of you!

Enjoy y r selve nd d n't ink oo uch!

Lo d Drac is ca VH7 hL
oon of t he Gre t leet, M stsr ucker.

Gl xx COM
00 0 10

------------- - -- - -- - --- AG END

By Glaxxon Pharma… (not verified) on 11 Nov 2012 #permalink

Due to smoke that started to come out of an old laptop, I have a new travelling tablet. I need a cookie and to get used to this keyboard,

"Burzynski the Movie – Cancer Is a Serious Business."

I forget - was it Pauly Shore or Adam Sandler who starred in this?

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 11 Nov 2012 #permalink

“Burzynski the Movie – Cancer Is a Serious Business.”

I forget – was it Pauly Shore or Adam Sandler who starred in this?

Or Rob Schneider or Jim Carey...

By Science Mom (not verified) on 11 Nov 2012 #permalink

Tom, how about you do a little research to find out who Orac is, genius? It's not like it's a Sooper Seekrit identity or something. He's a cancer surgeon and researcher specializing in breast cancer. So he does things. Things like, oh, I don't know . . . saving lives through science based medicine. Things like warning people away from quacks like Burzynski. What the fuck did you do today?

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 11 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Tom

Don’t imagine conspiracies or attempt to see falsehood and fraud – just listen to the people who have been cured.

Yes Orac, why ask for evidence when anecdotes are enough? /end sarcasm

Orac “put up or shut up”.

Ah, so you want evidence from Orac, but not from Burzyinski? Cognitive dissonance just rang and left a message for you.

@Marg

It's nice you want to derail another thread because the other one's about to close, but please don't bother. We've been there and done that and it's clear you have nothing to offer for a genuine conversation.

@tom, marg

Ah, yes the quack brigade supporting quack treatments has finally arrived.

Please, keep posting, I need some entertainment, and I think you are the perfect fools to provide for some good laughs.

I have to respectfully disagree with Orac on one point.
Orac DOES hate. Orac has shown hatred for pseudoscience, quackery, mentally deficient medical guidance, near criminal contempt for the health and safety of patients and general lunacy in suggestions to the public in the course of their health.
But, I recognize that in myself as well. For those folks, I do at times, consider an ancient American tradition. Tar and feathers. But, civilization returns quickly to my mind and I reject that though.
Barely.

@Glaxxon PharmaCOM Flagship Transmission Org., there is a Vogon poetry reading at your conference with mandatory attendance. May you rest in peace.

I bumped into this blog while making a search for HZV dormant neuron. Found the "The nonsense that is “Vaccine Injury Awareness Month”" post, where some comments tickled in the search results. Some of what Google showed had me curious if someone needed a gamma ray burst delivered to some ear drums, so I read the article. :)
I was running the search out of curiosity. I'm well familiar with varicella infection. I'm quite familiar with shingles as well. I was curious to see if we had yet ascertained HOW HZV remained dormant inside of a neuron.
That interest was due to my contracting shingles, though it appears to be a mild case. Initially, I had modest vesicles that were mildly sensitive to touch/brush, detected by clothing brushing against the site.
After two days, I noticed intermittent pain/itching. Then, I noticed that they were along a dermatome. And I had the infamous "flu like symptoms". And I'm over 50 with a history of childhood chickenpox.
I'll have to get with doctor this week to confirm the suspicion, just to be safe with my infant grandchild. Too young for immunization against, so better safe than sorry.
As for anti-vaccination, I'm against immunizing without an exceptionally good, scientifically based reason, the immunocompromised patient, well, with live vaccines.
I'm also against the way that the military provides vaccination, I've yet to see efficacy studies show clear immune response to EVERY infectious agent immunized against when all are done at once. It IS shown to introduce mild morbidity in many though. To the point where significant numbers of inductees end up sent to their quarters for a day or two to recover.
But, that is a specialized peeve. One that the military always counters with it being disruptive to training to bring service members in repeatedly over time to vaccinate as recommended.
I'll not even go into accepting medical advice from a woman whose singular claim to fame was being a model in a comparative anatomy magazine...

Oh, look, somebody let Marc Stephens out again.

Eh, nah, ignore me.

@Chris

I don't have any cookies, but I did make rumballs last night. With 151. I'll send some if you like, but I don't know that they'll make your typing any better.

Burzynski has turned into a crank magnet. Visit his videos on YouTube and virtually every single one of them is filled with irrational tirades against the FDA. I think the logic goes in these people's heads that because Burzynski has run afoul of the FDA that somehow validates his treatments.

If the FDA ever does the right thing and throws this guy out on his ass you can bet he will acquire Andrew Wakefield like status amongst this community. He'll be portrayed as some kind of martyr rather than a doctor gaming the system to enrich himself to the detriment of his patients.

herr doktor bimler
Thank you so much for the link to Haldane :) Priceless

By Delurked Lurker (not verified) on 11 Nov 2012 #permalink

"I think the logic goes in these people’s heads that because Burzynski has run afoul of the FDA that somehow validates his treatments. "
Not only that - it makes his chemotherapy treatment totally safe and natural, just like the herbal medicines the FDA is also trying to suppress. I wonder what plant genus antineoplastons belong to?

Marg,the article you linked to indicates Dustin underwent major brain surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital, removing 75% of the tumor and insering a permanent shunt to relieve intracranial pressure. Despite being aware of the surgical intervention you seem to be arguing that it's the antineoplastin therapy that responsible for his improvement/survival.

Why?

@flip "Cognitive dissonance just rang and left a message for you"

Err BWAINS......haven't read many innane pretentious ramblings written by Burzynski about others in his field.

flip, i think you flopped.

@Pareidolius

"He’s a cancer surgeon and researcher specializing in breast cancer. So he does things. Things like, oh, I don’t know . . . saving lives through science based medicine"

So why is he wasting time with this blog apparently struggling to connect words in plain English.

What did I do today? I prepared 26 sets of accounts instead of writing copious articles about how bad I think other accountants are. Otherwise, I could have achieved, well, one and written a load on nonsense. I know where my efforts go productively in my career.

@Marg - good article and very inspiring - Incidentally I am not being sarcastic and being very genuine to a very genuine contributor.

@Tom

Of course Buzynski is too busy scamming desperate and dying people out of their life's savings to criticize other doctors. I guess you see nothing wrong with that.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Tom:

Why has Burzynski failed to publish any results from his now decades-long clinical trial? I can think of 2 possibilities:

1. Burzynski does not have any results indicating that his treatment is indeed effective, and is therefore lying to supporters.
2. Burzynski has solid evidence that his treatment is effective, but is selfishly keeping these results to himself, not allowing other practitioners and patients access to his life-saving, revolutionary treatment.

So which is it, Tom? Is Burzynski lying, or is he simply evil?

Wow, so Tom believes that Orac should be working 24/7/365? No time to eat, sleep or even go on vacation, have a hobby outside of work perhaps?

Given the amount of money that Burnzynski takes in & that minor functionaries seem to do all of the work involving the actual patients, seems like Dr. B has plenty of time on his hands that isn't related to his "work."

Since all medical researchers, with the exception of Dr. B, find time to, you know, actually publish the results of said research - why exactly is Dr. B getting a pass by you Tom?

Where oh where are the published studies of over two decades worth of "clinical studies" that Dr. B has supposedly been performing?

Tom, would you buy a car from a company where all the safety information was considered "trade secrets" and not publicly available?

Hey Tom, do you have any you know, constructive critique of Orac's post? Anything substantive to add? So you choose to do your job and just your job; criticising others for going the extra mile and providing entertaining and interesting science topics is pretty assey.

Oh and who is Bullshitinsky going to write about "in his field"? He isn't anything resembling an oncologist so I guess that leaves other quacks and cranks?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

And not just the safety information - whether or not the car actually contains an engine is also secret.

And here I was thinking that "trust me," should be enough for people, right? Especially with something as, benign as say, CANCER TREATMENT!!!!

Sorry, the moron is strong with this one.....

haven’t read many innane pretentious ramblings written by Burzynski about others in his field.

Heh. Burzynski has set up an entire Youtube channel devoted to his pretentious ramblings about others in his field.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Following on the car analogy......
If loads of people had experienced the car and were reporting how great it was - I wouldn't care about not knowing the technology behind it, I would still feel safe using it. No point in getting uptight and upset because the inventor wants to keep his trade secrets a secret.

How many of us know how our mobile phones work?......yet we don't stop using them.

If loads of people had experienced the car and were reporting how great it was

So, Tom, how many people, exactly, is 'loads of people?'

How many people, precisely, need to report that the car is safe in order for you to use it? 10? 11? 30? How do you know how many testimonials are necessary?

What if the testimonials were released to the public exclusively by the car company itself, instead of by an unbiased agency like Consumer Reports? Would you still trust that it's safe?

Magnets? How do they fucking work?

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Another Ayn Rand Altie. Great.

Tom, what if other loads of people used the car and died because it lacked vital safety features? What if this information wasn't published by the car company because they deemed the accident reports as trade secrets? You can't just look at cherry-picked apparent successes and assume that's the whole picture.

The reasons we can trust a lot of products is because there's regulatory oversight, scientific peer review, and such. Even if we don't know how they work, we can at least look up good scientific evidence that it does work. Transparency and rigorous statistical analysis is how you're supposed to earn trust in the scientific community. Testimonials are how con artists cheat their way into people's trust.

Of course, we're talking about life and death stuff, here, so that demands higher standards. Having a crappy phone isn't quite as likely to have negative health effects as a quack medical treatment. It's also generally more obvious when a phone doesn't work, whereas convincing sick patients they're getting better is a well practiced thing among alties. Or at least blaming the patient if they don't improve, so they can cover their asses and hassle the victim for wasting the quack's time.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

@tom - brilliant. So who needs the FDA? We'll just take anyone's word that something is safe and effective, right?

Who needs evidence? Obviously not Tom.

If loads of people had experienced the car and were reporting how great it was – I wouldn’t care about not knowing the technology behind it, I would still feel safe using it.

Would this be before or after the manufacturer hired a nitwit to issue bumptious legal threats to try to silence critics of the design?

JGC,

Marg,the article you linked to indicates Dustin underwent major brain surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital, removing 75% of the tumor and insering a permanent shunt to relieve intracranial pressure.

But here when discussing Dustin, Burzynski says:

It depends on the type of tumor and it’s location, some of the toughest are those that are located in the brain stem. Up to 5 years, you have practically no survival when you use the best treatment available, which is radiation therapy. Chemotherapy usually doesn’t work for such patients. After 2 years, 7 % survival. After 5 years, practically none.

What does a search for medulloblastoma on PubMed turn up? I thought this 'Medulloblastoma in childhood-King Edward Memorial hospital surgical experience and review: Comparative analysis of the case series of 365 patients' made interesting reading. It concludes:

The 5-year and 10-year progression free survival rate was 73 and 41% for average risk disease while for high risk disease rate it was 34%. The mortality rate was 2%. The quality of life was enhanced in patients who survived 5-10 years after treatment.

Of course we don't know what histological type of medulloblastoma Dustin had, but it seems that survival of 10 years is not that unusual, which is not what Burzynski claimed at all. I also note that Burzynski says that chemotherapy doesn't usually work, yet he uses...?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

I can;t seem to hit the link. Does this mean they took it down? Awwww

Tom:

If loads of people had experienced the car and were reporting how great it was – I wouldn’t care about not knowing the technology behind it, I would still feel safe using it.

That is precisely how the manufacturer of thalidomide wanted to do. They tried to sell it in the USA like they had done in Europe and Canada, but were stymied by the FDA. Apparently Congress passed some drug safety laws after elixir sulfanilamide killed over a hundred people.

So how great were the elixir sulfanilamide and thalidomide testimonies? Oh, and how about ephedra? Can dead people give testimonies?

@Tom

Err BWAINS……haven’t read many innane pretentious ramblings written by Burzynski about others in his field.

flip, i think you flopped.

I tend not to play nice with people who avoid the point and use tone trolling instead. Do you or do you not want evidence from Orac?

A yes or no answer is all I'm looking for, so if you type something else, I'll consider it a 'no'.

So why is he wasting time with this blog apparently struggling to connect words in plain English.

What did I do today? I prepared 26 sets of accounts instead of writing copious articles about how bad I think other accountants are. Otherwise, I could have achieved, well, one and written a load on nonsense. I know where my efforts go productively in my career.

Orac and I share a particular talent. We can write copious amounts and still have time leftover for 'real' work. Some people can multitask.

Also, it seems your issue is that criticism of people is somehow bad. Orac's not criticising people necessarily anyway, but rather the IDEAS. Goodness, imagine if you found a corrupt accountant, one who lied to the IRS... would you write about it? Or would you let your whole field get tarnished by this fraud?

If loads of people had experienced the car and were reporting how great it was – I wouldn’t care about not knowing the technology behind it, I would still feel safe using it. No point in getting uptight and upset because the inventor wants to keep his trade secrets a secret.

How many of us know how our mobile phones work?……yet we don’t stop using them.

Ah, I get it now... you either don't know or don't care about the difference between anecdotes and data. Here's a hint: humans have biases.

PS. A good way to argue a point would be to make specific, detailed lists of what exactly is wrong with Orac's writing, and not just make vague accusations. Vague accusations are the hallmarks of people who have nothing but bluster.

Also, the other regulars have plenty of great points you'll need to address...

@ flip: You're arguing with a guy who *claims* to be an accountant and who thinks that the marg Troll is brilliant.

Here's one of the latest videos on You Tube about "Burzynski the Movie" (Thanks, herr doktor bimler).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l27FGJkjnQM&list=UULiRbQrj-gBow6VdLajWxa…

Yup, it's the same Dr. Julian Whitaker that Dr. Novella took apart in a vaccine *debate* recently...

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/07/16/battling-antivaccinationis…

Gee, I wonder why the YouTube "Comments" function has been disabled.

Darwy:

I don’t have any cookies, but I did make rumballs last night.

Just a "For Information" bit. The cookies in this case are to make sure the most recent comments show up on the right hand side of this page. When one first encounters RI, or logs onto a different computer that list is often a couple weeks (or months) out of date. Posting a comment fixes that issue.

The comments I have made before last Friday from "In a medical waiting room" were from daughter's old computer that we flattened out (deleted all previous data), and turned into "Traveller." This is the small computer we used when we were out of town, and that I used in waiting rooms and the library.

Last Friday I smelled electrical smoke from that computer and did a hard shut down. It seems that the power supply of the five year old laptop had a failure. When you smell smoke, unplug and turn off the computer! My son was able to get a new power supply for his desk top, it is not worth it for daughter's old laptop.

So yesterday we bought a new "Traveller." It is a tablet PC, and I am just pulling myself into the 21st century by closing pages with a hand swipe. One thing I did was post a comment here. And tomorrow (Tuesday) I will see if the battery actually lasts ten hours (versus the ten minutes on the previous version of "Traveller", which I now call "Smokey").

@Lilady

Yeah, but maybe the new guy is more interesting to me than warm rehash that comes from Marg.

@Chris

I think the cookies thing was meant to be a joke....

One never knows... and it is useful for newbies.

True... I sometimes forget I know stuff other people don't. Though very rarely do I feel that way here ;)

If loads of people had experienced the car and were reporting how great it was – I wouldn’t care about not knowing the technology behind it, I would still feel safe using it. No point in getting uptight and upset because the inventor wants to keep his trade secrets a secret.

A better analogy would be if a bunch of people had looked at it and enthused about how stylish it looked - but not a single person had ever driven it.

This is a better analogy because, without the trials Burzynski refuses to publish, there is not a single person in the world - including Burzynski and his patients - who actually know whether the stuff works.

Just a “For Information” bit. The cookies in this case are to make sure the most recent comments show up on the right hand side of this page. When one first encounters RI, or logs onto a different computer that list is often a couple weeks (or months) out of date. Posting a comment fixes that issue.

Yes this is useful info for newbies, I was wondering why old comments kept showing up when I read RI on my phone. Thanks!

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

and as for Tom - if you wish to have an intelligent discussion about Burzynski here, take a little time out from your busy Excel data-entering schedule and use the search box. You will find extensive discussions of Burzynski's questionable treatments and unethical practices, such as charging patients vast sums of money to participate in his "clinical trials" and sending them to a pharmacy he owns to buy standard chemotherapy drugs at obscene mark-ups.

Or you can go on defending an amoral charlatan who has made himself very rich by lying to terminally ill people and robbing of them of their precious remaining time and money with his quack treatments.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

Sorry, Tom, I'm not buying a Pinto on Ford's say-so after I've read reports of them explodiing.

Where can I find some information here re thoughts on Tullio Simoncini?
Anyone?

To repeat Edith Prickly's comment: take a little time out from your busy Excel data-entering schedule and use the search box
The "search box" is the little window in the top right corner of this webpage, labelled "Search This Blog". You can type "search terms" into it and a "search engine" will look things up for you.

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/tag/tullio-simoncini/

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@flip
"anecdotes and data. Here’s a hint: humans have biases."

Where do you think data comes from?

@herr doktor bimler

You appear to be unable to see the humour in my post. Any reader of this blog should understand and predict the reaction of throwing in any comment about Tullio, as all bloggers here are all like minded. Don't get so uptight, you miss the essence of the entire blog.

Actually, credit to flip who has noticed the "different angle" in my "tone".

OK, I've been trolled, time for a walk.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

Tom, could you explain, in your own words, the difference between data and anecdote? If we aren't using the same definitions for terms there's no point in arguing over their use.

I am not sure what trolling is as I have only ever contibuted literally a handful of times to internet forums.

I have genuinely been interested in "alternative" research in the Cancer area and set Burzynski as a google alert. That is how i stumbled upon this blog. The alert came through on 08/11/12.

I respect strong views but cannot understand the point in 90% of bloggers coming from the same angle and agreeing with each other. I find i does help to engender a different viewpoint, allbeit with struggle.

There is definitely a great deal of intelligence here and I suppose that is why I become more absorbed than usual.

This is not "my thing" and I respectfully bow out.

I respect strong views but cannot understand the point in 90% of bloggers coming from the same angle and agreeing with each other. I find i does help to engender a different viewpoint, allbeit with struggle.

So you can't understand why the vast majority of educated people on a particular subject aren't wont to give some bull$hit false balance to a dick like Bullshitinsky? Really?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Tom - while you might leave (though I suspect you'll be back), I would like to know why you think Dr. B hasn't published anything in the last couple of decades or why he feels it necessary to charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for "clinical trials," which are, in essence, experiments - since we have no idea, proof, evidence, etc. that those treatments actually work....and no one who has attempted to replicate his treatments has succeeded (in fact, at least one team had to stop almost immediately, because the treatment was so toxic as to be life-threatening).

Since you've stumbled on a blog written by an Oncologist, perhaps you should pay a bit more attention before tone trolling too.

@herr doktor bimler

Your link does mention that the Pinto fuel system design was inferior to that of other similar size vehicles however the risk has been greatly exaggerated. In fact most people have a greatly exaggerated view of the profitability and severity of post crash fire, largely due to TV and movies. This fear kills people due to not wearing seat belts and badly injured people exiting cars when they should have remained motionless until they could be extracted by the paramedics.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

So Tom has demonstrated that he cannot click on the author's name under the title to learn about him, nor cannot he be bothered with using the search box on the upper right of this page, or even use Google (I have found that using the "site:" feature of Google more useful than the search box.

Then he explains away his lack of acumen by saying he was "just joking" and he is not used to "forums." Some advice for Tom:

1. Learn the difference between a blog and a forum. This is a blog, and this is a form. They are very different.

2. Before commenting on a blog or forum do some lurking. Read some of the articles and the comments. Get a feel for the place, and it could prevent you from embarrassment.

3. Learn how to search inside forums and blogs. Try out both the websites search box and other search engines. You might find this page on Google search commands helpful (ooh, I just learned some new tricks there!).

Oops, typo in my moderated comment. I was supposed to type "this is a forum." And silly me, I included three URL links.

Lawrence, I did not intend to contribute again but felt uneasy at leaving it at that, so in essence, your prediction is correct.

I have analysed my own posts and my own "path" went along the lines as follows. When you read, remember this is not my field.

I was "excited" to watch and hear and read that people were being cured by Burzynski. I set up the Google alert. I then arrive at this site which effectively "destroys" the hope previously created, and I reacted to that. I genuinely did feel that the way the above article was written was more denigrating than on a factual "data" level and winced when reading it.

Ok, I will admit, (and this came to me after I exited) that there was a strong similarity of my reaction and "shooting the messenger". No one wants to hear bad news, and although the article here may be correct, it may upset people who put their hopes into innovative cancer cures. If the assertions here (it seems by all) are true then Burzynski should be banned, at the very least for building false hope, and further as far as the reckless application of his work affecting human lives.
I don't know who is correct at the end of the day, but I do know that a tone of differing viewpoint and later humour is not trolling, whatever that means (some things I don't bother to google). There are similar tones by all on this blog, and many comments are actually "put down" comments. The "sarcasm" bits are an example. Don't blog for blogs sake.

At the end of the day, it appears that there is no hard and fast solution to cancer and if mainstream medical science were not struggling with this then there would be no footholds for false hopers.

Ok, I remain partially converted due to the blog and do apologise for my "shoot the messenger" reaction at the outset. I am still learning.

No, really...this is it....I am going....erm, if my mouse strays over the google alert link again, then take it as a compliment.

I am not sure what trolling is
"I was trolled", as used by me, is a term of art meaning "I failed to recognised another commenter's sense of humour so I will blame that commenter rather than myself".

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Tom - I will say, I do appreciate that you came back & that you do recognize that Br. B is peddling, at best, "experimental hope" and at worst, is a charlatan & should be shut down before more people waste their life's savings (and the rest of their short lives) going down this path.

I'll also apologize too - we get some pretty nasty cranks around here & it is hard not to be a little jaded when people continue to through out the same stupid stuff over and over again.....

Since you have an open mind, I would recommend hanging around - I've always found both Orac and the other commentators here to be extremely well educated and reasoned in how they deal with this stuff.

@Tom

Where do you think data comes from?

I said above

A yes or no answer is all I’m looking for, so if you type something else, I’ll consider it a ‘no’.

So thanks for ignoring my question. You are now quite clearly trolling.

As for the answer to your question, yes humans are faulty, even scientists. However scientists put in place many barriers that attempt to strip biases out of their studies. Whereas anecdotes are simply stories recounted and unconfirmed by anyone. Studies don't rely on anecdotes - they rely on objective results (such as size of tumour of cancer, etc) and tests that can be repeated and confirmed by anyone.

Actually, credit to flip who has noticed the “different angle” in my “tone”.

I must be psychic. But actually you're not 'different', just new to this site.

I don’t know who is correct at the end of the day, but I do know that a tone of differing viewpoint and later humour is not trolling, whatever that means (some things I don’t bother to google).

Yeah, but avoiding questions while attempting to provoke a response is trolling. And that's what you did. I posted a comment about your unwillingness to apply the same standards to Dr B as you would to Orac. Instead of replying with a rational argument - why or why not - you avoided the question and made silly remarks. That's a pretty standard troll behaviour.

Having said that, if you genuinely weren't, my apologies.

@Tom, me

You are now quite clearly trolling.

Ach, this is what comes of writing replies in order of what you read... Ignore the above and instead focus on the apology at the end...

I respect strong views but cannot understand the point in 90% of bloggers coming from the same angle and agreeing with each other.

The point is that it's foolish to ignore reality. All those people 'coming fro the same angle and agreeing with each other" are simply acknowledging established facts (e.g.., that Burzynski has published no evidence demonstrating antineoplastins are safe or effective at treating cancer, that despite attempts no independent lab has successfully proven his regimen to be either safe or effective, that charging subjects to enroll in clinical trials is (at best) both unprofessional and unethical, that Burzynski's insistence his patients purchase the drugs he prescribes only from a pharmacy he owns at extremely high mark-up is exploitive, from that personal testimony and anecdotal accounts cannot serve in lieu of evidence, etc.)

Pareidolius:

“He’s a cancer surgeon and researcher specializing in breast cancer. So he does things. Things like, oh, I don’t know . . . saving lives through science based medicine. Things like warning people away from quacks like Burzynski.”

Tom: "No one wants to hear bad news, and although the article here may be correct, it may upset people who put their hopes into innovative cancer cures. ...So why is he wasting time with this blog..."

Tom, I would like to point out one example of a time when Orac, as you call it, wasted his time blogging. This is what he blogged,

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/03/26/another-case-of-chemothera…
"Yet, unfortunately the Stielers have been lulled into a false sense of security because of the excellent response to surgery and chemotherapy, and now is not the time to be complacent. It’s hard, horribly hard, but Jacob needs to complete his therapy. He might get away without any more therapy. Might. Isn’t it better not to rely on “might”? Isn’t it better to listen to pediatric oncologists who have devoted their lives to treating cancers of this type when they say that stopping therapy now is dangerous, rather than relying on prayer, which, if the WND story is to be believed, appears to be what the Stielers are doing now?

The answer should be obvious."

No one wants to hear bad news, but sometimes giving someone bad news could save their life, if they would only listen. Here is the follow-up story about the parents who didn't want to heed the "bad news".

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/10/cancer_returns…

Maybe the next set of parents in a similar position will read a blog like this and not follow the advice of some quack.

Buh bye - those who do not allow those who debunk your propaganda....

buh

bye

Why didn't you take a few minutes and write comprehensibly, Buh Bye? Oh, right, because then the substance of your complaint would have been clear and everyone would see you're whining about something that doesn't in fact exist.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 26 Nov 2012 #permalink

I can't wait to see this guy's face - this scamislaw guy - or the oracislaw guy - either way, should be fun

By KenrickDom (not verified) on 03 Dec 2012 #permalink