Cancer quackery promoted on Fox News

I've always known that FOX News has a tendency to go for the sensationalistic story. I've also known that, given Rupert Murdoch's political leanings, politically motivated pseudoscience like anthropogenic global warming denialism is the order of the day on FOX. I've even noticed a disturbing tendency on FOX to promote antivaccine views, for example, when a FOX interviewer tried to blame a case of dystonia on the flu vaccine or when the infotainment drones on Fox and Friends let The Donald (a.k.a. Donald Trump) blather ignorantly about vaccines and autism. I knew all that. However, I didn't know that FOX News had decided to air a regular show that, among other woo, promotes cancer quackery, but apparently it had. I'm referring to A Healthy You & Carol Alt, a new show that just hit the air this month.

I became aware of Alt's new project when a Google Alert popped up about a show she did on Saturday that included a segment An All-Natural Cure for Cancer? Now, if there's one thing I've learned about any news show or editorial, it's this: Whenever the title of a news segment or an article is presented in the form of a question, the answer to that question is almost always "no." This segment is no exception. The reason is that, in it, Carol Alt interviews Nicholas Gonzalez.

You remember Nicholas Gonzalez, don't you? Maybe not. It's been a long time since I've discussed him. Basically, he is a doctor in New York City who has made a name for himself (if you can call it that) by treating cancer with pancreatic enzymes. His protocol to treat cancer involves various vegetable and fruit juices, meat extracts, supplement pills by the handful, and, to top it all off, at least daily coffee enemas. The meat extracts include organ extracts, specifically pancreatic extracts, that contain, of course, pancreatic enzymes. Gonzalez first attracted my attention through his claims that he can do so much better treating advanced pancreatic cancer, his evidence being a case series of about a dozen patients who, according to him, did so much better than historical controls. Alas, for Gonzalez, when his protocol was tested in a controlled clinical trial of pancreatic cancer patients, what happened is that patients undergoing his treatment actually did significantly worse than patients who received standard of care therapy. Naturally, Gonzalez whined and had many excuses about the failure of his protocol, a failure that was entirely predictable given the complete lack of scientific prior plausibility of his therapy. Naturally, none of his complaints had any merit. (Not that any of this stopped him from claiming that if only Steve Jobs had undergone the Gonzalez protocol he might still be alive today.)

The segment on Alt's show is truly painful to behold. It begins with Alt (and, gee, is her name appropriate for promoting this sort of quackery) talking about how surgery and chemotherapy "may extend the lifespan of a cancer patient" and "in some cases even completely rid the patient of the disease." Of course, depending on the cancer, it does this very thing far more than "in some cases." Of course, to Alt, the price is horrific, with the pumping of "massive amounts of chemicals"—gasp!—into the body. We then learn that Alt was a cancer patient and that, more specifically, she was one of Dr. Gonzalez's patients, and she touts her decision to choose Gonzalez as choosing "quality of life."

It was at this point that curiosity almost got the better of me. I was going to stop watching the video segment and do a bit of Googling to find out what kind of cancer Alt had and what sorts of treatments he had. I resisted and watched the whole video and was disappointed to find that she never said exactly what kind of cancer she had, although she was effusive in her praise for Dr. Gonzalez and repeatedly said that she though he had saved her life. So before I wrote this post I Googled "Carol Alt cancer," and what I found was surprisingly thin. There's this article from 2008 in which Alt is quoted as blaming cervical and uterine cancer for the failure of her marriage to Ron Greschner because she had been rendered unable to have children and Greschner very much wanted to have children. This happened back in 1997; so her cancer diagnosis must have occurred before that. There was also this article, which said basically the same thing but also revealed that Alt is very much into raw food woo. This article reinforces the same points, but doesn't mention Alt's battle with cervical cancer and instead attributes her adopting a raw vegan diet to feeling run down and larger as she got older. In the article, she also spews many of the tropes and bits of misinformation about raw vegan diets. She even blathers on about "acid diets" and how the body likes to be "alkaline." Holy Robert O. Young, Batman!

Here's the interesting thing. Alt takes a lot of supplements. A lot of supplements. Back in 2007, she was described thusly:

If a raw food diet provides perfect nutrition, why does Alt also take supplements, sometimes close to 200 pills a day? With regular hair and blood tests, Alt has discovered her genetic body type (a moderate vegetarian, with some fish and occasional meat), and exactly what nutrients she needs at any given time.

In addition to modeling, Alt has been an actress for many years, appearing in over 60 films, often shot abroad. Depending on what she eats, especially when traveling, and her stress level, Alt’s supplement regimen changes, all under the guidance of her physician.

“I take supplements,” explains Alt, “because I believe that even raw foods today may not have everything we need. We live in the real world, and farmers may grow their food on land where they grew the same food last year and the years before that, or they may rotate the crops, but it’s very rare that land gets to rest and rejuvenate itself.” The result, says Alt, is soil depletion and food that may not have all the nutrients it was meant to have if grown in rich soil.

“Right now,” says Alt, “I take 192 pills a day. But that can change, according to my next hair test.” At the time of this exclusive interview for Life Extension magazine, Alt was taking a dehydrated fruit and vegetable juice powder supplement, systemic and digestive enzymes, vitamins A, C, D, and E, kelp, chlorophyll, sea algae, amino acids, selenium, magnesium citrate, calcium, vegetarian vitamins and minerals, and potassium, among others.

And she still is taking 192 pills a day or thereabouts if this segment on her FOX News show. Near the end of the segment, she proudly shows off a multiple boxes of her supplements, all arranged by breakfast, lunch, and dinner to Dr. Gonzalez and her audience. From the look of it, she takes a couple of fistfuls of supplements with each meal. Not only that, she's proud of it! (Conspicuously absent, though, was any mention of coffee enemas, even though they are integral to the Gonzalez protocol.) Indeed, if you find this particular article from a few years ago, the woo and quackery flow in huge quantities, including acid-base quackery, supplements, claims that a friend of his cured his girlfriend's cancer with a raw food diet, and the like:

And I swear to God that he answers whenever you do that. I got a phone call from a friend of mine, and I write about it in my book (Eating in the Raw), at my mother-in-law's house. Now how many friends of yours have your mother-in-law's number? None! I Go, "How did you get this number?" and he said, "I have no clue. I just have this number for you." He goes, "I have to tell you this…you're the healthiest person I know, so you'll appreciate this…" And I'm thinking, "Holy cow, if I'm the healthiest person this guy knows my PR is doing a very good job, because I personally am feeling like garbage." He goes, "My girlfriend is 22 years old and they wanted to do a radical hysterectomy on her. She was full of cancer. I took her to this doctor. Everybody was saying [we were] crazy. We went against every doctor, but I'm telling you, he will make you look at food like you've never looked at food before. He will change your life! You will not be able to eat with friends and watch what they put in their mouth, because you will know they are poisoning themselves. In six months, he cured my girlfriend of cancer. She just got a negative biopsy."

This doctor was apparently Dr. Timothy Brantley. I briefly checked out his website, and let's just say that he looks as though he might one day be deserving of some not-so-Respectful Insolence of his own in a post of his very own. Let's just say that Brantley (who appears to be a naturopath—it's not clear) is very much into digestive enzymes, just as much, apparently, as Dr. Gonzalez is.

Let's get back to the interview, though. Apparently Dr. Gonzalez has a book out entitled What Went Wrong: The Truth Behind the Clinical Trial of the Enzyme Treatment of Cancer, in which he repeats the same whines he whined so loudly back in 2009 about how horrifically he was treated by the NCI (he wasn't) and how badly designed the clinical trial was (it wasn't perfect, but it certainly wasn't really badly designed). Basically, read this post by me, and you'll see pretty much every argument that is certainly in Gonzalez's latest book shot down in flames as disingenuous nonsense. Just remember: Gonzalez's protocol was tested, and it was worse than the standard of care, and that' saying something, given how ineffective the current standard of care for advanced pancreatic cancer is. Oddly enough, even though Gonzalez's book was mentioned, he said very little about it and almost nothing was said about his failed clinical trial. One would have thought he would have been dying to lambaste big pharma and make excuses for the failure of his clinical trial. Instead, he blathered on about John Beard's trophoblastic "theory" of cancer, which was adopted by William Donald Kelly, a dentist, and then later by Nicholas Gonzalez. It's a "theory" that was discarded nearly 100 years ago because it explained nothing, predicted nothing, and did not describe biology well. Indeed, whenever I read about the "trophoblastic theory of cancer," to this day I still have a hard time figuring out how this "theory" leads to the use of digestive enzymes to treat cancer, particularly given that only very tiny amounts of proteins like digestive enzymes can find their way into the bloodstream after passing through the GI tract. The vast majority of such proteins are completely broken down to amino acids and very small peptides.

So what happened to Carol Alt? After this segment and my Googling, I have a hard time figuring it out. Apparently sometime in the 1990s she had a bunch of chronic health problems, placing a key incident in her life as happening around age 34 when she was confronted with a younger, perkier, more energetic model who upstaged her at a photo shoot and realized that she was getting old. (Sadly, age 34 is old for a model.) What the circumstances were regarding her diagnosis of cervical and uterine cancer, what her treatments were, how she ended up with Gonzalez, all are unknown, at least from online searches. If previous testimonials are any indication, I bet I can make a reasonable guess as to what happened. Most likely, Alt had an early stage cancer that could be treated with a cone biopsy (which removes part of the cervix) and a dilatation and curettage (a.k.a., a D & C). As can happen with these procedures, her cervix and uterus were affected such that she could not carry a pregnancy to term anymore. In any case, most likely the surgery "cured" her, and all the supplements and coffee enemas did nothing. I could be wrong, but I bet I'm probably not. Unfortunately, it's impossible to say without more information.

In any case, one wonders about one thing. Why is Carol Alt taking hundreds of supplements nearly 20 years after being treated for cancer? Dr. Gonzalez claims that he's taking his own protocol to prevent cancer. Maybe Alt thinks she's doing the same thing. Either way, she's fallen for quackery, and it's depressing. Even worse, she's using her new show to promote it. We can only hope the ratings are such that the show is not on the air long.

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“It’s basically Dr. Oz, but think 180 degrees,” said Carol. “It’s all alternative. It’s the things you don’t see in the mainstream ... We’re doing a show on enzyme cures for cancer, the debate on vaccinations, coffee, mistakes people make in yoga."

“Right now,” says Alt, “I take 192 pills a day. But that can change, according to my next hair test.”

In Part 5 of this Dateline NBC episode, beginning @2:38, Dr. Gonzales discusses that he uses Joan McClure to perform "metabolic analysis" on his patients' hair samples. Dr. Gonzales' hair test relies on the intuition of Joan McClure - not on any science, but a witchcraft-like pseudoscience.

Sadly, New York appears to embrace pseudo-scientific medical practices based on intuitive readings, such as Dr. Gonzales' hair analysis techniques. The New York State Department of Education, which includes their medical licensing and oversight boards has gone so far as to accredit the trainings of Dr. Yoshiaki Omura, who uses a BDORT O-Ring test to detect cancer, infectious diseases and many other serious diseases.

Dr. Yoshiaki Omura is licensed to practice in New York and his medical board record shows no findings. His techniques, including the BDORT O-Ring test and acupuncture, have been accredited* by the New York State Department of Education.

*"All ICAET meetings are accredited by the New York State Boards for Medicine and Dentistry toward the 300-accredited hour requirement for the Acupuncture Certificate in New York State.. "

According to the journal "On Contradictions Between Chinese and Tibetan Pulse Diagnosis" by Phillip Shinnick in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, October 2012, 18(10): 889-891, the BDORT O-Ring test is similar to the use of pulse diagnosis. They offer their tests as a "low-cost noninvasive diagnostic method sorely needed to balance the high-cost diagnostic tests performed in the United States.

Why is Alt taking hundreds of supplements years after her cancer was treated?

Because altie lore dictates that everyone needs supplements for everything and hey, conditions add up. I would guess that probably because she is concerned with appearance that quite a few are for "anti-aging" effects"** as well as anti-cancer formulae. There are loads of herbs/ supplements for weight control, skin rejuvenation, hair and nails, muscle tone- you name it.

Amongst those I survey there is a big deal being made of phyto-nutrients- which she echoes by saying that foods today aren't as nutritionally loaded as they were long ago. So dried fruit and vegetable*** powders are sold as are extracted specific nutrients from foods. As well as high ORAC nutrients ( anti-oxidants), amino acids, protein powders etc.

Last week, I had some time to kill while waiting for my car to be serviced, so I wandered around a supplement store: being asked if I was looking for something in particular, I decided to lie and say that I really needed something for allergies ( which I do have seasonally). I was presented with a long list of herbs and supplements which could help my condition- including colloidal silver, goldenseal, echinacea, B vitamins etc. I didn't purcahse anything but I'm sure another person who believed might have left the store with a bagful of woo.

** True anti-aging elixirs would have to kill you so you didn't age any more.
*** much is made of the greens ( chlorophylls) vs the carotenes, antho- and proanthocyanadins ( yellow, orange, reds, purples, blues). Thus more separate products to sell to keep your health drinks from getting that muddy, dull appearance.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

I came across this blog because I was told I was mentioned in it as a putative quack by a « woo fighter » for my invention of Cell Inflation Assisted Chemotherapy. Alas, there should have been insufficient evidence for quackery, otherwise I would have a chance to become as famous as Burzynski. You’d better pay attention to inventors than to quacks, because, for those believing in quackery, there is no way to convince them rationally, and talking about quacks just give them publicity. For instance, I think that « official » personalized cancer medicine is a dead end, but rather than writing it everywhere, I considered more positive to propose something else. So, try to be positive too, ignore what doesn’t work, and support what might work.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

“Right now,” says Alt, “I take 192 pills a day. But that can change, according to my next hair test.” At the time of this exclusive interview for Life Extension magazine, Alt was taking a dehydrated fruit and vegetable juice powder supplement, systemic and digestive enzymes, vitamins A, C, D, and E, kelp, chlorophyll, sea algae, amino acids, selenium, magnesium citrate, calcium, vegetarian vitamins and minerals, and potassium, among others.

And how much does this cost? I'm sure some of those are only a few cents per pill, but some of the others sound like expensive habits to me. So she's spending somewhere between $3k and $30k annually on this stuff. That's on top of rent (I'm assuming she lives in Manhattan, which has particularly high costs) and other basic living expenses. In other words, somebody who probably can't afford to lose her current job.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@ Eric Lund:

Right. The powders and arcane ingredients cost a lot:
if you go the Adams' store ( @ Natural News.com) or Gary Null.com, you can add up what it'd cost to follow their plans.

They advise that people take a plethora of products daily, so 192 doesn't sound high to me being as I am familiar with this dreck.

They deride the average diet people ingest and then mention that if you have a poor diet ( mostly everyone) and can't yet "live right" )- probably because of your lower morality or innate deviancy- AT THE VERY LEAST supplement with the super foods, powdered vegetables and fruits: so they get two groups- the orhorectics who do eat precisely calibrated excellent nutritional perfection and infernal backsliders who at least avoid instant death from fast foods.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

Is Carol Alt blonde? If so, that seems to be the main criteria for being on FOX News.

By t_p_hamilton (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

Mr. Corcos,
Apparently, you were misled. A search on this site reveals no mention of your name (in the "search this blog" box situated prominently at the top of the blog). Are you trolling for exposure? Your post is odd, are you pro quack, anti-quack? I see that you do research in Parkinsons, are you also a cancer researcher? The Woo Fighters await your response with bated breath . . .

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

I wonder if she thinks alt.med is about her.

By Chris HIckie (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

Apparently, you were misled. A search on this site reveals no mention of your name (in the “search this blog” box situated prominently at the top of the blog).

There was one comment in which Kelly Bray asked whether anybody had heard of him.

Dr. Corcos,

First of all, your post is off-topic. I've noticed you've posted on a few different cancer threads here to promote your invention. It seems as if you are seeking attention, which is always a red flag.

I never called you a quack outright: please go back and read my post. I was responding to a question another reader had about you and your "invention." I pointed out that I could find no indexed research on PubMed and the only research I did find was self-published. You made a sweeping claim that you have invented a breakthrough cancer treatment that has received no attention anywhere else, and your several spam comments on the American Cancer Society website did remind me of Burzynski's modus operandi and rang the "brave lone maverick doctor" warning bell.

I ended my comment by saying something like "Who knows? This doctor may have invented something groundbreaking that will win him a Nobel Prize."

By Woo Fighter (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

Woo Fighter: "I’ve noticed you’ve posted on a few different cancer threads here to promote your invention. It seems as if you are seeking attention, which is always a red flag."

Exactly. The only I noticed him was his "Look at me! Look at me!" comment.

I also warned the original reader who asked the question that there is another doctor with the identical name who is involved with Parkinson's research, is associated with the Michael J. Fox Foundation and seems quite legitimate. I didn't want the two names to get confused.

By Woo Fighter (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

Suggesting that you've invented one is too strong a claim, given that your Wiley article establishes you haven't yet even demonstrated proof of concept.

Before I go to a doctor, I will have them write a paragraph. And if it sounds like this one,

'I came across this blog because I was told I was mentioned in it as a putative quack by a « woo fighter » for my invention of Cell Inflation Assisted Chemotherapy. Alas, there should have been insufficient evidence for quackery, otherwise I would have a chance to become as famous as Burzynski. You’d better pay attention to inventors than to quacks, because, for those believing in quackery, there is no way to convince them rationally, and talking about quacks just give them publicity. For instance, I think that « official » personalized cancer medicine is a dead end, but rather than writing it everywhere, I considered more positive to propose something else. So, try to be positive too, ignore what doesn’t work, and support what might work.'

I will go to a new doctor.

Not that Fox 'News' cares, I emailed them this is despicable to promote 'food cures cancer'.

By Scared Momma (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

It seems as if you are seeking attention, which is always a red flag.

I found this to be a head-scratcher:

Actually, it is the same reason why I don't put the following publication in researchgate, although Cancer Medicine has not updated download numbers for a while

While the wording on their usage graph, which suggests that there should be daily updates, is misleading, I doubt that Wiley is doing it by hand (Vol. 1 looks to have been weekly). It's a non-research article in a startup OA journal that is at least in part a recycling station* by design; 105 downloads over 4 months doesn't seem off.

As to "I was told I was mentioned in it as a putative quack," something tells me that this involves a Google Alert.

* Wiley's "Manuscript Transfer Program" shuttles rejected papers to alternative venues with reviewers' comments intact.

Thank you all for your interest. I will be soon as famous as Burzynski. What you don't realize is that if you are looking for publicity, it doesn't matter whether people agree with you or not. Thanks to this blog, I know a bunch of quacks I didn't even imagine they could exist. The way to celebrity has nothing to do with science. And it can be used by people with or without legitimacy. If Nature (the journal) spams my e-mail box with the "big discovery" of induced stem cells that can give rise to teratomas in mice (obviously of no use for treatment) this kind of spam is legit. But basically, "legitimate" or not, everybody whowants to be heard use now mass communication. As long as you consider me as a quack, you will talk about me, and people will have a chance to read my paper. This has nothing to do with science. Science lies elsewhere, when people have the opportunity to falsify a theory.
@ JGC
You're perfectly right, but you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. You may find this not "scientific" but the aim is to avoid deaths from cancer, isn't it?

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@Daniel - striving to be "as famous as Burzynski" isn't necessarily something that you should aspire to.....

Daniel Corcos: You may find this not “scientific” but the aim is to avoid deaths from cancer, isn’t it?

You're half right. From what I've read of Orac, he also seems to want to avert needless suffering. Burzynski and his ilk peddle false hope and their treatments prolong suffering and often make the patients worse than they would have been if they'd never gone to him in the first place.

DC: What you don’t realize is that if you are looking for publicity, it doesn’t matter whether people agree with you or not.
No, it does matter that people agree with you. It's also pretty important to have reality agree with you. So far, reality doesn't seem to agree with the doctors in this article.
As for you, 'Dr.' Corcos, you act more like a ringmaster than a doctor. I don't know if you've stumbled onto something or not, but I sincerely doubt it. Also, before anyone else beats me to it- citation needed.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

Why is Alt taking hundreds of supplements years after her cancer was treated?

Because she has adopted an orthorexic diet supposedly tailored to her Special Snowflake body type; and it leaves her with deficiency diseases?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

And it can be used by people with or without legitimacy. If Nature (the journal) spams my e-mail box with the “big discovery” of induced stem cells that can give rise to teratomas in mice (obviously of no use for treatment) this kind of spam is legit. But basically, “legitimate” or not, everybody whowants to be heard use now mass communication. As long as you consider me as a quack, you will talk about me, and people will have a chance to read my paper.

Spamming is easy, yes... and extremely ineffective. The ease allows hundreds, thousands of internet grifters to compete for the same limited pool of money, with nothing to single out one as better than the others. It's a lottery.

Peer-review science may seem like a lottery at times but it's a better lottery... when you discover something objectively, demonstrably true which no-one has grasped, then your chances of success is slightly higher.

Commenters here sometimes joke about the fortunes they could make if only they lost their scruples and followed the Burzynski / Adams path, but in practice they're all sticking to their day jobs. For all of the Fox / HuffPo attempts to grow the market and increase the pool of ill-informed scam customers, it's still a competitive market, and for every quack who makes millions there are hundreds who fail.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@ Daisy:

"Dr. Yoshiaki Omura is licensed to practice in New York and his medical board record shows no findings. His techniques, including the BDORT O-Ring test and acupuncture, have been accredited* by the New York State Department of Education."

Um, not quite. Dr. Yoshiaki Omura, apparently was licensed in NY State as a Medical Doctor, but he no longer is licensed in New York. He is not licensed as an acupuncturist.

http://www.nysed.gov/coms/op001/opsc2a?profcd=60&plicno=122947&namechk=…

@ Lawrence
I don't aspire to be famous. I just want that people consider my proposal.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cam4.91/pdf
@ Politicalguinepig
I don't doubt that Orac wants to advert needless suffering. But I doubt he have chosen the good way. The more you talk about quacks, the better they do. Just ignore them. Or if you really want to fight them, find a true cancer cure and they will not find any victim.
It is important that SOME people agree with me. But those who do not agree help me if they publicly disagree. The worst thing is to be ignored.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@ Daniel Corcos:

I disagree: there are charlatans who masquerade as experts who manipulate people who are frightened by cancer and other illnesses.

I was always taught - by my family- that if I knew something that could help others, I should let them know. I do know about how frauds sell themselves and useless products because of my studies and experience.

Talking about quacks doesn't always help them but hopefully , it will put them on the defence and possibly curb their activities by making them have to answer questions from potential clients.

Silence is wrong.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@ herr doktor bimler
"Peer review science is a better lottery." Maybe, but maybe not. Once you have published in a peer reviewed journal, the game is over, except if you benefit from media coverage orchestrated by companies or rich universities. It's an error to think that simply because you're right or good, things will work for you. Coca Cola and Mc Donald are famous because they are the best, aren't they? Enjoy CIAC!

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@ Denice Walker
I agree that denouncing a charlatan masquerading as an expert is a duty. But when the guy is already known as a quack, and what he says is obviously to deceive stupid people, arguing with rational evidence is useless.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

Daniel Corcos wrote

Once you have published in a peer reviewed journal, the game is over, except if you benefit from media coverage orchestrated by companies or rich universities.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that. It's my understanding that research published in peer review journals is more likely to be read by other researchers and, if interesting, replicated and (hopefully) confirmed. But maybe I'm an idealist.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@Daniel Corcos <blockquoteI agree that denouncing a charlatan masquerading as an expert is a duty. But when the guy is already known as a quack, and what he says is obviously to deceive stupid people, arguing with rational evidence is useless.But how are people to know that the guy is a quack and what he says is to deceive stupid people if others don''t, as it were, speak up?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@lilady, I overlooked that it said "Not registered". Good to hear that from you. I was curious how you would respond to my comment. Omura also claims to be the Director of Medical Research at the Heart Disease Foundation in New York, but I can find no such organization yet.

Director of Medical Research at the Heart Disease Foundation in New York. And he’s an adjunct professor at the Department of Community and Preventative Medicine at New York Medical College".

Likewise, it's good to hear Denice stand up to Daniel Corcos. She's being way too kind to him. Perhaps one day he too will become seriously ill, and thus "stupid".

Just a little protip from an ad man, Corcos. In your posts you come off as craven, grasping, desperate for attention, quacky, kind of unstable, slightly illiterate and not just a little creepy. You might want to rethink your brilliant PR "strategy." Hire professionals.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

Coca Cola and Mc Donald are famous because they are the best, aren’t they? Enjoy CIAC!

ummm.....Coca Cola and Mc Donald compared to various research groups....methink that they have different goals and staff thus not really comparable.

Alain

I have never gotten the alt-med obsession with shoving coffee up the ol' "Mike-Adams" hole. Does it speed up caffeine absorption? Does the coffee just move things along? Can I get a double soy latte with an extra shot and a sprinkle of nutmeg on top?

Am I totally missing out by ingesting my coffee the boring, Big Coffee-shill, mouth-based way?

By c0nc0rdance (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@ Daisy: I'm not about to tackle Omura's credentials. All sorts of wacky CNE/CME "credits" are offered to nurses and doctors.

#26 Or you could "orchestrate" your own press coverage with a simple call to your local newspaper/site. Seriously. It's often that easy.

I'm not a huge fan of Coca-Cola, but I think they may very well be the best at what they do at present. Just sayin'.

I prefer Dr. Pepper myself, or Vernor's.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

Or indeed, Ginger Beer mixed with Gosling's black rum.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@ Daisy:

Thanks. I notice that he got my name slightly wrong- I mean really- it's not that difficult
or in farsi, thai or gaelic.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@ c0nc0rdance:

I think that the coffee ( il crappuccino?) is supposed to make the liver function better if it is delivered that way.

I have no idea why they believe that.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

Gonzales says medical literature has dozens of articles from major medical institutions like Harvard evidencing that coffee enemas work. Denice, he explains in his YouTube video that they'll successfully treat Bipolar patients.

@ c0nc0rdance:

I have never gotten the alt-med obsession with shoving coffee up the ol’ “Mike-Adams” hole.

Alties have an obsession that borders on fetish with forcing various liquids into the colon. I think it stems from unresolved anxiety about normal bodily functions, but that is merely my unscientific opinion. I will continue to ingest my coffee the traditional way. Lately I've been making Moroccan-style coffee - grinding the beans with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and black pepper, then brewing it in my French press pot. Amazing!

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@DW - I read

Thanks. I notice that he got my name slightly wrong- I mean really- it’s not that difficult
or in farsi, thai or gaelic.

as farsi, thai & garlic

If the woos are doing garlic enemas I don't want to know about it.

@Daisy

that they’ll successfully treat Bipolar patients

I suspect this is true for a sufficiently broad definition of success that includes depression following mania and vice versa. I expect that in short order Gonzales will be "successfully treating" asthma, MS, fibromialga, and flat feet with coffee enemas.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

@Edith,

Lately I’ve been making Moroccan-style coffee – grinding the beans with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and black pepper

All at the same time? Where do you get your recipes for coffee?

Alain

I prefer Dr. Pepper myself, or Vernor’s.

I revisited Vernor's for the first time in a long while a few years ago,* and I was quite disappointed by the lack of, well, ginger. I mean, I don't expect too much from mass market ginger ales, but this was closer to cream soda. I suppose I should try it again, as I've been going through the diet versions of all of these lately, with Seagram's on top at the moment.

* Green River fared pretty poorly, as well.

... not to focus on a triviality, but: I take 14 pills a day, and I am SICK OF TAKING PILLS. I think I would honestly consider "to hell with it, I'll just die" a legitimate alternative to taking 192 of the damn things.

Re: Coffee up the bum

Sometimes the coffee in our hospital cafe tastes like it has just had a stint as an enema.* This could help to perpetuate the myth of efficacy by this route.

*Joke blatantly stolen from "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon (a cracking good novel IMHO)

By DrBollocks (not verified) on 23 Sep 2013 #permalink

c0nc0rdance@ #35:

From what I've read (and I've never tried it, so don't quote me), supposedly the caffeine is better absorbed when one takes coffee rectally rather than orally. However, as pointed out above, this is not the reason coffee enemas are so often prescribed by quacks.

#18 Daniel Corcos, September 23, 2013:

This has nothing to do with science. ...
You may find this not “scientific” but the aim is to avoid deaths from cancer, isn’t it?

Actually, no, it's not. If it were, there are many known techniques that are cheaper and easier to use.
One could avoid all deaths from cancer using the Burzinski method, lethal hypernatræmia; one could use the standard government method, lethal hyperkalæmia; one could use a Michael Jackson cocktail. The list goes on and on, and includes 'scientific' as well as non-scientific treatments. The only requirement is that the patient be so treated before he/she dies of cancer.
The actual aim is to prolong useful, quality life without cancer. To do this, what works is to find the best treatments (and preventatives, where possible) for the various cancers, with the patient characteristics that allow or prevent each treatment. Because of the large number of distinct diseases lumped under the term "cancer", this goal needs an armamentarium of treatments.
This armamentarium is developed using the process known as science to validate and characterise good treatments, and eliminate bad ones.
The scientific processes are a pain to those who want to make personal profit through quackery, like Burzinski (and, it appears, you), but is the way real medicine saves lives.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 24 Sep 2013 #permalink

@ Mephistopheles O'Brien
" But maybe I’m an idealist". Exactly what I was when I began research. I've been the first to show oncogene-induced genetic instability and BCR alterations in lymphoma, established facts that are now in the textbooks, but were largely ignored after their publication and have been re-discovered by US scientists. That's what I call American revenge: when the Europeans "discovered" America, they did'nt consider that it had already been discovered by the Americans (native); now, the Americans take their revenge: they don't pay attention to discoveries made by Europeans. More seriously, I think that doing good work is not enough for having a scientific reputation.
@ Pareidolius
"Hire professionals"
I don't expect any financial return from the Cell Inflation Assisted Chemotherapy project. Why should I spend money? As you can judge, my strategy has an interesting cost efficiency ratio. You can have a look to my paper, or the youtube slide show and make your opinion. Concerning my "illiteracy" you did'nt even noticed that I was foreign. Parlez-vous français?
@ Bill Price
The goal of CIAC is not to avoid cancer deaths by making people die. Please read my paper. Concerning personal profit, I made it clear that there is no financial return expected, and, as far as I know, I don't have cancer. But I think that the method could be ready within 5 years if enough people are interested.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 24 Sep 2013 #permalink

supposedly the caffeine is better absorbed when one takes coffee rectally rather than orally.

Whether absorbed by the small intestine or the large intestine, the caffeine is all going into the portal hepatic vein and straight to the liver before any other organs catch a whiff of it, so I don't see the advantage.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 24 Sep 2013 #permalink

Alt has discovered her genetic body type (a moderate vegetarian, with some fish and occasional meat),

This made me chuckle. Her "genetic type" is a "moderate vegetarian." etc?

I never realized that vegetarian was genetic.

By Marry Me, Mindy (not verified) on 24 Sep 2013 #permalink

If it's caffeine content you're looking for, find an ex-sailor and have them brew up a batch of mid-watch coffee.

I have it on good authority that Navy HAZMAT crews are called in to dispose of any leftovers.

@ Militant Agnostic:

I wouldn't be at all surprised if some woo advised shoving garlic juice up there since garlic is often viewed as a magickal elixir, anti-biotic, anti- cancer, whatnot.

I've often heard the woo guru @ PRN advise juicing garlic and drinking it - one should work one's way up to several cloves a day - his own regime.

What's wrong with these people?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 24 Sep 2013 #permalink

But I think that the method could be ready within 5 years if enough people are interested.

Despite your having chosen door number 2 on "Monkeys or Bust"?

I’ve often heard the woo guru @ PRN advise juicing garlic and drinking it – one should work one’s way up to several cloves a day – his own regime.

What’s wrong with these people?

Indeed, the other hallmark of a woo is bizarre eating habits, often bordering on orthorexia. Given that garlic is a staple of many cuisines, it should be quite simple to incorporate garlic into your everyday diet. Whip up a batch of hummus, some tzatzkiki or tahini sauce, aioli, nearly any Asian dish (get your ginger in there too!), some Cuban Sopa de Ajo, fresh tomato sauce, chicken with 40 cloves of garlic...OK, now I'm hungry. What were we talking about?

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 24 Sep 2013 #permalink

@ Edith:

Correction: that should be several HEADS ( is that what they're called?)- the cloves are the little segments, I meant the WHOLE THING.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 24 Sep 2013 #permalink

@Nick - I love skordalia! can't go wrong with mashed potatoes and lots of garlic. In fact, when I go out for Greek food I often just order a mezes platter (it must have taramasalata though) and a salad instead of a main course.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 24 Sep 2013 #permalink

Correction: that should be several HEADS ( is that what they’re called?)- the cloves are the little segments, I meant the WHOLE THING.

Ah - that sounds more like something Null(ity) would recommend. Although making chicken with 40 cloves of garlic uses about 3 heads worth- but I'm sure he'd say cooking garlic destroys all the magical properties the juice contains.

It must be a real treat riding an elevator with him.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 24 Sep 2013 #permalink

It must be a real treat riding an elevator with him.

Love in an elevator,
Living it up when I'm going down,
Love in an elevator,
loving it up 'till I hit the ground :)

Don"t look at me sideway, I've been listening to Aerosmith's greatest hit since this morning.

Thanks for the Moroccan coffee recipes and the birthday wishes.

Alain

Seems the writer has never watched CNN or MSNBC or any other network/cable news channels

I barbecued a flank steak for dinner and slathered some homemade chimichurri on top; accompanied by sauteed cauliflower/sauteed garlic with a smidgen of dried red pepper flakes. Paradise.

I had leftover Greek salad from my favorite Greek restaurant with their great dressing and slices of pita with some garlicky tzatziki for lunch.

Mmm garlic, but according to the ENER-CHI Wellness Center - Your Trusted Source of Natural Healing Methods - Garlic is Very Toxic for the Body

Brain damage, intestinal perfs and in WW2, the gang that couldn't shoot straight, AKA the Italian Army, rubbed garlic on their bullets to make a nick as good as a kill.

Ayurveda doesn't recommend garlic at all...

By al kimeea (not verified) on 26 Sep 2013 #permalink

the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, AKA the Italian Army, rubbed garlic on their bullets to make a nick as good as a kill.

That's probably a good idea when you're dealing with WW2 vampires, but otherwise it seems a tad gratuitous.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 26 Sep 2013 #permalink

slathered some homemade chimichurri on top;

Dick Van Dyke loved that so much he sang a song about it (I love the subtitles for English speakers).

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 26 Sep 2013 #permalink

Let's not be unkind to the Italian army; the Austrians need somebody they could beat.

Mmm garlic, but according to the ENER-CHI Wellness Center – Your Trusted Source of Natural Healing Methods – Garlic is Very Toxic for the Body

I've mentioned it before, but Vaishnavas (best known to many from the followers of Swami Prabhupada, viz., "Hare Krishnas") reject garlic, onions, etc., as being not just tamasic but rajasic to boot. There's a post hoc kitchen-sink justification of this in the finest pork-is-treyf-because-trichinosis-duh tradition here

@Narad - no more garlic or onions it is then

from your link it appears the results of centuries of empiric investigations by the broad science of yoga are supported by the more recent discoveries of Reiki Masters and Homeopaths

Case closed

By al kimeea (not verified) on 27 Sep 2013 #permalink

@Narad – no more garlic or onions it is then
How about leeks? AFAF.

Repeated administration of fresh garlic increases memory retention in rats.
Yes, they learn NOT TO EAT GARLIC.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 27 Sep 2013 #permalink

Sorry Herr Doktor, I am not a gorgeous girl, so perhaps you've confused me with the American Fine Arts Festival?

By al kimeea (not verified) on 27 Sep 2013 #permalink

How about leeks? AFAF.

Nope. Chives neither. It's hing all the way.

Pretty subjective point of view. Hope Alt's show won't have long life.

By Carl Biscayne (not verified) on 15 Nov 2013 #permalink

BTW, Joe, there is no Jewish tradition involving a folded napkin as a signal that a diner is not yet finished with his meal.

Duh...posted to the wrong forum! hate it when that happens

The question I have to all you people that attack the people that are curing not just cancer but pretty much every disease on the planet using natural means like good nutrition and cleansing the body of toxins. Where do you get your expertise in this field, Nobody wants to hear your opinion because an opinion that is not based on facts that you yourself have experienced then shut your mouths. have you ever heard of disinformation. Here's one for you, check out Dr. Royal Raymond Rife. He was the best!!!! So those of you that want to be shot up with radiation or chemo then go ahead but leave the real healers alone.

By Lillebner (not verified) on 26 Nov 2013 #permalink

Lillebner: "pretty much every disease on the planet using natural means like good nutrition and cleansing the body of toxins."

Citation needed to show it works for obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Oh, and there is a "nutritional" approach to type 1 diabetes. The problem is that some of the kids who were on that special diet early in the 20th century literally died of starvation.

You continue: "Where do you get your expertise in this field,"

Click on the name of the author of this article. There you will learn he is a surgical oncologist. I suspect he knows more about cancer than you do.

Royal Rife? Surely you are joking. Anyway, we have heard of him.

Lillebner's, November 26, 2013, commercial for whatever it's selling:

The question I have to all you people that attack the people that are curing not just cancer but pretty much every disease on the planet using natural means like good nutrition and cleansing the body of toxins.

And who might these people be? Where are the replicated studies that show their methods and magic potions to have any efficacy at "curing not just cancer but pretty much every disease"? How about any one form of cancer or any one other disease? Which toxins, at what doses?
We don't attack people for curing — we attack people for making fraudulent claims that they refuse to back up with independent research. We attack the fraudulent claims, the fraudulent methods, the fraudulent potions that some people use to enrich themselves at the expense of their marks — particularly when the mark dies from reliances on the fraud.

Where do you get your expertise in this field, Nobody wants to hear your opinion because an opinion that is not based on facts that you yourself have experienced then shut your mouths.

A few years ago, some of my grandkids attended a birthday party at a place featuring inflated canvas structures to climb and bounce on. I was there with the grandkids' parents. I was standing round, as us old geezers are wont to do, enjoying the kids enjoying the toys. A grandson bounced off the thing he had been on, onto the floor. I heard the pop from the arm that he landed on.
I have never experienced a broken bone, nor a dislocated joint. Thus, by your rule, I had no appropriate expertise, no qualifications, no personal experience to suggest to his parents that medical attention was called for. grandson wasn't interested in my suggestion —
he didn't want to leave the party. The doctor who immobilized the broken bone was interested, though.
On the other hand, since I have had personal experience with a ruptured appendix, you would consider me qualified to treat yours. …

have you ever heard of disinformation. Here’s one for you, check out Dr. Royal Raymond Rife. He was the best!!!!

His legacy is a trove of disinformation, isn't it. I wouldn't consider Rife to have been "the best", though — YMMV. The multi-level marketing scans that have grown up around his quackery pale in comparison to other MLM scams.

So those of you that want to be shot up with radiation or chemo then go ahead but leave the real healers alone.

My daughter-in-law who survived her glioblastoma with radiation and chemo — administered by the real healers of the medical profession — prefers her survival to your worthless magick, profitable though it may be for you.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 26 Nov 2013 #permalink

The question I have to all you people

I searched in vain for the question mark. In fact I couldn't see much of any punctuation at all.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 26 Nov 2013 #permalink

Lilliebner, have you personally experienced curing "pretty much every disease on the planet?"

If not, aren't you yourself doing exactly what you're accusing us of?

Here’s one for you, check out Dr. Royal Raymond Rife. He was the best!!!!

Last I heard, he was still pushing up daisies. What you have failed to advance, Lillebner, is a theory of death. Even the Natural Hygienists have done this courtesy.

^ Well, a theory of death and a Shelly Manne soundtrack.

It is interesting to observe that most of humans have the tendency to refuse anything that is different from what they "think"is real. It was the same when doctors where not even washing their hands between performing autopsy and delivering babies. This was not that long ago. I am very surprised that many are keep talking about "independent research" : you should probably take the time to read the book "What Went Wrong " to see what "a clinical trial really is. In Europe, especially here in Switzerland and Germany there is a big opening to complementary medicine, that is most of the time reimbursed by health insurances: thats why people are healthier. In Switzerland, as there are no data against it, treatments like lymphatic drainage, reiki and bach flowers are accepted and reimbursed by the medical system (as well as part of the year membership to a gym).
I am also very sorry to read that some of you are also mentioning as "non scientific" the hair sample testing, via resonance: well, this is based on resonance, and the -scientific indeed- fact that every element is a form of vibration/information as well as a "material" object. When you get a magnetic resonance, you are "reading" energy as well. You can read more about the scientific about it on the book "energy medicine" from James Oshman.
I think Carol Alt and Dr Nicholas Gonzales are doing a wonderful service to people, and I hope lots of you will get better informations and a more open mind. Dr Gonzalez has many CDs and DVD's that are very informative, and you can find lots of information on youtube as well. Best Regards, - Marco Guidetti

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 05 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Marco - just because people in Europe deny reality & embrace quackery, doesn't mean we should encourage it....appeals to popularity don't measure up against real science.

Thanks Lawrence, and… I bag your pardon… who said its quackery ? Who said in europe they deny reality? (?)
The approach in Europe is very different: the concept is that if cures are working, and there are not profs that they damage the health of people they are supported. This is reality. Is the same with acupuncture: we know its effective, its just very difficult to explain why, even if there are many -speculations- about the electric/molecular biology of it. The fact that there are not enough money to support large research on techniques that are NOT PATENTABLE (like i.e. pancreatic enzymes) doesn't mean that they are not effective. I understand the human need to understand "the why" of things, but the "scientific search" should not turn against us. People should be aware of the fact that nobody has ANY interest in paying hundreds of thousand of dollars in research for non patentable substances or techniques. As you may be aware of "the scientific truth" is in the book "What Went Wrong" that some of you may want to read. This may be a very good lecture for you, Lawrence.

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 05 Dec 2013 #permalink

Marco,
There has been lots of scientific research into all the methods you mention, billions of dollars have been wasted on it, and it shows that it is all, without exception, ineffective nonsense. Acupuncture and homeopathy do not work. Haven't you seen the clinical trial of Gonzalez's methods? Cancer patients treated using his methods died three times sooner and had a worse quality of life than those on chemotherapy!

The only interesting question left here is why anyone still believes that this quackery is effective in the face of so much evidence against it.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 05 Dec 2013 #permalink

Dear Krebiozen,
thanks for the message.
Yes, I READ the clinical trial (Columbia University). Did you read it? Its all in the book "What Went Wrong". As I said. Did you read the book?
I saw that you copy and paste the information from Wikipedia "Haven’t you seen the clinical trial of Gonzalez’s methods? Cancer patients treated using his methods died three times sooner and had a worse quality of life than those on chemotherapy."
Can you please mention the "million dollars" studies that you mention…? With specifications?
I am quoting a real book, a real study, with dates, numbers, clinical testing, etc. Can you please quote the names of the "billion dollars studies" you are mentioning and where I can find a full print of it? Thanks.
Thanks Krebiozen

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 05 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Marco - "placebo effect" isn't actually curing or improving physical conditions...homeopathy doesn't work, and acupuncture is, as Kreb has pointed out, quackery as well.....to say that something "works" we just don't know how it works (or we can't know) is just bollocks....

Again, you appeal to authority / popularity, which doesn't mean anything.....and don't pretend that these "sham" therapies don't generate billions of dollars for those who push them.

marco guiidetti - All of the modalities you've mentioned, including Gonzalez, have been discussed before in this blog and you can easily find links to the studies if you search. I'm sure that someone with more knowledge then I could easily compile them, but they're there for you to look at.

I presume the book you refer to (of the many named "What Went Wrong") is the one by Dr. Gonzalez himself. It comes as no shock that someone who strongly believes in his work would defend it strongly - even in the face of evidence that it doesn't work. Regardless, this does not count as a substantial peer reviewed evidence that the treatment is effective. It's a book - anyone can write a book and say anything they want in it.

I happen to agree with Krebiozen - it seems a pity that some countries are paying for treatments known not to work or not known to work as part of their health care systems.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Dec 2013 #permalink

Yes, Mephistopheles O'Brien.
Yes, The book is the one wrote by Gonzalez.
Its the detailed comment on the Columbia University -piloted- clinical study that you are mentioning and that Wikipedia (with I HOPE its not the ultimate source of scientific information… )
...did you ever read the book? It has all the patient files and data.
You you haven't read it please do so, and then reply to me.
It may offer you a new vision of "clinical trials".
My kindest regards.
PS: not need to mention that Swiss healthcare system is far more advanced and efficient than american one, and cost proportionally (per person) much LESS to the country . maybe you are not aware of this. (and again, if would be interesting for you to investigate on this as well, as it look.

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 05 Dec 2013 #permalink

Yes Lawrence, placebo (ad nocebo) exist.
And..placebo exist for Chemotherapy and radiation as well, do you agree?

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 05 Dec 2013 #permalink

And..placebo exist for Chemotherapy and radiation as well, do you agree?

Huh? No. If chemo/xrt doesn't do what it needs to--shrink the tumor, bring blast counts down, etc--they don't do it. So no, it doesn't, at least not evidence-based cancer treatments. There is no placebo for reducing tumor burden. It's either stable, growing, or shrinking. Do you know what "placebo" means?

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 05 Dec 2013 #permalink

@AOP - no, I don't think he knows what a "placebo" is - because just because someone thinks they are better, doesn't mean that they aren't better.....homeopathy & acupuncture do nothing to "cure" anything....

And yes, Switzerland has a very good healthcare system, too bad it is being diluted with pure quackery (because "magic water" doesn't cost all that much to make, does it?)

Marco guidetti - I understand that many countries have more cost effective health care than the US and have better results on at least some objective measures.

The willingness of a health care system to pay for treatments is, unfortunately, not a good indication that they are effective. If, as you say, the Swiss and German systems pay for Reiki treatments is an unfortunate endorsement of something for which there is no objective evidence of effectiveness.

By the way, you mention that you are quoting from Dr. Gonzalez's book yet I find no quotes nor any particular points from his book that you find important. I understand you consider him to be doing "good work" - what do you believe is the most convincing piece of evidence to support this?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Dec 2013 #permalink

Marco,
I didn't copy and paste anything in my comment, and I've never read the Wikipedia entry on Gonzalez. I have read a great deal about that study, both the study itself and commentary here and at the science based medicine blog. I have no intention of reading a book by a fraud like Gonzalez. He agreed the trial design beforehand and has resorted to special pleading to explain away the results when they showed his methods don't work and are worse than useless.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 05 Dec 2013 #permalink

Marco,
Sorry, I missed this:

Can you please mention the “million dollars” studies that you mention…? With specifications?

You can see for yourself on the NCCAM and OCCAM websites. Those organizations between them spend a quarter of a billion dollars each and every year researching complementary and alternative medicine, in the case of OCCAM this money is spent on research into alternative cancer treatments.

The results of this enormous expenditure? The effective cancer treatments identified? The breakthrough? None. The only benefits found for cancer patients are things like finding that a back rub will make them feel a bit better, or that ginger tea may help with nausea.

To quote Wikipedia, since you seem to be fond of it:

Mielczarek and Engler examined the grants and awards funded by NCCAM from 2000 to 2011, which cost a total of $1.3 billion. Their study showed no discoveries in complementary and alternative medicine that would justify the existence of this center. They argued that, after 20 years and an expenditure of $20 billion, the failure of NCCAM is evidenced by the lack of publications and the failure to report clinical trials in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals. They recommended NCCAM be defunded or abolished, and the concepts of funding alternative medicine be discontinued.

In my opinion OCCAM is a similarly gargantuan waste of money, with little if anything of value to show for it. I can only be grateful that I'm in the UK and it isn't my tax dollars being spent on this.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 05 Dec 2013 #permalink

Thanks for your message "AnObservingParty"
I think I know what placebo is, as I studied biochemistry.
Placebo means that some part of the benefit is induced by the belief that the medicine or technique will work. More specifically "The tendency of any medication or treatment, even an inert or ineffective one, to exhibit results simply because the recipient believes that it will work."
So if a group of 1000 people receive chemotherapy, some of the results are part of placebo effect.
It is very intriguing to me that placebo effect only comes out when alternative topics are discussed. Looks like everybody forget that placebo effect is also part of the results of chemotherapy and radiations. Results not so grand, looking at the number.

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

I may also ask if anybody knows the meaning of the definition of the "responding" of the tumors to chemotherapy…?
Its a very fascinating use of the language to mask some of the evidence. If you don't know what it means, and why it happens with chemotherapy, you will be fascinated to investigate about it….

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

Dear Krebiozen,
thanks again for the message.
I said that that you copied and and pasted the information from Wikipedia "Cancer patients treated using his methods died three times sooner and had a worse quality of life than those on chemotherapy.” …just because you actually did "copy-paste"
As you used the same -exact words- on the wikipedia page: look here everyone… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Gonzalez_(physician)

As you have seen I quoted Wikipedia as a a source of information, but perhaps you may have red my post too quickly.. as I am no a found of it. There a lots of misinformations on wiki, even if it is a brilliant and useful instruments. Anyway, as said, the only -intelligent- comment to that sentence from Wikipedia is to read the WHOLE STORY on the book "What Went Wrong".

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ marco

So if a group of 1000 people receive chemotherapy, some of the results are part of placebo effect.

No, because by "results" it is the tumor burden shrinking or no longer growing. That's called "response."

More specifically, as Orac has written about,

Complete Response (CR): Disappearance of all target lesions
Partial Response (PR): At least a 30% decrease in the sum of the LD of target lesions, taking as reference the baseline sum LD
Stable Disease (SD): Neither sufficient shrinkage to qualify for PR nor sufficient increase to qualify for PD, taking as reference the smallest sum LD since the treatment started
Progressive Disease (PD): At least a 20% increase in the sum of the LD of target lesions, taking as reference the smallest sum LD recorded since the treatment started or the appearance of one or more new lesions.

The first three are "response" to chemo or xrt. That last one, is a lack of a response.

Placebo is a pretend effect. Your defintion is incorrect, at least by those of us who live in reality/evidence.

Medically, a placebo is,
"a. A substance containing no medication and prescribed or given to reinforce a patient's expectation to get well.
b. An inactive substance or preparation used as a control in an experiment or test to determine the effectiveness of a medicinal drug.
2. Something of no intrinsic remedial value that is used to appease or reassure another."

So, no, no chemo/xrt is a placebo. It works or it doesn't bt producing or not producing a response (see above). Cancer is in no way influenced by someone feeling better about their tumor burden. You may want to study up on the "bio" part of biochemistry.

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

Ad last comment on your post Krebiotzen: you specifically said "In my opinion OCCAM is a similarly gargantuan waste of money, with little if anything of value to show for it"

Right, it your opinion.
Humans progress when there are opening in investing also in things that seems impossible. Do you remember that somebody invested in a crazy "vision" in Cristoforo Colombo and he found America…..

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

Quick compare:

-- The NCI's recent budgets have been around $5 Billion and have been relatively flat since 2005

--- grants and awards funded by NCCAM from 2000 to 2011, which cost a total of $1.3 billion.

quite a difference in numbers, no?

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Marco - well, what went wrong is that Gonzales' protocol ended up having no or a negative effect on the study participants.....despite what he (Gonzales) may claim, the evidence is firmly against him.

@Marco - sure, plenty of investment out there in legitimate research...the stuff you mention, not so much.

Response to: "AnObservingParty"
Thanks for your message: I am fascinated by your "very own vision of the world". Really, I am

1) …so you are convinced that there are no placebo effects in the results of chemotherapy and radiation…? at all? Not even a 1%..? ….mhhh very interesting! It would be the only case on the planet in which there is no influence of thought on health. Something that overpass the science of psychoneuroimmunology. Very interesting… I am fascinated..

2) As said, please take the time to explore the real meaning of the world "response" , its very fascinating as well, taking about quackery…
My kindest regards,

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

Do you remember that somebody invested in a crazy “vision” in Cristoforo Colombo and he found America…..

And facilitated the deaths of upwards of 90% of the indigenous population by introducing small pox to the New World, amongst other things.

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

Thanks Lawrence.
I appreciate you response.
Would be nice for you to read the book, and then to comment it.
As you may know, reality may be changed by lobbies…

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

Marco,

My definition was response is what is defined by leading cancer experts. What would yours be?

Psychoneuroimmunology? There is very much evidence on that. But its response on omental caking? Fungating breast cancer? How about leukemic blasts? Cite any sources you have on placebo affect when one's bone marrow is pumping out useless, immature blasts.

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

To: AnObservingParty
"And facilitated the deaths of upwards of 90% of the indigenous population by introducing small pox to the New World, amongst other things."

your comment is true. But I bag you pardon, has no attinence to the conversation.
Before of after the new continet had to be discovered! My specific was on investments, that has to be sent in many directions, to have results.
my kindest regards,
I am leaving this tread now… had to go to do my organic carrot and apple juice! Good Luck to everyone here and may you be always healthy and happy.
Marco Guidetti

By marco guidetti (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

marco guidetti - Of course there's a placebo effect for chemotherapy and radiation therapy, just as there is for any treatment. It is not discussed in these cases because the best current evidence says that placebo effect has no role in reducing the size of cancerous tumors or killing cancerous cells. Placebo effect, according to best available current evidence, does not increase the 5 year survival rate for cancer either.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 06 Dec 2013 #permalink

Your opinion of FNC is lower than mine because I've been truly shocked that they premiered this show. The guests give me the willies and I read tweets where one after another are thanking her for keeping them "healthy and sexy." I've never seen anything like it. And on top of that, she's a horrible TV personality. Why I should let it get to me, I don't know, but I'm glad I sought out this blog.

@ AnObservingParty
It think that there cannot be a placebo effect on tumour growth (I mean effect of placebo as compared to nothing). However saying that every improvement or stabilization after one treatment is related to the actual effect of this treatment is for me incorrect. Evolution of cancers is less predictable than people think. Since there is no more clinical trials against placebo only in cancer, it is difficult to assay for spontaneous stabilization or slight improvement, but we know that there is an immune response to tumours, and it may have some effects.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink