Since I seem to be on a roll the last few days discussing cancer quackery, I thought I’d just go with it at least one more day. Frequently, when I get on these rolls laying down the Insolence, both Respectful and not-so-Respectful, over antivaccine quackery I start whining about how I need to change topics, but not this time around, not this topic. It takes a lot more than what I’ve posted lately to make me feel as though I need a change of pace. Besides, for whatever reason, the blog fodder is flying at me fast and furious, whether it be the dubious testimonial I discussed yesterday, yet another deconstruction of the moral bankruptcy that is Stanislaw Burzynski, or my take on the sheer quackery that is “naturopathic oncology.” The first rule of blogging is that you don’t talk about blogging. Oh, wait. That’s not it. I talk about blogging all the time. The first rule of blogging is: When the world is throwing easy blogging material at you, for cryin’ out loud, go for it. Yeah, that’s it.
So I’m going for it.
The blog fodder this time around comes in the form of three articles that appeared in ONCOLOGY: Perspectives on Best Practices, an open-access journal about…well, oncology. All three of them are about cancer quackery. Shockingly, in the first article, by Barrie Cassileth, director of all
woo integrative oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and IIan R. Yarett, actually uses the word “quackery” in its title: Cancer Quackery: The Persistent Popularity of Useless, Irrational ‘Alternative’ Treatments. In it, Cassileth provides a rather standard discussion of bogus cancer treatments that almost could have been written by Orac, were it not for the complete and utter lack of snark, even the subtle snark that academics sneak into papers. She does, however, complain that quacks have appropriated the term “complementary” in order to “use it incorrectly.” This complaint derives from how many of these cancer quacks don’t actually advocate using their nostrums in addition to conventional therapy but rather in lieu of science-based medicine. Personally, I find this amusing, given that quackademics have no one to blame but themselves for this, given the specific modalities they have tried to “integrate” with science-based medicine. It rather reminds me of the “intelligent design” creationists, craving respectability and crowing to high heaven that they aren’t pseudoscientists but real “scientists,” taking umbrage at being lumped together with fundamentalist creationists who believe that the earth was created 6,000 years ago with all animals in their current forms. No, Cassileth seems to be saying, we don’t associate with that riff-raff. They’re fundamentalist loons. We’re scientists!
I’ll give her some credit for this article, though, and why not? Cassileth lists a fairly standard bunch of quack treatments, the majority of which have been covered on this blog at one time or another, and rips into them. The litany should be familiar: laetrile, shark cartilage, Entelev/Cantron (which I recently discussed, with the comment thread afterward having swollen as of this writing to nearly 1,100 entries), various oxygen therapies (such as hyperbaric oxygen or various means of administering hydrogen peroxide, “energy therapies,” which Cassileth admits have no evidence to support them. Given that admission, one wonders why reiki, which is a form of “energy therapy,” is offered at MSKCC. Come to think of it, acupuncture is also a form of “energy healing” as well, given its claim to be able to manipulate the flow of qi through the body to healing intent, and MSKCC offers acupuncture as well. That doesn’t stop Cassileth from making the dubious claim that acupuncture and other woo have “been shown to be safe and effective as adjunctive treatments for managing pain, nausea, stress, and many other symptoms, and for supporting patient well-being in general,” whatever “supporting patient well-being in general” means.
There are other weaknesses. For instance, no mention is made of Gerson therapy, and it is that particular form of quackery, as well as its many variants (such as the Gonzalez protocol and other treatments that loosely fall under the rubric of “metabolic therapies” and often include such lovely interventions as coffee enemas), that is arguably the cancer quackery most heavily promoted right now; that is, unless high dose vitamin C, which never seems to stay dead no matter how many scientific stakes are driven into its heart, isn’t the most common quackery. One could only wish that, like the vampires on True Blood, such quackeries would explode into a disgusting blob of blood and tissue when the stake of science is driven through their hearts, but sadly this never seems to happen. Her omissions aside, I can’t be too hard on Cassileth. Her article is actually pretty good, by and large, if you can ignore that she is in charge of bringing quackademic medicine into one of the greatest cancer centers in the world. She also makes this statement:
Many alternative approaches to healing are premised on the concept of the mind/body connection, and specifically on the theory that patients can harness the power of their mind to heal their physical ills. Many mind/body techniques, such as meditation and biofeedback, have been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation, and are effectively and appropriately used as complementary therapies today. However, some proponents of these techniques overpromise, suggesting that emotional stress or other emotional issues can cause diseases like cancer and that correction of these deficiencies through mind-body therapies can effectively treat major illnesses. Such claims are unsupported.
Many of these ideas were promoted by a former Yale surgeon, a popular author who advocated special cancer patient support groups in his books. The importance of a positive attitude was stressed, as was the idea that disease could spring from unmet emotional needs. This belief anguished many cancer patients, who assumed responsibility for getting cancer because of an imperfect emotional status. Among alternative modalities, the mind/body approach has been especially persistent over time, possibly in part because it resonates with the American notion of rugged individualism.
Of course, none of this stops MSKCC from offering “mind-body” services. I guess it’s OK to Cassileth because she doesn’t promise that such woo will cure the cancer. OK, I’ll stop with the snark (at least the snark directed at Cassileth). She’s basically correct that there is no evidence that these therapies can impact the natural history of cancer and produce a survival benefit, and I give her props for carpet-bombing the quackery that is the German New Medicine.
Cassileth’s article was accompanied by not one, but two, additional commentaries, both of which didn’t take issue with the criticism of specific cancer quackeries, such as Entelev, but rather with her statement above about mind-body “healing.” Neither of the commentators were happy that Cassileth had questioned the central dogma of alternative medicine, which is what I’ve been discussing the last couple of days. That central dogma is that if you wish for it hard enough your mind can heal you of anything. The corollary of this central dogma is that if you are ill it is your fault for not having the right “intent,” attitude, and thoughts and therefore not doing the right things and/or not believing hard enough. It’s not for nothing that I have likened alternative medicine to religion or the New Age woo that is The Secret, and these authors simply reinforce that view. First up is radiation oncologist and practitioner of “integrative oncology” Brian D. Lawenda, MD, who pens Quackery, Placebos, and Other Thoughts: An Integrative Oncologist’s Perspective.
In the first part of his article, Lawenda protests loudly, arguing that “not all therapies categorized as ‘alternative,’ ‘nonconventional,’ or ‘unconventional’ are completely ineffective.” I suppose it depends on what you mean by “completely ineffective.” Personally, when I say “completely ineffective,” I mean “indistinguishable from placebo.” That’s the usual definition of “ineffective” in medical circles, and it is a description that applies to the vast majority of “integrative oncology,” including acupuncture, therapeutic touch, reiki, and the like. In the case of acupuncture, for instance, it doesn’t matter where you stick the needles or even if you stick the needles in at all (a toothpick twirled against the skin will do as well or better). In other words, in the case of acupuncture, the effects are entirely nonspecific. Indeed, Lawenda’s claim that these therapies are being used in an “evidence-based” manner is almost as overblown as the claims that quacks make; real “evidence-based” use of the vast majority of these modalities would be not to use them at all. They don’t work. That doesn’t stop Lawenda from advocating placebo medicine. But first he has to remonstrate with Cassileth over her characterization of “mind-body” medicine:
One area of controversy that comes up often in integrative oncology circles is whether or not there is an association between chronic stress and cancer-specific outcomes. Dr. Cassileth asserts that the association between chronic stress and cancer development, progression, and recurrence has not been definitively established. Those who support this view might categorize as quackery the claim that stress reduction (eg, through lifestyle changes, mind-body therapies, etc) can improve cancer-specific outcomes.
Those who believe that chronic stress and cancer are linked cite data that support this claim. In particular, there are clinical studies that report improvements in cancer-specific outcomes in patients who are taught stress management techniques. Furthermore, researchers continue to identify chronic stress as a causative factor in numerous pathophysiologic processes that are known to be associated with the development, progression, and recurrence of various cancers (eg, stimulation of systemic inflammation and oxidation, impairment of immune function, increases in insulin resistance and weight gain, etc).
Lawenda overstates his case massively. The evidence that improving “attitude” improves cancer-specific survival is of shockingly low quality. There’s just no “there” there. As I’ve said before, that’s not to say that psychotherapy and other modalities designed to improve a patient’s mood and mental state might not be useful. Certainly, they can improve quality of life, used in the proper situation. However, there just isn’t any evidence that is even mildly convincing that such modalities can improve a patient’s chances of surviving his cancer.
I also know that Lawenda is laying down pure, grade-A woo when I see him retreating into the favorite alt-med trope, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” and claiming that “many alternative therapies, once believed by conventional medical practitioners to be merely placebos, have now been shown to have proven therapeutic value (eg, acupuncture, numerous botanical extracts, meditation).” Well, no. Acupuncture has not been convincingly shown to have therapeutic value for any condition, and it’s no surprise that botanical extracts might be effective for some things; they are, after all, drugs. Adulterated drugs with lots of impurities whose potency can vary widely from lot to lot, but drugs nonetheless. He even attacks antidepressants based on more recent evidence suggesting that they might not be as effective as previously thought and in some cases might not be better than placebo, an idea ably countered by James Coyne.
Lawenda’s rebuke, however, is nothing compared to what comes next. Remember Cassileth’s dismissal of the findings of a “Yale surgeon” who claimed that support groups improved cancer survival? Here comes that Yale surgeon! Yes, indeed. It’s Bernie Siegel, and he’s pissed, proclaiming that The Key to Reducing Quackery Lies in Healing Patients and Treating Their Experience. Of course, his carefully cultivated image of being the ultimate nice guy and caring physician can’t be endangered; I only infer his annoyance from the tone of his response. I also infer a lot from the fact that, unlike Lawenda and Cassileth, who at least include some references taken from the peer-reviewed scientific literature to support their points, Siegel cites exactly one reference, and one reference only, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Cancer Ward. Lawenda cites mostly poor quality studies, but at least he tries by citing studies. Siegel, on the other hand, seems to think he is the Great and Powerful Oz (Dr. Oz or the Wizard of Oz, take your pick) and that you should just take his pronouncements on faith because he is so awesome. I will admit that Siegel probably has a point when he says that better communication could potentially reduce the incidence of cancer patients turning to quackery, but even making this reasonable point he overstates his case when he says that quackery would “diminish greatly” if doctors would just learn to communicate better. There’s a lot more to the appeal of quackery than having a doctor who can’t communicate, much of which wouldn’t even come close to disappearing, even if every doctor turned into a Bernie Siegel clone with respect to showing incredible empathy to patients.
Siegel then dives right in, relying on the sheer force of that awesome empathy of his to rip Cassileth a new one for daring to criticize his work:
Our emotions govern our internal chemistry, and hope is therapeutic. We know that laughter enhances survival time in cancer patients, while loneliness has a negative effect. When a Yale graduate student did a study on our support group members and it showed increased survival time for the group’s members, his professor told him that couldn’t be true and made him change the control group so that everything came out equal. Doctors don’t study survival and the power of the mind.
Which is, of course, utter nonsense, leavened with more than a little conspiracy mongering. Doctors have been studying the “power of the mind” and survival for a very long time. What Siegel doesn’t like is that they haven’t found that the mind is nearly as powerful as Siegel would like to believe. It’s a topic I’ve been writing about since the very beginning. There’s a reason for the central dogma of alternative medicine; it’s very appealing to believe that sheer force of will or thinking happy thoughts can heal us of serious diseases. Talk about the ultimate form of “empowerment”!
Siegel then goes completely off the deep end:
The mind and energy will be therapies of the future. I know of patients who were not irradiated because the therapy machine was being repaired and no radioactive material was reinserted. The radiation therapist told me about it because he was feeling terrible. I told him he didn’t know what he was saying to me. “You’d have to be an idiot to not know you weren’t treating people for a month—so obviously they had side effects and shrinking tumors, which was why you assumed they were being treated.” He said, “Oh my God, you’re right.” I couldn’t get him to write an article about it. I also have patients who have no side effects because they get out of the way and let the radiation go to their tumor.
Yes, an unsubstantiated anecdote about an apparently incompetent radiation oncology tech who didn’t notice that his radiation machine wasn’t actually delivering radiation trumps evidence, apparently. (One wonders how the machine still functioned if its source wasn’t re-inserted. Most such machines have a warning light or won’t turn on if the source isn’t properly in place.) Siegel’s article is so full of alt-med tropes and a heaping’ helpin’ of what can best be described as pure woo. Besides recommending his own books (one of which I actually have on my shelf but have not gotten around to reading), Siegel recommends The Energy Cure: Unraveling the Mystery of Hands-On Healing by William Bengston, The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles by Bruce Lipton, and The Psychobiology of Gene Expression by Ernest Rossi. Lipton, as you recall, is a cell biologist who abandoned “conventional” biology after having some sort of mystical revelation about cells that led him to conclude that God must exist and that “holistic” therapies work. I hadn’t heard of the other two, but Siegel describes Bengston thusly:
Bengston cured mice of cancer in a controlled study with the energy conducted through his hands. I was healed of an injury in the same way by healer Olga Worral many years ago. We definitely need to test potential therapies to verify whether or not they are useful, but we also have to keep an open mind to what might be possible, and we must understand that we are treating a patient’s experience and not just a disease.
It turns out that Bengston preaches exactly the sort of quackery that Cassileth quite correctly castigated, namely that energy healing can cure cancer! From his own website:
Can energy healing really cure cancer? Is it possible for you to heal someone’s terminal illness with your bare hands? Is the Western medical community ready for a fundamental change in its approach to treatment?…Dr. William Bengston invites you to decide by taking a journey with him into the mystery and power of hands-on healing. Drawing on his 30 years of rigorous research, unbelievable results, and mind-bending questions, Bengston challenges us to totally rethink what we believe about our ability to heal.
As there so frequently is after a book advertisement, there are blurbs with people saying how great Bengston’s book is. Guess who gave Bengston a plug. Yes, Bernie Siegel. I must say, I had no idea that Siegel was so deep into woo. Elsewhere in his article he says he had chronic Lyme disease and was helped by homeopathic remedies. He even says that he “knows they work” because of his “experience of having the symptoms of the disease alleviated.” It doesn’t get much quackier than energy healing and homeopathy. They are the two most ridiculous quackeries out there, and Bernie Siegel is promoting them both.
I was a pediatric surgeon and a general surgeon, and I know how powerful my words were to the children—and adults—who believed in me. I had no problem deceiving children into health by labeling vitamin pills as medications to prevent nausea and hair loss, or telling them the alcohol (Drug information on alcohol) sponge would numb their skin (and of course, sharing this with their parents, who helped empower their child’s belief). The mind and attitude are powerful healing forces. The mind and body do communicate, so I work with patients’ dreams and drawings and have diagnosed illnesses from them. I have yet to meet a physician who was told in medical school that Carl Jung correctly diagnosed a brain tumor by interpreting a patient’s dream.
This may not seem related to the subject of quackery, but it is—because it is about how to train doctors so that they know how to provide hope and potential to patients and how to use the mind and placebo effects. Doctors’ “wordswordswords” can become “swordswordswords” and kill or cure patients. I know a man who had cancer and needed cataract surgery so he could enjoy the life that remained to him with restored vision. His health plan denied the surgery because they expected him to die within 6 months and didn’t want to spend the money. He died in a week. The Lockerbie Bomber was released by the Scottish authorities because he was dying of cancer. He went back home to the Middle East and survived for over 3 years— and that is no coincidence.
Note the mind-body dualism (“the mind and body do communicate”). Of course they do, because the mind is the brain, and the brain is in constant communication with the body! That doesn’t mean you can think yourself healthy. Remember how I discussed some time ago the way that this increasing emphasis on placebo medicine among promoters of “integrative medicine.” As I’ve said so many times before, the reason IM fans have taken this position is because they’re finally being forced to accept that high quality evidence shows that most alt-med nostrums rebranded as “CAM” or “integrative medicine” produce nonspecific effects no better than placebo. So these nonspecific effects get relabeled as the “powerful placebo,” as proponents of “integrating” quackery into real medicine pivot on the proverbial dime and say that’s how their favored therapies worked all along, by firing up placebo effects! It’s pure paternalism, as well, as I have discussed multiple times.
Siegel claims he’s “unleashing the healing power” in each of us, but what he is really doing is advocating a return to the paternalistic, unquestioned, shaman-healer so common in so many societies in pre-scientific times. In ancient Egypt, physicians were also priests; both functions were one, which made sense given how little effective medicine there was. Praying to the gods for patients to get better was in most cases as good as anything those ancient physicians could do. Also notice how, to Siegel, apparently the end justifies the means. Siegel can deceive patients about vitamins and alcohol sponges because he thinks it’s all for a greater good, really believing that he is so all-powerful a shaman-healer that his words alone can have a huge effect in curing or killing patients. That’s how he appears to be justifying the deception. He needs to get a clue (and some humility) and realize that, although placebo effects are important confounders in clinical trials, it’s a huge stretch to ascribe such awesome power to their effects. What Siegel is describing is magic, not science; religion, not medicine. Thinking does not make it so.
Unfortunately, Cassileth doesn’t seem to realize that, at their core, the “unconventional” aspects of the “integrative medicine” that she is promoting are little or no different than what Siegel promotes. In essence, “integrative medicine” is all about “integrating” magical thinking into scientific medicine. Acupuncture, “mind-body” interventions, reiki, and all the various quackademic medicine that has infiltrated medical academia relies on the same ideas, the same magical thinking, that we see on display from Bernie Siegel. Cassileth might think herself so much more rational and “evidence-based” by attacking the most egregrious cancer quackery, but she’s only fooling herself.
1,996 replies on “Quackademic medicine versus cancer quackery: The central dogma of alternative medicine is questioned by an advocate of “integrative medicine””
I had a thought when you were talking about the issue of “communication” and alternative practice, and you got to it later.
Remember, the one aspect of communicatin commonly used by quacks that is not used by actual doctors is that they LIE to their patients.
So when I hear Seigel claiming that traditional doctors need to improve their communication to get rid of quackery, what I hear him saying is that doctors need to lie to their patients.
Like he does.
This is absolutely fabulous woo, Orac, thanks much.
So, Bengston healed mice of cancer with energy transmitted through his hands? I myself once cured a mouse problem with the power of my hands, though the energies were transmitted via a heavy book that squashed a mouse that was lurking on my living room bookshelf.
Bernie Siegel, you’re too much! The healing power of laughter in cancer patients can easily be trialed – just let them read Siegel’s articles.
Side note: now that Ebay has banned sale of reiki services, I wondered if bereft patients could still turn to other forms of woo, such as oxygen therapy for their diseases. Might Ebay have banned “food grade” hydrogen peroxide, too?
Is Chronic Lyme even a recognised diagnosis, or is it one that could be real but potentially overapplied, such as CFS and some depression/anxiety types.
Before I comment on the post, I’d like to mention that a few weeks ago, in the wee hours, I chanced upon a documentary on television about Bob Marley- by pure happenstance, I tuned into the last days: seems he had consulted with a Dr Issels in Germany after receiving a poor prognosis from oncologists. It was terribly pathetic to see poor, emaciated Bob, weakly making his way through the snow, wearing a woolen hat, probably freezing. He stayed for months and felt he was improving but died upon his return to IIRC Miami.
Wouldn’t he have better spent his last days surrounded by family, friends, music and his drug of choice at home?
Bengston cured mice of cancer in a controlled study with the energy conducted through his hands. [Siegel] was healed of an injury in the same way by healer Olga Worral many years ago. We definitely need to test potential therapies to verify whether or not they are useful, but we also have to keep an open mind to what might be possible
Laying on hands may be an effective treatment in fantasy role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, but here in the real world that treatment method was debunked by a fourth-grade science fair project. So this particular treatment method actually has been tested, and found not to work. It’s all well and good to have an open mind, but not so open that it falls out.
Bengston and his amazing healing abilities (so powerful that they even healed the control group of mice) were discussed at some length in a recent comment thread. Anyone interested in reading more might find his article in Issue 2 of Edge Science of interest. BTW there is plenty of woo in those Edge Science magazines, varying from the intriguing to the ridiculous; a goldmine for those with a taste for such material.
Unfortunately, I am dreadfully familiar with most of this, courtesy of the Progressive Radio Network, where Bengtson, Siegal, energy healing and stress-as-causation are frequent topics; Lipton has appeared on various shows at the aforementioned festering sinkhole of un-reason. That ‘words/swords’ meme sounds awfully like the AIDS denialism belief that stress and fear following the diagnosis *kills* people, not HIV.
Recently, PRN’s head honcho has been lovingly recounting his storied history as a researcher and intuitive healer: seems that he did both anti-aging ( nutrition) and *psi* research at the Institute for Applied Biology with the blessing of Pauling himself.
He had a group of healers pray for cancer-ridden mice and *Voila!*- they were cured. Of course, there is much more drivel along these lines that I won’t trouble you with: it all boils down to the remarkable powers of the mind and spirit.
Woo-meisters spread these ridiculous ideas in order to trump the scientific community- which they are not a part of and barely comprehend- at least in their audience’s minds. I believe that often both the proselytiser and the proselytised harbour a barely concealed hatred and envy of the more educated because they are not part of that *elitist* group, as they label them reproachfully. Read Natural News article by MIke and you’ll see what I mean. This animosity accounts for much of the venom we encounter: they reject the standard and conjure up a new aristocracy of pseudo-intellectual poppycock purveyors who enthrall their un-suspecting followers whose adulation fills in the missing ego- enhancement that rightly should have been supplied by the entire world’s respect. Fame, fame, fame** continually evades them so they seek out followers instead.
Yes, their research is rejected because it is truly *independent* and free of entrenched interests- and INDEPENDENT of sense, ethics and utility as well.
** my apologies to DB
There was a lot of discussion about Bengston and his followers right here on RI recently. Check the thread on using reiki on dogs–several reiki “masters” wrote in to defend and extoll Bengston, and of course the RI regulars ripped them to shreds.
By the way, Bengston holds seminars across the US and can teach anyone to cure cancer using energy healing in a weekend for a few thousand dollars. He also teaches “distance energy healing.” On the reiki thread someone in Toronto claimed she can do the same thing.
Partway through the article, going through that central dogma, I remembered a post of mine on Bruce Lipton, then I saw you mention his last name. He’s definitely into the positive thinking, and has some weird leaps in how he tries to justify it.
Given that Bengston’s somehow able to cure subjects he isn’t even treating, aren’t we all under his care right now?
“many alternative therapies, once believed by conventional medical practitioners to be merely placebos, have now been shown to have proven therapeutic value (eg, acupuncture, numerous botanical extracts, meditation).”
It seems to me that the various plant-inspired chemo drugs (taxol, vincristine) were discovered without any help at all from alt-med. Unless there are *specific* botanical extracts from the alt-med pharmacopeia that later entered mainstream cancer treatment, this is like arguing that
(1) Ayurvedic concoctions contain heavy metals like lead
(2) the cis-platin drugs are platinum compounds
(3) Therefore conventional medicine recognises the basical validity of Ayurveda.
Given that Bengston’s somehow able to cure subjects he isn’t even treating, aren’t we all under his care right now?
If you’ve *read his papers*, you’ve probably undergone the requisite quantum entanglement to come under his healing umbrella.
The Lockerbie Bomber was released by the Scottish authorities because he was dying of cancer. He went back home to the Middle East and survived for over 3 years— and that is no coincidence.
It is certainly no coincidence that the Lockerbie bomber claimed to have only weeks to live when he was applying for compassionate release.
Libya is not the ‘Middle East’.
AND that they did so because CAM practitioners demonstrated their effectiveness.
Also worth noting that the bit you quoted is straight-up false. Nobody actually says that herbs are “merely placebos.” It’s a pure straw man.
“So, Dirac called me the other day with the usual sales pitch. I had to tell him, ‘Paul, my wavefunction is so collapsed that the bras are all imaginary anyway.'” [/phyllisdiller]
I, for one, am perfectly willing to believe that chronic stress leads to some diseases, and that techniques like meditation can help remove stress and reduce the risk or impact of those diseases. Hypertension might be one such disease.
Naturally, this would need to be verified on a disease-by-disease basis. While I suspect that chronic stress could cause, say, back pain, TMJ, and various sleep disorders, I’ve yet to hear adequate evidence that it leads to influenza, type 1 diabetes, or cancer just to name a few.
“Can energy healing really cure cancer?” sure its even got a name. Radiationtherapy. Conventional medicine 1, quackery 0
Dokter bimler, to be fair, some people consider Libya part of the Middle East and some don’t.
I literally LOL’d at this. 🙂 Ah Orac, always enjoyable to read even when I get so angry at some of the antics you blog about.
Supporting positive thinking and calmness. But then, why not just meditate or read a book?
Seriously she’s for biofeedback… sigh.. that was debunked in my high school psych class.
This sounds like an intro to some sort of psychic reading TV show… or a magic show. Either way.
Regarding the alleged effects on patients of doctors giving them a poor prognosis, here’s a counter-anecdote.
My mother had been ill for years, and in 1981 her sister finally talked her into going to a doctor. The doctor was surprised she could walk into the office because her congestive heart failure was quite severe. He warned her that she had no more than 6 months to live. There was little they could do but prescribe diuretics (or at least that’s what I recall as a teen going off to college a long time ago).
Every time she went to the doctor, she was in worse shape than the last, and they estimated she’d die within 6 months. This went on for nearly two decades, and after the first few years she stopped paying attention to their prediction. The last few years, she was looking forward to an end to her suffering from peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, kidney disease, post-polio syndrome, etc. She was not fighting to live, though I think she mainly just took things day by day.
I know anecdotes aren’t data, but this is a pretty good counter to people who say that doctors kill people by saying have only so much time to live, and that people die because they don’t think positive thoughts. (Yes, I’m sure people will say she was in pain because of negative thoughts. But she kept as active as she could, despite the pain, and was a voracious reader who sewed most of her own clothing.)
some people consider Libya part of the Middle East and some don’t.
Some people are WRONG. Harrumph.
I believe it means making it easier for the patient to move about by lightening their wallet.
Added to Kathryn – a wonderful man at my church was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive prostate cancer at stage IV (he had had a clean PSA only two months early, suddenly got very sick and a scan found prostate cancer with bone mets and I think the others were liver and lung). There were several times he himself swore he was going to die and would be sick for several weeks until new treatment would restabilize him.
He actually lived just over two years after diagnosis. He was always on the edge with chemo doing its best to just give him more time. Though it wasn’t the same life he had before, it gave him peace to get as much time as possible with his wife, manage and plan his own funeral, spend time with my husband and I after our marriage, etc.
@ Militant Agnostic:
I venture that it might also include helping them to get in touch with their own ‘spirituality’, to become less materialistic..
so they won’t be too upset by the wallet -lightenong process.
Here we go again.
The biggest group perpetrating quackery against cancer patients is oncologists promoting chemotherapy, which has now been shown to promote the spread of cancer.
Marg, what part of that paper indicates that chemotherapy promotes the spread of cancer? I’d wager you haven’t even read it.
Have you even read the paper? Do you know what the results mean?
Judging by your ignorant comments, probably not.
This is being bandied about here and on other sites to prove that chemo is evil. I would suggest that anyone that thinks that is what is says should read the whole study and not just press releases.
What part of “promoting tumor cell survival and disease progression” is unclear? Chemo interacted with the existing microenvironment in a way that was harmful.
“The expression of WNT16B in the prostate tumor microenvironment attenuated the effects of cytotoxic chemotherapy in vivo, promoting tumor cell survival and disease progression. These results delineate a mechanism by which genotoxic therapies given in a cyclical manner can enhance subsequent treatment resistance through cell nonautonomous effects that are contributed by the tumor microenvironment.”
If one were to read the entire quoted bit of abstract, let alone the full paper, it would become clear that it’s describing the chemotherapy being less effective than otherwise.
Apologies; hit Submit accidentally before I was done.
One would also notice that the thing which was “promoting tumor cell survival and disease progression” was “the expression of WNT16B,” not the chemotherapy.
But I guess basic reading comprehension isn’t some peoples’ strong suit.
Marg, you do understand that there is a difference between “promoting tumor cell survival and disease progression” and “promoting the spread of cancer,” right?
If anything else, it highlights a process that certain tumor cells can use to become resistant to chemotherapy,k a process that, since it is more fully understood, can now be better researched and used to develop more effective therapies to stop this process.
But of course, ignorant individuals like marg cannot understand this. Of course,, reading comprehension was never a strong suit for him/her.
Yes, absolutely. The authors of the study are actually affiliated with my department, and I’m friendly with several of them. I can’t wait to show them how the woo-peddlers are twisting their research, I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of that.
Attenuated–I don’t think that word means what you think it means, Marg.
Could someone please enlighten me on the criteria for successful chemotherapy. My understanding is that a drug is deemed successful if it shrinks a tumor by a certain percentage for a certain period of time. I would like to know by what percentage and for what period of time. I would also like to know the correlation between shrinking tumors and long-term survival.
I would say that “promoting disease progression” would mean promoting the growth of cancer.
I knew a man who grew a large inoperable tumor WHILE receiving aggressive chemotherapy for bladder cancer. After this tumor was discovered he was given an aggressive last ditch combination of chemotherapy and radiation which essentially killed him. I also know two women with supposedly aggressive cancers, one of them breast cancer, who said no to conventional treatment and are still alive 15 years later with the cancer still in their bodies. While you call me an ignoramus there are things about cancer that you do not know that would fill several encyclopedias. And trust me, the day is coming when pharmaceutical companies will be looking at multi-billion dollar class-action suits for promoting cancer drugs which they knew to be deadly and ineffective, and oncologists will be lucky if they don’t get dragged into it.
Answer my questions about what the criteria for a successful chemotherapy drug are and then we can talk.
Your anecdotes are heartwarming. Where are the studies to back them up?
Furthermore, I don’t think the anecdote of the man who grew a large tumor while undergoing chemotherapy and died while receiving further treatment is the least bit heartwarming.
Alrighty then, the majority of your anecdotes are heartwarming and still not backed up by studies. i am sad when anyone dies of cancer but what do you have to offer that is proven to work better than chemo?.
Tell it to Burzynski.
What is meaningless about a question asking what the criteria for a successful cancer drug are? I would think that is a crucial question for cancer research. If there are different criteria for different cancers, I would like to know that too. There are people on this discussion board who have the answers to this question.
Don’t bother to respond if all you have to offer is innuendo and ignorance.
Goalpost shift much? Or could it be that you simply have no response to the fact that you’ve conclusively been shown to simply be making up lies with no basis in reality?
I’m pretty sure that your questions are quite meaningless, too, though this isn’t my field. I don’t believe that any hard-and-fast rule such as you demand exists. It’s all relative to what kind of cancer, how advanced, what other options are available, etc. And tumor shrinkage isn’t necessarily the endpoint being used – survival times are more often the metric.
Pop quiz – what was promoting it, and relative to what baseline? The answers do not support your claims.
Since when is “promoting tumor cell survival and disease progression” and “promoting the spread of cancer”, which you seem to keep dodging, marg.
Change goalposts much?
And my anecdote. I had a friend of mine whose father had colon adneocarcinoma. An aggressive treatment of radiation and chemotherapy was able to get his cancer into remission, and he was able to see his son graduate high school.
So my anecdote trumps your anecdote.
Either way, you maliciously assume that since chemo didn’t work on your so-called “friend”, it must be totally ineffective, which is a logical fallacy.
And of course, the old “pharma shill” gambit, which is a classic sign of a troll quack.
No one has yet answered my question about what the criteria for a successful chemotherapy drug are.
“Disease progression” in cancer usually leads to metastases. To suggest otherwise is to split hairs.
Insults don’t answer questions and don’t constitute meaningful discussion.
Marg, do you by any chance know one Jonathan Chamberlain?
You got an answer. And you have signally refused to even acknowledge any of the questions you have been asked, or detailed explanations of why you are completely wrong.
At this point you’re approaching the level of a three-year-old sticking his fingers in his ears and screaming, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”
Yet you stand up for Gonzalez, whose idiocy demonstrably worsens outcomes.
The point you’re missing, Marg, is that this article’s findings don’t argue against the use of chemotherapy. They argue for better chemotherapy. The authors themselves acknowledge this when they state
No treatment is 100% effective. That there are researchers working to improve the treatment’s efficacy is not an indictment of the entire treatment.
You are still resorting to insults without providing a single meaningful criterion.
I am not acquainted with Jonathan Chamberlain. I also don’t know what bringing up Gonzalez has to do with the statement that disease progression in cancer usually leads to metastases. Agree with the statement or disagree. Don’t sidetrack.
Kudos to the authors for looking for better chemotherapy.
Yes or no – do you admit that you were completely wrong about that paper claiming that chemo promoted the spread of cancer?
So Marg, do you see now why your statement
is a baseless swipe based on a complete misinterpretation of a high-profile study?
It isn’t sidetracking: supporting Gonzalez is advocating disease progression.
I stand by the first half of the statement and amend the second to “which has now been shown as potentially ineffective or detrimental depending on the surrounding microenvironment”. I don’t see how any chemotherapy can now be administered without further studies on how each and every drug affects/is affected by this microenvironment.
There may be no hard and fast rule, but there have to be guidelines for particular cancers. I would like to hear from someone who is familiar with these guidelines and can give examples.
I think we should all keep in mind that we are arguing with someone who, on the last thread they participated in, said:
Marg does not have the ability to critically analyze scientific evidence because he/she does not understand basic concepts about the scientific method and study design.
Marg, which drug(s) were used in this study?
Can you summarize the authors findings regarding how these drugs “affect/are affected by this microenvironment?”
Your grounds for which are?
Still false; a correct statement would be “the effectiveness of which varies depending on the surrounding microenvironment.” Chemotherapy works. This enhances our understanding of the factors contributing to how well it works, nothing more.
When we already know that they are effective, it’s perfectly reasonable to continue to administer them while further research progresses on how to make them even more effective.
As a pure diversion from the complete and utter failure of your claims, I gather.
What do you recommend instead?
“When we already know that they are effective”. These would be criteria for which I am asking. By what criteria do we deem them effective?
A groundbreaking 14 year study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in December 2004 called “The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies”.
Researchers at the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Northern Sydney Cancer Centre studied the 5-year survival rates of chemotherapy on 22 types of cancers in the US and Australia.
They studied 154,971 Americans and Australians with cancer, age 20 and older, that were treated with conventional treatments, including chemotherapy.
Only 3,306 had survival that could be credited to chemotherapy.
Study Results: “The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1 % in The USA”
Study Conclusion: “As the 5-year survival rate in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.”
Hey, who am I?
What do you recommend instead? A cost-effectiveness study?
Marg, please read this.
Read it. To change the percentage of effectiveness from 2% to 8 or 10% does not make chemotherapy much more impressive. In no other avenue of life would we consider that kind of success rate acceptable.
I am still waiting for someone who knows to give me examples of what some of the criteria for effectiveness are.
If the pharmaceutical industry were not barking up the wrong tree, we would have had better results by now, considering that they’ve been barking up this particular tree for at least half a century.
What’s the alternative, Marg? 10% doesn’t seem so bad when the alternative is 0%.
Still waiting on these:
Which drug(s) were used in this study?
Can you summarize the authors findings regarding how these drugs “affect/are affected by this microenvironment?”
Someone has swiped your nym…
Try jumping off a cliff and flying. If you don’t fly, then clearly you weren’t trying hard enough.
After only 70 years we have effective treatments for some types of leukemia, improved 5 year survival of breast cancer patients to over 90% and cure more than 85% of testicular cancer, to name but a few successes. By comparison, herbalism and other traditional approaches have been trying to find a cure for cancer for thousands of years with absolutely dismal results.
A groundbreaking 14 year study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in December 2004 called “The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies”.
As pointed out by AdamG above, a systematic rebuttal of that study is available to anyone who bothers to search the R.I. archives.
One crucial point being that the ‘ground-breaking’ study somehow left off *all the varieties of cancer* for which chemotherapy is most effective. Another point being that ‘5-year survival’ is simply not appropriate for breast cancer (among others) where delayed relapse is the rule rather than the exception, and adjuvant chemotherapy produces a greater survival-rate improvement *after five years*.
Marg, let’s pretend for a moment that you are a grade school teacher. Teaching, say, math. Got that?
Okay, let’s move on with this thought experiment. Suppose you have a particular analogy that you teach all your students which is meant to help them understand fractions. And for most of your students, the analogy does indeed work, and most of those students “get it.”
Okay. Now suppose you find out that for some students, maybe 1 in every 1000, the analogy doesn’t work. Those rare students just don’t understand the analogy and as a result, they are actually worse at fractions after you’ve presented them with this analogy.
Okay. Now, with those as the facts in place, how fair is it for someone to ignore the 999 out of 1000 students that are helped by your analogy, focus on the 1 out of 1000 that your analogy confuses, and characterize you on that basis as “promoting the spread of ignorance”?
Now you might protest, “wait a minute! We have discussed no data on how these recently-discovered side effects of chemotherapy compare in strength to the cancer-killing effects of the chemotherapy – how can you compare it to the specific figure of ‘helps 999, harms 1’?” That’s a very good point! Except that you, by bringing it up, show yourself to be a big hypocrite. Because you showed NO interest in “how do the side-effects compare to the cancer-killing effects in strength?”; you talked about these side-effects as if they were the ONLY effects. Whether that was deliberate deception on your part or merely ignorance, it fatally undermines your credibility.
So where did you pull that number from? It’s not in the link.
Say we have a treatment that results in 80% of patients surviving a disease with high mortality. Say we have a second treatment that, in conjunction with the first, results in 90% of patients surviving. According to you, we would reject the second treatment because the success rate is an “unacceptable” 10%.
I can’t see what Marg is on about… whether the available chemotherapy options are actually counterproductive (as she first claimed) or simply not good enough (as she’s claiming now), the answer is the same. No-one is forcing her to take them. If she develops cancer, she is free to die with as little therapy as she likes.
If the problem is that medical researchers are wasting their money by barking up the wrong tree, all she has to do is prove them wrong by producing the better chemotherapy herself.
Say you have a type of breast cancer that kills women in 8 years. It takes four years for it to become palpable, so through breast examination it is discovered in the fifth year, but with a mammogram it is discovered in the first or the second. Prior to mammograms, the women with this cancer die three years after the discovery of their cancer; after large scale mammography is introduced the women live 7 years. Nothing about the cancer has changed, but there has been a huge increase in 5-year survival, giving the illusion that something has improved when in fact nothing has. The same can be said about early detection of prostate cancer. You have no way of knowing how much the percentages you cite are due to people living longer simply because their cancer was detected earlier and not because of any treatment they might be receiving.
Your numbers are way off.
BTW note the title of the study, which is “Treatment-induced damage to the tumor microenvironment promotes prostate cancer therapy resistance through WNT16B.” In particular note the words “Treatment-induced damage”.
Duly noted, thanks (I mean, I don’t claim ownership or anything, but the distinction is there).
And in case anyone is interested, here is the answer to my question about criteria for cancer drug approval:
Now you may not believe this, but cancer researchers have actually considered the phenomenon you describe, given it a name and measured it.
I had a peek at MarkH’s blog and there is no comparison to the original. But I wonder if the ‘nym lifter might be someone who holds a grudge against you…. you-know-who .
However, the spelling and grammar aren’t totally atrocious, so maybe not.
Please explain, in detail, what lead-time bias has to do with any position that you have advanced previously.
Oh, right the Swampjack. I’ll never forget Ol’ Whatshisname. I dunno, at 7:20 his time, he might not have been fully in his cups. Or maybe he’s been fervently working the chapbook or something. Beats me.
What’s with this habit of assigning essay questions? I began with the statement that the biggest purveyors of quackery in cancer treatment were oncologists promoting chemotherapy drugs. Pointing out that increased survival rates could be due to earlier detection and not to any drug intervention is entirely consistent with that position.
@Marg: Your non-answer straightforwardly indicates that you have attempted to change the subject. You have floridly demanded answers to your own questions as a control attempt, so perhaps you could unclench long enough to answer a simple one.
I have responded. That is my answer; it is internally consistent, and it is consistent with my position in this discussion. End of story.
Let me rephrase Narad’s question for you. What evidence do you have that early detection was solely responsible for the cancer survival rate? The difference between you and a scientist is that you ask questions, while scientists look for answers.
The Anderson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania has no problem with Reiki as an adjunctive treatment:
I did not say that early detection was solely responsible for the cancer survival rate but merely posited a scenario in which it could have been.
It would be interesting to know how they figured out a ratio.
Marg, what, specifically, is the treatment?
I’ve asked 3 times now. You continue to cite that study, but you do not understand its methods or conclusions. You want us to be shocked by these results but you can’t even identify what drug or drugs they used.
Marg, hypothesis is the second step of scientific inquiry, after observation, not the last. Humans are not infallible; after a hypothesis is formed, one must test it to be sure. If it fails, there’s nothing to be upset over, just move on to the next one.
Uh, you do realize, don’t you, that that’s why RCTs are so complex and are designed to try to control for lead time bias? That’s why clinical trial subjects are stratified by stage, for example. Differentiating lead time bias from a real effect on cancer outcomes is difficult for screening tests, but not as much for treatment. The patients have all been diagnosed with cancer and grouped according to clinical-pathological stages for which the expected survival is known, all before undergoing treatment.
And neither do I if reiki is correctly described as a spiritual/religious modality and its practitioners are treated the same way as chaplains, allowed to see patients, but no claims made for them being able to actually treat anything.
Glad to know that.
I see that answer as a non sequitur
My comment about lead time was not for current experiments or for experiments going forward. My comment relates to claims of improvements in survival as compared to a time when early detection through the use of mammography was not widespread.
And as I pointed out even before you made that objection, Marg, you did not even acknowledge THE EXISTENCE of cancer-killing effects of chemotherapy, MUCH LESS try to assign any kind of number or any form of quantification to them, MUCH LESS try to provide any reasonable assessment of how those cancer-killing effects compare in strength to the effects recently discovered that promote tumor cell survival. That makes you A BIG FLAMING HYPOCRITE when you try to say “Antaeus, the true figure isn’t 99.9% : 0.1% !” Whatever the true figure is, it’s even farther from the false ‘figure’ of 0% : 100% that an unwary observer would have taken away from YOUR wholly biased misrepresentation of the paper’s conclusions.
I am not TRYING to provide figures, I am trying to explain the PRINCIPLE. I am trying to explain to a WILLFULLY IGNORANT PERSON (this would be you, Marg) that “One of the effects of chemotherapy is that some tumor cells are actually helped to survive because their cell-repair mechanisms get triggered, and disease progression in these cells is heightened” and “The effect of chemotherapy is to trigger the cell-repair mechanisms of tumor cells, thus resulting in disease progression in the patient” are NOT SYNONYMOUS STATEMENTS; anyone who takes a paper that concludes the former and announces its conclusions as the latter is at best completely misunderstanding and at worst deliberately deceiving. To say “chemotherapy promotes the spread of cancer,” which I will remind you again is EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAID VERBATIM, is a big fat freaking lie unless you prove that whatever the chemotherapy does to promote the spread and survival of tumor cells WHOLLY OUTWEIGHS what chemotherapy does to limit and destroy tumor cells. Did the paper you quote come to any such conclusion? NO. Did you provide independent evidence of any kind to justify such a conclusion? NO. Did you even acknowledge that there was any need to consider the cancer-killing effects of chemotherapy, i.e. THE WHOLE FREAKING PURPOSE FOR WHICH WE ADMINISTER CHEMO IN THE FIRST PLACE AND THE ONLY REASON WE USE IT, in assessing whether the overall effect of chemotherapy is “the spread of cancer”? NO, you did not.
If I sound a bit snippish, my apologies. That was not my intent. My intent is TO SHAME YOU for being either A BIG FAT LIAR or AN IDIOT. I already TRIED being patient with you, Marg, and what was the result? You took EXACTLY the argument that I explained to you that you could not use in good faith, and you used it anyways. Where the hell do you get your nerve?? You big mewling hypocrite. “You failed to accurately represent the comparative strength of this effect in relation to the other, Antaeus.” Yes, and YOU failed completely to ACKNOWLEDGE ITS EXISTENCE so kindly take all your criticism of figures that are “way off” and SHOVE IT.
I am not easily shamed or bullied, the latter of which is what you are trying to do. From my perspective for the purposes of the patient it is entirely sufficient that “One of the effects of chemotherapy is that some tumor cells are actually helped to survive because their cell-repair mechanisms get triggered, and disease progression in these cells is heightened” to lead to the worsening of their condition and ultimately death. These chemo-resistant cells will then be the ones that go on to divide, creating one heck of a chemo resistant tumor. And where the hell do YOU get the nerve to try to bully me because I disagree with you?
Marg, your perspective is irrelevant. It is not what the authors conclude, so any personal interpretation you use is faulty.
No, bullying would be if I was saying “You should quit posting here, because I don’t like your point of view.” That’s far different from shaming you for your pathetic use of a double standard, where it’s a big problem if I don’t provide figures for the relative comparison of two factors that are accurate enough for your liking (in a thought experiment, no less) but it’s okay for you to completely ignore the existence of one of those two factors for your relative comparison.
It really is a pity you aren’t more easily shamed. It might have led to you actually being a decent person, if you had had conscience and shame to guide you.
Except that is not the conclusion of the paper and it is not a reasonable extrapolation from the conclusions of the paper, it is ENTIRELY PULLED OUT OF YOUR AR5E. It would be like me saying “I just discovered that there’s a service fee for setting up a Certificate of Deposit at my bank; that proves that setting up a CD at that bank leads to losing money!” If the service fee is one dollar and the interest I can expect to gain from the minimum deposit amount over the term of the CD is more than one dollar, then no, it does not lead to “losing money” as any sane honest person would understand the phrase. You as someone outside that description will doubtless have trouble comprehending that.
Not because you disagree with me, Marg, but because you withhold information and argue dishonestly and maintain a double standard. THAT is why I shame you.
You do seem pretty shameless, Marg. Antaeus was angry because he shouldn’t have to explain to you why lying is bad.
The authors may not be saying it, but given that the reason cancer is so deadly is the proliferation of multiple-drug-resistant cancer cells, they should certainly be asking the question whether the mechanism they discovered is implicated in this. Not to ask the question is dishonest.
If chemotherapy helped 999 and harmed 1, I would have zero problem with it. The odds are rather worse.
Unfortunately I have to leave and can’t go into detail BUT
risk/ benefit analysis is considered with ALL medical procedures and treatments. It is. Furthermore, it is studied mathematically not by personal factors.
If you decide whether to buy something or not, you weigh the pros and cons casually: SBM has to do a whole lot more to justify using ANY procdure and doctors have to also weigh this information when they prescribe and discuss it with patients who have CHOICE.
Pehaps someone can follow my lead.
I am not sure why you pointed me to Jonathan Chamberlain, but it’s interesting stuff. I wonder how the statistics would change if everyone took charge of their own healing.
This statement is false.
I don’t know what you mean, but if everyone would try to cure cancer without the help of a doctor, specialised in cancer, I think less people would survive.
Cancer isn’t a battle one can win if one has enough fighting spirit. One needs luck and good doctors. Especially the latter.
The “why” is in the acknowledgments. Just a lark. As for Chamberlain himself, I think his endorsement of detoxifying foot baths really says it all.
In what way?
Perhaps you could be more specific.
We know the answer to that question since oncologists are now seeing cases of untreated cancers that they had previously only seen in old textbooks, thanks to people believing the sort of nonsense Chamberlain writes. For example, the following comment from a cancer surgeon on a UK medical professional site.
Here’s a an interesting look at one of the cases Chamberlain cites as a success story for alternative cancer treatment.
Did Marg just say that the authors’ conclusions are wrong, and that they should change their results because *it’s just so obvious that chemo is bad*?
I think Marg was asking you why you think Chamberlain’s endorsement of detoxifying foot bath says it all.
Marg – it’s because detoxifying foot baths don’t actually do anything to remove heavy metals or other toxins from your body. Someone less charitable than myself would call them a scam (and many have). You might check out the article titled “Do you really need to detox?” in Consumer Reports.
Not change their conclusions but follow up on their study.
What are you on about? There is far more to what Chamberlain says than foot baths. I didn’t even see a reference to foot baths. This is your MO, ladies and gentlemen, pick out on small item to stick your claws into and then rip it to shreds.
Again, the link you provided about the patients cited by Chamberlain refers to one patient among twenty-something.
I have seen what chemo does when it doesn’t work. You destroy the person and then shrug and say, “sorry, it didn’t work, there is nothing more we can do. You can go home and die now.”
I wonder how the statistics would change if everyone took charge of their own healing.
They’d change, all right, but not in the way you seem to assume.
The fact that the man can’t think is not a “small item.”
the reason cancer is so deadly is the proliferation of multiple-drug-resistant cancer cells
I hate to have to point this out, but cancer is deadly even without chemotherapy.
If the authors aren’t saying it , it is probably because they did draw that conclusion from the evidence. This study does not support your point. Do you have one that does? If the answer is no then you really don’t have a leg to stand on.
I’m puzzled by this notion that people with cancer who die despite the best treatment available die of the treatment, not of the cancer. It seems to me a very dangerous idea that is becoming more and more widespread, that cancer patients do better with no treatment at all. Why do you think the cancer destroyed the person, not the cancer? For just one example, take a look at the Gonzalez pancreatic cancer clinical trial; those on conventional treatment lived three times as long as those on Gonzalez’ ‘treatment’ (essentially no treatment at all). When you consider that pancreatic cancer has probably the worst prognosis of all cancers, I think this speaks volumes.
I meant “Why do you think the treatment destroyed the person, not the cancer?” Funny how typos leap out at you after you submit the comment…
And in the meantime, you are citing the paper as your source for what you admit the authors didn’t say. How do you justify that, Marg? Are you really so egotistical that you say, “Well, I’ve never published a paper in my life, but I know what these researchers should have concluded, so I’ll just announce my own personal views as being the conclusions they came to” and think that’s legitimate? Oh, that’s right, you’re hard of thinking, so I’ll give you the answer: No, that’s dishonest.
And again, Marg, I don’t give a damn what you have “zero problem” with or don’t, because your judgment reeks like month-old tuna salad. In case I haven’t already explained this to you five or six times, my point is that your assessment methods fail. Given a chemotherapy method that killed 99.9% of the cells in a tumor and left 0.1% stronger, your assessment of that method would be “oh! Look at these 0.1% of cells, and ignore all the others! Obviously this method promotes the spread of cancer!” That is all we need to know to know that your assessment methods blow chunks.
And the fact that you present the flawed conclusions that your flawed assessment methods led to as if they were the conclusions of the paper means one of two things: you couldn’t understand what the paper actually said OR you deliberately chose to lie about what the paper said. It’s one or the other, Marg, but whichever one it is, you’re a fool if you think you have any credibility left.
I think “the authors may not say it ” tells us all we need to know about Marg. She will jump, no parachute to a conclusion that meets her beliefs regardless of the evidence.
I regret to report the result of an inadvertent recent experiment: month-old tuna salad is pretty neutral-smelling, at least with jarred mayo. Never, ever, buy a seven-pound ham if you live alone, though.
I’m sure the authors will do what they think is necessary to follow up on the conclusions of their study. And so will others.
However… You said this:
Darwy said this:
You said this:
To which you seem to be implying (and being wonderful in objecting every time someone tries to understand what you’re saying by accusing us of not understanding you) that their *own* conclusions are wrong because you think something else. If they haven’t said something in the conclusions, it’s not because they’re pretending the data didn’t say something and they don’t want to be going against the grain. They’re not saying it because it’s *not what the data showed*.
You’re the one starting off with a conclusion (chemo = bad) and working back from there.
The authors are saying that chemo is effective *but that it can be made to be more effective*. As others have pointed out, you can’t use the study based on *what you think they should have said instead*.
If you want to go on about chemo=bad, find a different source/publication/experiments that show it.
I’m going to call you Pegamily Rebooted. You sound alike.
I think in science, detail counts.
Hundreds of thousands of cancer patients have experienced variations on the theme of “there is nothing more we can do” and “put your affairs in order”. If you want a citation, check out Jeff’s story in chapter 5 of Leigh Fortson’s “Embrace, Release, Heal”. Obviously your lot are not going to bother with scientific studies on the people who have been destroyed by chemo and sent home or to hospices to die.
It is unclear to me why you aimed this in my direction, but given that you have already confused me with Krebiozen above, I don’t suppose it matters. You don’t have anything better.
shrug and say, “sorry, it didn’t work, there is nothing more we can do. You can go home and die now.”
I’m not sure quite what alternative Marg has in mind. Possibly the hospital should lock the uncured cases away in basements and not let them go home to die.
Hundreds of thousands of cancer patients have experienced variations on the theme of “there is nothing more we can do” and “put your affairs in order”.
Evidently not enough oncologists are lying to their patients — they should be telling them ‘Yes! You’re getting better and better!’
@Narad was meant to be @Flip. Reach chapter 5 of Leigh Fortson’s “Embrace, Release, Heal” anyway. Or better yet, read the whole book.
If you have chemo that kills 99.9% of cancer cells and leaves 0.01% super cells, guess what that 0.01% is going to do. Yippee, hurray, multiply!!! And don’t give me that I don’t know what I’m talking about because patients with AML are given exactly that as a reason for needing the most stringent chemotherapy protocol possible.
@Herr Doktor Bimmler
I know two women diagnosed with supposedly aggressive cancers, one of them breast cancer, who are still alive 15 years after their initial diagnoses, with no chemotherapy or radiation, with the tumor still in their bodies, both of whom used diet and other alternative therapies to maintain their health. I know of people with the same cancers, diagnosed more recently, who obediently went through the standard protocols, and are now quite dead.
Sorry, that would “read chapter 5” …
Sorry, that would be “read chapter 5” …
If you cannot make the case yourself, and you certainly have not, I assure you that I have both more pressing and more interesting things to deal with than sales pitches.
Perhaps there is some point to your anecdotes. Then again, maybe there is not.
I can certainly summarize. Chapter 5 of Leigh Fortson’s book is about “Jeff”, who had multiple myeloma, and came to the end of his extensive and ineffective treatment when he refused to have experimental chemotherapy that would have been injected directly into his spine and would have left him wheelchair bound if he survived. After he refused the treatment he was told to go home and put his affairs in order. Someone suggested he should go to see a man called Ben who lived in the desert. Ben treated him an hour a day and taught him a style of meditation in which he visualized cleaning up his spine. About six weeks after he began treatment with Ben, he was cancer free. This happened in 1991 and “Jeff” was still alive and free of cancer when Fortson’s book was published last year. According to some information on the internet, this “Ben” was Bill Bengston’s teacher.
Scoff all you want. Fortson’s book is not only about Jeff but also about a dozen others who healed from cancer against all odds using alternative treatments, many of them _after_ they came to the end of the road with conventional therapies, after their doctors told them “there is nothing more we can do”.
But of course you have better things to do than waste your time on things that challenge your conventional way of thinking. So go ahead and do them.
Hundreds of thousands of chemo patients have experienced variations on the theme;”Congratulations, you have reached five years.” or ten or fifteen.
Someone suggested he should go to see a man called Ben who lived in the desert.
It’s hard to be a hermit these days. There you are, living in the desert, trying to enjoy some piece and quiet, but there’s a whole stream of visitors knocking at the door of your shack in the hope of one of the hermits will be called Ben.
Fortson’s book is not only about Jeff but also about a dozen others who healed from cancer against all odds using alternative treatments
Do they *all* have made-up names like “Jeff”?
If you have chemo that kills 99.9% of cancer cells and leaves 0.01% super cells
99.9% + 0.01% =/= 100%. Just saying.
And once again, Marg, you are completely avoiding the real issue.
You claimed that the paper was a source for the claim that “chemotherapy promotes the spread of cancer.”
The way that a reasonable person would interpret that phrase is that cancer spreads faster and becomes worse when chemotherapy is administered, as compared to what it does when chemotherapy is not administered.
Those are NOT the conclusions of the paper.
I’ll repeat that again.
Those are NOT the conclusions of the paper.
For you to claim that “chemotherapy promotes the spread of cancer” and cite the paper as the source of your claim is dishonest.
You may in fact yourself hold the opinion that chemo does no harm than good. That’s fine, if you want to believe it.
What’s not fine is telling the lie that “the researchers who wrote this peer-reviewed paper concluded that chemo does more harm than good!” when their paper concluded no such thing.
And as long as you continue telling that lie, and keep on dragging red herrings across the trail to try and distract people from the fact that you lied, people will continue to be angry with you.
I did not ask you to summarize the book that you are now for some reason pitching, I suggested that you actually make the case that you have been advancing, which is that, in general, chemo is worse than no chemo, modulo shooting coffee up your ass (Chamberlain, oddly, suggests that flaxseed oil and coffee are interchangable for this purpose, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out how this conclusion is arrived at).
Allow me to get this out of the way as well:
Marg, I strongly suspect that you would lose your ever-lovin’ sh*t if you really understood what’s “inside” my head. “Conventional way of thinking”? I’m willing to assert that the perceived world is isomorphic to the unconscious mind. One can leave the reservation and nonetheless arrive at very nearly the exact same conclusions, which do not involve the globular-blobular pudding-mind that seem to be so proud of.
^ “that you seem”
Oh boy! I come back 10 hours later after an exceedingly pleasant day alongside the river, looking at outsider art, trendy shops, crumbling 19th century buildings, renovated 19th century buildings and sampling fabulous halal curry (after drinks) now it’s late and WHAT DO I FIND?
Oh Marg! I have been told countless stories about all of the people who conquered cancer without SBM, courtesy of alt med proselytisers: I’ve read articles, seen films, heard interviews and *exposes* BUT I have YET to see any one of them produce ONE study that illustrates the differences of which they speak.
On one hand, SBM has thousands of meticulous, complex studies that can be investigated and criticiqued and the alt med bastion has *stories*.
Let me know if you want a copy of Bern Porter’s Found Poems and I’ve Left; I have one each remaining from the stockpile.
@Pegamily Rebooted… er, Marg
It’s up to you to provide citations. Not book references: peer-reviewed journal citations.
Anecdotal data: many of my family received many bouts of chemo (one even for different cancers throughout their life), all enjoyed years if not decades of extra life, with limited side effects. These were all elderly people, but all died due to natural causes or other illnesses, not chemo/cancer. See, my anecdotes equal your anecdotes. And that’s just my immediate family! (Oh, if only I could tell the show-stopper anecdote: but that gives away my ID)
I really don’t need to read a book to discover that cancer is a bad thing and that medicine is improving all the time. Or that some people die and some don’t, or that life is way more mysterious than we think. What I would like is some actual scientific statistics.
Show me the statistics that chemo is not helping the majority of people, that the risk/benefit comes down on the side of “better not try it”, or that you have any kind of proof at all outside of anecdotes. Give me something I can look up in Pubmed. (I can’t afford books at the moment, particularly just for a one-off read… Pubmed’s cheaper)
By the way, I see what you did there. Nice sidestep away from the point, which is that you lied, or attempted to put words into the authors’ mouths. Either the study supports your point or it doesn’t; either you think the authors are wrong or you don’t.
So I repeat:
I’ll give you another attempt:
Is this study truly proving your point? Or are you calling the authors liars?
Antaeus is right. You’re just trying to distract from the fact that you’ve been caught out.
Oh for… can you at least be original? Post some data, we’ll look. But we’re picky. We don’t want anecdotes or books, try some CDC (or other country) stats or Pubmed or something…
(To the regulars… Note the similarity between Pegamily and Marg. Both refuse to offer peer-reviewed citations. Both argue over semantics whilst refusing to admit that what they said is what they meant (or being vague so they don’t have to be pinned down). Both like distracting you away from the proven lies. Both like books as references. Both like the nirvana fallacy. Is this a sock puppet? Or should I dig out my post to Pegamily about how books are not science? … Incidentally, this is why I’m annoyed about ghost writers and alt-med. There are any number of people who want to “tell” their scare/survival story – that’s not science, that’s literature)
Obviously your lot are not going to bother with scientific studies on the people who have been destroyed by chemo and sent home or to hospices to die.
Obviously not… but wait, here is a scientific study of terminal cancer patients at a hospice! Apparently “our lot” are going to bother after all!
Carter, Helen, McLeod, Rod, Brander, Penny and McPherson, Kath (2004) Living with a terminal illness: patients’ priorities. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 45, (6), 611 – 620. (doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02953.x).
— It’s the first study that came to mind, on account of living with one of the authors. There are many many many others.
I knew I had heard of the hermit Ben who lived in the desert.
You tell me.
I thank you for your kind offer but I was refering to more visually-oriented outsider art: a long time ago ( in a galaxy far away?), I knew a fellow who used to set fires and another who produced bizarre *tableaux vivants* – in which I was often cast- more recently, I look at textural essays involving unlikely materials- like making trees out of steel nails and building room-like sculptures that move ( but only when no one is observing), torturing fabrics et al.
-btw- one of the idiots I survey calls himself the “New Mr Natural”.
re moisture farm.
You got it, Mister!
I’m considering “The New Pooperoo” myself.
One thing I’ve noticed is the naivete of alt med advocates who trash a study unaware that most of their objections have already been considered, studied and dismissed DECADES ago by real scientists. This is especially true about SMI.
They continue beating the same old dead horse that has long since vaporised and now exists only as a memory. I venture that the reason that the memory of the aforesaid deceased equine hasn’t been eradicated is because woo-meisters continuously resurrect it frequently, intensively and emotionally every chance they get. Some of them even produce documentaries on the subject.
Especially apropo because of the coffee enemas.
Let me be more clear: apropo for a woo-meister.
Forgive me: haven’t read the comments just yet, but I just saw this in my twitter feed…
An Immune Disorder at the Root of Autism
I suspect it’s partly an ignorance of where to find that info. Then one day they happen across, say, RI, and then post a comment. Time is also an issue: who has the time to search blogs for previous content – especially when they think they are privileged to some inner knowledge that “it doesn’t work” (in the case of SBM).
I agree that it doesn’t die because proponents don’t let it: but it also doesn’t die because the people looking for info are possibly looking in the wrong places or just not bothering to look at all.
An Immune Disorder at the Root of Autism
I have no great confidence in an author who follows the principle of “include the most dramatic claims available, even if you backtrack and admit that the claim is wrong within the same sentence“:
Diagnoses have increased tenfold, although a careful assessment suggests that the true increase in incidences is less than half that.
“firstborns seem to be at greater risk”
“the whipworm, which is native to pigs, has anecdotally shown benefit in autistic children.”
— This is just the form of inspiration they need at AoA!
“the whipworm, which is native to pigs, has anecdotally shown benefit in autistic children.”
– This is just the form of inspiration they need at AoA!
But then, Herr Doktor, they would have to admit to Doing It Wrong with those parasite ‘cleanses’! (Although I suppose we should be grateful, if it would put an end to bleach enemas.)
@ herr doktor bimler:
All of us10th generation, [email protected], elitist city-dwellers need to get back to Nature! And get infested with good old-fashioned natural parasites! THEN we’d be healthy.
But wait. I am healthy!
It’s Nature that makes me sneeze and itch.
I only skimmed the article, but it seemed to me to be an opinion piece which wanted to vaguely point to immune disorders without actually coming out and saying it. Ie. wanting to appear reasoned and balanced but adding the subtext of “why so much chronic illness?” that anti-vaxxers are so fond of.
There has been an attempt at beachhead.
Going back to this study, as you all attack the ultimate conclusion of a 2.1% contribution of chemotherapy to overall 5-year cancer survival, are you also raising questions about the numbers given for individual cancers?
Are we to be reassured by the 0% contribution in the case of pancreatic, kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer? The 1% contribution to survival from colon cancer? 1.4% for breast cancer? 0.7% for stomach cancer? 2% for lung cancer?
No wonder the authors are questioning the validity of chemo.
Advance a demonstrably superior option or bugger off.
We are not looking for demonstrably superior options because we are putting all our resources into _this_ option, because apparently many of us have our heads stuck up our buttholes looking for light where it doesn’t shine. If biochemical approaches worked, you would think that after 70-odd years we’d something better to show for all the money and effort sunk into this.
Although I have spent most of weekend in idle diversion, I vaguely recalled a certain post, so prior to mixing myself a drink, I typed “chemotherapy effective” into the searchbox *et voila*! What do you know? A wealth of results came up, including the one I wanted: “So chemotherapy does work after all” ( Dec. 2011) in which our esteemed host explains how woo-meisters spread mis-information about chemoherapy including the infamous “2% gambit” and why that is not based in reality.. oh he can say it so much better than I can because he’s an expert and like it or not, they do exist.
At any rate, Cheers!
Marg: something better to show for all the money and effort sunk into this.
Seems to me that there’s actually been an awful lot of money (from patients) & effort (persuading patients to part with money) gone into ‘alternative’ treatments for cancer, over the last 70+ years. You’d think by now that there would be some actual published peer-reviewed data demonstrating how superior those alternative treatments actually are.
Also, what Denice said above.
The numbers are cited are for individual cancers, not for cancers overall. @Denice, show me the studies that disprove those individual numbers. Show me where the authors of this study recanted.
Orac’s (and others’) objection to this study was that it excluded cancers such as leukemias where the results were more positive and therefore came up with an overall low percentage. Mind you the 5-year survival rate for AML is not so hot either, is it?
Marg, there is a truism that was often invoked at NANAE, and I suggest that you ponder upon it: There Is No We. Moreover, if there were, you sure as shit wouldn’t be the spokesperson, so I further suggest that you quit dancing around.
Once upon a time, there was a doctor who wanted to prove that energy healing was real.
He performed experiments where, if the experiments were done correctly and the hypothesis was true, the control group of mice should have all died and the experimental group should have had a statistically significant number of survivors.
The results he actually got, instead, were that his control group all survived with the exception of one, which was not statistically different from the experimental group, which also survived with the exception of one.
This meant that the doctor had screwed up his experiment.
But the doctor was unwilling to admit defeat. Whether he was simply pathetically insistent upon fooling himself, or whether he just wanted badly to fool others, we do not know.
We do know what he did next, though, and that was to spin one hell of a whopper about what the experiment results meant. Instead of admitting that it was a failed experiment, the doctor pretended that it was actually a SUPER-SUCCESS where the control group got QUANTUM ENTANGLED with the experimental group and therefore the experimental results meant the doctor had proved energy healing to work on BOTH groups.
There were actually people gullible enough to swallow that load of bullcrap.
And one of them is Marg.
So, Marg, when you say that biochemical approaches to cancer haven’t given sufficient results and don’t show enough promise of further results to be where we should be concentrating our research, I say your opinions on the matter amount to birdcrap, because that’s what your ability to distinguish between real science and wishful thinking amounts to.
I’m just curious. Is the Marg posting on this thread the same Marg who wasted lots of bandwdith tossing out silly insults, misunderstanding jokes, and avoiding addressing questions back in late June on the https://www.respectfulinsolence.com/2012/06/05/reiki-versus-dogs-just-being-dogs/ post (along the Reiki Master Judith)?
I am intrigued by language, and the unusual spelling caught my eye (again).
None of that changes the dismal numbers for chemotherapy.
Marg, you turkey, you’re still pulling the same craphead manuevers! No one is saying the authors of the study have “recanted.” No one is saying that chemotherapy is a magic bullet that can alleviate every form of cancer.
What we are saying is that, contrary to your idiotic claim that “chemotherapy promotes the spread of cancer,” chemotherapy is one of the most successful anti-cancer methods we actually have, and while not every cancer can be successfully treated with it, many can. Oh, yes, we know that you think energy healing is a much better alternative, but that is because on the subject of energy healing you are a gullible chump who swallows nonsense that an intelligent seventh-grader would spot as a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys.
So no one is really interested in hearing you whine ungratefully (and lie) about how awful chemotherapy is. It’s the best we’ve got so far, and while we’d gladly drop it in a heartbeat for an alternative that gave better results and caused less hardship to those taking it, that alternative has to be REAL. Not your cockamamie energy healing crapola where you look at an experiment that clearly failed and claim it actually proved both energy healing AND non-locality.
Which, none too surprisingly, are vastly better than yours from a Billy Beane sort of approach to player evaluation.
If as much time, money and effort were spent on researching energy healing as has been wasted on the biochemical alternative, it would be doing a heck of a better job by now than chemotherapy does.
C’mon, let it all out, honey.
I’ll take that as an affirmative answer to my question.
I’m pretty sure I suggested this to Judith, not you, back in June, so I’ll toss it out to you, now, too:
Go write some grants. Get back to us after you’ve done the studies.
if as much time, money and effort were spent on researching energy healing
Also, see my previous comment. Many ‘alternative therapies’ are big business in their own right – look at the supplements industry as an example – so how come they aren’t funding research to demonstrate their effectiveness? CAM proponents claim what they offer is effective, so over to them to support that claim with published, peer-reviewed data (none of those anonymised heart-warming stories, thank you).
If as much time, money and effort were spent on researching energy healing as has been wasted on the biochemical alternative, it would be doing a heck of a better job by now than chemotherapy does.
I missed the part where mainstream science intervened to stop Marg from investing her own time, money and effort on researching energy healing.
Obviously your lot are not going to bother with scientific studies on the people who have been destroyed by chemo and sent home or to hospices to die.
I am still intrigued by this earlier claim that the medical establishment is simply not interested in patients for whom chemotherapy is ineffective. The Frau Doktorin does a lot of volunteer work at the local hospice, so I occasionally meet the non-existent researchers there (not to mention the dedicated medical & nursing staff). They are all generous-souled individuals who would probably not approve of me inviting Marg to die in a fire.
I see Marg is avoiding my questions. And not posting citations as requested instead of books…
Are they though? Can you cite their actual words where they do that?
If rockets worked, you would think that after 70-odd years we’d have something better to show for all the money and effort sunk into space flight. And look: we’ve only been to the moon a couple of times!
(Erm, Alison said it better: homeopathy, energy healing, bloodletting, cupping, acupuncture… so many things have had plenty of time to show evidence. Heck, evolution has had the same amount of time as many of these and look how well it’s been supported by evidence!)
You’re the one with the hypothesis. But of course, all you can do is point to *one* study that doesn’t say what you think it does, and where you insist that the authors mis-wrote their conclusions.
And why you won’t find anything about *recanting* is because the others don’t say what you think they do.
Which you don’t seem to want to cite. Funny, I asked you to post some stats. Where are they?
Ah yes, the “there’s no money to research alt-med” gambit. Yawn…
Where’s the stats Marg? How can I possibly change my mind if you refuse to post any real references?
And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride them.
(OT, English is my second language, and I never really understood this saying – still, I found it quite evocative)
Isn’t there a branch of the NIH, the NCCAM, with a annual budget of 125-million dollars, whose role is to investigate alternative medicine?
(sigh – that budget could be enough to finance annually about sixty 20-people, cancer-searching academic teams like my former lab)
I believe the only “alternate” protocol NCCAM managed to confirm after 20 years of inquiries is massage as pain relief.
Which, considering, is not that alternative. Nor that news.
I guess the searchers there (and the politicians behind the foundation of the institute) were not interested enough in challenging their conventional way of thinking.
@heliantus – in the legal world, if you want to be a litigator, you work for a a law firm, if you’re interested in reviewing contracts & having a 9 – 5 job, you go work for a corporate legal office…..I guess in Medicine, if you don’t want to stretch yourself, or are just looking for a paycheck, you go work for NCCAM – I mean, how hard can that research be, really? It isn’t like you have to worry about finding actual, “evidence” right?
*one* study that doesn’t say what you think it does
The goal of trolling is to put less time & effort into provoking people you provoke than they spend responding to your provocations. Or so I hear from a friend.
So you can’t expect Marg to *read* the papers she waves at you; that would take time and effort, and miss the whole point of the game.
Gladly. Here it is:
“As the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required. Morgan, G. et al. (2004). Clinical Oncology 16, 549e560”
For the percentages, see the tables on pp 3 and 4.
So 1690 patients in the studies looked at owed their 5 year survival to chemotherapy? How many owed 1 year additional survival to chemotherapy I wonder? Even one of the examples they give of chemotherapy being oversold, in breast cancer, seems a lot better than nothing to me:
A ‘number needed to treat’ of 29 for 5 year survival doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Do you think it would have been better if these patients had died? If not, what exactly is your argument, because it isn’t at all clear to me. Also worth noting is that survival isn’t the only important factor in cancer. Quality of life is also important – again if you look at the Gonzalez trial, not only did the patients receiving chemotherapy live 3 times longer (though apparently according to Marg increasing survival by less than 5 years is pointless), they also had a much better quality of life than those treated using the Gonzalez protocol.
Yep, 1690 out of 72,903. What happened to the other 71,213?
“Quality of life”? I’ve seen the quality of life chemo can give. Puking guts out, no energy, joint pain, kidney failure; in comparison having no hair is just a minor, cosmetic detail. In another thread a commenter said “I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy”. And yes, I recognize that this is not everyone’s experience, but it should not be _anyone’s_.
Re: one additional year. How do you know that the people who lived one year lived that additional year because of chemo? They could have lived that year without chemo too.
How wise you are to know the outcome of things that never happened…
More Oracian analysis : Does chemotherapy work or not? The “2%” gambit ( Sept 2011).
It appears to me that the ‘2%’ gambit is part of a programmed campaign by alt med to accomplish many goals, including:
frightening people about SBM treatments,
illustrating how ‘useless’ SBM treatments are,
painting the medical establish as cruel, greedy and disingenuous,
portraying themselves as those who will ‘enlighten’ and ‘save’ the general public heroically.
Orac discusses how the oft-quoted study doesn’t disentangle curative/ adjuvant chemotherapy and doesn’t include cancers that use chemotherapy successfully as a primary treatment; it doesn’t include other measures of outcome, I note. Orac notes another alt med PR gem: that doctors themselves ‘refuse’ chemotherapy- based on an old study. They neglect to tell you that a new study doesn’t show the same results.
However, if you take the word of woo-meisters, it would seem as if Gonzalez and Burzynski** offer a superior advantage to chemotherapy ( note: Dr B, despite his press, does use chemotherapy and *exclusively* so);
to those who carp about SBM’s so-called 2%:
what are alternative therapies’ effect? 30%? 70%?
Oddly, I don’t seem to recall seeing *their* numbers.
If you scan a so-called documentary about alt med cancer ‘cures’, read a book by Suzanne Somers, see articles or listen to rants by web woo-meisters, you will hear amorphous stories about ‘cures’ without any numbers or percentages included: one of the idiots I survey says “all” while simultaneously hinting that SBM produces NO cures.
This is similar to anti-vaccine propaganda wherein negatives are exaggerated and positive effects are omitted.
Sounds like a black-and-white paint job with a broad brush.
2%? Why not just say zero?
** or Burton, Issels, Gerson, Revici
Let me guess: they were destroyed by chemo and sent home to die.
See my response to @Flip, above (9:38)
Here is a sampling of headlines in early August. Clearly your lot have a lot of people to educate out there:
Headline – Time magazine:
How Chemotherapy May Trigger Tumors’ Resistance
Headline – The Week:
How Chemotherapy May Trigger Tumors’ Resistance
Headline – Fox News:
Chemotherapy can inadvertently trigger cancer resistance
Headline – BBC News:
Chemo ‘undermines itself’ through rogue response
Headline – Digital Journal:
Study: Chemotherapy can make cancer worse
Headline – Medical News Today:
Chemotherapy Can Inadvertently Encourage Cancer Growth
I’ve seen the quality of life chemo can give. Puking guts out, no energy, joint pain, kidney failure; in comparison having no hair is just a minor, cosmetic detail.
Not only are you stupid, but you’re a liar and behind the times. My mother just had chemo for breast cancer, and didn’t throw up once. She lost some — not all — of her hair, and only had one major incident at all, which was because she contracted a bladder infection. Another friend of mine who was also undergoing chemo at the same time didn’t throw up, didn’t lose much of her hair at all, and had no issues aside from some fatigue. I have fatigue and I’ve never had cancer or chemo.
Also, the study you just threw out claiming that it proves chemo doesn’t work is looking at adjuvant chemotherapy only, which is to say supplemental chemo that is secondary to the major treatment. It does have a higher treatment-to-benefit ratio than primary chemotherapy, but since you never know if you’re going to be that one person in 29, it’s still probably a good idea.
Also, to actually rebut your argument on the lack of merits, even assuming arguendo that there really was such a thing as vitalistic energy, you just said that energy healing doesn’t work as well as chemotherapy, so why in hell should we discard something that works in favour of a clunky prototype anyway?
Jesus you’re stupid, and you don’t even know it. You’re a walking Dunning-Krueger Effect.
We can all play teh anecdote game–I’ve also seen the quality of life chemotherapy did. Gave a friend an additional four years with his young children, one more wilderness trip with the college friends he’d been kayaking with every summer for 29 years, the time to wrap up his personal career to his own satisfaction, etc. Gave my mom nearly 6 more years with me and my family. Cured a cousin (testicular cancer).
Is chemotherapy a guaranteed cure for every type of cancer? Of course not. One can cherry pick specific cancers where it proves less likely to result in long time survival as the authors of the study you keep shoving in our faces did but it would be dishonest (either wilffully or through ignorance) to argue that therefore chemoptherapy is only effective in 2% of all cancer patients who receive it and therefore should be abandoned in favor of natural ‘therapies’ that have never been shown to be effective at all.
On April 16, 1996, Amalie Bigony died at Palmetto General Hospital, in Hialeah, Florida. As this story … told by Mrs. Bigony’s daughter, Vicky, makes clear, the cause of this South Florida woman’s death was chemotherapy, although physicians originally attempted to lay the blame on ovarian cancer. ..
‘In April 15th of 1996, my mother passed away-exactly 10 days after undergoing chemo-therapy. She had been told by her surgeon that she only needed six treatments. My mother died after just one.
Her doctor finally conceded that the chemotherapy killed her and the amended death certificate is so annotated. It was a shock to us all. Who would have thought one treatment of chemo could be fatal? That’s why I feel what happened to my mom should be made public.
Undergoing chemotherapy is not to be taken lightly. Even though many people are aware of the terrible side effects, such as nausea, weakness and loss of hair, how many really understand that the drugs used for chemotherapy are toxins, deadly poisons that kill all your cells, not just cancer? According to one doctor regarding my mother’s case, it is not uncommon for patients to die from chemotherapy. I wonder why people are not aware of this fact? We certainly were not, and even after the doctor conceded to us that the chemotherapy had killed my mother, he still tried to downplay what happened by saying, “The cancer was so advanced, your mother would not have lived long anyway.”
In late December 1995, my mother had a severe pain attack in her abdomen. A sonogram determined she had a mass on her right ovary. Follow-up tests confirmed it was cancerous. Her CA-125 count was at 400 [editor’s note: normal CA-125 levels are less than 35]. Due to some delay, surgery was not scheduled until March 6, 1996. A full hysterectomy was performed and the mass removed.
However, since the tumor was touching on four different areas, the surgeon insisted that my mother undergo chemotherapy. My mother was hesitant and asked about alternative treatment, but the surgeon said that was not anoption. He added that she needed to have only six treatments of chemotherapy.
On April 4 and 5, my mother underwent the chemotherapy. The drugs used were Taxol and Platinol. Three days later, on Monday, April 8, my mother fainted and was rushed to the emergency room. She was released, but on April 10 was again in the emergency room because of severe pain. No blood was drawn and after being given a shot of morphine, my mother was released and again sent home.
On Friday, April 12, my father and I took my mother in to see her physician. After a brief examination, she was, to my surprise, not hospitalized. I thought the doctor might hospitalize her or at least run more tests. In my mind, my mother was more than just weak; she could not walk and could hardly stand. We even had to borrow a wheelchair from the doctor’s office for her to use. However, our not being doctors and never having been around anyone who had to undergo chemotherapy, my father and I had to trust the doctor’s decision. We took my mother home.
Two days later, on Sunday, April 14, my Mother was again rushed to the emergency room-one final time. She was barely conscious. At first the doctor thought she was having a reaction to the drug Darvon, which my mother was taking for pain.
However, when the blood work came back, the doctor explained to me that my mother had no more white blood cells [editor’s note: a common and sometimes lethal side effect of chemotherapy is white blood-cell depletion], and her prognosis was poor.
The next 24 hours were a nightmare, with one crisis after another. First, my mother had to be intubated [the insertion of a tracheal tube] because she was having problems breathing. When she was finally stable enough to be transferred to the critical care unit, her heart rate had shot up to 180. It took four hours for a cardiologist to finally come. Later, my mother ran a high fever.
Her own doctor and oncologist never came until the following Monday morning, but my dad and I stayed and never left my mother’s side, holding her hand and talking to her. During this entire time, my dad and I had no idea how critical my mother’s condition was or what was causing her heart rate and temperature to soar. Unbeknownst to us, my mother’s kidneys had also begun to fail. Even though the cardiologist had mentioned the term “septicshock” [shock associated with overwhelming infection], I was unable at the time to fully comprehend what it meant.
At 8 a.m. Monday morning, my Mother’s doctor and oncologist finally came. But by then, there was not much they could do and so had to call in a heart specialist as well as an expert on infectious diseases. A procedure was attempted whereby a tube was inserted into the lungs with the hope of draining fluid which had accumulated. However, not long thereafter my mother’s heart stopped beating altogether.
Quite simply, my mother died from septic shock brought on by chemotherapy. The chemotherapy had wiped out her white blood cell count, leaving her at risk for infection. This led to the release of endotoxins [fever-producing agents of bacterial origin causing her blood pressure to drop]. Without receiving the necessary oxygen to survive, her organs then began to fail. Yet all along, her heart was desperately trying to pump harder until it, too, failed.
I know if my mother had known how lethal chemotherapy is, she never would have consented to treatment. I hope what happened to my mother is enough to stop others from choosing chemotherapy.
I will never forget my mother’s words as she got weaker and weaker: “No more chemo.” My dad and I did not know at the time how true her words would be.’
I saw your post at 9:38. See Denice Walter’s at 10:56.
Then perhaps read Orac’s full blog entry from Sept 2011.
Yes, we’ve finally gotten down to cut-and-pastes from Life Extension magazine.
Re: Amalie Bigony
Is chemotherapy, like all other medical interventions, known to sometimes have side effects? Yes.
Are some of the known side effects of chemotherapy, like all other medical interventions, sometimes serious? Yes
Does that mean chemotherapy only contributes to the survival of 2% of all patients who receive it? No.
That’s a rather succinct and accurate description of Alt-med grievances, yes.
Cue Marg’s last painting job, quoting four headlines which look like the same press article just copy/pasted from one news organism to the next. News tend to be propagated this way, you know.
The last headlines are more on topic, but that we wanted was peer-review articles. Press releases are not the same thing, the data is missing or incomplete.
But your argument from popularity is noted.
Actually, as a matter of fact, you are right. Part of the scientists’ job should be to educate the public on their findings, and we could do a better job.
As the saying goes, knowing is half the battle.
You are really not looking at the numbers, are you? Orac disputes the overall 2% finding. I am conceding to him on the charge that authors left out blood cancers where chemo is the primary method of treatment, but that still leaves the numbers for the individual cancers, which with the exception of one or two are dismal.
The study was not done by so-called “woo-meisters” but by medical professionals. It was published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Here are comments from some other scientists/medical professionals:
…as a chemist trained to interpret data, it is incomprehensible to me that physicians can ignore the clear evidence that chemotherapy does much, much more harm than good.
Alan C Nixon, PhD, former president of the American Chemical Society
Cancer researchers, medical journals, and the popular media all have contributed to a situation in which many people with common malignancies are being treated with drugs not known to be effective.
Dr. Martin Shapiro UCLA
Many medical oncologists recommend chemotherapy for virtually any tumor, with a hopefulness undiscouraged by almost invariable failure.
Albert Braverman MD 1991 Lancet 1991 337 p 901, “Medical Oncology in the 90s”
Most cancer patients in this country die of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy does not eliminate breast, colon, or lung cancers. This fact has been documented for over a decade, yet doctors still use chemotherapy for these tumors.
Allen Levin, MD, UCSF, The Healing of Cancer
…chemo drugs are some of the most toxic substances ever designed to go into a human body, their effects are very serious, and are often the direct cause of death. Like the case of Jackie Onassis, who underwent chemo for one of the rare diseases in which it generally has some beneficial results: non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She went into the hospital on Friday and was dead by Tuesday.
Dr Tim O’Shea in TO THE CANCER PATIENT
Seems there are doctors out there who don’t buy into chemo. Convince them first, then try to convince me.
Regardless of where it comes from, the woman died, and her doctors conceded that it was from her chemotherapy.
The BBC’s report was clearly not cut-and-paste., and you can see how it would lead people to believe that chemotherapy leads to a worsening of cancer:
“Around 90% of patients with solid cancers, such as breast, prostate, lung and colon, that spread – metastatic disease – develop resistance to chemotherapy.
Treatment is usually given at intervals, so that the body is not overwhelmed by its toxicity.
But that allows time for tumour cells to recover and develop resistance.
In this study, by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle looked at fibroblast cells, which normally play a critical role in wound healing and the production of collagen, the main component of connective tissue such as tendons.
But chemotherapy causes DNA damage that causes the fibroblasts to produce up to 30 times more of a protein called WNT16B than they should.
The protein fuels cancer cells to grow and invade surrounding tissue – and to resist chemotherapy. “
My sincere condolences for your loss. I am sorry that chemotherapy didn’t helped your mother.
Sometimes, medicine (and science) fails.
One problem with cancer, you see, is that cancer cells are your cells, too.
So yeah, targeting the rogue cells and leaving the normal cells alone is sort of tricky.
And this will likely be the case with any alternative treatment you may think of (alternative as “other than mainstream chemo”).
Unless you have something specific of cancer cells to target. We are getting here, slowly, for some cancers, with more or less success.
Um, no, this has not been demonstrated in the slightest. The underlying assertion is that a single administration of paclitaxel destroyed, in toto, Ms. Bigony’s leukocytes, which were just dandy otherwise. This is the part where you provide some actual documentation.
Ah, comprehension fail on my part, Marg was quoting someone’s else testimony. I retract my condolences.
Cold comfort, but that’s likely true.
A number of cancers are benign and trying to treat them is doing more harm than good. There are constant re-evaluations of the consensus for treatment for prostate tumors, by example. Colon tumors are another example.
On the other hand, a number of cancers are known to be quickly fatal. Pancreatic cancer (see Steve Jobs) is one of them. Ovarian cancer isn’t far down on the list, IIRC.
I concur with Narad, “This is the part where you provide some actual documentation.” I don’t reject the idea that this woman had her life shortened because of the chemo.
For a proper risk/benefit assessment, one need to know the chance of the risk, and the chance of the benefit.
[Citation needed], please.
My cut-and-paste sentence was referring to the way News media are propagating information, by picking up that has been published by the concurrent and re-publishing it.
Or more simply: next time you point us to a news article, just pick one, no need to give four or five versions of the same.
Yes, this is a problem, a serious one, and not a new one. We have something similar going on with antibiotics, and to some extend with herbicides.
A few scientific teams are trying to find solutions, be it new molecules, or different protocols. Not enough teams, in my opinion, but I could be biased.
I agree that having a cancer resistant to chemo is worse than having a cancer which is not, but I’m not sure I agree with the implication that chemo should be dropped altogether.
When a soldier run out of ammo to shot at the enemy, the situation is worsening for him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he shouldn’t have fired in the first place.
Believe me, if there was something better than chemo, all of us here would love to hear about it.
Or just that a treatment is ineffective? Again, do tell.
But as pointed elsewhere, we are picky: we need data to convince us that we are not running after shadows.
Is it common for ovarian cancer to destroy lymphocites? Answer: NO.
Is chemotherapy known to destroy lymphocites?
That should have been leukocytes.
No, toots, it doesn’t work that way. You have a single, inadequately documented, facially implausible, 16-year-old, fatal adverse event, and you think it’s golden.
Adverse events are all around if you just care to open your eyes and look.
So are good outcomes.
Your continuing retreats into the stupidest pouting imaginable are not advancing your argument.
Sigh. Everything you do has potential adverse events. Even breathing air or drinking water
(to start with, there are all the dust micro-particles you draw in, which do some damage to your lungs or guts; let’s add allergens and the occasional pathogen micro-organism for more serious adverse events)
If something has biological effects, then part of the effects are likely to be undesired, or even undesirable. Salicylic acid (a natural molecule which lead to aspirin) is an egregious example of this – it’s a painkiller, an antipyretic, an anticoagulant, and it has a tendency to trigger stomach ulcers. Not everybody need all of these effects, especially the ulcer part.
The question, again, is risk/benefit. How often does that adverse event happen? How often, by comparison, the patient is getting better for taking the medicine?
We agree that as Orac has indicated the authors failed to include outcomes for the cancers where chemotherapy has been found most efficacious during their analysis. Do you also agree that Orac’s other points (the author’s failure to distinguish between adjuvant and curative chemotherapeutic regimens or to consider other measures of outcome other than survival time (e.g., quality of life) are correct as well, and as a result a blanket statement that chemotherapy is only successful 2.1% of the time isn’t supported by this study?
…but that still leaves the numbers for the individual cancers, which with the exception of one or two are dismal.
Yes, for the particular set of ‘individual’ (I.e. cherry-picked )cancers presented chemotherapy does not perform as well as we’d all wish it would.:clearly, however, it still performs better than no chemotherapy at all.
What evidence is Dr. Nixon suggesting we’re ignoring, exactly? Be specific.
Which common malignancies, what drugs, and what evidence demonstrating they are ineffective is Dr. Shapiro referring to here? Again: be specific.
Are you seeing the trend here? Yes, there are “doctors out there who don’t buy into chemo”, but unless they can provide credible evidence that they’re correct not to buy into chemo all these cut and pastes represent is an argument from authority at best, and an argument vox populi at worst.
Show us evidence, rather than cut and paste random quotes, if you want anyone to take your position seriously.
Perhaps their lives were extended by 4 years? If you include cancers that have a very short average survival and use 5 year survival to assess treatment efficacy, you will get a very distorted picture. For some cancers conventional treatment is not very effective, it’s true. My reaction is to hope that current and future research will find better treatments for the many thousands of different types of cancer that have proved to be more complex and difficult to treat than anyone expected 40 years ago, and to make a donation to a cancer charity. You appear to assume that this (relative) failure is because scientists are too stupid and have been trying all the wrong approaches, when in many cases those approaches have been tried and are utterly useless. Your attitude seems to me to be hopelessly naive and more than a little offensive to the thousands of doctors and scientists who have devoted their working lives to solving this conundrum.
Oops. Working link to Vickers 2009.
Did anyone notice, in Marg’s lovely story about her friends with breast cancer, that she carefully worded that they refused chemotherapy and radiation therapy and then went on about they did dietary changes, etc. Wonder if they happened to have the curative SURGERY which is the primary treatment for breast cancer? (Gee, Marg, given what our host does for a living, you think we don’t know a fair amount about how breast cancer is treated from his many posts?) After all, I’m sure Marg is well aware that surgery (lumpectomy preferably, greater surgery if the mass is too large or there is lymph node involvement) is the treatment of choice, and chemo/radiation are additional therapies used to improve long term outcomes?
After all, WAY back in the day, many, many, many women lived long lives after radical mastectomies with no radiation or chemotherapy. Nowadays, we’ve improved things so women don’t necessarily have to lose their entire breast, but they improve their changes to some extent with chemo/radiation.
So, Marg – want to tell us the rest of the story of your friends? Surgery or not?
Another facet of black-and-white thinking.. scratch that! there AREN’T any facets in black-and-white thinking!
Another *characteristic* of B&W thinking is that you don’t weigh benefits and risks- it’s all one way or the other – not gradations.
We know that young children think this way and GRADUALLY start to incorporate a more subtle recognition of shades of difference rather than just 2 categories- a dichotomy ( yes/no). By adolescence, most kids start to think this way, e.g. they can rate things on a scale and using percentiles gets easier for them. Also their verbal characterisations get more complex as they use qualifiers and exceptions more. Kids learn to consider more than one variable simultaneously and their interactions as well AND this is not purely in the cognitive realm ( school work, naive physics et al) but includes social cognition. They are less swayed by emotional arguments and learn to understand hidden motives of persauders.
For some unearthy reason that I cannot fathom**, alt med seems to habitually use less complex explanations when discussing science with its audience.
** although I have my guesses, I add innocently.
hidden motives of PERSUADERS.
I believe I said in my post that both were still alive with the tumor still in their bodies.
Only one of them is a breast cancer. In 2007 it was the size of a grapefruit. It waxes and wanes.
The other is a soft tissue sarcoma. It was removed by surgery when it was first discovered and grew back larger than it had been.
So, no, the woman with breast cancer did not have surgery. The other woman did, but the tumor grew back.
And why the sneering tone?
And you and others in these posts don’t adopt B&W thinking in your blanket condemnation of CAM? Especially Orac, who would not even allow it as an adjunct to conventional treatment?
No, we firmly differentiate CAM/ woo/ alt med that does NO harm from that which DOES harm as well as the degree/ amount of harm that is done. Additionally, we discriminate ‘harm’ that merely wastes time, money or both from that which causes physical harm. Or psychological harm. We also discern that alt med providers might be motivated by monetary rewards or may honestly and TRULY believe in their woo.
I could go on but won’t.
And of course pharmaceutical companies have motives that are as pure as the driven snow.
With the use of chemotherapy we must then differentiate between the temporary harm that causes the patient to feel ill while under treatment and the lasting harm which causes the cancer to come back stronger than ever, or results in “adverse treatment effects” leading to death.
Using people as guinea pigs?
No kidding! Who ever said corporations have pure motives? Why do you think there is regulation? Should be more.
Or that SBM isn’t concerned with multiple side-effects along a spectrum of harm or that there isn’t a trade-off between gain and loss with any treatment? What do you think testing and trials are about?
Okay, that bit about guinea pigs was facetious on my part. I take it back. I understand that everyone means well, maybe even the pharmaceutical companies, whose main interest is the bottom line and for whom a long protracted illness needing lots of treatment is a financial bonanza. No one really wants to see cancer patients suffer, not you, not me, not Orac, or anyone on this discussion board. And I have as much contempt as you do for alternative practitioners who are out to fleece cancer patients. In the best of all possible worlds orthodox medicine and CAM should work together for the best outcome and least suffering for the patient. I hope we can agree on that.
The problem here is that you are unable to recognize when patients are being fleeced. Remember that time you wrote this?
CAM practitioners fleece people, including cancer patients, every day. The only way ‘orthodox medicine’ and CAM can truly “work together” is if CAM disappears.
Yep, 1690 out of 72,903. What happened to the other 71,213?
Marg would not ask such stupid questions if only she would read the sources she cites. Nothing happened to them, because these are extrapolations from applying results from RCTs and historic cancer incidences to the Australian population at a particular moment — not empirical counts.
Some would have lived, some would have died. The 1690 is the hypothetical number of people who would have died before 5 years if they had been treated without chemotherapy, and would have passed the 5-year point *with* chemotherapy. The numbers who would have died before 5 years despite receiving chemotherapy or who would have lived at least 5 years without chemo are *not calculated* in the paper (not being the authors’ concern).
Even one of the examples they give of chemotherapy being oversold, in breast cancer, seems a lot better than nothing to me:
As has been noted, a lot of women who undergo surgery for breast cancer without adjuvant chemo or radiotherapy relapse after more than 5 years. The 5-year criterion was chosen to minimise the benefit of adjuvant treatment.
Marg, the conclusion that you want us to accept is “energy healing is better than chemotherapy.” And the premise you keep spewing at us is “Chemotherapy is awful.” Let’s diagram that syllogism, shall we?
1. Chemotherapy is awful.
3. Ergo, energy healing is better than chemotherapy.
Do you see what I see? I see a missing premise! I see a big empty space where there needs to be some sort of evidence for energy healing being better than chemotherapy!
By “evidence,” BTW, we mean something better than unsupported assertion of counterfactuals, like:
I see by this that we have something in common: I, too, enjoyed a few episodes of Sliders back in the day, at least in the early seasons. But you have to realize, Marg, all those things they showed of “Here’s what would have resulted in some alternate world where things happened differently than they did in ours!” were just make-believe. They were made up by TV writers, Marg. Trying to use them as evidence to win real-world arguments is just embarrassingly silly.
It’s ok, all of this talk of measuring effectiveness is totally pointless according to Marg. On the last thread she said
It’s really quite simple. When you treat a person, there are two possibilities: there is either an effect or there isn’t one. In my empirical experience there is an effect most of the time. I don’t need studies to prove to me that what I do is effective; people tell me whether it’s effective or not.
Marg, why does chemotherapy require studies of effectiveness but reiki doesn’t?
Could oncologists just say, “In my empirical experience there is an effect most of the time” like you did with reiki?
Why the double standard?
sigh, html fail. the section from “It’s really…or not” is all quoting Marg from the reiki thread.
That argument is the best one anyone has produced so far. I agree. There is a big blank. We will have to work on filling that big blank.
If I were a cancer patient I would be far more reassured by an oncologist saying “in my empirical experience there is a [positive] effect most of the time” than I would be by “studies show”, but that’s just me.
Marg, you’ve dodged the question entirely. Why is observational data sufficient to prove reiki’s effectiveness but not chemotherapy’s?
I have not stated that experimental data is de rigueur to prove the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
The problem with experimental data from the perspective of the consumer is that because something works on X per cent of the participants in a study is no guarantee that it will work on you. In fact, it is not even a guarantee that it will work on the same per cent of the population, when it’s taken out of the lab into the general population or that there will not be unexpected side effects or “adverse events” (see Vioxx). It’s a game of chance that is dressed up in scientific garb and therefore people naively buy into it.
So, a number of practitioners speaking to its efficacy is all it takes for a treatment to be effective? How, then, do you propose we identify alternative practitioners who are ‘fleecing cancer patients’ as you suggest above? Surely those who are fleecing patients also claim that their treatments are effective. What system can we use to determine whether or not their claims are truthful?
It’s a problem, isn’t it? When the world was a much smaller place, you could rely upon patient testimonials. If a healer consistently failed, everyone in the community would know. With healthcare delivered in a mass market, this no longer works. Whether you go to a healer or an oncologist, you have no clue what kind of track record they have. And, BTW, even with the best studies on hand, you as a patient have no idea what kind of results your oncologist or the cancer centre you are going to have had with your kind of cancer. None. It’s all accepted on faith. Unless I am missing some kind of database that keeps these records. Is there one? Also, does anyone keep tabs on oncologists? If there were one out there that consistently and catastrophically underperformed, or just had the signal bad luck of losing a lot of patients, would other oncologists ring the alarm bell? Would anyone warn patients? Are there checks and balances? I am just asking the question because I don’t know the answer. The same is true of healers.
With any therapy, we have no way of knowing how effective it will be *without* research and yes, research is not infallible. A patient only can be assured that on *average* a person will be helped- not any one individual. But that’s science. It’s about probabilities and liklihoods. And SBM strives to acquire more information that guides doctors better in matching patient and therapy.
And research can be tainted and experimenters can CHEAT( and get found out, I should add). And competing researchers can often improve methods. SBM thus is a self-correcting system, altho’ it may take a long time..
Alt med does NOT usually present scrupulous methodologies and serious peer review. Statistical analyses are often an afterthought. Testimonies may be relied upon to convince potential patients sans data. Theoretical considerations may be articles of faith rather than testable hypotheses.’ they just KNOW it will work.
Here is my greatest concern about alt med: many of those who proselytise also have vested interests because they sell products like supplements, treatments or information ( books, lectures, videos) AND they do not have the blind justice of methodology, statistics, review and regulation to ferret this out.They don’t rely upon the scientific method even though they present themselves as scientists. It’s harder to spot a cheat if they don’t submit themselves to the public scrunity and criticism of submitting articles to journals.
And -btw- two of the biggest frauds in medicine/ psychology were found out by the press, although their work caused suspicion by people in their own fields first.
No, Marg. You have to work on filling that big blank. Because you’re the only one who is insistent on the particular goal that blank is en route to. The rest of us are all “we want whatever works best against cancer to be used against cancer” and you’re the only one who’s all “Energy healing, ooh, ooh, it’s the new paradigm, let’s ditch that nasty chemotherapy which only has real-world results in its favor.”
You used to be able to rely on investor testimonials as well. Carlo Ponzi’s customers were quite happy and gave glowing testimonials. So did Bernie Madoff’s.
Guess testimonials aren’t as sure a sign of quality and effectiveness as they used to be.
By “we” I meant my lot, not your lot. Because we are not scientists, our opportunities for creating scientific studies are limited. Most studies on energy healing tend to be of the “adjunctive pain and anxiety relief” variety. We don’t often get mice to play with. Apparently IRCs believe that subjecting mice to energy healing is causing them unnecessary suffering. So it’s hard even to get a foot in the door.
BTW wouldn’t you love to ditch that nasty chemotherapy and have something better?
Curious to know, who were the two frauds unmasked by the media?
I know about an incompetent pathologist who often acted as expert witness in child death cases and sent many innocent parents to jail. I also know about an ob/gyn who crippled women through shockingly incompetent surgeries for decades before his license to practice medicine was finally revoked. He just kept moving jurisdictions every time questions were raised.
BTW I am mistrustful of alternative practitioners too.
Marg, I suggest you do a little research on Benjamin Rush, Founding Father of the USA, a great man, a medical pioneer, yet he was convinced that bloodletting was a cure-all. He even sued, successfully, a journalist who suggested he was leaving a trail of corpses in his wake, which we now know was almost certainly true. If a man like Rush could deceive himself so thoroughly, what chance do the rest of us mere mortals stand, without the scientific method and randomized clinical trials?
How true. I guess Rush didn’t leave enough people alive to complain?
One has been a topic often @ RI: Andrew Wakefield fixed data and was exposed by Brian Deer of the Sunday TImes.
Another was Sir Cyril Burt whose research into intelligence and heredity was widely accepted. It was suspected that he created data – perhaps subjects and assistants as well. Also made public by the Sunday TImes. Psychologists were suspicious because of other data that contradicted his and because his coefficients of correlation were remarkably stable across studies- to 3 places, IIRC. This is not very likely to occur by chance.
On a personal note: my prof used to speak at length about how Burt’s dishonesty affected school/ social policy for decades: if science shows IQ is firmly based in heredity why spend money trying to educate kids?
I’ve always speculated if perhaps Wakefield, who is around my age, heard similar tales from a prof and instead of being upset by it, used it as a jumping off point for his own fraud. He didn’t have things line up quite so neatly as did Burt…he did Sir Cyril one better..or so he thought.
I always thought that Wakefield’s work didn’t fit other research I knew about.
Is it common for ovarian cancer to destroy lymphocites? Answer: NO.
I can only conclude that in Marg’s world, leukocytes survive after the death of the patient.
Then we have this:
‘Dr Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, said he would be speaking to the co-authors of the study to seek their permission to retract the paper.
He described the fabrication of data as a “terrible personal tragedy” for Dr Sudbo.
However, he denied that there was anything fundamentally wrong with the process of peer-reviewing contributions to scientific journals.
“The peer-review process is good at picking up poorly designed studies, but it is not designed to pick up fabricated research,” he said.
“Just as in society you cannot always prevent crime, in science you cannot always prevent fabrication.” ‘
If i subscribe to what Marg writes, as an active breast cancer patient, the chemo, radiation, surgery, and hormonal drugs I take are all bunk because I will be dead in a few years anyway. Thanks Marg!
Give sarcasm a rest, @Herr Doktor Bimmler. We were just reaching a consensus here.
In the long run, we are all dead. In the meantime I wish you all the best with your treatment, sincerely. I think the one conclusion we all agreed with is that results are individual. May you live a long life.
Marg @ 6:17 pm
Where’s the rest of it go? Here’s the whole thing, I hope:
Marg @ 6:17 pm
“Studies show” is shorthand for “the empirical experience of a large number of practitioners and patients, adjusted for various sources of misleading experiences, such as the personalities and dreams of the practitioners, shows.”
Marg 7:09 pm
“And … even with the best [reputation] on hand, you as a patient have no idea what kind of results your ]woo-peddler is] going to have had with your kind of cancer.” FTFY.
A few weeks ago, Daughter-in-law was diagnosed with GBM (Glioblastoma Multiforme). We immediately hit the various (medical) resources, on the web and in real life. Her hospital team in Seattle recommended radiation + adjuvant chemo, following the little bit of surgery that had been possible: web medical sources report this as the treatment most likely to be effective.
She has a family option of going to Scripps Hospital in San Diego (her sister works there). Sister checked with the Scripps center, who reported that Seattle had a good reputation. at least as good as their own, for GBM. The current plan is for her (and Granddaughter and Greatgrandkids) to return to San Diego after the Seattle treatment completes, next week or so.
Info not relevant to Marg’s misguided blather:
Son was too far down the kidney list when dialysis proved insufficient, ten years ago, so DIL has been going it more-or-less alone.
The bad news: DIL’s platelet count took a nose dive over the weekend, so the Seattle team has DCed the chemo. They may treat her to a platelet infusion this week, depending on her condition. She may be going home to San Diego to recover, or to die. That’s the way life works. At least she will have given it her best shot, without falling prey to Marg-style fraud.
I wish your daughter-in-law well and I am very sorry to hear about your son. Most alternative practitioners, like orthodox practitioners wish to help and your daughter-in-law (and you yourself), would probably benefit from something like reiki. I understand that you are angry, but it helps no one for you to vent on me.
In the best of all possible worlds, there is medicine which has been proved to work and is proposed to patient with appropriate explanation of risks and benefits, and there is medicine which hasn’t been proved efficient, and which is not proposed to the patient.
Again and again and again, it’s not about black and white orthodox vs CAM. It’s about data.
We don’t accept CAM because the data shows us it’s not working.
Forgive me: haven’t read the comments just yet, but I just saw this in my twitter feed…
An Immune Disorder at the Root of Autism
Emily WIllingham has systematically examined the editorial’s claims, discovering that the author was wrong about practically everything it was possible to be wrong about.
I share your desire for better options. My wife’s ovarian cancer was too far advanced for surgery at diagnosis so chemo was her only option. Unfortunately first and second line chemo failed and her tumours just laughed at the clinical trial agents she tried at the end. If there were another option with a better chance of working then I’d have urged her to try it. I’d have screamed for it. We moved 4000km for a clinical trial that looked promising and would have done whatever we could to find the right treatment..
Unfortunately there isn’t a better option.
Lots of interesting ideas: cell therapies, novel agents, combination therapies and better methods of detection (get it early enough and the stuff we have now works) but the data isn’t in yet to demonstrate efficacy… or side effects.
There are also lots of ideas for treatments that don’t work. That have been tried and failed. That’s where a lot of the CAM options fall. My wife’s oncologists were willing to let her stop treatment and try something alternative while they continued to monitor her blood work and the scheduled scans, but when we asked them for hard numbers, for outcomes, they were only able to say that there were no published data showing that the vitamin, energy and related treatments worked; that there was some data showing they didn’t work; and that they had never seen a single patient improved by the CAM in any measurable way.
Life doesn’t always work out how we’d like. The magic options isn’t there just because we think it should be. That doesn’t mean we stop looking, but we don’t have the luxury of fooling ourselves.
Clearly my grasp of grammar fails when I write too quickly. My apologies.
You are right about life not always working out the way we`d want it to. And also about keeping on looking while not fooling oneself. That`s a difficult balance to keep. I also wish medical practitioners were more abreast of what`s available out there.
I am sorry about your loss.
“I also wish medical practitioners were more abreast of what’s available out there”
Like what? What is out there that works better than the conventional treatment? I haven’t seen any convincing evidence and a lot of dis-confirming evidence.
There are new energy therapies out there that are more effective than reiki, for instance. The studies on energy therapies have mostly concentrated on reiki and therapeutic touch, and mostly with regard to pain and anxiety relief. They are usually initiated by nurses, many of whom have some background in reiki or TT. The only person I know of who studied the effectiveness of an energy therapy on cancer was Bill Bengston, who Orac & everyone else here love to scoff at because all the mice in his experiments survived to full life span cures, including most of the controls. The catch is that he has done about a dozen experiments in at least five institutions (including medical schools), with at least two different cancers, and the pesky mice persist in surviving no matter what is done to them, even after growing massive tumors. He has not done trials with people yet.
Also, Leigh Fortson`s book “Embrace, Release, Heal“, which came out last year, is quite a resource. She has collected the stories of a dozen cancer survivors, including herself, who beat the odds with alternative medicine after conventional treatment failed. But at this point reading it may just serve to add to the pain of your loss, so you may not want to. The evidence all tends to be anecdotal rather than experimental anyway.
Forgive me if you’ve heard this before, but you are applying an appalling double standard. Every single chemotherapy worked brilliantly in mice. Every single chemotherapy looked great anectdotally. Nobody would have tried a further trial if it hadn’t. Why should I believe your anecdotes over theirs?
As for Reiki, she actually tried it as an adjuvant. It was definitely restful and calming but clearly had no effect on any objective tests. Based upon that experience, I have no problem with Reiki as a meditative tool. In that way it is comparable to a lot of religious practices… but that doesn’t make it medicine.
Marg August 27, 11:27 pm
Thank you for your good wishes and sorrow. The issue I have with “alternative practitioners” and their putative “wish to help” is the simple truth that what they practice destroys life, while pretending to ‘help’. Life is all we’ve got, and death is part of it. The best we can do is to make the best of what we get – both in quantity and quality. The game of the “alternative practitioner” is to promise both, but to deliver, at most, a brief improvement in perceived quality, often at the expense of quantity.
Well, I’ve found that relaxation and massage can give me a brief improvement in my mental state, and DIL has likely had that experience also. No reiki practitioner is needed for that.
Like theists insists that atheists are angry at the theists’ gods, CAM believers seem to believe that real-med users are angry at CAM. The believer must adopt the attitude that, since the believer has THE TRUTH™, any dissent must be from anger. The believer also tends to project: the believer is angry because THE TRUTH™ is not immediately, unquestioningly accepted, so the ‘angry’ dissenter-from-TRUTH™ must likewise be angry.
No, Marg, I’m not angry; I’m sometimes sad however. I’m sad about the likelihood that DIL will not survive much longer, and that we, her kids and her grandkids will not have her in their lives. I’m happy, though, that none of the family has suggested substituting woo-fraud for actual medicine. I’m sad, a bit, that the chemo hasn’t been as effective an adjuvant as it often is; but I’m happy for what effect it has had.
When I speak of reiki and the other forms of woo-fraud as woo-fraud, I’m not venting any anger. To the extent that you identify your woo-fraud as part of yourself, I can see how you might think I’m venting on you. I’m just honestly and accurately characterising them. No, Marg, it’s not about you — it’s about reality.
The catch is that he has done about a dozen experiments in at least five institutions (including medical schools), with at least two different cancers
List them, please.
If Bengston has done about a dozen different experiments in five institutions with two different cancers and each time the result has been that the control group survives at a rate indistinguishable from that of the experimental group, the conclusion it points to is that he needs to learn how to stop f***ing up his experiments.
It would take a truly committed idiot to look at Bengston providing these results and say “Wow, there was no difference between the control group and the experimental group; that proves that energy healing makes a big difference.” Unfortunately, Marg has affirmed over and over that she fits that bill.
If Bengston has done about a dozen different experiments in five institutions
Antaeus Feldspar, you may be exaggerating Bengston’s incompetence — I only know of 5 experiments. Bengston & Krinsley report 4 experiments. Bengston and Moga summarise those four and report one more.
No one suggests using reiki as a stand-alone therapy for cancer. I don`t know where you would get the idea that it would improve quailty of life _at the expense of quantity_, but I am pretty sure that if it did that, hospitals would not be offering it as an option. I am also pretty sure that the reiki practitioners who volunteer their time in hospitals are not fleecing patients. Why would you want to take pride in your DIL not availing herself of an option that might make her feel better while she undergoes orthodox medical treatment? It is very different from massage.
As above, I don`t advocate reiki as a stand-alone medical therapy. I advocate it precisely for the reasons you suggest: it makes people feel better. Calm and peaceful are valuable states to be able to have in the midst cancer treatment.
Reiki or other energy “healing” most certainly can have a calming effect and help with pain and stress. So can the prayer that any church will teach you for free. So can watching sitcoms on television.. So can watching a baby sleep.
My problem is when energy”healers” claim to be able to cure cancer. Then they are just stealing peoples’ money and giving them ephemeral useless twinkles of hope. True hope that a real treatment will work is beyond price but the false hope these people sell is pitiable.
I have lasting side effects from chemo but compared to the agony of a fungating breast tumor they are so small as to not be mentioned.
You and I cross posted. If you do not advocate energy “healing” as a substitute for chemo was substitute would you suggest?
I’ll bite: what are these new energy therapies, and how exactly have then been shown to be effective at all, let more effective than other reiki or other previous energy therapies?
Be as specific as possible.
Re: Bengston, quite simply when your control group fails and treatment outcomes are indistinguishable from untreatment outcomes (i.e., in B’s case, when both the treated and the untreated mice survive with equivalent frequencey) your entire experiment has failed and you cannot derive any meaningful conclusions regarding the efficacy of the treatment you’ve given the experiental groups, it doesn’t matter if the treatment we’re talking about is science based or CAM.
If I ciyed a study which found cancer patients treated with surgery followed by adjuvant chemo did no better than a control group of cancer patients who were left completely untreated, and said “See? This shows surgery and chemo works!” wouldn’t you jump all over me?
Why then are you giving Bengston a pass?
Because she neither knows nor cares what the facts are; only what validates her religion matters.
I can only remark that we have had centuries to show the efficacy of various alt med treatments: herbs, healing, meditation, prayer and decades for the more modern forms like vitamins and special diets. There should be a mountain of data. There isn’t. I read about the same herbs, supplements and methods in 1950s alt med articles or a 1990s healing digest ( I have a collection).
And whilst SBM *may* only provide what’s been shown to have effectiveness probablistically: it’s all we have. There is no certainty – but I’ll take the latter over no data at all. You can’t just rely upon word of mouth.
Someone in my family had a serious heart problem after the age of 80: he was managed by a simple pill 3 times a day and a simple 24 hour patch for almost 10 years. Needless to say, I was admonished by a few people to try herbs or supplements, even prayer over “dangerous pharmaceuticals”. Brew up the daily hawthorn/ foxglove! And pray? Not at all. He certainly wouldn’t buy into that. Nor would I. And I said so in no uncertain terms.
Alt med that works ( and is shown to work) becomes ‘medicine’. What works gets replicated. There are additional modalities that may make a person *feel* better without treating them, like massage and meditation. I view these as an extension of spa services. The problem comes in when alt med providers try to impute medicinal properties to them.
Have a nice day all! I am off.
Reiki is only one energy therapy. Energy therapy and reiki are not interchangeable terms and more than color and red are. You cannot speak about the peace and calm reiki can create and compare it to other things, such as watching TV, unless you have experienced it. If you dismissing it without experience, all you are doing is expressing a prejudice.
My reason for giving Bengston the benefit of the doubt is that his only involvement with the mice was putting his hand around the cages. He didn`t inject them with cancer; he did not feed them; he did not touch them. Lab technicians did all of that. The experiments took place in multiple labs over several years. I just can`t wrap my head around the astronomical improbability that qualified lab technicians at several universities are all so incompetent that they can`t properly inject mice with cancer. Also, the cancer took. The mice grew the expected tumors. Histological analysis, not done by Bengston but by biologists, showed they were cancerous.Then the tumors ulcerated and healed. Something did that. Bengston relates that he did two experiments at most institutions; the second one because the people who ran the lab refused to believe the results of the first. Is it easier to believe that all these people screwed up, even when they were trying to prove him wrong, than it is to believe that there was some kind of effect?
I would like to see Bengston duplicate his results with people. That would be more meaningful.
How does reki compare to meditation?
Sorry-reiki Why are typos easier to see after you hit submit?
If Reiki doesn’t work better than conventional medicine then your comment at 1:32 didn’t answer my question at 1:04… So why did you bring it up?
I missed the comment that said all energy “healing” was reiki. Could someone point it out to me?
Yes, something did that, but there’s no rational reason to conclude that Bengston had anything to do with the mice’s survivals.
Bengston, after all, only “put his hand around the cages” of the mice in the treatment group, yet that something did whatever it does to both the treatment group and the control group.
That pretty conclusively demonstrates that whatever that undetermined something was, it wasn’t Bengston’s putting his hand around cages.
Well Marg, buying CD’s makes me feel better, but I’m not going to sell it as an aditional therapy for people suffering from cancer.
only what validates her religion matters.
I haven’t seen any evidence that Marg takes Bengston’s claims seriously except as a way to wind up RI readers. She hasn’t read his papers (or she wouldn’t be claiming that he’s done “about a dozen experiments”).
Oh, I believe she truly does. Here’s some of her words from the Reiki thread:
Marg has a deep failure to understand not only how scientific inquiry is conducted, but also why scientific inquiry is the only effective method for evaluating medical claims. We’re not going to get anywhere with Marg.
Marg: ”Leigh Fortson`s book “Embrace, Release, Heal“, which came out last year, is quite a resource. She has collected the stories of a dozen cancer survivors, including herself, who beat the odds with alternative medicine after conventional treatment failed”
And there we have it, really. ALL those cancer survivors had had conventional cancer treatment. Suzanne Somers-style, they have chosen to credit whatever ‘alternative medicine’ they also took.
I’ve read scores – perhaps hundreds – of ‘I healed my own cancer’ stories. I’ve never seen one that stood up to the mildest scrutiny. Without exception the person has either had conventional treatment too, OR was never actually diagnosed with cancer in the first place (many of the latter had self-diagnosed, some were flat out lying).
And believe me, I wanted to see reliable testimonials. I’ve ‘fessed up on RI before to being a reformed altie. It took my own cancer to shake me out of that. Books, websites, email exchanges… all the ‘healed myself’ testimonials I read led me to one conclusion – no alternative treatment had ever been effective against a single case of cancer. Anywhere. Ever.
The person who argued most persuasively had refused chemo and radiotherapy for her breast cancer, and was adamant that Gerson therapy had saved her life. But… before undertaking that gruelling regime, she had had surgery.
Me? Stage 3 breast cancer; surgery, chemo, radiotherapy. Fit and well almost 9 years after diagnosis.
Oh, that reminds me.
‘Most cancer patients in this country [which country, btw?] die of chemotherapy.’
Due to computer issues I haven’t been able to check in to the updates to this thread – I am here and I will be catching up, but it will take me a while.
I do see Marg has posted some citations – or at least one, and remember I haven’t read anything but the couple of posts after my most recent one – but I don’t see anything as yet that shows a study or list of statistics of the percentage of people who have cancer but the majority are dying/getting worse/not getting better when using chemo.
Does that kind of thing exist?
In the meantime, please be patient with me while I catch up.
I’m not sure why you asked “I missed the comment that said all energy “healing” was reiki. Could someone point it out to me?” but I don’t believe I’ve seen it. I commented on Reiki because my wife tried it.
So not all energy healing is reiki. Yay. We have successfully adjusted the position of at least one Titanic deck chair. What an achievement.
Now that we’ve wasted more time on that than it deserves… Marg, when the hell are you going to show us some evidence – not speculation, not baseless assertion, but evidence – that energy healing OR reiki, whichever you choose, has a greater effect on cancer survival rates than chemotherapy? Oh, the answer is “never”? Then who the hell cares what the failed woo is called?
I asked because Marg said that not all energy healing was reiki. I did not think that anyone had said that it was and was wondering why she was refuting a point that had not been made.
@Herr Doktor Bimmler
My information about there having been a dozen experiments comes from various talks/interviews Dr. Bengston gave. They are available on the web, along with some, but not all, of his papers. I also attended a talk in person.
BTW in one of the experiments geomagnetic probes were placed near the cages of the mice, both the experimental ones and the controls, which were in another lab. At the times when Dr. Bengston did energy healing on the mice the geomagnetic probes, which normally register a random pattern, began to show an organized wave, the same organized wave in both places, regardless of the distance. Other geomagnetic probes set up as controls in other places did not show the same patterns. Bengston published an article about this: “Anomalous DC Magnetic Field Activity during a Bioenergy Healing Experiment.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 397-410, 2010. (with Margaret Moga)
Another experiment not involving mice showed that Bengston’s brainwaves and the brainwaves of the people he treated became synchronized. This has been shown with other modalities too, such as Reiki. The results of the experiments involving Bengston were published in:
“The Healing Connection: EEG Harmonics, Entrainment, and Schumann’s Resonances.”Journal of Scientific Exploration, vol. 24, no. 4,Winter 2010, pp. 655-666. (with Luke Hendricks and Jay Gunkelman)
From past experience I know that you will now all get your panties into a twist about the Journal of Scientific Exploration. Be my guest. But the experiment with the geomagnetic micropulsations seems to suggest a mechanism for the healng of the control mice. The organized pattern recorded by the probes has been referred to as “negative entropy”, and the hypothesis has been advanced elsewhere, not by Bengston, that one of the ways energy healing works is through creating “negative entropy”. There are actually scientists out there interested in the phenomenon.
Good night, everyone. Sleep well in the knowledge that there is still stuff out there left to discover.
BTW, WTF is a “geomagnetic probe”? You mean a “compass”?
Your ignorance is not my problem.
That last was my reaction to your “WTF”. Here is a link that explains geomagnetic micropulsations:
Micropulsations or geomagnetic pulsations are responses to changes in the magnetosphere. The magnetosphere is a cavity in the solar wind, which is the result of the geomagnetic field (earth’s magnetic field) impeding the direct entry of the ionized gas (plasma) of the solar wind into the cavity. Micropulsations were first observed and published by Balfour Steward (also spelled Stewart) in 1861. He described pulsations with frequencies ranging from 3 mHz to 30 mHz. Today, geomagnetic pulsations cover the frequency range from 1 mHz to 1 Hz. Pulsations are divided into two classes, continuous and irregular, each of which are further divided according to the period of the pulsations.
Some research has found that the variations in the geomagnetic field strength (which micropulsations are a response to) can affect one’s health, especially cardiovascular health. Dr. Eliyahu Stoupel published his results in the Bio-Electro-Magnetics Institute (vol. 1, no. 1) in the spring of 1989. Research into micropulsations and their resonances may also be applied to space meteorology, field-line resonances (FLRs) in the magnetospheres of other planets, and other geomagnetic activity (GMA), including geomagnetic storms and flares.
Are we seriously continuing a debate on the cancer healing abilities of Reiki? Energy healing? Really? What a load of crap!
Yes, something did that, but there’s no rational reason to conclude that Bengston had anything to do with the mice’s survivals.
One way of looking at it, is that the natural course of events when you inject mice with a dose of unrelated, tissue-cultured cancer cells, is for the cells to proliferate madly for a while and create a tumour, until the immune systems of those mice kick into gear and wipe the tumours out again.
What happened in Bengston’s 10 experiments — the ‘test’ and ‘control’ arms of the five reported studies — is that the natural course of events did indeed happen, 10 times.
If people prefer to interpret this in terms of “energy healing” (with a form of otherwise-unknown energy) and “quantum entanglement” (with a form of quantum theory unknown to quantum theorists), then there is little one can do except remember Schiller’s aphorism — the one about a human attribute against which the gods themselves contend in vain.
Perhaps you didn’t understand the question. Describe the instrumentation that is Bengston’s “geomagnetic probe.”
Oh, mercy, this Stoupel stuff is side-splitting. Heart attack? In Lithuania, it’s the neutrons.
Oh. My. G-d. “Clinical cosmology”?
Clinical cosmobiology, Narad!
I’m guessing that someone read Lucius Shepard’s first novel “Green Eyes” (with the subplot about magnetosensitive bacteria) and mistook it for a documentary.
AH CANNA MAHK A BABBY, DE SUNSPOTZ IS GONNA TURN DE PRIVATES IN DE WRONG DIRECTION!
Shirley you mean Sunpot, Narad.
OK, the actual paroxyms have backed off and my eyes are nearly dry. In the piece linked above, which is really just dorking around for correlations in the solar-geophysical data, Stoupel also makes the bold assertion (citing himself) that “solar, cosmic ray and geomagnetic activity, at the begin-
ning of pregnancy may also play a role [1-9,17-19], per-
haps via their effects on chromosome function (clearly shown in the case of Down syndrome).”
Oh, no, not again.
Narad, you may wish to peruse his paper on “Death — Optimal Physical Conditions”, in which the good cardiologist explores the physical conditions most conducive to the cessation of life.
I’m not paying for that, De Gruyter seems to have crappy manuscript editing if any at all, I’d probably get thrown out of the library, and I’ll bet it’s just the same damn thing.
Anyway, what’s an “imp” of neutrons? Impacts?
Uh-oh, it looks like it’s a movement. Traffic accidents are caused by solar weather.
I’d also be curious if anyone could track down the history of “The Terrestrial Echoes of Solar Storms” by one A.L. Tcizevsky, which is kind of looking like the locus classicus for this whole trip, which totes polishes Bengston to a blinding shine.
Fuckin’ geomagnetic probes/
How do they work?
So Bengston’s ‘geomangnetic probes’ detected activity at the location of both the treatment and control group cages, but not at other locations? Why then didn’t bBEngston relocate the control group to one of those other locations he had found to be unaffected by his ‘healing energy’, rather than go ahead with an experiment lacking a valid and necessary control?
RE: negative entropy, words have meanings. Entropy is defined as the quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work in a closed system, it can be calculated and is expressed as joules per Kelvin.
How exactly is ‘negative entropy’ defined, how is it calculated, and in what units is it expressed?
I still find it strange that a professor of sociology got to experiment with cancerous mice.
Oh no! Suddenly I understand everything: illness is caused by disruptions in the cosmic plane. Sounds like astrology.
Perhaps this explains the ex’s depression: the old Kozmic blues got him again,
or the other guy’s asthma – breathing in those protons,
or my Irish friend’s diverticulosis, caused by
ingesting them: ” So you’re telling me that it was the fricking PROTONS when all the time I thought it was the bloody sesame seeds!”, she’ll say.
A few web woo-meisters believe that this year’s solar flares will cause disruptions of the electrical grid AND now we can add the CNSs of living animals as well. Not sure about plants though.
Oddly, I seem to be rather healthy: could that mean that I am in tune with the esoteric harmonies of the spheres and swirling nebulae? Adrift non-randomly in supposed random-ness?
And immune to random protonic toxicity.
Mercy me. I feel as though I won the sweepstakes.
For intelligent people you really are a bunch of morons, sorry to say. Over and out; I’m not wasting any more time on you.
Marg, do you have any specific reason you think we are morons, or do you just have no idea what “negative entropy” means. I work in refrigeration and air conditioning, and in our industry, entropy isn’t an impressive metaphysical concept, it’s a word that gets used as often as “torque” among automotive engineers.
You did invite us to scoff all we wanted.
Obviously, she doesn’t get that RI is like the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex:
it’s where sarcasm happens.
My work here is done.
In case anyone’s wondering, negative entropy is created by any functioning climate control system. An air conditioner is not a closed system, because it receives outside power, so one should actually expect entropy to decrease, rather than increase.
Marg, any chance you can answer a few questions before you leave the discussion?
What is the definition of “negative entropy”, as you’ve used it in your post? How is it calculated? What units is it expressed in?
If I cited a study which found patients receiving no treatment did just as well as patient’s receiving chemo, and claimed this proves chemotherapy works, wouldn’t you rip me a new one? Why then do you expect us to accept Bengston’s study as proof energy healing works?
When you decribed Bengston taking measurements with ‘geomagnetic probes, what actual device or devices were you referring to?
Can you explain why, once Bengston had evidence that his control group was compromised (the geomagnetic probes near the control group cages also generated an organized waveform whenever he attempted to heal the treatment group mice) he didn’t halt the experiment and devise a valid negative control? It could have easily been done, since he’d identified locations where the organized waveform wasn’t detected, or perhaps enclosing the control group mice in a Faraday cage.
Not knowing what a “geomagnetic probe” is, I searched for a copy of the paper in question to see what they were, as my thought was also that it was a fancy name for a compass.
I couldn’t find the paper anywhere other than behind a pay wall, so if anybody out there can help a brother out…
If they are indeed anything real, compass or otherwise, it seems that we’d have the makings of a JREF challenge. We wouldn’t even need a cage of sick rats, just the quack making a single probe ‘dance around’ would probably count as a win.
Of course, the quacks will say they don’t need a million dollars, but it would be fun to watch them fail.
A guy can dream, can’t he?
Oh, c’mon, honey. I really, really want to know how protons manage to talk neutrons into not being all Switzerland-like and start hurling tiny sabots at the “cell nuclei in enzymes.”
From the title, I can only guess that it was some sort of DC magnetometer. This presents a couple of issues in terms of detecting “micropulsations,” to say the least.
A previous flounce from the “Reikie versus dogs” thread:
June 22, 3:32 pm
Ciao, ciao, gentlemen.
In a few years we will know who was right.
Not knowing what a “geomagnetic probe” is, I searched for a copy of the paper in question to see what they were, as my thought was also that it was a fancy name for a compass.
Everything Marg has said about Bengston’s papers comes from interviews he’s given. To provde details about the “geomagnetic probe” she would have had to read his papers.
At the times when Dr. Bengston did energy healing on the mice the geomagnetic probes, which normally register a random pattern, began to show an organized wave, the same organized wave in both places, regardless of the distance.
Marg’s source appears to beJudith’s blog*:
(this is the Judith who was also commenting on the Reiki thread, in alternation with Marg).
OK, so he coughs this up in the January–March 2010 issue of Edge Science:
While there is no direct description of the instruments, the reported values and what I imagine their budget to have been like seem consistent with something like this (if not even this. I’m really wondering, given that they’re claiming “DC” up to 30 Hz, how noise rejection was achieved. And how stably they were mounted. And the power supply.
^ There’s an error in the quote: “And, in act” should be “And, in fact.” Any other missing f’s are probably my fault–they were for some reason all ligatures in the original and didn’t carry over.
Isn’t “intelligent morons an oxymoron?
Hmmm. Like Marg upthread, Judith on her blog is enthusiastic about “Embrace, Release, Heal”.
Judith, however, has become skeptical about Bengston therapy, which is why I suspect Marg of plagiarising from Judith’s blog rather than being a sockpuppet.
The bit just before the negative entropy stuff about concentrating Schumann resonances in one’s pineal gland before shooting the energy out your hands seriously risks sending me into another laughing fit.
Does negative entropy mean that someone’s getting colder?
concentrating Schumann resonances in one’s pineal gland
It makes perfect sense that the 7.88-Hz Schumann fundamental, with its wavelength equal to the Earth’s circumference, should be coupled so strongly to an organ the size of a rice grain.
Why yes, yes it does.
I have half a, err, mind to just do up a Powerpoint presentation of all this. Something like Koyaanisqatsi in reverse. With mice and stuff.
I think that that would be very enlightening but please don’t tell Mr Glass – I met him once. Dead serious. I am. He was.
I have read that it’s all the melanin in the pineal gland that gives it those special third-eye properties. So far the alt-reallity thinkers haven’t caught onto the bafflegab possibilities of Pinopsin.
hdb – & there was me thinking the pineal’s melanin was involved in photosynthesis, as per that in the eye… (http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/bioblog/2011/12/while-lurking-over-at-riddled.shtml)
The probes were never directly affected. There had to be a cage of sick mice nearby for the effect to occur. Therefore, wherever Dr. Bengston moved the mice, the effect would have followed also.
Here is something else for you to chew on. This one should keep you busy for a while:
@JGC re: Faraday cage
The Faraday Cage and Psi
The cage also has a role to play in trying to determine the mechanism by which psi effects – if they exist – are generated. If an experiment that works normally then fails when the cage is employed, this strongly suggests that some form of electromagnetic radiation is involved. The electromagnetic hypothesis would seem to be a logical idea, especially given the level to which electrical signals are essential to the brain and hence – presumably – are connected with consciousness.
Despite the attraction of the theory, most research suggests that psi is not blocked either by the presence or absence of a Faraday cage. This suggests strongly that the mechanism for psi phenomena is not electromagnetic in nature.
That said, as with most areas of parapsychology the results are not clear cut. There has been some research (1) that suggests the use of a grounded Faraday cage might actually increase General ESP (GESP)!
Which is especially bad news for those who trust in tin foil hats to protect them from external mind control.
There are not “millions of crystals in the cells of the brain.”
That didn’t take long at all.
There are not “millions of crystals in the cells of the brain.”
Only if it’s frozen. Negative entropy will do that.
Is this assemblage of words supposed to be self-consistent?
Flounce duration: 10 hours, 43 minutes.
Seems to me someone has a failure of understanding where Schumann resonances come from. Amongst other things.
the window frequency known as the Schuman Resonance, which is the vibrational frequency of the earth’s electromagnetic field (emf). This means that the brain waves of a person in the alpha state will resonate in sympathy with the earth’s emf producing constructive interference which amplifies the vibration.
I am not brave enough to ask where HAARP fits into the picture, but there is little doubt that it fits in somewhere.
Note: I originally prepared this response yesterday, but shelved it when Marg announced her flounce. Since she failed to stick the flounce in record time, why, I dusted it off and brought it here for your enjoyment…
Marg doesn’t seem to realize a very key fact of the universe itself: a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. She keeps arrogantly shoving in our faces chains of evidence and shrieking “See! See! See how strong this one link is! Since the rest of the chain is as strong as its strongest link, this is nigh irrefutable logic I’m giving you!”
Just the most obvious example from her latest fewmet: she gives us factoids from the Journal of Scientific Exploration and then sneers “From past experience I know that you will now all get your panties into a twist about the Journal of Scientific Exploration. Be my guest.” Basically, Marg’s syllogism is:
1. It was published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration.
3. Therefore, it’s almost certainly a meaningful result.
Except that if we have no reason to think the Journal of Scientific Exploration is anything but a crank journal like Medical Hypotheses or Medical Veritas, we have no reason to think the conclusion holds true. Marg might as well be saying “my cousin Bernie who I think is pretty smart thinks it’s true, therefore it’s true!” Why on earth would cousin Bernie’s opinion mean a damn thing?
Same thing with the supposedly “organized” results from the “geomagnetic probes” (did Bengston have a reason to think these would show results, or did he just make sure his experiment had lots of endpoints?) Scientists are interested in the phenomenon and are calling it “negative entropy.” Wheeee. Are these “scientists” any better than those who drew elaborate phrenological maps a century ago? They were very good at making authoritative declarations and giving things exciting names that made it sound like they knew what they were talking about, but they didn’t.
Yawn. You are all way too predictable. Tell you what, take it up with Bengston in person. He gives free talks a few times a year (usually the day before his workshops, which don’t cost thousands of dollars as somebody earlier claimed). You can find the talks announced on his website, http://www.bengstonresearch.com well before the event.
BTW the statement that he should have moved his control mice to where there was no geomagnetic effect illustrates exactly how moronic some of you are being about all this.
Still completely unable to actually refute any of the many arguments demonstrating you to be Not Even Wrong, eh?
So Bengston can’t directly cause a ‘geomagnetic probe’ to fluctuate, but a cage of sick mice will ‘rebroadcast’ his magic healing energies as a magnetic field? Is that what I’m expected to believe?
I note in Narad’s post that Bengston claims to have noted
However, in the description of the milligauss meter that Narad provides, we read “the Earth’s field is typically about 500 milligauss”. I’ve never had a chance to play with a gauss meter, but I’d bet that just walking by the meter would cause a 1 to 8 milligauss fluctuation. It sure sounds like a noise to me.
Belief in *psi* was fashionable in educated, sophisticated
London, Paris, Vienna, NY and Boston more than 100 years ago AND psychologists, James and Jung amongst them, wrote about how it could be studied *scientifically*. I enjoyed how Freud himself regarded common beliefs ( pre-cognition, prophetic dreams) and showed how they might be explained in a more mundane, parsimonious fashion by a person who studied human abilities and emotions.
In the past 100 years, we’ve learned a great deal more about psychological processes and physics plus new instruments and means of measurement have been developed YET has any SERIOUS research revealed even an inkling of evidence for *psi*?
One of the woo-meisters I survey has spoken about his own research ‘healing’ mice by prayers performed by acknowledged ‘healers’ ( 1970s? 1980s?) which yielded spectacular results- yet has this ever been published?
Larry Dossey was widely publicised 20 years ago: has his research goe anywhere since then?
Beliefs of this sort provide comfort for people and thus persist: it would be wonderful if we could speak to the dead because they somehow persist somewhere and that their personalities didn’t dissolve into nothingness. It would be great if healers could vaporise cancers without resorting to surgical instruments and cutting through flesh. It would be fabulous if we could predict the future and avoid terrible accidents and make fortunes in the market.
All of those *psi* abilities are idealisations of human abilities that we DO have: we recall the dead and incorporate their qualities into ourselves, we look at photographs that trigger memories; scientists use technology to find therapies that harm the patient less as they cure; through analysis of data we can predict natural disasters and economic events better than our ancestors could.
In the past several decades, we’ve learned a shocking amount about the brain : there are MRIs and other scans that illustrate differing abilities and conditions in living people ( e.g. LONI), that can show the progression of devastating illness that destroy parts of the brain and result in psychosis or dementia. Yet we haven’t found any solid evidence for powers beyond natural ones like memory, perception, reasoning, attention and even social skills.
So, if we can’t find its locus or measure its power by instruments that measure minute quantities of energy, what is it? If it is insubstantial and non-local? My guess is ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ which is but another metaphor for human abilities perfected and non-existent.
And Marg, I would truly like to believe in this, but I can’t . I actually think that people have a tendency to believe that helps them live better in our un-predictable, sometimes disastrous, frightening world.
If our responses are predictable, Marg. it’s because we’re responding to the same predictable expressions of ignorance.
Like it or not (and I know you don’t) scientific experiments do not default to “earth-shattering and paradigm-changing.” You keep acting on the false premise that they do, that if anything unexpected happened in Bengston’s experiments, it supports the idea that something magical and mystical and wonderful was just proven to be there around the corner. This is not science. You don’t get to tell people you were the winner of the race just because you didn’t come in dead last. You don’t get to tell people you won the baseball game just because there was at least one inning where you didn’t strike out. You don’t get to trumpet how we’re on the verge of a revolutionary change in medicine because one experiment which FAILED to show any difference between the tested intervention and placebo had instruments which were at best tangentially related to the actual subject of the study give anomalous readings.
And the more you predictably keep repeating your false claims that Bengston’s screwed-up experiments are meaningful, the more we’ll give our predictable response that Bengston’s experiments are no more “science” than counterfeit bills are “currency.”
I was taking another look at the Society for Scientific Exploration and came across two target-rich areas for skeptics: firstly a page of video links to talks on a variety of subjects (one by Bengston about a third of the way down the page), the second a page of links to articles again on a variety of topics (there’s link to an article by Bengston about half way down the page). I’m not sure what to make of some of this material, as some seems fairly sensible, while some seems like utter BS. There seems to be a sort of consensus there that does not resemble the scientific consensus I am familiar with. In their world precognition, remote viewing and telepathy are proven fact, as are energy healing, acupuncture and homeopathy. It’s a bit like a weird parallel universe, but inhabited by (apparently) well-credentialed scientists.
For example I just watched with some amusement a talk on how you can use remote viewing to predict changes in the the stock market (I thought of you Denice). I couldn’t stomach one on how a woman was cured of Asperger’s through two methods, firstly, “to provide coaching of behavior in this very bright and mature 18 year old woman who was suffering from problems in learning mathematics, inattention, difficulties in interpersonal relationships, lack of feeling in the left hemisphere of her brain and a symptom she called “galloping,” a practically all-day pacing back and forth due to an inner sense of urgency”, which seems reasonable, but also, “to heal using the Levashov Method of mental intention to scan and enter the etheric and astral bodies of Gwen’s (fictitious name) subtle body structure and make corrections where needed”.
If any of you have a few minutes to kill, I would be interested in what those with specialist knowledge make of some of the topics you are familiar with that are discussed there. Those areas where I do have some specialist knowledge do seem like nonsense to me, but my physics and astrophysics are rusty, as is my understanding of neuroscience and consciousness studies and several other areas. So little time, so much interesting information. Anyway, is there any wheat amongst the chaff, or is it all chaff?
Actually, we all–each and every one of us–lack feeling in both hemispheres of our brains.
I’m reminded that Vallée was the very first ApJ author that I handled. Kinda surprised to see Yervant Terzian on the list. Anyway, I just glanced at “Is There a Mars Effect?” Gauquelin would seem to be shooting himself in the foot by noting, “Actually, the more recent obstetric procedures tend to modify the natural (circadian) cycle of labor and birth. Fortunately, the athletes were not born that recently, and their births still reflect a spontaneous pattern.” (Citations omitted.) I mean, what, it doesn’t “work” if labor is induced? Mars is actually on a mission?
I didn’t spot that. Anyway, I seem to recall that the whole hemispheric specialty thing has been largely debunked. Most of us have a functioning corpus callosum so experiments with split brain patients are of limited relevance.
If there is a signal in the noise it seems vanishingly unlikely that it is caused by the position of Mars in the sky, but more likely something that correlates with both that and some other factor that affects behavior. It seems reasonable that a child conceived in the winter might be different to a child conceived in the summer, for example, and I think there is some evidence for that. Of course even more likely is that the correlation itself is an artefact. It’s interesting that in so many of these studies they seem to detect a signal that vanishes when examined more closely, and they then spend years chasing shadows. It reminds me of the phenomenon of clinical trials that initially seem positive, but further studies are disappointing.
You are all way too predictable.
It is because our pineal glands are coupled to the 7.83-Hz Schumann Resonance of the Earth’s emf. That leaves little room for unpredictability.
Tell you what, take it up with Bengston in person.
If Bengston takes the trouble to writes comments in a Respectful Insolence thread, I imagine that someone will respond to him. At the moment, it’s Marg writing comments in a RI thread and receiving critiques of her ideas.
Why should we go to the organ-grinder in person?
Aside from being able to release the energy at unexpected moments to make funny hand noises, of course.
Oh, Krebiozen, I tried!
I looked over the list of articles, hoping to find something about consciousness, memory or personality that I might delve into seriously BUT
then after looking over the AUTHORS and running across ‘H.Bauer/ H.H. Bauer’ several times in a relatively short list… well, he is highly ranked amongst chief HIV/AIDS denialists, I mean DISSENTERS. And an expert on the Loch Ness monster- so I suppose I became judgmental .. you know that old saw about the company people keep giving us valuable hints about their quality etc.
I might go back after my headache dissipates.
-btw- I myself do remote viewing all of the time but I call it either visual memory or imagination. I’m odd that way.
Is that like armpit farts?
I’ve said it before, life would be so much simpler without ethics. As a marginally accomplished scientist, I think how famouser I could be by selling out to the sCAM side. I could do it and throw my position behind it and they’d love me.
As I said I have an ethical streak. Not so much a moral streak, as I could easily see myself ruling in hell (I figure, if the christians are right, then satan would certainly appreciate all of his “work” I’ve done on earth so I’d have that going for me), so it’s not like I don’t have a satanic side, but when it comes to colluding with scam artists, I draw the line. Thesew folks are bloody evil.
It sounds like you had a similar experience to mine when I saw familiar names like Maccabee, Radin, Vallee, Stevenson, Puthoff, Targ, Gauquelin, Sheldrake, Hoyle, Wickramasinghe… I suppose that shows where my interests used to lie, until I got tired of all that. I still find it fascinating that so many scientists spend their time chasing, but never catching, rainbows.
By the way, I don’t think my diversion is as OT as it seems at first. I think the phenomenon of people seeing and pursuing patterns in noise has a lot to do with the kind of quackery often discussed here. I’m not convinced, as Marry Me, Mindy appears to be, that these sCAMsters all know they are selling false hope. I’m pretty sure most of them genuinely believe in it. It’s just that these kinds of belief have a much greater potential to do serious damage in the area of health, than believing parrots are telepathic, that you can remote view climate change or whatever.
two target-rich areas for skeptics: firstly a page of video links to talks on a variety of subjects …, the second a page of links to articles again on a variety of topics…
Lots of blogging material there to be sure, but one can’t just write about “crazy stuff that intelligent people take seriously” without soon reaching satiation, because there’s SO MUCH crazy stuff that people believe. Eventually you starting for “crazy stuff that stands out in some way”.
It’s a bit like a weird parallel universe, but inhabited by (apparently) well-credentialed scientists.
Reminds me of the Fortean Times but without the sense of humour.
I see Persinger’s on the list.
I wonder if we can smell woo?
I find myself in the uncomfortable (RL) position wherein I know a lovely, bright man, who is entirely well-meaning and expert at what he does, whose daughter is directing a documentary of what-might-be-woo ( concerning athletic training/ performance linked to a factor that may have some physiological merit) I don’t want to entirely lower the boom and I haven’t as yet read the whole thing but I fear I might have very bad news for the father. Who I don’t want to hurt.
So far, I have warned him that her project may have merit but she should be very wary of marketting engines- like alt med websites with high rankings who might use her and who often are associated with dodgy business and science. I guess at somepoint I should write something up for her. I’d also hate to see her hurt or, as an innocent trying to break into a field, get used as someone else’s vehicle. And I don’t want to lie to these people. But I also wouldn’t want to see a young person’s career start out badly.
Pablo (MMM) is right: ethics are a b!tch.
The sheer volume of nuttiness is a bit overwhelming, but it’s the scientists who should really know better but have bought into the crazy that fascinate me. I did notice browsing through some Edge Science volumes that quite a number have strayed some distance out of their area of expertise, like Bengston, a sociologist, wandering into energy medicine and cancer, and Sheldrake, whose PhD is in biochemistry, postulating morphogenetic fields and psittacine telepathy. BTW I know the chap who founded Fortean Times, who lives not far from me, and I used to attend the Fortean Unconventions which were quite fun, though I enjoyed the pub afterwards even more.
That’s a bit of an unenviable quandary you have there. Remember that disillusionment may hurt but it’s a good pain.
I’ve never been in the UK at the right time of year for an Unconvention, alas — when I was living in London in the late 80s the FT’s social activities were restricted to a stall at the Alternative Press festivals in Conway Hall. Had a few beers with Paul Sieveking though.
I finally have time to get caught up and see there’s no point in discussing the original cancer quackery anymore… apparently we’re now in the land of weird energy fields?
I agree with Antaeus: Marg holds onto one single example of ‘proof’ and ignores the consensus of data that disproves her point.
Antaeus was too generous:
You keep acting on the false premise that […] if anything unexpected happened in Bengston’s experiments, it supports the idea that something magical and mystical and wonderful was just proven to be there around the corner. This is not science.
I emphasise that nothing unexpected happened in Bengston’s experiments. Bengston reckoned that it was a surprise for one particular strain of inbred mice to have sufficiently strong immune systems to destroy one particular strain of cultured tumour cells — but he had nothing to support that assumption. The only relevant publications are decades out of date, when mouse strains and tumour cell lines are both continuing to evolve with each generation.
” we’re now in the land of weird energy fields”
Yes and I sense a disturbance in the Force.
Seriously, woo seems obsessed with the idea of energies and waves, having apparently given up on bio and physio.
I have heard a tale about Rife’s assistant ( or wife) having saved a ledger filled with the curing frequencies he had discovered : each one specific to a particular illness. Of course, no one knows where this treasure now is located.
Similarly, energy medicine ( or psychology) may be described as an attunement of a person’s unwieldy energy patterns being brought into line by a healer who serves as a human tuning fork, coaxing the bad vibes into allignment.
Chakras- wheels of energy, may be similarly balanced through meditating or repeating an assigned syllable ( by sound vbrations).TCM balances Qi by various methods.
I think that energy/ waves is a step on the immaterial/ material scale that leaves the purely material behind: it may be halfway to ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’- which is where they’re really headed.
If you scratch woo deeply enough, you’ll find religion.
Boy, a person throws you a bone and you have hours of fun chewing on it. I should be charging for all this entertainment.
Have you checked out Joie Jones’s experiments yet on pranic healing and cell lines damaged by gamma radiation? That’s on the SSE website too. And Youtube.
One of these days someone is going to twig that the experimenter’s consciousness affects the outcome of experiments. Oh wait, I think physicists already have ….
Oh, wait, you think wrong. Are you just bouncing on the flouncepoline at this point?
Nope, I think I’m quite right on this point.
Yes we can smell woo. Mercaptans, maybe. I respect your expertise! Do you intend to write a review, monograph, or book?
And yeah, Marg, nothing like seeing some very smart & educated people take the bait and try to explain some elements of real-world science to the deluded provocateurs who drop in now & then. Some of the threads amaze me.
This is where smart, educated people who have been completely brainwashed into thinking that nothing completely new could ever be discovered again try to impose that point of view on someone else who thinks otherwise.
Sorry, that last is for @THS
Similarly, energy medicine ( or psychology) may be described as an attunement of a person’s unwieldy energy patterns being brought into line by a healer who serves as a human tuning fork, coaxing the bad vibes into alignment.
Yes, that appears to be the general belief. Seems kind of consistent with the results of Bengston’s studies with geomagnetic probes.
One of these days someone is going to twig that the experimenter’s consciousness affects the outcome of experiments. Oh wait, I think physicists already have ….
Quantum physicist here. Also, I was once a farmboy. One thing about growing up on a dairy farm is that you know cowshit when you see it.
You are all way too predictable.
You know what would be really unpredictable? Flouncing out from a web community promising never to come back, and then not coming back.
It appears that the word ‘c0wsh1t’ puts one in moderation. Ah well.
Wait… umm. Let me get this straight – his healing energies are so amazing that they bounce off what they are healing and effect the geomagnetic field…
I have to wonder why everyone with cancer for miles wasn’t miraculously healed at the same time as the mice?
Marg’s whole argument is ridiculous. Even if Bengston could do what she says, which is so far beyond rational that it is invisible in the real world, so what? Can anyone else do it? No? So what good is it? Let’s compare him to Uri Geller who claimed to be able to bend spoons. Again, so what? What possible use is there in the world of such a useless skill? Who benefits?
I know that if these charlatans could actually do what they say they can do, which they can’t, it would mean that all the known laws of physics would have to be changed but I am just pointing out how useless it is for one person to display a skill that no one else has. I can wiggle my ears, one at a time. Seems to me that is at least as impressive.
August 25, 9:05 pm:
Scoff all you want.
This is where smart, educated people … try to impose that point of view on someone else who thinks otherwise.
I guess scoffing is not allowed after all.
Remembering the time someone dropped a flask-full of mercaptans in the cold-room – more phew than woo…
Of course completely new things can and will be discovered, but when someone claims they have made such a discovery, the quality of evidence they provide has to be high, which includes replicability. I would love to see Jones’ and Ho’s work replicated by someone else – their claims that stimulating acupoints associated with vision in the foot cause the visual cortex to light up on fMRI should be easy enough to test, using a more robust double-blinded methodology (IIRC visualizing something also causes the visual cortex to light up on fMRI so expectation could be a serious confounder). Until then I remain skeptical, particularly as it seems certain that acupuncture as practised today was invented in the 1930s, not developed through thousands of years of trial and error as Jones suggests.
Some of Jones’ paper on pranic healing made me chuckle I must admit, such as, “These experiments represent, to the best of our knowledge, the first experimental observation and measurement of karmic intervention” and, “A Newtonian physics world view, which serves as the basis for contemporary biology and Western medicine, is incapable of explaining these experimental results; however, the data are quite consistent with a quantum mechanical world view”. I’m afraid I find it hard to take that sort of thing very seriously.
visualizing something also causes the visual cortex to light up on fMRI
IIRC the evidence for that is pretty shaky. Perhaps some activity in extra-striate cortex.