It’s not worth risking your health or home on ‘miracle cures’

by , Sense About Science Consumer Rights 26 September 2013
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The internet’s rife with adverts and claims for clinics and treatments that offer ‘cures’. But if you’re tempted by untested claims you might want to think again, argues Tabitha from Sense About Science.

Miracles on a sign

A new Sense About Science guide, written with patients and medical charities, explores the danger of untested cures on the web.

People facing long-term or chronic conditions can be desperately searching for anything that might help, and are especially vulnerable to exploitation.

Bombarded with unsubstantiated claims for ‘pioneering cancer treatments’, new diets and unfounded stem cell cures, patients can be left chasing false hope, exposed to crippling financial and emotional costs and risking serious harm to their health.

These treatment claims offer hope of finding something that will do more than conventional medicines can. But the evidence for many of them is unreliable.

Harm to your health and wallet

It’s easy to see a treatment or cure and think ‘I’ve got nothing to lose…’ but the reality is that people can risk, and lose, a lot.

Patients have told us about harm to their health – aggravation of their condition, pressure to stop taking medication, being exposed to risk of infections such as HIV via treatment with unscreened stem cells. And patients have also told us about the financial costs – parting with life savings, risking loss of homes or jobs.

There’s also the emotional toll: pressure from well-meaning friends and family to try things despite a lack of evidence to support them and, perhaps worst of all, the disappointment of realising you’ve been sold false hope.

Aggressive advertising for ‘cures’

Many clinics use aggressive marketing, by selecting the best testimonials, using pseudo-science, even posing as patients in online forums. Some of these treatments cost tens of thousands of pounds. This runs into the hundreds of thousands if they involve costly trips to private clinics abroad – sometimes leading to high-profile emotional public appeals from family and friends to raise money for treatment costs.

In response, we’ve been working with patients and medical charities at Sense About Science to publish a guide to help people weigh up claims about unfounded cures on the web and in advertising. Christine, who has a thyroid condition, told us:

‘After a saliva test an “alternative thyroid doctor” gave me “adrenal glandular” tablets and told me to reduce my prescribed thyroid medication. I was in a lot of pain, bed-bound for weeks and it cost me a whole year out of my life – not to mention the huge costs of paid carers and useless and misleading saliva tests. My advice is not to make my terrible mistake of trusting anyone outside the medical profession.’

Cut through the hype

The clear message coming from patients is that if a claim about a treatment sounds too good to be true, it probably is – but also that there’s a lot that you can do, including:

We live in a world where it’s possible for people to trade in this area. The web provides an amazing advertising space – one which despite best efforts, defies jurisdiction. From our point of view, the best thing we can do is equip people against this: armed with evidence and some critical questions, anyone can put themselves in a stronger position to cut through the hype around unproven treatments for themselves.

What do you think about ‘miracle cure’ promises made online? Do you know of anyone who’s been affected by this?

Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from Tabitha Innocent, Scientific Liaison at Sense About Science. All opinions expressed here are Tabitha’s own, not necessarily those of Which?

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chrisb1

The subject of this topic is:
“It’s not worth risking your health or home on ‘miracle cures’”.

We have often been subjected to headlines in the media such as: “Statins are miracle drugs”, or “The Miracle of Statins” or even, “Statins: Miracle Drug Now More Miraculous”

Statins are a 25 billion dollar world wide business and are designed to reduce cholesterol levels and reduce cardiovascular disease, but a new study from the Massachusetts Medical School confirms a new and potentially dangerous side effect of statin drugs – diabetes. (Archives of Internal Medicine)
The research report analysed more than 153,000 postmenopausal women who enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative study in the 1990s. None of the women had diabetes at the outset, but 7 per cent were taking statins.
15 years later the women were followed up and nearly 10 percent of women taking statins had developed diabetes, compared to only 6.4 percent in women who took no statin drugs.
Further analysis by Harvard shows that women over the age of 45 are 50 per cent more likely to develop diabetes if they’re taking a statin drug.

THOUSANDS of Australians could now be taken off cholesterol-lowering medications because of mounting evidence they increase the risk of diabetes and dementia.
Australian health authorities are reviewing their advice after US regulators announced statins will now carry warnings they could increase the risk of diabetes and cognitive impairment.

However, deaths from heart disease are not in decline, and nor is type 2 diabetes. Worse, the official website for the American Heart Association says, “Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes.”

Although statins are designed to lower cholesterol and allegedly prevent cardiovascular events, but they also block and severely deplete the essential heart nutrient known as Ubiquinone, or more commonly known by the names of Coenzyme Q10 or Co Q10. Without adequate stores of CoQ10 and lacking the repair mechanisms common to nuclear DNA, irreversible oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA results from buildup of superoxide and hydroxyl radicals.
Studies now prove that supplemental CoQ10 while taking statins improves functional capacity, endothelial function, and left ventricular contractility in congestive heart failure without any side effects, but do cardiologists recommend or prescribe Co Q10? No.
http://www.spacedoc.com/cardiologist_CoQ10.html

Statins do and can work, but not on the pretext of their prescribed use of lowering cholesterol, but by reducing inflammation: the actual cause of heart disease………………
http://www.spacedoc.com/inflammation_heart_disease_obesity

In more than fifty percent of new heart attack cases, the cholesterol level is normal or below………………………….
http://www.spacedoc.com/cholesterol_heart_disease

How many statin users have been informed by their Doctor/cardiologists that cholesterol is actually a vital substance manufactured in the Liver essential for health, the production of which is regulated by that chemical factory depending on dietary intake, and the bodies aim of achieving and maintaining homeostasis; cholesterol is essential for brain function and the synthesis of Vitamin D3 in the skin for example.

So statins are sold and prescribed on the pretext of preventing heart disease by lowering cholesterol, but this is actually untrue and essentially a fraudulent use of a drug (medication).

So perhaps statins are not therefore the “miracle drug” so often spouted in the media, and an unprecedented medical scam and a 25 billion dollar a year scam at that…………………..
http://www.spacedoc.com/statin_scam

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Guy Chapman

Why use an obviously polemical website when you could reference a much more nuanced treatment in a reliable source?

http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c2197
http://margaretmccartney.com/2010/06/29/statins-benefit-again-overstated/

The opinions of Lundell and others are clearly outliers, at the extreme end. A more balanced view is not only more accurate, it’s more persuasive.

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Malcolm R

To perhaps add balance to this comment, try the NHS link http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cholesterol-lowering-medicines-statins/Pages/Introduction.aspx
There seems to be an obsession with “scams” as if all those involved in spending money on treatments are ignorant.

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chrisb1

Guy,
this “polemical website” you refer to is edited and contributed to by (amongst others):

Dwight C. Lundell M.D.
http://www.thecureforheartdisease.net
Chief Medical Consultant, Asantae Inc.
Chief Medical Consultant at http://www.realweight.com

Dr. Lundell’s experience in Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery over the last 25 years includes certification by the American Board of Surgery, the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
Dr. Lundell was a pioneer in off-pump coronary artery bypass or “beating heart” surgery reducing surgical complications and recovery times.
He has served as Chief resident at the University of Arizona and Yale University Hospitals and later served as Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery.
He was one of the founding partners of the Lutheran Heart Hospital which became the second largest Heart hospital in the U.S.

AND………..
Duane Graveline MD MPH
Former USAF Flight Surgeon
Former NASA Astronaut
Retired Family Doctor

So I suppose they have no idea as to what they are talking about.?
Their findings are supported by the science that is “evidence-based”, so if you care to peruse the site, you should then understand why they write as they do: to reveal the truth about statins.
Not that you will of course, as this wouldn’t be in keeping with your belief-system of “Medical Science”.

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chrisb1

Malcolm R,
it has been noted before now that the NHS reflects conservative and sometimes outdated notions on health-matters.

So outdated in fact that the diet-heart hypothesis of dietary saturated fat being the cause of heart disease has recently been debunked, and cholesterol as well cause heart disease.
Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD not only destroys this myth with the hard data, but shows it was never based on honest science in the first place.
Ancel Keys first argued this theory by charting heart disease mortality against fat availability for six countries, showing the more dietary fat available, the higher the rate of mortality. There was just one pesky problem: data was available for 22 countries at the time. Include the other 16, and the association falls apart.
Ravnskov also reviews numerous examples of populations consuming diets rich in saturated fat who are virtually immune to heart disease, such as the Masai of Africa, who eat a diet almost exclusively composed of meat, blood, and milk.
Ravnskov’s extensive analysis of cholesterol-lowering treatments spans over 80 pages. He shows conclusively that cholesterol-lowering drugs are expensive, a waste of time, and even dangerous.

Early drug trials were a disaster. In the famous World Health Organization (WHO) trial, a cholesterol-lowering drug called clofibrate did indeed reduce the incidence of heart disease, but the heart disease mortality rate stayed the same, and the total mortality rate increased! In other words, people who took the drug were more likely to die earlier than people who did not.

Scroll down this website to……….Here are the facts! and their subheadings.
http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm

Do your own independent research and discover the truth for yourself.

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Guy Chapman

Right. If anything this is a lesson about being cautious with extrapolating evidence.

Ironically, the majority of recent “miracle” alternative treatments do exactly that!

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Guy Chapman

Incidentally, I do recommend Margaret McCartney’s “The Patient Paradox”, it shows you how to understand the claims for mass screening and statins among many other things. It also shows what a doctor realyl thinks about consultation times, and what really drives them, and what holistic care (the real kind, not the kind that holistically looks at their auras to balance their chakras) actually means practically within the NHS.

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Guy Chapman

Chris: In what way doe the author render it not polemical? Any website with a section called “The Statin Scam” is polemical – that is pretty much the definition of polemic.

More moderate sources are – well, more moderate. As usual with early results, statins have been oversold. They almost certainly have a role for some people, and Margaret McCartney’s excellent book discusses this in a nuanced way, whereas “statins are a scam” is not nuanced at all.

This is a complex problem. For every complex problem there is a solution which is clear, simple and wrong. Mass use of statins is one such, mass rejection of them is probably another.

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chrisb1

Guy,
whether the site is polemical or not is irrelevant to anything. Did I mention that it was not polemical?
I don’t think so, but this is a red herring from the facts of the matter, and the science they include to support their findings.
Duane Graveline MD MPH was himself a “victim” of statins side effects to the point where he eventually could not remember his own name; this sparked his interest after coming off statins where his cognitive function returned to normal.

I know you are very fond of quoting “the majority scientific consensus” as ruling against many if not all alternatives, and supporting “medical science”, but I would like to remind you, that this “consensus” has been very wrong in the past, and wrong on a frequent basis. Galileo could answer that for you (you would need a medium) and since that time.

“The Statin Scam” describes exactly what it does on the tin, and is factual to the core, and you would be misguided to think or believe otherwise. So statins turn out to be what many believe is the largest fraud ever committed by medical science, and where this hallowed ground, where they have been through the rigors of the “scientific method” and failed as not fit for purpose.
My original post on statins was to illustrate that they are not the “medical miracle” as touted by the media, where this is after all the subject of this topic: “It’s not worth risking your health or home on ‘miracle cures’”.

You may also be interested to know that people who have the highest levels of cholesterol live the longest; I’ll repeat that again in case you misunderstood: those with the highest levels of cholesterol live the longest, and where statins are formulated to lower cholesterol in the mistaken belief that this will prevent cardiovascular diseases (and it IS a belief).

Here’s the science to prove what I have said……………

Kozarevic D et al. Serum cholesterol and mortality: the Yugoslavia Cardiovascular Disease Study. Am J Epidemiol. 1981 Jul;114(1):21-8.
Rudman D et al et. Antecedents of death in the men of a Veterans Administration nursing home. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1987 Jun;35(6):496-502.
Forette B et al. Cholesterol as risk factor for mortality in elderly women. Lancet. 1989 Apr 22;1(8643):868-70.
Staessen J et al. Is a high serum cholesterol level associated with longer survival in elderly hypertensives? J Hypertens. 1990 Aug;8(8):755-61.
Harris T et al.The low cholesterol-mortality association in a national cohort. J Clin Epidemiol. 1992 Jun;45(6):595-601.
Casiglia E et al. Predictors of mortality in very old subjects aged 80 years or over. Eur J Epidemiol. 1993 Nov;9(6):577-86.
Krumholz HM et al. Lack of association between cholesterol and coronary heart disease mortality and morbidity and all-cause mortality in persons older than 70 years. JAMA. 1994 Nov 2;272(17):1335-40.
Weverling-Rijnsburger AW et al. High-density vs low-density lipoprotein cholesterol as the risk factor for coronary artery disease and stroke in old age. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(13):1549-54.
Jonsson A et al. Total cholesterol and mortality after age 80 years. Lancet. 1997 Dec 13;350(9093):1778-9
Räihä I et al. Effect of serum lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins on vascular and nonvascular mortality in the elderly. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1997 Jul;17(7):1224-32.
Behar S et al. Low total cholesterol is associated with high total mortality in patients with coronary heart disease. The Bezafibrate Infarction Prevention (BIP) Study Group. Eur Heart J. 1997 Jan;18(1):52-9.
Fried LP et al. Risk factors for 5-year mortality in older adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study. JAMA. 1998 Feb 25;279(8):585-92.
Chyou PH, Eaker ED. Serum cholesterol concentrations and all-cause mortality in older people. Age Ageing. 2000 Jan;29(1):69-74.
Schatz IJ et al. Cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people from the Honolulu Heart Program: a cohort study. Lancet. 2001 Aug 4;358(9279):351-5.
Weverling-Rijnsburger AW et al. High-density vs low-density lipoprotein cholesterol as the risk factor for coronary artery disease and stroke in old age. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(13):1549-54.
Onder G et al. Serum cholesterol levels and in-hospital mortality in the elderly. Am J Med. 2003;115(4):265-71.
Casiglia E et al. Total cholesterol and mortality in the elderly. J Intern Med. 2003 Oct;254(4):353-62.
Psaty BM et al. The association between lipid levels and the risks of incident myocardial infarction, stroke, and total mortality: The Cardiovascular Health Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Oct;52(10):1639-47.
Ulmer H et al. Why Eve is not Adam: prospective follow-up in 149650 women and men of cholesterol and other risk factors related to cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.J Womens Health 2004 Jan-Feb;13(1):41-53.
Schupf N et al. Relationship between plasma lipids and all-cause mortality in nondemented elderly. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005 Feb;53(2):219-26
Akerblom JL et al. Relation of plasma lipids to all-cause mortality inC aucasian, African-American and Hispanic elders. Age Ageing. 2008;37:207-13.
Newson RS et al. Association between serum cholesterol and noncardiovascular mortality in older age. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011;59:1779-85.

The Benefits of High Cholesterol…………
http://www.ravnskov.nu/the%20benefits%20of%20high%20C.htm

Draw your own conclusions, as long as they are not biased or prejudiced.

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chrisb1

I will have to get a copy of Margaret McCartney’s “The Patient Paradox”, but you will have to excuse my skepticism as she was the GP who sat on the panel of experts who ruled on the WHICH investigation of Nutritional Therapists, but she does seem to talk alot of sense otherwise.

I am not “into” auras and chakras, so count me out on that score.

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Mark

Guy, Chris, Malcolm Thanks for all the links. The timing was perfect for me, since reading about cholesterol was on my list of things to do soon. Why? Just got in the mail result of blood tests from the doctor in Friday’s mail. I do blood tests every 6 months for a drug I take for MS. The tests were normal for everything except cholesterol. I have been watching the levels gradually go up. The solution for me is the easy one. The cholesterol level is now the only other risk factor other than being male I have for heart disease. From the nice short letter from my doctor the risks are:
1. family history ( no) 2. tobacco use (no) 3. High blood pressure (mine 116/70) 4. diabetes (no) 5. MALE 6. sedentary lifestyle (no) 7. Being over-weight (no)

I view the drugs as the sources point out are only for a select group with high cholesterol. They have to been watched closely for dangerous side effects and should be only a short term solution for most. What I have to change is diet. Everything is great except one bad habit I’ve had for years. I have a very large milkshake just before bed every night. Lots of ice-cream and a little milk. I don’t want to give it up, but it’s time. I may have to pick up some calories.

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Guy Chapman

Chris, the NHS is conservative because most new findings are wrong. By being conservative, medicine (generally) avoids the thousands of wild goose chases that make up alternative medicine. Anything genuinely useful will soon become part of the standard of care, because that’s what medical science is for: to show what works and what doesn’t.

It’s a good system. Unless you passionately believe in something that’s contradicted by the evidence, of course – but that’s a feature, not a bug.

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chrisb1

Your welcome Mark, and whether you agree or disagree with me is an individual matter of course, but I would add that it isn’t only a select group of people who benefit from having high cholesterol as explained here………………
http://www.ravnskov.nu/myth9.htm

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Guy Chapman

As explained on another site with a point of view well out into the long tail.

In the mean time, of course, for most people high cholesterol remains a problem.

My universal panacea miracle cure prescription is: a bicycle. Replace all car journeys under 2 miles with a bicycle, and large numbers of health problems go away At no significant cost!

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wavechange

Guy wrote: ‘This is a complex problem. For every complex problem there is a solution which is clear, simple and wrong. Mass use of statins is one such, mass rejection of them is probably another.’

I agree. We need a balanced approach and to be prepared to revise recommendations for use of statins as we learn more about these drugs, which clearly have benefits and disadvantages that differ for individuals. The same applies to a lesser extent to many drugs in common use.

Any article that considers one side of an argument is worthless, in my view.

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Guy Chapman

Certainly an article that considers only one side of an ongoing debate may be problematic. But not always.

Any responsible article should cover all factually-supported views, in rough proportion to the amount of support they have. However, false balance is a known problem. There is no need to quote a climate denier as “balance” to every article on climate change, or a germ theory denier to “balance” an article on a virus or bacterium.

When the scientific consensus is clear and robust, it is no longer a “side”, it is the balanced view, already taking into account all relevant and valid facts.

The difficulty is known which debates are settled against (homeopathy, reiki, therapeutic touch, reflexology etc)., which are still active (statins, screening) and which are settled for (surgery, radiotherapy, chemo for some cancers).

The pretence of doubt is a major weapon in the armoury of charlatans. I recommend the book “merchants of doubt” as an excellent overview of the exploitation of tiny minority dissenters by vested interests.

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Mark

Wavechange, and Guy, I agree. Dealing with almost every medical problem is very complex. A balanced approach is the only prudent way. Any article that is completely one sided may not be wrong, but makes you wonder what they are hiding or selling.

Guy, I agree that most preliminary findings or studies are wrong or a the very least misleadingly favorable. Should I start taking Lipitor, because my cholesterol is a little high and studies are now underway using it as a MS drug. The only way I might even consider doing it would be if my levels were dangerously high and as a part of a clinical trial. I see alternative treatments using the reasoning that if trials are going on it is effective.

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chrisb1

Guy,
I’m afraid you are only reiterating the Medicines views on cholesterol which does not reflect the actual science. Mainstream has moved the goalposts several times as to what constitutes high cholesterol.
A current ad for Lipitor® states: “80% of people who have had a heart attack have high cholesterol”. This sounds very persuasive of course, yet it is misleading because it all depends upon your definition of high cholesterol.

Before the era of cholesterol causality, the normal range of cholesterol was 100 to 300. Then overnight it seems, a new disease was created known as hypercholesterolemia and everyone with a cholesterol level of 200 or higher was afflicted with it.

This was the beginning of what has come to be known as the cholesterol craze and the drug companies’ progressive development of cholesterol lowering drugs, culminating in 1988 with statins.
Since then, the acceptable lower level of cholesterol has fallen from 200 to 170, then 150 and now 130, so this “80% of people who have had heart attacks have high cholesterol” is now true because nearly all people are “caught” by this newest lower value of 130.

At the rate of change seen these past twenty years, our acceptable level of cholesterol will be 110, and statin makers will be able to say with complete honesty that almost 100 percent of people who have heart attacks have high cholesterol, simply because nearly everyone has high cholesterol if you lower the desirable level sufficiently.
I have said previously that fifty percent of new heart attack cases the cholesterol level is normal or below normal (whatever that may be).
The reality that cholesterol levels are completely normal in more than half of new heart attack cases is what convinced Uffe Ravnskov, MD ( The Cholesterol Myths ) and Kilmer McCully, MD ( The Homocysteine Revolution ) that the theory of cholesterol causation was wrong. It just did not fit the facts.

I suggest you research the 2003 JUPITER study – Justification for the Use of statins in Prevention: an Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin (Crestor®). ( Ref 1 ).

And in January 2008, the results of the ENHANCE trial ( completed in April 2006 ) were finally released. ( Ref 2 ) ENHANCE was a trial that compared one group taking simvastatin ( Zocor® ) with another taking Vytorin® ( simvastatin plus Zetia® ). The thickness and progression of arterial plaque of the participants was monitored for two years.

Ref 1: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18997196
Ref 2: http://www.ccjm.org/content/75/7/497.full
Ref 3: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/may2011/nhlbi-26.htm

Replacing all car journeys under 2 miles with a bicycle, (although a good idea) only adds to the problem, esp’ in inner city areas where cyclists flout the rules of the road (red-light-jumping for one thing) and receive no training in road behavior at all.

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chrisb1

Guy,
“Anything genuinely useful will soon become part of the standard of care, because that’s what medical science is for: to show what works and what doesn’t”.

Is an ideal, but unfortunately this does not work in practice. If you had done as much research on this as I have, you would understand why.

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wavechange

In view of your condition, I suggest that you speak to your consultant, Mark. If they are not well informed, it might be worth finding a consultant who is and paying for private consultation.

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Mark

Wavechange, I’ll talk to my doctor the next time I see her. The best course for me right now is to keep on doing what I’m doing right now. I have a very good neurologist who is an MS specialist. I’m very stable right now, which is about the best you can do. I have always done a lot of reading and carry a written list of questions and list what’s going on with me. I’ll reduce my ice cream habit and see how things go. I see my regular doctor next week for a colon exam and we will also talk diet. Not fun, but its been 5 years since my last one and that one found a couple of small things to remove.

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Mark

A question that I’m starting to see that would come up for the person most likely taken in by the Miracle Cure business is: Where do you go for good accurate information? If you do a web search, the natural cure sites say don’t trust just about everyone except their site or another one. Sense About Science and the ASA are not liked by many and the skeptic sites are universally hated. The government run ones are bought by big pharma or too conservative to endorse new treatments. Wikipeda is run by a homeopathy and alternative medicine hater and unreliable besides.

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chrisb1

Sense about Science and the ASA.

The ASA has recently made advertising rulings on alternatives based on the opinion of only ONE expert: hardly a consensus view required to arrive at an accurate and impartial decision.

Sense About Science (although a step in the right direction) isn’t necessarily the arbiter of truth that we all hope it will be either.

“Sense about science have recently published a very one-sided report entitled “Making Sense of Radiation” on the associations between EMFs and health. Not only did this report only present ONE side of an argument that has multiple conflicting opinions (both of which are based on peer-reviewed science), but it also contained a number of factual errors and omissions”.

Here are 11 factual issues illustrated within the report into “factually incorrect”, and “factually misleading” (i.e. facts spun in a misleading manner).
http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20081010_sense_about_science.asp
http://www.anh-europe.org/files/090109_Debunking_Sense_About_Science_stand_on_detox_F.pdf

There is nothing wrong with being skeptical, and a healthy approach to most all things, but in Medicine and health matters, I am very skeptical of the skeptics………………..

The modern skeptical paradox is that a philosophy based on questioning ALL sides of a particular argument now finds itself harnessed to the ‘anti-natural’ cause. Such skeptics, typified by organisations such as Sense About Science, appear to find themselves firmly in a pro-GM, pro-mainstream medicine, anti-natural healthcare position.

So if skepticism leads us to question ALL SIDES of an argument – to reject the intrinsic ‘rightness’ of any position – how then can the skeptics be so loudly pro-mainstream medicine and against all the alternatives? What scientific data are they using for example to support the very dubious view that genetically modified (GM) crops will resolve world hunger?

Strictly speaking, it should be impossible for skeptics to describe themselves as ‘pro-science’ or ‘pro-technology’, since that clearly associates them with a “belief” in the correctness of modern science – an utterly non-skeptical position!

Not only that, but while philosophical skepticism has had enormous influence on the modern scientific process, the modern skeptic turns his or her back on the scientific method by ignoring centuries of human experience – and the clinical experience being gathered every day by practitioners – as merely ‘anecdotal’.
Apparently, only randomized, controlled trials (RCT’s) in human subjects will do to prove any treatment approach worthy of consideration. So, it seems that the ‘pro-science’ ‘skeptics’ are actually in some respects ‘anti-science’, and they’re certainly not skeptics. Their position is considered by many to effectively be a form of intellectual fraud.

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chrisb1

Mark,
for what it is worth, and not very much I would wager, it may well be worth considering the following these protocols which have had a very good success rate against MS……………..
http://www.doctoryourself.com/calcdef.html
http://www.doctoryourself.com/ms_2.html

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wavechange

Anyone can update Wikipedia, Mark. I restrict myself to topics of hobby interest, a long way away from medicine. I am very grateful to those who strive to those who put in effort to improve Wikipedia in all subject areas. Homeopathy is the ultimate medical con trick and the only benefit is that it can discourage people from taking medicines that they may not need.

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Guy Chapman

Chris: Your research gives different results from mine because your standard for evaluating sources is radically different. This is already established.

It’s not about the amount of reading either of us has put in, it’s about what we both consider to be a reputable or reliable source.

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Guy Chapman

Wikipedia is a good source for an overview of the current state of evidence on most things because it is editable by pretty much anybody (believer or not), and because naked advocacy gets beaten out over time. Sometimes an article might sway too far one way or the other (as was the case when the cold fusion advocates hijacked the cold fusion page a while back) but over time, very much like the scientific method, it converges on correct.

Many of the battles have been about fringe theories (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:FRINGE), which I think fits a lot of what Chris has advocated. These are not pseudoscience, not necessarily even wrong as such, but they are a long way off the consensus scientific view. Very occasionally, fringe theories turn out to be right. Much more often, they don’t – and that will often lead people into what’s known as pathological science, the practice of pursuing a belief and rationalising away conflicting evidence.

“To maintain a neutral point of view, an idea that is not broadly supported by scholarship in its field must not be given undue weight in an article about a mainstream idea. More extensive treatment should be reserved for an article about the idea, which must meet the test of notability. Additionally, when the subject of an article is the minority viewpoint itself, the proper contextual relationship between minority and majority viewpoints must be clear.”

Balance comes about by documenting what the fringe theory says, and then showing how far it is from the mainstream, and why the mainstream has not accepted the theory. Usually this comes down to quality of evidence, lack of independent replication, and sometimes lack of a credible mechanism. There’s a collection of examples at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-standard_cosmology (i.e. cosmologies other than the dominant big bang theory).

I don’t think Jimmy Wales is a “homeopathy hater”, I think for the most part he doesn’t give it a thought – he’s only mentioned it to me once, and that was when he was in London (where he knows I worked) and was offered oscillococcinum by a pharmacist; I pointed him to the Wikipedia page on it.

I am an admin on Wikipedia and I know Jimmy, I’m also an email response volunteer so I have access to the messages people send in about issues with articles – defamation and so on. I think I have a fair understanding of the place and its problems, especially the really serious ones that often don’t get seen because we quietly deal with them in the background. I’m as likely to have an edit reverted as anyone else, though, because my view is worth no more or less than anyone else’s. We don’t do hierarchy in that way. We do advise people not to revert actions identified as taken in direct response to a potential legal issue, but we don’t want to cry wolf, so we reserve that “nuclear option” for the important cases. A recent example was Giovanni di Stefano, a litigious gentleman who made serious and credible threats against the Wikimedia Foundation and against individual editors (he represented Nicholas van Hoogstraten and also helped Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein). We got the last laugh: he is currently serving 14 years for fraud and deception.

Jimmy Wales cares passionately about sharing knowledge, and about fairness. There was a debate recently over whether to refer to religious accounts of origins as “creation myths”; Jimmy’s view was that while this is technically and linguistically correct it is unnecessarily inflammatory. Jimmy doesn’t support hatchet jobs even on obvious quackery, because that drives people away. If people choose not to trust Wikipedia because they don’t like the way reality views their beliefs, then that’s their choice, but we aren’t going to rub their noses in it.

The idea that Wikipedia would be skewed by Jimmy’s views on anything is ridiculous. There are articles whose content he disputes quite forcefully; he does not insist on his way. The claim that Larry Sanger was co-founder, he rejects. Nevertheless, it is what several independent sources say, so it’s what Wikipedia says.

However, there is an imbalance of motivation. If you are a crank, getting your view as the “official” POV of Wikipedia is immensely important. Wikipedia is the best known and most used informational site on the internet. Its reach is immense and its brand is very strongly trusted. For a scientist, it has no real importance because a scientist’s reputation is made in the peer-reviewed literature, not Wikipedia. If you are, say Rupert Sheldrake, Wikipedia is important to your wider reputation. If you are Jim Al-Khalili? Not so much.

Wikipedia does have a small-l liberal, rational humanist leaning. This is a reflection of the people who turn up. It is unlikely that an article calling transsexualism deviant, will last. Wikipedia’s community has a significant and respected body of LGBT contributors. It’s not that Wikipedia seeks to normalise LGBT topics, it’s that it refuses, pretty much on principle, to paint them as deviant or abnormal. Ironically, this feels very British, for such an American-led endeavour. As long as it doesn’t alarm the servants or frighten the horses, we’re cool with it. I’m less enamoured of the militant free-speech types, but they are not so much in evidence these days. Or maybe I just don’t see them.

We have been through many long-running battles where belief collides with objective reality. Creationism is an obvious example. A creationist, Andrew Schlafly, set up a parallel project called Conservapedia precisely because Wikipedia presents creationism as a religious belief and evolution as a scientific fact. If you’re a creationist, that makes Wikipedia unreliable. Same with pseudoscience. Long-term battles have been fought over articles on homeopathy, cold fusion, NLP, non-standard cosmologies and so on.

Of the spin-outs from Wikipedia, it’s noticeable that the only ones which thrive are those which are addressing subjects where the level of detail expected by fans, could not be reconciled with Wikipedia’s sourcing requirements. Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki started in 2003) and Wookiepedia (a Star Wars wiki started in 2005) are obvious examples. On-topic, Wiki4cam (a CAM wiki started in 2008) has 220 pages, 3 active users and the last edit was in February 2012. Like Conservapedia, it tries to control dissenting voices rather than using Wikipedia’s approach of letting everyone in and breaking up the inevitable fights as they happen.

Wikis that try to aggressively control content, fail. That’s why Wikipedia doesn’t do that, and why people who claim that it does, are talking rubbish.

The consensus view is, however, that in matters of science, the scientific point of view is the neutral point of view, because it draws on all published opinions, by definition, and comes up with a view that best fits the observed facts. So the scientific consensus on climate change sets the agenda for Wikipedia’s coverage of climate change. And climate deniers see this as bias. Same with alternative medicine, religious views of creation and so on.

Sorry, long rambling reply, but I hope interesting at some level: Wikipedia is a great project and I think it has turned weaknesses (e.g. open editing) into strengths.

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Guy Chapman

Chris, you highlight an issue that is hard for those not familiar with science, to understand.

When the ASA or some other body asks an expert to advise, the expert will review the scientific literature and give advice as to the current scientific consensus.

That doesn’t make it the opinion of one expert: it is still a review based on a much wider base of evidence.

Sense About Science do the same.

Power Watch is made up of believers in “electrosensitivity”, a phenomenon which has defied numerous attempts to establish any objective basis in fact tot he point where the official term has been changed to Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) to make it clear that while these effects are attributed to EMF, the evidence fails to support this attribution.

Sense About Science rightly reflects the consensus scientific view.

Believers in things that lack scientific support, naturally criticise SAS, often because they subscribe tot he fallacious logic of the fringe (cherry-picking supporting studies and ignoring the bulk of studies that contradict them, or begging the question by assuming that a thing is proven and then complaining whenever anyone produces evidence showing it isn’t).

They are shooting at the messenger: SAS accurately documents the scientific consensus, the scientific consensus does not support belief in detox or electrosensitivity, if they want this to change, they need to bring better science.

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Guy Chapman

Specifically on electromagnetic hypersensitivity, given as an example of Sense About Science being “wrong” because it conflicts with Power Watch, a group of self-described EMF hypersensitives:

http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/content/67/2/224

“Results: Thirty-one experiments testing 725 “electromagnetically hypersensitive” participants were identified. Twenty-four of these found no evidence to support the existence of a biophysical hypersensitivity, whereas 7 reported some supporting evidence. For 2 of these 7, the same research groups subsequently tried and failed to replicate their findings. In 3 more, the positive results appear to be statistical artefacts. The final 2 studies gave mutually incompatible results. Our metaanalyses found no evidence of an improved ability to detect EMF in “hypersensitive” participants.”

So, a systematic review (that is, an impartial analysis of the entire available relevant scientific literature, filtered by quality) finds no evidence that self-described EMF hypersensitives are indeed sensitive to EMF: they cannot tell, in blinded conditions, whether they are or are not being subjected to EMF. Thus, any appropriately neutral scientific discussion MUST reflect this consensus, and continue to do so until some compelling new result is produced, ideally including an actual provable mechanism by which the supposed effect might work, since electromagnetic fields are part and parcel of a world powered by a vast fusion reactor 150 million kilometres away.

However, see this:

“Conclusions: The symptoms described by “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” sufferers can be severe and are sometimes disabling. However, it has proved difficult to show under blind conditions that exposure to EMF can trigger these symptoms. This suggests that “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” is unrelated to the presence of EMF, although more research into this phenomenon is required.”

So, it is a severe and occasionally disabling condition, it’s just not related to EMF. Now, if you passionately believe it’s due to EMF and become paranoid about EMF, then any psychosomatic component will be magnified immensely. If there is a component which is not psychosomatic, then the fixation on EMF is not only unproductive, it’s actively counterproductive, because it is preventing you form looking for the real cause.

I do not believe that it is right to pander to beliefs that the best available evidence says are completely wrong, for exactly that reason. It reinforces the wrong belief, at the expense of pursuing a correct explanation.

I’ve had post traumatic stress disorder. It is genuinely debilitating. It is also 100% psychosomatic. People who refuse to admit this, are the ones who don’t get cured. And if the cause of IEI-EMF is not actually psychosomatic, then closed questions (how can we prove it’s EMF?) are markedly less likely to find the correct answer than open questions (what causes this effect?).

Pretty much the entirety of the debate over alternative medicine hinges on this exact same point. Believers want evidence to support their belief, and refuse to accept any that does not, whereas scientists ask open questions, which very often lead to a conclusion the believers won’t accept. Believers then accuse science of getting it all wrong, as with Power Watch and Sense About Science.

This is often compounded by paying a numbers game. 100 people assert they are sensitive to EMF, that systematic review only had three or four authors, therefore they are wrong and we are right. But a single scientist can articulate a scientific consensus; a good scientist distinguishes between statements of fact (there is no good evidence that “electromagnetic hypersensitives” are any such thing) and statements of opinion (I believe it is 100% psychosomatic). Believers in fringe and alternative theories, by contrast, typically blur the line between fact and opinion, or say that because some small part of a claim is true – EMF can cause heating, for example – thus the entire claim is true, despite the fact that there”s strong evidence it isn’t.

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Alan Henness

chrisb1 said:

“The ASA has recently made advertising rulings on alternatives based on the opinion of only ONE expert: hardly a consensus view required to arrive at an accurate and impartial decision.”

No it didn’t. It was provided with a plethora of evidence and they employed an expert in the field to assess that evidence alongside their own experts in advertising. We do now know the exact details of the papers provided to the ASA (although many can be deduced), but they clearly state why they concluded any paper was not adequate. Presumably the advertiser was content with that conclusion, but if they are not, it’s open to them to appeal. However, if you can spot anything wrong with what the ASA concluded about any particular paper, please feel free to let us – and them – know.

And if you’re talking about the recent adjudication against the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital as was), then please note that not only did they not uphold all the points, they clearly stated what the evidence supplied did substantiate.

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chrisb1

Alan,
the ASA admits on their website that in at least one case they used one expert to adjudicate on their findings; one expert in the field does not constitute a consensus of opinion to arrive at an impartial and reliable decision.
Why then do we have “peer-reviews” of more than one opinion.?

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chrisb1

Guy,
my research gives different results from your own, but not because of the standard of evaluating evidence, where you seem to imply that this is a lower standard than your own.
My sources are actually trustworthy and reliable if not comprehensive; I have recently used thses sources for example..
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18997196 (The Jupiter Study)
http://www.ccjm.org/content/75/7/497.full (The Enhance Trial)
http://www.nih.gov/news/health/may2011/nhlbi-26.htm

all of which are Mainstream sources.

Wouldn’t you say this was cherry-picking on your part? and sifting the evidence to suit your own beliefs perhaps?

I do agree with you when you say it is about what we consider to be a reputable and reliable source of information.

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chrisb1

Guy,
consensus does not necessarily mean correctness, and as I have pointed out previously, so it is on this basis that I have posted on scientific findings that contradict this consensus viewpoint.

Cholesterol lowering drugs are a case in point, and although there is a medical consensus on the use of statins for that purpose, the claimed aim of being able to reduce cardiovascular events in this way has not been proven, so their purported use of benefit is incorrect and essentially misleading if not fraudulent.
Statins work by reducing inflammation, rather than their intended use of reducing cholesterol.

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chrisb1

Guy,
you have mentioned that if a therapy is demonstrated to work it would be accepted within Mainstream medicine and therefore would cease to be alternative.

However, just to contradict that view, one Prof. Yuri Nikolayev of the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry has cured, and I mean totally cured, schizophrenics of their illness by placing his psychotic patients on a water-only-fast for up to 40 days, but this has not been accepted within Mainstream outside of Russia, and despite the evidence………………
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1817&dat=19720423&id=Dl80AAAAIBAJ&sjid=M5wEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7137,3814852

This explains more re’ Prof. Yuri Nikolayev and the success of the fast in psychotic cases.
http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1974/pdf/1974-v03n04-p301.pdf

This is just but one example of a therapy that is used very successfully in psychoses and many other forms of illness, but has been totally ignored by Mainstream Medicine in the West, eben though it has been demonstrated to work and work very effectively.

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Mark

Wavechange, I would have to agree for the most part. From what I have seen of Wikipede it has done a fairly good job with accuracy at least with subjects that I am familiar. Having said that, I think it would be a good start in doing research. It would be about the same advice you would give to a high school kid who was going to do a report. You use it to gain a rough idea of the subject, but don’t use it as a main source.

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Guy Chapman

Chris, like I said, one scientist is all that’s needed to assess the status of the scientific consensus. You only need one Dana Nuccitelli to summarise the consensus on global climate change, you only need one expert to summarise the scientific consensus on, say, homeopathy, electrosensitivity or live blood analysis, because the consensus is abundantly clear.

I am not going to get into debate about outliers supported by advocacy websites. Of course they publish arguments by people who agree with them. That is their function. When they have good science, they are no longer fringe. When they are fringe, it’s because they do not have good science. By definition.

Of course occasionally such people are visionaries. Those are the ones we remember. We forget the much greater numbers who were wrong, in the same way as the audience at a “psychic” show forget the misses and remember only the hits. And the important thing is that the very worst people at working out which are cranks and which are visionaries, are the believers – not least due to the process of “crank magnetism” whereby believers of one crank are attracted to others due to the common and consonant narrative of conspiracy.

I am aware of only one claim supported by sound science that is not on the path to mainstream acceptance: phage therapy, brought up earlier, which faces specific challenges due to licensing regimes (phage strains are extremely specific and almost bred to order). People who claim to be the lone genius who can cure some serious and widespread disorder, are either Nobel laureates or cranks, to a good first approximation.

“The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” – Carl Sagan

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chrisb1

Guy,
you do have a way with words I must admit, but to dismiss Powerwatch as a group of “hypersensitives” is derisory and denigrating to say the least.

In fact Powerwatch has been an association of skilled people, Directed by Alasdair Philips, maintaining their web site and providing a consultancy service on a commercial basis to businesses and to the general public, and providing technical input to local Councils and Government.

Alasdair Philips is qualified in both Electrical and Electronic Engineering and in Agricultural Engineering. He has equity interests in two small companies (EMFields and Sensory Perspective Ltd) that supply EMF and RF measurement equipment and supplies. Since 1986 he has built up a considerable knowledge of EMF bioeffects, and is one of the leading ‘alternative’ voices on the subject in the UK. Powerwatch is used as a forum for a small group of knowledgeable engineers and scientists who are concerned about the consequences of an irradiated ‘blue world’ we are creating.

This is the science which you have ignored, and will probably continue to ignore……
http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/science/studies.asp

Your comment…………
“Pretty much the entirety of the debate over alternative medicine hinges on this exact same point. Believers want evidence to support their belief, and refuse to accept any that does not”.

Is a line or two I could have written about you and people like you, but the truth of the matter is that people who believe in alternatives, do so because of the evidence and NOT the other way around (as in my own case) and thousands upon thousands like me who have received distinct benefit from the same.

I find it to be very disappointing that despite the evidence I have posted on here, you are still of the same mindset, even when much of the evidence has validly questioned or even disproved the consensus of medical opinion.

A very scientific approach I am sure.

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wavechange

Mark

I think Wikipedia is remarkably good considering that anyone can edit pages and many do. A surprising amount of information is of little interest to most people and non-controversial, so some pages are both good and stable – having been compiled by experts and not vandalised.

With any topic that people have an interest but little expertise, it can be a continuing battle to maintain useful pages. I don’t begin to understand how this is achieved.

As you say, Wikipedia provides an introduction, and many pages are presented as to be comprehensible to the general public.

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Mark

Chris, Thanks for the sources checked them out and found some good stuff. Diet or diets are a very important part of MS treatment. When you have MS or probably with most chronic diseases its the one of the things you have the most control over. It can make a big difference in your over all well being. Vitamins and levels of vitamins are also very important, but should only be considered just a part of your treatment plan.

I did have a problem with the first source that started out with a story. Her doctor thought she needed more calcium. “It didn’t seem to help, so he sent me to a neurologist. The neurologist heard the symptoms and then and there said that I have multiple sclerosis.” The neurologist was rightly described as a moron or something like that. The new doctor got her on track with taking calcium in the right manor and no more symptoms. The part I hate is starting with a story. My hardened view is that anything starting with a story is not to be believed. No neurologist even a new one on the first visit says you have MS. There are just too many easy treatable conditions that have the same symptoms. A diagnosis of MS is not given until many things are ruled out and then with support of spinal taps and MRI. When you are caught in one lie, can you trust anything else? Good and bad information mix makes it bad source for patients who don’t have a good background.

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Alan Henness

chrisb1

You’re missing the point. The ASA has to adjudicate on claims made in adverts. It does this by asking for the evidence held by the advertiser. The ASA’s investigators look at this evidence and come to a conclusion about whether it is of a high enough standard to substantiate the claims made by the advertiser. They will also seek out other information that the advertiser might not have supplied – this gets round any cherry-picking done by the advertiser. For particularly complex claims, they employ an expert to advise them before they make their decision.

For most altmed, their job is pretty straightforward because much of the evidence provided is usually of such low quality and obviously so open to bias, has poor methodology, included a low number of subjects, not published or peer reviewed, was a pilot study, wasn’t for the product/therapy the claim was about, asks the wrong research question, is not applicable to the target audience of the ad… I could go on, there are many many more. This isn’t really a difficult job in most cases.

Ideally, the advertiser would supply one or more meta-analyses or systematic reviews: if they are sound, then the ASA is likely to rule that the claim has been substantiated; if not, or the ASA is aware of better, conflicting evidence, then the advertiser loses.

However, it’s amazing just how poor evidence supplied to substantiate altmed claims is. Or not that amazing…if you are at all skeptical.

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chrisb1

Alan,
re’ the ASA’s ruling on Chinese Clincs resulting from only one complaint, depends on what we consider to be “evidence”. TCM has a totally different perspective on what this actually means, because they provided testimonials of healing. Testimonials of healing are the best source of evidence because this is what really matters, rather than the academia of evidential proof (as in RCT’s) which Guy is very fond of quoting.
Controlled trials do not take account of patients’ circumstances and factors such as stress, energy levels and quality of sleep, which could not therefore have any real meaning or relevance. They said drugs that had been proven to be safe in controlled clinical trials were later found to have done more harm than good.
RCT’s are very good for drug trials, but only for drug trials, and not necessarily relevant for an individuals health-outcome. A mistake often made by Scientism and Modern Medicine generally, who think in restricted terms of: diagnostics, surgery, and drug-therapy.

“the ASA concluded that the ad by Chinese Clinics (Balham) Ltd was misleading and discouraged essential treatment for a condition for which medical supervision should be sought”.

By this I assume they mean essential medical treatment which has little if any effect on the outcome of the disease of MS, and which Medicine states is incurable.

The United States and New Zealand are allowed to advertise pharmaceuticals on TV, and their purported use is to lower cholesterol and therefore prevent heart attacks, but they actually work by reducing inflammation rather than the former method, so this is therefore misleading and erroneous advertising not adjudicated on by the ASA or anyone else.

Double standards perhaps?

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Guy Chapman

Chris: Yes, the provided testimonials. these are not considered as relevant evidence. This has been the case ofr a long time and is the same rule that is applied to every form of health claim, there is no special treatment.

Testimonials are not admissible for exactly the same reason that the randomised controlled trial was invented: human perceptions are vulnerable to all kinds of confounders. Placebo effects, expectation effects, natural history of disease, regression to the mean, reporting bias and so on.

Consider the hypothetical case of a disease that kills 9/10 people. A quack treats 100 people and reports the 10 who survive as “miracle” cures. Without full data on how many people were treated, this claim is misleading, potentially fatally so. And yet that is precisely the basis on which many alternative medicine practitioners think they should be allowed to advertise to treat or cure disease.

It’s not just a philosophical difference, it’s a totally different way of viewing the world, and the ASA are in the reality-based group who want to see credible systematised scientific evidence for health claims, because consumer protection demands that misleading claims are not permitted.

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Alan Henness

chrisb1 said:

“re’ the ASA’s ruling on Chinese Clincs”

You don’t seem to have said which ASA adjudication you were referring to – I took it it was the RLHIM/UCLH one.

“resulting from only one complaint”

Yep. That’s the way it works.

“depends on what we consider to be “evidence””

No, not really. The CAP Code and guidance are quite clear on the subject. You should read it sometime.

“TCM has a totally different perspective on what this actually means”

Tough. The rules are there for all advertisers to abide by, not pick and choose as they want them to apply to themselves when they’re challenged.

“because they provided testimonials of healing”

And the CAP Code is quite clear what CAP (rightly) thinks of testimonials.

“Testimonials of healing are the best source of evidence”

What you mean is that, in most cases, is the ONLY source of evidence they have, so that’s all they can plead with.

“because this is what really matters”

Wrong. See Guy or anyone else, passim.

“rather than the academia of evidential proof (as in RCT’s) which Guy is very fond of quoting.”

In fact, it really doesn’t matter what Guy thinks (sorry, Guy!) about RCTs (although he is perfectly correct, of course). What matters is what the CAP Code says and that says that advertisers of soap powder, mouthwash, used cars, double glazing or altmed must all abide by the same rules and provide good evidence for any claims made when challenged.

“Controlled trials do not take account of patients’ circumstances and factors such as stress, energy levels and quality of sleep, which could not therefore have any real meaning or relevance. They said drugs that had been proven to be safe in controlled clinical trials were later found to have done more harm than good.
RCT’s are very good for drug trials, but only for drug trials, and not necessarily relevant for an individuals health-outcome. A mistake often made by Scientism and Modern Medicine generally, who think in restricted terms of: diagnostics, surgery, and drug-therapy.”

See passim.

““the ASA concluded that the ad by Chinese Clinics (Balham) Ltd was misleading and discouraged essential treatment for a condition for which medical supervision should be sought”.

By this I assume they mean essential medical treatment which has little if any effect on the outcome of the disease of MS, and which Medicine states is incurable.”

No. It means that the CAP Code says that the advertising was claiming to treat a medical condition that they were not qualified to treat.

“The United States and New Zealand are allowed to advertise pharmaceuticals on TV, and their purported use is to lower cholesterol and therefore prevent heart attacks, but they actually work by reducing inflammation rather than the former method, so this is therefore misleading and erroneous advertising not adjudicated on by the ASA or anyone else.

Double standards perhaps?”

Perhaps you were unaware that the ASA has no jurisdiction in the US or New Zealand…

But it is illegal to advertise POMs in the UK. Any breach of that would most likely be dealt with by the MHRA. In general Big Pharma comply with that law, so the ASA has no need to adjudicate on whether any such ad is misleading or not.

But they do seem to have to spend a lot of time of ruling against alt med advertisers for making misleading and unsubstantiated claims. Why would that be?

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chrisb1

Alan,
while most of you spend the time debating on the importance and authenticity/reliability of the type of “evidence” that is acceptable, the rest of us are getting well and recovering our health via many alternative therapies; evidence which you continue to ignore to the detriment of those seeking wellness.
Patients actually come first, although it would seem that this is of little relevance to you skeptics and Mainstreamers.
Let me remind you that the modern skeptic turns his or her back on the “scientific method” by ignoring/dismissing centuries of human experience – and the clinical experience being gathered every day by practitioners – as merely ‘anecdotal’.

You missed or avoided my point; I did not say that the ASA has jurisdiction in the US or New Zealand, but what I did say is that this kind of advertising used for statins in lowering cholesterol is allowed in those countries and under false pretenses; it is marketed and used over here in the UK for the purpose of lowering cholesterol in the prevention of heart attacks/strokes and other cardiovascular events.
This however is simply not the case, because statins only work by reducing inflammation (accompanied by serious side-effects) rather than its claimed use of lowering cholesterol in achieving the same. In other words, false and misleading claims that should be corrected.
Inflammation btw can be reduced by other means rather than taking expensive statins which reap pharmaceutical companies $25 billion to $30 billion per annum.

It would be helpful if your read my posts with a little more diligence before replying.

“The ASA seem to have to spend a lot of time ruling against alt med advertisers for making misleading and unsubstantiated claims. Why would that be”?

Please note, that these “complaints” to the ASA were not from a large number of people or organisations, so the logical conclusion is that the therapy in question is acceptable to those in receipt of it, but not acceptable to those who are biased/prejudiced against it as in your own case.

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chrisb1

Guy,
the provided testimonials are not considered as relevant evidence to you, but they are to me and thousands like me.

Allow me to explain….

A number of years ago a TV programme highlighted the case of a little girl who had been afflicted with osteoarthritis; she had been under the care of a distinguished specialist within Mainstream Medicine for a couple of years, but during this time her condition had become progressively worse to the point where she was bound to a wheelchair, having severe mobility issues and consequent pain.

The specialist was the “invited guest” to discuss the little girls condition, whose Mother had taken her daughter out of his care for 6 to 9 months prior to the programme, during which time she had sought “alternative care”.
This specialist was taken completely by surprise when the little girl appeared from the audience towards the end of the show, with her mobility fully restored, and her osteoarthritis a thing of the past; she even ran over to him to hug him as they had become so well acquainted during her treatment regimen under his care.

When confronted with the evidence of a completely healed little girl, who do not forget had been under his care for 2 years and become progressively worse, he then stated that there was “no evidence” to suggest that her alternative treatment had actually worked.

The Mother laughed in his face…………as did the audience.

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Guy Chapman

Alan: Perfectly fine, I know the difference between opinion and fact, and do my best to distinguish the two. So does the ASA. This is a feature, not a bug…

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Guy Chapman

Chris, you don’t need to explain. I know that the human species is evolutionarily selected for pattern matching. When you live in a jungle, running from 99 things that are not a tiger is better than not running from one thing that is. The human brain is a pattern-matching engine.

The scientific method is not hard-wired by evolution. We are, as far as I know, the only species that applies it, and it is the thing that accounts for the explosion of progress since the mid 17th Century. The Enlightenment is when the scientific method began to take over from natural philosophy, and when people started getting the idea that objective tests, not believe or philosophical musings, were the correct basis of knowledge.

In simple terms, if your system for assessing medical claims does not reject the majority of fringe and alternative beliefs, then you are, pretty much by definition, doing it wrong, because however fallible humans might be the scientific method is, in the end, the only effective way ever devised for separating truth from falsehood. It can be used by anybody, it relies on a common and simple set of tools, and it automatically corrects for error and converges on correct over time.

The development of the randomised controlled trial is one of the things (along with epidemiology) that moved medicine out of superstition and into science. If you give a hundred people a sugar pill and tell them they will feel better, they will. Give 50 a red pill and 50 a blue one, you get a different effect between the red and blue groups, even though the pills are inert. Medicines cause this effect too. That’s why medicines have to prove that they are better than placebo. That’s why it’s a problem that pharmaceutical companies have manipulated studies.

Doctors can be wrong, even very eminent ones. But your entire philosophy seems to be based on the idea that *most* doctors are wrong and only those who present ideas consonant with your beliefs are right. That is statistically implausible. Most early findings are wrong, few treatments match up to the numbers in initial studies. Your view is that the initial studies are always right, the believers who generate more evidence to support their emotionally vested belief in the early results, are the ones who are right. Again, statistically improbable, and it goes against the entire history of scientific medical endeavour.

I completely understand that you believe in homeopathy, colloidal silver, megavitmains, MMR-autism, electrosensitivity, Gerson, Hoxsey, Budwig and a vast range of other fringe beliefs that are considered refuted or strongly contradicted by the scientific evidence.

In one case, that might be arguable. In all of them? That’s irrational. Not only is it pretty much inconceivable that science is wrong and the fringe advocates right in all these cases, but some of the things you advocate are actually mutually exclusive.

This is compounded by your near-exclusive use of advocacy sites instead of reliable independent sources. Advocacy sites tell you what advocates believe, not what is factually provable. They cherry-pick, they engage in policy-based evidence making, they do all the things humans do to manage cognitive dissonance when the world is screaming at them: “you’re wrong”. This is entirely normal, 100% human, and evidentially useless. There are people who will earnestly tell you, with evidence, that the earth is flat. The thing that people forget about Galileo is that he was articulating the emerging scientific consensus, and it was the church (the belief-based analogue to the scientific establishment) that couldn’t handle it.

Newton is as close to a God as science has. Einstein showed him to be wrong about certain things. Einstein had better science. Newton was wrong about those things. Einstein said “my God does not play dice with the universe”. Einstein was wrong: mater is not deterministic. Fallible humans aside, science has no sacred cows. Evidence trumps belief, always.

The entire point of the scientific method is that it sets aside what we want to be true, and asks what actually is true.

More than that: it uses Occam’s razor. What explanation requires the smallest number of hypotheses? The null hypothesis is the default explanation.

The religious approach, inherent in alternatives to medicine, is different. it assumes that anything people believe is valid, unless conclusively proven otherwise. Often, the proof demanded is in terms that implicitly demand belief – the fallacy of begging the question – a bit like demanding someone prove the non-existence of God by reference to the Bible.

The approaches are different, but they do not have parity. You give more credence to the belief-based view, I give more credence to the evidence-based view. So do the ASA, so do the NHS, so do medical schools generally, scientists and so on, because it is the way we moved from horses to spaceflight in a handful of generations, when it took over four billion years to get as far as walking on our hind legs.

I understand the appeal of belief-based thinking. I understand the appeal of the mythical golden age. The brutal fact is that antiquity, when things were natural, was associated with a human life expectancy about half that we enjoy now. Science helps us live to the point where we are pushing the limits of the capabilities of the biological systems on which our bodies are built, meaning that many of us end up on long-term medical treatments We cannot fix that by throwing our hands up in the air and abandoning rational thought and the scientific method. That is simply crazy.

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Alan Henness

chrisb1 said:

“while most of you spend the time debating on the importance and authenticity/reliability of the type of “evidence” that is acceptable”

I’m not spending any time (other than wasting it here) debating types of evidence. Whatever gave you that idea?

“the rest of us are getting well and recovering our health via many alternative therapies;”

Good for you.

“evidence which you continue to ignore to the detriment of those seeking wellness.”

And we’ve explained at great length and more than once why poor quality evidence is inadequate. But don’t let that stop you trying things…

“Patients actually come first, although it would seem that this is of little relevance to you skeptics and Mainstreamers.”

Quite the contrary. People deserve and are entitled to the best treatments backed by the best evidence. That would naturally exclude improved or disproven treatments such as homeopathy.

“Let me remind you that the modern skeptic turns his or her back on the “scientific method” by ignoring/dismissing centuries of human experience – and the clinical experience being gathered every day by practitioners – as merely ‘anecdotal’.”

You still don’t seem to quite have grasped the idea of the scientific method, nor the myriad of sources of bias, etc

“You missed or avoided my point; I did not say that the ASA has jurisdiction in the US or New Zealand, but what I did say is that this kind of advertising used for statins in lowering cholesterol is allowed in those countries and under false pretenses; it is marketed and used over here in the UK for the purpose of lowering cholesterol in the prevention of heart attacks/strokes and other cardiovascular events.”

If you feel something is amiss, you are perfectly free to submit a complaint to whosoever – I think the FDA will consider complaints from non-residents and perhaps NZ does too. Of course, we do provide some good advice on our website to help anyone submit a complaint, but let me know if you need any pointers.

If you feel the MHRA isn’t doing its job in the UK, you can submit your complaint here: http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Contactus/index.htm. Mind you, I’ve never seen an ad for a statin.

“This however is simply not the case, because statins only work by reducing inflammation (accompanied by serious side-effects) rather than its claimed use of lowering cholesterol in achieving the same. In other words, false and misleading claims that should be corrected.”

Looks like you’re going to be busy then.

“Inflammation btw can be reduced by other means rather than taking expensive statins which reap pharmaceutical companies $25 billion to $30 billion per annum.”

That’s a tricky one, but my advice would be to go to the top and tell the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (http://www.aomrc.org.uk/). Yes, they’re definitely the ones to contact:

“The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges speaks on standards of care and medical education across the UK. By bringing together the expertise of the medical Royal Colleges and Faculties it drives improvement in heath and patient care through education, training and quality standards.”

There is obviously something seriously amiss in those hallowed corridors.

“It would be helpful if your read my posts with a little more diligence before replying.”

LOL!

““The ASA seem to have to spend a lot of time ruling against alt med advertisers for making misleading and unsubstantiated claims. Why would that be”?

Please note, that these “complaints” to the ASA were not from a large number of people or organisations, so the logical conclusion is that the therapy in question is acceptable to those in receipt of it, but not acceptable to those who are biased/prejudiced against it as in your own case.”

I’m afraid you still just don’t seem to understand why the ASA is there and what it does. But it might help if you could say how you think the number of complainants about an advert affects the quality of evidence the advertiser is supposed to hold when he/she makes the claim?

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chrisb1

Guy,
no, the scientific method is not hard wired by evolution but yes we are the only species that apply it, but it is not the infallible method that you seem to think it is.

The scientific method does not boil down to a single algorithm but a scientific toolbox. The toolbox view supports many means for finding evidence, some direct, some indirect, some experimental, some OBSERVATIONAL, some statistical, some based on controls, some on similarity relationships, some on elaborate thought experiments.
The chief problem with the scientific method is that students of it come to BELIEVE that it guarantees discovery and unambiguous reliable conclusions. Uncertainty, incompleteness or revision are excluded…………..
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~allch001/papers/dogma.pdf

Medical “peer-reviews” within scientific journals are also subject to pitfalls such as confirmatory bias, the negative results bias (the file drawer problem), the Matthew effect, the Doctor Fox effect, and gender, race, theoretical orientation, and “political correctness.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12652170

Your comment…………

“if my system for assessing medical claims does not reject the majority of fringe and alternative beliefs, then you are, pretty much by definition, doing it wrong, because however fallible humans might be the scientific method is, in the end, the only effective way ever devised for separating truth from falsehood”.

My approach for assessing/evaluating medical/health claims does not reject the majority of what you refer to as: “fringe and alternative health claims” because I am able to sort the wheat from the chaff, as much of it is supported by a wealth of evidence that you reject. This would include centuries of human experience, and the clinical experience being gathered every day by practitioners, but also the science that endorses their efficacious use.

EBM’s hierarchy of medical evidence holds that large scale randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses provide ‘better’ evidence than case series on individual patients, individual physician experience and information from the basic sciences.
The questions raised by EBM can therefore be characterized as epistemological, probabilistic and ethical.
In epistemology, are the epistemic claims of EBM, particularly with respect to the hierarchy of evidence, justifiable? Do randomized controlled trials provide a greater access to truth than observational studies or pathophysiological rationale? If so, on what basis? Much of the literature arguing against the epistemological claims of EBM have been focused on highlighting the fallibility of large scale randomized controlled trials.

I have not said…………
“My entire philosophy seems to be based on the idea that *most* doctors are wrong and only those who present ideas consonant with your beliefs are right”.

What I HAVE said, is that Allopathic Doctors are encapsulated within a medical framework that is blinkered to anything outside of their remit of diagnostics, surgery, and drug-therapy: a very limited framework of health-recovery, although of much use of and within themselves.
This has nothing to do with “beliefs”, but on evidence that you have willfully ignored and rejected, because of your own “beliefs”.

The therapies you have highlighted such as the use of: colloidal silver, megavitamins, Gerson, Hoxsey, Budwig, and others, do have substantial evidence in their favor, and much scientific evidence to support them, but they remain as “fringe therapies” because of the dominance of the medical status quo rather than anything else and the powerful vested interests that support it.
That is the truth of the matter and whatever you may say to contradict it.

The sites I have used to illustrate my viewpoints are so because the information that they publish is rarely published within the mainstream media or medical journals, and because of the above reasons; they are reported in these largely because no one else will publish the information, and are therefore perceived as “fringe sites” or “quackery sites”. This does not therefore necessarily mean, and as you infer, that the contained information is erroneous, but quite the opposite.

Einstein btw also said: “The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking”.

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Guy Chapman

Chris: I didn’t say it was infallible, in fact I specifically said it is not because it is executed by humans, who are all too fallible.

The strength of the scientific method is that it always converges on correct over time.

That is why your belief that the scientific method yields consistently wrong results, and outliers consistently right, is unpersuasive. That and the fact that many of the outliers you support are in fact mutually exclusive.

I’ll stick with the scientific consensus. It’s served humanity rather well thus far.

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chrisb1

Guy,
well thus far you have given the impression that RCT’s and meta-analyses are perhaps not infallible, but the be all and end all of SBM or EBM.

What I did say is that the chief problem with the “scientific method” is that students of it come to BELIEVE that it guarantees discovery and unambiguous reliable conclusions, even over time. Uncertainty, incompleteness or revision are excluded………….

I do not disagree with the “scientific method” but it does have its limitations due to the “decline effect” (I assume you have heard of this?) and these websites explain it more thoroughly than I can……………

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/smart-takes/is-the-scientific-method-seriously-flawed/12947
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer
http://www.dharma-haven.org/science/myth-of-scientific-method.htm

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Guy Chapman

Chris: the scientific method is the best way ever devised to separate truth from falsehood. The decline effect does not in any way undermine it; the decline effect is in fact a finding of the scientific method.

Scientists have some understanding of why the decline effect happens, based on the spread of treatments form carefully selected trial populations to best candidates to more general use.

To assert that the scientific method is flawed because it self corrects as more data comes in, which is precisely what it is supposed to do, is very silly. It is based on a gross misunderstanding of the scientific method which is completely understandable when your realise its source: those whose belief is essentially religious not evidential.

When your worldview is dominated by accepting certain classes of claim as gospel, and your sources never contradict or self-correct, then the idea of a system that is inherently self critical and modifies its conclusions according to new data, converging on absolute correctness asymptotically over time, will seem very bizarre. To scientists this is not only normal, it’s expected.

Most early findings are wrong. The alt-med culture is a lot like the Daily Mail’s health section, frozen in time on the day the first misleadingly vivid headline result is published and looking only for results that match it while the next day promoting a completely different and often contradictory misleading early result.

Science doesn’t work that way, and my observations lead me to conclude that it confuses the hell out of people who do.

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chrisb1

Guy,
Actually, for many scientists, the “decline effect” is troubling because of what it exposes about the scientific process/method. If replication is what separates the rigor of science from the squishiness of pseudoscience, rigorously validated previous findings can no longer be proved.
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer

Your comment that my sources never contradict or self-correct, is nonsense, and “the idea of a system that is inherently self critical and modifies its conclusions according to new data”, applies to drug-therapy. Do we need the scientific method to determine that we need to breathe or eat wholesome food (optimized nutrition) or need exercise/sleep and warmth for health? of course not: these are normal physiological processes that are common to all and can be used in proportion to bodily needs to achieve wellness.

Your denigration of alt-med wouldn’t fit squarely with this then?
http://www.express.co.uk/news/health/441192/Are-painkillers-bad-for-you

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Guy Chapman

Chris: the decline effect is an issue for the reasons stated. It does not in any way undermine the scientific method or the application of science to assessing medical treatments, it merely tells us that it is essential to be cautious about the results of trials on small, idealised populations.

You do understand that precisely the same issue applies to the small scale positive studies used to promote alternative therapies, don’t you? Applying the kind of factor that’s necessary t scale back from idealised to real-world, wipes out the entirety of the false-positive evidence for homeopathy, acupuncture and so on, even before you begin to consider the problems of bias and concealed confounders which already account for their being positive despite the treatments being inert.

It’s a complex area. As usual, it’s being abused by the alternative industry to arm-wave away the disparity of evidence between real and fake treatments, without considering its self-evident implications for their own claims!

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chrisb1

Guy,
“the decline effect is an issue for the reasons stated. It does not in any way undermine the scientific method or the application of science to assessing medical treatments”.

The “decline effect” is troubling because of what it exposes about the scientific process/method. If replication is what separates the rigor of science from the squishiness of pseudoscience, rigorously validated previous findings can no longer be proved.
http://harmonist.us/2011/01/the-decline-effect-and-the-scientific-method/

The test of replicability, as it’s known, is the foundation of modern research. Replicability is how the community enforces itself. It’s a safeguard for the creep of subjectivity. Most of the time, scientists know what results they want, and that can influence the results they get. The premise of replicability is that the scientific community can correct for these flaws.

But now all sorts of well-established, multiple confirmed findings have started to look increasingly uncertain. It’s as if facts were losing their truth: claims that have been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable. This phenomenon doesn’t yet have an official name, but it’s occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology. In the field of medicine, the phenomenon seems extremely widespread, affecting not only antipsychotics but also therapies ranging from cardiac stents to Vitamin E and antidepressants.

Lehrer……..
“The decline effect is troubling because it reminds us how difficult it is to prove anything. We like to pretend that our experiments define the truth for us. But that’s often not the case. Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to BELIEVE”.

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wavechange

Mark

I expect that you are familiar with the ‘hygiene hypothesis’. Some believe that our hygienic modern lifestyle may be a factor in the increasing incidence of allergies. It is all very uncertain at present and there are many other factors including as environmental pollutants that could be important.

I don’t know if you are aware that investigation of the hygiene hypothesis has established that helminth therapy may be of use to those suffering from multiple sclerosis, as you do. The most interesting articles I have read are not available to the general public, but there is a page on Wikipedia. It’s early days, but it would be wonderful if we eventually find a miracle cure for MS.

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Mark

Wavechange, The idea has been kicked around for some time. One of the first things found out about MS was it was more common in people who spent their 1st 15 years above the 45th parrallel. Why? Lots of ideas were put up….. The lack or too much of a vitamin or nutrient. Lack of winter sun and spending time indoors.

The idea seems to hold merit on the surface. Further study even if not successful might add good information out immune response. I also spent my first 15 years in Montana. I had every common childhood disease of the 50′s and 60′s. I was an outdoors except winter there wasn’t much light after school. I was a dirty dusty kid and got stung and bit by a large number of instects and animals. Makes you wonder.

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chrisb1

Mark,
I thought you might find this of interest re’ the incidence of MS above the 45th parallel and the latest figures for 2013…………………

A visual look at new worldwide multiple sclerosis prevalence data.
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/blog/a-visual-look-at-new-worldwide-multiple-sclerosis-prevalence-data/

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chrisb1

Now who would have thought it?

Milk Thistle: yet another form of quackery?

Milk thistle is an herbal extract that is commonly used for a wide range of liver ailments. It functions to help detox and strengthen the liver. It is relatively inexpensive.

Milk thistle is part of Germany’s medical mainstream. German MDs prescribe pharmaceutical grade milk thistle for patients with liver problems.

The active ingredient of milk thistle is an antioxidant bioflavonoid known as silymarin. Silymarin has three aspects: silybin, silidianin, and silicristen. Silybin has been isolated as the part that delivers most of silymarin’s benefits, which include blocking and removing toxins from the liver while accelerating cell regeneration or repair. Milk thistle extracts are available in capsules or tinctures.

And now there’s a new and improved application for milk thistle.

An Animal Study Demonstrates Milk Thistle’s Ability to Curb Lung Cancer.

A recent study has produced evidence of milk thistle reversing lung cancer. Alpna Tyagi, PhD, of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy, and her team found that treatment with silibinin, which is the same substance as silybin but with a different name, stopped the spread of lung cancers in mice.

An inflammatory response leads to a chain of cellular events that can eventually result in tumor growth. Tyagi and her team discovered that targeting a certain pair of enzymes part of the way into that chain of events eliminates the creation of the final pair of enzymes that produce tumors.

In other words, milk thistle’s silibinin (aka sylibin) eliminates those enzymes that continue a chain of events resulting in the enzymes that produce tumors.

What’s noteworthy is how Dr. Alpna Tyagi compared her study of silibinin (aka silybin) to what Big Pharma is currently testing for similar lung cancer afflictions (using millions of dollars to create a patentable pharmaceutical).

She bluntly pointed out in the University of Colorado Cancer Center report that “… naturally-derived products like silibinin may be as effective as today’s best [pharmaceutical] treatments, without the side-effects”

Other studies have since been performed with similar results on other cancers since the Colorado study. But all of them tend to assume a subservient role of using milk thistle as an adjunct to their normal chemo and radiation treatments.

Some recommend using milk thistle to help the liver eliminate toxins from chemotherapy and even radiation. If you’re wondering why not move into human trials with milk thistle for cancer, that’s simple to explain.

You can’t patent natural remedies and have the patent protection of up to 20 years while charging whatever you can get away with from private and government insurance providers. Quite the racket.

This study is good news for anyone looking to include another natural inexpensive, safe weapon for one’s personal war on cancer.

If you’re up to coping with biochemical technical nomenclature, you can access the abstract published in the summer 2011 journal Molecular Carcinogenesis here. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mc.20851/abstract)

Here’s an even more recent study abstract on milk thistle for stopping cancer growth: (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mc.22092/abstract)

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Guy Chapman

As usual, you are failing to distinguish between a promising result that might indicate some therapeutic benefit, and a “miracle cure”.

All this proves is that the assertion that medicine refuses to accept things just because they are “natural”, is false.

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wavechange

chrisb

I would be very interested to know if you regard any prescription medicines as worthwhile, or if you condemn the lot of them. The widespread use of statins is controversial, but many drugs are of undoubted benefit to many people, in my view. My concern is overuse of medicines, possibly driven by a belief that the answer to all problems is to take a pill.

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Guy Chapman

Or any treatments generally recognised as bogus that he doesn’t support. As I’ve said before, it would be interesting to explore what standard Chris uses to distinguish the fringe claims he accepts from those he rejects – if there are any.

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chrisb1

Wavechange,
yes I do consider that some prescription medicines are worthwhile, but what concerns me most is that prescription drugs are killing 100,000 Americans each year and injuring more than two million. These are the statistics from the Journal of the American Medical Association, and that figure doesn’t include the 40,000 or so who are killed each year by over-the-counter pain medications.

There’s another factor to consider here, too: prescription drugs are rarely tested for dangerous interactions with other drugs. In other words, even though the FDA (for example) might have approved drug A for one thing, and drug B for another, but nobody has ever tested what happens in human beings when both drug A and drug B are taken together.

A friend of mines wife is taking 10 prescription drugs per day after her mild heart attack, but does anyone really know the interactions that these may have on her overall health.? I don’t think so.

Another is antibiotics, where although useful if not life-saving, have been over-prescribed generally and are becoming less and less effective for their intended use.

I am also in favor of over the counter analgesics or prescribed painkillers which can be a god-send in the short term.

I would also question prescription-drug-dependency such as antidepressants like Paxil: the side-effects of withdrawal are reported to be horrendous, and a website exists to help people in that regard: paxilsprogress.

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chrisb1

Guy,
Good questions.
I would reject any therapy that is not proven to work, or does not address the underlying cause, and I include Mainstream or Alternatives in that equation.

This is not a complete list but dubious Medical therapies would include:
Angioplasty
Bypass surgery
Mammograms
PSA Tests.

While dubious alternative therapies to my mind and not a complete list would include:
Aromatherapy
Urine therapy
Energy Medicine (Reiki, Shiatsu, Therapeutic touch, Magnet therapy and so on)

The standard I use as to whether a therapy is effective, is if it works on a large scale, and has stood the test of time with patients who have used it.

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wavechange

Chrisb

We can agree with each other about overuse of prescription drugs and the problem of drug interactions. I am particularly concerned about the elderly, where impaired liver and kidney function may not be taken into account. In my experience there are big differences in the attitude of consultants, hospital doctors and GPs. My current GP is very careful about monitoring the efficacy of drugs, doing blood tests and generally minimising my medication.

I don’t think it is fair to say that drug interactions are ignored. Browsing through a copy of the British National Formulary, which summarises information about drugs and doses, there is an appendix describing known drug interactions and this runs to over 100 pages. There is a lot of potential to use computers to flag up problems on the basis of drug combinations and a patient’s conditions, but I don’t think this has progressed far in the UK. The computer system used by my local Tesco pharmacy did, however, pick up the fact that an antibiotic that I had been prescribed was contraindicated for patients taking one of the drugs I was using regularly, which is encouraging. If you suspect a drug interaction you can report it to MHRA, via the yellow card system.

You have given figures for deaths caused by prescription drugs and otc painkillers. Commonsense suggests that this should be put in perspective and compared with an estimate of the number of people kept alive and whose lives are greatly improved by treatment with these drugs. I realise that the website you copied and pasted the information from does not use this sort of balanced approach. I am extremely grateful for five drugs that I have taken routinely for years. They are all out of patent and not expensive.

So we can agree that there are problems with medicines, combinations of medicines and that prescribers are too ready to hand out pills. But why not also acknowledge how much has been achieved in your lifetime and mine by prescription medicines?

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Guy Chapman

Chris: You say “I would reject any therapy that is not proven to work, or does not address the underlying cause”

In that case you would reject homeopathy, Gerson, Hoxsey, Budwig, megavitamin therapy, colloidal silver and numerous other things that you have seemed to advocate in this conversation. That is heartening.

You have said you would reject angioplasty, CABG, mammograms and PSA tests. There you have fallen for precisely the error of which you accuse others! These are strongly indicated for *some* patients. The problem comes when they are used outside of the area for which they are most strongly indicated.

Mammograms as a screening technique for asymptomatic women are questionable, but as a diagnostic they can be invaluable. PSA screening is a waste of time, as its inventors say, but as a tracking marker for progression of indolent prostate cancer or monitoring of aggressive prostate cancer there is decent evidence. CABG can and does extent life and improve quality of life in patients with atherosclerosis.

These things are much more nuanced than you suggest, no doubt due to necessary brevity.

The same applies to a lot of “miracle” cures – for example, vitamin D and calcium supplementation is indicated for people with osteoporosis or osteopenia, but worthless for a normal health adult. The idea that doctors don’t recommend or prescribe things labelled “alternative” is often a categorical fallacy: they prescribe them when indicated, but not when they aren’t, whereas True Believers tend to think they should be used by everyone because cavemen or some such..

You really should read Margaret McCartney’s “The Patient Paradox”. I do think you’d like it.

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chrisb1

Wavechange,
yes I will acknowledge the usefulness of many prescription medications, such as in the management of hypertension, crohns, bipolar, asthma and so on, and do so very well, but I would also say that many of them do not address the underlying causes such as in heart disease and clogged arteries.
I am also disappointed with Medicine that they do not play a greater role in the prevention of disease and encourage lifestyle choices that act as a prophylactic.
I think it is the WHO who have stated that up to 80% of cancers can be avoided by these lifestyle choices, after all, the original definition of the word “Doctor” means “teacher”, but health education such as this is not as widespread as it should be.

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chrisb1

Guy, I say “I would reject any therapy that is not proven to work, or does not address the underlying cause” but would not reject homeopathy, Gerson, Hoxsey, Budwig. Megavitamin Therapy or Orthomolecular Medicine and Colloidal Silver, because they do actually work, rather than your opinion that I should reject them because they do not work.

In general Medicine I would reject angioplasty, CABG, Mammograms, and PSA tests and others because they are largely futile.

Angioplasty………..
Research the Clinical Outcomes Utilizing Revascularization and Aggressive Drug Evaluation (COURAGE) trial.

Or this one…….
Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., professor, cardiovascular medicine and science, director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, associate chief, Division of Cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; Henry H. Ting, M.D., interventionist cardiologist, associate dean for quality at Mayo Clinic, and professor, medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Michael B. Rothberg, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor, medicine, Tufts University, Boston, and cardiologist, division of general medicine and geriatrics, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Mass.; Sept. 7, 2010, Annals of Internal Medicine.

However, angioplasty remains viable for high-risk patients, but they’re only one-third of the million who have angioplasties every year.

I suggest you purchase this book by Dr Joel M. Kauffman PhD.
http://www.amazon.com/Malignant-Medical-Myths-Treatment-Yourself/dp/0741429098/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-9999966-0482048?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175092524&sr=1-1

Mammograms……………
In 1974, the NCI was warned by one Professor Malcolm C. Pike at the University of Southern California School of Medicine that a number of specialists had concluded, “giving women under age 50 a mammogram on a routine basis is close to unethical”. This warning was ignored.

In 1985, The Lancet, published an article condemning regular mammography recommendations and stating, “Over 280,000 women were recruited without being told that no benefit of mammography had been shown in a controlled trial for women below 50, and without being warned about the potential risk of induction of breast cancer by the test which was supposed to detect it. In women below 50 . . . mammography gives no benefit.”

In 1995, The Lancet again pointed the finger at the ACS and NCI mammography recommendations by concluding, “The benefit is marginal, the harm caused is substantial, and the costs incurred are enormous.”

AND……..
Dr. Charles B. Simone, a former clinical associate in immunology and pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute has said, “Mammograms increase the risk for developing breast cancer and raise the risk of spreading or metastasizing an existing growth. The annual mammographic screening of 10,000 women aged 50-70 will extend the lives of, at best, 26 of them; and the annual screening of 10,000 women in their 40s will extend the lives of only 12 women per year.”

Another Norwegian study, published in 2010, concluded that the reduction in mortality as a result of mammographic screening was so small as to be nonexistent—a mere 2.4 deaths per 100,000 person-years were spared as a result of the screening………….
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20860502

PSA Tests…………………
If routine PSA tests were helping men, I would be all for them. But research shows that they’re not and, in many cases, they do more harm than good.
In a multicenter study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers compared the outcomes of more than 76,000 men, ages 55 through 74, who were randomly assigned to have annual PSA tests plus digital rectal exams or “usual care.”
After seven years of follow-up, there was a 22 percent increase in prostate cancer diagnosis in the screening group compared to the control, but no difference in the death rate from this disease. PSA testing clearly does not save lives.

In October 2011, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued new draft guidelines regarding PSA testing for prostate cancer for men of all ages. They graded this test with a D: “The USPSTF recommends against the service. There is moderate or high certainty that the service has no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits.”

We have discussed Vitamin D before (no not a miracle cure or claimed to be one) and I have outlined why supplementation with calcium, Vitamin D and even K2 has marked prophylactic qualities against disease in people who are deficient, or have not achieved optimized levels (the vast majority).
You have merely spouted the Mainstream position which I fully expected of course.

Your position is as entrenched as the “Maginot Line”, but people just walk around it in the pursuit of optimal health and freedom from disease.

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Guy Chapman

Chris: I know that a lot of alternative practitioners claim to treat the “underlying cause”, but this very often turns out to be pure fantasy (e.g. chiropractors treating a “spinal subluxation” in order to treat the “underlying cause” of infant colic).

The definition of a chronic condition is one we cannot yet cure. Syphilis used to be a chronic condition, now it’s not. Coeliac is a chronic condition, if the current research on a vaccine bears fruit then it won’t be any more.

At least medicine has a decent history of finding out what the underlying condition is, even if it sometimes takes a while. Ulcers, for example, which used to be put down to stress and are now known to be caused by bacteria.

Actually quite a lot of medicine treats or prevents an underlying cause: immunisation, antibiotics and surgery account for a significant proportion of medical interventions, all address the underlying cause.

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wavechange

Chrisb

I agree with your last post. We do need to address the problem of unhealthy lifestyle. In the UK, we have made some progress with smoking. Diet and exercise should be next. There is little wrong with official advice, but that is no match for the food and drink industry, and the effect of peer pressure.

Hopefully we will be able to move from treatment to prevention of disease, but in the short term, that is a lot that can be achieved by lifestyle choices. It is good that we have something to agree on, but we are well off topic. :-(

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Guy Chapman

Having a healthy lifestyle is as mainstream as it gets. The medical establishment are the ones who identified the link between smoking and cancer, if you remember, and the science of epidemiology is at the heart of most of the red flags that get raised about lifestyle choices.

However, we’ll never get away from medicine. We’re evolved for a life of about 35-40 years. Surviving beyond what we now consider middle age (and was halfway to old age only a few of generations ago) is an evolutionary aberration.

Much of the chronic disease we now see is the product either of medicine’s ability to extend life, or medicine’s ability to prevent death from trauma and conditions that used to be rapidly fatal.

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chrisb1

Guy,
“having a healthy lifestyle is as mainstream as it gets”?

This must be one of the most outrageous comments I have ever come across (along with the one below).
Since when has mainstream encouraged exercise and a good wholesome diet, fresh air, judicious sunbathing, and restful sleep in any meaningful way? They are so good at it that there is now an established obesity epidemic in the UK and elsewhere, with the sale of junk foods in every high street.

and……
“the medical establishment are the ones who identified the link between smoking and cancer,”

Bravo yes, but only AFTER they used to recommend Camel cigarettes and other brands on TV in America. Thousands of Medical Doctors were not only heavy smokers, but also heavy drinkers as well. A very good example I am sure for a “health” professional.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCMzjJjuxQI
http://tobacco.stanford.edu/tobacco_main/images.php?token2=fm_st001.php&token1=fm_img0002.php&theme_file=fm_mt001.php&theme_name=Doctors%20Smoking&subtheme_name=More%20Doctors%20Smoke%20Camels
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470496/

Another whopper: people survive more into old age because of modern standards of hygiene and lifestyle choices rather than anything else. Most all long-lived peoples of the World have rarely if ever seen a medical Doctor…….
http://www.bluezones.com/live-longer/power-9/
http://www.bluezones.com/live-longer/
http://calorielab.com/news/2008/11/27/blue-zones-longevity/

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chrisb1

Guy,
much depends on what is meant by “underlying cause”, and as Pasteur eventually stated: the terrain is everything and the germ nothing.

A scholarly insight into disease trends in history is found in three classic, remarkable papers: Howard H. Hillemann, PhD (1960) “The illusion of American health and longevity” (Clinical Physiology 2(2), 120-177); and two monographs by William J. McCormick, MD: “The changing incidence and mortality of infectious disease in relation to changed trends in nutrition” (Medical Record. September, 1947) and his 1962 paper “Have we forgotten the lesson of scurvy?” (Journal of Applied Nutrition. 15:1,2; p 4-12).

It really comes down to this: if your immune system is strong (and a strong vitamin-nutritional component therein is indisputable) you will be among the ones who don’t get the plague; or a cold, or any viral/bacterial infection, and even if you did it wouldn’t be life-threatening or last very long.

Skepticism doesn’t faze me a bit.

I see two kinds of people: those that are willing to change, and those that are not. There are two kinds of people who buy Bentleys: those that can afford them, and those that cannot. There are two kinds of sick people: those that do not want to change their lifestyle, and those that do, but don’t know where to start. Prospecting for gold and seeking better health are similar in three ways:

1. You need the motivation to get rich.
2. You need information on where to dig.
3. You need to do the digging.

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wavechange

I think that some forget what medicine has achieved, Guy. A relation was given no more than two months to live due to heart problems but I believe that medicine helped to extend her life for 25 years. She died because of a mistake (not drug-related) in a hospital.

I have just had a call to help take a friend’s father out for the day. He is about 95 and lives in a care home. His hearing is poor and his sight is worse, but he is in remarkably good condition and still enjoys his rather restricted life. One of his main concerns is dizzy spells, but medication seems to be helping.

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dieseltaylor

GC- Regarding what a natural age is:
“We’re evolved for a life of about 35-40 years. Surviving beyond what we now consider middle age (and was halfway to old age only a few of generations ago) is an evolutionary aberration.”

I am very surprised to read that – perhaps I have been fooled by the the three score and ten malarkey.

This here:
http://www.few.vu.nl/~majonker/publications/IPM.pdf
does sort of coincide with your figure however what it does not support in any way is the contention that the body is designed to peg out in “35-40 years”.

The Wikipedia article is excellent:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

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Guy Chapman

Median life expectancy in ancient civilisations ran between 20 and 33 years, as that Wikipedia article says. Chimps are genetically quite similar and very rarely live beyond 50. The human lifespan has doubled in the last 200 years, contributors being better sanitation, inoculation against deadly diseases, substantial reductions in infant mortality (due in part to the foregoing) and a dramatically reduced death rate from trauma and its sequelae such as wound infection.

We’re not “designed” to peg out that that age (we’re not “designed” at all! the idea of intelligent design is not only wrong, it’s contradicted by the fact that the design of the human body is in many ways really quite stupid).

The fact is that in the last two centuries, we have one from an average life expectancy in the forties, to an average life expectancy at birth in the 80s. That was my point: we are now living well beyond the life expectancy for which the human body evolved.

There’s a lot of debate about what the theoretical upper limit might be, or if there even is one. I personally think it’s unlikely to go much past 125 as a median life expectancy at birth, but others have other views. And of course science has a long history of pulling rabbits out of hats. Who could have predicted that mustard gas would lead to a successful treatment for lymphoma?

Chris, you can be as strong as an ox and twice as healthy, if you are infected with yersinia pestis and it’s not treated with antibiotics, you’ll still die of the plague, if you’re infected with one of the haemorrhagic fevers you’ll still die. Really healthy people get malaria.

It’s like a car: keeping it in good mechanical order still won’t stop it wearing out eventually and it won’t stop a stone from taking out a tyre or a head gasket from blowing either. And the massive supplementation regimes recommended by the supplement industry’s more outrageous advocates are precisely analogous to overfilling it with oil or trying to double the range by putting 150l of fuel into a 75l tank.

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chrisb1

Guy,
I agree with you that the median life expectations in ancient civilizations was not very high, but then we should consider infant mortality (high) and the effects of a harsh environment, predators and so on as well.
Modern medicine has contributed much to reducing infant mortality and its achievements in reducing mortality from life-threatening diseases, but my point was that that the longest-lived cultures of the World all had one thing in common: freedom from stress, and a natural lifestyle coupled with a wholesome unadulterated diet.
http://www.okicent.org/

Apparently, Japanese people live longer than any other nation, but Okinawans reach the greatest age: an average of 86 for women and 78 for men, but they get old in a much better state. The statistics reveal a significantly lower risk of heart attack and stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, and Alzheimers and some Okinawans in their 90s claim that they still have a sex life!!

After decades of research, medics and anthropologists reached the conclusion that there are two main factors behind the longevity in this island: diet and a healthy lifestyle that experts believe can be imitated. The diet eaten by the Okinawans can be found everywhere.

In other words: bar injuries/accidents their lifestyle and diet are considered to be the main factors in their superior longevity over and above most other peoples/cultures of the World.

Many of us within alternative healthcare now consider that diseases now common in the West (such as adult onset diabetes) are products of both an unhealthy lifestyle and a processed nutrient-deficient diet, which is now becoming more and more recognised within mainstream.
The fault here lies with what has become known as the “toxic triad”: Big Food, Big Farming and Big Pharma that spreads obesity, diabetes and chronic disease across the globe.
http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/10/22/the-toxic-triad-how-big-food-big-farming-and-big-pharma-spread-obesity-diabetes-and-chronic-disease-across-the-globe/#close

Indeed, Modern medicine may have contributed greatly to life expectancy, but at what cost? a growing aging population that is unable to care for itself and ridden with disease or infirmity, needing full time care.
This band-aid approach HAS contributed to longevity, but at an economic cost that is gradually crippling our nation to the tune of billions of pounds annually, and where many forecast will cause the bankruptcy of America.
The WHO have stated that up to 80% of cancers and other chronic diseases can be avoided by simple lifestyle and dietary changes, ultimately saving the Worlds economies from financial ruin

Mustard gas btw was also used in the WW1 to kill people, and its derivative is still used today as a disinfectant (chlorine), so when you go swimming in your local pool you are effectively bathing in water that is polluted with a chemical that used to kill people.

There is a health-school of thought (which works in practice) that supports what Pasteur had to say in Beauchamp being correct: “the terrain is everything and the germ is nothing”.
In other words if your body is free from toxemia (retained toxins) of both an exogenous and endogenous origin, and you have a strong immune system provided by optimum nutrition and exercise, then bacteria and viral infections are unable to take a foothold, and you are effectively immune from these diseases.

Really healthy people can get malaria because they are toxemic and have a compromised immune system.

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chrisb1

Latest cancer research.

Skidmore College Professor Anthony Holland recently discovered a new nontoxic way to destroy cancer cells using oscillating pulsed electric fields (OPEF), astounding cancer experts.
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stop-the-suffering-of-children-with-cancer

They go on to say………….

“The cancer experts said: “if this had been a multimillion dollar drug developed by ‘Big Pharma’, this would have been considered a ‘home run’!” But this discovery was funded out of pocket by Professor Holland personally, not by a large grant or organization, AND because it is not a drug based method to kill cancer cells, there is a kind of ‘Berlin Wall’ we cannot break through to continue our cancer research. ”

Sounds like a resurrected quack idea to me……………
http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/about-cancer/cancer-questions/rife-machine-and-cancer
A Rife machine produces electromagnetic energy in the form of electrical impulses. Electromagnetic energy is a combination of electric and magnetic energy that travels in waves.

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Guy Chapman

It might well be a resurrection of the quack Rife machine.

You forgot to mention that “cancer expert” Professor Anthony Holland is actually a musician, he is Associate Professor of Music at Skidmore College. Which is a liberal arts college that doesn’t have a medical school.

So, yes, this very likely is more credulous nonsense.

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chrisb1

Guy,
Professor Holland isn’t supposed to be a “cancer expert” at all (I wish you would read my posts more thoroughly), but he did provide the money for development.

He is supported by………..

Phillip Ortiz: PhD (Physiology and Biophysics) expert in cell biology, molecular biology and tissue culture research and assay techniques. He is a fellow of the American Diabetes Association and the National Institutes of Health. Coordinator of Science Education, State University of New York (SUNY), Empire State College.

Holly Ahern: Associate Professor of Microbiology, Director of Microbiology Research: State University of New York (SUNY) Adirondack. Director: Center for Lyme Disease Education and Research. [Graduate research lab technician experience in cell assay techniques, Albany Medical College].

Gérard Dubost, PhD (University of Paris, France): Physicist, Plasma Physics expert & Electrical Engineer. Numerous published papers and international presentations on the biological effects of electromagnetic fields and pulsed plasmas. Professor Emeritus University of Rennes, Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications, Rennes (IETR).

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Guy Chapman

I read your post, I also read the “source” you promoted. The thing is, you keep using junk sources and then writing a narrative around them that fits your world view.

This is not a team of expert scientists that you would see investigating a valid new cancer therapy. It has all the hallmarks of quackademic medicine (aka integrative medicine).

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chrisb1

Guy,
the “junk source” I have mentioned (not promoted) just happens to be the major cancer research laboratory in Philadelphia (Thomas Jefferson University Medical School [TJU], Department of Surgical Research).

So this is not a team of “expert scientists” that you would see investigating a valid new cancer therapy?

Just to remind you they are:

Phillip Ortiz: PhD (Physiology and Biophysics) expert in cell biology, molecular biology and tissue culture research and assay techniques. He is a fellow of the American Diabetes Association and the National Institutes of Health. Coordinator of Science Education, State University of New York (SUNY), Empire State College.

Holly Ahern: Associate Professor of Microbiology, Director of Microbiology Research: State University of New York (SUNY) Adirondack. Director: Center for Lyme Disease Education and Research. [Graduate research lab technician experience in cell assay techniques, Albany Medical College].

Gérard Dubost, PhD (University of Paris, France): Physicist, Plasma Physics expert & Electrical Engineer. Numerous published papers and international presentations on the biological effects of electromagnetic fields and pulsed plasmas. Professor Emeritus University of Rennes, Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications, Rennes (IETR).

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Guy Chapman

No, it’s not a team of expert cancer scientists, and yes it does look like another kick of the can for the Rife machine, which is not just useless, but illegal to sell as a medical device. Because it isn’t one.

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chrisb1

Guy,
if the scientists I have highlighted do not qualify as “cancer experts” and therefore not qualified or even able to conduct valid research into cancer, then please tell us who does?

Bearing in mind that they are experts in: Microbiology; Physiology and Biophysics; Cellular & Molecular Biology; Physics and Electromagnetic fields and pulsed plasmas.

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chrisb1

This isn’t difficult to fathom Guy: the Rife machine is illegal because it threatened the status of the cancer industry and their profit machine.
The history of medicine is replete with stories of genius betrayed by backward thought and jealously, but most pathetically, by greed and money.

Rife btw worked with the top scientists and doctors of his day who also confirmed or endorsed various areas of his work. They included: E.C. Rosenow, Sr. (longtime Chief of Bacteriology, Mayo Clinic); Arthur Kendall (Director, Northwestern Medical School); Dr. George Dock (internationally-renowned); Alvin Foord (famous pathologist); Rufus Klein-Schmidt (President of USC); R.T. Hamer (Superintendent, Paradise Valley Sanitarium; Dr. Milbank Johnson (Director of the Southern California AMA); Whalen Morrison (Chief Surgeon, Santa Fe Railway); George Fischer (Children?s Hospital, N.Y.); Edward Kopps (Metabolic Clinic, La Jolla); Karl Meyer (Hooper Foundation, S.F.); M. Zite (Chicago University); and many others.

It seems that you are unlikely to alter your belief-system from the rigid “status-quo” of current medicine and medical techniques, so it is gratifying to know that your sphere of influence is rather limited in scope.

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Guy Chapman

Chris, the Rife machine is illegal because there is no credible evidence it works.

There is no conspiracy to protect the non-existent “cancer industry”. If the Rife machine worked, Castro would have used it in Cuba just to put one over on the Americans.

Royal Rife was simply wrong. Most brilliant new ideas are wrong, especially those which involve medical treatments and are dreamed up by people with zero medical expertise.

Here’s a dispassionate discussion of it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Rife

Feel free to keep believing it, but it is a complete scam and illegal to sell in most of the places where it’s promoted. Not because it’s a conspiracy, but because it does not work.

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chrisb1

Guy,
the Rife machine is illegal because it works and “vested interests” made sure it didn’t see the light of day.
You may learn something by watching this………….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvnhrfWDxuo

In 1934 a team of physicians allowed Dr Rife to treat 17 of their terminally ill patients; within 2 months 15 were totally cured and the other 2 were also totally cured after a further 6 weeks. A 100% cure rate.

After studying at Johns Hopkins, Dr Rife developed technology which is still commonly used today in the fields of optics, electronics, radiochemistry, biochemistry, ballistics, and aviation.

He received 14 major awards and honors and was given an honorary Doctorate by the University of Heidelberg for his work. During the 66 years that Rife spent designing and building medical instruments, he worked for Zeiss Optics, the U.S. Government, and several private benefactors. Most notable was millionaire Henry Timkin, of Timkin roller bearing fame.

Many scientists and doctors have since confirmed Rife’s discovery of the cancer virus and its pleomorphic nature, using dark field techniques, the Naessens microscope, and laboratory experiments.

Not bad for a quack.
http://www.examiner.com/article/incredible-cures-ignored-by-science-royal-rife-and-others

Here are the facts as to why Dr Rife was discredited……….
http://www.rense.com/general31/rife.htm

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Guy Chapman

Absolutely. And how did these problems come to light? Exactly the same process that shows “alternative” miracle cures to be bogus.

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chrisb1

Guy,
what you do not seem to realize, is that the information posted by wev regarding fines on drug companies, and the harm that drugs cause, which have been considered safe and effective, have been approved by the “scientific method” that you prize so highly.

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Guy Chapman

Of course I realise it! How many times have I pointed out the All Trials initiative? Self-criticism is inherent in medical science, and the output of that self criticism is exploited by the SCAM industry to promote a worldview which completely lacks it.

Problems with medicine validate quackery in precisely the same way that plane crashes validate magic carpets.

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Malcolm R

chris, just like the law, scientific results can be misused or used “economically2. However, that does not condemn the value of the scientific method. It is only sensible to examine issues in a logical and thorough way if you want results that are meaningful. Opinion and anecdote are no substitutes.

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chrisb1

Malcolm,
yes I agree with you that scientific results can be misused, but when it comes to health it is imperative that approved drugs should be fit for purpose, and not cause the harm that they do. Peoples lives are at stake for goodness sake, with Vioxx, Avandia and thalidomide amongst others being prime examples.
Opinion may not count for much, but it is wrong to discount and ignore centuries of human experience – and the clinical experience being gathered every day by practitioners.

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Mark

I agree that approved drugs must be fit for purpose and possible harms or risks understood. All new drugs and treatments should also be held to high standards. Human experience should also play a part and is a part of the process. Many new treatments come from traditional use or anecdotal experiences. Rare side effects or other effects only become visible when large numbers are exposed.

A very big problem to improving medicine and patient outcomes are the testimonials and clinical experiences gathered everyday by practitioners. These experiences can make it hard to stop outmoded, ineffective or otherwise unfit treatments. Also testimonials and practitioner’s experiences to prematurely put into wide spread practices is very dangerous. This is the way most miracle cures are presented. Cancer drug X is given to 10 patients and 9 go into remission. We now have proof drug X cures cancer. Need more proof, drug X is natural.

Can a patient give informed consent, when not presented with all the information? Ethically it would seem that it is the practitioners responsibility to explain or provide information to the uninformed patient. Its not too hard to imagine that individual practitioners favorite treatments have very good results according to his view of things. Looking at things from an unbiased view point and provided with accurate information you might not want even one of the doctor’s favorite treatments.

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chrisb1

Guy,
Wouldn’t you agree that the All Trials Initiative is rather late in the day? when so many people have already been seriously harmed/injured or died because of unsafe drug treatments that were considered safe at the time, and because of slanted studies and biased clinical trials. I empathize with those who have been bereaved as a result.

It is incorrect, to state that what you refer to rather disparagingly as the “scam industry” is not self critical, as they have used therapies that have an efficacious history of use, and the reason they have stood the test of time, but they are always updating and improving on existing therapies, as is the case with Nutraceuticals and Homeopathy with the Banerji Protocol.

Your often-repeated mantra that: “problems with medicine validate quackery in precisely the same way that plane crashes validate magic carpets” is wearing rather thin, and entirely irrelevant to the facts of the matter.
I have also highlighted some aspects of “quackery” within Mainstream Medicine which you have consistently ignored, but I understand your reasons, as this does not fit squarely with your belief-system in what is your own definition of “Medical Science”.

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Guy Chapman

Chris: The All Trials initiative is what it is: an honest attempt, led by skeptics, to increase transparency.

Meanwhile, it turns out that supplements don’t contain what they say they do: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/new-concerns-about-the-safety-and-quality-of-herbal-supplements/

Looks like the skeptics are the force for good here, not the supplement industry.

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chrisb1

Guy,
yes indeed, the All Trials initiative maybe an honest attempt to increase transparency, but my main point was that this is rather late in the day for those who have succumbed to biased drug trials and slanted studies.
The human cost has been enormous, not to mention the huge financial cost to the drug manufacturers.

Supplements do not always fit the criteria of purity and potency I do agree with you, so in my view regulation as to quality is vital. However, many supplements are as advertised, and have the seal of pharmaceutical grade to allay any concerns. One such company is British based and advertised on the back of red buses here in the capitol.

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Guy Chapman

I’m sorry, should we have invented a time machine first?

When will the alternative medicine subculture start registering and publishing all trial data? Right now there is compelling evidence of failure to publish negative results.

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chrisb1

“When will the alternative medicine subculture start registering and publishing all trial data”?

But they do.
The Banerji Homeopathic Research Institute published their findings on the treatment of breast cancer which they say was not effective, but was effective against brain cancers.

I don’t believe for one moment that alternative medicine is not publishing all trial data. Is there any evidence that they do not?

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Guy Chapman

No, the Banerjis published a “best-case” series in a forum that explicitly does not validate the treatment under discussion.

They did this in the context of a treatment that has a very substantial body of robust science showing it to be utterly without merit.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1121565/

“In 1995, journals of alternative medicine published virtually no studies with negative results, which suggests that the literature was far from objective.[...] 207 articles published in 2000 were categorised [...] The longitudinal comparison (2000 v 1995) showed that the percentage of negative articles was still minute, at 5% (10/207) in 2000 compared with 1% (1/179) in 1995. The percentage of neutral studies had increased from 44% (78/179) in 1995 to 52% (107/207) in 2000, and the percentage of positive articles had fallen from 56% (100/179) in 1995 to 43% (90/207) in 2000.”

“These findings imply that bias is still rife but is diminishing. The discipline of alternative medicine may have started its process of maturation, but it still has a long way to go.”

Why would this be a surprise? Active as you are in the promotion of alternatives, you surely realise at some level that negative results are simply not discussed? The idea that all alternative products are wonderful, all medicines junk, and that the science in favour of the former is massively more robust even when some treatments are mutually exclusive, is sufficiently nonsensical that it must raise at least some question in your mind

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chrisb1

Not exactly without merit Guy.

The Banerji Protocol has been thoroughly examined by The National Cancer Institute of USA, and invited them to see the effectiveness of the treatment, and after stringent scrutiny they have accepted the treatment as a very effective one and certified the cures.

The protocol for Brain cancer & Breast Cancer has been experimented by the scientists of the MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston, USA and found in vitro experiment that these medicines selectively kills cancer cells but not the normal cells. Joint papers by the Banjerjis and scientists, including a professor of cell biology and genetics has been published in the International Journal of Oncology. The work with The National Cancer Institute, USA has been published in the journal of Oncology Reports.
The treatment is now used by patients in almost 80 countries in the world with great success.

I suggest you read and digest these as an example…………….
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=retrieve&list_uids=12963976&dopt=AbstractPlus
http://www.pbhrfindia.org/index.php/video-links-category-list/116-homeopathy-stops-cancer

I am active only in the promotion of alternatives that work and the medical skepticism being displayed here.

I found this to be quite amusing if generally “sweeping”…………..

“The idea that all alternative products are wonderful, all medicines junk, and that the science in favour of the former is massively more robust even when some treatments are mutually exclusive, is sufficiently nonsensical that it must raise at least some question in your mind”.

Which should be accurately translated as: I support Alternatives that work and work very successfully, and esp’ those therapies that have been suppressed and outlawed by “vested interests” in maintaining the mainstream status quo; this has been mainly because of the profit motive.
You have not been that diligent in scrutinizing my earlier posts where I have NOT stated that “all medicines are junk”, which is essentially nonsense, but evidence is evidence which you have and will probably continue to ignore.

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Guy Chapman

Chris, did you not read my previous comment re Banerji? The source you cite is not an investigation by NCI. It’s an in vitro study with the Banerjis as co-authors published ten years ago out of MSKCC’s integrative medicine group.

The Banerjis base their NCI cliam on a “best case series” publication, which is under the auspices of the NCI’s CAM-specific OCCAM programme, but is simply a publication route, no funding attaches and it explicitly does not validate the treatment.

The effect or otherwise of measurable levels of ruta 6 on cells in vitro is of no relevance to the validity of homeopathy – or rather, its lack of validity. There is a very long evidential chain to establish validity of an entire system of treatment, of which in vitro studies of one of the thousands of substances it claims to use for cure, forms only a tiny part.

Homeopathy does not cure anything, including cancer. I’d be astounded if the one part per thousand dilution of calcium phosphate in ruta 6 had *no* effect on cells in culture, but the chances of that translating into anything clinically useful is small – only a small proportion of molecules that work in vitro do prove to be clinically useful.

You say you support alternatives that work, but you also support Burzynski, Budwig, colloidal silver, Gerson, homeopathy, Hoxsey and vitamin megadoses which don’t. The problem is that your support for something does not appear to correlate to any meaningful degree with the objective evidence base; it seems to run only with whether it’s labelled “alternative”. Unfortunately this has the strong implication of so-called “crank magnetism”, whereby believers in one crank idea naturally gravitate towards others, so believers in 9/11 conspiracy also fall prey to antivaccination, fluoride, cancer industry and other conspiracy theories.

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chrisb1

Guy,
Placing the Banerji protocol aside for one moment you say that Burzynski, Budwig, Gerson and others do not work, and that would include Colloidal Silver.

Allow me to update you on the uses and science of Colloidal Silver as an example.

Silver has been used as an antimicrobial for thousands of years—that’s why forks, spoons, and platters were traditionally made out of silver. Nanosilver, however, sprang out of the new science of nanomaterials, which involves creating objects smaller than 100 nanometers. (A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.)
Objects this small can penetrate parts of the body that larger sizes of silver cannot, and thus increases silver’s antimicrobial effect.

Individual studies have confirmed silver’s powerful therapeutic effects against thrush, pericoronitis (infection of the gums around the back teeth), E.coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. Silver nanoparticles in blood serum from cattle showed “highly potent antibacterial activity” toward certain bacterial strains.
The FDA does not recognize colloidal silver (silver suspended in a liquid) as a safe and effective antibiotic and believes there is no evidence to support its use. This has been the agency’s position since 1996. This led the authors of one particular study to want to evaluate the mineral’s antimicrobial efficacy (and therefore the FDA’s claim). They actually found that, contrary to the agency’s claim, ionic colloidal silver is highly effective in killing bacteria.

Another study similarly concluded: “Silver particles could offer a great potential for application as [an] antibacterial agent with low human toxicity.”
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00396-012-2650-x#page-1

The Journal of Virological Methods reported in 2011 that silver nanoparticles inhibit the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the hepatitis B virus, and the H1N1 influenza A virus. That was confirmed in studies listed below. Condoms coated with silver nanoparticles have been shown to inactivate the infectiousness of both HIV and the herpes simplex virus.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21945220
http://www.jnanobiotechnology.com/content/9/1/38
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18505176

There is mounting evidence for its antifungal effects, including four recent studies from universities and research institutes the world over (1) (2) (3) (4).
(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23465487
(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22121607
(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23795483
(4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23410063

Meanwhile the FDA continues to keep its head buried in the sand. It ignores mounting evidence that silver is an important general antimicrobial, an important tool especially against resistant infections and pandemics, while ignoring the proliferation of nanosilver in consumer goods.

The agency also appears to be trying to protect drug company products. The difference between drug company products and silver is of course that the latter is natural. As such, it is not easily patented, and not being patentable, no one can afford to spend $1 billion on FDA approval. This is a scandalous situation. How many millions of people will have to die as a result?

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dieseltaylor

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/11/08/uk-china-milkpowder-specialreport-idUKBRE9A700220131108?

The medical profession shows yet again that money versus ethics tends to be a poor contest.

Not particularly germane to miracle cures but certainly revealing as to human nature. Rather an interesting article particularly the revelation that 46% of Chinese births are caesarean – second highest rate in the world according to Reuters but not to Wikipedia.

” Another reason for doctors to recommend C-sections is money. In China, doctors are compensated based on the monetary value of medical treatments offered. As a result, they have an incentive to persuade mothers to choosing the more expensive C-section.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesarean_section

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Guy Chapman

One of the “miracle cures” discussed earlier was the Burzynski Clinic in Texas. The FDA have just published documents which I saw some months ago, obtained under FOIA.

http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofGlobalRegulatoryOperationsandPolicy/ORA/ORAElectronicReadingRoom/ucm373969.htm
http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofGlobalRegulatoryOperationsandPolicy/ORA/ORAElectronicReadingRoom/ucm373966.htm

Issues include:
* Failure to obtain informed consent
* Failure to reveal likely additional charges during informed consent
* Numerous incidents of overdosing
* Numerous serious adverse events
* Adverse events not reported until, in some case, years later
* No proper accounting for drugs in the facility
* Patients enrolled on the trial who did not meet criteria

And the biggie? “Your MRI tumor measurements initially recorded on worksheets at baseline and on-treatment MRI studies for all study subjects were destroyed and are not available for FDA inspectional review.”

So: people have paid usually upwards of $100,000 to participate in a clinical trial, and that trial is a total sham because the baseline data has been destroyed, rendering the trial worthless and unpublishable.

This was the third time the FDA have inspected the Burzynski clinic, their findings on the Institutional Review Board are already public and at every inspection they found identical failures: conflict of interest, inappropriate expedited approval of patients, failure to protect patient interests and so on.

The only question now is what the consequences will be. Texas juries have let him off the hook more than once, but this looks like a Federal offence due to patients crossing state boundaries and involvement of (inadequately qualified) co-investigators in multiple states.

I’ve known about this since March, thanks to my friend Bob Blaskiewicz. I am glad that these findings are now in the open. It makes me extremely angry, especially since I remember the tremendous dignity and class shown by the parent of a local girl who went down the familiar path of false claims around pseudoprogression and ischaemic necrosis before her parents took her out of the programme weeks before she died.

And I bet you anything you like that the usual suspects will rally round and accuse the FDA of “suppressing” a “natural cure”, rather than ripping him a new one for duping them.

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chrisb1

Very worrying re’ your information on Burzynski, but I am not so sure that this isn’t a “stitch-up” from the FDA who have been out to get him from the beginning.

I may be wrong, so if Burzynskis has any shortcomings and are made transparent by an “independent” body, I would be more inclined to believe what you have posted.
http://www.examiner.com/article/fda-and-health-canada-corruption-rampant-whistleblowers-agree

There is a wealth of evidence all over the www to verify that the FDA and the Pharmaceutical Companies are virtual bedfellows, so any muckraking by the former serves the interests of the latter.

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Mark

Chris, I find it amusing that you can’t give the FDA credit for doing its job The winners here are not the big pharms its the consumers. When the intake measurements disappear, makes you wonder what they are hiding. They may be put out of business in the US or play by the rules.

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chrisb1

Mark,
from what you have mentioned about the FDA reveals that you know very little about their workings, so no I give them very little credit for anything………..

This a direct quote from the former head (Commissioner) of the FDA: Dr Ley.

“The thing that bugs me is that the people think the FDA is protecting them. It isn’t. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it’s doing are as different as night and day.”

Fact: almost one-fifth of the Food and Drug Administration scientists surveyed two years ago as part of an official review said they had been pressured to recommend approval of a new drug despite reservations about its safety, effectiveness or quality.

The FDA censors health information. It does so to protect drugs and its drug approval process from competition.

Between 1992 and 1996, FDA prohibited companies that sell folic acid from telling women of childbearing age that .4 mg of folic acid daily before pregnancy could reduce the incidence of neural tube defects (including spina bifida and encephaly) by 40%. FDA’s censorship contributed to a preventable 10,000 neural tube defect births.

Between 1994 to 2000, FDA prohibited companies that sell omega-3 fatty acids from telling Americans that those fatty acids found in fish oil could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 50%. FDA’s censorship contributed to a preventable 1.8 million sudden death heart attacks.

Between 2000 and the present, FDA prohibits companies that sell saw palmetto extract (the fruit of the dwarf American palm tree) from telling Americans that saw palmetto reduces enlarged prostates and relieves related symptoms. Approximately 50% of all men age 50 and older suffer from enlarged prostates and are denied access to this information.

The FDA censors every claim that a dietary ingredient treats disease, regardless of the proof in support of the claim. FDA only allows drug companies to make claims of treatment. It protects a monopoly for those companies at the expense of the health and freedom of the American people.

There is a wealth of reliable information on the www Mark to corroborate this and how they have become virtual bedfellows with the pharmaceutical companies.

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Guy Chapman

Chris: That’s not censorship, it’s regulation. You can’t claim that vitamin C cures cancer for the same reason you can’t claim a carpet can fly. It’s basic consumer protection.

Anyone can make claims to treatment, they just need to prove the claims. The issue for supplement vendors is, they can’t. Virtually every high profile supplement follows the same path:

- Early studies, often by a True Believer
- Promotion of these studies on Oprah, Dr Oz and the like
- Massive marketing
- Months or years later, the conclusion of the science finds the claims to be exaggerated
- This makes no difference whatsoever to the claims

It’s happened time and time again. Goji, acai, ginseng, you name it.

Trying to find solid evidence that any of these expensive products sold by massive companies has more effect than eating an apple a day, is usually a fruitless exercise. Normally, the science finds no improvement over a normal healthy balanced diet.

Some people go further: they *hate* the idea that a normal healthy balanced diet is sufficient. They simply don’t believe it, and they attack anyone who suggests it is. They are cranks. The inability to separate the cranks from those who are merely hucksters is one of the biggest problems with the alternative market, IMO.

The Burzynski case is interesting because it is totally unambiguous: these are gross ethical violations substantially worse than those of Wakefield. This is actually one of the most serious abuses of the clinical trials process ever, and the victims have largely been families of dying children.

Supporters of alternatives to medicine have an opportunity to demonstrate that they have at least some standards.

Whatever you believe about the treatment, shredding the records of people who have paid to be on clinical trials, effectively making the trials worthless, is unambiguously wrong. Burzynski *is* a pharmaceutical company: he makes a pharmaceutical. He also treats people with it, sometimes without informed consent. He conceals serious adverse reactions on an industrial scale. There is evidence of many cases of overdosing. This is not minor procedural issues, these controls are central to the ethical pursuit of medicine.

This is not quite on the scale of Vioxx, but it is arguably equivalent to Shipman.

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Guy Chapman

It’s not censorship, it’s regulation.

I understand the mods being wary of this because it involves serious questions of legality. Everything below is in the FDA reports:

IRB reports: http://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/centersoffices/officeofglobalregulatoryoperationsandpolicy/ora/oraelectronicreadingroom/ucm369398.htm
BRI findings: http://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/centersoffices/officeofglobalregulatoryoperationsandpolicy/ora/oraelectronicreadingroom/ucm373969.htm
Burzynski as principal: http://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/centersoffices/officeofglobalregulatoryoperationsandpolicy/ora/oraelectronicreadingroom/ucm373966.htm
IRB letter: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/scienceresearch/specialtopics/runningclinicaltrials/complianceenforcement/ucm369521.pdf
Illegal promotion of drug: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/guidancecomplianceregulatoryinformation/enforcementactivitiesbyfda/warninglettersandnoticeofviolationletterstopharmaceuticalcompanies/ucm326631.pdf

The IRB failed to protect patient interests, which is its entire job. As a result of this the research team engaged in a laundry list of serious violations. From the latest FDA reports:

* Misclassification of tumour response (i.e. overstating effect)
* Admitting ineligible patients to protocols
* Failing to withdraw treatment after multiple adverse events
* Misclassifying adverse events as minor when they were life-threatening
* Failure to report adverse events sometimes for up to seven years
* Failure to collect data in respect of trial patients
* Failure to account for quantities of investigational drug
* Frequent cases of overdosing, no corrective action
* Destruction of consent forms
* Failure to obtain legally mandated consent
* Failure to disclose additional costs at consent
* Destruction of *ALL* baseline records

Any one of these things would result in serious trouble for any normal research facility. These facts mean that the “trials” are a sham, as his attorney Richard Jaffe admitted in his book “Galileo’s Lawyer”.

These are not just minor technical infringements. The trigger for the FDA investigation was the reported treatment-induced death of a patient, just one of over a hundred serious adverse events the FDA found. This for a “non-toxic” therapy.

It’s all in those FDA documents.

Burzynski runs a pharmaceutical company (that’s what segment he’s listed in by the SEC). How would you react if any mainstream pharmaceutical company did this?

What would you say if the chair of the Institutional Review Board that approved studies in a “big pharma” firm was a director of the firm (so with a vested interest in the trial outcome) and an old buddy of the principal investigator? That’s the case with the Burzynski institutional review board.

The Burzynski IRB used expedited approval for single patient protocols. Expedited approval is designed for very simple things whose risks are no more common or serious than those encountered in everyday life (this is explicitly stated in the published rules). Adding a blood draw or a urine test is the usual kind of thing. Here, it was used to wave through entire programmes of cancer treatment for patients not eligible for trials. Mainly children, it appears.

Again, it’s all in the FDA inspection documents.

This is not a small matter of cutting the odd corner in order to do good. It’s large scale systematic violation of basic internationally agreed ethical principles for the protection of patients especially clinical trial subjects. And it’s all in black and white. Including the fact that the “cures” he has claimed, are evidentially useless because he misclassified the response and shredded the records that would allow it to be cross-checked by any independent party, a basic requirement for approval.

Now would be a really good time to demonstrate that open-mindedness we hear so much about. This stuff is unambiguously wrong. And not small-wrong, seriously big wrong. Hiding the fact that people nearly died (or indeed did die), and telling people they are getting better when their cancer is growing aggressively. That kind of wrong.

The behaviour identified by the FDA is simply not acceptable, agreed?

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chrisb1

Guy,
you have much to learn it seems concerning the inner workings of the FDA, as the agency (ostensibly responsible for protecting the American public) is anything but that in reality.

Please do your own research with an open mind and even listen to the testimonies of the vast number of people who used to work within that organisation.

So is it possible to trust an agency such as this or their reports and investigations into alternatives that is known to be corrupt, and operates as an extension of the pharmaceutical companies?
http://www.infowars.com/ron-paul-fda-and-big-pharma-are-in-bed-together/

Anywhere from a third to one-half or more of FDA internal committee members have Pharmaceutical or Agribusiness financial ties. Often, key industry executives act as FDA consultants.

Add this to FDA`s user fee policy, where the Pharmaceutical companies are allowed to fund their own drug trials after paying the FDA first. This financial codependency promotes more manipulation of already faulty “evidence based medicine” tests and trials.

Meanwhile, empirical evidence of clinical healing from alternative methods is dismissed as insufficient and anecdotal, (just as you do) which is hypocrisy supported by the mass media and the press that takes in lots of drug advertising money.

Very little credibility derives from the FDA, so using them as a source of accurate information is both unreliable and untrustworthy.

Constitutional Attorney and author Jonathan Emord on FDA corruption……………..
http://consciouslifenews.com/attorney-discusses-pharma-government-fda-corruption/

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Mark

Chris, I know that the FDA or any organization like it in the world has a difficult time and their decisions have not always been ethical. I hope that because they have been caught enough that the future will be better. Most of the people who work for the FDA are ethical hard working employees. When something like the Burzynski cancer treatment is investigated and problems are found, action needs to be taken. The destruction of the baseline measurements and classifying errors makes any possible outcome impossible to measure. No possible publication of any results.

It sure looks like the treatment is going to be shut down in the U.S. It will be interesting to see what actions the FDA is going to take. It seems very likely that they will be banned. The treatment may just move to Mexico like the homeopathic cancer treatments. With all baseline measurements missing and no published results, looks like that’s they were expecting. The company will just move the shop and give their wonderful results. They market their results the same. The problems with the FDA are just a cost of doing business.

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chrisb1

Mark,
yes I am sure that most of the people who work for the FDA are ethical hard working employees, but that has not prevented FDA officials, in the upper echelons of power, in pulling strings for personal gain, in collusion with the pharmaceutical companies and other authoritarian bodies to maintain the status quo.

I refer to my previous post and comments by the Constitutional Attorney and author Jonathan Emord on FDA corruption, and who has defeated the FDA seven times in federal court; the FDA operates as a dictatorship that is “unaccountable to the courts, Congress, and the American people”. He maintains that the agency primarily serves the self-interest of the individuals in charge of it, along with the interests of the drug industry and the American government, which Emord says has transformed from a constitutional republic to a “bureaucratic oligarchy”.

He refers to the evidence showing that the FDA actively censors health information regarding nutrients, foods, and supplements, such as when cherry tree farmers were told they would be prosecuted if they claimed that cherries had anti-inflammatory properties, even though university studies had found that to be true.

Drug scientists who carry out safety tests within the FDA are forced to sign confidentiality agreements, which prohibit them from talking about any clinical trials that show damaging results for any particular pharmaceutical product. He goes on to say that Congress supports and condones this system because it’s in its financial interest to do so.

Emord’s claims are even supported by the current FDA associate director of the Office of Drug Safety, Dr. David Graham, who has stated that the FDA “is inherently biased in favor of the pharmaceutical industry. It views industry as its client, whose interests it must represent and advance. It views its primary mission as approving as many drugs as it can, regardless of whether the drugs are safe or needed.”
http://consciouslifenews.com/attorney-discusses-pharma-government-fda-corruption/

Just as Guy does, you are merely highlighting the propaganda that maintains the “belief-system” concerning the FDA and in recent posts with Dr R Rife.

In 1934, the University of Southern California appointed a Special Medical Research Committee to bring terminal cancer patients from Pasadena County Hospital to Rife’s San Diego Laboratory and clinic for treatment. The team included doctors and pathologists assigned to examine the patients – if still alive – in 90 days.

After the 90 days of treatment, the Committee concluded that 86.5% of the patients had been completely cured. The treatment was then adjusted and the remaining 13.5% of the patients also responded within the next four weeks. The total recovery rate using Rife’s technology was 100%.

On November 20, 1931, forty-four of the nation’s most respected medical authorities honored Royal Rife with a banquet billed as “The End To All Diseases” at the Pasadena estate of Dr. Milbank Johnson.
But by 1939, almost all of these distinguished doctors and scientists were denying that they had ever met Rife, because they were “bought off” by the AMA and Morris Fishbein, and as a result Doctors who tried to defend Rife lost their foundations grants and hospital privileges.
For example, Arthur Kendall, the Director of the Northwestern School of Medicine who worked with Rife on the cancer virus, accepted almost a quarter of a million dollars to suddenly ‘retire’ in Mexico: that was an exorbitant amount of money in the Great Depression.
In addition, Medical journals, who are supported almost entirely by drug company revenues and controlled by the AMA, refused to publish any paper by anyone on Rife’s therapy…………

Ad Infinitum.

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chrisb1

Claims concerning Goji I have already posted on, so I refer to that post.
Solid evidence for Acai, ginseng and so on.

There has recently been an “Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Acai” issued by the Natural Standards Research Collaboration (NSRC), an impartial scientific body that refuses to take support from product manufacturers. They are cited by the World Health Organization as one of the most authoritative sources on such matters.

So what did the NSRC find?

They dripped a concentration of acai berry phytonutrients one would expect in one’s bloodstream after consumption on some blood cancer cells taken from a 36-year-old woman with leukemia. They saw a dramatic rise in cancer cell mortality

Acai was also found to boost immune cell function at extremely low doses.

They also investigated the effects of açaí berries on metabolic parameters. Ten overweight folks were given two packs of frozen acai pulp every day for a month. Even though they were allowed to take it with sugar, their fasting blood sugars dropped, as well as their insulin levels and cholesterol. It appeared to significantly blunt the sugar spike caused by a standardized meal–all without any obvious adverse effects. In fact the only theoretical concern cited in the NSRC review was that it may work too well.

Here’s a bit of actual science on Acai, so not quite the same as your average Mars Bar which was advertised as helping you to work, rest, and play………………….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_oOU5d_eys

PubMed Research links on the Science and benefits of Ginseng……………………..
http://canada.binghan.com/our-products/the-science-of-ginseng/

Scroll down the page here for the science on Panax Ginseng……………..
http://examine.com/supplements/Panax+ginseng/

I’m assuming you mean that a “balanced diet” is one where the apple in your left hand weighs the same as the apple in your right hand.?
Right?

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Guy Chapman

Chris, I will try very hard not to lose my temper here.

The idea that presenting actual science is”propaganda” while promoting the claims of people who are widely identified as quacks and charlatans, is fatuous.

The idea that conflicts of interest apply only in medicine is equally ridiculous.

In this debate you have advocated, if I remember correctly:

Budwig
Burzynski
Colloidal silver
Electrosensitivity
Gerson
Homeopathy
Hoxsey
Laetrile
MMR-autism
Rife machines
Vitamin megadoses

Several of these are mutually exclusive. None is supported by worthwhile science. Many are biologically implausible, some even impossible. All make a tidy living for people who sell them with inflated claims of efficacy. A fair number have actually been shut down by regulators, because they are fraudulent (e.g. the late Mr. Hoxsey, or to give his full medical title, Mr Hoxsey).

And yet it’s everybody else who is repeating “propaganda”.

It is simply not plausible that science is so consistently “wrong” and “lone genius” inventors with mutually contradictory ideas(and usually no medical qualifications) are so consistently right,

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Guy Chapman

That’s right, Chris, the entire system of medical science is just a massive propaganda machine for “big pharma” and all the real breaktrhroughs are made by people with no medical training like Hoxsey and Rife or by “brave maverick doctors” with no actual oncology experience like Gerson and Budwig.

The hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses, scientists, regulators, charity workers, administrators, regulators and politicians worldwide, in governments ranging from communist Cuba to extreme capitalist America, are all in on the conspiracy, because of course they are all motivated by precisely the same thing: big pharma money.

Fortunately all the visionary inventors of miracle cures are entirely free of the taint of profiteering, which is why when they are shut down by the FDA or whoever, they selflessly move to Tijuana and carry on offering their treatments from their modest marble and mirror glass clinics.

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chrisb1

Guy,
I have not said or intended to imply that: “the entire system of medical science is just a massive propaganda machine for “big pharma”, and the only real breakthroughs are made by people with no medical training such as Hoxsey and Rife etc”.

To be clear about this, what I have said, is that medical science is essentially encapsulated within a system of healthcare and recovery based on diagnostics, surgery and drug therapy. Medical science is heavily dependent on the latter because that is where the research money originates from.
I have said this before and I will say it again: medical science has much to offer and is an essential part of any healthcare system.

This is unfortunately quite a naive comment, and an oversimplification of what I have actually stated…………..

“The hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses, scientists, regulators, charity workers, administrators, regulators and politicians worldwide, in governments ranging from communist Cuba to extreme capitalist America, are all in on the conspiracy, because of course they are all motivated by precisely the same thing: big pharma money”.

So to clarify: the thousands of worldwide doctors, nurses, scientists, regulators, charity workers, administrators and so on, all have the most benevolent and altruistic intentions I am certain, but they have all become educated into a system of healthcare entitled “medical science”, which involves what I have mentioned previously: diagnostics, surgery, trauma and drug therapy.
There is no doubt that “big pharma” has a huge influence on the type and scope of research being carried out, and it is this influence (which can be biased and corrupt) that has seen the need for the alltrials initiative and other measures to keep them in check.

Many of what you refer to as the “mavericks” of health attainment, used to work within the medical field themselves, but abandoned their medical vocation to pursue other, what they considered to be more effective methods of disease-prevention and treatment, and not as some cynics would comment because of greater financial rewards, where in fact the opposite is the case.

My record speaks for itself; I have always maintained the high value of Medicine, but what I am totally against, is the suppression of effective therapies outside of current mainstream practice, because of corruption and financial greed.

That is all.

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chrisb1

Guy,
Again I have NOT said that presenting actual science is “propaganda”, but I do promote and endorse the claims of people and persons and institutions that fall outside of mainstream medicine, and who are widely accepted as quacks and charlatans by them, because “actual science” supports their position and findings.

I agree with you here……….

“The idea that conflicts of interest apply only in medicine is equally ridiculous”.

“In this debate you have advocated, if I remember correctly”:

Budwig (yes)
Burzynski (maybe)
Colloidal silver (definitely)
Electrosensitivity (possibly)
Gerson (yes)
Homeopathy (yes)
Hoxsey (yes)
Laetrile (yes)
MMR-autism (probable)
Rife machines (definitely) although not most of the current Rife machines which are fraudulent because they do not hold to the Rifes standards.
Vitamin megadoses (yes of course)

“None is supported by worthwhile science”.

Colloidal Silver is supported by the scientific evidence which you have ignored, as are Vitamin Megadoses and Homeopathy.
Gerson relies on testimonials (thousands of them) as does Hoxsey where the former head of the AMA admitted as such.
The science on Laetrile was suppressed, so no you will not find any evidence of its efficacy.

Which of these is “biologically implausible”? giving reasons please..

Indeed a fair number have actually been shut down by regulators, because they represent “competition” to existing therapies.
Hoxsey’ cure for cancer was an old red-indian preparation and found to work so well that the therapy was brought back to the UK by some medical doctors.

No it is not everybody else who is repeating “propaganda”, just the profit machine that supports the current status quo.

AND…………
“It is simply not plausible that science is so consistently “wrong” and “lone genius” inventors with mutually contradictory ideas(and usually no medical qualifications) are so consistently right.”

Science is not so consistently wrong (have I ever said that?), but I will think you will find that it is actually “lone genius inventors” who have made the most impact on science.

Here’s a partial list………….

Archimedes.
Leonardo Da Vinci.
Galileo.
Benjamin Franklin.
Louis Pasteur.
Thomas Edison.
Nikola Tesla.

MEDICINE……….

Hippocrates.
Paracelsus.
Claudius Galen.
Edward Jenner.
Gregor Mendel (genetics)
Louis Pasteur.
Robert Koch (medical microbiology).
Charles-Edouard Brown-Séquard
Wilhelm Roentgen (X-RAYS)
Willem Kolff (kidney dialysis machine)

Not all new technologies were readily accepted by the medical community. Many were viewed with suspicion. In the 1930s some doctors doubted an X‑ray image of the chest was as reliable as a physical examination. Devices threatened to replace the diagnostic expertise of traditional doctors. Many doctors valued their clinical experience over machine-produced information.

So “lone genius inventors” have actually made the most impact on science and medicine.

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Mark

Chris, ” the propaganda”that maintains the “belief-system” concerning the FDA”
I”m not sure what that is. I believe that some organization is needed to look out for people and that some legislation is needed concerning medical treatments. If a drug or treatment is ineffective or harmful, ban or stop. If any claims are made, there needs to be good support. The organization should be free of bias. Misconduct should be punished whether by the FDA, big-pharma or alt-med.

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chrisb1

Mark,
the propaganda that maintains the belief system of the FDA, means the generally held belief concerning the official role of the FDA on which it was originally formed: the protection of consumers and Americans generally. A public watchdog to safeguard the public.

The FDA’s official role has been transformed from the above into what I have described in previous posts and as evidenced from numerous sources including former heads of that Agency.

I do agree with you that: agencies are need for the protection of the public at large, but the FDA fails in this regard; and your last sentence: “The organization should be free of bias. Misconduct should be punished whether by the FDA, big-pharma or alt-med.”

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Guy Chapman

Chris, the FDA is a regulator, a political body. Medical science is not the same as the FDA.

The thing to focus on here is what defines an alternative therapy: the therapies you advocate tenaciously are all in the class of therapies that are not mainstream, because they are not supported by good evidence.

There is no way of getting around that.

And the large and highly profitable industry that sells these things, uses people like you to make claims that it cannot make. Boiron recently settled a number of class actions and amended its packaging to stop making therapeutic claims. It has no need to make such claims on its packaging, the homeopathy propagandists will do all of that, leaving them free to advertise on an “availability-only” platform and metaphorically claim *innocent face*. That didn’t work for Sally Bercow, it does work for the SCAM industry, and has for a long time, and they know it.

The SCAM industry can end the argument about any particular claimed treatment in a heartbeat, just by producing some robust science. They don’t. Partly because they don’t need to in order to sell their product and much more often because they can’t.

Feel free to use your influence with that community to get them to fix that, it would save a lot of trouble.

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chrisb1

Guy,
as usual you ignore the evidence; the FDA’s intended role is indeed as a regulator and (more importantly) a consumer protection Agency, and it does fulfill these roles to a degree, but when it comes to natural health or alternative health/medicine it acts as a “censor” and of that there is no doubt whatsoever. There is too much evidence on the web from those not only outside the FDA, but also within the agency as well.
It is NOT a political body as you have stated.

Some points you have made and need to learn from…………..

“the therapies you advocate are all in the class of therapies that are not mainstream, because they are not supported by good evidence”.

Which should read: the therapies I advocate are in a class of therapies not endorsed by mainstream that is true, but not because they lack valid scientific evidence, but because they do not fit the model of mainstream that relies exclusively on drug-therapy, surgery, trauma and diagnostics.

And…….

“The SCAM industry can end the argument about any particular claimed treatment in a heartbeat, just by producing some robust science. They don’t. Partly because they don’t need to in order to sell their product and much more often because they can’t.”

Your use of the term “SCAM” merely exemplifies your restricted viewpoint, and is denigrating to say the least. The science that you state has no robust evidence actually does if you care to read and study my previous posts, which contain a wealth of valid scientific evidence in its support. The only problem here is that you have chosen to ignore it.

What is clearly evident here is that…………….

“Many scientists today suffer from “pathological disbelief;” that is, they maintain an unscientific attitude that is embodied by the statement “even if it were true I wouldn’t believe it.”………….Brian Josephson, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Cambridge University.

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dieseltaylor

As I have no wish to check all the previous posts, and as far as I can recall this may not have been mentioned but is relevant:
http://www.gizmag.com/lymphoma-treatment-cancer-ibrutinib/28085/

I note it was June and things have moved on so what does Wikipedia say:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrutinib

but Wikipedia is out of date[!]:
http://www.lymphoma.org/site/pp.asp?c=bkLTKaOQLmK8E&b=8756085

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chrisb1

A very good example of media bias and misreporting on Vitamins and Minerals.
November 12, 2013

NBC’s Vitamin Ignorance and their headlines……………….
“Vitamins don’t prevent heart disease or cancer, experts find”

by Andrew W. Saul PhD.

I would like to apologize for NBC News. It seems that the organization that brought us Lowell Thomas, John Cameron Swayze, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley has lowered its standard of reporting. NBC’s supplement-bashing headline article, “Vitamins don’t prevent heart disease or cancer, experts find” displays an ignorance of clinical nutrition that is difficult to ignore, and, thanks to its media prominence, can’t be. http://www.nbcnews.com/health/vitamins-dont-prevent-heart-disease-or-cancer-experts-find-2D11577445

Of vitamin supplementation, NBC specifically said that a “very extensive look at the studies that have been done show it may be a waste of time when it comes to preventing the diseases most likely to kill you.”

The “very extensive look” encompassed 24 preselected studies. It looks like they just possibly may have missed a few, such as these:

Multivitamin supplements lower your risk of cancer by 8%. An 8% reduction in deaths means the lives of 48,000 people in the US alone could be saved each year, just by taking an inexpensive daily vitamin pill. (Gaziano JM, Sesso HD, Christen WG, Bubes V, Smith JP, MacFadyen J, Schvartz M, Manson JE, Glynn RJ, Buring JE (2012) Multivitamins in the Prevention of Cancer in Men: the Physicians’ Health Study II Randomized Controlled Trial JAMA. 2012;():1-10. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.14641.)

72% of physicians personally use dietary supplements. The multivitamin is the most popular dietary supplement taken by doctors. (Dickinson A, Boyon N, Shao A. Physicians and nurses use and recommend dietary supplements: report of a survey. Nutrition Journal 2009, 8:29 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-8-29)

High serum levels of vitamin B6, methionine and folate are associated with a 50% reduction in lung cancer risk. Those with higher levels of these nutrients had a significantly lower risk of lung cancer whether they smoked or not. (Johansson M, Relton C, Ueland PM, et al. Serum B vitamin levels and risk of lung cancer. JAMA. 2010 Jun 16;303(23):2377-85.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20551408

Vitamin D reduces cancer risk. Studies on breast and colorectal cancer found that an increase of serum 25(OH)D concentration of 10 ng/ml was associated with a 15% reduction in colorectal cancer incidence and 11% reduction in breast cancer incidence. (Gandini S, Boniol M, Haukka J, Byrnes G, Cox B, Sneyd MJ, Mullie P, Autier P. Meta-analysis of observational studies of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and colorectal, breast and prostate cancer and colorectal adenoma. Int J Cancer. 2011;128(6):1414-24.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20473927

Vitamin D increases breast cancer survival. Women diagnosed with breast cancer had increased survival for those with higher serum 25(OH)D concentrations. In those with lower vitamin D concentrations, mortality increased by 8%. (Vrieling A, Hein R, Abbas S, Schneeweiss A, Flesch-Janys D, Chang-Claude J. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and postmenopausal breast cancer survival: a prospective patient cohort study. Breast Cancer Res. 2011;13(4):R74) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21791049

Risk of heart failure decreases with increasing blood levels of vitamin C. Each 20 micromole/liter (µmol/L) increase in plasma vitamin C was associated with a 9% reduction in death from heart failure. If everyone took high enough doses of vitamin C to reach 80 µmol/L, it would mean 216,000 fewer deaths per year. To achieve that a plasma level requires a daily dosage of about 500 mg of vitamin C. (Pfister R, Sharp SJ, Luben R, Wareham NJ, Khaw KT. Plasma vitamin C predicts incident heart failure in men and women in European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Norfolk prospective study. Am Heart J, 2011. 162:246-253.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21835284

Vitamin C prevents and reverses radiation damage. (Yanagisawa A. Effect of Vitamin C and anti-oxidative nutrition on radiation-induced gene expression in Fukushima nuclear plant workers. Free download of full presentation at http://www.doctoryourself.com/Radiation_VitC.pptx.pdf See also: Korkina L, et al. Antioxidant therapy in children affected by irradiation from the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Biochem Soc Trans,1993. 21:314S. PMID: 8224459 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=8224459 The Japanese College of Intravenous Therapy has produced a video for people wishing to learn more about large doses of vitamin C.

Part 1 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbm_MH3nSdM
Part 2 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4cyzts3lMo
Part 3 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYiRo2Oucfo
Part 4 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51Ie8FuuYJw

All four parts of the video are also available at http://firstlaw.wordpress.com/ .

Vitamin C arrests and reverses cancer. Oncologist Victor Marcial, M.D., says: “We studied patients with advanced cancer (stage 4). 40 patients received 40,000-75,000 mg intravenously several times a week. . . In addition, they received a diet and other supplements. The initial tumor response rate was achieved in 75% of patients, defined as a 50% reduction or more in tumor size.” (Presentation at the Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, April 12, 2010.) You can download the intravenous vitamin C protocol that he used free of charge at http://www.doctoryourself.com/RiordanIVC.pdf or http://www.riordanclinic.org/research/vitaminc/protocol.shtml

Intravenous vitamin C cancer therapy for cancer is presented in detail on video, available for free access at http://www.riordanclinic.org/education/symposium/s2009 (twelve lectures) and http://www.riordanclinic.org/education/symposium/s2010 (nine lectures)

NBC News said, “Vitamin E does no good at all in preventing cancer or heart disease.”

Here’s more of what NBC failed to report:

Natural vitamin E factor yields a 75% decrease in prostate tumor formation. Gamma-tocotrienol, a cofactor found in natural vitamin E preparations, kills prostate cancer stem cells. (Sze Ue Luk1, Wei Ney Yap, Yung-Tuen Chiu et al. Gamma-tocotrienol as an effective agent in targeting prostate cancer stem cell-like population. International Journal of Cancer, 2011. Vol 128, No 9, p 2182-2191.) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.25546/abstract

Gamma-tocotrienol also is effective against existing prostate tumors. (Nesaretnam K, Teoh HK, Selvaduray KR, Bruno RS, Ho E. Modulation of cell growth and apoptosis response in human prostate cancer cells supplemented with tocotrienols. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 2008, 110, 23-31.) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejlt.200700068/abstract See also: Conte C, Floridi A, Aisa C et al. Gamma-tocotrienol metabolism and antiproliferative effect in prostate cancer cells. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2004. 1031: 391-4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15753178?dopt=AbstractPlus

Vitamin E reduces mortality by 24% in persons 71 or older. (Hemila H, Kaprio J. Age Ageing, 2011. 40(2): 215-220. January 17.) http://ageing.oxfordjournals.org/content/40/2/215.short

300 IU vitamin E per day reduces lung cancer by 61%. (Mahabir S, Schendel K, Dong YQ et al. Dietary alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherols in lung cancer risk. Int J Cancer. 2008 Sep 1;123(5):1173-80.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18546288

Vitamin E is an effective treatment for atherosclerosis. “Subjects with supplementary vitamin E intake of 100 IU per day or greater demonstrated less coronary artery lesion progression than did subjects with supplementary vitamin E intake less than 100 IU per day.” (Hodis HN, Mack WJ, LaBree L et al. Serial coronary angiographic evidence that antioxidant vitamin intake reduces progression of coronary artery atherosclerosis. JAMA, 1995. 273:1849-1854.) http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/273/23/1849.short

400 to 800 IU of vitamin E daily reduces risk of heart attack by 77%. (Stephens NG et al. Randomized controlled trial of vitamin E in patients with coronary artery disease: Cambridge Heart Antioxidant Study (CHAOS). Lancet, March 23, 1996; 347:781-786.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8622332

Increasing vitamin E with supplements prevents COPD [Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis]. (Agler AH et al. Randomized vitamin E supplementation and risk of chronic lung disease (CLD) in the Women’s Health Study. American Thoracic Society 2010 International Conference, May 18, 2010.) Summary at http://www.thoracic.org/newsroom/press-releases/conference/articles/2010/vitamine-e.pdf

800 IU vitamin E per day is a successful treatment for fatty liver disease. (Sanyal AJ, Chalasani N, Kowdley KV et al. Pioglitazone, vitamin E, or placebo for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. N Engl J Med. 2010 May 6;362(18):1675-85.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20427778

Alzheimer’s patients who take 2,000 IU of vitamin E per day live longer. (Pavlik VN, Doody RS, Rountree SD, Darby EJ. Vitamin E use is associated with improved survival in an Alzheimer’s disease cohort. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2009;28(6):536-40.) Summary at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20016184 See also: Grundman M. Vitamin E and Alzheimer disease: the basis for additional clinical trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Feb;71(2):630S-636S. Free access to full text at http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/71/2/630s )

400 IU of Vitamin E per day reduces epileptic seizures in children by more than 60%. (Ogunmekan AO, Hwang PA. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of D-alpha-tocopheryl acetate [vitamin E], as add-on therapy, for epilepsy in children. Epilepsia. 1989 Jan-Feb; 30(1):84-9.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2643513

Vitamin E supplements help prevent amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This important finding is the result of a 10-year-plus Harvard study of over a million persons. (Wang H, O’Reilly EJ, Weisskopf MG, et al. Vitamin E intake and risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a pooled analysis of data from 5 prospective cohort studies. Am. J. Epidemiol, 2011. 173 (6): 595-602. March 15) http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/173/6/595.short

Vitamin E is more effective than a prescription drug in treating chronic liver disease (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis). Said the authors: “The good news is that this study showed that cheap and readily available vitamin E can help many of those with this condition.” (Sanyal AJ, Chalasani N, Kowdley KV et al. Pioglitazone, vitamin E, or placebo for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. N Engl J Med. 2010 May 6;362(18):1675-85.) http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0907929

So I would hereby like to make amends for NBC’s hatchet-job on vitamins. In the interest of fair and balanced reporting, which I am sure NBC wholeheartedly stands for at least in principle, now you know the rest of the story.

(Andrew W. Saul, an orthomolecular medical lecturer for 38 years, is author or coauthor of a dozen books and is featured in the movie FoodMatters. He is a member of the Japanese College of Intravenous Therapy and the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame.)

Editorial Review Board:

Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
Dean Elledge, D.D.S., M.S. (USA)
Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Steve Hickey, Ph.D. (United Kingdom)
Michael Janson, M.D. (USA)
Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Erik Paterson, M.D. (Canada)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA),

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http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml

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chrisb1

Don’t waste your money on “miracle cures”……………..

US heart panel recommends statins for a third of US adults under the advice issued by two leading US medical organisations: the American Heart Association, and American College of Cardiology.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24922155
http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1770217

However……………….

NIACIN (Vitamin B3) BEATS STATINS

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, November 14, 2013

Niacin Beats Statins

Supplements and Diet are Safer, More Effective
by Andrew W. Saul, Editor

Statins for everyone? If media are to be believed, and if the drug industry has its way, the answer is “you bet.” The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that kids as young as eight years of age might take statin drugs. Specifically: “As a group, statins have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol in children and adolescents with marked LDL cholesterol elevation . . . when used from 8 weeks to 2 years for children aged 8 to 18 years.” http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/Supplement_5/S213.full

Strangely enough, American Academy of Pediatrics projects receive cash from Merck & Co., Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis, as well as from Procter and Gamble, Nestlé and other large corporations. http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/corporate-relationships/Pages/Friends-of-Children-Fund-President%27s-Circle.aspx

Statin drugs can produce serious side effects in adults. Such risk is of even more concern for the still-developing bodies of children. Statin side effects may include liver damage; elevated CPK (creatine kinase) and/or muscle pain, aches, and muscle tenderness or weakness (myalgia); drowsiness; myositis (inflammation of the muscles); rare but potentially fatal kidney failure from rhabdomyolysis (severe inflammation of muscle and muscle breakdown); memory loss; mental confusion; personality changes or irritability; headaches; difficulty sleeping, anxiety; depression; chest pain; high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes; acid regurgitation; dry mouth; digestive problems including bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation; nausea and/or vomiting, or abdominal cramping and pain; rash; leg pain; insomnia; eye irritation; tremors; dizziness; and more.

What a list. Well, this is America, and you have the right to remain sick. Evidently you also have the right to be continually bombarded with exhortations to take statins, and to give them to your children as well. Statins for second-graders? Sure! Do you want fries with that? The news media, television commercials, medical schools, and especially the pharmaceutical industry all want you and your family to be good, uncritical, daily consumers of pharmaceutical medicine.

However, you also have the right to refuse drugs, and you have available nutrition-based alternatives. Here are researchers and physicians who say “no” to statins, and their reasons why:

W. Todd Penberthy, PhD (Research Professor, University of Central Florida):

“Niacin raises good cholesterol (HDL) more than any known pharmaceutical, while simultaneously lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, and the most pathogenic form of cholesterol-associated lipoprotein (VLDL). Good medical doctors will prescribe niacin for reducing cardiovascular disease risk and provide a description of how to use it. Niacin is frequently the gold standard control used for basic research experiments using animal models of atherosclerosis. In clinical trials, when niacin has been compared to other marketed drugs it has led to most undesirable effects for business, but most therapeutically beneficial effects for the fortunate patients.

“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills more individuals than any other disease. Accordingly, there is tremendous drive in the pharmaceutical industry to make drugs. Merck and Schering Plough convinced doctors to spend 21 billion dollars over seven years selling Zetia (ezetimibe). Ultimately however, clinical trials revealed that Zetia actually increases cardiovascular events, making mean arterial walls thicker. Regular niacin works just as well as prescription extended release niacin, and it costs thirty times less. (Prescribed extended release niacin products cost approximately fifteen dollars a day to obtain 3,000 mg, while plain immediate-release niacin costs about fifty cents. Extended-release niacin causes less of a flush response initially, but with regular usage, regular niacin results in little to no flush at all, while all of the benefits are still maintained. The benefits of niacin for treating CVD are undeniable.

“It is rare that anyone addresses the most important question: “What works best?” It is such a simple question. Instead, too much research today proceeds primarily for profit. We have witnessed the transformation of medical motives from a “health-and-improvement motive” to a “much-increased income motive.” The profit machine has ultimately consumed the spirit or focus of many a well-intentioned doctor.

(Above abridged with permission from the foreword to Hoffer A, Saul AW and Foster HD. Niacin: The Real Story. Basic Health Pub, 2011.)

Robert G. Smith, PhD (Research Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania):

“Although statins can lower cholesterol, they lower the risk for heart disease mainly through their anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting effects. However, statins have many side effects, some very serious, and for most people do not greatly reduce the risk of heart disease. Niacin is a much safer way to lower cholesterol. A much more effective treatment to prevent heart disease is vitamin C taken to bowel tolerance (3,000-10,000 mg/day in divided doses), vitamin E (400-1600 IU/day), niacin (800-2,000 mg/day in divided doses), magnesium (chelate, citrate, malate, chloride, 300-600 mg/day, divided doses), along with an excellent diet that includes generous servings of leafy green vegetables and only moderate amounts of meat.”

Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD (Cardiologist):

“The lower your cholesterol goes, the greater your risk of cancer, as cholesterol is a protective agent against toxins. Efforts to lessen the chances of morbidity and mortality of one major disease (coronary artery disease) should not substantially increase the chances of morbidity and mortality from another disease (cancer).”

Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD (in Niacin: The Real Story):

“Niacin is effective in decreasing the death rate of patients with cancer by protecting cells and tissues from damage by toxic molecules or free radicals. In the body, niacin is converted to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), used by the body to catalyze the formation of ADP-ribose.

“When the long chains of DNA are damaged, poly (ADPribose) helps repair it by unwinding the damaged protein. Poly (ADPribose) also increases the activity of DNA ligase. This enzyme cuts off the damaged strands of DNA and increases the ability of the cell to repair itself after exposure to carcinogens.”

Ralph Campbell, MD (Montana, USA):

“You have likely heard about the conclusions from Cleveland Clinic gathering of heart specialists. Their objective was to zoom in on LDL levels as they relate (directly to heart disease. No mention of LDL/HDL ratio or of triglyceride levels. Again, niacin got very little recognition. Statins have some side effects that are serious, including rhabdomyolisis and kidney failure. The panel was made up of many with financial ties to industry, but “it is practically impossible to find a large group of outside experts who have no relationship to industry.” This was followed (yes, actually) by stating the new guidelines are based on solid evidence and that the public should trust them.”

Carolyn Dean, MD, ND (in The Magnesium Miracle):

“The mineral magnesium is the natural way that the body has evolved to control cholesterol when it reaches a certain level, whereas statin drugs are used to destroy the whole process. If sufficient magnesium is present in the body, cholesterol will be limited to its necessary functions – the production of hormones and the maintenance of membranes – and will not be produced in excess.”

Jorge Miranda, PharmD (Puerto Rico):

“Statin drugs are one of my favorite examples of a sickening drug. A fixation on cholesterol fails to address the importance of correcting the excessive oxidation of LDL, and fails to recognize the importance of correcting many other contributing risk factors such as homocysteine, LPa, and CRP. It is important to recognize that the reason we form cholesterol is because its needed to form membrane, the eye’s lens, hormones and many other molecules including CoQ10. Decreasing cholesterol decreases CoQ10, which means less energy for a multitude of functions. The result can be neurologic disease and even cancer.”

William B. Grant, PhD SUNARC:

“Statin use reduces co-Q10 concentrations and leads to myopathy (muscle weakness), which can lead to heart failure. Those taking statins should be aware of this problem and consider taking co-Q10 supplements.”

Damien Downing, MBBS, MSB (United Kingdom):

“Statins overall succeed in reducing the risk of coronary events by about 17% – but that is a relative risk. Taking a statin each day actually lowers ones chance of an event by about 0.16% – that is the absolute risk. But these figures are not lives saved; recent meta-analysis found only a non-significant reduction in mortality of 7 per 10,000 patient-years, or 0.07%. The difference between statins’ effects on relative risk and absolute risk is about two orders of magnitude. Just ask any man in the street whether a reduction of 0.16% in the risk of a coronary event is “significant” to him, and whether it warrants him taking statins. Unpleasant muscular side-effects occur in up to 10% of statin-takers, which may rise to 25% if the person exercises; this is unhelpful to anybody seeking to improve their cardiovascular health. But because the primary threshold for acceptance under “evidence-based medicine” is statistical significance, we are to accept that the benefit of statins has been proven. Data on worldwide sales of statins currently run at approximately US $30 billion per year.”

Perhaps this helps explain the massive media blitz favoring statins. But drugs are not the answer, unless you are a drug company.

To Learn More:

How niacin (Vitamin B3) lowers high cholesterol safely http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v01n10.shtml

Cholesterol-lowering drugs for eight-year-old kids? http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v04n08.shtml

American Academy of Pediatrics advertising rates for conferences: http://www.aapexperience.org/2012/downloads/AdRateCard.pdf For publications and the American Academy of Pediatrics website: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/advertise-with-aap/Documents/2013-AAP_MediaKit.pdf

How the American Medical Association sells 100% of all physicians’ names to advertisers: http://www.mmslists.com/news-articles/article.asp?ID=98

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

Editorial Review Board:

Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
Dean Elledge, D.D.S., M.S. (USA)
Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Steve Hickey, Ph.D. (United Kingdom)
Michael Janson, M.D. (USA)
Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Erik Paterson, M.D. (Canada)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)

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http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml

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Guy Chapman

Chris, the sources you cite have a vested interest in promoting vitamins. you can’t have it both ways: if medical sources can’t be trusted because they adovcate medicine, then alt-med sources can’t be trusted because they peddle alt-med.

Same problem as with pretty much everything else you post. it requires that we take the word of alt-med advocates on trust.

No, I don’t think I will, any more than I take the word of Pfizer on trust, and for exactly the same reason.

avatar

chrisb1

Guy,
This may seem as if I am stating the obvious, but if the sources I have mentioned have a “vested interest” in promoting vitamins and their benefits, this is almost solely due to the fact that no one else will.

Vested interests arise for one of two reasons:

#1. There is a financial incentive in their sale and promotion.
#2. Because of their efficacy which needs to be publicized.

If we examine reason #1: the sale of supplements and the money accrued therefrom is fractional in comparison to pharmaceuticals. Most all supplement manufacturers who are at the cutting edge of nutritional research are small concerns with a relatively small budget and turnover, so this wouldn’t suffice as a valid explanation. We should also understand that many supplement companies have been acquired by pharmaceutical companies.

However, if we examine reason #2, this would make more sense because of the scientific research in support of their views, which is rarely publicized in the media.
Please bear in mind that the alt-med studies I have mentioned are sourced from PubMed, ACJN (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition), Oxfordjournals, NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine), JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) and others, so hardly what you refer to as “alt-med” sources.

You would be right in saying that we should not take their word at face value, in the same way we should not the word of pharmaceutical companies at face value either.
The difference here is that we know that the result of pharmaceutical studies and clinical trials can end up as heavily favoring the companies themselves, but this has as yet not been proven in the studies I have mentioned, or others like it of a similar ilk.

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Guy Chapman

Or you could read Margaret McCartney’s “The Patient Paradox” and make proper informed decisions, rather than ill-informed decisions influenced by one set of commercial interests (that one side happens to like) rather than another set of commercial interests.

The imbalance here is that advocates of the commercial interests with, coincidentally, significantly worse evidence, falsely portray advocates of following the evidence, as being advocates of the opposing set of commercial interests (whose evidence is, coincidentally, better).

This is fallacious. One side is advocating an ideology of giving money to an industry that is defined by lacking good evidence, but skeptics simply advocate following the best evidence wherever it leads.

And when you come to judge the evidence, you may ifnd this useful: http://www.dcscience.net/Ioannidis-2013-nutrition-bmj.pdf

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chrisb1

Guy,
my alleged “ill-informed decisions” are not influenced by one set of commercial interests, but the “actual science”, so if you care to read my previous posts this would help enormously.

avatar

chrisb1

Guy,
I fail to see how Margaret McCartneys “The Patient Paradox” supports your views or discounts my own, as this would seem to be an irrelevancy to the subject we have been discussing.

My understanding of her book is that it is essentially how patients have been turned into “customers”, where she states that clinics and GP’s surgeries are full of healthy people, waiting to have their blood pressure taken, cholesterol levels measured, smear tests performed, and bowel or breast screening done, for no valid reason.

I agree with her when she states that pharmaceutical companies gloss over research they don’t like, and charities often use dubious science and dodgy PR to ’raise awareness’ of their disease, leaving a legacy of misinformation.
Doctors she says have been accused of ticking boxes and meeting meaningless targets, which distracts them from the: “evidence based professional care that patients benefit from the most”.

She goes on to say that there is now an “obsession with screening” which swallows up the time of NHS staff, and the money of healthy people who pay thousands to private companies for tests they don’t need, while the truly sick are left to cope with disjointed services and confusing options.

She also argues that this “patient paradox”: too much testing of “well people” and not enough care for the sick, worsens health inequalities and drains professionalism, harming both those who need treatment and those who don’t.

An excellent book to be sure, but not really relevant here.

You mention “commercial interests” which is a valid point, referring here I assume to pharmaceutical and supplement manufacturers, where the latter are advocated not because “one side just happens to like them”, but because of their health-efficacy and the scientific evidence that supports their use: valid scientific evidence that you repeatedly ignore and discount.

To state that this is “significantly worse evidence” in comparison to what you describe as “better pharmaceutical evidence” is an erroneous opinion not based on the actual evidence itself. Any impartially-minded individual can readily deduce this for themselves by undertaking some thorough research for themselves, and some of which I have highlighted throughout.

It is also untrue and fallacious to comment that: “skeptics simply advocate following the best evidence wherever it leads”, because of the modern “skeptical paradox”: a philosophy based on questioning “all sides of a particular argument” which instead finds itself harnessed to the ‘anti-natural’ cause.
Such skeptics, typified by organisations such as Sense About Science, find themselves firmly in a pro-GM, pro-mainstream medicine, anti-natural healthcare position.

True skepticism should lead us all to question ALL SIDES of an argument – to reject the intrinsic ‘rightness’ of ANY position, so how is it possible for skeptics be so loudly pro-mainstream medicine and against all the alternatives? What scientific data are skeptics using to support the very dubious view that genetically modified (GM) crops (for example) will resolve world hunger?

Strictly speaking, it should be impossible for skeptics to describe themselves as ‘pro-science’ or ‘pro-technology’, since that clearly associates them with a belief in the correctness of modern science: an utterly non-skeptical stance!

I am aware of Professor Ioannidis’ views on nutrition (a professor of medicine), but this actually ignores much of the science in clinical nutrition and nutritional science, so doesn’t really amount to anything worthy of note.

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Guy Chapman

Chris: Your fallacy is “tu quoque”.

Ioannidis is a methodical and highly respected researcher. SCAM proponents are perfectly happy to quote his most highly cited paper – and I believe the most highly cited paper on PLoS – which shows that most studies are wrong; admittedly this happiness stems partly from their false belief that it applies only to studies they don’t like.

Here, he extends that work and shows precisely what you’d expect, and precisely what similar analyses of other areas of science also indicate.

Early and pilot studies are usually wrong. Subsequent studies either reduce or contradict them. This applies every bit as much in nutrition, but because of the way SCAM is regulated – or rather, effectively not regulated – the early results are used as the basis of inflated claims and the subsequent contradictions are dismissed as the medical world protecting its turf.

What you have to remember is that skepticism is the neutral position in scientific debate. Skeptics are responsible for highlighting overstatement of medical and pseudomedical claims alike.The religion that is SCAM sees skeptics as atheists and therefore the same as doctors. That’s an error. Skepticism is agnosticism in the debate between medicine and SCAM, but strongly partisan where science is pitched against pseudoscience and anti-science, because historically science works and the other two don’t.

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dieseltaylor

Always nice to see Ioannidis quoted in something almost mainstream.!

” Ioannidis is a methodical and highly respected researcher. SCAM proponents are perfectly happy to quote his most highly cited paper – and I believe the most highly cited paper on PLoS – which shows that most studies are wrong; admittedly this happiness stems partly from their false belief that it applies only to studies they don’t like. ”

I quite like that paragraph. My glee is that it deflates the pomposity of the medical establishment and destroys their position of being correct and the sole bearer of knowledge. I think it is important that it is realised truth can come from many areas. Having an open mind and dealing in probabilities and good research is the way forward for any good science.

SCAM and mainstream medicine both have had/have untenable or plain wrong theories. I take no sides other than to deplore scamming of victims.

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chrisb1

Nice to see and read some posts with a high degree of impartiality, so thank you for that dieseltaylor.

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chrisb1

Guy,
Indeed, skepticism is a neutral position in any scientific debate, which is why you would not qualify in that regard, because true skepticism should lead us all to question ALL SIDES of an argument – and to reject the intrinsic ‘rightness’ of ANY position.

This is why this would apply to you or Alan and others of a similar ilk, such as the “Nightingale collaboration” and “sense about science” because both you and they are ‘pro-science’ or ‘pro-technology’, since that clearly associates you with a “belief” in the correctness of modern science: an utterly non-skeptical position!

SCAM as you call it is most definitely not a religion, as much of it is dependent on science and scientific findings and research.
Another incorrect comment is that although skepticism is a form of agnosticism, this is not between medicine and scam, but involves ALL of the science relating to health, where you only accept your own version of science that is acceptable to you.
Your own brand of skepticism is more in tune with Gnosticism, and a Pseudo-Gnosticism at that.

I would agree with you that agnosticism is strongly partisan, where science is pitched against pseudoscience and anti-science, and this exemplifies very well your own view of the restricted version of science that you endorse (medical science), and discards the rest which is equally if not more valid.

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chrisb1

Guy,
I thought you find this to be of interest.
Not so much a “miracle cure” but probably a miracle to you perhaps.?

Headline.

Two natural arthritis busters, when used together outperform drug

A groundbreaking, new study found that men and women who suffer from osteoarthritis respond better to a natural approach. In fact, patients who took two specific herbal supplements felt significantly less pain than those who took a potent drug. In just 12 weeks!

For the study, researchers compared a combination of the herbs turmeric and boswellia to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex (celecoxib).

For the study, researchers divided 30 patients with knee osteoarthritis into two groups. One group received 500 mg daily of a combined turmeric and boswellia supplement. The other group received 100 mg of Celebrex twice daily.

After 12 weeks, the researchers found that the turmeric/boswellia combo reduced pain significantly better than Celebrex. In fact, the men and women who took the herbs experienced dramatic improvements in pain and joint tenderness. Both groups increased their range of motion. And both groups increased the distance they could walk.

Overall, the researchers concluded that the herbal combo is as effective as the drug in treating osteoarthritis. But with far fewer adverse side-effects.

This is a great study in many ways.

First, it shows that natural remedies work to relieve osteoarthritis pain better than a drug. While causing fewer side effects.

Second, it shows that natural remedies work better when combined.

Consider this…

When you eat an orange, you don’t just take in vitamin C. You take in a complex combination of active ingredients. And they work together to keep you healthy. This is always the way with foods. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to apply the same principle to supplements. The most effective supplements often use powerful combinations of ingredients that work together. They aren’t single, isolated ingredients.

Unfortunately, modern, biomedical research doesn’t apply this common sense approach. Instead, it takes a blind approach to test ONE ingredient at a time.

Of course, Americas FDA aids and abets this mindset. For example, it says manufacturers can’t combine two “approved” ingredients into a single treatment, without getting special permission.

(But, of course, it’s perfectly okay to give up to a dozen different single-ingredient drugs to a patient. This results in potentially thousands of different toxic poly-drug interactions.)

So, most biomedical research methods plod along, testing only one thing at a time.

Especially when it comes to cancer research.

In 1980, Jonathan Rhoads, then Chairman of the National Cancer Advisory Board, set nutrition and cancer research behind by decades. He insisted that nutrients should be tested one at a time. Of course, foods that prevent cancer have hundreds of nutrients in them!

But never mind that, in the world of government research.

In the late 1980s, Dr Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D. worked with David Byar, at the National Cancer Institute. They developed a new statistical method for testing the effects of different nutrients within the same study. This “factorial design” helps researchers study nutrition more accurately. They published their results to share them with the research community. But three decades later, most researchers still plod along the single-ingredient road.

There was however only one problem with the study: it was a little conservative in selecting the optimal doses. This apparently often happens in clinical research studies.

The study used a daily dose of 300 mg of boswellia when 450 mg (50 percent more) would have been optimal. And they used 150 mg of turmeric when 200 mg (33 percent more) would also have been optimal. Yet even with these sub-optimal doses, Boswellia and turmeric work together synergistically to help alleviate joint pain. And this combination is a more effective and safer alternative to pharmaceuticals.

Always on the side of science,

Source:
1. “Turmeric and Boswellia Combination Reduces Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms More Effectively than Celecoxib,” Mol Med Rep. November 2013;8(5):1542-1548.

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Guy Chapman

I have seen mention of this. I will be watching for independent replication, since most early results are wrong. Needless to say medicine will review it in its merits, rather than according to whether it’s labelled natural or not.

A degree of skepticism is needed. This is not the first time a supplement has been touted as effective for arthritis, and solid science has debunked several similar previous claims.

A small wager: if this result is subsequently contradicted I predict that it will continue to be promoted in the basis of this result.

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chrisb1

Yes it will be interesting to see if there will be an independent replication of turmeric and boswellia (otherwise known as frankincense) in the future, but we should bear in mind that the incentive for research has been lacking because of the dominance of finding pharmaceutical solutions.

Just to point out though that boswellia was considered so valuable in ancient times that it was one of the choice gifts brought by the Wise Men to Baby Jesus. Boswellia is not one of the most popular herbs in the lay press, but it does have some properties that could provide substantial benefit for many of today’s chronic illnesses.

Boswellia faces the same challenge that many herbs with a history of use face; it is fairly new to the research field. That being said, there is incoming data that supports boswellia’s role in chronic illness. It has a long history of use in India for arthritis, and research shows that boswellia in combination with curcumin (turmeric) is helpful for arthritis pain.

Let’s hope that further research is actually “independent”, but with a long history of efficacious use outside of mainstream, it is more than likely that the benefits will be corroborated.

“Clinical Evaluation of an Herbal Formulation in the Management of Knee Osteoarthritis.” Poster presentation at the Osteoarthritis Research Symposium Internationale (OARSI) Annual World Congress on Osteoarthritis, September 15-18, 2011. San Diego, CA. B. Antony, R. Kizhakkedath, M. Benny, B. Kuruvilla.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3309643/

Here are some previous studies that confirm boswellias efficacy…………..

1. Gupta I, Parihar A, Malhotra P, et al. Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with ulcerative colitis. Eur J Med Res. 1997;2:37-43.

2. Etzel R. Special extract of Boswellia serrata (H 15) in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Phytomedicine. 1996;3:91-94.

3. Sander O, Herborn G, Rau R. Is H15 (resin extract of Boswellia serrata, “incense”) a useful supplement to established drug therapy of chronic polyarthritis? Results of a double-blind pilot study [in German, English abstract]. Z Rheumatol. 1998;57:11-16.

4. Gupta I, Gupta V, Parihar A, et al. Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study. Eur J Med Res. 1998;3:511-514.

5. Safayhi H, Sailer ER, Ammon HPT. 5-lipoxygenase inhibition by acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) by a novel mechanism. Phytomedicine. 1996;3:71-72.

6. Singh GB, Atal CK. Pharmacology of an extract of salai guggal ex-Boswellia serrata, a new non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent. Agents Actions. 1986;18:407-412.

7. Wildfeuer A, Neu IS, Safayhi H, et al. Effects of boswellic acids extracted from a herbal medicine on the biosynthesis of leukotrienes and the course of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Arzneimittelforschung. 1998;48:668-674.

8. Safayhi H, Boden SE, Schweizer S, et al. Concentration-dependent potentiating and inhibitory effects of Boswellia extracts on 5-lipoxygenase product formation in stimulated PMNL. Planta Med. 2000;66:110-113.

9. Janssen G, Bode U, Breu H, et al. Boswellic acids in the palliative therapy of children with progressive or relapsed brain tumors. Klin Padiatr. 2000;212:189-195.

10. Winking M, Sarikaya S, Rahmanian A, et al. Boswellic acids inhibit glioma growth: a new treatment option? J Neurooncol. 2000;46:97-103.

11. Glaser T, Winter S, Groscurth P, et al. Boswellic acids and malignant glioma: induction of apoptosis but no modulation of drug sensitivity. Br J Cancer. 1999;80:756-765.

12. Gerhardt H, Seifert F, Buvari P, Vogelsang H, et al. Therapy of active Crohn disease with Boswellia serrata extract H 15. Z Gastroenterol. 2001;39:11-17.

13. Kimmatkar N, Thawani V, Hingorani L, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee—a randomized double blind, placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2003;10:3-7.

14. Madisch A, Miehlke S, Eichele O, et al. Boswellia serrata extract for the treatment of collagenous colitis. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2007 Sep 2. [Epub ahead of print]

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Guy Chapman

It would not be a surprise of some of these things did turn out to work. The path to alternative miracle cure usually begins with a vivid early scientific result, and while these undoubtedly are usually wrong, they are not *always* wrong,

The ironic thing is that if the science shows it works, it will no longer be alternative.

What’s doubly ironic is that if the science does show it works, the true believers will undoubtedly use that as “evidence” to validate their continued belief in things that the science shows not to work.

That being, after all, the essential difference between medical science and the alternative market.

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chrisb1

Guy,
your comment……
“The ironic thing is that if the science shows it works, it will no longer be alternative”.

Merely displays the kind of medical arrogance that I have been subjected to throughout this debate.

I refer to dieseltaylors recent post which commented on Ionnadis: “My glee is that it deflates the pomposity of the medical establishment and destroys their position of being correct and the sole bearer of knowledge”.

Hear hear, absolutely.

AND ……….
“What’s doubly ironic is that if the science does show it works, the true believers will undoubtedly use that as “evidence” to validate their continued belief in things that the science shows not to work”.

Illogical reasoning Guy; we only advocate those things/therapies outside of current mainstream that actually do work and have been demonstrated to work very well, which of course would not validate a: “continued belief in things that science shows not to work”.

We only believe in science Guy, and which I have posted on, but you continually reject or ignore this for reasons unknown. Remember Mels post? a professional scientist! I suggest you read and digest that post again.

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Guy Chapman

Chris: You say “we only advocate those things/therapies outside of current mainstream that actually do work and have been demonstrated to work very well”

Thus far you have advocated amygdalin, Budwig, Burzynski, colloidal silver, Gerson, Gonzalez, megavitamin therapy and several others for which either there is no credible evidence, or which have been tested and found not to work.

The problem is not with science, it’s with your mistaken belief that testimonials count as evidence, apparently in your view stronger evidence than carefully designed scientific tests.

This is compounded by your use of questionable and in some cases clearly worthless sources.

Obviously not all the things you advocate are worthless, some are merely grossly exaggerated, but you have thus far provided not one single example of a provably valid therapy that is not already either used or under investigation by real cancer researchers. In some cases your beef appears to be that they insist on testing it to see if it works, rather than taking the claims of proponents on trust; in other cases it’s that they insist on believing the results of scientific tests that show the claim to be wrong, rather than taking the claim on trust.

In other words, where science conflicts with the claims of someone selling a SCAM treatment, you invariably assume it’s science that’s wrong. And you seem unable to understand why that is both implausible and problematic.

You have already said you are a young-earth creationist. No doubt you find it easy to believe in miracles, and your beliefs require you to be suspicious of science. The problem is not with science, it’s with people who reject it. Human observation and judgement is incredibly unreliable, that’s why we have clinical trials and the like. You seem to think that the most unreliable form of evidence is the most reliable, but you are wrong.

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chrisb1

Guy,
Indeed thus far I have advocated amygdalin (B17), Budwig, Burzynski, colloidal silver, Gerson, Gonzalez, megavitamin therapy (Orthomolecular Medicine) and several others for which you state there is no credible evidence, or which have been tested and found not to work.

If you had scrutinized my previous posts in more detail, (which you seem not to do) then you would already know that I endorse: B17, Budwig, Colloidal Silver, Gerson, and Orthomolecular Medicine, and much of it supported by the science.

I have already posted on some of this science on Colloidal Silver and Orthomolecular Medicine which you have chosen to ignore (presumably because this does not fit squarely with your own restricted beliefs in drug-based medicine or science).

B17 and Budwig have a wealth of testimonials that you discount, but I can assure you there are many many cancer-sufferers who have overcome their terminal illness because of these therapies, after already going the rounds of conventional oncology, and informed by them to go home and prepare for the worst as nothing else can be done.
I am also certain that these patients are extremely grateful to be free from cancer, rather than wait for acceptable medical/oncological medical evidence to state that it does, when they would otherwise have passed on because of orthodoxy.

Personally I would choose life over death with therapies that are proven to work.

It is also very disheartening that you only place your faith in drug-based medicine, when there is a wealth of scientific evidence from alternative sources that are at least equal to or superior to those very same pharmaceuticals. Why you continually ignore that very same evidence is anyone’s guess.

It is also unbecoming of you to critique my stance on “young-earth creationism”: a view supported by many highly qualified scientists of repute.

It is also difficult to comprehend your supposition on my own beliefs, but no I do not believe in miracles or woo, or even SCAM (as you call them).
Much depends on what we mean by the term “science” or “scientific evidence” where I accept much of that within mainstream, but also accept the science that falls outside of this, and which you continually ignore: a rather narrow-minded approach that ill befits a scientist or anyone else who falls within that category.

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chrisb1

Guy,
in answer to……….

“The problem is not with science, it’s with your mistaken belief that testimonials count as evidence, apparently in your view stronger evidence than carefully designed scientific tests.
This is compounded by your use of questionable and in some cases clearly worthless sources.”

…………….carefully designed scientific tests? compounded by my use of questionable and in some cases clearly worthless sources.!!!

So if you would like to answer this for me.

Scientists, in their latest attempt to control your body, want to manipulate the following enzymes to treat diabetes: Calcium /Calcium-modulated Dependent Protein Kinase I and II (CaM kinase II and CaMKII).

Here’s the researchers’ preliminary evidence. In one experiment in obese mice, they found that no matter how CaMKII was knocked out, it led to lower blood glucose levels and lower fasting plasma insulin levels in response to a glucose challenge. They concluded that this enzyme plays an important role in the development of hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia in obese mice.

Their recommendation: lets kill this enzyme.

Here’s my thinking. Any enzyme controlled by calcium is naturally balanced by magnesium. So, if they think CaMKII is malfunctioning, just hit it with magnesium to rebalance it – DON’T KILL IT.

Why is it a BAD idea to Kill CaMKII? Because CaMKII does MUCH more than help to control blood sugar. It is important in learning and memory; necessary for calcium homeostasis and calcium reuptake in heart muscle cells; positive T-cell selection; CD8 T-cell activation; neurotransitter secretion; transcription factor regulation; and glycogen metabolism. Misregulation of CaMKII is linked to deranged myosin phosphorylation (myosins: ATP-dependent proteins creating muscle contraction), imbalanced smooth muscle contraction, heart arrhythmia, Alzheimer’s disease and Angelman Syndrome ( a neuro-genetic disorder characterized by severe intellectual and development disability, sleep disturbance, seizures, jerky movements (especially hand-flapping), frequent laughter or smiling, and usually a happy demeanor).

If you know anything about magnesium you know it’s involved with everything in the above paragraph. Imagine me Screaming now – “Lord Suffering Cats, why are scientists trying to find a drug to KILL this enzyme instead of just using magnesium?” When they do make their drugs to kill this enzyme, I can guarantee they are going to cause arrhythmia, insomnia, seizures and many more magnesium deficiency symptoms.

It only took me a few moments to find a study showing that ” …magnesium depleted rats experience spontaneous epileptiform (seizure) activity and simultaneous changes in CaM kinase II activity.” And another study in 1985 focused on balancing the kinase enzymes with magnesium. They concluded that: “magnesium is an important coherent controller of glycolysis and the Krebs cycle. Many of the glycolytic kinase enzymes are sensitive to Mg2+.”

This scenario reminds me of a 2012 study in Neuropharmacology, it initially sounded promising “Magnesium Induces Anxiety and HPT Axis Dysregulation” but then the second part of the title “Modulation by Therapeutic Drug Treatment” made no sense at all.

I’ve written a paper for the Nutritional Magnesium Association on this study. I’ll let you know when it is published. In the meantime, think about the insanity of treating magnesium-induced anxiety and hormone dysregulation with antidepressant drugs. What would you use instead? How about MAGNESIUM?

by Dr Carolyn Dean MD ND

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chrisb1

Guy,
lets see how well you can refute these studies on Colloidal Silver……………
http://www.thesilveredge.com/studies.shtml

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dieseltaylor

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24524027

You have to be wary of crackpots indulging in medicine.

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wev

Anyone wants to apply for an ASA council position? There are three available

http://www.asa.org.uk/council.aspx

http://www.asa.org.uk/News-resources/Media-Centre/2013/ASA-seeks-new-Council-members.aspx

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chrisb1

News worth sharing on what some may perceive as a “miracle cure”……………..

COLON CANCER.

As reported by a recent study, natural substances like turmeric have the greatest impact on killing cancer cells in the colon. Turmeric, (a herb derived from the ginger family of plants, used as an Indian spice) and its active ingredient, curcumin, have been tested for their ability to destroy colon cancer cells at the Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The results, were astounding.

Curcumin obliterates colon cancer cells

In the study, researchers looked at three kinds of colon cancer cells, p53(+/+), p53(-/-) HCT-116, and p53 HT-29.

Cancer cell death was observed through curcumin’s ability to reduce pro-caspase-3 levels, polymerase-1 cleavage and chromatin condensation. In a time- and dosage-dependent manner, curcumin caused wild-type p53 HCT-116 cells to self-destruct, while obliterating mutant p53 HT-29 cells in their tracks.

The researchers were so astounded that they proposed that curcumin may actually have therapeutic potential in the management of colon cancer. With its ability to inhibit the growth of neoplastic cells, curcumin they stated is king against colon cancer. In the presence of curcumin, colon cancer cells went through a process of phosphorylation, which is a complete altering of the function and activity of certain protein enzymes. This was all for the better, as oxidative stress was alleviated and superoxide anion production was increased.

Affordable curcumin cancer treatments could save over 50,000 lives in the United States alone, without devastating side effects.

Health care does not have to be expensive, and no one has to lose their hair to overcome cancer. The medical system and the insurance companies may only cover and recommend chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatment, but that way of thinking is not working. Look at all the dying people. It’s not working.

Instead, cancer treatment can be as simple as consuming daily doses of turmeric, when orthodoxy state you need to poison the immune system with radiation and chemotherapy just to kill some cancer in the colon?

Medical doctors in America (and elsewhere) typically graduate and are accredited simply by following one way of thinking. This means they probably have no idea about the evidence of turmeric killing cancer, and are restricted from recommending a cheaper, natural therapy that actually works.

Study Author(s): Watson, Jane L;Hill, Richard;Yaffe, Paul B;Greenshields, Anna;Walsh, Mark;Lee, Patrick W;Giacomantonio, Carman A;Hoskin, David W;
Institution: Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20472336

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?itool=pubmed_DocSum&cmd=Link&LinkName=pubmed_pubmed&from_uid=15142674

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chrisb1

Guy,
“Taking one simple glance at history—using simple common sense—we will find that everything of scientific innovation has come from the fringe, and directly threatened the status quo at the start. From The Wright Brothers to Steve Jobs – they were all once considered “fringe mavericks” until their efforts merged into the mainstream and became a participant in the “status quo”. The status quo is there to create its own legion of followers, while only those who dare to step out of it and take a risk with something that could change it—those are the only people in human history that have ever contributed to changing it. These innovators didn’t listen to anyone except their own hearts and minds—while ignoring all the noise around them.” (this quote was from film director Eric Merola’s).

This may be of interest as a good expose on what I have been up against here…………………

https://stanislawrajmundburzynski.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/guychapman-guy-chapman-critiquing-the-skeptic-burzynski-critics-a-film-producer-a-cancer-doctor-and-their-critics-page-9/

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=3231

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chrisb1

For those who are still reading this forum, I thought this would be of interest, as it has taken me too long to recognize the reasons why this debate has continued for as long as it has.

Some posters here fit this description very well………………

The Pseudosceptics:

“These are organized groups of scoffers masquerading under the term “skeptics” who deny, ridicule and suppress anything progressive that challenges the static views of the establishment. They are debunkers who tend to distort, dismiss and obfuscate any phenomenon that challenges a conventional materialistic view of reality.
In truth, they are not true skeptics engaging in open inquiry, but selective debunkers with an agenda to defend the establishment. That’s why they are called “pseudo-skeptics”. A “true skeptic” however engages in open inquiry and doubt toward toward ALL views and “belief systems”, including their own and those of the establishment. But these “pseudo-skeptics” never question the views of the establishment, materialistic science, including “medical science”, or anything presented as “official”.

Common fallacies of these “Pseudo-Skeptics”:

#1. Double Standards, Contradictions and Lies.

#2. Denial of Evidence.

#3. Dismissing testimonies and experiences as invalid.

#4. Cherry picking of evidence.

#5. Selective Skepticism.

#6. Straw man arguments.

#7. Santa Claus gambit.

#8. Occam’s Razor.

#9. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

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dieseltaylor

From the fringe. Or page 17 of the RHS magazine “The Garden”

Chinese herbal medicine attributed beneficial effects to the bark of some of the magnolia trees and tests are showing it lowers cortisol levels and other benefits. Using it since 100 AD they may have some evidence for its use.

And after investigation ” two new antioxidants have been isolated: magnalol and honokiol. This pair are purported to be 1,000 times more “potent” than Vitamin E at mopping up the “free radicals” linked to degenerative diseases, and they also seem to inhibit the growth of prostate, ovarian, and lung cancer cells.”

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chrisb1

Thank you for that post dieseltaylor re’ Chinese herbal medicine, and not a drug anywhere to be found.

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wavechange

Many drugs used in medicine have been developed as a result of discovery of therapeutic effects of plants. Doing this means that dosages can be standardised and the active drug is free from potentially harmful chemicals that may be present in a natural plant source. Finally, pharmaceutical products go through extensive clinical tests so that we can be reasonably sure that they will do good rather than harm.

There is little doubt that we will see more drugs developed from plant sources.

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chrisb1

Wavechange,
it is true of course that many drugs used in medicine have been developed as a result of discovery of therapeutic effects of plants, but how would you explain or justify this when Guy refers to the RCT’s as the Gold-Standard and the “Scientific Method” he relies on so religiously?………..

When a co-founder of evidence-based medicine’s standard-bearer, the Cochrane Collaboration, describes the pharmaceutical industry as akin to the mafia, it’s time to sit up and take notice. That’s precisely what Dr Peter C Gøtzsche, who is also head of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, has done with Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How big pharma has corrupted healthcare. Read the exclusive interview with Dr Gøtzsche to learn more about his findings.

Dr Gøtzsche’s is the latest in a lengthening procession of books exposing the murky underbelly of the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, we have had Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma, along with other notable examples by Marcia Angell and Richard Smith, former editors of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and the British Medical Journal (BMJ), respectively.

But this is the first time such a broadside has been launched by someone so intimately acquainted with the published medical literature. Dr Gøtzsche’s current tally runs to forty meta-analyses and systematic reviews published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews alone: the fruits of many years’ forensic examination of medical data. Dr Gøtzsche knows what he is talking about, and his opinions carry significant weight………………………..
http://anh-europe.org/ANH-Intl+Exclusive+Interview+with+Dr+Peter+Gotzsche+author+of+Deadly+Medicines+and+Organised+Crime?utm_source=The+Alliance+for+Natural+Health&utm_campaign=31b9f3467e-131127_ANH_Intl_e_Alert_No_17611_27_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_aea8a87544-31b9f3467e-84942902

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chrisb1

Wavechange,
if pharmaceutical products go through extensive clinical tests so that we can be reasonably sure that they will do good rather than harm, perhaps you could explain why Dr Peter C Gøtzsche, head of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, and a co-founder of evidence-based medicine’s standard-bearer, the Cochrane Collaboration, has described the pharmaceutical industry as akin to the mafia, in his recent book: “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How big pharma has corrupted healthcare”.

In the opening pages he writes: “In the United States and Europe, drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.”

For the rest of the interview with him read here…………………
http://anh-europe.org/ANH-Intl+Exclusive+Interview+with+Dr+Peter+Gotzsche+author+of+Deadly+Medicines+and+Organised+Crime?utm_source=The+Alliance+for+Natural+Health&utm_campaign=31b9f3467e-131127_ANH_Intl_e_Alert_No_17611_27_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_aea8a87544-31b9f3467e-84942902

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chrisb1

Guy and Wavechange.

I am still waiting for your responses to my questions on the studies I have posted on Colloidal Silver (Guy) and the views/comments by the founder of the Cochrane Collaboration and EBM, Dr Peter C Gøtzsche, on the harm of pharmaceuticals.

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chrisb1

Wavechange,
I thought you may be interested in reading the following. It is entitled: “Institutional Corruption of Pharmaceuticals and the Myth of Safe and Effective Drugs” by Donald W. Light (fellow Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University), Joel Lexchin (York University in Toronto, ON), and Jonathan J. Darrow (research fellow at Harvard Medical School).
Published in “The Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics Vol. 14, No. 3 (2013)”

It begins by stating……………..

“An extensive range of studies and lawsuits already documents strategies by which pharmaceutical companies hide, ignore, or misrepresent evidence about new drugs; distort the medical literature; and misrepresent products to prescribing physicians.We focus on the consequences for patients: millions of adverse reactions. After defining institutional corruption, we focus on evidence that lies behind the epidemic of harms and the paucity of benefits.

http://therefusers.com/refusers-newsroom/institutional-corruption-of-pharmaceuticals-and-the-myth-of-safe-and-effective-drugs/#.UpmZodJdXTp

http://www.ethics.harvard.edu/lab/featured/325-jlme-symposium

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chrisb1

Guy,
a result of “medical science” and the hallowed “scientific method………………..

American doctors order over twice as many colonoscopies a year than their European peers.

It’s supposed to be a scientific FACT, that if you want to save yourself from colon cancer–you must have a colonoscopy every year.

Says who? Not even the National Cancer Institute can agree with that claim!

As recently as 2011 The National Cancer Institute said, “it is not yet known for certain whether colonoscopies can help reduce the number of deaths from colorectal cancer.”

The Cancer Journal for Clinicians reported, “there are no prospective randomized controlled trials of screening for colonoscopy for the reduction in incidence or mortality of colorectal cancer.”

And even The New York Times recently questioned the colonoscopy’s place in medicine. They reported that patients who had a polyp detected by a colonoscopy, “developed cancer in the next few years at the same rate as would be expected in the general population without a screening.”

The New York Times and The Wall St. Journal recently ran eye-popping editorials splashing a spotlight on the real reason why colonoscopies are so often “recommended.”

Take a look at these tabs…

$6,385 for a woman from Long Island…

$7,563 for a New Hampshire man…

$9,142…for a woman from New York

And nearly $20,000 for a man from Durham, N.C.!

And guess what–American doctors order nearly twice as many colonoscopies than all of Europe–where a colonoscopy costs just a few hundred dollars.

Colonoscopies have ballooned into a $10 billion industry–but they’re by no means “simple procedures.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, serious complications or even death from this procedure can be estimated at 70,000 patients a year!

These “complications” include–horrifying lacerations, perforated intestines, and massive bleedings. Not to mention a host of sickening bacteria which can be transmitted by the filthy endoscopes being used in the procedures.

Food for thought perhaps?

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chrisb1

I find it quite amazing that there are posters here who “thumbs down” on the posts I have made highlighting the facts on Colloidal Silver, and the harm of prescribed Pharmaceuticals.

Is it at all possible to “thumbs down” on indisputable facts?

Seems as if those who disagree with me have a problem with these facts, and will thumbs down on anything I report on.

An agenda anyone?

Very scientific I am sure.

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chrisb1

H,
strange how yet again the ASA’s ruling has been made as the result of just ONE complaint in each case. Someone with an agenda perhaps?

Yes it does take only ONE complaint for ASA to investigate advertising standards, but this is not exactly a majority consensus of voluminous complaints, and in the absence of this, one would think that the actual majority who have used the products have no complaints at all.

Most definitely an agenda, and probably from that well-known biased organisation known as the Nightingale Collaboration who do.

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Alan Henness

No chrisb1, it’s not in the slightest bit strange, just another of your invented conspiracies.

The ASA do have an agenda: to help protect the public from misleading advertising. That, at least, should be clear to everyone.

If you cared to read the ASA’s website and understand their function in regulating advertising, you might perhaps realise the ASA are doing what they say they do. Yes, they act on just ONE complaint.

However, you seem to completely misunderstand so please tell us which part of ‘the advertisers didn’t provide evidence to back up the claims they made’ would change with the number of complainants?

And no, these were not complaints made by the Nightingale Collaboration: if they had been, we would have been named.

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n300

chris, why don’t you use ASA as well? You can complain about drug and surgery adverts and leaflets. You can make a group like Nightingale for the alternative medicine and healthcare community. You’ll find adverts in Hospital Doctor magazine and on drug company websites. You can even ask Ben Goldacre to help out because he’s doing the AllTrials campaign.

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chrisb1

Thank you n300, that is a very worthwhile suggestion, and plan to follow this up as soon as I have the time available.

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dieseltaylor

Well that is settled then VitaminD test kits for my brother and wife for Christmas!. He is again suffering from chest infections and I am willing to bet quite large sums he will be show to have inadequate rating.

As to the discrepancy of results between two laboratories this is an interesting insight into the problems within the industry for replication:
http://www.labtestsonline.org.uk/understanding/analytes/vitamin-d/tab/glance

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chrisb1

The 25-hydroxy vitamin D test [25(OH)D test] is reported to be the most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body, rather than the [1,25(OH)₂D test].

If found to be too low, and sun-exposure is not possible, it is advised to supplement with the D3 form rather than the D2 form…………..
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/4/694.full

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chrisb1

The FDA Says This Food is a Heart “Drug”.

It would seem that the biggest and most profitable companies get away with just about anything as long as they’re willing to write a check.

That’s bad enough. But when the FDA tries to keep you from improving your health, that’s when things get really dangerous.

This attempt to secure profits seems especially crazy. They’re calling a natural, healthy FOOD a “new drug” that has to be subjected to the full FDA approval process.

Under the rules, it is illegal for food makers to share certain information with consumers. Whether or not it’s true. And whether or not it can save lives.

If a food product even looks like it’s making a medical claim, it can bring fines and legal problems. It can even lead to jail time. But if you are willing, you can pay the FDA to go through the approval process. When the dust settles, we’re talking billions of dollars in costs.1

It doesn’t matter if the food has been around forever and its health benefits are backed by clinical science.2

So what’s this dangerous drug that the FDA wants to “protect” you from?

WALNUTS..

I wish I were kidding. The FDA went after Diamond Foods for claims they made on their website about why walnuts are good for you.

The health benefits are fairly common knowledge. Walnuts can help prevent heart disease and cancer. Not exactly controversial or groundbreaking.

The FDA responded to these claims with a ridiculous and threatening letter. Here are some of the actual highlights:

“Your walnut products are also new drugs … they are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced conditions. Therefore … they may not be legally marketed with the above claims in the United States without an approved new drug application.”3

What the FDA is saying is that if a food can support your health, it’s a drug. This means that the FDA needs to test and approve it. They even need to set the “directions for use” so that people know how much is safe to take. And of course, this process isn’t free.

Again, we’re talking about walnuts here. They grow on trees!

As if that wasn’t crazy enough, they are blatant hypocrites…

Companies like Frito-Lay, owned by PepsiCo, claim their snacks have all sorts of benefits to your health. This somehow includes strong bones and muscles. But the most insulting—and crazy—claim is that their potato chips support heart health because they use sunflower oil to fry them.4

Someone should tell the FDA the difference between “good” for you and “slightly less awful” for you.

Unlike potato chips, walnuts are actually good for you. Walnuts reduce LDL cholesterol levels over six years by nearly 50 percent.5 Studies show walnuts improve your heart health in other ways too.

Men in one study who ate a Mediterranean diet replaced 30 percent of their fats, like olive oil, with walnuts. After just 30 days, they found their vasodilation improved by more than 60 percent. They also lowered their cholesterol by 10 percent.6

So science actually proves that walnuts fight heart disease and high blood pressure. It’s irresponsible to try and keep this information from the public. By not allowing Diamond Foods to talk about the amazing things walnuts can do to support heart health, it keeps people in the dark. But it also keeps them relying on dangerous heart medications instead of nature to lower their blood pressure.

If the FDA was really concerned with your health, they would want to do everything in their power to share this information about walnuts. Instead, they want to force them to be regulated as a drug.

My recommendation? Keep eating up these scandalous nuts. (Just be sure to buy organic.) And spread the word! Walnuts are not drugs. Yes, I feel rather silly even writing that.

References:
1 http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/07/fda-says-walnuts-are-drugs.aspx
2 http://www.realfarmacy.com/walnuts-are-drugs-says-fda/
3 http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/ucm202825.htm
4 http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2011/aug2011_FDA-Says-Walnuts-Are-Illegal-Drugs_01.htm
5 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8357360
6 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15037535

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Malcolm R

There are so many claims made for “superfoods” that we are right to be cynical. There is, I think, a difference to be drawn between foods that are claimed to be good for you (and in the widest sense most foods are when taken in the correct amounts) and those for which specific medical claims are made. These claims should be backed by independent objective investigation that proves their worth beyond reasonable doubt. You are right to condemn the sugary novelty foods produced by some major corporations – these are designed to extract money from the pockets of the unwary to boost their profits, and the bonuses of their cunning marketing departments.

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chrisb1

Indeed Malcolm there are many health claims for superfoods, and it is only right to be dubious rather than cynical about their health claims, but in this case walnuts have proven benefits in reducing LDL cholesterol levels over six years by nearly 50 percent.5
5 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8357360

Studies also show walnuts improve your heart health in other ways too, but to classify them as a a “drug” is absolute lunacy.
http://www.walnuts.org/health-professionals/published-research/
http://www.walnuts.org/health-professionals/published-research/by-topic/heart-health/
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/20/harvard-long-life-nuts/3654717/
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269206.php

What we are talking about here is not “medical claims” but “health claims”: a rather different concept altogether.

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dieseltaylor

A beautiful infographic showing the current situation according to the Cochrane Institute 2010:
http://io9.com/how-many-of-your-health-supplements-are-actually-snake-1492960177

Of course the new study from Southampton on Vit D levels in pregnant women and child muscle strength is way too new to be featured.

There is no doubt that infographics can really cut through the clutter. I am not too sure how the Google searches sized circles help but I suppose it does reveal the hot topics that laymen search for. : )

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Guy Chapman

I’m reading some papers on “sectarian medicine” (medical practices which repudiate the mainstream) and came across this rather striking quote:

“Modern medical science can be proud ofastounding accomplishments, which have improved its capabilities to a level undreamed of even a few decades ago. Nevertheless, all the while such progress was occurring, unproved, unorthodox, and fraudulent practices have continued to flourish, ranging from the medically trivial(but economically important) remedies for baldness and obesity to the “alternative” practices promoted for serious disease. Their impact on traditional medicine has been underestimated. These practices should be understood to represent an unalterable opposition to the basic premise of modem medicine, its cornerstone of objective scientific investigation. Promoters of such therapies are certainly not new on the scene, but in recent years have exhibited an increasing ability to alter social and political factors influencing health care.”

“Laetrile was no more noteworthy than a host of other chemical entities proposed for the cure of malignancy. What made it distinctive was the sociolegal phenomenon its promoters instigated. Despite the lack ofapproval by the Food and Drug Administration and the opposition of virtually every reputable cancer specialist and major medical organization, by 1978 laetrile had been used by approximately 75 000 American patients. By 1982, the legislatures of 24 states had passed bills effectively legalizing the use of laetrile within their borders. Ultimately, a prospective trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration provided conclusive evidence of the lack of benefit of laetrile. However, itis important to appreciate that this study in fact represented a reversal of the usual role of such clinical research. It was not an investigation conducted by proponents and intended to prove safety and effectiveness, but a response virtually required of the medical/scientific community to disprove an unsound belief of social folklore, an evaluation of a drug for which there was hardly a shred of preclinical evidence. It was akin to scientists not offering proof that the world was round, but being required to show that it was not flat.”

(Referral by Default: The Medical Community and Unorthodox Therapy, Thomas V. Holohan MD, JAMA March 1987, vol 257 no. 12 1641-2)

This is a remarkably accurate reflection of these debates!

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chrisb1

Guy,

The modern “medical science” you refer to which can be “proud of the astounding accomplishments it has achieved”, represents a very unbalanced view of healthcare practice in the real World.
To illustrate this a recent article, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, provides much evidence that many well-established medical practices are dubious, wrong, and even harmful . Researchers from the National Institutes of Health examined 10 years of clinical investigations from the New England Journal of Medicine. Over that decade (2000-2010), they found 363 published studies that evaluated an established therapy.

Some examples…………
In 146 of the 363 studies (40%), the scientific evidence caused a reversal of established medical practice. In other words, nearly half the time the prevailing wisdom of treatment was wrong.
Here are some examples, where not one branch of Medicine was spared a reversal.

In electrophysiology, the AFFIRM trial revealed that the strategy of using rhythm control drugs to maintain sinus rhythm in elderly asymptomatic patients with AF did not reduce stroke, hospitalization and death rates. To this day, nearly ten years out, AF patients are still on rhythm drugs because a doctor “thinks” this strategy will prevent stroke or reduce the risk of death.

In interventional cardiology, the idea that coronary blockages need to be ‘fixed’ is ingrained. Fueled by favorable reimbursement, intense marketing from industry and an insatiable public demand for being ‘fixed,’ stent implantation has soared. Then the COURAGE trial showed that implanting stents in patients with asymptomatic coronary disease was no better than optimal medical therapy and “LIFESTYLE ADJUSTMENTS”. So even to this day, there are wide variations in cardiovascular care which suggests that too many doctors ignore the scientific evidence.

Preventative cardiologists: Hormone replacement therapy for women was perhaps the most famous reversal. Millions of women were treated with hormones under the guise that manipulating female hormones would be “cardio-protective.” But HRT was based only on observational studies. Randomized clinical trials proved the concept wrong. (The Gold Standard of medical efficacy was ignored).

In Pediatrics, therapy of inner ear infections had a huge medical reversal. Doctors were concerned that recurrent otitis media would cause long-term hearing loss. Guidelines recommended early intervention with surgery (tubes) to prevent complications. But then two major trials showed no benefit. One of the most commonly done procedures in ALL of Pediatrics—was WRONG!!

In ICU medicine, the pulmonary artery catheter (Swan-Ganz) was thought to provide invaluable data on a patient’s heart and lung function. You just couldn’t manage a sick patient without one. Surgeons, too, thought the balloon-tipped catheter was necessary for major operations. Then, when it was studied systematically, no benefit was found. A generation of doctors toiled over those pressure tracings—all for nothing..

Cardiac surgeons are concerned about bleeding after they close a patients chest. An almost magical drug of the time, a pro-coagulant called aprotinin was found to decrease post-op bleeding. Not until after the use of aprotinin became established practice did four studies refute its benefit. Here the story gets worse. Aprotinin INCREASED MORTALITY.

In Anesthesia, one of the more feared complications is patient awareness of surgery. It’s a terrible outcome, which, in some cases leads to PTSD. It was no surprise then that Anesthesiologists jumped at the chance to use a nifty little monitor stuck on a patient’s scalp. The bi-spectral index monitor quantifies the deepness of a patient’s sedation during surgery. Despite only one industry-sponsored study, use of the monitor surged, and it nearly became a standard of care. Then in 2008, a large randomized trial showed NO BENEFIT.

Medical reversals in Oncology are especially very sad. Thousands of women with advanced breast cancer were exposed to unnecessarily aggressive surgery or chemotherapy (with stem-cell transplantation) before careful clinical trials showed NO BENEFIT. Many many women suffered needlessly. Metastatic breast cancer is bad enough: implementing this therapy on at the end of life was beyond tragic.

In diabetes care, strict control of blood glucose in hospitalized patients worsened outcomes. Widespread protocols designed to manage blood sugars were presented, and the “experts” were sure of the treatment plan for blood sugar which had to be strictly controlled. Wrong again. Too much action caused harm.

There are many more examples. Reversals included medicines, procedures, diagnostic tests, screening and medical devices. If an intervention was not based on solid scientific evidence, there was a nearly 50% chance it was wrong. What’s more, some of the most striking reversals came when therapy was aggressive.

The authors emphasized three reasons why medical reversals are so serious.
First, MILLIONS of humans were harmed.
The second issue is continuing harm. Some estimates suggest it takes ten years—on average—to change entrenched medical practice, and believed by many to be an underestimate.
Third, medical reversals cause harm because they erode trust in the patient-doctor relationship. Patients expect doctors to be either correct, or transparent about uncertainty, which in many cases they are not.

So the unproved, unorthodox, and fraudulent practices that have continued to flourish, would include standard medical practice and not just some of those outside of the remit of medical science.

The real truthful story on Laetrile can be found in a publication entitled: Laetrile Case Histories: The Richardson Cancer Clinic Experience, by John A. Richardson, M.D. and Patricia Irving Griffin, R.N., B.S.
Dr. Richardson, was one of the Laetrile pioneers in the 1970s and paid a heavy price. He had to stand three expensive trials in California courts. All three cases against him on the use of Laetrile were dismissed.

Laetrile has had other noteworthy supporters…
Harold W. Manner, Ph.D., chairman of the biology department at Loyola University in Chicago, found that laetrile combined with vitamin A and pancreatic enzymes produced a very high cure rate of breast cancers.

And National Cancer Institute (NCI) biochemist Dr. Dean Burke, Ph.D. performed an experiment that used Laetrile to kill a tissue culture of cancer cells. Dr. Burke was convinced that Laetrile could be an effective cancer cure, a pain reliever for terminal cancer victims, and even useful for preventing cancer…………..
Wilson, B. 2004. The Rise and Fall of Laetrile.

In the book: “Alternatives in Cancer Therapy”, authors Rose Pelton, R. Ph. and Lee Overholser, Ph.D. call Laetrile an “orphan drug” because it gets no love or support from the pharmaceutical industry.
Pelton and Overholser have said “no drug company is interested in committing money to research Laetrile’s potential.” But these advocates aren’t willing to tuck their tail between their legs and move on. Instead, they say orthodox medicine has instituted a full-fledged campaign to:

#1. Downplay case histories of patients who’ve benefited from Laetrile treatments
#2. Exaggerate reports of side effects and toxicity
#3. Ruin the reputation of doctors who successfully treated patients with Laetrile
#4. Use strong-arm government officials to ensure Laetrile does not receive exemption from the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration.

These of course are typical tactics used by orthodoxy to suppress any treatment modality that does not conform to the drug-paradigm of disease-treatment, and it is people such as yourself, who have fallen hook line and sinker, for the propaganda-machine that supports the status quo without question, and a rather naive gullible approach to what you have been spoon-fed.

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