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jubei33
9th November 09, 01:21 AM
Choose Your Own Adventure: The Great Personal Costs of Ignoring Reality

“It is demonstratable that things cannot be otherwise as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end.” Pangloss


Tragedy struck last year on December 27 when a prominent AIDS denialist succumbed to complications from her disease. Christine Maggiore had a long and successful career denying the HIV virus causes AIDS, with a high point surely her advisorial role in South Africa’s temporary block on government funded AIDS medical treatment (estimated to have cost the lives of 330,000 people), or perhaps the founding of “Alive and Well AIDS Alternatives,” an organization dedicated to encouraging HIV infected people to avoid HIV medications and treatment in favor of naturopathic remedies. I don’t personally believe she was a good person, but one can’t deny she suffered because of her beliefs and the choices she made considering them. To be equally fair one must also consider how they affected the lives of the people closest to her.

Great controversy was created with the publicizing of her choice to breast feed her children despite being tested HIV positive. Her public stance to not take antiretroviral medication while doing so increased the likelihood of transmission to her daughter. These drugs have been shown to reduce this risk, with the drug AZT thought to reduce it by at least 23% [1]. At the age of three, her daughter Eliza Jane fell ill with Pneumonia-like symptoms and her mother’s continued refusal to have her tested for HIV made matters worse. After doctor shopping, she eventually chose a sympathetic holistic practitioner connected with her organization for treatment who claimed her daughter was “only mildly ill.” A month later she was dead. Autopsy reports revealed a more disturbing picture showing that she was seriously underweight, had pronounced atrophy of the thymus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thymus) and lymphatic organs and her lungs were infected with an opportunistic pathogen called Pneumocystis jiroveci (#1 cause of death in pediatric AIDS cases), all of which are considered classic indicators of AIDS. Furthermore, it revealed HIV protein components in her brain tissue, which is an indicator of HIV encephalitis. Maggiore rejected the conclusions alleging fraud and incompetence, choosing instead to rely of the review of an animal pathologist close to her organization. Predictably, his findings described her death as attributed to a poor interaction from amoxicillin, a claim dismissed as preposterous by professionals in the field. Ultimately, Maggiore would not have long to consider the nature of her daughter’s death, as her own health began to take a severe turn for the worse.

Before the internet hate machine sets sail, might I propose that there is nothing funny in this tragedy. A three year old is dead and died needlessly, infected as a direct result of her mother’s inconsiderate beliefs. Thousands more died as a result of her enterprise and even more are continually mislead into unsafe and disreputable treatments, hampering real efforts to contain and manage the disease. What went so wrong, that would force her to ignore all medical evidence regarding her condition? What made the collective body of evidence so thoroughly unconvincing, so unbelievable that she would gamble the lives of her children upon this rhetoric? The inability to convince the majority of people or to provide a successful, publicly accepted counter-argument to this surely is a great collective failure of medicine today. Despite its successes treating injury and establishing a biological basis for disease there are many that whether of stubborn obstinance or more likely lacking a clear description of the science behind it find it inconsistent or at worst disreputable.

Anti-vaccinationists, for example, despite years of successful treatment and the virtual eradication of diseases like small pox and polio in the western world, still pose arguments of the dangers and inefficacy of the treatment. Religious and personal freedom based arguments posed reach back well over 100 years to echo the originals. However, arguments alleging the dangers of it are finding fresh audiences despite both empirical and otherwise anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Peter Morrell, a UK homeopath, wrote in a scathing editorial in 2000[2]:


“It does not work; it is unnatural, that the human race has survived healthily for countless generations without them and that homeopathy provides a better alternative that is both safer and effective…One can see the dangers and pitfalls of vaccination as another Russian roulette game not worth the risk.”

Perhaps if the collective medical profession relied upon a farcical theory like homeopathy’s “water memory,” then the comparison to gambling would be apt, but this is not the case. Though it is impossible to account for every possibility, medications and treatments are tested for both safety and effectiveness. Furthermore, results are verified by repeated testing to further clarify specific effect from lucky incidence. The double blind trial developed in the early 1900’s further limited sources of error such as observer bias and experimenter effects. It did more to help the sick in 100 years, than ostensibly “better alternatives” did in 200, by allowing the measurement of an effect to be defined and separated from statistical placebo effects. If homeopathy truly provides a better alternative, then results from studies [3][4] would clearly show benefit beyond placebo and experiments with positive correlation would be repeatable by other parties. After all, what good is a treatment that works only for some or some of the time for a few lucky people? If we’re seriously going to make the allusion to gambling, wouldn’t it be better to side with the hand the yields a consistent and high rate of return?

“Infectious diseases in general have declined massively since 1900…” It also shouldn’t surprise anyone who has taken a bath recently, that good hygiene is good preventative medicine. Before the advent of sewage systems, cities were severely limited in size, usually by the occurrence of disease. John Snow’s 1854 correlation that the year’s cholera epidemic was caused by contaminated city water (specifically around a single city pump) established a basis for statistical observation in the causes of disease. Though he did not know the exact cause of the cholera, using a map he was able to show that nearly all of the deaths attributed to the epidemic could be traced back to that particular location. It was later shown that the pump was dug close to a cesspool and it was leaking fecal matter into the drinking water. Cleanliness and proper hygiene have an effect on certain diseases, yet it is important to make a distinction that it does not affect all diseases in the same fashion. This can be seen even today with outbreaks of measles and rubella (etc) among unvaccinated populations in western nations despite the herd immunities largely present and public water purification efforts taken. The MMR vaccine controversy in the 2000’s started with the speculation that the vaccine could cause autism and continues to cause great fears among parents pushing a dip in non-compliance. This dip has been credited with causing a large upsurge in these diseases. The CDC, for example, reported that cases of measles in 2008 were at a 12 year high [5][6]. Publicly, it matters little that the progenitor of this vaccine scare, Dr Andrew Wakefield, has been shown to have altered his data in favor of parties he accepted money from [7][8]. To the public, the fear is real and the accusation is enough to cause panic.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a UFO conspiracist. His main argument was that all sciences, except aeronautics, have advanced exponentially since the Roswell UFO landings, perpetuating unearthly advances in science and technology that were previously impossible with our feeble intellect. There is a fallacy here that doesn’t revolve around the usual skeptics rallying point, but that there is a strong public belief in the infallibility of science, such that lay people often times, when confronted with the limitations of science, would rather believe in a conspiracy of failures than in the truth: that at any given point science is far from solving the collective mass of problems affecting us at present (“for every problem solved there are hundreds more questions”). The argument views the discoveries of science as a linear progression, completely ignoring the ‘fallen warriors’ left by the roadside to get to that point. Likewise, the theories of phlogiston and geocentrism no longer hold the same philosophic sway they once did, as they have been replaced by more accurate descriptions of the world around us. Much in the same way, medical science in some ways has been the victim of its own success, in that people have a genuine expectation that “a disease with a name will have a cure.” This leads to disappointment at its failures and current limited ability to cure and is exemplified by the many conspiracy theories involving “big pharma” holding back “real” treatments for AIDS and cancer. Take for example, author Barry Lynes’ 1987 book “The Cancer Cure that Worked,” about Royal Rife’s supposed cancer curing radionic device and its subsequent cover-up [8]. Robert Strecker’s work on the alleged manufacture of the HIV at Ft. Dietrick as a tool to limit the industrial growth of Africa, as well as several involving the chemical AL-721 as an AIDs cure too cheap to sell are all examples of this common theme. The secret wish is the promise of success, in that things are as they are, because they are “created for the best end.”

The main issue is that the representatives of science have been sending a mixed message, especially in light of the recent inclusion of “alternative medicines” like homeopathy into the pantheon of medical techniques. The term itself insinuates a duality of being as if the two occupy separate halves of a holistic continuity. This image is only furthered by state required licensure of practitioners, yielding a further sense of legitimacy to these otherwise unproven techniques. This duality, at least in the public eye, gives a degree of plausible deniability. Science may say the evidence shows they work as placebos, but they can say (and do) that the scientific method is incompatible with their art. If they’re considered, even just rhetorically at an equivalent level, then it appears as just two rival businesses competing for customers and any debate on the subject is subsequently viewed as a rhetorical advertisement rather than a statement of just the facts. Legitimate studies, whether for or against, are viewed with contempt and as the product of that party’s particular bias. This issue is further compounded as medicine becomes less reliant on the humanistic bedside manner that became a doctor’s stereotypic image in the public eye. The doctor-patient relationship and the trust that comes with it has been eroded by impersonal, corporate business practice and this bubble is being largely filled by alternative medicines. People do not like being treated as a mechanistic collection of systems and holistic imagery relates to them in a way that an impersonal blood test cannot, even if the two are at odds factually. The growing impersonal aspect of modern medicine only encourages people like Maggiore and Morrell, further allowing them a gray area to exploit.
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[1] Basic and Clinical Pharmacology 10th Ed., Bertram G. Katzung, MD, PhD

[2] http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/201/300/cdn_medical_association/cmaj/vol-163/issue-7/10-13.htm

[3 (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118952006/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0)] Homeopathy remains one of the most controversial subjects in therapeutics. This article is an attempt to clarify its effectiveness based on recent systematic reviews. Electronic databases were searched for systematic reviews/meta-analysis on the subject. Seventeen articles fulfilled the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Six of them related to re-analyses of one landmark meta-analysis. Collectively they implied that the overall positive result of this meta-analysis is not supported by a critical analysis of the data. Eleven independent systematic reviews were located. Collectively they failed to provide strong evidence in favour of homeopathy. In particular, there was no condition which responds convincingly better to homeopathic treatment than to placebo or other control interventions. Similarly, there was no homeopathic remedy that was demonstrated to yield clinical effects that are convincingly different from placebo. It is concluded that the best clinical evidence for homeopathy available to date does not warrant positive recommendations for its use in clinical practice.

[4 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T1B-4GYH5HK-12&_user=10&_coverDate=09%2F02%2F2005&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=browse&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=37e2eff545048030b1163a0f73bf4f90)] Another Homeopathy study.

[5] http://www.medpagetoday.com/InfectiousDisease/GeneralInfectiousDisease/10629

[6 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/feb/10/measles-mmr-vaccine)] “A trend which continues into 2009” was what I wrote, but this appears to be wrong according to the guardian. Touche~


[7] http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/Autism/12850

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17867721


He was an interesting character. Among other things he believed that human beings were alien-human hybrids and ordinary humans lacked the intellectual fortitude to build the sphinx and pyramids, ascribing a mystical super-scientific power to their magnificence. Aeronautics was supposedly held back, because “they” want to kept us from knowing where we really come from. This is also the reason we haven’t been back to the moon, that and they have a base on the dark side. I enjoyed the interview. He even laughed when I asked if phrenology would benefit greatly from the alien wisdom. These are a different story, though.

[9 (http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-12765544/rife-devices-pseudomedicine-investigations.html)] description of the book and summary.

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What do you all think on this issue?

WarPhalange
9th November 09, 02:30 AM
Read about a half of it (Until the homopathist's [that's right, homopathist's] quote) and yeah, preaching to the choir my friend. Good article. Getting it published or something?

bob
9th November 09, 04:59 AM
I have a close friend who struggled for years to get pregnant. Having a deep seated aversion to mainstream doctors, she spent many thousands of dollars on a naturopath who diagnosed all kinds of deficiencies and prescribed all kinds of potions. In desperation she finally went to see a gynaecologist who made a simple diagnosis. She went back to the naturopath who was horrified and urged her to ignore the doctor. She finally realised she'd been bilked. She is now pregnant after all these years.

I don't think the naturopath was malicious, just flat out stupid and in practical terms that's just as bad when it comes to peoples health.

Good write up dude.

jubei33
9th November 09, 04:59 AM
Publish? Well no, not so much. I just feel strongly about these issues and I met certain fellows recently that made me want to write a bit to clarify how I feel on the subject. It was originally going to be three mini articles, but they were essentially the same argument, so I sewed them together.


I don't think the naturopath was malicious, just flat out stupid and in practical terms that's just as bad when it comes to peoples health.

yeah that's how it works. They know "it works", but either haven't tested it, or haven't tested it with good methodology. They're generally good people who just want to help, though some are sharks.

edit: I hope your friend has a successful, uncomplicated pregnancy (with a short labor). [sorry, hurried rude jerk]

SFGOON
9th November 09, 05:08 AM
People do not like being treated as a mechanistic collection of systems and holistic imagery relates to them in a way that an impersonal blood test cannot, even if the two are at odds factually. The growing impersonal aspect of modern medicine only encourages people like Maggiore and Morrell, further allowing them a gray area to exploit.

This portion of the essay, though quite narrow, can and should be a large part of the solution to the "holisitc question."

If I were a medical physician/doctor-type-person, I would adopt some of the language and iconography of holistic medicine while practicing strict pharmacological interventions. This would allow me to leverage the "placebo effect," be it what it may, to maximum advantage while employing effective remedies. I can see how adding just a little "shamanistic" ritual to a cure would increase patient compliance and ultimately get me better results. I could also use it to put exclusively holistic practitioners out of business while letting them think they've "won" somehow - essentially stealing their thunder.

Hell, put on some meditation music, dim the fucking lights, and give them a magic rock to worship while you and your staff scramble to grab their charts. It'll work. And the patients will feel more loved. Yes it's asinine, but is being overtly rational really worth having a cancer patient go and see the hippie down the block? Oh hell no! Swallow your pride and play into the silly shit.

It might save someone's life.

jubei33
9th November 09, 06:25 AM
I would adopt some of the language and iconography of holistic medicine

Yeah, I agree to a degree. In times past, it was the concerned ear of the doctor that you went too for help, but with things as they are doctor's are spending less and less time with patients, less bedside manner, if you will. As funny as Dr. House may be while berating patients, this is the image that people see; TV displays stereotypes. This is being replaced with the 'hippie down the block'. They generally listen and I think tat makes a big difference in the perception of their trade in the public, regardless of fact.

It might not be that they need to bush out with amethyst crystals, but perhaps spend more time on a patient, especially in a clinical situation, even if the problem is easy to diagnose. But even then, they already lend enough credibility to it as it is; beating them at their own game might be the wrong approach...?

Doritosaurus Chex
9th November 09, 08:55 AM
I agree with what you wrote. I liked the part where you brought up the conspiracy theorist's belief that science is infalliable.

I think the holistic stuff has its place. Like in Goon's point, dim the lights, play some ocean sounds, and have some soothing object if the patient wishes. If that helps with them manage the pain, more power to them. I don't see why clinically proven treatments and the hippie stuff can't work together. Then again, if you're hearing "big pharma wants profits, so buy our $200 treatment instead," that should raise a red flag somewhere.

AAAAAA
9th November 09, 12:48 PM
Doctors are already supposed, per medical science, to exploit psychological tricks to make us feel better, it's just that often they don't have time to be as nice as they should, and the culture they work in doesn't encourage that aspect too much. A good doctor will fuck with you using placebo effects, positive behaviours and careful listening. Then there's the "House MD" part of medicine, but it's not all there is, though it's the meaty part.

HappyOldGuy
9th November 09, 01:20 PM
There are two more complicated issues that get in the way of your happy little hate parade.

One is the free rider problem on vaccination. There are real, extremely well documented health risks in taking vaccines. Collectively, we are better off if everyone takes the vaccine, but on an individual level, the optimum solution is for everyone I come in contact with to take the vaccine, so that I don't have to (and risk those rare but real allergic reactions and the like)

The other is the political and economic context. Claiming that she killed 330,000 people is bullshit. The government did, by cutting off therapy, but the government was not motivated by a kneejerk rejection of science. It was motivated by harsh politically unsustainable realities that could be served by embracing an anti scientific agenda. Over 10% of South Africas population is HIV positive. That's a ludicrously expensive proposition for a mid tier economy with lots of other serious financial burdens. Even now, South Africa is only able to provide drug treatments to about a quarter of it's extremely under diagnosed AIDS population.

There is also the legacy of colonialism that makes large segments of the population inherently suspicious of scientific claims, and of course a generally lower level of education. These things make it easier for an Mbeki to play the anti-science game.

WarPhalange
9th November 09, 01:42 PM
Doctors are already supposed, per medical science, to exploit psychological tricks to make us feel better, it's just that often they don't have time to be as nice as they should, and the culture they work in doesn't encourage that aspect too much. A good doctor will fuck with you using placebo effects, positive behaviours and careful listening. Then there's the "House MD" part of medicine, but it's not all there is, though it's the meaty part.

The "Dr. Feel Good" approach only works on people who are clueless about anything pertaining to medicine, really. Listening is always a plus, but I can't see the doctor doing anything else that wouldn't make me raise an eyebrow.

Cullion
9th November 09, 02:23 PM
I've also heard that there's a widespread belief in Africa that HIV was deliberately created to kill off black people so white westerners could finally help themselves to the gold, diamonds, oil and farmland untroubled, so even people who aren't averse to science in general don't trust the products of big western pharma where AIDS is concerned.

bob
9th November 09, 03:00 PM
The "Dr. Feel Good" approach only works on people who are clueless about anything pertaining to medicine, really. Listening is always a plus, but I can't see the doctor doing anything else that wouldn't make me raise an eyebrow.
You might be surprised how subtle and pervasive a placebo effect really is. Give someone exactly the same drug, but in a generic package compared to a 'brand' that they know and you will get significantly different results. Give someone a drug and say 'this will work wonders' and you will get significantly different results to saying 'here try this'.

You take anti-depressants? Did you know that a big chunk of the difference that you get between an anti-depressant and a placebo in a clinical trial is removed if you give people a placebo with the same side effects as the active drug, thus removing the 'unblinding' effect that people get when people realise they must be on the active drug because they're getting the side effects.

AAAAAA
9th November 09, 04:57 PM
The "Dr. Feel Good" approach only works on people who are clueless about anything pertaining to medicine, really.

It's subtler than you think. It won't make your cancer recede, but it will make treatment more effective.


Listening is always a plus, but I can't see the doctor doing anything else that wouldn't make me raise an eyebrow.

You're picturing it like a salesman pitch. It's much less pervasive, small things, a general attitude. It's both a talent and a method, and as with psychologists, some are good at it and some aren't. If you're ill and you trust your doctor, you'll be very receptive on a subconscious level, and that works magic. That's where all the "efficacy" of alternative medicine comes from, after all.

Quikfeet509
10th November 09, 07:11 AM
Lovely umbrella-fail in here.


But on the topic of the nautropath, they probably prescribed supplements that they sold out of their office with a 200-300% markup. If so, that takes what they did and raises the level of scam a few notches.

socratic
10th November 09, 11:25 PM
There are two more complicated issues that get in the way of your happy little hate parade.

One is the free rider problem on vaccination. There are real, extremely well documented health risks in taking vaccines. Collectively, we are better off if everyone takes the vaccine, but on an individual level, the optimum solution is for everyone I come in contact with to take the vaccine, so that I don't have to (and risk those rare but real allergic reactions and the like)
I'm willing to bet you're more likely to die from the disease you're being immunised against than you are the immunisation. Assuming I am not one of the very small percentage of people who react badly to immunisations then there's no real reason NOT to be vaccinated, is there?

socratic
10th November 09, 11:27 PM
Lovely umbrella-fail in here. I don't see anything in the OP that wrong (except for the connection between the bitch and the South African government maybe as HOG noted). Pretty much everything in medicine that isn't mainstream is total shit, otherwise it would actually be in mainstream medicine.

HappyOldGuy
11th November 09, 01:34 AM
I'm willing to bet you're more likely to die from the disease you're being immunised against than you are the immunisation. Assuming I am not one of the very small percentage of people who react badly to immunisations then there's no real reason NOT to be vaccinated, is there?
Nope. Frex, the odds of getting polio from the vaccine is higher than getting the actual disease. Ridiculously so unless you plan to travel to India. But that's only because mass vaccinations have almost rendered the disease extinct.

edit: I knew I had read these numbers


From 1980 through 1999, there were 152 confirmed cases of paralytic polio cases reported. Of the 152 cases, eight cases were acquired outside the United States and imported. The last imported case caused by wild poliovirus into the United States was reported in 1993. The remaining 144 cases were vaccine-associated paralytic polio (VAPP) caused by live oral polio vaccine (OPV).

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/polio/dis-faqs.htm

WarPhalange
11th November 09, 03:18 AM
You might be surprised how subtle and pervasive a placebo effect really is. Give someone exactly the same drug, but in a generic package compared to a 'brand' that they know and you will get significantly different results. Give someone a drug and say 'this will work wonders' and you will get significantly different results to saying 'here try this'.

You take anti-depressants? Did you know that a big chunk of the difference that you get between an anti-depressant and a placebo in a clinical trial is removed if you give people a placebo with the same side effects as the active drug, thus removing the 'unblinding' effect that people get when people realise they must be on the active drug because they're getting the side effects.

Maybe it's just me, then, because when a doctor says "this will work wonders", I ask "how?" So if they are trying to play mental games with me, it's game over right there. But listening to what I am telling him is always good because I always have that small hope that he's actually taking it into consideration and not just waiting for me to shut the hell up.

I don't understand your second paragraph, though. Is that a question or a statement, or what? It seems like you were about to have a point and then just stopped. Though, having placebos with side-effects is pretty smart.

Oh, and also, generics vs. brand name: the medicine is the same, but sometimes the brand name has a patented delivery system, which for some people may work better or worse. So, it's not always the exact same med.

For example, Vyvanse vs. Adderall. Same medication. Adderall is comprised of a "quick release" part and a "delayed release" part, so you get two doses throughout the day from one pill in an attempt to keep the medication level in your body fairly constant throughout the day. Vyvanse, on the other hand, has this medication connected to protein molecules, which doesn't break apart until the liver digests it. Or whatever it is that livers do. This should make the release of medication even more consistent and provide an extra safeguard against abuse and overdosing.

bob
11th November 09, 03:29 AM
Maybe it's just me, then, because when a doctor says "this will work wonders", I ask "how?" So if they are trying to play mental games with me, it's game over right there. But listening to what I am telling him is always good because I always have that small hope that he's actually taking it into consideration and not just waiting for me to shut the hell up.

That was just an example. Different triggers work for different people. For some people it might be simple reassurance, for some it might be taking the time to make a plausible scientific case.


I don't understand your second paragraph, though. Is that a question or a statement, or what? It seems like you were about to have a point and then just stopped. Though, having placebos with side-effects is pretty smart.


Blinding is not always effective and placebos are not always obvious. Old timey doctors used to make their medicines taste as disgusting as possible so that the patients would be sure they were getting th3 r34l. Perhaps side effects are working in a similar way for many medications.


Oh, and also, generics vs. brand name: the medicine is the same, but sometimes the brand name has a patented delivery system, which for some people may work better or worse. So, it's not always the exact same med.

For example, Vyvanse vs. Adderall. Same medication. Adderall is comprised of a "quick release" part and a "delayed release" part, so you get two doses throughout the day from one pill in an attempt to keep the medication level in your body fairly constant throughout the day. Vyvanse, on the other hand, has this medication connected to protein molecules, which doesn't break apart until the liver digests it. Or whatever it is that livers do. This should make the release of medication even more consistent and provide an extra safeguard against abuse and overdosing

I was referring to specific studies where they gave patients exactly the same medicine in two different packages and observed significantly different effects.

jubei33
12th November 09, 01:10 AM
Claiming that she killed 330,000 people is bullshit. The government did, by cutting off therapy, but the government was not motivated by a kneejerk rejection of science. It was motivated by harsh politically unsustainable realities that could be served by embracing an anti scientific agenda. Over 10% of South Africas population is HIV positive. That's a ludicrously expensive proposition for a mid tier economy with lots of other serious financial burdens. Even now, South Africa is only able to provide drug treatments to about a quarter of it's extremely under diagnosed AIDS population.

There is also the legacy of colonialism that makes large segments of the population inherently suspicious of scientific claims, and of course a generally lower level of education. These things make it easier for an Mbeki to play the anti-science game.

I’m fine with the point that there are other factors involved at the same time, but its not to say that she’s completely innocent as well. It’s not as if Mbeki ran across her 50 year old research paper and said: “Hey, this is great! Let’s repackage it this way.” The fact that he would’ve found someone else means little considering that it’s her Ronald McDonald on the big mac box, so to speak. It’s not as if I'm saying she machine-gunned them into open graves, but that she helped craft the policies, thus she should be viewed in consideration of that. Let’s not forget that these ideas had very real and disastrous effect on her immediate family as well as those in South Africa.

As for free riders, people can do what they want and this aspect is a problem for any similar public program. Although, in addition to this you also have groups like homeopaths and chiropractics that are entirely opposed to vaccination in theory and encourage others to avoid it regardless of established medical theory. In this case, you have a deliberate and dangerous intervention into the process, leveraged by the premise that both sets of theories are on equal footing scientifically, or at least presented so in the context of receiving treatment. This has the very real negative effect of delaying proper, proven medical treatment at the expense of the patient’s health and wellbeing. They are not subject to the same standards as modern medicine, but can practice freely and sometimes at the same level as it and that’s a problem.




Lovely umbrella-fail in here.
ZZZzzzZZZ...

socratic
14th November 09, 03:49 AM
Nope. Frex, the odds of getting polio from the vaccine is higher than getting the actual disease. Ridiculously so unless you plan to travel to India. But that's only because mass vaccinations have almost rendered the disease extinct.

I did not know that.

Well, I may end up going to the 3rd world at some point in my life so it's good that I'm immunised. But there certainly are other diseases where the mortality rate has skyrocketed from 'almost none' to 'wtf!?' because retards stopped immunising their kids.

Ajamil
14th November 09, 01:47 PM
Measles comes to mind. Hasn't there been an outbreak of measles in the UK?

Quikfeet509
14th November 09, 02:16 PM
It is a logical fallacy to credit the decrease in the major communicable diseases of the early part of the last century solely to vaccinations.


What other things changed from then to now? Cleaner water, cleaner food, better hygiene, improved surveillance, improved fluid resuscitation and electrolyte monitoring...



Ranks up there with the logical fallacy that "if an alternative modality worked in would be incorporated into mainstream medicine."

Sure, whatever.

jubei33
14th November 09, 04:54 PM
solely to vaccinations.....Cleaner water, cleaner food, better hygiene, improved surveillance, improved fluid resuscitation and electrolyte monitoring...

"have taken a shower?" (etc) was written on that issue. Its not surprising, considering the difference in cholera epidemics in countries that drank tea, took baths, (later) sterilized surgical tools. None the less, to say that they don't help in light of the general pattern of events after a vaccination scare is 'washing gold with silver'.


"if an alternative modality worked in would be incorporated into mainstream medicine."

an alternative like massage therapy?

HappyOldGuy
14th November 09, 05:17 PM
I did not know that.

Well, I may end up going to the 3rd world at some point in my life so it's good that I'm immunised. But there certainly are other diseases where the mortality rate has skyrocketed from 'almost none' to 'wtf!?' because retards stopped immunising their kids.

To be clear, that was just an example. That polio vaccine isn't in use in the first world much since they came out with a new one a few years ago.



Ranks up there with the logical fallacy that "if an alternative modality worked in would be incorporated into mainstream medicine."


I wouldn't call that a logical fallacy so much as something that needs to be understood as a rule of thumb. There are reasons why a treatment that offers some benefit might still not be commonly accepted (no money to be made, doesn't fit into the existing structure, etc) But those don't apply when people are talking about miracle cures and the like. If we are talking about something that is more than a palliative benefit, I still consider that a pretty good assumption.

Cullion
14th November 09, 05:22 PM
Measles comes to mind. Hasn't there been an outbreak of measles in the UK?

Most people don't think of measles as being especially dangerous. It was a normal part of childhood when I was a kid. I had it. HoG has the right take on vaccines, so I'll let him finish what he started.

AAAAAA
14th November 09, 05:42 PM
Most people don't think of measles as being especially dangerous. It was a normal part of childhood when I was a kid. I had it. HoG has the right take on vaccines, so I'll let him finish what he started.

Measles and chickenpox are much more dangerous for adults than for children.

Cullion
14th November 09, 05:45 PM
Yes, I know. It depends what you're used to.

Measles and chickenpox were normal parts of my childhood and parents used to deliberately expose their kids to them so they'd be immune by the time they reached adulthood for just that reason.

Adult shingles was seen as much more unpleasant, but people didn't really think about of it as life threatening.

I'm not an anti-vaccine campaigner of any kind btw. I think each vaccine has to be evaluated on it's individual merits.

HappyOldGuy
14th November 09, 06:00 PM
I'm not an anti-vaccine campaigner of any kind btw. I think each vaccine has to be evaluated on it's individual merits.
Which they pretty much are. Many of the diseases we vaccinate against aren't a real risk to a healthy individual. But by having widespread vaccinations, we reduce the incidence of the disease in the population and therefore protect the folks who are vulnerable to it (often infants and pregnant women). So I think we do a good job of evaluating them from a collective standpoint. But that involves, shall we say, some fibbing to sell the collective benefit to the individuals who might not benefit as much.

Cullion
14th November 09, 06:07 PM
This isn't a hard sell to me. I was left unvaccinated against Whooping Cough as a child because there were concerns about dangerous side effects of that particular vaccine at the time (the mid-late 70s, I was vaccinated against other things like TB and Polio because there was no public concern about the safety of those vaccines) in the UK, and my mother took a gamble.

I ended up catching Whooping Cough and it really did suck. I can still remember coughing so hard I vomited a few times just after starting school when I was 4.

However, I don't blame my mother who had a difficult choice to make and was doing the best she could.

I think in these situations it can be counter productive for medical professionals and public health officials to do 'some fibbing' on the grounds of collective benefit, because it diminishes public trust in them, and in more serious situations like epidemics of dangerous diseases, it's important that the public can trust such people so they will follow their advice quickly.

When you really are giving out vaccinations or medicines that are totally necessary to protect the lives of a substantial portion of the population (as would be necessary in a really dangerous epidemic, or biological weapon attack), you don't want to leave any lingering doubt in people's minds that you might be giving out something that hasn't been tested properly because of some behind-doors pharma lobbying.

socratic
16th November 09, 12:30 AM
It is a logical fallacy to credit the decrease in the major communicable diseases of the early part of the last century solely to vaccinations.


What other things changed from then to now? Cleaner water, cleaner food, better hygiene, improved surveillance, improved fluid resuscitation and electrolyte monitoring... It is also fucking retarded to ignore the role vaccinations played in the near-exctinction of countless horrific diseases from the world, where they can be acquired.


Ranks up there with the logical fallacy that "if an alternative modality worked in would be incorporated into mainstream medicine."

Sure, whatever. If accupuncture, energy healing, reiki, qigong and other bullshit could be proven to work and have an observable medical benefit doctors would be taught how to do it at medical school. It's insane to think that a bunch of shucksters and deluded fools touting this crap are kept out of mainstream medicine simply because of business interests or something.

HoG has the correct, but I would posit that "If it is proven to work it would definitely make money, and would therefore be practiced in mainstream medicine."

socratic
16th November 09, 12:32 AM
To this day I find it baffling and dismaying that homeopathy made its way into the British NHS. For shame.

socratic
16th November 09, 12:36 AM
Isn't whooping cough that one where kids would cough until they suffocate?

I'm glad yours wasn't that bad, Cullion.

Quikfeet509
16th November 09, 10:39 AM
If accupuncture, energy healing, reiki, qigong and other bullshit could be proven to work and have an observable medical benefit doctors would be taught how to do it at medical school. It's insane to think that a bunch of shucksters and deluded fools touting this crap are kept out of mainstream medicine simply because of business interests or something.

HoG has the correct, but I would posit that "If it is proven to work it would definitely make money, and would therefore be practiced in mainstream medicine."


Wow. I toyed with the notion of a polite response (in light of your previous postings) but I guess that type of a response just doesn't resonate with me. For some reason, when people with zero practical knowledge or experience attempt to tell me how things work in my field, it kinda pisses me off. Perhaps it is a character flaw on my part...no matter, I'm sure you have your own lube.

First it's spelled acupuncture, you stupid prick. Secondly, the main reason why qualified physicians don't incorporate it into their practice is because it does not make sense financially. You see, learning classical acupuncture takes time (3 years in the states) so most physicians learn an abbreviated form of it, which takes 300 hours.

That's 300 hours of training, usually at some distant site, requiring payment for the travel and training while at the same time not seeing patients and making money.

Obviously the abbreviated nature of their medical acupuncture training leaves some major deficits, but I am rather impressed at what biomedical acupuncture has evolved into and in my professional opinion, a physician with a strong background in anatomy and the nervous system would probably do just fine with it.


Unfortunately, the last part is also a significant problem. The docs with the proper background to make biomedical acupuncture effective are usually PM&R, pain, and anesthesiologists, which happen to be specialties on the high end of income. Acupuncture treatments typically last 30-60 minutes and thus tie up a room. Now, if a pain doc can see 12 patients in an hour, 8 of which are med refills and 4 are epidural steroid injections versus seeing 3-4 acupuncture patients, what are they going to do? If I told you that epidurals reimburse 2-3X what acupuncture reimburses at does that make it a little bit clearer?


So this leaves family practice docs to try and make acupuncture fiscally feasible, which they might be able to do. But since they don't have the same background as the previously mentioned group, their performance is hit or miss. For example, most of the acupuncture research coming out of Germany involves treatment protocols designed and implemented by the German equivalent of family practice docs with 200 hours of acupuncture training...and it shows.

In summary, the docs with the background to make biomedical acupuncture effective have a financial disincentive to practice it, the family practice docs that try to do biomedical acupuncture aren't really prepared to do so effectively, and you are a douche for wasting my time typing up a response that you probably won't "get" anyway.

socratic
16th November 09, 11:47 PM
Are you saying you're a doctor or an acupuncturist? I just want to be sure you're a psuedoscientist before I accuse you of selling shit, myths and lies.

jubei33
17th November 09, 09:24 AM
well, he's both probably. He said a while ago he was working on becoming an anesthesiologist.

quickfeet: How do you feel the biomedical acupuncture standards for anatomy compare to a standard gross anatomy curriculum?


in my professional opinion, a physician with a strong background in anatomy and the nervous system would probably do just fine with it.

Cullion
17th November 09, 06:26 PM
Last time quikfeet and I talked about any of this stuff IIRC he was a qualified acupuncturist who was also a qualified nurse working his way to or through medical school.

socratic
18th November 09, 08:23 AM
So they're teaching the Daodejing in med school or are there better texts on Chi these days?

Quikfeet509
18th November 09, 10:20 AM
To clarify, I am an acupuncturist and a nurse going through midlevel anesthesia school, not medical school. While I might do the latter at some point, I need to make some bills first. In addition, I would never state my qualifications as higher as they are, i.e., pretending that my anesthesia training would put me on par with an anesthesiologist.

With that being said, I am competent to discuss acupuncture and its many modalities plus I work in a pain management clinic with an incredibly proficient pain doc.




So they're teaching the Daodejing in med school or are there better texts on Chi these days?

You should really just stop proudly parading your lack of understanding on the topic or else you will get the tag of "TBK-style". I realize that people that are reasonably intelligent sometimes feel that they can understand complex topics completely outside of their field, but seriously, you don't. And no, I don't have time to explain it to you.

For the time being, ignore all the possible mechanisms of how acupuncture works [classical or neuroanatomical] and realize that in the US, it really doesn't make financial sense for pain docs to learn and practice it...regardless of the fact that they are teaching overview classes on acupuncture at a number of medical schools in the US.



How do you feel the biomedical acupuncture standards for anatomy compare to a standard gross anatomy curriculum?

It's less about the anatomy in medical school and more about the clinical experience gained during residency that makes anesthesiologists and PM&R docs more qualified to practice biomedical acupuncture. My biased, professional opinion is that biomedical acupuncture is an incredibly simplified form of classical acupuncture but it does have some strong aspects to it that can make it effective for treating pain. Learning classical acupuncture is tedious and time-consuming, and there is a strong dependency on using conceptual models that seem rather obtuse to the scientifically-minded individual.

Overall, I would put my money on a pain doc that is great at biomedical acupuncture versus a classically-trained acupuncturist that is mediocre at their job, but I would really question why the former would take such a monetary hit by practicing acupuncture.

HappyOldGuy
18th November 09, 11:22 AM
And just to be clear (in case folks didn't look up palliative) this is the stuff I was thinking of as "outside the delivery system/not financially rewarding." Although I think the case is even stronger for massage.

Spade: The Real Snake
18th November 09, 05:53 PM
For the time being, ignore all the possible mechanisms of how acupuncture works [classical or neuroanatomical] and realize that in the US, it really doesn't make financial sense for pain docs to learn and practice it...regardless of the fact that they are teaching overview classes on acupuncture at a number of medical schools in the US.

Actually, with the DEA actively raiding "Pusherman" style pain-management clinics and dragging Medicare/Medicaid fraudulent billing practices into the mix, it would behoove the responsible practitioner to know and understand the less chemically dependent manners of pain management.

Also, after the DEA DOES shut down a drug dispensary physician, the other pain management clinics are forced to deal with the influx of new patients, many of which are drug-seeking highly potent narcotics and won't get them.

socratic
18th November 09, 10:15 PM
To clarify, I am an acupuncturist and a nurse going through midlevel anesthesia school, not medical school. While I might do the latter at some point, I need to make some bills first. In addition, I would never state my qualifications as higher as they are, i.e., pretending that my anesthesia training would put me on par with an anesthesiologist. I'm impressed that you're a nurse. That's a hard fucking job. The world needs more of those.


For the time being, ignore all the possible mechanisms of how acupuncture works [classical or neuroanatomical] and realize that in the US, it really doesn't make financial sense for pain docs to learn and practice it...regardless of the fact that they are teaching overview classes on acupuncture at a number of medical schools in the US. Fair enough.


My biased, professional opinion is that biomedical acupuncture is an incredibly simplified form of classical acupuncture but it does have some strong aspects to it that can make it effective for treating pain. Learning classical acupuncture is tedious and time-consuming, and there is a strong dependency on using conceptual models that seem rather obtuse to the scientifically-minded individual. So biomedical acupuncture is inspired by actual anatomic knowledge whereas classical Acupuncture is Chi malarky?

Zendetta
19th November 09, 12:53 AM
Fair enough.

Now hold on a second. You said...


If accupuncture, energy healing, reiki, qigong and other bullshit could be proven to work and have an observable medical benefit doctors would be taught how to do it at medical school.

So by that logic it "works" (because they teach it at med schools) despite it being steeped in a culture of....


Chi malarky

Ok then. Acupuncture works, and Socratic will vouch for it.

Socratic, I've read about reiki (or some similar variant of chi gung) being taught to nurses. I guess, according to your rigorous logic, this new age version of "laying on hands" works too.

What I find interesting is the way that you thought you were being the scientific skeptic and he was the loonie, when in fact you were speaking from some kind of vestigal larynx contained in your rectum and only calling it "science".

Skepticism dies when it doesn't recognize its own ignorance.

Quikfeet509
19th November 09, 06:00 AM
What just happened?

socratic
19th November 09, 08:20 AM
StuffOkay, it was wrong of me to say "If it worked it'd be mainstream". Chi, Reiki, energy healing, "nam yo renge kyo", homeopathy, and all that are still bullshit though. I'm still highly suspicious of acupuncture, particularly the parts that relies on or makes reference to Chi.

So how do you think it works, Franco? Placebo effect?

socratic
19th November 09, 08:29 AM
I had no idea they were teaching Reiki to nurses. How deeply disappointing.

Zendetta
19th November 09, 05:32 PM
I wouldn't say its widespread or systematic.

Robot Jesus
19th November 09, 06:51 PM
I have a dead aunt who used reiki to treat her cancer.

Zendetta
19th November 09, 08:42 PM
LOL. Guess it didn't work then.

socratic
19th November 09, 11:54 PM
She should have made the prayer to Amitabha and fixed her Liver 32 meridian.

Zendetta
19th November 09, 11:59 PM
fixed her Liver 32 meridian.

*facepalm*

ur doin it wrong

Liver 3 is said to be helpful for hangovers. :all_coholic:

socratic
20th November 09, 12:39 AM
*facepalm*

ur doin it wrong

Liver 3 is said to be helpful for hangovers. :all_coholic:I said Liver 32, moran. Liver 32 when not stagnated will cure all illnesses. It'll cost $5000 over 10 weeks for the full treatment to remove any Qi leakages, blocks or stagnations in and around Liver 32 mind you.

socratic
20th November 09, 12:41 AM
There's a point in the thigh which which, when triggered with a needle, will cause all bad thoughts and memories to leave you, and you will feel great peace and happiness.

I learnt all about it in some Korean documentary called 'Mother'.

Ajamil
20th November 09, 12:49 AM
While people may call them "needles," that "point" is definitely NOT in the thigh.

Zendetta
20th November 09, 05:07 PM
No, Fool. You said "liver 32 meridian" and there ain't no such thang.

There is a "Liver Meridian" (at least according to TCM...), but it only has 14 points on it. So there is no Liver 32 point, let alone a "Liver 32 Meridian".

According to Confucius, Joke is Funnier when man not talk out of ass.

Shawarma
20th November 09, 05:31 PM
All I know about Chinese meridian science, apart from it being scientifically hilarious, is that there's a point at the very tip of your nose that supposedly works as a purgatory when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Didn't work on any of the drunk people I tried it out on. Maybe they waggled their toes or something.

Zendetta
20th November 09, 06:13 PM
Your faggot chi messed up the flow of their Governing Vessel, obviously.

socratic
22nd November 09, 04:12 AM
No, Fool. You said "liver 32 meridian" and there ain't no such thang.

There is a "Liver Meridian" (at least according to TCM...), but it only has 14 points on it. So there is no Liver 32 point, let alone a "Liver 32 Meridian".

According to Confucius, Joke is Funnier when man not talk out of ass.Laozi says jokes, no matter how poor, are never improved by humourlessness.

But he is impressed with your google-fu.

socratic
22nd November 09, 04:12 AM
Some practitioners also believed menstruation was your body literally leaking vital energies.

Ajamil
22nd November 09, 02:48 PM
Blood is rather vital.

Craigypooh
22nd November 09, 03:29 PM
I thought the debate on acupuncture had ended with this study:

http://news.bio-medicine.org/medicine-news-3/Acupuncture-treatment-no-more-effective-than-sham-treatment-in-reducing-migraine-headaches-10130-1/

and others with the same result.

bob
22nd November 09, 04:07 PM
To be fair that study showed that it worked, just that it didn't matter where you put the needles.

Craigypooh
22nd November 09, 04:14 PM
It showed acupuncture is a good placebo, which is different to "working".

bob
22nd November 09, 04:17 PM
No, it showed that it worked. You need to design a different study to show how exactly it worked, which may well be placebo. Because the sham group still used needles stuck in you can still get some kind of neurophysiological response from it. All you can really say from that is that there was some beneficial effect and that it was independent of any points or meridians.

Craigypooh
22nd November 09, 04:45 PM
There have been other studies which showed the degree of effectiveness varied with the amount of ceremony that went along with the treatment.

Quikfeet509
22nd November 09, 04:48 PM
No d-bag, as I eluded to earlier, when family practice docs pretending to do acupuncture design and implement acupuncture protocols, they end up getting just a base, "non-specific needling effect".


Quite pretending you have a fucking clue.

Cullion
22nd November 09, 04:54 PM
There have been other studies which showed the degree of effectiveness varied with the amount of ceremony that went along with the treatment.

I don't see how throwing in random spirit summonings which sometimes fight off the sickness-devils is a refutation of anything.

Craigypooh
22nd November 09, 04:58 PM
I don't see how throwing in random spirit summonings which sometimes fight off the sickness-devils is a refutation of anything.

The spirits were more effective than the needles.

Cullion
22nd November 09, 05:24 PM
I'm confused, are you recommending Voodoo over traditional chinese medicine? Because there are a heck of a lot more Chinamen than their are voodoo practitioners.

I'd call that a consensus.

Craigypooh
22nd November 09, 05:29 PM
This sounds quite a lot like voodoo and seems to work pretty well:

http://wellness.blogs.time.com/2009/11/19/torn-hamstring-try-horse-placenta/

Do you know of any premiership football clubs that employ an acupuncturist?

HappyOldGuy
22nd November 09, 05:40 PM
It showed acupuncture is a good placebo, which is different to "working".

You are badly misusing placebo in that sentence. As mentioned, that study proves that acupuncture has some effectiveness, even if the underlying theory is hokum. Just like similar studies for chiropractic and various kinds of bodywork.

OTOH, Franco, if "teh real" acupuncture can outperform those trials, the burden is on teh real acupuncturists to show it.

Cullion
22nd November 09, 05:45 PM
Is it time for me to talk about Tai Chi helping to make you more resistant to chickenpox, or is that, like, a tangent ?

Craigypooh
22nd November 09, 05:49 PM
You are badly misusing placebo in that sentence. As mentioned, that study proves that acupuncture has some effectiveness, even if the underlying theory is hokum. Just like similar studies for chiropractic and various kinds of bodywork.

This is the definition I had in mind:


A placebo is a sham medical intervention. In one common placebo procedure, a patient is given an inert sugar pill, told that it may improve his/her condition, but not told that it is in fact inert. Such an intervention may cause the patient to believe the treatment will change his/her condition; and this belief does indeed sometimes have a therapeutic effect, causing the patient's condition to improve. This phenomenon is known as the placebo effect.

Substitute "given an inert sugar pill" for "randomly jabbed by needles".

Perhaps I should have specified what I meant by "working", which was that it was curing illness through unblocking chi pathways.

Craigypooh
22nd November 09, 05:52 PM
Is it time for me to talk about Tai Chi helping to make you more resistant to chickenpox, or is that, like, a tangent ?

Now you mention it, all the time I did Tai Chi I didn't get chicken pox and yet when I was a small child (and not doing Tai Chi) I did get chicken pox.

I hadn't joined the dots until now.

HappyOldGuy
22nd November 09, 06:02 PM
This is the definition I had in mind:



Substitute "given an inert sugar pill" for "randomly jabbed by needles".

Perhaps I should have specified what I meant by "working", which was that it was curing illness through unblocking chi pathways.
Except that little (if any) of the placebo effect in clinical trials is due to the magic sugar pill effect. Mostly it is due to secondary treatments in the clinical trial protocol itself. For example, during a clinical trial for a diet drug, one side gets the drug, one gets a sugar free sugar pill, but both have to keep food journals, talk to a nutritionist on a regular basis etc. Which are interventions that are effective in and of themselves, not due to the magic sugar pill.

The magic sugar pill is (mostly) a myth.

socratic
22nd November 09, 08:38 PM
Is it time for me to talk about Tai Chi helping to make you more resistant to chickenpox, or is that, like, a tangent ?I did Bagua/Xingyi/Taichichuan + a teensy bit of Qigong and I still caught colds. So fuck you China.

socratic
22nd November 09, 08:39 PM
So HoG, you'd suggest the acupuncturist getting out his needles, laying you down on a comfy chair, and asking "Where does it hurt?" or saying "This is totally gonna release your Liver meridian" is the crux of the effect not the prodding with needles?

HappyOldGuy
22nd November 09, 08:49 PM
No. I'm suggesting that something about acupuncture does something that can't be waved off with the magic sugar pill theory.

But that it ain't chi.

bob
22nd November 09, 08:52 PM
There are studies around showing a superior effect from acupuncture vs. sham acupuncture which involves a specially made non-penetrating needle that can't be distinguished from a penetrating needle by the recipient. So that would at least suggest that there's a good chance that whatever is occurring is dependent on the needle getting stuck in there.

Quikfeet509
23rd November 09, 08:18 PM
There are studies around showing a superior effect from acupuncture vs. sham acupuncture which involves a specially made non-penetrating needle that can't be distinguished from a penetrating needle by the recipient. So that would at least suggest that there's a good chance that whatever is occurring is dependent on the needle getting stuck in there.



Word. The main question is whether or not the effects of acupuncture are d/t only to non-specific needling effects or if point location matters. The problem is that the desire to do research is is virtually nil in the classical acupuncture community (for several reasons), which leaves medical acupuncturists to do the research.


Thus, we are at a standstill.



Oh, and to make it more fun, it is estimated that less than 5% of acupuncture research done in China is available in Engrish.

socratic
23rd November 09, 10:28 PM
From what I've heard from scientist friends who've done work in China the academic standards aren't as high as in say Britain anyway.

Quikfeet509
24th November 09, 06:03 AM
I've only been at one university for 5 weeks in China and my impression is that the methodology was somewhat...different. That being said, I was told that every single graduate-level acupuncture student (master's or doctorate) is required to do research.



Personally, I am more interested in see the huge amount of Chinese herb research that could be translated but that will also take as long as...a slow train to China?

socratic
24th November 09, 07:15 PM
My guess is that half of these herbs will turn out to contain either already-known often artifically-produced chemical compounds (like ephedra for example) or slight variations on them/their effect.

Quikfeet509
24th November 09, 08:51 PM
Two important pluses for herbs:


1. Not able to be trademarked so costs stay down.
2. Formulas are designed and tailored for the individual patient in order to minimize complications of the chief herbs, which is important for several reasons.



Two important negatives:
1. China is a dirty fucking place.
2. There are plenty of farmers out there willing to cheat, i.e., burning sulfur in a hut to make poor quality Chuan Bei Mu look pretty white like higher quality versions. Fortunately there are ways to detect these things but that increases costs.


Oh, and the herbs taste like crap usually = poor compliance.

Zendetta
24th November 09, 08:52 PM
Big (and growing) market for organic, USA grown chinese herbs.

They use some nasty, nasty pesticides in China.

jubei33
25th November 09, 04:32 PM
My guess is that half of these herbs will turn out to contain either already-known often artifically-produced chemical compounds (like ephedra for example) or slight variations on them/their effect.

I wouldn't turn my nose up too soon on that account. A vast majority of the drugs we use come from natural sources. Tamaflu, for example, the major starting piece comes from star anise seed and the steroid backbone for "the pill" comes from a mexican yam. In a production perspective, there are very few drugs that are completely designed 'in lab', most have their start with natural precursors (most of the structures are proven through a total synthesis, though). I'm not sure, but I think viagra might be a rare example that fits that profile. Though, more and more drugs will be made in this manner, especially in light of our growing knowledge base of receptor structures and drug interactions. The dream is to specifically tailor drugs to fit specific receptors and its happening now.


trademarked
yeah, you can't trade mark an herb, but you can a chemical intermediate or a process of manufacturing a drug that comes from it.

I welcome chinese herbal research and as long as they've been tested for safety and to a general standard of efficacy, as well as having claims tested I've got no quarrel. I've read snippets of people selling herbs to cure AIDS in China, good luck with that...

more later...

Shawarma
25th November 09, 04:37 PM
To quote that South Park episode:

"So Mrs. Natural Herbalist, how come the town doctor says you're a quack?"
"Because he's a doctor and only interested in making money. Herbalism is about NATURE! That'll be 120$, please."

Zendetta
25th November 09, 05:10 PM
^^^ that was a brilliant episode.

<kid gets even more horribly sick>

"Oooh! He's getting rid of toxins!"

HappyOldGuy
25th November 09, 05:38 PM
I wouldn't turn my nose up too soon on that account. A vast majority of the drugs we use come from natural sources. Tamaflu, for example, the major starting piece comes from star anise seed and the steroid backbone for "the pill" comes from a mexican yam. In a production perspective, there are very few drugs that are completely designed 'in lab', most have their start with natural precursors (most of the structures are proven through a total synthesis, though). I'm not sure, but I think viagra might be a rare example that fits that profile. Though, more and more drugs will be made in this manner, especially in light of our growing knowledge base of receptor structures and drug interactions. The dream is to specifically tailor drugs to fit specific receptors and its happening now.


While true, the cause and effect relationship between botanical sources and their traditional uses is limited bordering on nil. In the yam case, there is no amount of mexican yam that will do anything for you as birth control. Instead, there is an inactive chemical in the yam than can be chemically altered into many human hormones. It's a useful building block, not a natural remedy in itself. And that is by far the more common case.

Cullion
25th November 09, 05:46 PM
I once cooked a big thai green curry for a dinner party. I made everything from scratch, no paste. Fresh chillis, real fresh galangal, garlic, whole lemon grass, loads of fresh coriander, palm sugar, imported fish sauce from the bottle, organic coconut milk etc.. I used quite a bit more star anise than normal, and a whole lot of fresh seafood with shallots and diced courgettes floating in it. Jasmine rice.

Everybody thought it tasted great, and nobody had stomach trouble the next day, but one guy who was there (out of 8 people) had to be admitted to hospital late that night after he left, suffering from hallucinations. Totally not-fun hallucinations with disorientation. His gf sat with him listening to him rant and rave, and then he rapidly got better after taking his first shit.

He had no prior history of shellfish allergy and everybody else was completely fine.

Was this likely some weird allergic reaction to some chemical in star anise ?

I did read the day afterwards that some people can have weird reactions to it.

Quikfeet509
25th November 09, 06:24 PM
^^^ that was a brilliant episode.

<kid gets even more horribly sick>

"Oooh! He's getting rid of toxins!"



The whole "healing crisis" thing is kinda a hard sell for me.


Perhaps I need to open up my mind chakra or something.

Zendetta
25th November 09, 06:36 PM
That sounds awesome.

Dinner/trip party at Cullion's house!

Speaking of when Nom Nom Nom Attacks, Some folks (immigrants I think) out here in NorCal recently ate some toxic mushrooms (the kind we call the "death cap"). I think I mentioned elsewhere that the whole family was hospitalized. Well, the wife just died yesterday.

Zendetta
25th November 09, 06:37 PM
I once cooked a big thai green curry for a dinner party...

That sounds awesome.

Dinner/trip party at Cullion's house!

Speaking of when Nom Nom Nom Attacks, Some Folks (immigrants I think) out here in NorCal recently ate some toxic mushrooms (the kind we call the "death cap"). I think I mentioned elsewhere that the whole family was hospitalized. Well, the wife just died yesterday.

Cullion
25th November 09, 06:44 PM
Well, if you turn up at mine, I'll provide the food and a 40 pint barrel of homebrew, but wine and desert would be appreciated.

If you want the seafood curry again it's with monkfish, squid and big prawns. Anybody who flips out hallucinating has to remember they aren't allowed to smoke inside or wake my kids up, otherwise it will be fine.

Zendetta
25th November 09, 06:50 PM
Bitchin'.

Are you homebrewing?

My best drinking buddy and snowboarding compadre is an acupuncturist and homebrew enthusiast. Last year he made a seasonal ale and flavored it with chinese medicinals (some kind of yam, I think). It was fucking amazing - we put a beer-swilling snowboarder on the label too.

It was second only to his Russian Red Ale.

Quikfeet509
25th November 09, 06:54 PM
Quit crapping up the thread with...oh, well actually I am planning on brewing a wheat beer with Yin Yang Huo, or "Horny Goat Weed" in Amerikan.

Cullion
25th November 09, 07:03 PM
My last brew was 2 months ago. It's time for some Yuletide ale.

jubei33
25th November 09, 07:26 PM
While true, the cause and effect relationship between botanical sources and their traditional uses is limited bordering on nil. In the yam case, there is no amount of mexican yam that will do anything for you as birth control. Instead, there is an inactive chemical in the yam than can be chemically altered into many human hormones. It's a useful building block, not a natural remedy in itself. And that is by far the more common case.

Yeah, you're absolutely right on that point. I was more pointing out the potential bonanza of 'chemicals of interest' additional research would most likely provide. Which is why I made a stink about testing, etc. In either circumstance, they may provide even cheaper producton alternatives/ synthesis routes for chemicals we already know of. (Tamiflu was recently criticized for "deliberately" using a more expensive synthesis to drive the price up. Someone said that a cheaper synthesis was availible, but in fairness mass production and lab synthesis are different animals altogether.)

socratic
25th November 09, 07:43 PM
I was aware that many medicinal chemicals are at first derived from some plant, animal or microbial source, but I was under the false impression that after discovery they're generally just made in a big production-line style lab or something, rather than continually harvested.

I remember someone was telling me that a very specific herb many Chinese would argue cures colds and flus turned out to contain ephedra and Vitamin C. Or maybe the plant was ephedra, I can't remember.

SFGOON
25th November 09, 07:44 PM
What're the name of those things? You know, with the receptor wired up to indicate the presence of a ligand? What are they called, bio-assays?

You could just take some Chinese Herbs, put it in a few different tinctures, separate the different bits with column chromatography, and test each individual one on the assay. That would at least create a good starting point in vitro.

I may just try this some weekend when the wife's out of town on one of her jaunts.

SFGOON
25th November 09, 07:48 PM
I was aware that many medicinal chemicals are at first derived from some plant, animal or microbial source, but I was under the false impression that after discovery they're generally just made in a big production-line style lab or something, rather than continually harvested.

Total synthesis is fucking expensive, and the more steps you have to make, the lower your % yield vs. starting materials. The more waste you have to dispose of, and the longer your synthesis takes. Unless you're manufacturing water, or salt, or saltwater, total synthesis is a pain in the ass.

Cullion
25th November 09, 08:23 PM
What're the name of those things? You know, with the receptor wired up to indicate the presence of a ligand? What are they called, bio-assays?

You could just take some Chinese Herbs, put it in a few different tinctures, separate the different bits with column chromatography, and test each individual one on the assay. That would at least create a good starting point in vitro.

I may just try this some weekend when the wife's out of town on one of her jaunts.

Goon. If money is the factor preventing you from engaging in serious academic study of biochemistry, you and your wife may live in my house and apply for grants until you get one, and then ship out to a 'student couple' apartment in the UK.

jubei33
25th November 09, 11:48 PM
What're the name of those things? You know, with the receptor wired up to indicate the presence of a ligand? What are they called, bio-assays?

You could just take some Chinese Herbs, put it in a few different tinctures, separate the different bits with column chromatography, and test each individual one on the assay. That would at least create a good starting point in vitro.

I may just try this some weekend when the wife's out of town on one of her jaunts.

There are a bunch of companies that already do this kind of work. I used to work for a guy who was testing TCM herbs looking for aspirin-like interactions (among other things). His big issue was he wanted to prove they worked like western medicines and rather than find useful chemicals for specific needs, he worked to bolster his "same-thing, but better" argument. This was his bow to culture perhaps, but imo it was to spite his own personal ingenuity and knowledge of bio-chemistry. I'm pretty sure he hasn't (if ever) found his smoking gun. Even if he found one that did match closely, then there's the problems of how and why that get in the way.

Assays work if you have receptors purified and know exactly what you're looking for. So if you want to test a chemical from an herb on say the ryanodine receptor in cardiac tissue you'd have to have those handy. but with the herbs a lot of the descriptions are like "cures anemia" or something to tht nature. Anemia is a beast that has many heads, further complicating the issue (ex. what kind of anemia? megaloblastic? a kind of porphyria?). It might be said that such and such herb "helps with heart disease," but it would be quite another point to show that said chemical (out of possibly 1000's of detected in a tincture) blocks the ryanodine receptor, a voltage gated channel or a b1 adrenoceptor.

This is part of the issue I have with the homeopaths and their "like cures like" law of similars or whatever its called now. Its not specific enough to actually describe the effect of most diseases to treat them.

To the brewers in the group: how good are your home brews?
How did you remove the sweaty testosterone smell from your horney goat weed brew? Did you just cover it up with fragrant cascade hops?


Total synthesis is fucking expensive, and the more steps you have to make, the lower your % yield vs. starting materials. The more waste you have to dispose of, and the longer your synthesis takes. Unless you're manufacturing water, or salt, or saltwater, total synthesis is a pain in the ass.
This is true as well. Everyone's looking for a shortcut. there's an organic synthesis text based on the idea of 'disconnections' that you break down a compound into easily obtained pieces and work from there. I forgot the guys name though.

Ajamil
26th November 09, 12:43 AM
The whole "healing crisis" thing is kinda a hard sell for me.


Perhaps I need to open up my mind chakra or something.

Help someone off heroin. Or just a long time drunkard. I imagine healing crisis has it's roots in shedding chemical dependencies.

bob
28th November 09, 07:17 AM
More cut and thrust.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/nov/28/homeopathy-placebo-bad-science

SFGOON
28th November 09, 01:31 PM
Assays work if you have receptors purified and know exactly what you're looking for. So if you want to test a chemical from an herb on say the ryanodine receptor in cardiac tissue you'd have to have those handy. but with the herbs a lot of the descriptions are like "cures anemia" or something to tht nature. Anemia is a beast that has many heads, further complicating the issue (ex. what kind of anemia? megaloblastic? a kind of porphyria?). It might be said that such and such herb "helps with heart disease," but it would be quite another point to show that said chemical (out of possibly 1000's of detected in a tincture) blocks the ryanodine receptor, a voltage gated channel or a b1 adrenoceptor.


To what degree would a simple column chromatography purify a particularly ubiquitous ligand found in an herb?

For example, let's say I wanted to extract reservatrol from red wine (let's ignore trans vs. cis isomers for now.) Could I achieve a reasonable degree of purity - say 95% - from something that easy?

jubei33
28th November 09, 05:40 PM
Well it depends on the ligand and some other factors like bonding specificity, etc, but you could very easily get purities that high or even higher. With resveratrol I believe they did use column chromatography before to purify it for tests. Sometimes they use antibodies tuned to a specific protein interaction, if they're searching for a specific receptor protein or some kind of intermediate. They fix these in and with an appropriate matrix can extract the desired protein. The benefit is antibody reactions are pretty specific.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affinity_chromatography
edit: here's another http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_protein_liquid_chromatography

Resveratrol huh, So you happen to have like 100 gallons of red wine sitting around? whens the party (I'll bring the stinky mycella cheese, mmmm).

socratic
28th November 09, 09:44 PM
More cut and thrust.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/nov/28/homeopathy-placebo-bad-scienceHomeopathy is a joke.

bob
28th November 09, 09:57 PM
A taxpayer funded one in the UK. And in Australia too, indirectly through the govt health rebate for private insurance.

socratic
28th November 09, 09:58 PM
Nothing finer than giving tax money to conmen.

Craigypooh
29th November 09, 10:02 AM
More cut and thrust.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/nov/28/homeopathy-placebo-bad-science

From that article:


The man from the pill manufacturers' association said negative trials about homeopathy were often small, with an average of 65 people, and "all statisticians" agreed you need 500 people for a proper trial.


he then cited, in his favour, a positive homeopathy trial with just 25 patients in it.

LOL homeocrappy

EuropIan
29th November 09, 10:31 AM
A taxpayer funded one in the UK. And in Australia too, indirectly through the govt health rebate for private insurance.

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