Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How far is it from Medical Theory to Medical Practice

The distance between theory and practice in medicine is about 6 inches.  The length of the corporate ego, and the length of the almighty dollar. If a medicine has been tested, and proven to be effective, but can't make 'make money', it will never reach the market, It can never make the leap from medical theory to medical practice. In many cases, you won't even know it was discovered, or tested.

Medicine is not about science, not about health, not about healing, not about cures, it's all about the dollars.

Many medicines are illegal today; illegal to buy, illegal to sell, illegal to advertise. Some are even illegal to manufacture yourself. illegal to give away. The corporate marketers would have you believe "it's for your own protection". I don't need to be protected by corporate law, I need to be protected FROM corporate law.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Beware the Quack Quack Quack my Son

With apologies to Lewis Carroll although, we don't know, he might approve.

Beware the quack quack quack my son,
the laws they spite, sciences they hatch.
Beware the hate hate bird, and shun
The frumious band who snatch.

Lewis Carroll advises us to 'beware the Jabberwock and the Bandersnatch', which of course are not defined. Was he writing nonsense, or was he telling us to beware of nonsense?

What is a quack?
What is a quack quack?
What is a quack quack quack?
Why do we need to beware them?



Is a quack someone who sells 'false medicine'. Not just that. Merriam-Webster defines a quack as "one who makes false claims of identity or expertise" - not just medicines.

Does a quack know they are a quack. They are claiming to have expertise they do not have. Do they really think they have the required expertise, or are they simply lying, perhaps to sell a dubious product, and moving quickly to the new customer?  It doesn't matter. Both the idiot and the liar fit the definition of a quack.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Placebo Paradoxes

When you research medicines, alternative medicines, even medical treatments that do not involve a physical substance, you will see reference to the "placebo effect". Statements like:

X is no better than a placebo.
Y is probably just a "placebo effect".
Treatment X is just a placebo.
Medicine X failed to beat a placebo in controlled clinical studies.

What is a placebo? What is a placebo effect? Are they real, fake, or something else? Is the placebo effect magic?  No, but placebo effects are a paradox. Merriam Webster defines placebo effect thus:

"improvement in the condition of a patient that occurs in response to treatment but cannot be considered due to the specific treatment used"

Placebo effect is a real effect in response to a treatment that cannot cause the effect.

A paradox.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Should Homeopathic Medicines be Banned?

You might also enjoy 10 Reasons to Love your Homeopath

Should homeopathic medicines be banned? I've seen this statement quite a few times in recent months. I just returned from a trip to England and Scotland, where there has been a lot of discussion of banning homeopathic medicines. The Daily Mail Reporter headlines "Homeopathy remedies should be labeled as placebos and banned on NHS", but added, "But some doctors said their patients seemed to benefit despite no clinical trial evidence that homeopathy worked."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pseudo-Pseudo Science in the Blogosphere

I recently read a post claiming to bust “10 pseudo-science theories”. However, like many posts claiming to be science based, claiming to be about science it is actually a ‘pseudo-pseudo-science’ post, presenting many ‘pseudo-pseudo-science’ theories. Many people commented on the post, most with simple statements like ‘great’ and others with minor complaints.

To be honest, when I first read the post, I thought – this makes some sense, but the author(s)? have made a few simple errors.  As I read the post over, and over, and over again, I found more holes, more nonsense, more ‘pseudo-pseudo-science’ with each re-read.

If you want to test your own sense of science, you can read the post here.  Of courses internet posts are always ‘subject to change’, so by the time you read this, the post might have changed. I often improve on my posts after they are published.

10 Pseudo-Science Theories We'd Like to See Retired Forever
If you have seen this post before, no matter what you thought, you might be very surprised by my conclusions - I have read the post at least 5 times.  I have taken the time to research many of the points, the words, the ideas and the sciences discussed therein.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Can the rich buy healthiness?


If you are very rich, can you buy healthiness?  It's an interesting question. We know that those with money can afford better 'medical care', but can they buy 'health'?

What if money is no object? How much would you pay to raise your health 'as high as possible'? Presumably, if you can raise your health as high as possible, you will suffer much less illness. When you do suffer an illness, you will recover much faster. If you can raise your health, you will live longer, healthier, look younger.  What's not to like?  If I had the money, that's what I'd want.

But, if I had money, what would I spend it on, to improve my healthiness? There are lots of 'theories' of how to improve healthiness. Eat a healthy diet and exercise are the two most often suggested. But what's the complete list?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

When I let loose my dog, my spirits fly free

When I'm in Arequipa, Peru, I walk Otto, the dog, every morning. When we're in the city, with lots of people, children, cats, and dogs, I keep him close - to keep himself and others safe from his exuberant spirit.  But once we reach the fields in the countryside, I ask him to sit quietly while I unhook the leash - and he's off. When I let loose my dog, my spirit flies free.

In the distance, I can hear the church bells, and the recorded music calling the parishoners: choir music, organ music, Spanish hymns, and the occasional hymn from John Lennon - Imagine is a local favorite here in Arequipa.

My spirits lift, as his freedom lifts his body.

What are our spirits? How can we make our spirits healthier? In the book Healthicine: The Arts and Sciences of Health and Healthiness, spirits are defined as "Our spirits are our wills, our desires, our longings, to be, or not to be." Do we need religion, or faith in God to have strong spirits. Are spirits only about religious spirituality? I don't think so.

When Otto runs free, he reminds me that I "want to be". My spirit soars with him, as he floats over the fields, ignoring the peruvian burrowing owls that screech above him, searching out the smells of the earth.

When I stop to think about it, I also realize that Otto has become part of my communities - and my community healthiness. When I walk with him and he runs with me - we both grow healthier.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Vitamin D: Science vs the Media

In early December, 2013, the Lancet published a paper measuring the effects of Vitamin D supplements on illness. On January 24th, 2014, seven weeks later, the media woke up and published many 'reports' on the unstudied effects of Vitamin D supplements on health (not on illness).  Should you trust the science? or the media?