Saturday, December 24, 2016

What's Your Christmas Happiness Score?

In this, the Christmas season, we often take time to think about happiness. Some people are very happy at Christmas, some - not so much, even some who are happier all year round. Christmas happiness is different. How can that be?Measure your Christmas Happiness.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

All your Truth are Belong to Us

The truth is not out there. The truth can only be found inside yourself. The interweb is full of lies, but the real truth can be found on the internet. The truth is obvious. You have to dig deep to find the truth. The earth is flat. Flat-earthers are idiots. The Twin Towers were downed by Islamic terrorists. The three towers were demolished by an evil government and business conspiracy. President Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald. Kennedy was killed by accident, by a secret service agent. Elvis has left the building. Only alternative medicines work. Only conventional medicines work. Vaccines are safe and should be mandatory. Vaccines are dangerous and should be banned. Only a chiropractor can cure your illness. Chiropractic is a pseudo-science.

These truths are not valid, they cannot be validated.  The truth that "these truths cannot be validated", cannot be validated. The only truth: "There is no truth."

Only the simplest of truths can be true. The simple truth is simply a lie. Simple truths are yes/no answers - with no room for variations, and no grey areas.  Real truths are perceived differently by every viewer, vary over time, are sometimes useful and sometimes useless,

The stronger you believe in your simple truths, the more complex it becomes to hold them, the less truth they contain, the louder you need to yell to maintain your belief. The people who yell the loudest have the strongest truths. The people who speak the loudest tell the worst lies. The person with the biggest stick has the most useful truth. The person with the biggest stick can believe the biggest lies. Truth is dead. If you don't believe - you might be too.

The true guru sees the absence of truth as the only truth. There are no true gurus.

Life is goal oriented. Health is goal oriented. Life is not truth oriented. Truths are goal oriented. We use truth to accomplish our goals. We pursue, use, and abuse our truths to further our goals. Your truths is not important to, not useful to your neighbor, your competitor, your enemy. Their truths are not valid, not useful to you. When you share truths, the result is not larger truth, the result is might be cooperation, and it might be competition.

I'm reminded of the famous teacher's quote: “We have not succeeded in answering all our problems. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we are confused on a higher level and about more important things.

We have not succeeded in finding all of our truths. The truths we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions about our truths, and about truth itself. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but our confusion is a higher level and about more important truths.

Life does not find truths, it searches for truth.  But look closely. Life searches for 'useful truths'. Life does not care if the 307th tree in the jungle in northern Brazil is young or old, has root rot, or an insect infection, or a bird's nest, or 5 bird's nests and a monkey colony that is passing through, is covered with rainwater, or dew, or mold. These truths are not useful.  When they change, they are not useful. Truth must be useful to be true. Useless truths don't matter, don't make any difference.  Truths that are useless, might as well be false. Only when truths are used, do they prove themselves useful.

When truths are used, they prove themselves.

Can you find the truth? Can you find the truths in the opening paragraph? Can you find your truth?Can you find my truth?

What if you genuinely want to know the truth? What if you actually want to find the truth, to learn the truth, what can you do? Who should you listen to? Me. Of course, it's true. It doesn't matter if you believe or not.  It's true.

But seriously.  Let's take a look at the truths in the opening paragraph. There are some insights there. We can learn from them. A guide for the perplexed, the confused, the bewildered, those who are puzzled, troubled, uncertain. Ask the dreamer. Ask the Red King. It's the same.
"The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. 'Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?' he asked. 'Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end. Then stop.' (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

The Internet: The interweb is full of lies, but the real truth can be found on the internet. Of course the internet has lies and truths. Calling it the 'interweb', plants a seed, calls attention to untruths. But finding for the truth on the internet is like entering a web of lies, and searching for dead flies. No one cares about 'the truths' on the internet. They care about 'their truths'. The truth that sells. If you want to understand 'their truth', ask what they're selling.

The Flat Earth: The earth is flat. Flat-earthers are idiots. These truths are not mutually exclusive, they can both be true.  They can both be false. Flat earthers tend to be very intelligent people. Check them out. "But it's obvious the earth is not flat?"  Yes, that's true as well. Think about it.

X is true, Y is false. These truths are not mutually exclusive. Either can be true, both can be false. Situations change. Absolute truths necessarily ignore some aspects of reality. Simplification is the only path to truth. Simplification can only lead to false truths.

The earth is flat - the earth is not flat. Simple, boring truths. Only one can be right. Both can be wrong. The earth is flat; the earth is spherical.  Not simple, not binary, not mutually exclusive. Beware of complexity masquerading as simplicity. Complexity masks truths, presents lies as truth.

The Towers: The Twin Towers were downed by Islamic terrorists. The three towers were demolished by an evil government business conspiracy. I have no idea. You don't either. Maybe we'll never know. Maybe our great grandchildren will never know. Maybe nobody really knows. We can only search for better truths, not for the ultimate truth.

Who Killed President Kennedy? The official documents are out there. Locked in a box, like Schrodinger's Cat. We don't know who has the key.  We're not sure if the box still exists, or has been destroyed. We're not sure if the documents still exist, or have been destroyed. We're not sure if the official documents contain the truth or not. The truth is "out there". The truth is not out there. Does any government, or any business, have the ability to reveal their true truths? Or does governing and running a business require their truth, but not 'the whole truth', not 'nothing but the truth'?

Elvis has left the building.  True. It makes us sad too.

Medicines: Only alternative medicines work. Only conventional medicines work. Conventional medicines are not well defined. There is no official standard to distinguish between a conventional medicine and an alternative medicine. The US FDA only approves 'drugs', not 'medicines'. Therefore: Fact: every medicine, every treatment, is an alternative. Alternative medicines do not exist. The truths about alternative medicines and conventional medicines get more and more complicated, the wider your study, the deeper your search. We can only find faith, beliefs, and marketers. Lots of salesmen, on both sides. Salesmen need to believe their truths, their lies, because those truths feed them and their children.

Vaccines: Vaccines are safe and should be mandatory. Vaccines are dangerous and should be banned. A vaccine is a thing, a thing that exists. Vaccines are a class of things. You can't see them, our touch them. Vaccines are a thing do not exist, with regards to truth about safety and efficacy. Each vaccine is 'grown', not manufactured. Every batch is different. There is always risk. Every vaccine type is different.  Vaccine types change over time. Vaccine schedules change over time. Vaccines target living organisms. Living organisms change over time. Some vaccines have proven very dangerous. Some have proven very safe. Some useful. Some useless. Some have are safe some of the time, dangerous some of the time. Some are effective some of the time, useless some of the time. Some are a waste of time and money - but the salesman still makes a profit. There are no simple truths. And then it gets more complicated. Vaccines are given to people. People are different too. There are no truths to be found about 'vaccines'. That's the only truth to be found about vaccines.

Chiropractic: Only a chiropractor can cure your illness. Chiropractic is a pseudo-science. Chiropractors are more complex than vaccines. Chiropractic, the practice, is more complex than the sum of all of the people who practice it, and all of the patients, and all of their illnesses. Sometimes, chiropractors cure, forcing pseudo-callers to dismiss the truth. Most of the time, chiropractors fail to cure. But take note: most of the time, every medicine fails to cure. Sometimes, chiropractors cause damage. Sometimes, every useful medicine causes damage. That's how medicines work. We want to believe in simple truths, and get on with life. Simple truths do not exist.

We cannot judge every chiropractor as good or bad, any more than we can judge every doctor as good or bad. Truth requires acknowledging variations.

Real truth lies ahead. Real truths lie on both sides of every fence, both sides of every argument. Real truths lie quietly, silently, not caring what you believe.  Only lies need to yell.  Only lies need to swell their truths. Only lies need to sell.

There are no real truths. All your truth are belong to us.

Only health is true. Health is whole.  Health is slow and steady. Health is wide, and deep. Health is honest and true. - the Healthicine Creed.

To your health, tracy

ps. The title "All your Truth are Belong to Us" is a play on the internet meme "All your base are belong to us". Translation: "you're busted". It is interesting to note that "all your truth are belong to us" contains a English error that makes the phrase technically wrong, technically untrue. If they belong to 'us', they are not 'yours' any more. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Where can you find a Pseudo-Scientist?

Did you hear about the scam called ‘pseudoscience’? 
I don’t mean things we call pseudoscience, I'm refering to the scam of ‘calling things pseudoscience’. I'm referring to the science of pseudoscience, and the witch-hunts that result from claiming something is a pseudoscience. It's the latest fashion, and it's a big scam. 
If you don’t want anyone to think about something, to discuss something, if you want them to ignore reality, just call it a pseudo science. There is no science of pseudoscience.
The science of pseudo science is a pseudoscience. 
How does the 'science' of pseudo-science work?  Start with an authoritative sounding website or company.  Something with 'science based' in the name. Calling yourself a 'skeptic' is a common technique. But don't worry, you don't need to be a skeptic, you don't even need to know what a skeptic is, to become a 'pseudoscience buster'. Calling something a pseudoscience works best if you cloak yourself in the guise of a critic. No one will notice that your pseudo scientist has no clothes. 
Next, pick something you'd like to criticize or dismiss. You can start with few common examples to get some experience. Pick something you can poke fun at (pick things you don't understand - probably nobody else understands them either) and poke fun at it. It's easier if you start with things that someone else has already said are pseudoscience. There is no shame for plagiarism in the science pseudosciences. Next take out a wide brush and paint the entire field with your criticism.  Call it a pseudo-science. Get serious about it. The wider you can extend your 'criticisms' the better.
If you need a list of pseudosciences to get started. Simply punt the word pseudoscience into Google where you'll find examples like: Welteislehre, N rays, Lawsonomy, Laundry balls, Specified complexity, Holocaust denial, Rumpology, Scientific racism, brainwashing, and more. 
Now, I know what you're thinking.  "What is he talking about?  I thought pseudoscience was about medical things like homeopathy, and chiropractic and stuff like that." Well yes, they are included, but the bar for being declared a pseudoscience is not nearly so high. In fact it's so low that "searching for Noah's Ark" is considered a pseudoscience, according to Wiki. Seriously. I'm sure there are people out there searching for Noah's Ark, but is there a science called 'searching for Noah's Arc? Nope. But there's a pseudoscience called 'searching for Noah's Ark'. No one has to think it's a science to be declared a pseudoscience. 
Pseudoscience is often used to dismiss medical systems and technologies. But take care.  It's not considered kosher to use pseudoscience science to dismiss 'western' medical technologies - only so called 'alternative' medical technologies.  For example, even though scientific meta-studies of cancer research studies have found that the 20 foods that 'prevent' cancer are also the same 20 foods that 'cause cancer' in different studies - that's science, not pseudoscience. 
Honestly, how then are pseudosciences defined? You just call yourself an expert  in something, and pick something you don't believe, and get started. There's no qualifications required. You might have a PhD of arachnology, or a grade school education from Afghanistan. It makes no difference. There are no qualifications required to pseudoscience.  And me?  I don't need any qualifications to pseudoscience pseudoscience either. There is no PhD of pseudoscience, not even a Bachelor's degree. 
What is the science used to define a pseudoscience? Faith. That's it. If you want to believe something is a pseudoscience, you only need to believe. You only need to say "X is a pseudoscience" and then start convincing people. The larger X is, the more ground X covers, the easiest it is to call it a pseudoscience, because you can find more things to criticize. You simply make a claim that whatever you name has no scientific basis, and proceed from there. 
Don't worry, there is no need to 'prove' anything is a pseudoscience. That's good, because it's generally impossible. 
There are no standards to prove something is a pseudoscience - and as we've noted, you don't even need to prove someone thinks it is a science, to prove it's a pseudoscience. 
The most obvious examples of pseudo-pseudo-science are in the medical fields. Anything considered 'alternative' is fair game for a claim of pseudoscience. 
One of the most famous, often cited ‘pseudosciences’ is homeopathy. Pseudo-scientists (typically geeks with high opinions of themselves and low opinions of everybody else) argue that homeopathy cannot work "because it cannot work". 
When you look closely at the arguments claiming homeopathy is a pseudoscience, they are simply pseudo-scientific. First of all, there is the ‘logic’ argument. That homeopathic medicines (a part of homeopathy) can’t work because of the dilution factor. But in real life, scientific tests, they work some of the time. What’s up? “Oh," the argument changes, "but they don’t work better than a placebo.” But there are clinical studies demonstrating that homeopathic medicines do sometimes work better than a placebo. “Oh, those clinical studies were not valid…” When practicing pseudoscience, it's important to be able to accept the research that supports your position, and dismiss any that is contrary to your argument. That way - the science always supports you.
Self proclaimed pseudo-scientists then leap to a second mistake. They say homeopathy should be banned, because the medicines can’t work. Duh. This is clearly a mixing of lines. If we want to know if homeopathy works, we need to test homeopathy, not their medicines. Surely you have met someone who claims to have been helped, or healed, or even cured, by homeopathy. Are these claims investigated by so called pseudo scientists? Nope. Nothing to see here.
The pseudo-science claimants don’t dare look too closely, because they might be forced to acknowledge a fundamental truth about most of today's medicines - which includes homeopathy.
Most medicines don’t cure. Most clinical studies, the Gold Standard of Medical Sciences, test medicines that don’t cure, to see which one ‘does not cure’ better. Sometimes homeopathic medicines do better. Sometimes prescription medicines do better. Sometimes placebos do better. 
What difference does it make if they don’t cure?
One clinical study that tested a homeopathic medicine vs a placebo, and reported that the homeopathic medicine worked better, but not by a ‘statistically significant amount’. Conclusion: the homeopathic medicine did not work better than the placebo. The catch? According the published research, the homeopathic medicine cured five patients (of 9) - the placebo cured only one (of 9). Duh. Homoeopathic versus placebo therapy of children with warts on the hands: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial.
Study conclusion: The homeopathic medicine showed no statistical difference in ability to ‘not cure’ warts. Of course they didn't use the word 'not cure', they used the word 'shrink'. There was no statistical difference between the placebo and the homeopathic medicine to shrink warts (when you ignore the cures). 
When the research was repeated 32 years later, the ‘does not cure’ results were identical. The conclusions of the researchers was identical. The only difference? In the 1998 study, ‘cured’ was not counted. Pseudo-scientists creates new pseudoscience to support nonsense pseudoscience.
Now, let me be honest, I don’t know if homeopathy works. I don’t know if homeopathic medicines work. But I do know that the pseudo-scientific geeks calling homeopathy a pseudoscience, don’t know what they’re talking about. And they don't want to know, to understand, they just want to be right. The goal of a pseudo-scientist is not science, it is simply to convince you to agree with their position. 
Acupuncture is often claimed to be a valid medical treatment, but many pseudo-scientific geeks refer to it as a pseudoscience. What’s happening here?
Acupuncture does not cure. It makes no attempt to cure. In a true scientific test, acupuncture can only be compared to other treatments that do not cure.
As a result, all of the scientific studies comparing acupuncture to other treatments is simply a test of which treatment “does not cure better”. Pseudo-scientific pseudoscience. If you punt ‘acupuncture pseudoscience’ into google, you will get statements like
- acupuncture doesn’t work because acupuncture results are only placebo effect.
The truth about placebos are that pseudo scientists don't even read the dictionary definitions, much less attempt to understand them. Pseudoscience pseudoscience. Pull out your dictionary. Turn to P. Scan down to ‘placebo effect’. It says “an improvement in the condition of the patient”. Does it work? Or not. 
Placebo effects by definition, are real, positive effects on the patient’s condition that as a result of the treatment, that could not be caused by the treatment.  Eg. We do not understand them. If we do not understand them, how can we call them ‘pseudoscience’? 
When we find 'placebo effects', we need to work harder to understand, not stop trying to understand. We need to study and learn what really happened, not dismiss the evidence. Claiming ‘placebo effects’ is just an excuse to not investigate further. 
But of course that's the goal of the pseudoscience of pseudoscience. To shame. To halt discussion. To halt learning.  To halt any attempts to understand.
Some pseudo-scientists cast the net wide, attempting to capture any unconventional belief in their net. Others stick to more strict guidelines, but all make serious mistakes in their analysis. Once something is declared a pseudoscience, the need for rational thought, for scientific thought disappears and the tone changes from science to witch hunt. Pseudoscience is an excuse to ignore real science.
Science, true science is about questions, not about truth. Science asks questions, attempts to understand. The answers found are seldom, if every ‘truths’. They are rather ‘interesting’, leading to different, more complex, perhaps more important. Scientific answers lead to more questions. That’s the way of science. That’s how science works.
Pseudoscientific questions and answers are designed to stop scientific investigation. They make nonsense measurements, using limited, nonsense assumptions, and produce nonsense results, which are often re-interpreted to create higher and higher levels of nonsense. The second homepathic wart study, in 1998, for example, was called “A double-blind, controlled clinical trial of homeopathy and an analysis of lunar phases and postoperative outcome.” Is this science? No. Is it an attempt to learn? No, it’s a blatant attempt to dismiss what we do not understand. It’s nonsense. But it’s scientific sounding nonsense, published by JAMA, available in PubMed, and often cited by other researchers.
Calling something a pseudoscience is not about science. It is a witch hunt. 
When we look closely at many ‘scientific’ treatment claims vs so called 'pseudoscience treatment' claims, we can see that both have some value, some danger, and some nonsense. We need to value the value, to avoid the risk and to dismiss the nonsense. Branding an entire practice as pseudoscience is simply a scam, an unscientific scare tactic, and a failure of science.
Calling things pseudoscience is a pseudoscience.  We can do better. 
to your health, tracy

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cures Rule!

What is the true meaning of cure?  Actually, most of us know the meanings of cure, without referring to a dictionary. There are three:
  1. To stop the progression of an illness, by addressing the cause.
  2. To heal the damage caused by an illness.
  3. To prevent future causes of an illness.

Cures Rule:
Every illness has a cause.
Every cure has a cause.
What about Miracle Cures
A miracle cure is a cure that works without addressing the cause of an illness. If a person is suffering from cancer, or arthritis, or diabetes – each illness has a cause.  It is a miracle if they are cured without addressing the cause. If a patient has a disability, is blind, or cannot hear, and the damage is so severe that natural healing cannot repair it – a cure is a miracle. When we look closely at miracle cures, we generally find a real cause of the cure, or that the cure is not really present.
Dictionary Cures
Dictionary definitions of cure are confused and confusing, sometimes to the point of nonsense. Webster’s, for example offers “the act of making someone healthy again after an illness”.  Written as if, first we remove the illness – and then we proceed to ‘cure’ the patient. Oxford’s dictionary, defines cure as to “relieve (a person or animal) of the symptoms of a disease or condition”. Both definitions are simply and clearly wrong.
Other definitions define ‘cure’ as any treatment, or special treatment, for an illness. There are no medical nor scientific requirements for ‘cured’, and no tests for cured – except for illnesses cured by antibiotics. Frankly, this is medical negligence of cures.
Why are dictionaries so confused about cure? Because they do not use the word ’cause’.Webster’s definition of ‘cure’ does not contain the word ’cause’, in any of the four definitions presented. Oxford’s dictionary not only does not use the word ’cause’ in any definition offered for cure. How can you cure, if you don’t address the cause?
Cure: Stop the Progression by Addressing the Cause
If someone has scurvy, or obesity, or depression, or an infection, a cure is something that stops the illness from progressing, by addressing the cause. Finding the cause can be a challenge, but if we can find the cause, and address it – the illness can be cured. However, none of these cures are recognized by modern medical treatment references.
For illnesses caused by deficiencies, whether the deficiency be a nutrient, or a deficiency of rest, like sleep, or a deficiency of exercise, resulting in bedsores, the cure is to address the deficiency.
For illnesses caused by excesses, like a bacterial infection, breathing too much carbon dioxide, or working too hard, the cure is to address the excess. Sometimes the cure is to NOT do something.
There are many deficiencies and excesses that can lead to illness, not just nutritional deficiencies. We might also suffer from imbalances of mind – obsessions, of spirits – depressions, even of community – loneliness.
Many illnesses are caused by deficiency of process, not of ‘things’. Life, and health, is about balancing as much as it is about balance.  Illness can be a result of an inability to balance our food intake with our needs, to balance our rest and exercise, to balance our work and our play.
Sometimes, it seems to be not possible to completely address the cause of an illness. We can always try. It is not possible to prove that an illness cannot be cured.  Don’t give up.
Cure: Heal the Damage Caused by the Illness
Every illness, minor or serious, can cause physical damage to the patient. The health of the patient is always working to heal damage. Once the cause is addressed – or if the cause has gone, healing works to repair the damage. Of course, there are many cases where the damage caused by an illness cannot be healed completely.  What is left, in these cases, is a deficit, or a handicap, not an illness.
It may be possible to cure a deficit or a handicap, but only with more healing, because there is no active cause to address.
Cure: Prevention Of Future Illness
We might not think of prevention as a cure, but most of us are familiar with the concept. The cat was always jumping up on the table. The last time he did it, I threw a newspaper at him – it seems to have cured him of this annoying habit. Preventative cures are seldom perfect, sometimes even risky, but they are important.
When we look at nutritional deficiencies, for example, scurvy was first understood, not by curing it, but by preventing it. When sailors were provided foods that prevent scurvy, doctors learned how to treat and cure scurvy as well. Unfortunately, medical reference books speak about treatment of scurvy, but do not use the word cure.
Cures come from Healthiness
Every type of cure comes from addressing the cause of an illness.
When we look at these three definitions of cure, we can also see that all cures come from and benefit from improvements in healthiness. Improving the healthiness of the patient, or of their environment, – can stop and cure an illness. The challenge is to figure out which healthiness needs to be improved. Improving healthiness in general improves healing, and there are many different ways to improve healthiness that directly relate to healing. Improving healthiness, of the patient or their environment also prevents future illnesses.
The Circle of Cures
It’s useful to view the three types of cures working in a circle.
When we are healthy, we can work to maintain and improve our healthiness. We can develop and use preventative cures to secure the health of our bodies, minds, spirits, communities, and our environment.
When we get an illness, we need to find the cause and address the cause of the illness, and cure it. There are no other cures for active illnesses.
Once an illness has been cured, healing cures repair the damage done by the illness. Healing is, of course, active even before the illness is cured.
When we don’t have any illness, our healing is still active – ready to fight potential illnesses. When we don’t have any illness, we can take preventative actions to avoid illness. Even when we do have an illness, healing is active, and preventative actions are important to avoid other illnesses or to avoid the development of complications. Not every preventative action, not every healing action is a cure.
Perfect, Absolute Cure
Life is not perfect. No cure is perfect nor absolute, but every type of cure is important.
Preventative cures are not perfect, because they work by restricting life, restricting activities, opportunities and freedoms. It’s possible, sometimes easy, to push preventative actions too far, causing other illnesses. We’ll never get a cold, if we never visit anyone, but we might get depression or even dementia as a result of the preventative action. Preventative actions must always balance potential benefit vs potential harm.  Because they are preventative, there is no specific active benefit with any action.
Causal cures are not perfect, because the illness is advancing, creating damage – some of which might not be repairable. Removing the cause, if possible, stops the progress of the illness. Sometimes it is not possible to completely remove the cause, and the progression is only slowed, not stopped.
Healing cures are seldom perfect, because damage that occurs from an illness is often to severe to be cured. Healing can also go wrong, becoming to active, becoming a cause of a new illness.
Curing improve Cures
Searching for cures, focusing our attention on cures helps us to learn more about cures, and to develop better, more effective cures. Ignoring cures, suggesting that an illness is incurable, that the patient should ‘learn to live with their disease’, ensures that cures will not be found, not be improved.
We develop causal cures by studying the causes of illness and using actions against those causes to stop the progress of an illness. When we identify a common causal cure, we can use it to develop more effective causal cures, and also preventative cures.
Preventative cures can reduce the need for causal cures, by raising healthiness. When we are healthier, it becomes easier to determine the cause of an illness, because fewer illnesses are present.
The study of healing cures help us to develop rehabilitation techniques, to heal and cure illnesses that – in the past – could not be cured.
Many Medicines are Not Cures
Many medicines treat the symptoms of illness, but make no attempt to cure. These are symptomicines. Most medicines are symptomicines. Symptomicines are commonplace, because they produce measurable results – measured by signs and symptoms, even when they make no attempt to cure the illness, no attempt to address the cause.
What about placebo cures?
Placebos seldom cure. If they do, we’ve probably made a mistake.  If it cures, it is not really a placebo, it’s a cure. Most placebos are symptomicines – addressing the symptoms of the illness, making the patient feel better, but not actually addressing the cause of the illness. Many medicines, also being symptomicines, are just fancy placebos.
Clinical Studies
Most clinical studies do not test for cures. Most clinical studies do not defined ‘cured’ for the disease being studied, and thus cannot test for cures, cannot document cures if they occur. Most medicines are symptomicines, and in clinical studies, they are tested against placebos – also symptomicines.
An illness is what the patient has, a disease is a name used by the doctor to classify the illness and develop a prognosis, treatment plan, and cure. The disease, the classification system, cannot be cured. Only the illness can be cured.  Illnesses can only be cured one at a time.  Every cure is a story.  Every cure is an anecdote.
Nature Cures
It is often claimed that there is no cure for the common cold.  In truth, even modern medical science describes the common cold – and many other illnesses like influenza, measles, etc as ‘self limiting’. A self limiting illness is one that is naturally cured by health.  Our bodies are always actively working to cure many simple illnesses – sometimes even before they become a problem.
Nature cures work faster when we are healthier, slower when we are less healthy. Even natural cures can be improved, by improving healthiness.
But… don’t people sometimes die from measles, from influenza, and even from the common cold?
Actually no. In medical terms they die from ‘complications’ of measles that leads other illnesses, or from influenza or a cold that leads to pneumonia. These are new illnesses that arise because the person is not healthy enough to cure the first illness, or because the first illness was not cured.
Wrong Cures
There are several types of ‘wrong’ cures. Treatments that claim to cure, but simply do not.
Symptom cures: taking an aspirin for a headache does not ‘cure’ the headache. The headache is a symptom of an illness, not an illness.  However, in many cases of a simple headache – our health cures the illness. It’s easy to claim a cure when the body’s natural cures work so well – but we don’t distinguish between them.
Chronic cures: any medicine or treatment that must be taken every day, or even every week forever – is not a cure. Chronic cures convert illnesses into chronic illnesses, by avoiding actions that can cure. We can do better.
Chronic preventatives: Many of today’s preventatives are ‘wrong cures’.  They act by reducing healthiness, on the pretense that this prevents disease. Taking a medicine every day does not make the patient healthier and can easily lead to illnesses caused by taking an medicine every day.
Cures Rule!
Cures Rule! is a recognition that cures are more important than treatments.  Cures come from improvements in healthiness.  Cures end illnesses by addressing causes, repair damage caused by disease, and prevent illness by preventing causes.
to your health, tracy
First published on 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Understanding Placebos 101

There are two fundamental types of placebos, although this is seldom recognized in any literature. Even though there are thousands of articles about placebos, and possibly hundreds of books, most of them are based on the confusing foundation, attempting to explain two types of placebo with one logic, resulting in nonsense.

Placebos (real placebos)
are medications or treatments prescribed by a physician with the intent to help the patient, when the physician does not know how to help the patient. The physician might believe that the prescription has no 'physical benefit' to the illness - but prescribes because they do believe it will benefit the patient in some way. The physician's beliefs might prove right, or wrong.  If the physician is wrong, there is little consequence. Physicians often make incorrect prescriptions - and items chosen as placebo prescriptions are generally very low risk. If the physician is right, or if any other factor causes an improvement in the patient, both the patient and the physician benefit. The physician benefits because the patient believes the doctor's action provided the benefit. Of couurse, correlation does not prove causation.

Note: The benefits resulting AFTER (not necessarily because of) the placebo prescription have real causes. In many, perhaps all cases, assigning them to the placebo causes much confusion and avoids actual investigation  Calling them "placebo effect" is navel gazing, when the challenge is to understand what is going on outside of the medical system, outside of the treatment prescribed.

Clinical Placebos (fake placebos)
are false medicines or treatments.  They are not prescribed by a physician and there is no intention to provide any benefit to the patient, nor is there any intent to deceive the patient about the administration of the placebo.  There is an active attempt to deceive the patient, and the administering physician, in the design and delivery of the placebo, eg. who gets a placebo and who gets the medicine being studied. Clinical placebos are used in scientific experiments to provide a statistical measure of the so called 'placebo effect'. So called, because clinical placebo 'effects' are not 'real placebo effects'.

Note: The benefits resulting AFTER (not necessarily because of) a clinical placebo is administered also have real causes. Ignoring these causes, naming them "placebo effects" assigning them to 'the mind of the patient' is simplistic nonsense, avoiding true investigation of the facts. Correlation between administering the fake placebo and changes in the mind (or the body) of the patient does not prove causation.

There are many fundamental difference between a real placebo and a clinical placebo. Unfortunately most references do not notice, much less attend to this distinction. The result is total nonsense and confusion in much that is written about placebos and placebo effects, more so when results from one, a clinical placebo for example, are used to support analysis about the other, a real placebo.  It's as if we used the same name for bears and teddy bears, and then did scientific experiments on teddy bears, to draw 'scientific' conclusions about real bears. Here's a comparative list of some differences:

Placebo (real placebo)
Clinical Placebo (fake placebo)
prescribed by a doctor
Patient decides to take, or not.
administered by a scientist physician.
Patient agrees to take. 
doctor doesn't know what is best
researcher believes that the placebo is useless
doctor intends to improve the health of the patient
researcher has no intention to improve the health of patients who receive a placebo
prescribed to sooth the patient, and perhaps the physician, who feels frustrated.
administered to measure statistically, the effects of medicine, by subtraction of 'clinical placebo effect'. 
can be active or passive. Active are more effective. Deliberately chosen to help the patient.
often specifically designed to simulate the activity of the drug or treatment being tested. Chosen to deceive the patient and the study physicians.
when a real placebo works, patient and doctor are happy. The data is ignored.
when the clinical placebo works, the research has failed. The data is ignored.
patient believes they are getting a medicine
patient hopes they are NOT getting the placebo

When we assume that clinical placebos are the same as real placebos, we create nonsense because the assumption is nonsensical.

Because of this fundamental difference between real placebos and clinical placebos, it is very difficult to measure the effects of real placebos in a clinical study. As far as I am aware this has never been accomplished - and I have looked for research studies. To create the real life placebo, it would require the doctor to be allowed to decide when to prescribe a placebo, and to choose the placebo being prescribed. To maintain a double blind externally controlled trial, another entity would be required to determine if the patient gets the placebo prescribed, or ... ?what?

Not only are real placebos fundamentally different from clinical placebos, 'real placebo effects' are quite different from 'clinical placebo effects', but that's another blog post, maybe someday....

Until this distinction between a real placebo and clinical placebo is recognized, we will continue to publish nonsense about placebos, because we simply don't understand the fundamentals.

to your health, tracy
ps. Cures Rule!
It is important to be aware the clinical placebos, the medicines they are being tested against, and real placebos do not, in general 'cure' any illness. They provide relief from symptoms. Most medicines, and most placebos are symptomicines. When a real placebo is claimed to 'cure', a thorough investigation is likely to produce the real reason for the cure. When a clinical placebo or a medicine being tested produces a cure - the cure is ignored, because clinical studies in general do not define and do not test for cured.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Can Medicines Cure? Do Medicines Cure?

Do medicines cure any disease?  Most current medical dictionaries do not contain the word cure. Most medical reference books do not contain the word cure in their indexes, and do not provide a definition for cure, or for cured.

Cures are disappearing from medicine.  Did they ever exist? 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I'm In Debt to Everybody *

I'm in debt to every body,  No one owes me one damn thing.
But I'm not standing on a corner. In fact, I'm living like a king.

I owe one banker for my mansion.  I owe another for my car.
I owe the city tons in taxes. And more to governments afar.

I'm not standing on a corner. I'm not pushing shopping carts
of bottles, cans and shoes on down the street.
Though I'm in debt to everybody. Everybody I don't meet.

I pay my debts on the computer. Bankers they don't like to handle cash.
Only the homeless want real money. Only the hermits hoard their stash.

But, it's OK now don't you worry. Everybody says the same.
My banker and his friends all owe their money. No one has cent to claim.

The city owes the corporations. Corporations owe the banks.
Bankers they don't really have the money. They just take ours, with polite 'thanks'.

Debt is growth in our economy. Growth is all we care about.
Nobody can pay for nothing, We just leverage it with doubt.

I'm in debt to every body. Nobody owes to me a single thing.
I'll have nothing when I die, Lord. All that I can do is sing.

* sing to the tune of "What a friend we have in Jesus"

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Why We Can't Cure Scurvy

We can't cure scurvy.  Why not?  We know the cause of scurvy, in theory at least.  Scurvy is defined as a deficiency of Vitamin C. That's not the problem.  The problem is that we can't cure scurvy.

I know what you're thinking. Your thinking "That's crazy, we know the cause therefore, we know the cure". But you're wrong.  Simply wrong.  And the proof is trivial. Simpler than you think, and sillier than you might guess.

Let's check MERCK's famous Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. Their latest the 19th edition was published in 2011 and it says "In developed countries, vitamin C deficiency can occur as part of general undernutrition, but severe deficiency (causing scurvy) is uncommon." Scurvy is caused by a dietary deficiency of Vitamin C in the diet.

MERCK recommends: "Treatment: Nutritious diet with supplemental ascorbic acid.  For scury in adults, ascorbic acid 100 to 500 mg po tid is given for 1 to 2 wk, until signs disappear, and followed by a diet supplementing 1 to 2 times the daily recommended intake. In scurvy, therapeutic doses of ascorbic acid restore the functions of Vitamin C within a few days. The symptoms and signs usually disappear over 1 to 2 weeks. Chronic gingivitis with subcutaneous hemorrhage persists longer."

But the word 'cure' does not appear anywhere in MERCK's entry for vitamin C deficiency, does not appear with regards to scurvy.  MERCK does not tell us how to cure scurvy.

Well, that's just silly.  Or is it?  Maybe we should check another reference.  Surely we know how to cure scurvy?

How about Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, another reference text, with thousands of pages. Here's what the 18th edition has to say: "Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy." That's pretty clear. But does it say how to cure scurvy? "Administration of vitamin c (200 mg/d) improves the symptoms of scurvy within a matter of several days."

Harrison's does not use the word 'cure' either. We can, apparently, treat scurvy, but we cannot 'cure' it. Is it possible that both of these books made the same simple error?  Maybe one copied the other?

How about Lange's Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment? Under the entry for Vitamin C, it says "Early manifestations of vitamin C deficiency are nonspecific and include malaise and weakness. In more advanced stages, the typical features of scurvy develop."  All three agree, a severe dietary deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy, or at least the symptoms of scurvy. But does Lange's reference tell us how to cure scurvy? "Adult scurvy can be treated orally with 300-1000 mg of ascorbic acid per day. Improvement typically occurs within days." Again, we are told how to 'treat' scurvy'.  But Langes does not use the word cure.

I could go on... I often do.  But let's pause for a moment and to compare the three recommended 'treatments' (not cures).

MERCK recommends a follow up dietary change, a supplement of 1 to 2 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Harrison's and Lange's also make no mention of dietary changes.

Three prestigious medical reference books disagree on the dose, disagree on the follow-up, and none lists a 'cure'. Can this be just a "simple error"?

The three medical texts give three different treatments for scurvy.  Which is correct? Do any of the treatments cure?

Is scurvy an incurable disease?

No, it is not.  But if you check any illness caused by a nutritional deficiency, in any of these three, and many other medical reference books, you will not find the word 'cure'.  Why not? Perhaps it's because only medicines can 'cure' a disease.  After all, it's official, it's the law. According to the USFDA regulations, "Nutrient deficiency disease claims describe a benefit related to a nutrient deficiency disease (like vitamin C and scurvy) ... If a dietary supplement label includes such a claim, it must state in a "disclaimer" that FDA has not evaluated the claim. The disclaimer must also state that the dietary supplement product is not intended to "diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease," because only a drug can legally make such a claim."

According to the US FDA, no one can claim to cure scurvy. In fact, according to the US FDA, we cannot cure any disease caused by a nutritional deficiency, because only a drug can claim to cure.

Cure, it seems, is defined by drugs. Only drugs can cure.

But, of course there are lots of diseases that can be cured, but not by medicines. How do the US FDA and the medical texts get around this problem? Simple avoidance, they don't use the word 'cure'.  If you don't use the word cure - except for drugs, except for medicines, then it's easy to say that 'only drugs can cure'. QED.

I've used scurvy as a 'model illness', to illustrate the fact that there are many diseases, that we know how to cure, that 'officially' cannot be cured. There are many more.  Think heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, depression, obesity, and more.  Any disease that is not caused by a parasite - cannot be cured by a drug, and is thus 'incurable' according to current medical theory.

Curing Disease
But, we really can cure scurvy, right? Actually, it's not so simple. Let's suppose someone has scurvy. And we use the treatments recommend by MERCK, or Harrison's, or Lange's.  Was it cured?  How can we tell? We can't prove that any patient's scurvy has been cured.

There is no test for 'scurvy cured'.  We can't prove it was cured, because there is no medical test. We can demonstrate that the patient no longer exhibits symptoms of scurvy.  We can prove that the patient can no longer be diagnosed as having scurvy. But that doesn't prove the scurvy was cured. There is no definition of 'cured' for scurvy, nor for any other disease not caused by a parasite.  We can't prove that someones obesity was cured, or that their depression is cured, nor their hypertension - high blood pressure.  Cure is not defined, therefore it cannot be proven. Therefore it cannot be accomplished.

Symptomicines cause Chronic Illness:
If we cure someone's scurvy with Lange's treatment recommendation, or Harrison's treatment recommendation - it is almost certain to 'return'. Did it ever go away? The scurvy was caused by a dietary deficiency, which has not been addressed, and the disease has not been cured.

A symptomicine is a treatment that addresses symptoms, but not cause. Symptomicines lead directly to chronic illness.  In this case, to chronic scurvy. The treatments recommended by Lange's and Harrison's cannot cure. They can only lead to chronic illness, to chronic dependency on the 'medicine'. The treatment removes the symptoms for a while.  The patient returns to their normal, unhealthy eating pattern, and the symptoms re-appear.  The scurvy was treated, but not cured. It returns as soon as the medicine is stopped.

An illness is cured when the cause is addressed.

Only MERCK's recommendation: "followed by a diet supplementing 1 to 2 times the daily recommended intake." can cure. If the diet is changed, the disease can be cured, forever. Merck's treatment is the only one that addresses the cause.

We might ask, in this day and age, why two of three medical references do not recommend the 'cure', why they give incomplete recommendations, recommendations that cannot cure. Frankly, I cannot think of an answer to that question.

MERCK's recommendation can cure scurvy.  But there is no test for 'scurvy cured'. So MERCK, like the other two text, even though the treatment cures, does not claim a 'cure'.

Defining Cured: 

Can we cure scurvy? If we want to cure scurvy, (or any disease not caused by a parasite), we need a definition of cured. How can we tell if the illness is cured.  Are there any models, any incurable diseases, where we cannot prove the disease was cured - but we use the word cured? Yes.  As far as I know, only one.

Cancer. We cannot prove that cancer has been cured. So we adopt a simple protocol.  If the patient is diagnosed with cancer, and they survive, and 5 years later they are still alive, and still cannot be diagnosed with cancer, we count them as 'cured'.

It's a bit of a silly rule.  Arbitrary.  But useful. With this rule, we can cure any illness, and we can tell if it is cured.  We just need to adjust some details, and timelines depending on the disease.

Actually, we need another rule. A disease is cured when the cause has been addressed. Scurvy is caused by an unhealthy diet.  It is cured when the diet is healthed, not when the 'symptoms' are 'treated'.

to your health, tracy