Wednesday, February 22, 2017

More Quackery From Rabbis And Doctors

A few weeks ago, in a post entitled When Rabbis Quack, I wrote about a forthcoming sefer, bearing glowing approbations from many rabbonim, which advocates for various forms of energy healing and other such forms of quackery. Over the last few days, I was alarmed to come across further examples of people endorsing such things - both rabbis and physicians! If you'd prefer not to be depressed, don't read this post and just skip to the end to look at an endearing picture of a different type of quackery.

First was Rav Meir Mazuz, one of the leading rabbinic figures in the Sephardic community in Israel. In his weekly shiur, he said that the cure for cancer is eating and drinking dates, water, carrots and pomegranates, and not chemotherapy, as is usually thought. Rav Mazuz further stated that doctors are hiding this from the community so that additional patients come to them for chemotherapy.

What Rav Mazuz described is just one of a long list of diverse bizarre ways in which various people propose to cure cancer, including applying corrosive pastes, coffee enemas, shark cartilage, and all sorts of different remedies. In proper studies, none of these have been found to be effective. Advocates therefore resort to claiming, as Rav Mazuz did, that doctors secretly know that these treatments work yet conspire to hide this information, in order to financially gain from their own useless forms of treatment. Having dealt with oncologists when my father died from cancer, I find this suggestion reprehensible. It's also ridiculous; when doctors themselves contract cancer, they still go with mainstream medicine!

On the plus side, at least Rav Mazuz stated in the lecture that he is pro-vaccines. So at least his followers are only at risk of dying from untreated cancer, not of infecting people with measles.

The next example of quackery that I came across was a link that someone sent me, which, they said, showed that there is scientific evidence for some forms of energy healing. The link was to an article with the bold title that "Science Confirms That People Absorb Energy From Others." The article quoted a Dr. Olivia Bader-Lee, described as a physician and therapist, who "followed the results of an investigation" and concluded that it provides evidence that people can absorb positive or negative energy from others. The problem is that the investigation that Dr. Bader-Lee followed showed no such thing. Rather, it was a study on algae which showed that they can secrete enzymes which enable them to digest neighboring plant matter. That does not have the slightest relevance to people absorbing energy from others, unless we are talking about physical energy and they were eating them. (Also, Dr. Bader-Lee does not seem to actually exist - she appears in no Google search other than with regard to the subject matter of this article.)

Finally, while I was reading about the previous two cases, a physician that I know started promoting homeopathy. Homeopathy has long dismissed by scientists as utter bunk, because (a) most controlled studies show that it has no effect beyond placebo and (b) homeopathic remedies don't actually have anything in them. But homeopathy is making something of a resurgence with new claims of "scientific evidence" that homeopathic substances contain "nanoparticles" which have an unexplained medical effect. Now, I am somewhat out of my depth here, but it seems to me that this is no different from bizarre cancer remedies or energy healing, with which there are a few eccentric scientists/ doctors who initially propose it, but the overwhelming majority point to serious flaws in their claims. Regarding nanoparticles, see this article, this one and this one.

As promised, I am finishing on a happy note, with an endearing picture of a different type of quackery: one of several ducklings which hatched last week at The Biblical Museum of Natural History. It is just one of several species that have been born at the museum lately, but definitely one of the cutest!

"I'm too cute to be fed to a snake!"

119 comments:

  1. When I think about homeopathy I always remember the threat of the homeopathic bomb.

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  2. R' Slifkin,

    The central tenets of homeopathy haven't changed since the field was conceived in the 19th century. The fundamental problem with it is that these tenets are contradicted by the atomic theory of matter (which has been quite conclusively proven).

    The idea that liquid water retains a long-term "memory" of substances dissolved in it (which is the proposed mechanism of action of homeopathy) has also been conclusively disproven. See http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v434/n7030/abs/nature03383.html for more details -- the authors demonstrated that correlations between molecules in liquid water (their "structure" if you will) lasts maybe 50 femto-seconds (50 quadrillionths of a second -- can be measured by laser pulses).

    Any effect of homeopathy is almost certainly due to placebo phenomena.

    Joe Q., chemist

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    1. I would say that the problem with homeopathy is that the treatment doesn't pan out in double blind testing controlled experiments. If it did prove results, I personally wouldn't give a hoot about the theoretical objections.

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    2. @Yitz Waxman: This is not really how it works. If you had an experiment which purported to show that homeopathy works, you would also have an experiment which disproves the atomic theory of matter. Since there are vastly more experiments supporting the atomic theory which much more power than a clinical trial, the most probable conclusion is that the clinical trial was faulty or being misinterpreted in some way. In fact, if you could show a consistent homeopathic result which was not the result of error, the implications on our fundamental understanding would be much more important that whatever the clinical trial was testing and that is where all the "hoots" would be spent.

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    3. Int Immunopharmacol. 2016 Oct;39:389-96. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2016.08.003. Epub 2016 Aug 20.
      The immunomodulatory effects of a commercial antiviral homeopathic compound in C57BL/6 mice, pre and post vaccine challenge


      Am J Ther. 2016 Jan-Feb;23(1):e184-97. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000000036.
      Effectiveness and Safety of Arnica montana in Post-Surgical Setting, Pain and Inflammation.
      Iannitti T1, Morales-Medina JC, Bellavite P, Rottigni V, Palmieri B.

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    4. "Unless one posits particles that stick to the walls of containers and somehow are later dislodged, but at that point it isn't homeopathy."

      Assuming arguendo that the particle thing is indeed the case, I submit to you that it _is_ in fact homeopathy as it has been practiced. It would not be the first time that methodological advances change the explanation for observed phenomena :).

      More to the point, if the remedy preparation methods historically used in homeopathy _do_ produce particles that stick to the walls of containers – or to particles of glass shed from the walls – then any statements about "no material substance left" by either protagonists _or_ opponents of homeopathy will need to be reevaluated in light of that information – and further research.

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    5. I'm focusing on the homeopathic idea that "like cures like" and poisons diluted down to the point of non-existence are curative agents due to solvents having memory of their former solutes.

      If there is actually something detectable left, the medication is not homeopathic anymore.

      On an indirectly related note, a few months ago, a bunch of homeopathic remedies sold in US drugstores were recalled, because they contained actual detectable (but small) amounts of belladonna extract.

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    6. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWNING ABOUT HERPES CURE

      My name peter packer I am here to give my testimony about DR EGHOGHON who helped me in life. I was infected with HERPES in 2016, i went to several hospitals for cure but there was no solution, so I was thinking how can I get a solution so that i can live a normal life again. One day I was in the trabaco side thinking on how i can find the cure because the pain was to much i always feel embarrass everyday.as i was sitting alone lamenting in tears a lady walked to me her name is kutrila asking me why i am crying, i open up to her telling her my problem,that i have herpes genital and i also narrate how it started to her. she told me not to worry that she can help me out, she introduce me to a Dr eghoghon who uses herbal medication to cure HERPES. so i exchange my contact with kutrila when i got home i receive a call from her that she has contacted Dr eghoghon on my behalf and she also send Dr eghoghon contact, so i mail Dr eghoghon and explain to him about my illness. He told me that he can cure my herpes within 8 days and he told me all the things I need to do.after 3 days he send the herbal medicine to me and also give me instructions how to take the medication which I did and i followed his instruction properly. Before I knew what is happening after one week i cured from herpes totally and all the blister and itching was gone. i decide to share this story because i believe a lot of people are passing through the same stress and they have it in mind that there's no cure for herpes.i am telling each and everyone who's reading my testimony that there's cure for herpes. if you have the faith try and use Dr eghoghon herbal medicine, i promise you after 8 days you will also share a marvelous testimony like me.if you are you are having herpes or any kind of disease kindly mail doctor eghoghon for your own cure via dreghoghonherbalhome@gmail.com and you also call him or message on via whatsApp at +2347017593219

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    7. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWNING ABOUT HERPES CURE

      My name peter packer I am here to give my testimony about DR EGHOGHON who helped me in life. I was infected with HERPES in 2016, i went to several hospitals for cure but there was no solution, so I was thinking how can I get a solution so that i can live a normal life again. One day I was in the trabaco side thinking on how i can find the cure because the pain was to much i always feel embarrass everyday.as i was sitting alone lamenting in tears a lady walked to me her name is kutrila asking me why i am crying, i open up to her telling her my problem,that i have herpes genital and i also narrate how it started to her. she told me not to worry that she can help me out, she introduce me to a Dr eghoghon who uses herbal medication to cure HERPES. so i exchange my contact with kutrila when i got home i receive a call from her that she has contacted Dr eghoghon on my behalf and she also send Dr eghoghon contact, so i mail Dr eghoghon and explain to him about my illness. He told me that he can cure my herpes within 8 days and he told me all the things I need to do.after 3 days he send the herbal medicine to me and also give me instructions how to take the medication which I did and i followed his instruction properly. Before I knew what is happening after one week i cured from herpes totally and all the blister and itching was gone. i decide to share this story because i believe a lot of people are passing through the same stress and they have it in mind that there's no cure for herpes.i am telling each and everyone who's reading my testimony that there's cure for herpes. if you have the faith try and use Dr eghoghon herbal medicine, i promise you after 8 days you will also share a marvelous testimony like me.if you are you are having herpes or any kind of disease kindly mail doctor eghoghon for your own cure via dreghoghonherbalhome@gmail.com and you also call him or message on via whatsApp at +2347017593219

      Delete
  3. Yes, I'm well aware of all that, and so is the physician that I was arguing with. The claim is that there is new research demonstrating a hitherto unknown aspect of homeopathy - nanoparticles. That's what I was addressing.

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    1. That would be interesting to see but I don't think it makes much of a difference. Nanoparticles are much bigger than atoms and therefore granular on a larger scale. If fully dissolved substances are diluted beyond the single-molecule level in homeopathy, *kal va-homer* that would be even more true for nanoparticles. Unless one posits particles that stick to the walls of containers and somehow are later dislodged, but at that point it isn't homeopathy.

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  4. As to homeopathy…did you hear about the man who overdosed on a homeopathic drug?

    He took 1/50,000 of a dose.

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  5. Discussing Rabbi Mazuz's comments on FB a day or two ago, cardiologist Dr. Haim Brandspiegel said that studies show that consumption of dates and pomegranates has been shown to prevent heart disease. Haim eats dates, and drinks pomegranate juice. A quick Google search shows that dates and poms may also prevent cancer, other conditions. Not quackery.

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    1. Prevention is not the same as cure.

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    2. Google search? Or do you mean a search of scholarly journals? Did such studies, if they exist, differentiate between dates/pomegranates and other fruits/vegetables? Have dates & pomegranates been shown to be more effective than other fruits? If there is a difference, is the difference clinically significant? Are these one-off studies which may be dismissed as flukes- or have they been reproduced? Do these studies show that there is no risk from over-consumption of dates/pomegranates- not an unreasonable concern given that dates are very high in sugar? Is obesity, diabetes and other complications a low price to pay for avoiding/curing cancer?

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    3. R Slifkin, the Yeshiva World News article that you link to uses both the terms prevent and cure. I think a non-medical religious oriented web site should be given some leeway, and I think most of the readership probably understands that. And Ephraim, your questions are better directed to Dr. Haim Brandspiegel, and you can find his credentials on the NYS Health Dept physician profile web site. Or, you can just do your own research.

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    4. Elliot Pasik,
      No foods have been proven to cure cancer. Period.
      No foods have been proven to shrink a tumor. Ever.
      While it has been shown that some foods may, in some people, to a very small degree, reduce chances of contracting cancer, absolutely no foods have been proven to prevent cancer.

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    5. Elliot Pasik

      Every English speaker knows the difference between prevent and cure, so I will not give a pass to any source written in English which confuses the two.

      Wearing a helmut may prevent a concussion. Putting a helmut on someone with a concussion will not cure the concussion. This is a very simple difference, understood by people who aren't susceptible to listening to idiots.

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    6. On the other hand, you could take that same helmet, bash it and *crush it into dust. Take the dust and dissolve it into distilled water. Apply some 30C succussion to create the homeopathic solution. If that doesn't get the truth of homeopathy's effectiveness through the patient's thick skull, nothing will.

      *head should be removed from helmet during preparation

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    7. Is that a Helmut Schmidt or a Helmut Kohl?

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    8. @Rachel
      No foods have been proven to cure cancer. Period.

      You are priceless source of medical information- you must have studied ALL foods! But... you probably missed mushroom:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14625400
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15471563
      One can find more ref's by searching for example for cancer and agaricus or turkey tail

      Delete
  6. "The central tenets of homeopathy haven't changed since the field was conceived in the 19th century. The fundamental problem with it is that these tenets are contradicted by the atomic theory of matter "


    Not quite. It is true that homeopathy hasn't progressed since conception, but the tenets have sort of. You see, homeopath enthusiasts were aware of scientific progress around them and realized that the best of science couldn't explain the phenomenon. So they sought out spiritual explanations for what they believed in. That would explain why so many homeopaths are new agers/occultists/spiritualists/mystics etc. So if anything homeopath has changed for the worse.

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    1. I'll grant you that, for sure.

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  7. Regarding energy healing:

    http://www.snopes.com/study-suggests-humans-can-literally-feed-off-each-others-energy/

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  8. First of all, here is homeopathy in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0

    Now, homeopathy was disproved back in the early 1990's by The Journal Of Ir-reproducible Results when it was shown the dilution factor takes you way down past Avogadro's number. Homeopaths have a retort to this that defies the laws of physics and chemistry.

    Myself, I prefer the Force. Safe, predictable and fun to use.

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    1. Garnel, not to rain on your parade since I agree with your stance, but Avogadro's number? That is 6 x 10^23 molecules per gram molecular weight. Assuming a gram molecular weight of 100, that leaves 10^21 molecules in a gram or 10^18 in a milligram. Now, a milligram is about the lowest medical dosage. Take a thousandth of that, or a microgram, and you still have 10^15 molecules. Take a thousandth of that, or a nanogram, and you have 10^12 molecules, or a trillion. The farce of homeopathy is that they supposedly dilute much further, so that not even a molecules of the drug is supposedly left. Of course, such dilution is unrealistic. The material clinging to the walls of the dilution vessel will insure that billions of the molecule remain in contact with the dilution liquid - as if it were effective, in any case.

      Y. Aharon

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    2. My impression is that molecules clinging to the walls of the vessel are not the focus of homeopathy -- rather the main argument is that the solvent retains a "memory" of its former solute, and thus carries the solute's medicinal effects even when there is none present.

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    3. The farce of homeopathy is that they supposedly dilute much further, so that not even a molecules of the drug is supposedly left.

      @Y. Aharon: I think that is what Garnel Ironheart was trying to say.

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  9. I don't know what you have against homeopathy. Homeopaths have rights too. It's not their fault that they were born homeopathic. As far as I'm concerned, they're just as good as anyone else, and they should be able to use any bathroom that they want.

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    1. And anyone who thinks otherwise is homeophobic?

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  10. People or just about anything can absorb/give energy from/to other people or just about anything else. That is physics. Unlikely to be a cure for anything that ails one. But it will help satisfy the quacks needs for mulah. Anyway mazel tov, or maybe such words are not allowed here - I do not know.

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  11. Rav Mazus is a talmid chacham with an original bent but doesn't have a clue when it comes to science as is evident in his clumsy attempts to debunk evolution. Now not every rabbi needs to know science. The problem here is that the rabbi knows not that he knows not science.

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    1. Pedant's Corner: one cannot be a Talmid Chacham whilst being ignorant of scientific knowledge.
      Not every rabbi needs to know science? Sadly true, but no one should listen to rabbis who don't.

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    2. Of course you can. Rav Moshe Feinstein once wrote in a teshuvah that he studied nothing but Torah. However, he had the humility to know what he didn't know and consulted experts when necessary.

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    3. You can't simultaneously believe that everything is contained within Torah and that studying the sciences is not studying Torah. Unless you have no problem believing contradictions. In which case, there's probably little reason to take anything you say seriously.

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  12. Isn't homeopathy the same idea as the Parah Adumah mixture/solution that was made from the ashes of the red heifer?

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    1. The Para Aduma is a symbolic recreation of the Golden Calf, which represents the spiritual analog of quackery - do-it-yourself worship of God as opposed to following the Torah and Mitzvot.

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    2. In a convoluted way, yes. But the פרה אדומה was never meant to effect any sort of physical cure. Homeopaths are divided as whether it works by a material or supernatural process. It's an arguments akin to counting pixies on a pinhead. Hyper-dilution is no problem for פרה אדומה, since we are not dealing with material particles. Similarly, by the mid-nineteenth century, homeopaths tended towards to spiritualism when it became clear that homeopathy could not be explained by science.

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    3. In homeopathy one looks and expects a cure which theoretically would be proof of its efficacy. The פרה אדומה is a חק and the question is that by obtaining a state of טהורה is there a change in the physical sense or is it just technical status with no visible outward signs aside from the fact of the ashes being used?

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  13. Serious question. Taken it as a given that it is irresponsible and wrong for Rabbis and anyone else to advance quack remedies for diseases, given what we know about the placebo effect, might it not also be wrong in some cases to publicly deny the efficacy of quack remedies that others have recommended? (This blog doesn't count I suppose, since only rationalists read it).

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    1. Attempt at a serious answer: probably not.

      To begin with a lot of what is called "the placebo effect" is really measurement error. When not blinded, people will report differently and doctors will measure differently especially on very subjective measures like "has the pain improved?". No one's cancer is going into remission based on a placebo.

      If there is some minor benefit in believing in something, then why not then induce belief in something that has been shown to actually provide some actual benefit, however minimal? Who is it that can't improve their diet, exercise, reduce stress in their lives, etc?

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    2. "To begin with a lot of what is called "the placebo effect" is really measurement error."

      From what I can tell that is not true, or at least that is not the consensus opinion. This may be one of those cases where the critique of "scientism" might be legitimate.


      "Who is it that can't improve their diet, exercise, reduce stress in their lives, etc?"

      Assuming this is a serious question, the answer is "lots of people". Is there some of Heritage Society hypnosis programme where you learn to disbelieve the evidence of your own eyes or something?

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    3. "To begin with a lot of what is called "the placebo effect" is really measurement error."

      From what I can tell that is not true, or at least that is not the consensus opinion.


      I don't know what you mean by "consensus opinion". That controls are needed even in cases where there is no possible placebo effect is beyond doubt because we've seen many cases of irreproducible results traced to experimenter bias in experiments outside the field of biology. Any time the experimenter has to measure something, there can be bias involved.

      That said, I shouldn't have stated the negative so dogmatically. A better summary comes from the American Cancer Society:

      "An important part of coping with a cancer diagnosis is recognizing emotions and feelings. Treatment that deals with our emotions and relationships (sometimes called psychosocial interventions) can help people with cancer feel more upbeat and have a better quality of life. But there’s no good evidence to support the idea that these interventions can reduce the risk of cancer, keep cancer from coming back, or help the person with cancer live longer. Still, things like group support, individual therapy, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques can be used to help reduce distress and cope with the emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis."

      "Who is it that can't improve their diet, exercise, reduce stress in their lives, etc?"

      Assuming this is a serious question, the answer is "lots of people". Is there some of Heritage Society hypnosis programme where you learn to disbelieve the evidence of your own eyes or something?


      When you use the words "eyes" you must mean something different than what I do. Are you saying that lots of people that you know do everything perfectly for their health already and have no room for any simple improvements. I've never met even one such person.

      In case you didn't understand what I was saying, let me make it clearer. Instead saying "eat this sugar pill", instead say "eat this apple". Instead of saying "let me poke you with needles for 10 minutes a week", say "walk for 10 minutes a week".

      BTW, if you are worried about the difficulties in compliance, it is actually hard to get people to comply to simply taking a pill on a regular basis.

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    4. Placebo and informed consent are much more complex than we might like. For example, if you are enrolled in a drug trial, you might be told something about possible adverse drug effects. These will generally be the effects that in prior studies occurred more often with the active drug than with placebo.

      If you then experience such effects, you are likely to conclude that you are in the active drug arm of the trial and, since you think you're getting the good stuff, you are more likely to benefit. When this is taken into account for antidepressants including SSRIs,

      "Summary points

      Recent meta-analyses show selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have no clinically meaningful advantage over placebo

      Claims that antidepressants are more effective in more severe conditions have little evidence to support them

      Methodological artefacts may account for the small degree of superiority shown over placebo

      Antidepressants have not been convincingly shown to affect the long term outcome of depression or suicide rates"

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC558707/

      ----------
      Also, here's another n of 1 for Rachel.
      "No foods have been proven to cure cancer. Period.
      No foods have been proven to shrink a tumor. Ever."

      It must be wonderful to have such comprehensive knowledge. I begin this by agreeing that no food has shrunk a tumor. Nutritional regimen, now... That's a different story.

      This one is a man who, using an extremely rigorous ketogenic diet following failed chemotherapy, has managed to produce a remission from a metaplastic astrocytoma (Grade III brain tumor.) This neoplasm announced its presence with epileptic seizures and a massive brain bleed; this and the subsequent surgery left him with severe seizures requiring five medications to control.

      His calorie restricted (1600 cal/d) diet consists of 85% fat (fine tuned to maintain his omega 3:omega 6 ratio at an optimal 1:1) and the remainder protein. He eats organ meats, initially brain but now heart and sweetbreads to supply minerals and micronutrients that would otherwise be in vegetables and fruits. He keeps his blood sugar between 60-70 and is deep in metabolic ketosis. This, in conjunction with transdermal magnesium chloride, has allowed him to withdraw from his seizure medications.

      His latest imaging shows no sign of the tumor; the residual scarring is also much diminished as is the hemosiderin residue from the hemorrhage.
      Prior to his diagnosis, he was an athletic trainer and studying nutrition at the postgraduate level. Exercise much more vigorous than walking continues to be a seizure trigger, though with supplements to increase ketosis he is beginning to be able to increase the intensity. He is currently attempting to get trials off the ground using ketogenic diet as an adjunct to cancer therapy.

      HIs websites:

      http://mybraincancerstory.blogspot.co.uk/
      https://www.braincanceroptions.com

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    5. I'm going to be big enough to admit I misread you not once, but twice. I didn't notice the "a lot" and I thought you meant to imply that nearly everyone is capable of improving their diet and lifestyle, not that their diet and lifestyle leaves room for improvement

      My general suspicion is that the more "magical" the remedy, the better the placebo effect. I don't have anything sold to back this up, but then I couldn't, could I?

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  14. Of course people can absorb energy from one another. Every time you pick up your kid, he absorbs energy from you (chemical potential energy which your muscles convert to kinetic energy) to increase his gravitational potential energy. Or, in a more extreme case, watch a boxing match. the whole point is for one fighter to transfer the kinetic energy of his moving fist to the other fighter. :)

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    1. But since nothing ever touches anything else, being repelled an angstrom apart, the boxers don't do any damage to each other. (Note: reminder to use this defence to assault charge.)

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  15. when doctors themselves contract cancer, they still go with mainstream medicine

    Doctors do what they have been taught in med schools, sponsored by big pharma. Which is that only FDA (or whatever body in different countries) approved chemical substances can treat. And to get FDA approval one needs to spend hundreds of thousands dollars, which of course pays only if the drug is patented. And since you can't patent a natural remedy, all the drugs we are being fed are some chemical formulas, which may (or may not) treat one thing while damaging others. On the other hand, Hashem created in the nature everything that we need for treatment, we just lost most of this recipes, which some open minded doctors are recreating. This is not to say of course that everything claimed by anyone is useful. I am suggesting you to search and read articles of alternative doctors.

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    1. This is a common fallacy. Just because A is bad, doesn't make B good. Alt-med is also a big $ industry. Top journals test alt-med frequently. And the results: negative.

      " On the other hand, Hashem created in the nature everything that we need for treatment"
      Prove it. Rabbi Akiva already "paskened" against the pagans that man made products are superior to the natural.

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    2. Top journals test alt-med frequently. And the results: negative

      I like when people with superficial [if any] knowledge about something are making bold claims. As a free public service, here are just a few links for big pharma fans in no particular order.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19037088
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16314891
      http://alsearsmd.com/2013/09/african-jungle-cancer-cure/
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19725538

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    3. "Hashem created in the nature everything that we need for treatment, we just lost most of this recipes". This is questionable, but even if true, doesn't support your point in any way. Why can't researchers working for drug companies find one of these recipes?

      Delete
    4. If these remedies are proven conclusive they will become part of the oncologists arsenal, and hence would not be alt-med. But let's look at your citations:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19037088
      "the formation of colonies in soft agar was suppressed by fisetin treatment"
      This was a preliminary study that did not involve animal or human subjects. The effects took place in a petri dish. We have no idea how fisetin would perform in a human subject. But BigQuack will jump at this article and start selling fisetin supplements by the millions.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16314891
      Another preliminary in vitro study. Was there proper blinding? Was it reproduced? Too early for any conclusions.

      http://alsearsmd.com/2013/09/african-jungle-cancer-cure/
      This is some alt-med doctor's website. Why did you include it here?

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19725538
      Where are the human subjects?

      Find me a journal article with human trials, that has been reproduced that show that one of these alt-med remedies is clinically effective with minimal side effects, and yet rejected/suppressed by oncologists.

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    5. There's a name for alternative remedies that work -- medicine. Apologies for the unattributed paraphrase, but I don't feel like looking up the quote.

      Bottom line: there is no alternative medicine which works, for if it worked, it would just be medicine.

      Delete
    6. @David
      Why can't researchers working for drug companies find one of these recipes?

      They are not interested- because natural remedies can't be patented.

      Delete
    7. Find me a journal article with human trials...

      We are going circles. Nobody is going to spends hundreds of thousands on a non-patentable remedy. Alt doctors do treat many already as can be seen from their websites and books.

      Delete
    8. And yet isnt it "Big Vita" that put up a fight against regulations to make supplements safer!
      https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/big-supp-resists-giving-consumers-safety-and-effectiveness-information/

      Delete
  16. Again worth pointing out that if you track the 'energy' concept back historically you do arrive at nefesh. 'Vital force' was the remnant of the idea in the western world a few hundred years ago. The Rishonim used the word 'tzurah'. So it's a bit difficult to rubbish the idea of energy and then daven for refuas hanefesh. In Kabolo you would talk about 'oros' and 'levushin', but in general kabolo doesn't start til beyond these levels of nefesh.
    For a personal experience of energy, bring your hands very slowly together in front of you. At about 5-8cm apart you should feel a very slight rubbery resistance. It's subtle, so do it slowly and carefully. It's not your imagination. And it's not scientifically verifiable.

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    1. 'Vital force' was the remnant of the idea in the western world a few hundred years ago. The Rishonim used the word 'tzurah'.

      And therefore "vital force" = "tzurah"? Prove it.

      "So it's a bit difficult to rubbish the idea of energy and then daven for refuas hanefesh."
      You're conflating רפואת הנפש with רפואת הגוף. See the Rambam:
      הלוחש על המכה וקורא פסוק מן התורה... לא די להם שהם בכלל מנחשים וחוברים אלא שהן בכלל הכופרים בתורה, שהן עושין דברי תורה רפואת גוף, ואינם אלא רפואת נפשות

      I find it hard to believe that one can effect רפואת הנפש with materialistic remedies, whether natural or manufactured. I would sooner rely on תפילה, מצות, חסד and תלמוד תורה.

      "And it's not scientifically verifiable."

      Of course it is. We can blindfold the person, and occasionally place a sheet of lead between his hands. We can question him if he can sense the "energy" blockage.
      Alternatively, you could inject a local a local anesthetic into the left arm and hand, leaving the right hand with its sense of feeling. Can he now tell when his numbed hand has been moved close to this right hand?

      Delete
  17. Dr. Mark Crislip of Quackcast recommends the Homeopathic Martini--It gets stronger the less alcohol you put in and the more you shake it.

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    1. Now that is one homeopathic substance that would save lives of people started using it.

      Delete
  18. Dear Natan,
    I'm a PhD vet, and I was tought homeopathy in my college. Animals are not very gulible you know and placebo effect is not that strong, nonetheless it worked. there is nothing mystical about homeopathy it's only a paradoxical effect of toxics like hipocrates worded it "the cantharis which is cured the cantharis which isn't". I have read about the so called experiments debunking homeopathy, they were uterly unscientific because they started from a false assumption, for exemple that Rhus tox is a cure for rhumatism. No serious homeopath will make such a claim, Rhus tox can only help somebody with at least some symptoms of Rhus tox intoxication, even he never ingested this toxic, for exemple his reuma must be improved by movement. So if you want to demonstrate the (un)efficacity of Rhus tox you must first selection a group of people exhibiting the pathogenesy of Rhus tox, and only then a tripple bling experiment will show something relevant, because if you take a random group, the chance that it contains people with this pathogenesy is to small to prouve anything, it's bad science, with a lot of conflicting interests, because you know, in Africa where big companies refuse to allow the making of generics, homeopathy is the only medecin available for a lot of people, and with a reasonable succes. Of course it must without exeption be used only by professional medics duly trained and certifided aware of the limits of this therapy, and not hobbyists. The fondator of homeopathy was a doctor tired by the quacks of is time, the official medecine with her dubious theories (it was before Claude Bernard) and the principe of similitude was the only rational alternative, and he and his followers made a lot of experiment on their selves to perfect their materia medicalis, and he save a lot of people from typhus during Napoleonian wars, using Arsenicus album. So please Natan don't confuse rationality with dogmatic positivism and keep an open mind.
    Regards

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    1. Of course it must without exeption be used only by professional medics duly trained and certifided aware of the limits of this therapy, and not hobbyists.

      So much for the idea that conventional medicine is discredited by its profit motive.

      Delete
  19. Scientism - The dogmatic endorsement of scientific methodology and the reduction of all knowledge to only that which is measurable. The rationalism which you so fondly espouse, is sounding more and more like scientism which is essentially its own religion. The arrogance with which you dismiss any discipline and any evidence which does not fit your world view, and preconceived notions, is glaring. The fact is many people claim they are helped by Homeopathy and Energy Healing and the like. It may just be that the reason they are helped is because they are not further damaging their bodies with harmful pharmaceuticals and, the body is able to heal itself. Or it may be that there is some undiscovered mechanism at work. Or it may be a placebo effect and placebo effects have been demonstrated to be even more effective then drugs in certain instances. The fact that you would enthusiastically endorse Rabbi Mazuz pro vaccine stance is indicative of the extent to which accepted scientific dogma has infected your approach. So let's be empirical. Last week Robert Kennedy Jr. offered a $100,000 dollar reward to anyone who could present a peer reviewed scientific paper that says it is safe to administer Thimerisol in vaccines to pregnant women or children. Currently one third of the flu vaccines administered in the USA contain Thimerisol and the CDC recommends these vaccines for pregnant women and children. Robert Kennedy displayed a stack of hundreds of scientific studies from Pub Med demonstrating a whole host of adverse effects from vaccines including Autism, ADHD, OCD, Auto immune disease and many others. The problem is not limited to Thimerisol as there are other ingredients in vaccines such as Aluminum Hydroxide, Polysorbate 80,Fetal Cell DNA fragments, and Retrovirus contamination, that are problematic as well. Confusing government and corporate sponsored policy, which is loosely based on science, with actual science, is a big mistake. It actually becomes it own form of Emunah in the existing paradigm, and leads its followers to bully and ridicule anyone who disagrees. This is not rationalism, but rather a form of close minded intellectual tyranny and totalitarianism. So for all of you believers out there I am going to enumerate the 13 principles of scientific faith in which you must have Emunah Shelaima.
    1.Climate Change is Man Made and Real
    2.Vaccines are safe and effective
    3.The FDA is to be trusted
    4.The CDC is to be trusted
    5.Vaccines do not cause Autism
    6.Genetically modified food is safe
    7."Brain Death" is death
    8.A "Brain Dead" Person on a ventilator is really just a cadaver
    9.The universe burped itself into existence via a random quantum fluctuation approximately 15 Billion years ago
    10.Life evolved on earth randomly and spontaneously
    11.Consciousness is simply a biological process that arises from the brain
    12.All of the above is "settled science"
    13.I believe in "Settled Science" with all my heart/mind

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    1. Okay, you not in the Scientism camp. But do you agree that the first eleven tenets of the list may be tenable? If you don't, what makes you less opinionated than they are?

      Delete
    2. Very good. I am also disturbed by the apparent science worship that goes on here. It is such a partial and distorted view of reality despite its amazing achievements.

      Delete
    3. the opposite of scientism is not conspiration theoretism, before the vaccines thousand of people were dying in infancy, the effect of the industrial revolution on climate change are proven, vaccine don't cause autism but RET (a genetic condition) occurs at the age of vaccine, all living organism are naturally genetically modified by retrovirus by man at an amout of 4% (without retroviral proteins, non placental gestation), and nontheless we ought to have an open and a critical mind about science.

      Delete
    4. Very good. I am also disturbed by the apparent food worship that goes on here. They're convinced they they would starve without it. It is such a partial and distorted view of reality despite food's amazing ability to provide nourishment.

      Delete
    5. My list was meant to be sarcastic. The point I am trying to make is a criticism of a narrow minded reductionist approach to science which this blog seems to espouse. I also wish to criticize the conflating of "science" with government and corporate sponsored science which is publicized as being based on science, but in reality is subject to political and economic influence and corruption. The term "Settled Science" should be really offensive to anybody who really has respect for the scientific method. In Yiddish there is a good expression for someone who is so obstinate in his views that he cannot countenance any other way. It is called FarChnuyuked. Im not sure how to spell it in English. The similarities between one who is Farchnuyked in the religious sphere and one who is FarChanyuked in the scientific sphere are striking. In both instances though they would appear to require some form of indoctrination. Since the invention of the Polio Vaccine, society has been conditioned to think that the science behind public vaccine schedules and mandates is settled and that they are a blessing to mankind, not to be questioned in terms of their safety,efficacy,or impact on disease ecology.Anyone who questions this paradigm is scoffed at by the mainstream, and labeled a heretic that is endangering the health of everyone else.The same is true for those who question the scientific claims of Human caused climate change.They are labeled as "deniers" "careless" and "foolish". None of this name calling has anything to do with science, but it has everything to do with political ideology and pardon the expression a "Hashkafik Philosophical Perspective".

      Delete
    6. MM is more or less correct. The absolute faith some people place in "scientists" is identical to the faith in rabbis that these same people sneer at. Cases that call that faith into question are breezily distinguished in the same manner that rabbinic true believers brush away inconvenient facts.

      In a more innocent time, we thought scientists were basically earnest eggheads in lab coats, above the fray of the business world. No longer. We now know professional scientists are the same cheaters, liars, and narrow-minded men we all are. There's a lot of money to be made from Big Science. They have the same biases we all have. They are capable of misrepresenting tests and suppressing contrary evidence, the same way government prosecutors do. There are no angels.

      Delete
    7. "Since the invention of the Polio Vaccine, society has been conditioned to think that the science behind public vaccine schedules and mandates is settled and that they are a blessing to mankind, not to be questioned in terms of their safety,efficacy,or impact on disease ecology."

      Ever since the discovery of cliffs and the invention of ledges, society has been conditioned to avoid walking along their edges, and that such a mandate is settled and a blessing to mankind, not to be questioned in terms of its safety, efficacy, or ecological impact.

      To state it in a less snarky way, polio vaccines are good because there are mounds of evidence, supported by a evidence backed theory of disease and the immune system, that they prevent polio and that polio is really bad for people. There is no more orthodoxy here than there is an orthodoxy that the earth is spherical. It's just a fact, and when people deny facts, especially facts whose denial can cause massive human suffering, there is to going be both ridicule by others and obvliviousness by people who do medical to the claims of the fact-denyers. This is a boon to humanity because wasting time on this is taking time from other good research that could be done.

      Delete
    8. "In contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid."

      - James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, in The Double Helix.

      Delete
  20. "Olivia Bader-Lee" anagrams to "Do believe a liar." Just sayin'.

    ReplyDelete
  21. If anyone should still be grateful to God for the gift of life, that person should be me. Men and Women in this page, Faith Ristus is my name, I want to let the whole world know how I was cured of my Hepatitis B by God through the help of Herbal Dr Uwadia Amneifo. I was ill and diagnosed of Hep B after successfully undergoing appendicitis operation. After my doctor diagnosed me of Hep B, he said this virus has no cure and that I have to be careful not to allow anyone have direct contact with my blood. I have husband and kids at home, and anytime I come from work they come to me and I carry my kids on my body and sometimes they even sleep laying on my body so I begin to wonder how I can now start to avoid my kids and my husband for them not to contract this virus. I was given medicine like Lamivudine (Epivir-HBV, Zeffix, or Heptodin) and others to curb it but my conditions remain the same, and instead I would only eat and sleep after taking the pill, and this pill was too expensive for me. My health began to deteriorate on a constant basis and I was almost beginning to see my grave. For this reason I was prompted to do a search on the internet to see how I could help myself. I ran into a blog where I saw a testimony of a woman named Rash Hansell where she testified of how she as cured of ADHD with the use of roots and herbs prepared and shipped to her by Herbal Doctor Uwadia Amenifo. After carefully studying her testimony, I decided to take the contact details of the herbalist and immediately I maintained communication with him. He replied my message via his email and told me he got my message for the herbal cure of Hep B and he assured me that my cure is certain with his herbal mixture. He was so confident that I was so convinced just in his confidence. So we made necessary arrangement, and he prepared the herbs and shipped it to me. Just as he directed me to use it I really did. Behold it was as if he gave me magic medicine. My body system began to positively react to his medicine and in just less than three weeks, I was totally cured. I told him before he cured me that if he cures me, I will tell the whole world about his herbal medicine, and now I am cured so I am fulfilling my promise to him. Please if you are out there and still suffering from Hep B or other diseases, please I want you to in a hurry contact Herbal Doctor Uwadia Amenifo now and give him a try. His contacts are Email (doctoruwadiaamenifo@gmail.com) his number is (+2349052015874), God bless you all.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Comment spam. I want a double refund now!

      Delete
    2. On this thread, how can you tell? ;-)

      Delete
    3. They do seem to be coming out of the woodwork.

      Delete
    4. I had Hep B in 1966 and cured it by resting. I subsequently did an 'anti-nuclear' test{ I may not remember the test name exactly} which determines if the virus left anything in the liver and the test was neg. It is 51 years later and a nap everyday is helpful.

      Delete
    5. R' Natan, how did this infomercial get through moderation? I note that the supplied phone number has a Nigerian country code. Need I mention that Nigeria is a common address for scam artists.

      Y. Aharon

      Delete
  22. A modern day sighting of a Sacred Monster!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4253402/Locals-baffled-hairy-beast-washes-Philippines.html

    A similar incident was described as "half-whale half-polar bear" in 1924.

    (Sorry for the off topic comment, but I couldn't resist.)


    ReplyDelete
  23. "That does not have the slightest relevance to people absorbing energy from others, unless we are talking about physical energy and they were eating them. "

    Snark is fun but irrelevant. This is science:

    The Electricity of Touch: Detection and Measurement of Cardiac Energy Exchange Between People
    Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Mike Atkinson, Dana Tomasino, B.A., and William A. Tiller, Ph.D.

    In: Karl H. Pribram, ed. Brain and Values: Is a Biological Science of Values Possible. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1998: 359-379.

    https://www.scribd.com/document/37647123/The-Electricity-of-Touch-Detection-and-measurement-of-cardiac-energy-exchange-between-people

    What if anything it has to do with healing, we don't know. But to deny the transference of EMF between human beings through touch would be... irrational.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "The research described here was not designed as a comprehensive, rigorous study to yield results to be subject to statistical analysis, and is not intended to be presented or evaluated as such a study. Rather, we present here a small sampling of results gathered over several years of experimentation that provide intriguing evidence of the exchange of electromagnetic energy produced by the human heart that occurs when two people touch or are in proximity, as well as an experimental protocol that allows such effects to be measured. The results described in this paper are representative examples of the types of data that have been collected from numerous experiments conducted with many different subjects over several years’ time. We recognize that these results raise more questions that they answer; and it is our intention that this initial compilation of data might stimulate other interested researchers to pursue the challenge of designing and conducting experiments that further address some of these questions."

      Delete
  24. I forgot to post the citation and link to the publication of Mr. Sabin's case:

    Cureus. 2015 Dec 29;7(12):e441. doi: 10.7759/cureus.441.
    A Case of Complete and Durable Molecular Remission of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Following Treatment with Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, an Extract of Green Tea.
    Lemanne D1, Block KI2, Kressel BR3, Sukhatme VP4, White JD5.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26858922

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The United States government printed the document you're citing. Does that that constitute suppression of natural medicine?

      Delete
    2. Yoel, this is a case study, which at best provides motivation for a larger scale study. Try searching for articles using the term "chronic lymphocytic leukemia spontaneous remission". This does occur, but very rarely. It could be that the remission you cited was one of these rare cases.
      That being the case, there are more promising studies for green tea than the one you cited. No doubt, if further research pans out, these extracts of green tea will be added to cancer treatment protocols.

      Delete
    3. This person had a rare spontaneous remission from a generally incurable cancer and he was given an chemical extract of tea. What can we conclude?

      1) The medical community does not avoid trying out various "alternatives" as claimed by some here. From wikipedia: "EGCG has been the subject of a number of basic and clinical research studies investigating its potential use as a therapeutic for a broad range of disorders. As of 2015, however, these effects remain unsubstantiated in humans and there are no approved health claims for EGCG in the United States or Europe."

      2) Not much else.

      Delete
    4. An extremely rare spontaneous remission. From the case report:

      "Clinical remission of chronic lymphocytic leukemia without conventional therapy is a rare event, estimated to occur at the rate of 1% per year among cases of CLL [1]. Moreover, most such remissions are incomplete; a recent review of 21 such cases found persistent monoclonal B lymphocytosis in 67%, with only 33% regressing to a molecularly normal phenotype. In addition, the more time elapsed between diagnosis and remission, the greater the likelihood of persistent monoclonal B lymphocytosis. Here, however, we describe a case of complete clinical and molecular regression of chronic lymphocytic leukemia achieved without conventional systemic treatment and occurring twenty years after diagnosis."

      Mr. Sabin's regimen included ingredients with some plausible literature support, and even inclusion in clinical trials and he tended to use the trialled dose. He did not undertake his treatment course out of some ideal, but because he was not offered any "conventional" therapeutic alternatives with a plausible chance of prolonging his life. He underwent a splenectomy on good medical indications.

      The case report's authors' discussion is well worth reading. No, they don't ascribe causality but they do note the unusual features of the case and the fact that clinical improvement twice followed an "unconventional" treatment choice. No, post hoc ≠ propter hoc.

      Mr. Sabin wanted, but was not offered, a good "conventional" curative, or even life-prolonging option. There was some literature support for some of the supplements he used, and a lot of anecdotal and off brand literature support for other aspects of his program. For reasons that nobody understands (though we have a lot better understanding of EGCG's actions than was available at the time, and this information is mechanistically consistent with his case) his choices had an unexpectedly good outcome.

      He did not choose a treatment supported by gold standard trials, but he made what I think were eminently rational choices for how he treated his CLL. You may believe otherwise.

      He thinks that his individualized approach based on rational criteria is what kept him alive. I think his doctors do, too. At any rate, they wanted to start a conversation badly enough to go to some effort to do so.

      Delete
  25. what kind of snake?
    ("I'm too cute to be fed to a snake!")
    D.K.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Apparently, this duck is on the menu of a Biblical Museum snake.

      Delete
  26. You have examples from Rabbis and Doctors. For completeness, you need an example of a Rabbi Doctor. For some reason, I think that it will be much harder to find, even as a fraction of candidates.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I would add to the voices that oppose extreme scientism/arrogance when dealing with remedies not necessarily verifiable by traditional scientific testing.

    I have been unwell for a long time. I have been through all the relevant traditional western specialties, utilised traditional western medicine and none of the physicians/medicines could a) properly grasp what was wrong with me; b) deal with the cause of my ill health. Whilst at times proving helpful, they also had dreadful side effects and did not help me fully recover.

    By contrast, I have utilised both 'energy' healing (acupuncture, cranial-sacral therapy) and homeopathy and found them to be extremely effective where traditional science was not.

    Now, you might think that I am delusional, or what I experience is the placebo effect (which is frankly laughable). I dare say if you were to meet me in person, you might think otherwise. Natan, I will gladly introduce myself to you (again) and share these thoughts in person next time I am nearby, which is fairly often given I have family in your neighbourhood.

    Further (and this is merely an additional point), I was recently told a fascinating story by an extremely reliable source (a strong adherent of western science, who shall remain nameless in a public forum) with whom I was discussing this issue (again, Natan, I am 150% sure you would rely on this source, email me if you would like verification as I think you are friends). He was visiting a prominent professor in the field of allergies, and the discussion turned to a well-known 'quack' who also tested for allergies using energetic medicine. The professor related that he had in the past been so incensed by the quackery that he challenged the quack to a double blind experiment on testing 2000 samples. The quack matched 1960 of them. Critically, and the reason I mention it here, when they tried to share this with traditional medical journals, they were consistently turned down. The journals did not want to know. Why? Could this possibly indicate why you never/rarely come across studies supporting energetic healing practices in scientific journals of authority?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. David Ohsie's BrotherFebruary 26, 2017 at 11:57 PM

      1) You are using a pseudonym to relate a third hand (you - the source - the professor) anecdote. Now I'm convinced.
      2) They should have gone to James Randi and accepted his million dollar challenge.
      3) How difficult is it to videotape this and post it on youtube?
      4) I am an academic editor for a medical journal and I can tell you that I am not influenced by drug companies or the FDA or anyone else in my evaluations butI always look very critically at methodology and reporting in my evaluation. I

      Delete
    2. It's very common for journals to not report things they don't want to know about. There were many studies in the past on racial and genetic issues, and every single one of them, to the best of my knowledge, demonstrated clear differences in intelligence. You don't see any such studies today for the same reason you describe above: a fear of what the results will show.

      This, among many other reasons, is why I guffaw when someone speaks about religion being intellectually dishonest, or having no freedom of inquiry, or closing their eyes to evidence that undercuts them, etc. Elements of that may indeed be true. But if so, its no different on the other side of the coin. Attacking religion for these reasons is to attack all of modern life.

      Delete
  28. Glad I am doing such a good job.

    1) Given that my post contained sensitive medical information about myself, and medical information pertaining to another whose permission I had not sought, it was in my view appropriate to be posted under a pseudonym. Feel free to email me at Londongent151@gmail.com and I will gladly share with you my full name, medical history, the name of said professor (and the quack) and the name of the source (the latter three provided my source is happy for me to share this information; I can't see why he wouldn't be, but it would be appropriate to check first). My aim would (still) not be to convince you, (it never was), but to ebb away ever so slightly at the cast iron position presented here that all mentioned alternative remedies are nonsense.

    2) You can put that to said professor yourself
    3) See answer to 2)
    4) That's wonderful for you. Clearly the editors of the journals here in the UK operate differently.

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    1. David Ohsie's brother's brotherFebruary 27, 2017 at 4:35 PM

      Who's the said professor so he can be contacted? Why does his name have to be hidden?

      I also doubt the story, but journals and academics get crackpot letters all the time, and they have to weed out them out. As an example, the patent office will not accept any patent for a perpetual motion machine, and I'm sure that any physics journal would act similarly. If you making an extraordinary claim, you need extraordinary evidence.

      he challenged the quack to a double blind experiment on testing 2000 samples

      You really can't "challenge" someone to a double blind experiment. You have to design these things very carefully and the protocols are not designed to prevent deliberate fraud by the experimenters. That is why James Randi is good at this, because he knows how all the hidden and fraudulent tricks work.


      Delete
    2. Family Ohsie, I refer you back to my two previous comments:

      "Further (and this is merely an additional point)," the wording in parentheses was deliberate; this anecdote was additional, and not central, to the point I was making (this is another reason why I was comfortable to post without names, knowing full well that you would come back and say "it's not true"). My main point was based my own experiences, with both western and alternative medicine. I am not trying to 'claim' anything. If you choose to think I am making this up, or my source was making it up, good for you. I don't have shares the British Association of Homeopathy, or Acupuncture, or any such thing.

      Any lack of sophistication in describing the experiment is my fault alone. I am not very scientific (surprise surprise).

      As to the hidden details, read my previous comment to your 'brother', and you may understand why.

      Delete
  29. Wow. If something is or is not published in an "authoritative" journal that is evidence of efficacy safety or lack thereof. Why don't you go and ask Dr Yehudah Shoenfeld from Sheba Medical center about his study on HPV vaccine/Gardasil, which showed it to not be safe, and cause Neurological damage. The study was peer reviewed and approved for publication in the "journal", "Vaccine" and quashed at the last minute, by Dr Gregory Poland the Editor in chief. Greg Poland is a well paid vaccine promoter and vaccine developer with major conflict of interest to protect the current vaccine system. Dr Shoenfeld is a world renown authority on auto immune disease and has been an expert witness in the US vaccine injury court also known as the vaccine injury compensation program. Again getting back to the science. Just because a particular vaccine may work in a particular individual to prevent a particular disease in that individual, does not prove that vaccine science and public health policy are settled science, not to be questioned and that we should just trust in the "daas torah" of the "recognized" "reputable" scientific "authorities". This "trust" in scientific authority, is no different than the blind trust in "Daas Torah" Rabbinic authority. It is really very ironic.

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    1. Here's the Schoenfeld story:
      http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2016/02/17/no-gardasil-does-not-cause-behavioral-problems/

      Delete
    2. Ephraim, thanks for the reference. I don't pretend to any expertise in the matter of the safety of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine. However, reading your referenced article together with Wikipedia articles on the subject has made me skeptical of the objectivity of Dr. Shoenfeld and the quality of the retracted research article in the respected journal, Vaccine. The referenced critic attacks both the methodology of the tests on mice who had been administered the Gardasil vaccine and the statistical evaluation of the results reported in the withdrawn article. They seem cogent to this non-expert (I do, however, use some basic statistical analysis in my scientific work).

      More to the point, the HPV is extremely common in the general population. It is estimated that as much as 80% of the general population will harbor the virus at some point. HPV is a sexually transmitted virus, so that a couple who were virgin at marriage and who remained free of any extramarital sex will not harbor the virus. There is a small chance, however, that the virus can be transmitted from mother to child at birth. The virus can be relatively benign or lead to genital cancers - particularly, cervical cancer. Other sexual behaviors can lead to HPV induced cancer in areas of sexual contact. The vaccine is effective in preventing such infections and 80 million doses have been administered. If the vaccine commonly caused serious adverse reactions there would have been sufficient news coverage to have necessitated a withdrawal. Whatever adverse reactions have occurred have, apparently, been rare - in common with other vaccines. Furthermore, the vaccine adjuvant eliciting the concern of Dr. Shoenfeld, an aluminum compound, is also found in other vaccines. If he can make the case that some individuals susceptible to an auto-immune syndrome as the result of stimulation of the immune response to the vaccine and adjuvant, then those individuals should be wary of such vaccination. However, the general population would derive definite benefit from the vaccination. In any case, the attempt by MM to discredit the scientific enterprise through the example of the reporting on the HPV vaccine is unjustified. While the peer review process has some drawbacks in that reviewers may not be expert in the subject matter, or may be too busy to give a proper critical review, the articles that do go through as a result will still be subject to criticism by other researchers. In some case, this will lead to a withdrawal of the article.

      Delete
    3. pubmed search for (((autoimm*) OR autoinflamm*) AND adjuvant) NOT shoenfeld y [author] returned over 8000 citations, many of which are relevant to the subject.

      Here's an interesting one:
      Toxicology. 2017 Jan 15;375:48-57. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2016.11.018. Epub 2016 Nov 28.
      Non-linear dose-response of aluminium hydroxide adjuvant particles: Selective low dose neurotoxicity.
      (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27908630)


      The abstract ends: "We conclude that Alhydrogel® injected at low dose in mouse muscle may selectively induce long-term Al cerebral accumulation and neurotoxic effects. To explain this unexpected result, an avenue that could be explored in the future relates to the adjuvant size since the injected suspensions corresponding to the lowest dose, but not to the highest doses, exclusively contained small agglomerates in the bacteria-size range known to favour capture and, presumably, transportation by monocyte-lineage cells. In any event, the view that Alhydrogel® neurotoxicity obeys "the dose makes the poison" rule of classical chemical toxicity appears overly simplistic."

      Delete
  30. Regarding rabbis, doctors, vaccines etc:

    http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2015/09/lakewood-doctors-lash-out-at-rabbis-over-vaccines-123.html

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  31. Dr Shoenfeld has stated publicly that he believes HPV vaccines to be unsafe, unnecessary, and not proven to prevent cervical cancer. He has also referred to the government corporate establishment that promotes vaccines and suppresses scientific dissent, as a "Mafia". What is really disturbing is how internet monopolies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, have colluded and conspired together with Pharmaceutical companies,Media companies, and government agencies, to suppress negative information about vaccines, and promote only positive information. It is very Orwellian. It is certainly not scientific or rational. It is however very profitable for the industry and for all those who benefit financially from it. The bullying of anti vaxxers should be recognized for what it really is, a sophisticated marketing campaign, which has echos of a psyop program right out of MK Ultra with the aim of getting total population compliance with the vaccine program. Please let me go into the gas chamber so I can clean myself under those beautiful showers and protect the herd from those nasty pathogens. Please sheeple, Stop being so trusting,naive, and foolish.

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    1. MM, I fail to see why we should consider Dr. Shoenfeld to have the last word on the matter of HPV vaccine safety - particularly when he accuses governmental bodies of suppressing negative information and scientific dissent and labels them a "Mafia". You go even further by accusing the internet media of conspiring with the pharmaceutical firms in suppressing negative information about vaccines. Search engines like Google and social media like Facebook aren't in the business of censoring information. You can do a Google search on 'toxicity of vaccines' and find a host of articles with an anti-vaccine bias. One near the top of the search list even claims that vaccines use those 'evil' scientists responsible for the gas chamber chemicals and 'medical' experiments on concentration camp inmates. In other words, you find even the wildest claims against vaccines. Your suggestion of a vast conspiracy is pure quackery.

      Y. Aharon

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  32. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2011/10/24/steve-jobs-cancer-treatment-regrets/#17afe3e87d2e

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  33. I do not know if this was already commented; but in this week speech he corrects a little bit his statement, and he says that a person should go through chimio if he has a cancer

    good shabbes

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  34. Perhaps the comments were a bit early. Using a transcribed speech as a source of knowledge is risky business. If one would read this week's TERUMAH speech, it would be glaringly obvious that Rav Mazuz does not think that chemotherapy should be exchanged with pomegranates and the like. Perhaps he should have been asked what his opinion was before the bash? I believe a retraction deserves its own public posting.

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  35. David Ohsie's brotherMarch 4, 2017 at 12:28 AM

    I am an MD (although I don't directly see patients in my specialty).
    1) Primary care docs, the ones that actually treat you, have zero incentive to push people onto expensive pharmaceuticals (I am excluding dermatologists who sell their own lines of "dermaceuticals.") They don't get a kickback from the drug companies. There are no more golf weekends or expensive gifts from the drug companies. They get pens and maybe a paid for lunch. That's it.
    2) Probably the number one thing that primary docs ask for / get from drug companies is ... free samples, which they use to dispense to those who can't afford medications.
    3) Most primary care docs hate prescribing medications that are expensive to the patient and do their best to find generics or cheaper alternatives if there is an appropriate one. This isn't necessarily because of altruism, but rather because the patients blame the physicians for the cost of the medications and conflate their dismay over these costs with their impression of their physician.

    Separately, there is no grand conspiracy to force vaccines on people. They are promoted because they work to eradicate diseases which used to be rampant with considerable morbidity and mortality. But since people like anecdotes ... one of my attending physicians in residency used to walk with a really heavy boot on one foot. This was to provide stability so she could stand. In order to walk, she had to swing her hip around each time to take a "step". The reason - she was raised in an Asian country at a time when vaccinations were not commonly available and contracted polio as a child. Her leg is now useless.

    There is no secret psy-op to get people to use vaccines. People accepted them because it was quite clear that they did work in eradicating diseases.

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    Replies
    1. 1. The drug companies don't bother too much with primary care physicians, although they do get persuasion visits. They work with top doctors, known as 'kol' - key opinion leaders. These docs give the presentations at conferences and set the tone for which drugs are to be used.

      2. Once free samples are given the patient may be inclined to continue taking the same medication and pay for it.....

      3. Docs can only prescribe the medications that are available, and the companies work hard to remove the cheaper ones and introduce new expensive ones. Insulin is a good example of this. Even cheaper medicines have been subject to steep price increases of late. Shkreli was not alone.

      Sadly there is a conspiracy and Dr. Ohsie is simply unaware. I would recommend you read Peter Gotzsche's books. He is the founder of the Cochrane institute and a heavyweight researcher who details exactly how the drug companies are worse than the mafia. Though of course not as bad as the CIA, who are behind all the recent "ISIS" attacks.

      To quote Marcia Angell,
      “…Similar conflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” – Marcia Angell, M, author of “The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It”

      and

      “In view of this control and the conflicts of interest that permeate the enterprise, it is not surprising that industry-sponsored trials published in medical journals consistently favor sponsors —largely because negative results are not published, positive results are repeatedly published in slightly different forms, and a positive spin is put on even negative results. A review of seventy-four clinical trials of antidepressants, for example, found that thirty-seven of thirty-eight positive studies were published. But of the thirty-six negative studies, thirty-three were either not published or published in a form that conveyed a positive outcome.” – Marcia Angell, MD

      Delete
    2. David Ohsie's brotherMarch 5, 2017 at 8:40 AM

      You probably should have quit before attributing ISIS attacks to the CIA. Adding one conspiracy theory on top of another does not give each one more credibility.

      Delete
    3. Though of course not as bad as the CIA, who are behind all the recent "ISIS" attacks.

      This line pretty much says it all.

      Here's another quotation from Dr Angell, via Wikipedia.

      "It is time for the scientific community to stop giving alternative medicine a free ride... There cannot be two kinds of medicine — conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work. Once a treatment has been tested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was considered alternative at the outset. If it is found to be reasonably safe and effective, it will be accepted."

      Delete
    4. A double whammy from the Ohsies! I'm am truly honored by you gentlemen.

      Brother - from your reference to the CIA I assume you accept the rest of my point.

      Seriously, the Syria story is about the gas pipeline from Qatar to cut Europe's dependence on Russia. The US needed a Sunni militia to take down Assad who wouldn't let the pipeline go through. Hence ISIS. When your penny drops you will understand things much better, like for example how they managed to get so many Toyota pickup trucks http://abcnews.go.com/International/us-officials-isis-toyota-trucks/story?id=34266539 - don't you think Toyota knew where they were going and yet they suddenly don't know and can't work it out. Stop paying your HP on a car and they know jolly well where it is to the meter. Go read 1984.
      Look at the photos of the recent attacks in Europe closely and see that they don't make sense in terms of the attack that was reported. For example in Brussels the bomb went off by the check in counter, yet the windows on the outside were blown out, and the roof tiles, with little damage in between. How could that happen?
      Or the ex Iraq vet who posed as a casualty in the Boston bombing http://wideshut.co.uk/review-of-jeff-bauman-legless-man-boston-bombing-conspiracy-theory-graphic-images/
      BTW that's how we know ISIS won't attack Israel (except the odd gunshot to create an impression) - they won't get paid if they do!

      Back to the story, I think you need to understand research in context and stop looking at it in black and white. I could set up a perfectly valid single blinded (the docs) study on the effect of a sharp blow to the head from a frying pan in people with agitation, and it would likely show that after receipt of said blow the patient was quieter - the treatment works. But has it affected the disease process, or even given me some understanding of the disease process? Many medical treatments fall into this category. Recent diabetes treatments lower blood sugar by this means or another, but they were accepted onto the market without any evidence they have any effect on the disease process. Atenolol, a drug for high blood pressure reduces blood pressure but has no effect on death, just at the time of death the blood pressure is lower. Modern medicine fundamentally doesn't understand people or disease, and is simply a system that applies various bashes (every drug is an anti- something or other) to the system. Where a bash is useful it helps. It's only when you look at the underlying paradigm that you can see the chasm at its core.

      Delete
    5. David Ohsie's brotherMarch 7, 2017 at 7:23 AM

      Brother - from your reference to the CIA I assume you accept the rest of my point.

      That is an incorrect assumption as is obvious from my albeit slightly pithy response.

      Delete
    6. David Ohsie's brotherMarch 8, 2017 at 3:28 AM

      I see now that Skeptic is not the same poster as I was originally responding to (I didnt really pay attention to the names). I was inadvertently feeding a troll. My apologies.

      Delete
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