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View Diary: Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Republican gay rights reboot and other bedtime stories (262 comments)

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  •  Oh come on (44+ / 0-)

    Where conventional med has little to offer, or what it offers is unsatisfactory to patients, quackery and snake oil proliferate.
    That much is absolutely true. But the idea that the med establishment wants to 'suppress the truth' that simple diet and exercise, or magic Chinese herbs, can cure a devastating illness is the kind of thing one expects to hear at a GOP platform committee meeting. Theres an entire Inst of Alt Med at NIH, for gosh sakes. This also feeds into the repulsive idea that if you just eat right, exercise right, think the right thoughts, and dont let your water get contaminated by bad vibrations from loud angry music youll live forever, look 30 when youre 80, and have the sex drive of a 17 yr old to boot.
    In other words, if youre sick its your own fault, loser.

    •  Oh, come on now (8+ / 0-)
      Rich’s traditional Chinese doctor prescribes herbs, and she’s also seen other alternative medicine experts, including a naturopath, a medic intuitive, and an energy healer – all at a whopping cost of $5,600.

      Give me a ballpark estimate of traditional medical costs for early stage MS treatment for say, the first couple of years after diagnosis.

      I'm guessing it's significantly more than $5,600.  And I don't even have to go out on a limb to make that guess.

      •  and? (5+ / 0-)

        Hey, anyone who deals with "conventional medicine" has to weigh the possibility that any particular treatment or test could be sheer deadweight loss. But are the odds better with "intuitive medicine" or energy healing? I really doubt it.

        "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

        by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 05:38:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not a question of being better (5+ / 0-)

          The question is, why disparage something that works for a lot of people? Mix and match. It's all about using your head. Don't go to an acupuncturist if you've severed a limb or find yourself with a lung infection. Go to the ER or doctor. But don't fill up on scripts every time you feel a small twinge of pain or feel a little tired, either.

          •  that's good advice (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a2nite, TerryDarc, NCJan
            But don't fill up on scripts every time you feel a small twinge of pain or feel a little tired, either.

            "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

            by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 05:50:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  but that is just the point (12+ / 0-)
            The question is, why disparage something that works for a lot of people?
            Snake oil medicine does not work for a lot of people- it sells to a lot of people.  Where randomized clinical trials show it to be effective ( as opposed to affective...) it becomes mainstream medicine.

            The enormous sums we spend on "alternative" medicine and unproven  junk health products is a sad testiment to the power of advertising and the lack of understading of science.

            As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

            by BPARTR on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 06:44:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  randomized clinical trials are VERY expensive (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fabienne, Calamity Jean, NCJan, Zadatz

              Good luck raising funds in this country for non-pharmaceutical approaches to curing disease.

              •  this is true, but (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BPARTR, DrTerwilliker, JosephK74

                that is still not evidence that the treatments you're supporting actually work.

                As was pointed out above, there is an Institute for Alternative Medicine in NIH. Aside from this, many prestigious med schools and research centers ARE doing research on alternative health care.

                As one bit of anecdata: I participated in a Harvard Med School project researching acupuncture back in the 1990s when I lived around there.

                The alt med research may not be getting done as fast or as broadly as many of us would like, but that is true of most (non-military, non-industrial) science in the US.

              •  maybe I misread your comment (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JosephK74, Yahzi

                but you seem to be saying that because  clinical tests are expensive "alternative medicine" should be allowed to forgo them altogether and make any claims they wish.

                It is BECAUSE clinical tests are expensive, and the FDA requires these that we didn't have a Thalidomide crisis in this country, while hundreds of babies were born without limbs in Europe and England.

                As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

                by BPARTR on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 09:02:49 AM PDT

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                •  you misread my comment (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Calamity Jean, NCJan

                  Clinical trials are important, but at least in the United States they are overwhelmingly focused on patentable pharmaceutical treatments.  Alternative treatments are at a financial disadvantage.  There is no future possible profit from research in change of dietary habits, unlike research into the next Viagra.  We need to greatly increase federal grant money for research into natural approaches.

              •  NIH studies non-pharmaceutical approaches every (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:


                There are over 2,000 studies being done on dietary supplements right now, including several for vitamin D in MS, by the way.  Also being studied for treating MS:

                physiotherapy, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, ginko, cognitive behavioral therapy, core stability training, yoga, omega-3 fatty name just a few.

                Before you feel the need to criticize western science, why not find out what they are studying?  Here's the NIH clinical trial site.

                •  thank you for supporting my point (0+ / 0-)

                  That website is not a list of NIH-funded clinical trials, it is simply a database of clinical trials being conducted all around the world, funded by both private and public sources.  The rest of the world is much better than us at funding useful medical research into alternative medicine, because with socialized medicine they are more interested in what gets the best results, and not what will give the highest profit on a patent.

                  My point is that clinical trials ARE being conducted on alternative medicine and they are happening everywhere.  The Vitamin D-MS connection has been known for decades, yet in the U.S. it is overwhelmingly a pharmaceutical approach only that is pushed onto the MS patient.

          •  Why disparage a placebo? (7+ / 0-)

            I've got this rock here that keeps snakes away. I have never seen a snake as long as I've carried it so it must work.

            $50 bucks and it is yours.

          •  I call shenanigans (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            You're disparaging all over the place. I even agree with some of your disparagement.

            Personally, when I feel a small twinge of pain or feel a little tired, I neither fill up on scripts nor consult an energy healer. I don't think I'm countercultural in this.

            "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

            by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 08:48:54 AM PDT

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          •  Because it doesn't work for a "lot" of people (0+ / 0-)

            If it did, it could pass a clinical trial. Which it can't. Because it doesn't.

    •  Marijuana. (7+ / 0-)

      MJ shows promise in many areas yet Drs are unaware, unable to use it because research has been stymied or stopped. Is that a conspiracy theory?  My son is living breathing proof that mj works on some seizure disorders.  Works miraculously. Tons and tons of antidotal evidence can't all be wrong.  Why is the medical profession ignorant to this or willfully not investigating?

      Everyone! Arms akimbo! 68351

      by tobendaro on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 05:18:47 AM PDT

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      •  It's not just "marijuana", it's THC (0+ / 0-)

        the active molecule in marijuana; the one that causes the high feeling.

        The natural stuff is much better, but if organic chemists could synthesize THC in the lab, it would also work.

        "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

        by mconvente on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 05:43:07 AM PDT

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        •  We can synthesize it in the lab (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stude Dude, cordgrass, mconvente

          I've done it myself. It's a pain in the butt to do it due to the chemistry involved, but it's still done on large scale as Marinol (dronabinol). When it's the pure API it's Schedule III. When it's in a plant it's Schedule I.

        •  it's not just THC (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Portia Elm, suzq, TerryDarc, tobendaro

          there are many active substances in any sample of marijuana and their effects should be studied.  Unfortunately current policy effectively prevents that.

        •  Or more likely Cannabadiol (0+ / 0-)

          the other, non-psychoactive ingredient of weed. Damn!

          For epilepsy often/occasionally effective.

          But if MJ is not made into, nor marketed as, a drug against a particular illness/condition, then it can still be sold/used as a supplement.

          Big difference in testing costs between meds and supplements.

          Every human being has paid the earth to grow up. Most people don’t grow up. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed. What it costs, in truth.—Maya Angelou

          by TerryDarc on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 09:26:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  We have an answer for that (0+ / 0-)

        There is a very clear political reason why MJ research is banned. There are virtually no scientists asserting that MJ is well understood; indeed, the government's official position (unchanged since the 60's) is that further research is needed.

        Pointing to the well-documented political suppression of MJ research demonstrates exactly why we should dismiss unfounded claims of political suppression of other alt-meds.

    •  "it's your fault" is the nastiest part of alt med (16+ / 0-)

      evidenced by all the parents of autistic kids who were led to believe if they hadn't gotten their kids vaccinated they wouldn't be autistic. as if its not enough to struggle with a child that has special needs so lets lay a thick coating of guilt on the situation. western medicine can't cure all our illnesses and sometimes the profit motive aspect is disgusting but it's advances represent some of the finest things our species has accomplished.

      •  pharma is a deadly predatory business (5+ / 0-)

        Read the disclaimer page at the end of John LeCarre's "The Constant Gardener".

      •  I've never been told by an acupuncturist (6+ / 0-)

        to avoid vaccines. So who are these alternative practitioners that you are referring to?

        Vaccines are acknowledged by every alternative practitioner I have visited as part of a solid prevention plan. There are movements against vaccines, and maybe if I googled it I'd see they are led by alternative medicine practitioners, but certainly none I've visited would favor that kind of preventive care.  

        Autism is likely environmental, somehow, but of course I don't know exactly how. Most assuredly, NOT vaccines, which is a silly theory that I haven't bothered to look into from an origination standpoint because it's so absurd.

      •  I use vaccines, I get a flu shot every year, (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cordgrass, codairem, singe, a2nite, NCJan

        I get the pneumovax, I just got my DPT vaccine booster along with my 5 year annual tetanus shot, and I used to get scolded every visit by my MD for my "horrible" eating habits.  I have used native herbalists, acupuncturists, and homeopaths (who were also MDs, btw), and none have ever told me "it's your fault".  

        I don't think the conflation of those who are anti-vax with the huge practice of "alternative medicine" is true or fair or helpful.  I am pro-vax and I support the practice of non-American traditional medicines, and I am far from alone.

        "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 07:32:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let me expound on the "it's your fault" concept (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DrTerwilliker, Uncle Moji

          that I wrote about above. I was a smoker for many years. If I develop lung cancer down the road I would have to accept the idea that it was most likely my fault that I got it because there is a vast body of empirical data that supports a correlation between smoking and lung cancer. On the other hand I have some osteoarthritis in my back and have never used the homeopathic preventive compound Natrum muriaticum. I do not believe I increased my chances of developing osteoarthritis by not using that compound because there is no empirical evidence that it is effective. For me the problem is substances and treatments that purport to prevent or cure various maladies but for which there is no empirical evidence to support the claims of efficacy.

          So if I have an asthmatic child do I or don't I take advantage of this opportunity and if I don't and the kid suffers a bad attack and is intubated at a hospital is it my fault, some poor,frightened souls might wonder;


          •  Natrum Mur is actually not a "preventative (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            compound" and anyone who so claims reveals a lack of medical knowledge of the practice of classical homeopathy and I would say a good choice for you to avoid "treatment" at the hands of that person.  I would second your caution.

            Homeopathy, for one, in the US may only be legally practiced by a licensed MD.  I do not believe everyone who has an MD degree is qualified to practice homeopathy, nor do I believe all best qualified homeopathic practitioners are MDs.  The laws in the US make it difficult for the best practice of this system, which , I think, is one of the most complicated medical practices.  It is better practiced in Europe (England, France, Germany) and in India.  

            I am not a cheerleader for any single absolute kind of medical practice.  I think that the use of shame or name-calling to scold the sick is, in itself, sick.  We all make the best decisions we can for our own bodies or for that of our children.  Even with the use of Rx medicines for asthma, a person with asthma can end up intubated in the ER (I have asthma), it's a controller medicine, not curative.  The human body remains an enigma.  

            Best wishes to you, and I find it ridiculous than even if you did smoke anyone would blame you for cancer - my father smoked for 50 years and he didn't get cancer, he died of a heart attack.  Cancer is a risk associated with smoking, it's not a fact, and anyone who claims it is is blowing smoke up your rear end. Cancer is not a fault or a choice, it's a disease.

            Be well.

            "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

            by Uncle Moji on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 09:52:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is of course in science no claims as to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Uncle Moji

              cause but there are correlations, or if you will probabilities. The probabilities of a 60 year old male developing lung cancer who had smoked a lot versus one who had not are such that if that were to be visited on me I would guess  my behavior would most likely have been the reason.

              I found the homeopathy claim at this site;


              Now lots of drugs that get run through the FDA approval system may get touted as doing things they don't or used off label for reasons that are not supported by any research but at least there is some attempt at regulation (though one wonders if with a republican house,senate and president that too might go out the window) whereas with some of this other stuff its more like a wild west situation.

              anyhow thanks for the civilized interaction and let us both live long and prosper.


      I was diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoid and given prednisone and an immune suppressant to treat it.  This left me 45 lb. overweight, a prednisone "responder", and no immune system.  No attempt to test my immune system was offered by my PCP.  So I did research on the internet and discovered the Women to Women Clinic in Maine, which practices "functional medicine", a combination of conventional and alternative medicine.  They tested me, treated me with alternative medicine (with no adverse side affects), and restored my immune system.

         Now I have a PCP and a Naturopathic Doctor, who consult each other about treatment.  This has made a big difference in my health.  I have found alternative solutions, like naturopathic,remedies, have been more effective than standard drugs for gout, which have debilitating side affects for me.

         However, since the pharmaceutical industry's influence on the conventional medical community dismisses the importance of alternative medical solutions, these are not covered by health insurance but must be paid for out-of-pocket, and therefore not affordable for many people.

      •  So, because you have a bad doctor (0+ / 0-)

        we should stop vaccinating children.

        After all, the only reason we vaccinate children is because of the clinical studies which proved vaccines were safe and effective. Since you reject clinical studies which show that alt-meds are neither safe nor effective, you reject the entire principle of administering medicine based on clinical studies; which means, rejecting vaccines.

        Welcome to the 17th century! It's not just GOPers that want to go back.

    •  I am genetically at high risk for MS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabienne, codairem

      Fortunately I am old enough to have passed the typical time of onset, although I worry about my children.  I do have skin lesions all over my body, since I was a child, which are now responding to this new regimen.

      Dr. Wahls' Protocol is based on the alternative medicine field of functional medicine.  It is not simply a matter of "eat right and exercise."   She has very specific and unusual recommendations for those with MS and those at risk for MS.  The diet she recommends is somewhat similar to the high-ketogenic diet used to treat some forms of epilepsy.  I eat a half a cup of coconut and/or olive oil a day.  The diet is also high in iodine and also recommends eating a spoonful of algae every day.  So it's a little more specific than simple diet and exercise.

      Again, she is conducting clinical trials, so this is not an anti-science approach.  The surgical approach has also shown significant improvement in studies published in peer-reviewed journals.

      Discouragement is not the same as suppression.  In today's American medical research community, it is very expensive to conduct clinical trials and Big Pharma wields outsized influence over what studies get funded.  Even in the best of times, a rare illness like MS has trouble getting funding to be studied.  It merely takes a lack of funding, a focus on patentable pills, and well-funded advocacy groups disparaging new approaches to kill medical innovation.

      If the NIH were well-funded and completely independent from Big Pharma, I believe that many illnesses would have a better chance at being cured.  But instead, we have a medical community that feels comfortable prescribing ADHD drugs (amphetamines) to toddlers.

    •  Straw man anyone? n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      History is a guide, not a destination.

      by NCJan on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 04:32:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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