About the value of studies

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About the value of studies

Postby Annapurna » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:33 am

Studies are only valid until a new study reverses them.

Woe to him who believed it religiously and thus damaged his wellbeing!

Independant thinking is necessary to cut through the fog of contradicting studies.

Who to believe?

First ask yourself: "Cui bono? "

This is Latin and means: Who benefits?

If a company produces something, and it's safety is questioned, the company will order and pay a study,and the result may tell you "ok" while other studies, let's say from Greenpeace and similar organisations, -say: be very cautious.

Please know, the company may only try to protect it's million $ baby and a doctor team is not adverse to a huge check....

In other words-always know that studies can be corrupt.


Just now, on TV, I heard something that made me laugh out loud.

The topic was migraine.

The "specialist" was asked if homeopathy would help.

" No. Studies showed that it doesn't."

"Would acupuncture help?"

"Yes. Studies have shown that acupuncture helps."


If this type of ignorace weren't so sad, I would have been rolling on the floor by now. :rofl:

Still 20 years ago, every serious scientist dismissed acupuncture.

Now they have to admit that it works, because we have so much evidence.

In a while from now, it may be possible to explain how homeopathy works.

What any homeopath like me can already tell you today is this:

We know it works, and so do our healed patients.

We are 'tailors'. We don't make one suits that fits all.

We don't treat symptoms, but remove causes.

In this way, holistic healing methods can be compared to Buddhism:


It may require to tell a person that their dear habits and desires are the root of the problem.


With metta,

Annapurna :smile:
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Re: About the valuen of studies

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:50 am

the most recent studies into acupuncture, you know, the one's that show it work, are kinda funny, since it went down something like this, pro acupuncturists, those who just stuck needles in randomly and those who didn't stick them in but the people thought they did (toothpicks were used) and guess what? turns out the people who got the pro acupuncture actually felt better, so it works right? well yes, however the other groups all had the same results, so basically it works just as good as thinking you got poked, so just as good as nothing....
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:12 am

And extremely rigorous testing has been carried out on homeopathy by the body in the UK (N.I.C.E ) responsible for the purchasing of treatments including medicines.
They are funded directly by the UK National Health Service to find the cheapest and most effective way to treat disease. They are the antithesis of a commercial body dedicated to profit. The NHS is free at the point of delivery, there are no treatments less expensive than homeopathic ones, and if N.I.C.E, discovered any merit in them they would trumpet the fact from the rooftops and save a bomb financially.
In fact their studies prolonged and exhausting found that homeopathic remedies have no more than a placebo effect.
Which is hardly surprising for anyone who knows anything about the production of homeopathic remedies.
A substance is taken, arsenic for example and diluted by a million times its volume in water. According to homeopathic theory the water " remembers" somehow the chemical make up of in this case arsenic . after each dilution the water is shaken to "fix it "! in the memory of the water...OK so far so droll..but we haven't finished. Each one millionth is then diluted by another one million times its own volume in water until there are no molecules of the original substance left...but no problem because not only has the water " remembered " the arsenic , the effect of the arsenic has actually increased...while losing its toxicity....

It is not surprising that the E.U. is at present driving through legislation to ban this quackery throughout the member nations. I am not in favour of nanny states and feel that people should have the right to kid themselves if they are consenting adults...on the other hand everyone should know the facts about medical charlatans.
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Re: About the valuen of studies

Postby Annapurna » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:38 am

jcsuperstar wrote:the most recent studies into acupuncture, you know, the one's that show it work, are kinda funny, since it went down something like this, pro acupuncturists, those who just stuck needles in randomly and those who didn't stick them in but the people thought they did (toothpicks were used) and guess what? turns out the people who got the pro acupuncture actually felt better, so it works right? well yes, however the other groups all had the same results, so basically it works just as good as thinking you got poked, so just as good as nothing....


I heard of that as well! But I don't trust it. I think the intention of such studies is of a destructive nature.

"Lets see if we can't produce a result that will shake or destroy the repution and image of a method."

They can be compared to children the try to find the scent of a rose by plucking it's petals.

Many human beings never lose this and lose the forets over the trees.


I will not insist on my personal prejudices anymore, before I have first hand experience, or judgements from the few I really trust.

That doesn't mean that I have to try heroine, mind you.

It simply means that I will refrain from dismissing methods or results before having become a bit of an expert, just a bit more than reading one study.

I have first hand experience with acupuncture.

I had my hey fever treated.

I tried it and the result was nice, but I don't like to depend on someone else and to continue to fill that person's wallet.

What I am very content with is homeopathy. Since 25 years now.

I try all methods on myself first before I treat someone else with it. I need to know how it works.

I am a sceptical perfectionist, and have no use for bogus. I have a responsibilty too.

I have lost my own migraine, and a few other things no allopathic doctor could heal.

I'm especially happy when I'm shopping and patients come to me to thank me....

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Re: About the value of studies

Postby Ben » Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:35 am

Hi Anna

I have to confess I have a fundamental difference of opinion with you with regards to the acquisition of scientific and medical knowledge and the efficacy of homeopathy. The fact is that as scientific knowledge increases as a result of technology, sampling, testing,it corrects our previous understanding.

I hope you watch the following series by Richard Dawkins with the spirit that I recommend it to you.



kind regards

Ben
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby Annapurna » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:56 am

Ben wrote:Hi Anna

I have to confess I have a fundamental difference of opinion with you with regards to the acquisition of scientific and medical knowledge and the efficacy of homeopathy. The fact is that as scientific knowledge increases as a result of technology, sampling, testing,it corrects our previous understanding.

I hope you watch the following series by Richard Dawkins with the spirit that I recommend it to you.

kind regards

Ben


Ben, if I know one thing then that you always mean well.

I will try the start of video only out of politeness towards you, becuase, hey, what can he tell me.

I'm a certified specialist for alternative, traditional and complementary healing methods with a state exam... self-employed. since 20 years, I have my own practice.

If it's anything like a Christian trying to convert a Buddhist, then I will refuse to waste my time.

Inundated with work, as usual.

The title: enemies of reason, doesn't sound inviting.
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby Annapurna » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:58 am

Btw, the topic is not about homeopathy or acupuncture, that was just an example.
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby Annapurna » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:07 pm

Excuse me Ben, but I could only watch the first 3 minutes, my time is too precious right now, as I'm working an averge of 11-14 hours a day. I find the commentaries themselves a bit too polemic and suggestive.

Most of all, I don't work on this level whatsoever. Keep in mind, there are a lot of scharlatans on the road who ruin the repuation of a whole honorable stand, at least here in Germany it is honorable and works with scientifioc means as fra as posible.

None of us would for instance neglect hygienic measures.

I'm in the process of building up a website so people can see what I do, or at least catch a glimpse of it. :smile:
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby chownah » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:34 pm

Annapurna wrote:Btw, the topic is not about homeopathy or acupuncture, that was just an example.

Can you restate the topic......'cause what you said it isn't is what I thought it was....
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby Annapurna » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:04 pm

You only have to read the title, and the first post.
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby simplemind » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:53 am

Annapurna,
I'm curious, if we can't trust 'studies', what exactly makes a medical practice useful? Is it just that it works in a particular case? This seems a bit of a piecemeal approach to medicine. As it turns out, we have way more in terms of resources and money that we we can dedicate to that process. We don't have to 'try' out stuff on ourselves each time. The advantage of larger medical studies is that the process is public and available for later falsification. Scientists are some of the more skeptical people you'll meet, but they trust large, peer reviewed medical studies because these are public results that we can try to replicate and use to confirm/ falsify theories.

That's not to say alternative medicine cannot be useful. However, it just isn't usually supported by what we consider the best reasoning in medicine. If the goal is health, I think there is good reason that most people go with the most rigorous tests and processes that they can find. If I'm going to take a medicine (or undergo) a procedure, I want the most reliable method available. If I have a serious medical problem, I'll try my luck with alternative medicine once I've given established medicine a chance.

Last point, the press makes a big deal out of clinical studies that are often very provisional and tentative in nature. A study might find some marginal increase in some positive attribute (based on caffeine use or something) and many papers grab the fact as proof that 'Coffee will heal everything, etc.' It's important to find a particular 'study' and actually read the abstract to see what was actually argued. You'll find it's very rarely a bold and definitive conclusion.
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:28 am

simplemind wrote:It's important to find a particular 'study' and actually read the abstract to see what was actually argued.
Very often electronic versions of the full texts are freely available online. It's always worth reading the source paper but also reading any letters of response in later editions of the journal etc.
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby octathlon » Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:54 am

Hi Mawkish,

A frustration I have is that the full articles in scientific journals seem to rarely be freely available online. Maybe you know something I don't about how to get to them? Sometimes I can't even get the abstracts... :weep:
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby Annapurna » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:36 am

simplemind wrote:Annapurna,
I'm curious, if we can't trust 'studies', what exactly makes a medical practice useful? Is it just that it works in a particular case? This seems a bit of a piecemeal approach to medicine. As it turns out, we have way more in terms of resources and money that we we can dedicate to that process. We don't have to 'try' out stuff on ourselves each time. The advantage of larger medical studies is that the process is public and available for later falsification. Scientists are some of the more skeptical people you'll meet, but they trust large, peer reviewed medical studies because these are public results that we can try to replicate and use to confirm/ falsify theories.

That's not to say alternative medicine cannot be useful. However, it just isn't usually supported by what we consider the best reasoning in medicine. If the goal is health, I think there is good reason that most people go with the most rigorous tests and processes that they can find. If I'm going to take a medicine (or undergo) a procedure, I want the most reliable method available. If I have a serious medical problem, I'll try my luck with alternative medicine once I've given established medicine a chance.

Last point, the press makes a big deal out of clinical studies that are often very provisional and tentative in nature. A study might find some marginal increase in some positive attribute (based on caffeine use or something) and many papers grab the fact as proof that 'Coffee will heal everything, etc.' It's important to find a particular 'study' and actually read the abstract to see what was actually argued. You'll find it's very rarely a bold and definitive conclusion.



Please excuse typos and weird grammar!

I do hope we don't limit the topic to medical studies only, since we can do studies about anything, and i didn't intend this topic to become a controversy about alternative and conventional medidine.

I only used an example that happened to be on TV in that moment.

My concern is, that sometimes biased people do a study, -who dismiss a certain issue out of hand.

Since bias affects the results of studies negatively, socalled "double blind studies" are necessary in medicine.

Double blind means that neither patients nor doctors know if they are using the placebo or the remedy.

We found out in studies that remedies work better on people, when the doctor is convinced it works.

So somehow his conviction rubs off on the patient.

So the doctor shouldn't have this effect on a test.

This also reduces medication to a substance.

However, my father was a doctor ( a specialist for internal diseases,) and so I grew up in a doctors household.

My father always stressed the point, that most people could be healed better without allopathic medication, with loving kindness, compassion, listening, stress and grief counseling, teaching them a healthy lifestyle, proper diet and so forth . He ofte precribed "natural"( for instance herbal) remedies, as much as possible.

Of course with this type of therapy you need a cooperative patient.

But today, you have people who habitually smoke, drink and overeat as a form of stressmanagement or hedonistic compensation for suffering.

So, you won't get them to give up intoxication, overeating, laziness, dysfunctional job and family structures and so forth.

But all those stressful conditions are the main reasons for overweight, high blood pressure, low immune system, hormonal imbalances, depressions, and so forth.

In this case, you need allopathic bummers who do the job despite a toxic lifestyle.

Now, a Buddhist is a likely candidate for another path, - he sees through the dangers of intoxication, craving, overindulging, sees the benefits of meditation and insights, he reads a lot, and so forth.

A recent opinion poll or study in Germany shows that alternative and especially homeopathic remedies are preferred by young people between 20 and 40, highly intelligent and edcuated, mostly with university degrees and well paid careers.

So the typical clientel for the alternative market is not a gullible and naive person who is susceptible to B$ and superstition, but quite the contrary.

It is somebody who is used to analysing complex matters, and so he also thinks through the insights and theories of how they holistic healing, which may escape most other people, simpky because they lack edcuation as a fundament.

In this way, I compare alternative and natural healing methods to Buddhism.

It could be, that when I say "alternative healing methods" I am thinking of "X", but you (general) are thinking of "Y".

Therefore, you could be heavily biased though any negative things you have heard before, but which have nothing to do with responsible alternative medicine.

So was I, biased, when went to university.

I was heavily biased against the branch I am in today.

Later, it was a very humbling lesson for me to learn that ONLY alternative healing methods helped me to overcome the chronic disease I had developped through allopathic medicine.

I studied the methods that saved my life, after allopathic medicine had first saved it, but left me unhealed, in a state where I stayed alive, but couldn't do much with thius ife, I was too ill.

I finally tried a dcotor for alternative healing methods, after having missed nearly a decade of my life.

He changed my life.

After I was well, I changed my career plans, went to a medical school instead, as I saw so many around me who suffered like I had.

Now, later in life, the Dhamma has come to me....and when my teacher heard what my job is, he said the words that thrilled me to the marrow:

You should go for healing through the word.

It hit home so much, because my father used to say that too.


With lots of Metta,

Anna :smile:
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby Annapurna » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:00 am

simplemind wrote:I think there is good reason that most people go with the most rigorous tests and processes that they can find. If I'm going to take a medicine (or undergo) a procedure, I want the most reliable method available. If I have a serious medical problem, I'll try my luck with alternative medicine once I've given established medicine a chance.



Hello again, Simplemind.

I will tell you how I approach an illness. You will notice my appraoch is similar, and yet differents.

When I notice symptoms, I first look for the root in myself.

How did I live? Did I cause this by a change of habit, diet, lifestyle?

If I can confirm this, I will correct my damaging habits and give the body some more rest and time to balance itself, perhaps supported by soft correcting alternative and traditional remedies.

If it's more serious, then I go and have a check up by the doctor.

With those results, I then see if I can do the job myself without allopathic remedies, which usually have sideeffects.

Examples:

1. ) In May I avoided having to take an antibiotic, which also kills the intestinal bacteria and often causes long term intestinal problems along with immunity deficites,- by using homeopathic remedies along with allopathic Heparine on a panaritium, an infection at the fingernail.

It all went well.

2.) I got a bladder infection when I was 19, due to a medical tube put into the bladder for a few days after an accident.

This infection was not discovered, although I was in a hospital, it became chronical and would flared up again after going for a swim, or a walk in the snow, so that I soon had to take antibiotics each month, and finally daily.

As a result, I had constant diarrhea, since antibiotics also kill the intestinal bacteria that we need to digest.

I was soon too weak to attend university classes, but didn't know how to get out of this vicious cycle.

One day I ran out of antibiotics, and went to a pharmacy, it was close to six, closing time and implored them to give me the medicine, although I had no prescription, -I would bring it the next day .

They refused to, but recommended a herbal tea, a mixture of like 10 herbs, which have been used since centuries to cure bladder infections.

I went home nearly crying, but with the tea.

I had no belief in it, I wanted my antibiotic, but out of desperation I prepared a cup and drank the horribly bitter brew.

I later forced down another cup with utter contempt, and woke up the next day without fever and bladder pain.

I was completely surprised. :jumping:

Over the weekend, I drove home to my parents, drank my tea, 3-5 times a day and felt fabulous.

I had my urine tested-no bacteria.

I usually always had some bacteria.

I learned that those herbs have a proven antibiotic effect, and only on the bladder, not in the intestinal tract.

I haven not had a bladder infection since.

:toast:

Simplemind, an antiobiotic is a drastic remedy, a bladder tea is a subtle remedy and yet is was more effective, and also cured a lot of other people I recommended it to.

Metta,

A
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby Ben » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:23 am

Annapurna wrote:Excuse me Ben, but I could only watch the first 3 minutes, my time is too precious right now, as I'm working an averge of 11-14 hours a day. I find the commentaries themselves a bit too polemic and suggestive.


No problem, Anna.
Years ago I used to practice shiatsu and give people macrobiotic dietary advice for their health and happiness. I had a bit of an epiphany as I was delivering my daughter. After that moment, I dropped my pre-conceived ideas about 'western medicine' and started to read and listen with more discrimination regarding alternative medicine claims. Then years later, I witnessed the work of selfless health-care professionals who worked tirelessly and selflessly trying to keep my father and older brother alive. I've also witnessed the profound impact of treatment with family members with acute clinical depression.
I also had the opportunity to work in a number of large metropolitan hospitals and had professional and social relationships with clinicians. In my spare time, I organized a number of teams to participate in endurance cycling events and raised many thousands of dollars for unsexy causes such as geriatrics, hyperbaric medicine, and financing of research into trans-cranial magnetic stimulation for patients with treatment-resistent depression.
So impressed was I with the personal and scientific integrity of the people who I was exposed to, I recommended to my daughter a career in medicine some years ago. She is now near the top of the third year in the most prestigious medical faculty in Australia.
I understand that you have a career in alternative therapies, Anna. I'm not attacking you nor the choices you made. And while Dawkins is quite polemical, what he does do in that series is outline,very eloquently, the way in which scientific knowledge is advanced.
With metta

Ben
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby Annapurna » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:53 am

Ben wrote:
Annapurna wrote:Excuse me Ben, but I could only watch the first 3 minutes, my time is too precious right now, as I'm working an averge of 11-14 hours a day. I find the commentaries themselves a bit too polemic and suggestive.


No problem, Anna.
Years ago I used to practice shiatsu and give people macrobiotic dietary advice for their health and happiness. I had a bit of an epiphany as I was delivering my daughter. After that moment, I dropped my pre-conceived ideas about 'western
medicine' and started to read and listen with more discrimination regarding alternative medicine claims. Then years later, I witnessed the work of selfless health-care professionals who worked tirelessly and selflessly trying to keep my father and older brother alive. I've also witnessed the profound impact of treatment with family members with acute clinical depression.
I also had the opportunity to work in a number of large metropolitan hospitals and had professional and social relationships with clinicians. In my spare time, I organized a number of teams to participate in endurance cycling events and raised many thousands of dollars for unsexy causes such as geriatrics, hyperbaric medicine, and financing of research into trans-cranial magnetic stimulation for patients with treatment-resistent depression.
So impressed was I with the personal and scientific integrity of the people who I was exposed to, I recommended to my daughter a career in medicine some years ago. She is now near the top of the third year in the most prestigious medical faculty in Australia.
I understand that you have a career in alternative therapies, Anna. I'm not attacking you nor the choices you made. And while Dawkins is quite polemical, what he does do in that series is outline,very eloquently, the way in which scientific knowledge is advanced.
With metta

Ben


I'll give the videos another try then, Ben, I think I will have some time Friday and Saturday, but who knows. I am probably also aware of the scientific advance. But who knows. :D

If you remember the website I am translating -I am doing this for a colleague who got masters degrees in biology, zoology and evolutionary psychology.

Like me, he moved on to alternative medicine after university, but I am as aware as he is, that there is a lot of scary quackery going on and sadly, those peope often bring a whole branch into miscredit.

I understand the concern and mistrust my branch is sometimes exposed to. But usually explaining what it should be about and what it can do creates more trust.

I'm glad to see your daughter is going to a medical school and am wishing her the best!


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Re: About the value of studies

Postby simplemind » Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:43 pm

Hi Anna,
Thank you for your responses. I fear that I may have slightly misunderstood your first post, and the connection to studies. Bias is a difficult issue, particularly when money is involved. As you mentioned, double-blind studies hopefully can go some way toward reducing those sorts of problems. So, we should all be worried about bias. But it sounds like you don't have a problem with traditional medicine or studies (in themselves).

I also admit that some of my skepticism with alternative medicine is due mostly to my few encounters with what you called 'charlatans.' So, I don't want to generalize too quickly. I do particularly like your emphasis on lifestyle. This is something I've heard my doctors (in my few visits) say over the years and it's certainly true. It's tough to treat a lot of problems when they're the result of a long (and stubborn) lifestyle. I suspect that the consumer demand of those seeking health care (with dreadful lifestyles) helps drive some of the frenzy we have for popping pills.
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby chownah » Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:30 pm

It still seems like the topic here is alternative medicine....almost no one has talked about the value of studies.
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Re: About the value of studies

Postby Sobeh » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:22 pm

There is a critique of studies in general, while other studies are referenced as support for alternative health care.

It is trying to have one's cake and eat it, too. Cherry-picking evidence that supports one view, and ignoring studies which challenge it, is hardly scientific.
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