Contact us: 098-482-2495 | Advertising: jonathan@cuencahighlife.com
Editorial: david@cuencahighlife.com

Ecuador Visas 2
Ecuador Visas

Columns and Opinion

Learning Spanish Left Sidebar
GoBig Left banner
Dog Obedience Left Sidebar
YouTube – El Jalapeño
YouTube – Oporto
YouTube – Thai Connection
YouTube – Salud Pie
YouTube – Subway
YouTube – Piedra de Agua
YouTube – CuencaCarShare
YouTube – Relocation Services
YouTube – Vegetable Bar
Lina Bottom Column

Misinformed consent? Caveat emptor!

Why are some people so susceptible to quackery?

I was thinking about this recently, when I spied a social media query from a local expat looking for a “natural healer” or “someone in alternative health” who had “some type of machine” that would test her.

I thought, “Test her for what? Is she ill? Does she have unexplained symptoms? Is she dissatisfied with her medical doctor, or maybe she never saw a doctor at all?”

“Some type of machine” is pretty vague. A hair dryer? A glucometer? A glucometer can test your blood sugar, but I don’t think that’s what she meant.

According to the National Council Against Health Fraud, the term “quack” describes a “healer” who boasts about his or her power or products. Quackery describes a health scam that promotes bogus products and services that do not have proven quality or effects.

A quack will offer “special” or “secret formulas” or devices.  He uses case histories and testimonials from “satisfied patients” to prove efficacy, not controlled trials. He’ll create a David and Goliath scenario, defining the “medical establishment” as being in existence purely for profit, claiming that “allopathic” medicine and “Big Pharma” have conspired to persecute him as someone brave enough to reject “modern medicine,” and insist that only by being “natural” can the body truly “heal itself.”

So, what’s a “machine” that might test you?  One used only by “natural healers” or “alternative health practitioners?” I asked a friend who has a background in scientific research if he’d ever heard of such a thing.  He said “oh yes” and linked me to an article published in ScienceBased Medicine.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to “evaluating medical treatments and products of interest to the public in a scientific light.” They describe one machine in particular, for “electro dermal” (or electrodermal) testing, and details how it is purported to work. They write:

“Electrodermal testing is a bogus procedure where measurements of skin conductance with a biofeedback device are entered into a computer to diagnose nonexistent health problems and “energy imbalances” and to recommend treatments for them, often involving the sale of homeopathic remedies and other useless products. It falls under the general category of EAV (Electro Acupuncture of Voll).”

They link to further information from Dr. Steven Barrett of Quackwatch.org:

“The most common use is for prescribing homeopathic products, dietary supplements and herbal products. The devices are also used to determine “allergies”, detect “nutrient deficiencies” and locate alleged problems in teeth that contain amalgam fillings. Some operators claim to tell whether a disease, such as cancer or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is absent. Some devices are claimed to treat the patient with electromagnetic impulses transmitted into the body or are used to energize products.”

Read more about “electrodiagnostic devices” here.

[By the way, Barrett also explains that these devices are not biofeedback devices. Biofeedback is a helpful technique shown to allow the patient to control some body functions, such as heart rate.

Wikipedia says, “Biofeedback may be used to improve health, performance, and the physiological changes that often occur in conjunction with changes to thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Eventually, these changes may be maintained without the use of extra equipment, for no equipment is necessarily required to practice biofeedback.”]

More bogusness: “Biomeridian Stress Testing” is another term to describe electro acupuncture where the practitioners will use the “tests” to “detect cancer non-invasively” and determine your “unique deficiencies.”

Make an appointment with a “practitioner” who is using the “machine” to evaluate your health, and you’re guaranteed to walk out of the office with hundreds of dollars worth of “necessary supplements” that they’ll insist are vital to bring you back to health.  Don’t we all wish it to be so.

Barrett says that using these devices for diagnostic purposes is very dangerous because “the transmittal of false or misleading health information can cause emotional harm, a false sense of security, or a false set of beliefs that can lead to unwise decisions.” Even “new age” medical doctor Andrew Weil, MD says that relying on the “highly dubious method can be harmful if you have a serious disorder and can delay proper treatment.

Article continues below graphic.

The phrases “complementary therapy” and “alternative therapy” are often used as if they mean the same thing, sometimes combined into one phrase – complementary and alternative therapies (CAMs).

It is not always easy to decide whether something is a complementary or an alternative therapy. But there is an important difference.

A complementary therapy means you can use it alongside your conventional medical treatment. It may help you to feel better and cope better with your disease and treatment.

Some examples of complementary therapies are acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, yoga, and visualization. Controlled research trials have been conducted on these therapies … some work better than others for different things. For example, the Anxiety and Depression Association of American writes that yoga, which combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, as well as other forms of regular physical exercise may help alleviate anxiety and depression.

An alternative therapy is generally used instead of conventional medical treatment. As noted by Cancer Research UK, all conventional cancer treatments have to go through rigorous testing by law in order to prove that they work, however alternative therapies have not been through such testing and there is no scientific evidence that they work. Some types of alternative therapy may not be completely safe and could cause harmful side effects.

In my career in the U.S. as a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, and especially over the past two years since moving to Cuenca, I’ve encountered people who delayed treatment for a number of acute conditions that could have been helped if they’d consulted a reputable doctor right from the start, including for broken bones, infections, back pain, diabetes, and gastrointestinal issues due to parasites and worse. In all cases, by delaying treatment to consult with “alternative” practitioners they worsened their conditions and required more extensive (and possibly expensive) follow-up treatment.

Quacks primarily target older adults, the health-conscious, those who are trying to stop the clock on aging, and sufferers of painful chronic diseases such as arthritis, cancer and AIDs. Intractable pain, desperation for relief, and worry about the cost of healthcare makes people that much more susceptible to quackery.

There is little regulation about what can be advertised and sold here in our community of Cuenca and for that matter, in the U.S.  I’ve written about a number of sketchy “cures” and protested publicly when I’ve seen health quackery advertised on various expat forums, including IV vitamin C, coffee enemas, “chelation therapy” and “natural, affordable cancer cures.” I feel an obligation to speak out, and will continue to do so. With evidence and an open mind.

Writing for the James Randi Educational Foundation, William M. London, professor of public health at California State University, Los Angeles, says, “Consumers have only the illusion of free choice when they are led to make decisions based on false or misleading information that comes with quackery. There is no health freedom in what is based upon misinformed consent. When you’re being deceived, you’re not free to choose. And when your health is threatened, it’s especially difficult to be wary of quackery.

“Health freedom” advocates expect health consumers to beware despite their disadvantageous bargaining position, but they don’t expect those offering products and services to be fully accountable to consumers. Caveat emptor is an important educational message for the James Randi Educational Foundation to offer, but it’s unreasonable to rely on caveat emptor without public policy based on the notion of caveat venditor (or caveat vendor): let the seller beware.”

I think when consumers stay educated, then there’s no market for quackery.

Have a healthy New Year, everyone.

Sources:

Cancer Research UK. The difference between complementary and alternative therapies. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancers-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative/about/the-difference-between-complementary-and-alternative-therapies

DrWeil.com. Is having a biomeridian stress test worthwhile? http://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/stress-anxiety/is-having-a-biomeridian-stress-test-worthwhile/

James Randi Educational Foundation. Why I Oppose Quackery. http://web.randi.org/swift/why-i-oppose-quackery

National Council Against Health Fraud. Some Notes on Quackery. https://www.ncahf.org/articles/o-r/quackery.html

National Institute on Aging. Beware of Health Scams. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/beware-health-scams

Quackwatch.org. Quack “Electrodiagnostic” Devices. http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/electro.html

ScienceBasedMedicine.org. Electrodermal Testing Part I: Fooling Patients with a Computerized Magic Eight Ball. https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/13926/

ScienceBasedMedicine.org. Electrodermal Testing Part II: Legal and Regulatory Aspects.

https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/electrodermal-testing-part-ii-legal-and-regulatory-aspects/

Wikipedia. Biofeedback. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biofeedback

_________________

About the Author

Susan Burke March

Susan Burke March, a Cuenca expat, is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, a Certified Diabetes Educator who specializes in smart solutions for weight loss and diabetes-related weight management. She is the author of Making Weight Control Second Nature: Living Thin Naturally — a fun and informative book intended to liberate serial dieters and make healthy living and weight control both possible and instinctual over the long term. Contact her at SusantheDietitian@gmail.com

  • Jerry Anderson

    As a biomedical engineer and expert witness in medical injuries, I have seen more than one example of what Susan is talking about. The machines which are touted to “diagnose” supposed illnesses in most cases are nothing more than empty boxes with flashing lights and impressive looking (to the non-technical) knobs and displays. If someone claims to be able to diagnose or cure a condition with their “special” machine, ask them for verification in the from of published test results in legitimate medical journals – they’ll put you off, because hey don’t exist. Welcome to technological “snake oil”!

    • StillWatching

      Right you are, Jerry. If I can’t duplicate in my lab what you claim to be able to do in yours, you are selling snake oil.

      Could somebody put that in terms that the True Believers will actually understand?

  • libertarian1776

    Oh boy. You DO realize how many expats here are alternative medicine true believers, don’t you Susan?

    This is going to get interesting.

    Those legions whose ox you have quite legitimately gored are going to howl with unimaginable fervor at such apostasy. I’ll predict that your article receives more comments than David Morrill’s famous (infamous?) April Fool’s Day hoax.

    I’m going to grab my popcorn and pull up a chair to watch. This will be fun…

  • Carl Compton

    I can’t wait to see the comments on this one…

    • tocuencawithlove

      Thank you, first of all, dear Susan, for once again being the voice of reason! I do fear, however, for your physical safety in this city from now on, because I myself have experienced the fury and viciousness of people when exposing their “experts” as quacks. Please be careful and watch your back! I had the exact same thoughts you did when reading that recent GringoPost entry from the person looking for a “machine” to test her/him. I for one truly appreciate all of your articles and always look forward to reading them. I also enjoyed meeting you in person recently at the diabetes fair at Parque de la madre.

      • Hola! The Casa de la Diabetes is a wonderful non-profit organization dedicated to helping all people learn to manage their condition successfully. Their dream is to someday have a real “casa” where people can come, all ages, from little children just diagnosed with life-threatening type 1 diabetes, to elderly people dealing with complications, and everyone in between. They rely on donations and they are the most worthy of causes.

        And thanks for the comments on my columns! Thanks to CuencaHighLife.com for publishing them. <3

  • ‘Morning Jodie, Thanks for reading!

    In my column I write,” A complementary therapy means you can use it alongside your conventional medical treatment. It may help you to feel better and cope better with your disease and treatment.

    Some examples of complementary therapies are acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, yoga, and visualization. Controlled research trials have been conducted on these therapies … some work better than others for different things.”

  • truehealthnow .

    One would have to assume that mainstream medicine is perfect and everything else is quackery after reading this. The fact is that there are many many thousands of people that are harmed by properly prescribed pharmaceutical medicine every year, not to mention all the cancer patients that have to suffer through chemo and radio therapy which has an overall success rate of < 5%. These 'approved therapies should be on the quack list because even medical doctors won't use them. Dr. Hamer is one of them and declared that none of the doctors he knew would either. He was an oncologist. http://www.newmedicine.ca/german-new-medicine.php

    • StillWatching

      It didn’t take long for the first “True Believer” to show up with their conspiracy nonsense. Every single word and implication of what truehealthnow has written has been debunked multiple times. Trouble is, no matter how many times it is debunked, True Believers never let go of the lies and they just keep trotting them out, again and agian, and it is impossible to keep up with them. They suck in sorry souls that need to believe in their nonsense and follow their misguided path at their own peril.

      • Susan Schenck

        From my decades of observation, it is the “magic pill” poppers whose path leads to perilous health….Death by Medicine, The Medical Mafia, and numerous books by other disillusioned MDs have examined this in detail. The real quakery is Big Pharma. But don’t take my word for it. Never! Do the research yourself. Plenty of it out there. Or take the drugs,and see how you feel!

        • StillWatching

          I have done the research but unlike you, I only accept science based information as actual research. All the crap you cite has been disproven multiple times, but no matter how many times I cite actual science debunking your nonsense, you keep trotting the same tired, incorrect nonsense at the next opportunity. You’re like Freddy Krueger and so is your nonsense.

        • StillWatching

          Hahahahahahahaha, Schenck upvoting herself twice. Once in her Schenck iteration and once as private1. What an ego.

          • Susan Schenck

            And you…..? No ego?

          • StillWatching

            Certainly not as big as yours. I don’t upvote my own posts as you do, nor do I create my own fictional characters to shill for myself and post phony upvotes as you have done with private1

    • Nestor

      Precisely my point, truehealthnow! In fact, the #1 cause of death in the US is not disease at all but iatrogenic (doctor caused), by prescription drugs in particular.

      • Susan Schenck

        Actually, the medical mafia itself concurs that the first cause is heart disease, second cancer, and third from the drugs and modern medicine. Did you know that there are numerous cases in which hospitals were on strike and the death rate went down?

      • StillWatching

        Even the Quack in Chief, Joseph Mercola, disputes the nonsense you just cited. Mercola distorts facts to make his case, but even in his twisted world, he claims that iatrogenic deaths are exceeded by other diseases. I’m so confident that rational people will see through Mercola’s nonsense that I’ll cite it here, but even this contradicts what you have written:

        http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/07/30/doctors-death-part-one.aspx

        However, this raises a greater point. Iatrogenic deaths are an important cause of death world-wide. However, comparing deaths caused by every aspect of the medical system to those caused by individual diseases is patently absurd. If you can handle the science, just look at this graph and see why comparing iatrogenic deaths to individual diseases is lunacy:

        http://www.nejm.org/action/showMediaPlayer?doi=10.1056%2FNEJMp1113569&aid=NEJMp1113569_attach_1&area=

        In other words, the True Believers are adding all the deaths due to the treatment of every medical condition known to man and every aspect of allopathic medicine to individual components of this graph. If that is beyond your understanding, I can’t help you. However, it it isn’t and you want a broader picture, here is more information for you:

        http://www.jopm.org/opinion/commentary/2013/04/24/it%E2%80%99s-time-to-account-for-medical-error-in-%E2%80%9Ctop-ten-causes-of-death-charts/

    • Susan Schenck

      I concur. Both my parents died of cancer and this led me down the rabbit hole. Research by doctors like Ralph Moss, MD (who has written MANY BOOKS exposing chemo) have proven that chemo kills only the cancer DAUGHTER CELLS, but not the STEM (mother) cells. WIthin five years, the cancer returns with a vengance!
      Yet, it is such big money, that ppl who cure cancer naturally (inexpensively and without toxic effects) are forced to leave the US. Some have even been murdered, about 60 last I counted. BIG PHARMA IS A MEDICAL MAFIA. This was a hard paradigm shift for me, as I was a doctor’s daughter. But people are waking up to the truth!

      • Ken

        60 Murders? Should probably link to that.
        (Be careful – I’m worried your going to run out of Capital Letters!) 🙂

        • Susan Schenck

          I put links above…of just a FEW of the links…..

      • StillWatching

        More Schench nonsense. As I have pointed out previously, no matter how many times you debunk this crap, the Tin Foil Hatters will drag it out and re-cite it anew at the next discussion. Read this and wait for the True Believers to squeal that this, too, is a conspiracy to hide the truth:

        https://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/Reviews/moss.html

  • Katherine Farago

    As a long time student of “natural medicine”, i find those trained in allopathic methods have little interest in learning about methods that were very effective prior to synthetic pharmaceuticals that give the body multiple side effects that require more pharmaceuticals to resolve the side effects or the cut and burn methodology……..not that those are not useful at times……….not to mention that the long term success of chemo is about 2% over 5 years and actually causes cancers to reappear (in the literature………..one can look it up).

  • LadyMoon

    My first thought after reading this sane and sensible article was “and…they’re off!” I think the usual suspects will be weighing in soon. From what scientific study are the comments “5% cure rate on cancer”? I believe it is far higher than that. Thank you Susan….

  • StillWatching

    Susan has published a lot of great stuff, but this one takes the prize for boldness and addresses the greatest need. I do hope it deeply offends those that truly need to be offended. I understand ambulances are on the way to Vilcabamba as I write…

  • StillWatching

    You need to re-read the article, but this time read it for comprehension, not just to look for things that offend you. You have completely misinterpreted what Susan has written.

    • Nestor

      Nope, I think you missed my point Still Watching. Just because it’s not alternative medicine doesn’t make it good either – a lot of conventional medicine worsens conditions and even kills.

      • StillWatching

        Nestor, assuming you are responding to my reply to Jodie I take absolutely no issue with your point. I’ve certainly seen my share of terrible Western Medicine, but it isn’t institutionalized as you seem to be implying. Bad outcomes happen for many different reasons, not the least of which is individual incompetence. I wouldn’t seek treatment from the kid that graduated last in my class but on the whole, because Western Medicine is subject to constant refinement through peer review, good practitioners adapt accordingly. My gripe and Susan’s as well, is with institutionalized quackery as is found in so much alternative “medicine”. I have cited many of these in the links I’ve provided. I hope you take the time to read them and not just look for information from quack sources that will just feed your scanning biases.

        Here is a link to a site that will give you a SHORT list of websites to avoid because they rely on nothing more than quackery and pseudo science. This list is by no means complete, but if you are being informed by any of these sites, you are being horribly misinformed:

        https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4283

  • StillWatching

    Some people may not understand references to Vilcabamba and for those that don’t get it, let me explain. For whatever reason, Vilcabamba seems to have attracted an inordinate number of kooks that subscribe to every bit of quackery under the sun. This also manifests itself as belief in some of the most outrageous conspiracy theories in existence. They include, but are certainly not limited to things such as this:

    The JFK Assassination
    9/11 Cover-Up
    Area 51 and the Aliens
    Paul Is Dead
    Secret Societies Control the World
    The Moon Landings Were Faked
    Jesus and Mary Magdalene
    Holocaust Revisionism
    The CIA and AIDS
    The Reptilian Elite
    Rods of God caused the earthquake in Ecuador

    In short, Vilcabamba is a metaphor for all that is ridiculous, unproven, unprovable, pseudo-scientific nonsense.

  • BDev

    My favorite debunked(?) therapy is the Placebo. It an amazingly broad spectrum therapy, useful for all sorts of conditions. Try it!

    • StillWatching

      It works best for True Believers. It is not debunked and has been clinically demonstrated many times and reported in peer reviewed journals such as Lancet:

      For many years, placebos have been defined by their inert content and their use as controls in clinical trials and treatments in clinical practice. Recent research shows that placebo effects are genuine psychobiological events attributable to the overall therapeutic context, and that these effects can be robust in both laboratory and clinical settings. There is also evidence that placebo effects can exist in clinical practice, even if no placebo is given. Further promotion and integration of laboratory and clinical research will allow advances in the ethical use of placebo mechanisms that are inherent in routine clinical care, and encourage the use of treatments that stimulate placebo effects.

      http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)61706-2/abstract?cc=y=

      • BDev

        Hooray for the Placebo! Subjective, irrational, unscientific medicine at its best!
        Oh wait… mind-body effects are quackery….

    • Susan Schenck

      EXACTLY. Read The Placebo Effect by Dr. Joe Dispenza to fully understand the power of placebo!

  • Jerry Anderson

    Stillwatching et al, I don’t happen to have any cousins in GA, but do have a friend whose cousin in Tennessee had a 3rd grade education in the Appalachians who is convinced the hooch he makes in his backyard still cures all manner of major illnesses. Or does it just make them unaware they a deathly ill after a few swigs?

    • StillWatching

      Comic relief is most welcome.

  • BDev

    Nice to see all the anti-quackery guards standing at the ready to defend their Kingdom, it’s King, and their Bible!
    Impressive…

  • Dora R.

    Not defending the use of quackery in any way, shape, or form. However, for thousands of years mankind avoided modern day diseases without drugs, surgery, and modern modalities of medics, chiefly by fresh, whole foods, exercise (hard work and walking), fresh air, adequate sleep, and peace with his fellowman and Maker.

    • Ken

      However – Cancer has probably been around for as long as there has been multicellular life!
      Average life expectancy in the US for white males at birth: 1850-38.3, 1900-48.2, 1950-66.3, 2000-74.8.
      Maybe those “Modern Day Diseases” are good for us! 🙂 Because we know these increases couldn’t possibly have anything to do with Modern Medicine!

      • Marcelle

        When I told my US internist I had noticed a decided difference at each decade of life for the worse, he responded: “You are correct…Half our patients die between 50 and 60 years old, and the other half between 60 and 70 years of age. Don’t believe the so-called stats regarding extended life in the day in which we live compared with the turn of the last century. It’s poppycock! And it pays well.” If you think about it, with all the processed non-foods, envirotoxins, bad water, chronic stress, etc., people cannot be living much longer now than then. Countless diseases exist now that were unheard of then.

        • StillWatching

          Holy crap, another great new conspiracy for the Vilcabamba crowd. Yup, all the stats showing life expectancies have increased over time are just part of a huge conspiracy to make you…

          Fill in your own blank. It won’t matter. There is no reasoning with the Tin Foil Hat Crowd. When is your next meeting?

        • Ken

          Do I understand your comment to say all the life expectancy data collected over time is false?

    • Jeff Van Pelt

      “Mankind avoided modern day diseases”? Do you know how many people in Europe the bubonic plague killed, or how many indigenous Americans smallpox and other diseases killed? The life span was much shorter in years before modern medicine.

      • BDev

        “The life span was much shorter in years before clean water and basic sanitation.”
        There. Fixed it for ya.

    • StillWatching

      Pure nonsense and myth. Here is a chart of life expectancies over the ages. What do you suppose was causing the average lifespan in the paleolithic age to be 33 years, while it rose to 67.2 (worldwide average) in 2010? Hint: Developments in nutrition and modern medicine.

      Era Life expectancy at birth in years

      Paleolithic 33
      Neolithic 20
      Bronze Age and Iron Age 26
      Classical Greece 28
      Classical Greece, another estimate 25
      Classical Rome 20–30
      Pre-Columbian North America 25–30
      Medieval Islamic Caliphate 35+
      Late medieval English peerage 30
      Early Modern England 33–40
      1900 world average 31
      1950 world average 48
      2010 world average 67.2

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

    • Susan Schenck

      EXACTLY! And don’t forget sunshine! Vitamin D has in fact been known to prevent cancer.

      • StillWatching

        Yes, but snake oil is 93.459% more effective.

    • LadyMoon

      My mouth flew open on this one. Please state one factual reference for your claims. It’s clearly BS! Just one little piece of evidence…about half the men to apply for the army after Pearl Harbor were denied because of their state of health (or lack thereof). Cancer has been around for thousands of years. How about the plague? Smallpox? Polio? Know your history, my friend.

  • lmizono

    Wow, this is like discussing politics! Trying to make one side right or wrong is like being in the washing machine. It is up to each person to choose their own method of healing via their own intuition and hopefully to be proactive when it comes to their own bodies. The mind plays a huge role in the healing process and the body has amazing autonomous healing capacities which tend to be downplayed or completely ignored.

    • StillWatching

      Yes, and it also helps to incant utterances such as “OM, Namaste and Oh wow” under your energy pyramid as you hold your crystals and hope for the best

    • Jeff Van Pelt

      I’ll take scientific evidence over intuition.

      • BDev

        Why limit yourself?

  • Jeff Van Pelt

    Thanks for the excellent article on an important topic. I like the Red Flags of Quackery, and I have one to add: Someone who lists themselves as “Dr. so-and-so” but doesn’t state the degree, where they got it, or what subject it is in. It could be a doctor of theology or a useless Ph.D. from an online diploma mill, for all the reader knows.

  • StillWatching

    Nestor, why do you cite anecdotal evidence that proves nothing other than individual stupidity, assuming the anecdote is true?

  • StillWatching

    BDev, you’re the only rational voice I’ve ever heard from Vilcabamba. I’m sure there are others, but man, you must get lonely down there.

    • BDev

      Who you callin’ rational, kemosabe?! 😉
      I’d never consider myself rational or scientific, or go to bat for ’em, though I find use for that POV sometimes. Couldn’t stomach the limited identity or label. Far more fun to play with the rational, the irrational and the arational, as needs dictate.

      It’s kinda like the First Law of Scientific Objectivity: There ain’t none. But yeah, it can be very captivating to pretend the Big O exists somewhere, somehow… we just have to keep looking…

  • Susan Schenck

    Those of you who want to SINCERELY know who THE REAL QUACKS are need to get to the truth and read the NYT bestseller, THE TRUTH ABOUT CANCER.This book, more than ANY of the THOUSANDS of health books I have read, gives the accurate history of the current medical model used in the USA. Many of you here will be VERY SHOCKED to learn the truth.

    • Ken
    • private1

      The book is factually correct and accurate. Very good read.

      • Ken

        The author, Ty Bollinger, was an accountant and bodybuilder, untrained in science or medicine.

        • Susan Schenck

          Watch his videos. He interviews doctors and experts. He is a researcher, not a doctor. And his work is factual and correct.

        • Susan Schenck

          And….? You have a problem with the above? Sure makes sense to me, after decades of observation, studying, and improving my own health. So you really think UNnatural is best? And to take toxic drugs is best? While in acupuncture college, we had an entire class on the Physician’s Desk Reference. Read up on your drugs before taking them. Then come back and tell me they are HEALING you.

      • StillWatching

        Shills like you are laughable, but dangerous. I’m sure you have the science background to state “The book is factually correct and accurate”. Perhaps you have a Bachelors Degree in Alternative Medicine.

        • private1

          Apparently, you are one of the educated who thinks every time you MUST see an MD it is because you have a drug deficiency and need More drugs. You are a true intellectual indeed!

          • StillWatching

            Another Straw Man argument

          • Katherine Farago

            wow —- a real live troll. you of course realize that most “double blind studies” are fixed to match the result the pharmaceutical company desires. you also fit into my original statement which is that some allopathically trained individuals do not have the capacity to have open minds. when all the antibiotics have failed for a loved one………..and your only last ditch effort is vitamin C……..clearly you wouldn’t bother.

            Listen to the whole Truth about cancer series which is available on the internet………..periodically free ……..and open your mind.

          • StillWatching

            “most “double blind studies” are fixed to match the result the pharmaceutical company desires.”

            Yeah, fer sure, dude. I read that on the internet once so it must be true. ‘ceptin’ I heard that ALL double blind studies are fixed by those BIG PHARMA devils. In accordance with Agenda 21 and the New World Order, they are out to kill all their customers just to push their population control agenda. I haven’t figured out yet how they’re going to stay in business after everyone is dead, but I’m headed down to Vilca tomorrow to see if those good people can give me some ideas.

          • StillWatching

            “most “double blind studies” are fixed to match the result the pharmaceutical company desires.”

            Yeah, fer sure, dude. I read that on the internet once so it must be true. ‘ceptin’ I heard that ALL double blind studies are fixed by those BIG PHARMA devils. In accordance with Agenda 21 and the New World Order, they are out to kill all their customers just to push their population control agenda. I haven’t figured out yet how they’re going to stay in business after everyone is dead, but I’m headed down to Vilca tomorrow to see if those good people can give me some ideas.

      • StillWatching

        private1 is a shill that just now signed up to Disqus. This is her only appearance. It is actually Susan Schenck in a new iteration, shilling for herself.

  • Ja

    At this point my suggestion to all those who have experienced the healing power of natural medicine is to simple boycot Susans articles and her attack dogs who’s sole purpose is to discredit anyone with personal experiences that contradict Susan. Let them have their drugs and chemo. Within the next generations their methods will be looked at like blood letting. Only problem is we feel for all those they are misleading now. The editor of Cuencahighlife should have used more discression because this article has offended many good people!

    • StillWatching

      OH NOOOOOOOO, not a boycott. Anything but that! How will we ever get along without you here? My only hope is that this article and the comments that follow it DO offend those that we intend to offend. If science, facts, logic and reason offend you, good.

      Please don’t let the door hit your collective asses on he way out.

  • Susan Schenck

    You should really educate yourself more on this topic. A great book is The Drug Story. It was a bestseller and went into some 9 printings when it first came out. Here is a free synopsis:
    http://educate-yourself.org/fc/drugstory.shtml

  • Dan

    Am I the only noticing that only a dozen or so people are participating in this conversation? For all the sound and fury of the comments, the topic is drawing a big yawn from the overall expat community. On the other hand, it’s good that the zealots have somewhere to channel their anger.

    • Terry Chiles

      With the amazing ability to utilize the internet to find information on almost every subject known to man, it is even more amazing that people utilizing computers can be so very ignorant of search capabilities… I do believe the weakest link in human evolution is that ignorance does not manifest itself as chronic or sudden pain, despite often resulting in death. When you do searches, be objective, look for facts, don’t just look to find support for your beliefs.

      • StillWatching

        That sounds like sage advice to me. Truth seekers will generally look for both (or multiple) sides to issues instead of just feeding their scanning biases. The reasons for that should be axiomatic, but never seem to be. Perhaps I can proffer and example to make my point.

        Decades ago, when I was a grad student, I discovered an interest in and a passion for libertarian thought and Austrian School economics. In addition to the reading I did by authors such as Ludwig von Mises, Frédéric Bastiat, Milton Friedman, et al, I also read a hell of a lot of socialist and communist literature by the likes of Karl Marx, Frederich Engles, Robert Owen, Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz. My friends couldn’t understand why I was reading so much that they considered to be anathema to libertarian/Austrian School thought. I explained to them that if I didn’t know what such people were actually saying instead of what denigrators said they were saying, I could never fully debunk anything I thought to be untrue.

        Thus it is with the pseudo-scientific stuff that those like Susan Schenck present here. I have actually read the material they provide links to and I hope that gives me a modicum of credibility when I dismiss it. I hope it doesn’t go unnoticed, but I try to provide links to scientific literature that disproves the pseudo-scientific material they present. I realize that most of the vocal proponents of pseudo-science won’t read what I present because it doesn’t feed their scanning biases. All those people want to do is confirm their already held beliefs. However, every once in a while, an actual truth seeker will come along and it is those people I am hoping to reach.

        • libertarian1776

          StillWatching: You said, “Decades ago…I discovered an interest in
          and a passion for libertarian thought and Austrian School economics. In addition to the reading I did by authors such as Ludwig von Mises, Frédéric Bastiat, Milton Friedman, et al, I also read a hell of a lot of socialist and communist literature…My friends couldn’t understand why I was reading so much that they considered to be anathema to libertarian/Austrian School thought. I explained to them that if I didn’t know what such people were actually saying instead of what denigrators said they were saying, I could never fully debunk anything I thought to be untrue.”

          Ah, a man after my own heart.

          Thanks for carrying the ball in the current battle of ideas. After my opening comments I opted to avoid the fray, knowing that there is absolutely nothing you can say to true believers to change their minds.

          Regrettably, I find that the same is true with religion and politics as
          well. Facts only confuse those who find comfort in their own delusional
          beliefs and don’t want to be troubled by having to think for themselves or to constantly question the validity of their convictions.

          Like you, I still try my best to read and listen to opposing viewpoints,
          e.g., the Washington Post, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, etc., but lately it is becoming really difficult to watch completely irresponsible so-called journalists parroting back propaganda fed to them like pabulum from government officials.

          Quoting George Orwell, “All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when
          they are unwelcome.”

          Happy New Year, SW. I have a feeling it’s going to be a very interesting one…

          • Devon_Nullman

            From “The Boxer” – Simon & Garfunkle:

            I am just a poor boy
            Though my story’s seldom told
            I have squandered my resistance
            For a pocket full of mumbles, such are promises
            All lies and jests
            Still a man hears what he wants to hear
            And disregards the rest

    • StillWatching

      Dan, why would you conflate the number of people commenting with the overall apathy of the expat community regarding what is written? After all, until your comment, you hadn’t opined either, yet you obviously read this far. Do you think, perhaps that other may have done like yourself and become better informed, but didn’t feel it necessary to comment?

      As I write this, 1,168 people have read this article and ostensibly, some may have also read these comments. Wouldn’t that put to rest your premise about the apathy of the expat community?

  • LadyMoon

    Wait. What? I thought popcorn would kill you….and I’d miss all this fun! LOL

  • Ja

    StillWatching, your blovious tirades prove my point perfectly! What a inconsiderate moron. Intellect does not make you wise, and you certainly prove that saying. You will get what you deserve in the end because of your thoughtless narcissistic ignorance. Nothing more than an obvious lapdog attacking with no consideration for the experiences and feelings of others. Go back in your hole where you belong. Funny how you use the same Disqus to hide yourself as the poster you accuse, incorrectly. Your despot is infantile. Enough said

    • StillWatching

      Whaaaaaa, whaaaaa, whaaaaa

      Stop whining. It is terribly puerile. See if you can focus long enough to pay attention to the substance of what I write. I don’t give a rats ass if you don’t like the form, but you would do well to learn from the content. The essence of what I write boils down to this; I have a complete lack of respect for those that promulgate lies and dangerous misinformation and rely on pseudoscience and quackery to inform themselves. Clearly, you are such a person.

      By the way, your stilted writing sucks. Stop using a thesaurus to sound erudite because you are a failure in that regard. “Your despot is infantile” has no meaning and “blovious” is apparently your own bastardization of the word “bloviate”. Do you also turn nouns into verbs? Do you “parent”? I suppose your pseudo-intellectual writing goes well with your belief in pseudo-science and anecdotal evidence.

  • BDev

    🙂
    What is SW like when irrational?
    I bet you’d be even more fun and playful than you already are…!

    • StillWatching

      Nah, I’m just as acerbic then as I am when I’m rational. I admit to taking perverse pleasure in offending those I don’t respect.

  • mizonol

    I can speak from first hand experience that Greg Caton’s black salve as well as his other products I have used absolutely work. Greg is also more knowledgable about the human body than any medical doctor I have ever known. It’s sad that people cannot open their minds enough to see that there are many paths to healing.

    • StillWatching

      Thank you so much for setting me straight. Please send me a link to the double blind studies of Caton’s black salve, that have been published in peer reviewed journals. I will be happy to read them thoroughly and tell you my thoughts.

      As for this statement: “Greg is also more knowledgable about the human body than any medical doctor I have ever known.” Do tell me your basis for knowing Greg’s knowledge is valid as well as the number of medical doctors you have actually known. Please be honest with me. Is the number greater than 20? If not, all you are doing is reporting worthless anecdotal evidence to support your position and that is my gripe with all True Believers in pseudo-science.

      If I can’t reproduce the results Caton claims for his black salve in my lab, then the stuff just doesn’t pass scientific scrutiny and thinking people will always dismiss it as snake oil.

  • BDev

    Nah. Not for me. Intuition, when used, refined and optimized (as best one is able, and in appropriate circumstances) provides very fascinating and useful insights and connections in one’s life that otherwise would be easily overlooked, or dismissed as ‘irrational’. I consider it arational. Intuition is probably right up there with Placebo in its profound effects; i.e. very significant.

    It all comes down to one’s deepest perspective of life: Am I running my life, or does something greater ultimately steer my ship? Opening up to that latter awareness yields amazing and profoundly fulfilling events and adventures that would otherwise not be perceived. If the limited, insecure ego seizes command and subdues all manner of other perceptive capabilities, that will certainly deliver a moderately fulfilling lifestyle, of sorts. But I experience and value other perceptive qualities as well. They provide a far richer variety of experience for me. Where this is especially surprising and fun are the endless unexpected connections and synchronicities that occur. All miraculous and beautiful.

    • StillWatching

      I don’t dismiss the intuition of others, I just recognize its lack in myself and therefore am relegated to reliance on science to supply me with my reality.

      • BDev

        (I tried to reply to above but it never showed up… and I’ve already forgotten most of what I said! So I’ll just add this:)
        That’s cool. To each his own. Whatever POV and lifestyle you choose is excellent. Max it out, and max out the best character traits you can in yourself. I’d say that’s all that matters.

  • StillWatching

    I believe you. Hahahahahahaha

    • private1

      for the official record…..I’m in Florida….have been for 29 years. So, as I stated, you are wrong in your assumption however you are consistent.

      • StillWatching

        Tell us the truth. When did schenck call or e-mail you and ask you to shill for her?

      • StillWatching

        That would certainly explain why you never posted a single comment here until schenck created you 2 days ago.

  • Susan Schenck

    Try taking poisonous, toxic drugs for yourself if you REALLY believe they will HEAL you. Read the Physician’s Desk Reference and see that for many, the side effects are worse than the disease. THEY DO NOT HEAL. THEY SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. If you want to use them, you are free to. But watch your health diminish. I have observed all my life the difference between people who use drugs and those who use natural (ANCIENT!) healing methods. My father was an MD and the drugs killed him. He bypassed a healthy lifestyle, thinking these would work, and HE DIED.
    Again, THE DRUGS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

  • StillWatching

    Anyone can go to your profile and see that schenck just created you 2 days ago.

  • StillWatching

    This is when I like you most. You write very lucidly and I appreciate your intelligence.

  • Ken

    Greg Caton – are you not the same Caton who is a convicted felon, who was sentenced in 2004 to 33 months in prison for weapons possession, defrauding customers and violating FDA regulations in relation to alternative health products?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Caton

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Greg_Caton

    And more recently from England:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11628065/The-fake-cancer-cure-conference-the-healers-tried-to-keep-secret.html

    • Greg Caton

      Ken . . . I know it would be a lot to ask for someone to get their facts straight instead of mindlessly coming on the comment boards to firebomb people whose opinions differ from your own . . . but bear with me.

      First of all, I have never been to the UK, let alone been a participant in the conference you reference above. Secondly, many, if not the majority, of the truly great medical geniuses of the 20th century were prosecuted by the U.S., and they include virtually all of my medical heroes over the past century: Dr. R.R. Rife, Dr. William F. Koch, Harry Hoxsey, Dr. Wilhelm Reich, Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski — (my wife was one of his lab technicians in the early 90’s) — to same a few.

      In the summer of 2004, I wrote to Dr. H C Moolenburgh in the Netherlands to laud his book, “As Chance Would Have It,” never expecting a response. A month later I got a very personal letter from him referencing my case, reminding me that all contributions of significance in medicine meet with opposition, often violently, by those whose profits, privileges, and prejudices are challenged. It wasn’t that long ago that Dr. Ignaz Semmelwise was institutionalized for professing that less patients would die at the hands of surgeons if they would simply wash their hands before going into the surgical room. We accept this today as a given.

      You and Ms. March can do all you want to protect a dying, corrupt, evil and incorrigibly inept system. But facts are a stubborn thing, and as Thomas S. Kuhn so brilliantly articulated in “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” there are no provably false scientific models that escape the dustbin of history — no matter how much money they make for pharmaceutical companies and no matter how many armies of apologists, yourself included, are sent out to protect them.

      So enjoy flaming while you can.
      The system you protect is soon coming to an end.

      LASTLY . . . although you cite my issues with the FDA, nobody of your ilk adds that the Ecuadorian government formally condemned the actions of the U.S. government in my case as legally without foundation and had my residency reinstated — see :

      http://www.meditopia.org/chap3-3.htm

      But since facts have no meaning in your world, I’m sure you’ll continue to leave that out.

  • Jason Faulkner

    Censoring news stories that you do not agree with is not being treated with common respect and thoughtfulness. Susan didn’t berate, defame or call you names. She published a story that you then called for the public to boycott.

    And bloodletting is just as natural as acupuncture and equally ineffective in the treatment of any disease.

  • StillWatching

    You fool, wikipedia cites other sources, just as it has in this case and if you’re not discerning enough to read them, that tells me all I need to know about you.

  • StillWatching

    Lord, you are dumb. Obviously (to most) I was mocking those that accept anything they read on the internet as factual and if the specificity of my dollar figure didn’t give that away, you need to get out more. That doesn’t change the underlying point that Kelly Brogan is as full of crap as you are.

  • StillWatching

    Poor, poor persecuted Greg Caton. Same tired story trotted out, just as you did when you were sent to prison. It gets old after a while. As for your nonsense about Tim Bolen, of course I’m aware of it because every alternative medicine quack trots out those lies every time Stephen Barrett debunks some of their nonsense. As I always say about schenck, no matter how many times your stuff is debunked, you just trot it out again at the next opportunity, knowing that most people will believe you if they are already disposed to your quackery and the others won’t check. So, here we go again with a few links that contradict your nonsense:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/07/27/a-nonsensical-attack-stephen-barrett/

    http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/timoranter.htm

    There are many other sites completely debunking your crap and I know you know that because you use the internet all the time to feed your own scanning bias. Anybody that knows how to use google or google scholar, however, can seek out the truth for themself.

  • Devon_Nullman

    One of my pet peeves are people that state that something that is beneficial must be naturally occurring and that anything made in a factory is probably toxic. The shame is that, as I said earlier, people that have been told that their disease is incurable, or will be difficult to control are desperate and the crooks and charlatans have adapted well to using the internet as an efficient method to spot these potential customers. Examples:

    http://www.mms-supplement.com/
    http://cdautism.org/

    Chlorine Dioxide as a treatment – Wow

    • Jason Faulkner

      It’s called the naturalistic fallacy. Sometimes I think the purpose of these arguments is to bombard one with so many logical fallacies that it becomes too tedious to even counter them one by one, the idea being that the one who hangs in with the discussion the longest wins. It’s a shame the education system is so poor at teaching science. Regardless of one’s knowledge of the minutia of a given scientific field, logic should be as understood as arithmetic by the time one finishes grade school. I’m amazed how many grown adults don’t seem to understand even the basic precepts of a logical argument.

  • StillWatching

    You seem incapable of grasping the difference between anecdotal evidence and that which science demands———– the ability to duplicate results before valid conclusions can be made. The case of your mother is a perfect example of this. You conflate coincidence with causality and until you understand this concept, having a meaningful conversation with you (or schenck or Caton, for that matter) is impossible.

  • StillWatching

    Yup, that is a well respected, peer reviewed journal you have cited.

    Folks, all Caton cites is stuff that even the uninformed can see through if they actually go to the site he links to.

    Caton, even you have to admit that citing your own publication is tacky and disingenuous.

  • Jason Faulkner

    The plural of anecdotes is anecdote, not data. Anyone with as much to gain as you would have taken the time to collect their data and publish real findings if there really was anything there. Providing nothing but case testimonials buttressed by cries of persecution is the hallmark of a charlatan.

  • StillWatching

    Pure crap, Caton. You don’t cite actual scientific literature. The links you provide aren’t to respected peer reviewed journals, they are to your own blogs and anybody can see this if they actually click on your links.

  • Jason Faulkner

    An appeal to antiquity is nauseating. I would no sooner rely on a single study from 160 years ago to make treatment decisions in the 21st century than I would rely on a 19th century physician for medical advice. You’ve been in this business how many decades? Do the work if you have something to prove. Spare me the links to editorials and books. Peer review or it’s bollocks.

  • Jason Faulkner

    Ignorance? I can say with confidence that I know more about REAL WORLD human physiology and pharmacology than a charlatan invoking outdated Galenic vitalist nonsense like you. I don’t need to take the time to rebut your links one at a time because you’ve already been thoroughly exposed by people even more qualified than me. In matters involving the health of my patients and the public in general, the only language spoken here is the scientific. method. If you makes claims that are not supported by well run, repeatable studies with strict adherence to the scientific method, you’re nothing but a con man sucking money from desperate people and you should feel bad. Sadly, the hallmark of a sociopath is they can’t feel bad about what they do. It’s what makes them sociopaths in the first place.

  • StillWatching

    Donald, thank you for your correction of “it’s” vs “its” You are of course correct and I have made the proper edit.

    However, regarding the use of “iteration”, I think we both know (as I sense you are quite articulate) that another meaning of the word is this:

    “version, incarnation ”

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/iteration

    Look at definition 3

    I’m happy to discuss pedantic issues with anyone that is gracious enough to take the time to correct me. Like you, I make many errors and am always grateful to those that point them out.

  • Jason Faulkner

    I followed your link. Still don’t see what study you are referring to. How about you just post a link to the study and spare me all the conspiracy nonsense?

  • StillWatching

    There isn’t an iota of difference between you and schenck when it comes to citing and re-citing information that has been debunked, ad nauseam. Your belief that youtube is a peer reviewed journal is laughable. You may fool the ignorant, but never the educated.

  • StillWatching

    Hi Donald, Thanks for writing again. “Iteration” has been in my lexicon in the way I used it for decades and the truth is, that until you brought the issue up, I had no idea that the prevalent use of the word is as you represent it.

    I have always been in love with words and it goes back to the time I was a kid and we had a standard volume of Miriam Websters in the bathroom and I would sit there reading it all the time. Naturally, as a kid with a limited vocabulary, I would often come across definitions of words which themselves contained other words that I didn’t recognize and I’d have to cross reference them, which I never failed to do. This habit followed me right through college and grad school, where I essentially learned all about science and medicine long before I studied both formally.

    As a kid we also had and enormous volume sitting on my dad’s desk that was purchased in installments at the local A&P grocery store. I recall that the first installment was 59 cents and receipts for so many dollars worth of other purchases at the store, and succeeding installments were 99 cents with a purchase. I looked forward to unwrapping each installment and adding to the existing volume, which had 3 metal posts through which the holes in the new pages had to be aligned. When the tome was finished, it was about 18 inches thick and if there was a word in English, it was in that volume.

    Now, in this fabulous age of computers and the internet, I don’t even have a hard copy dictionary (yes, somewhat blasphemous, wouldn’t you say?) but I use this link frequently:

    http://www.onelook.com/?w=iteration&ls=a

    Of course, I have included the specific query for the word “iteration” with it but if you go to it you can bookmark it for yourself. In the instant case you will see that the result returns links to 25 different on-line dictionaries and it is a most useful tool. As just one example, here is the link I have chosen for the American Heritage Dictionary for the word “iteration”.

    https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=iteration

    There you will see this definition of the word:

    it·er·a·tion (ĭt′ə-rāshən)

    n.
    1. The act or an instance of iterating; repetition.
    2. A form, adaption, or version of something: the latest iteration of a popular app.
    3. Mathematics A computational procedure in which a cycle of operations is repeated, often to approximate the desired result more closely.
    4. Computers
    a. The process of repeating a set of instructions a specified number of times or until a specific result is achieved.
    b. One cycle of a set of instructions to be repeated: After ten iterations, the program exited the loop.

    While we’re on the subject of modern marvels that enhance education, I will share with you one of my greatest tools. I’m sure you are aware that there are search engines of many iterations (sorry, I couldn’t resist) but one you may not be aware of is Google Scholar. Like most people, I use the regular google when I am looking for things I want to share with laymen, but when I’m looking for something where all I care about are scientific or scholarly references, I use this:

    https://scholar.google.com.ec/

    When I’m searching for specific results from various scholarly journals, this is the only option that makes sense. Try it and tell me what you think.

    Finally, as to your suggestion for using “incarnation” instead of “iteration” while it may serve the purpose, it just doesn’t work for me because it seems too stilted. It just ain’t me. At my age I tend to stick with what I know and “iteration” will just have to do for now.

  • Devon_Nullman

    What an odd, unrelated thing to say. Please explain your comment.

  • Devon_Nullman

    What University is that degree from ?

  • Jason Faulkner

    No, he won’t because every link you post gives a 404 error. Can’t figure out how to post a link to your own propaganda but people are supposed to trust you for health advice? What was your degree again? An Associates in what? Why not just tell people you’re an airline pilot and you can fly them to wherever they want to go? I understand that it was fraud, your honor, but I really believed I could fly a plane and I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

  • mizonol

    ‘Stillwatching’, I did a bit of investigating and it seems you have a number of different aliases. I’d just like to know how many of them are participating in this discussion?

    • StillWatching

      All of them.