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  1. #1
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    Default Science vs alternative medicine

    Not horse related, but very pertinent to many of the most debated topics here. A hoot for lovers of science!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGuXCuDb1U



  2. #2
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    LOVE.
    Click here before you buy.



  3. #3
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    Love it too

    I'm not a scientist, just a beneficiary of alternative medicine that's been proved to work



  4. #4
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    That's a funny video, but I thinks it's a very "polarized", "black and white", point of view.

    One of the major problems with the idea of good science, is that humans are influenced by their own psychology, and biology.

    The fallibility crated by the human ego is an example. Look at the history of science and medicine and you will see many examples of how the majority beliefs of the day, and desires for fame and notoriety, have inhibited the progress of science by the scientists of those times, and the idea of the scientific principle has been used in political ways to manipulate opinions away from truth.

    Science is not black and white, and all "alternate ideas" have at least some value, for in the very least, alternate ideas are a common part of human behavioral psychology, and any study to discover the reason such ideas exist, would fall under the scope of science.

    Then there is the principle of science fiction, and the notion that ideas of fantasy provide the impetus for scientists look at the world in new ways that may lead to scientific discovery.

    The very nature of creativity is not bound up with scientific fact, if anything, adherence to scientific fact stifles creativity into the narrowest processions of diligently incremented progress.

    But Einstein then dreams of riding on a light beam and brings us the theory of relativity.

    The fanciful musings of the passionate can become tedious to endure, but when the passionate are open minded to amending their beliefs, couldn't that then really just be thought of as the root of the process of inspirational thought?



  5. #5
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    Fancy, imagination, and thinking outside the box are necessary, human to the extreme, and part of what makes life interesting.

    But it's important not to wilfully substitute these things for actual facts when facts are available in abundance, simply because choosing to do so satisfies the desire for one's preferred flavor of "reality".
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  6. #6
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    Agreed, when medicine is actually BASED on good, sound, well-modelled scientific research which is not bought and paid for by drug or device companies paying someone to gloss the abstract to show their pre-conceived "conclusion."

    A good example of some terribly weak "science" is epidemiology as applied to modern chronic, degenerative diseases; every day some new "breakthrough" is touted in the media, vilifying or pushing one food group, behavior or life pattern or another, all of which put together add up to a weak "association" at best, if not a rounding error. Yet they are perenially pitched to the public as though they showed actual causality, and that's a joke! Tobacco = Cancer is not the same as Red Wine = Longevity.

    Don't even get me started on the difference between Absolute and Relative statistics and how they brainwash and scare the crap out of people by spinning that all around . . .

    There's also mere "conventional wisdom" and anecdotal evidence (not much more) justifying a huge amount of medicine as it's practiced today. Surgery for low back pain comes to mind, and a lot of the ways they treat depression could be classed as pure experimentation.

    It ain't ALL good! And it ain't really SCIENCE!



  7. #7
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    every day some new "breakthrough" is touted in the media, vilifying or pushing one food group, behavior or life pattern or another, all of which put together add up to a weak "association" at best
    IME this is more a phenomenon of the mass media trying desperately to make "news" out of what often turns out to be very small works published in obscure journals. Doesn't mean the work itself is wrong, bad, or flawed, but fluffing it into some new breakthrough is just stupid, and virtually never coming from the scientific community but rather TV and crappy publications that are trying to tap into the "health" industry.

    So vilify the media, not the scientists.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    IME this is more a phenomenon of the mass media trying desperately to make "news" out of what often turns out to be very small works published in obscure journals. Doesn't mean the work itself is wrong, bad, or flawed, but fluffing it into some new breakthrough is just stupid, and virtually never coming from the scientific community but rather TV and crappy publications that are trying to tap into the "health" industry.

    So vilify the media, not the scientists.
    Agreed. But how about those many instances where the necessary background research as to "safety & effectiveness" just doesn't get done, because conventional wisdom says, "Well, it MUST work this way because it just seems so right!" Or, like the Pill, gets done and is suppressed.

    Best example I know is the checkered history of Hormone Replacement Therapy, to keep this horse-related. When the science finally GOT done, 25 years after taking Premarin became all but mandatory, holy backpedal Batman! This stuff was no health drug after all--in fact, one beaucoup lot of people had traded a nuisance ailment (or no ailment at all!) for something an awful lot more sinister. Including my best dressage friend, pushing up daisies out in Corum these past 11 years now, dead at 54 from a blood clot because she thought she was doing something "good" for her health.
    Makes you question what's behind the Next Big Thing, doesn't it?

    By the same token: Statins for someone with hypercholesterolemia? Hell, yeah! For someone who's already had a heart attack? Possibly. For every man, woman and child in America if we can just declare EVERYONE's numbers "elevated" arbitrarily by committee? Um, hoooold on thar, Baba Louie! Now we get into "numbers needed to treat." Great for public-health bean counters maybe, but for the individual you need to arm yourself with what the science ACTUALLY says--which ain't all that and a bowl o' cherries!

    Pharma lobbyists make sure "recommendations" get rubber-stamped; why not, they stand to make billions! I really WISH every prescription was carefully, scientifically deliberated for each and every individual, based on their own body and not some statistic in the cloud. That would be an OK world to live in, n'es-ce-pas?

    BTW, I know the strictures you work under. I'd be mad and raving, which is why I kick sh!t for a living. Besides, I couldn't hack the math . . .



  9. #9
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    The debacle of hormone replacement therapy is a commonly cited example of how evidence-based medicine actually came of age. Medicine moves pretty quickly. It was only 30 years or so ago that we were still using the premise that "this makes a lot of sense and ought to work just fine" to make decisions. Big studies like the Women's Health study, the CAST trial helped us to invent and more modern studies continue to reshape the way we think about evidence-based medicine.

    So we don't really do it that way any more.

    Although the RESULTS of these long-term studies may still be classified as happening in recent memory, they took a LONG time to develop, implement, and for the data to be digested and understood. Yes, now we know better than to recommend hormone therapy for menopausal women across the board. And HOW did we learn this? By doing RESEARCH. Which takes years and years and years to do properly. What exactly is your beef with this?

    Decades may seem like not very long, but in terms of how modern medicine has grown and continues to grow, it is an eternity. If you want another example of how a few decades can impact the way we think about medical things, compare the 1930s and the 1960s with a quick cruise through old medical journals. It is like reading reports from two different PLANETS.

    I really WISH every prescription was carefully, scientifically deliberated for each and every individual, based on their own body and not some statistic in the cloud
    Maybe you need to give modern-day practitioners a little more credit and actually have a conversation with a few instead of painting them all with the same brush of derision and negativity. Some of us do our best to accomplish exactly what you stated above. It really isn't that hard, when you consider that each and every individual has a whole lot in common, biologically. Believe it or not, the finer points of "who ought to get what and when and why" takes up a very large part of what we do all day, every day, and I would say is also the fun part.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwampYankee View Post

    Pharma lobbyists make sure "recommendations" get rubber-stamped; why not, they stand to make billions! I really WISH every prescription was carefully, scientifically deliberated for each and every individual, based on their own body and not some statistic in the cloud. That would be an OK world to live in, n'es-ce-pas?

    :
    Not so sure about that.
    The statistics that you are complaining about are guidelines used to determine what drugs or treatments work or help x% of patients with a specific condition.
    Without that info a lot of medicine would be a coin toss.
    So no, not an OK world.
    Without those stats how would you know what meds should be used?
    What do you mean by 'based on their own body'?



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwampYankee View Post
    A good example of some terribly weak "science" is epidemiology as applied to modern chronic, degenerative diseases; every day some new "breakthrough" is touted in the media, vilifying or pushing one food group, behavior or life pattern or another, all of which put together add up to a weak "association" at best, if not a rounding error. Yet they are perenially pitched to the public as though they showed actual causality, and that's a joke! Tobacco = Cancer is not the same as Red Wine = Longevity.

    Don't even get me started on the difference between Absolute and Relative statistics and how they brainwash and scare the crap out of people by spinning that all around . . .
    I'll keep this brief and just say that, based on the above, I don't think you actually know anything about the field of epidemiology or how biostatistics are used in its practice. I'm not sure where you get your information, but for all your posturing as being a free-thinker, you have seemed to swallowed quite a bit of tin-foil hat without chewing.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Fancy, imagination, and thinking outside the box are necessary, human to the extreme, and part of what makes life interesting.

    But it's important not to wilfully substitute these things for actual facts when facts are available in abundance, simply because choosing to do so satisfies the desire for one's preferred flavor of "reality".
    Facts themselves are already in existence, scientists only "discover them".

    Just because a fact has not yet been discovered, does not mean that it is not currently having an effect over our lives.

    Sometimes science can be restrictive, because it tends to restrict the scope of available choice to that which is "known".

    If the universe is full of perfectly useful undiscovered facts, why not make use of them?



  13. #13
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    Loved the movie.

    Having that said, I have delayed gastric emptying. It hurts like hell, and for some reason it always flares up around may, and around July I'm much better.

    Knowing this, my doctor has put me on a diet and omeoprazole, which I take between April and until the pain stops. Every year its the same, even with the diet and medication I end up having to be hospitalized to treat for pain and scope for ulcers.

    This year, when it started getting really bad, I went and did 15 days of acupuncture with a doctor that has a degree Chinese medicine, but also in common medicine.

    When the treatment was over, I was just fine. I haven't had such a good year in around 5 years.

    I know I am just one person, and one case does not prove a theory. But I used to be a very skeptical person and now I'm pretty sure this doctor knows what she's doing.

    So yeah, next time I have something common doctors can't go around, I'll visit this one.



  14. #14
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    Facts themselves are already in existence, scientists only "discover them".
    That's very philosophical. Everything we "know" is done so by discovery, of course, and that is scientific inquiry in a nutshell, be it ever so humble.

    Problem is, many things that are "known" to be facts are quite simply incorrect, because the process of coming to know them was flawed, skipped entirely, or subjected to bias by the observer.

    I put forward the Flat Earth Society as exhibit A.

    Now, of course it is perfectly fair to ask "can we ever REALLY know anything?". I'm not a big fan of philosophical skepticism or the really deep doubters like Descartes. I'm way too practical-minded.

    If an undiscovered "fact" is having an effect on our lives, I would quibble that this is not a "fact" at that point but rather an undiscovered phenomenon or finding. When (or if) we figure it out, we then get to put it in our box of facts. But while this phenomenon is still unknown or undiscovered, we have no knowledge or control over it. That is another place where people fall down in their ignorance--claiming to be able to tap into, somehow, or control or know or manipulate these unseen/unknown things.

    We may not understand entirely why a lot of things happen. That's where future scientific endeavor should be directed. But anyone who uses these unknowns as a basis for making decisions or claims to be able to harness or make use of these unknowns in a consistent and predictable way is a charlatan.

    If the universe is full of perfectly useful undiscovered facts, why not make use of them
    Well, first we have to be aware of them, to know them, in order to make use of them, no? Otherwise how do we know we are making use of them properly or are not simply deluding ourselves? That's sort of like walking off a roof without knowing the laws of gravity.
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  15. #15
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    My best friend, also a horseman, had has back lock up on him terribly after a chain-reaction of pratfalls following driving a large van to Florida. For three months he dutifully did all the things the MD's wanted him to do--swallowed pills that knocked him out or made him sick, tried to stretch and couldn't get it done, and was incapable of doing any work with the horses for more than a 10 minute stretch. One day as I was talking to him he had to stop and lie down on a row of shavings bags it was so bad.

    In desperation he went to the biggest-gun orthopedist in town; who predictably wanted to line him up for surgery! At that point he was so scared he had visions of having to sell his farm, and wondering how he'd make a living crippled if it didn't turn out so well.

    I begged him to see an acupuncturist before even TALKING about surgery--what did he have to lose? After all, X-rays, CT scans and MRI's had shown up nothing, which they usually don't in cases of low-back pain. Well, after one session of acupuncture, he could walk normally and drive his car without pain. After two sessions he was back to doing all his usual barn work; after the third one the spasm was gone and has not recurred...........

    Now; would the back pain have gone away on its own? Very possibly. Did the acupuncture really cure it? I don't know; what I do know is they've been doing it for thousands of years for some reason. Would his life have been very different, maybe permanently, had he dutifully trudged off for major spine surgery?

    THIS is the kind of experience that keeps people seeking alternative choices; and also second-guessing a lot of the conventional wisdom in mainstream medicine that uses a howitzer to fight a mosquito. Like it or not, many people are very afraid of the powerful drugs, dangerous procedures, and even loss of autonomy and independent descision-making that too often accompany an experience with the dominant medical system.

    I have no beef with research whatsoever; I'd like to see a lot more of it done, and on PREVENTION of the biggest killers, not just "new treatments." Mentioned this to a neurologist friend of mine, and he snapped at me, "Bet you're one of those people who'd refuse antibiotics, right?" I said, hardly, I've used them whenever necessary, for human & beast. But all things being equal, wouldn't it be preferable to avoid stepping on the rusty nail to BEGIN WITH? But this is why Dr.'s think I'm no fun!

    My horses' vet understands perfectly . . .



  16. #16
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    When I brought my horses home to our brand new farm 6 years ago, after one week I could hardly walk due to SI pain. I knew darn well what the problem was (I wasn't used to mucking or throwing hay every day) so I went to a chiropractor, who promptly put the thing back where it belonged. Never bothered me again until about a year later, when a fluke bad step off a ladder did the same thing. This time I skipped the chiro and lo and behold, it got better on its own. Moral of the story: sometimes things get better, sometimes various things help. Doesn't mean I would go to this (or any) chiropractor for my cholesterol or to get a kidney stone problem sorted out.

    THIS is the kind of experience that keeps people seeking alternative choices
    This, for certain, but also a lot of other things that are rooted in beliefs, magical thinking, and a worldview that may very badly want for some method or other to be "true" because it would validate one's preconceived beliefs.

    Just like you can't put all complementary/alternative methods into one big pot, you also can't give one singular reason why people seek them out.
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  17. #17
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    Before you all go touting accupuncture as some form of alternative medicine or as an example of science versus faith, sadly accupuncture is a well studied medicine and is generally accepted as an effective therapy for many conditions.

    Additionally, most hospitals in China have traditional medicine and "western" medicine sections as it is recognized that many conditions can only be cured via modern medicine.

    In other words, you all are simply validating the scientific mind set of being willing to change ones mind as the facts become understood. Accupuncture and other modalities are becoming quite common. This view is supported by the National Institute of Health in the National Center of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine allowing us to research these "alternative" medicines scientifically.



  18. #18

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    What do you call an alternative medical therapy or remedy that has been scientifically shown beneficial? Medicine.



  19. #19
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    I got no beef with folks who use procedure or product X, they, or their animals get better. Can't say if time might have done the same job, but at least their animal is better.
    Me and mine have gone to chiropractors and I keep ginger tea around for gastronomic upsets. I have also used 'alternative treatments' to no avail, AFTER doing all the traditional stuff that vets suggested, to no avail.

    What does cause me serious grief when I see people KEEP trying the same stuff when it DOESN'T work. Because their delusional thinking convinces them they are seeing good results, or because they are giving the 'alternative treatment' proper time to work. Using scientific method, and a dash of skepticism can allow us to move on when it is appropriate, instead of wasting time and allowing suffering to continue, and find something else that will work.



  20. #20
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    What does cause me serious grief when I see people KEEP trying the same stuff when it DOESN'T work.
    Exactly. I had a chiropractor for my horse that promised me she could make him sound, after he had been infiltrated all around to no avail. It didn't help, obviously.

    Now, I tend to try stuff on me first, and if it works invest on it for the horse. I know the anatomy is different, but we all agree lots of human remedies work on horses as well.

    In this horsey alternative medicine stuff, I have the advantage of having terrible ligaments (my ortho doctor says I have a fentypical pre-disposition for injuring myself) so I have a lot of opportunities to test stuff on myself!



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