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I’ve added another audio article to my small library of audio versions of articles, bringing the total to seven: the audio version of my stretching experiment. It was actually an old recording, rediscovered! I completely forgot that it existed. Audio articles are freely available to visually impaired readers on request, and for all boxed set customers.
“Reducing” complex systems in nature to their components is just one of many thinking and reasoning tools, not an all-consuming obliviousness to “the whole” — as often insulting insinuated by alternative medicine practitioners. My previously tiny article about this has been beefed up to a few hundred words with a new section using traditional Chinese medicine as an example of “the fate of medicine without reductionism.”
Most slightly positive study results are actually just bogus. The weaker a positive result to a scientific test of a treatment, the more likely it is to simply be wrong: not actually positive at all. There are several ways that an allegedly positive study can actually be negative…
So you can see why I’m a little skeptical when someone enthusiastically shows me one paper from an obscure journal reporting a “significant” benefit to, say, acupuncture — which has probably been the subject of more of these “positive” studies than any other treatment.
This is an excerpt from a recent update to my article The “Impress Me” Test: Controversial therapies are usually fighting over scraps of “positive” evidence that damns them with faint praise.
My low back pain book is now the third in my inventory to be professionally edited (at considerable expense). The changes are only obvious to grammar Nazis and punctuation nitpickers — Oxford commas now standard! Most readers will just experience a richer, creamier read without knowing exactly why. But to make this interesting, I’ll humiliate myself…
There is little doubt this is “basically” rather embarassing! But that’s pretty much why I simply hired the single best editor I could find.
In addition to the professional editing, I’ve also now logged about eighty noteworthy updates to my low back pain book since 2009, plus at least another hundred unlogged tweaks and touch-ups.
A lot of dead horses are getting beaten in alternative medicine: pointlessly studying silly treatments like homeopathy and reiki over and over again, as if it’s going to tell us something we don’t already know. This point has been made ad infinitum on Science-Based Medicine since its founding in 2009, but this week Drs. Novella and Gorski make the case against testing “whether magic works” in a high-impact journal, Trends in Molecular Medicine:
[Trials] of highly improbable modalities continue to be funded and performed, not because of any compelling scientific rationale or prescientific evidence but rather because they are popular. Indeed, another key argument used by proponents of…clinical trials is that they should be carried out because these treatments are used by a lot of people…. These trials degrade the scientific basis of medicine by treating modalities where the basis rests in prescientific thinking as though they were well-supported science- and evidence-based modalities, while clinical investigators labor under a seemingly reasonable delusion that negative RCT results will lead to the abandonment of CAM and IM modalities that fail to perform above placebo in RCTs. Unfortunately, this abandonment never seems to occur.
The SaveYourself.ca home page has a featured content carousel: little teasers for popular articles that slide past. I’ve been meaning to do this for ages.
All the known forces depend on virtual particles to carry them (hence carrier particle) across space. For the electromagnetic force, the carrier particles are virtual photons. Electromagnetic radiation also is carried by photons. There has to be a physical means to to get from here to there. A proposed new form of energy, a form of energy that interacts strongly with matter (of which human tissue is an instance), would require such a carrier particle. Reorganizing particle physics to include a new energy and its accompanying particle presumes that something that should have been obvious was overlooked in all the particle experiments analyzed over the years. I wouldn’t hold my breath.
I’m glad Keith wrote this article — and I don’t think anyone could possibly be better qualified for it — because I still just can’t bring myself to bother delving into “energy massage” myself. It’s just too silly! So this is (still) all I have to say about it.
Recently, post-lawsuit, they changed the text to be even more vague (which is saying something):
The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised. Vibram FiveFingers® footwear is different than any other footwear on the planet. Not only does it bring you closer to your environment, it also delivers a number of positive health benefits—by leveraging all of the body’s natural biomechanics, so you can move as nature intended.
Uh huh. So basically the same stuff — but now too vague to get busted for. I’ve updated my barefoot running article.
I get a lot of my exercise science news via Alex Hutchinson of Sweat Science. For instance, this interesting item about “the burn” of intense effort — what exactly causes it? Which molecules? According to Pollak et al, it’s protons, lactate, and ATP — and only in concert. “There was essentially no response whatsoever to the individual metabolites,” explains Alex, “so the receptors apparently respond only to the synergistic combination of all three.”
Surprisingly, this fairly unsurprising result is brand new information: the paper’s authors call it “the first demonstration in humans that metabolites normally produced by exercise act in combination to activate sensory neurons that signal sensations of fatigue and muscle pain.”
Hi, I’m back. The last couple weeks were consumed by an anatomy exam (and then some “special projects” I will remain deliberately mysterious about). The exam seemed easy except for a few questions with diagrams that looked like they’d been scribbled on the back of an envelope with a crayon and then photocopied 12 times. “Label this.” Okaaaay…
I originally intended to be an efficient underachiever, and accept much less than an A for the course, but … turns out I get sucked into anatomy. I really went for it! And I’ve now probably achieved peak musculoskeletal anatomy knowledge — I’ll never have it more down than this.