What percentage of illnesses clear up without treatment? (spontaneous healing)
Posted: 19 July 2009 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Questions about health care, doctors, medicine, ‘natural’ medicine, ‘spontaneous healing’, placebos, stress reduction, ‘Laughter - the best medicine’ etc.

I think medical science has saved my life several times.  This topic isn’t questioning the value of medical science.

We know that many illnesses clear up by themselves.  This is the ‘health care system’ of wild animals, and was the human health care system for a hundred thousand years.

Medicine men in pre-scientific times could burn sage and waft the smoke over a patient, maybe give him an expensive tiger tooth to wear around his neck.  The problem would often go away.  A patient’s recovery would add to the medicine man’s reputation.  If the patient didn’t recover, the medicine man could easily provide reasons why not. 

This is the ‘science’ of the placebo effect.  Laughter, and being surrounded by supporters helps the sick recover.  This is the ‘science’ of prayer as a healer.  The opposite of this is the hex, making a doll to represent someone, then sticking pins in it, etc.

There are thousands of products on the market today that take the place of the witch doctor’s concoctions.  People pay a lot of money for a mixture of herbs - they get better - they tell their friends - and the product earns a place on the shelves of health food stores, even drugstores.  Eventually medical science tests the product, often finds no beneficial effects, (maybe finds negative effects), and the product slips out of sight to be replaced by other ‘placebos’ - potions that cost a lot of money and sport a brochure or WEB site with a list of testimonials that swear by the new miracle cure from the rain forest and ‘Swiss research’ etc.
curative effects.

But the point I want to make is that most illnesses probably clear up by themselves - no matter if an M.D., a hospital,  naturopathy, or prayer claims the credit.

Zen literature says, ‘Eat 75 percent of your capacity; the other 25 percent is for your doctor.’  One thing that helps the naturopaths is that patients often give up a number of bad habits once they start paying a lot of money for herbs and office visits.

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“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 21 July 2009 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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unsmoked - 19 July 2009 06:11 PM

Zen literature says, ‘Eat 75 percent of your capacity; the other 25 percent is for your doctor.’  One thing that helps the naturopaths is that patients often give up a number of bad habits once they start paying a lot of money for herbs and office visits.

One thing implicit in this is that behaving intelligently is voluntary, as it should be. The other implication is that, if you have enough money, you can afford to be an idiot. No one may contest this, extra landfill to the contrary. If you’re really an idiot, your money will disappear, and your idiocy will be evident to everyone.

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INVEST in cynicism!

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Posted: 22 July 2009 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I’ve got lots of friends who swear by homeopathy.
I sometimes try to persuade them that there’s nothing in it (literally), but they keep coming back at me with “It works on my pet cat, so it must be valid, because an animal can’t be biased”.
For years I didn’t have a convincing reposte to this statement (apart from “I’m sceptical - there’s probably something else going on that we don’t realise”, which is a bit weak).
Now however, I think I have the answer.
It’s a statistical thing, called reversion to the mean.
Basically, the further a thing is from its normal state the more likely it is to move back to it (as though it’s on the end of a piece of elastic).
So, the sicker an animal is the more likely it is to start getting better (or die). Notice that’s better, not necessarily cured.
People tend to get their animals treated homeopathically when they are iller than usual, so the animal is probably about to get better to some degree anyway (or die).
That’s all there is to it (possibly).
I came across this as a possible explanation while reading How We Know What isn’t So: Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life - an excellent book by Thomas Gilovich.

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Atheism with added cartoon content.

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Posted: 23 July 2009 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Traces Elk - 21 July 2009 02:26 PM

If you’re really an idiot, your money will disappear, and your idiocy will be evident to everyone.

Wait, are we talking about the bloke who worked at a landfill all his life breathing methane and plastic smoke, saved up a nest egg of $150,000 to retire in Florida with wifey, got lung cancer at age 57, went to hospital and got a bill for $326,000? 

His insurance company found out that he hadn’t reported a skull fracture (suffered in high school when he was goalie for the Jefferson Wildcats) and refused to pay his hospital bill.

Incidentally, while in the hospital he was given an MRI.  A tiny bit of shrapnel that had been left in his cheekbone after a stint in Vietnam was sucked through his left eye while being tested in the MRI, blinding him permanently in that eye . . .  another unreported injury that his insurance company cited as reasons for not paying for a new glass eye,  or for the MRI.

In France, is our idiocy evident to everyone?  Is that why we hate the frogs?

[ Edited: 23 July 2009 02:45 PM by unsmoked]
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Posted: 28 July 2009 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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‘Hooked on a Feeling - This is your brain on a placebo’

“...the key finding is that sham acupuncture delivered as much benefit as real acupuncture.  And the most parsimonious explanation for that finding is inescapable: it is possible to think yourself out of pain.”

Read Newsweek article at:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/198727

This is your brain on a prayer?

[ Edited: 28 July 2009 01:45 PM by unsmoked]
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“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 06 August 2009 06:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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The single best thing that a homo sapien can do to promote better health is too improve cardiovascular fitness.

It trumps all other antecdotes, medicines, foods and fuels.

Wanna improve your odds of living longer and healthier? Increase your heart rate and metabolic rate…frequently.

Screw the acupuncture, wheat grass and centrum silver!

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‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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Posted: 08 August 2009 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Jefe - 06 August 2009 11:40 AM
eudemonia - 06 August 2009 10:59 AM

The single best thing that a homo sapien can do to promote better health is too improve cardiovascular fitness.

It trumps all other antecdotes, medicines, foods and fuels.

Wanna improve your odds of living longer and healthier? Increase your heart rate and metabolic rate…frequently.

Screw the acupuncture, wheat grass and centrum silver!

I’d go with a 2 step approach:

Regular Exercise
Eat unprocessed fresh foods.

Let’s not forget ‘right occupation’ and ‘being of good cheer’.

Remember Tom Hanks in CASTAWAY?  He had regular exercise, ate unprocessed food, and had a basketball, Wilson, as a companion.  Not enough?  Check out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Zone

(In particular, scroll down to paragraph titled ‘CHARACTERISTICS’).

[ Edited: 08 August 2009 11:45 AM by unsmoked]
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“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 10 August 2009 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Actually Jefe, in a lengthy study done in Europe some years back (don’t have it anymore but It’s possible I could find it) cardiovascular exercise trumped what food people ate.

There were 4 groups in the study, which was done over, I think 10 years, and the healthiest group were the people that exercised regularly and did not particularly care what they ate. This group actually ended up healthier than even those who both exercised and ate a health conscious diet. Go figure, but maybe people who deprive themselves of too much enjoyable (or decadent) food don’t release as many endorphins or something.

The overall point is that cardiovascular exercise is alone the best medicine. Eating natural healthy foods is a definite second.

And as US reiterated, happiness is also very important. Of course the catch 22 there is that exercise and healthy lifestyles lead to increased happiness in most cases so….there ya go.

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‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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