Thursday, 27 November 2008

Medical issues

I was on the train the other week, talking to the random people you sit opposite (lack of ipod or Dan Brown book permitting), when I happened to meet a guy who does something called "Energy therapy". Amused by the claim, I asked him a few questions on it, and ended up in a conversation that didn't surprise me in the slightest.

As it turns out, this man [I shall refer to him as Jim-Bob for reference] had just come from visiting some ill old lady and "healing" her with his "e-lybra" machine. I asked him how it works and he suggested "well, quantum physics tells us we're all made of energy.." - I nod my head - "..all this machine does is assist the body's internal organs by reinforcing their natural frequencies.". Great. Lovely. What?

MySo, it works like a microwave oven? That adds energy at the 'natural frequency' of water...I fail to see how this can help anything except fighting cancer. He explained that everything has its own natural frequency, because it's all made of energy....well no. Matter is made of matter, which is condensed energy. Organs don't vibrate, and neither do they have their own specific "frequencies".

Jim-Bob went on to explain about how people like him help to heal terminally ill patients (something he didn't claim to have done himself), and of course, the conspiracy of big pharma corporations - something which I have to agree with; in the UK we have a problem with altzheimer's patients not getting the drug that masks pretty much all their symptoms, and diabetes patients getting the second class and not so effective drug, simply because the more effective drug costs more. There's not much reason it costs more other than the company decides to charge more for it. It's like computer technology; something costs a fair amount of money to develop, then is dirt cheap to mass produce, but they're sold at a high price for as long as possible. With products such as electronics, this is understandable, with medicinal cures, it is not.

I digress...back to the discussion. At this point I had actually agreed with him, but this wasn't to last long. Having met with a nuance of agreement, he continued to press his beliefs home; medicine doesn't work and is down to the placebo effect, alternative cures are being suppressed because they're not patented, and cancer is actually just a fungus.

"Cancer is just. a. Fungus."

Cancer ...
Fungus ...

This is where any sane person talking to this man flashes back to the point where he claimed that terminally ill patients should be treated with these methods, and that these alternatives are blocked because they are "not well understood".

As any person concerned for the health of the ignorant and impressionably minded who employ people like this for "a mere" £60 per session to treat them for their potentially terminal illnesses would do, I laid down some knowledge. Cancer is not a fungus, and anyone who believes so just because they subsribe to some group's newsletter that claims to know otherwise is not only a moron, they're dangerous.

Jim-Bob's defence was that he wasn't a scientist, or a medical doctor but the people that write for his newsletters are "biomedical research doctors with PhDs and working in University research labs". I repeated; cancer is not a fungus. This should make it blatantly clear that such patently false claims are not coming from anyone who has the hard-earnt right to call themselves a medical professional - but he didn't seem convinced, he's already believing every word of his E-machine's newsletter that he will fail to see such a hideous and dangerous error, and so he will continue to treat the ill with ideas he knows he doesn't understand and takes on a faith basis. He is the perfect posterboy for what's wrong with alternative medicine conspiracy theories.

These are the most dangerous forms of conspiracy, because the ignorant and ill can flock to these people, give them plenty of money when the medical care already paid for by their taxes would give them unlimited amounts more aid than bullshit claims like those. You cannot treat someone for cancer, if you are treating that cancer as something it is not.

For someone who claimed to be able to treat terminal illnesses, he didn't seem to be able to take any care of his teeth. These days we have the internet, so there is no excuse for believing something that is so horribly wrong and using it to treat people for money, when the well known truth is just a few clicks away.