Caveat Emptor


#1

Caveat Emptor is Latin for “let the buyer beware” and it applies to medical treatment (conventional and alternative) as much as anything else. As Diabetics, we are consumers of medical care and since our lives depend on good care, we need to be very much aware of what we buy/try and make sure it’s actually been proven safe and effective.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, is another great piece of folk wisdom. And in todays Internet world of unregulated snake oil salesmen and self-described “experts” pushing their own books or products, we need to always keep this in mind.

Here’s an excellent article (I’ve included the first paragraph) by a former alternative medicine advocate who now promotes evidence-based medical care:

Double-Blind Studies: A Major Scientific Advance of the 20th Century

I once took alternative medicine on faith. For decades, I practiced it on patients and myself and my family, and assumed that pretty much all of it worked. Then I learned about double-blind studies, and it was like a tornado blowing down a house of cards. I discovered that I, like most people who love alternative medicine, had made a huge (though understandable) mistake. …


#2

I love skeptics. I consider myself one of them. Maybe I’ll rename myself “The Skeptical Diabetical.”

Thanks for posting this, Ken.


#3

There is no evidence of anything. If you begin to realize this, then you begin to open the boundaries of life to yourself that exist outside of such things such as ‘double-blind studies’. Your unlimited potential will be free, again, as it once was, before you created your internal boundaries brought upon you by yourself with ‘learning’.

Double blind studies are done (and believed) by people who do not take into account the fact that they cannot prove that they themselves exist.


#4

LOL, if there is “no evidence of anything” then why did you bother to post pictures of your supposed gallstones? That sure looked like an attempt to present “evidence”.

I’m here to discuss and encourage Diabetes health care, not New Age mysticism. Maybe your obviously non-Diabetes related interests would be a more appropriate topic at another site.

I think, therefore I am. What am I? I am a human Diabetic who will die if I ignore reality.


#5

Exactly. But, open the box and see a box without walls!

I bothered to post because too many people are locked within things like double-blind such and such. I post, in general, to show there is another way than what you have been taught and to show people there are experiences that they would not otherwise learn about. What I mean when I say ‘what you have been taught’ refers to everything you have been taught.

It is too much for some people. That’s ok, they are just as worthy of voicing their opinion.

When you look at what we are creating right now, health is going in the direction of dis-ease increase. Show me a world where the science and studies produce people without dis-ease and people of vibrant vitality and energy and I might choose your world. To deny me of my world by trying to ‘disprove’ me is the same as me trying to ‘disprove’ your world. They are both existing at the same time. I don’t try to disprove yours, but to show at least 1 person there is more than what they are told.

To wrap it up, I post so that people can see there is another world besides theirs, but I do not force it upon them. They are the ones who have to choose it. It’s very easy, all you have to do is do it. Stop waiting for the research and take your own control of your health.

Also, I think it is quite unfortunate that the Alternative category forum has a post such as yours, it would be better well served in another category. I say this because the content and references you make are intended to wholly discredit ‘alternative’ by using a ‘traditional’ way of proving with science. So, your content, in my eyes, has nothing to do with the world ‘alternative’ (even though the author had changed his personal views). There are many successful alternative choices that one can use that have no chance of being double-blind studied.

alternative
of or relating to behavior that is considered UNCONVENTIONAL and is often seen as a CHALLENGE to traditional norms


#6

Perhaps you didn’t actually read the whole article I linked too. If you had, you’d realize that “evidence” is the key to care for any Diabetic. It doesn’t matter if the form of care is accepted by conventional western medicine or not (the article clearly pointed out multiple past errors in conventional medicine as well). If there isn’t any valid evidence for the safety and efficacy of a form of treatment (no matter the source: alternative, conventional or some alien life form) then someone with Diabetes should exercise caution (Caveat Emptor). That’s why my post is very appropriate in this forum. Surely you wouldn’t claim that all forms of alternative medical treatments are completely safe for Diabetics or that we should NOT exercise caution, would you?

Now if you can post something of actual validity for treating Diabetes, I’ll be eager to consider the evidence you present. I am completely open to new forms of treatment (in my 30+ years as a Diabetic I’ve explored many myself, as well as doing self experimentation). I simply don’t fall for anecdotal evidence or faith-based assertions which have been repeatedly been shown to be a very poor method of determining the medical efficacy of a treatment. And as a Diabetic (which you aren’t) I understand the actual emotional appeal of miracle cures, which can be quite dangerous.


#7

Bravo Mr New Dimension guy.

I agree with you for the most part. I think that what you bring is really a good thing to this forum. I enjoy reading what you have to offer … and because I can think … I do read and think critically about what I read. I do this whether it is a post from you or from anyone (well actually I am more scrutinous when the doctor tells me something).

The problem is that most people do not think. They do not reason things out for themselves. Here is a personal case in point…

I go to the doctor. He says that it looks like I am having some issues with my after meal blood sugars. I say, oh ok and I think well, maybe I need to watch the food that I am eating so that I can avoid those issues…

Doctor leaves the room and comes back with samples. I am like ‘what is this?’ he says, ‘that is Simulin, it is a drug that you inject that will slow your absorption and better control your sugars after meals … oh and it will probably help you lose weight.’
I think oh ok well … I will bring this home, but I am going after logical and non drug use first … I am going to watch what I eat.
I come back to the doctor a few months later…he was so angry that I did not start the injections. But, guess what … I simply adjusted what I was eating. Most, I am afraid, simply take what they are told.

I believe that doctors are one of the leading causes of death in the US. So, I mostly use mine to get my prescriptions.

Jack


#8

Jack,

I definitely support that kind of evidence based treatment. I too had post meal spike problems, but my solution was to take my bolus significantly earlier. With a CGMS and glucometer, I was able to safely experiment and improve my own control significantly without any additional treatment type (alternative or conventional). Both our solutions were better than the symilin approach IMO and both have clear quantifiable evidence that they work. Glucometers aren’t biased, likely to experience the placebo effect, and they don’t generally lie, so they provide an independent validation that our method works or doesn’t work. That’s self experimentation along with measurable science (which developed the glucometer) at it’s best. The kind of stuff I have a problem with is where there’s no real way to measure if something works or there’s a potential risk to one’s health. Or when additional conclusions are drawn beyond which the evidence allows.


#9

Thanks for your opinions. Both of you are right. Jack’s comment at the end is true, but it isn’t the doctors fault. The fault lies in the way we learn things in life, from other people who have learned things, which keeps our minds from expanding. (doctors going to school to ‘learn’)

Ken states that he needs evidence that something will work before he tries it. This is very logical.
I understand why he posted the original link; he wants to make sure that people who are interested in alternative treatments are informed of the importance of double-blind studies so they can apply this method of science to that treatment and make a decision based on the outcome. I enjoyed the article, it did open my eyes to that type of study and how it has changed even a lot of conventional medicine. I understand Diabetics concern for being cautious and I would never support any claim for treatment of this disease. My supports are actually the same for all diseases and are to give the body what it needs to heal itself. With regard to auto-immune situations, it is solely our minds and beliefs that have blocked the potential for healing. (please read John Sarno: The Divided Mind to begin unlocking your thoughts)

My view is that we have become so dependent on others research and evidence that we don’t really think for ourselves. Even before anyone will consider doing something different, they have already mentally blocked out the potential that they have for success; this mental block will never allow the new thing to be successful. We use someone else as the answer for ourselves and this has limited human expansion of understanding of things. For example, when a child asks “who made the universe?” and someone answers “God did”, the answer totally cuts off the child’s limitless imagination and keeps it from expanding at that point. From here on, the child will learn certain ‘science’ and ‘rules’ about how things work from people who have had the same type of conditioning until the child ‘knows’ things and becomes the same person that their teachers were. Very limiting.

An interesting video speech by Ken Robinson shows how our education system has limited our current society. Another great thinker is Aubrey de Grey.

How do we know when a doctor gives a ‘diagnosis’ that it is actually true? We think because a group of doctors all agree on the diagnosis and it has been ‘agreed upon’ that it is true. But how do you know? When there is a double-blind study outcome with peer reviews and then it is published, how do you know the outcome is true? We weren’t there. The proof only lies within each person and what they believe. We can only know what we think.

One thing I am wondering… are all these evidence based supporters Atheist?


#10

EDIT/CLARIFICATION TO ABOVE:

I understand Diabetics concern for being cautious and I would never support ALL claims for treatment of this disease. But, treating a disease is not the same as rooting out and fixing the cause of the disease. Symptomatic approaches keep us from fixing ourselves.

My supports are actually the same for all diseases: to give the body what it needs to heal itself. With regard to auto-immune situations, they are survival mechanisms that the body uses to continue life, and THEN it is our minds and beliefs that KEEP the potential for healing blocked (along with the continued symptomatic treatments).


#11

Ken,

Empirical is best for most. I am an accountant and mathematician and that is the side that looks for hard evidence and facts. But, I also moved into doing computer software and hardware about 15 years ago. What I have learned in that area is adaptation and the concept of unknown variables.

In the computer science arena there are so many variables at play. At times, they are all known (when you build something from the ground up) but most other times they are not. I am a consultant…so I get to always see the problems or things that seem to have no resolution. When I come to a client to solve the unsolvable what I have learned is that there are some variables that will simply not be known (because time is of the essence i.e. time = money) so I must adapt in order to solve the problem. Well, more specifically I adapt the system or software so that the problem is solved.

This is very much applicable to the human body. There are far too many variables in each individual to really say that one thing works or does not work. As you may have experienced with medicine … it is what worked with most, not necessarily all. The double blind studies that you speak of only bring statistically significant (and repeatable) results to us. These are never 100% situations.

With that, I say that I do not listen to the miracle cure from New Dimensions nor my doctor. But, without some level of communication I won’t be exposed to more things that may not be in my purview.

Jack


#12

The modern American education system was envisioned and pushed by magnates of early America.

The purpose … to create repeatable human beings for labor.

I realize that it has developed a great deal since its beginnings. But, unfortunately, still following the same model.

Jack


#13

Clearly, there comes a point where some level of “faith” or “trust” is necessary in order for us to survive. I can’t possibly analyze the water coming out of my faucet every day for poisons, nor do I verify the molecular sequence on each bottle of lifesaving insulin I keep in my refrigerator. I trust the people who work on my water system (and who produce insulin) are doing their jobs efficiently. And as an added sense of security I know there are people watching them (insulin is carefully scrutinized by government scientists trained in that process), in case they mess up. Likewise, in the fields of science or medicine I trust, not individuals (or a single study) but the process as a whole. And I supplement that process with my own research, logic, inquisitiveness, and skepticism (which I consider an excellent tool-kit to separate the wheat from the chaff).

I think a perfect example for this forum would be the question of cinnamon. Does cinnamon really help Diabetics? There’s a lot of talk about it going around the Internet. But does it really help? As an open-minded person, I have no inherent reason to think it does or it doesn’t, so I have to look for some more information to persuade me to lean one way or the other. If what I consider reasonable evidence is presented and no contrary evidence is available, I’d probably take a tentative position that cinnamon might be helpful. And if I could find no warnings against a cinnamon supplement (many things are OK in moderation, but when taken in larger doses are hazardous) I may make a conscious choice to use a little more.


#14

Jack,

I’ve worked in the computer industry for 25 years myself, so I understand very much where you’re coming from. But I also know that any solution I devise for a system problem has to have measurable results. I can’t merely say “I fixed it” and expect a customer to pay me without clear evidence that it works. I must devise a test that will demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that I’ve eliminated the bug without introducing worse ones.

When I’m writing some harmless shareware game software I can be somewhat cavalier with changes and experimentation. But when I’m writing software associated with the space station or a nuclear submarine, then my approach is much more rigid and cautious. Likewise, a normally health person can be a little more cavalier (like the game software) with trying new health treatments than a Diabetic (like the nuclear submarine).

So when it comes to managing Diabetes, I simply want to see good evidence. That’s all I’m saying. Creative solutions and different approaches to a broken system (computer or our own endocrine system) is fine, but given the tightrope we have to walk to survive, the creativeness has to be constrained by evidence and approached with caution.

Ken


#15

You know, the problem with the position that nothing can finally be proven is that it easily leads to the conclusion you might as well believe ANYTHING, because ANY search for proof is fruitless.

I am sick and tired, and quite offended, at being told directly and by implication that my mind needs to be ‘opened.’

There are many wonders in the world and I’m not going to be able to encounter all of them. Nor will I be able to try all of them. So please don’t patronize me by telling me I need to ‘open my mind’ just because I’m unable to consider or try one of them or because I view it with skepticism.

I frequently find that the phrase ‘open your mind’ is just a code for ‘think what I think, believe what I believe.’ It rarely occurs to people who say that to me that perhaps I HAVE considered what they think or believe and that I have rejected it. Who is being closed minded in that case?


#16

amen, took the words out of my mouth. As if we don’t research and look into everything we do healthwise-heck I was on the internet and got tons of books as soon as my son was released from the hospital and was napping. I believe in alternative medicine and western medicine, I just feel that some things are better for different illnesses and diseases, like insulin for my son, but we still use other “alternative” things in our home too. Of course some people who have never lived with this disease on a day to day basis (and I’m not targetting one person here but several people who I’ve come across in real life telling me what to do with their beliefs) have no clue what we deal with.


#17

“people without dis-ease and people of vibrant vitality and energy” - are you implying that people with disease do not have vibrant vitality and energy? if you do believe this, you are wrong.
if diabetes is one of these ‘diseases’ you talk about, all you have to do is see one of us kids or teenagers with type 1 going to school, and parties, and having fun and the same endless energy as any other kid or teenager, you would most likely begin to realise that ‘disease’ and vibrant vitality and energy can go together.
on the other hand, if anyone ever finds a treatment that works more effectively than insulin, I’m open to suggestions!