The purpose of this blog is purely educational. It does not advise any reader to forgo medical treatment for any condition. It describes methods that have not yet been proven effective through widespread scientific testing. Readers who are concerned about their health are advised to contact their physician.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dr. Mercola interviews Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez about Steve Jobs and other celebrity cancer patients

Click here for the interview.

And here is a link to the transcript, because sometimes Dr. Gonzalez is a little difficult to understand. Here is a short excerpt:
Conventional doctors can fail and still be considered heroes...

There’s a very eminent oncologist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who treated Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney’s wife, who had metastatic breast cancer. He gave her a bone marrow transplant. There’s no evidence in the history of the world that bone marrow transplant helps metastatic breast cancer. None whatsoever, and it’s a deadly procedure – 10 to 30 percent of women who get it would die from the procedure. He gave it to her, and she died. Then he treated ..., who used to be editor of ... She had metastatic ovarian cancer. He gave her chemo; it didn’t work. He gave her a bone marrow transplant. It didn’t work; she died!

What did the New York Times do? They have a second-page major article about this hero oncologist who’s been working day and night against such odds to keep these wonderful gifts to the world alive. But they’re dead. He didn’t succeed. He gave them therapies that could not, in a thousand years, be of cancer significance.

DM: Are there any ethics or panels that need to approve those procedures before they’re implemented?

DG: There are ethics panels for the likes of you and me. When you’re a celebrity oncology star, you make the rules as you go along... These oncologists can pretty much do whatever they want, and they’re lauded for doing it. They’re considered heroes. They’re considered heroes for using this desperate, expensive, terribly toxic therapy. In fact the more toxic, the more heroic the doctor is perceived. The press loves them... If you stand outside of the back door of Sloan-Kettering, you see the bodies coming out every day. Conventional oncologists lose patients every day, and no one says they’re murdering anybody... Patrick Swayze’s doctors have been lauded as heroes; no one came out and said that the Stanford oncology team are sleazy quacks making money and taking advantage of their victims... [But] if you’re an alternative practitioner and succeed, you’re still considered a sleazy quack. So it’s a very interesting dynamic that has absolutely nothing to do with scientific validity, objectivity, or evaluation of data – it has nothing to do with that at all. It's almost a religious fervor... Conventional academic medicine is the last religion left in America.
Here is a Dr. Whittaker cited by Dr. Mercola on the same subject in a different article:
What is lost in the unemotional statistic of 500,000 cancer deaths per year is how those people died... In my opinion, conventional cancer therapy is so toxic and dehumanizing that I fear it far more than I fear death from cancer. We know that conventional therapy doesn't work -- if it did, you would not fear cancer any more than you fear pneumonia. It is the utter lack of certainty as to the outcome of conventional treatment that virtually screams for more freedom of choice in the area of cancer therapy. Yet most so-called alternative therapies regardless of potential or proven benefit, are outlawed, which forces patients to submit to the failures that we know don't work, because there's no other choice.

Taking a passive role with today's conventional therapy is terribly dangerous. Recently Jackie Kennedy, after a "courageous fight," succumbed to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - or did she? Her early demise, attributed to the cancer, was a shock to cancer specialists worldwide, and brought into question the real cause of her death. She had been given an unproved protocol of very high-dose chemotherapy. The drugs alone could easily have caused her death - and this would not be unusual. There are numerous cases of iatrogenic (doctor-induced) deaths from chemotherapy.
And to show that Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. Whittaker are not just blowing hot air, here is a study about the effectiveness of chemotherapy published in the prestigious journal Clinical Oncology (Morgan G, Ward R, Barton M. "The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies." Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2004;16(8): 549-60). Their results:
The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.
Their conclusions:
As the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.
To this I would like to add my own story. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1983. She had a mastectomy and was prescribed Tamoxifen. Two years later she had a small recurrence at the site of the mastectomy scar and was given a full work-up to see whether the cancer had metastasized. It had not. All the same, her oncologist prescribed what he called "prophylactic" radiation, just to be on the safe side.

I had a very bad feeling about the radiation and begged her to reconsider, and she told me "I would trust this doctor with my life". She died five hours after her first radiation treatment. We never found out what killed her, but one thing's for sure, it was not cancer -- more likely its treatment. We were too numb with grief to make a fuss and as accepting of the sanctity of the medical establishment as she was. But imagine if she had died with the same suddenness and the same lack of explanation in the hands of an alternative healthcare practitioner like Dr. Mercola. It would have immediately raised suspicions. There would have likely been an inquest; perhaps charges would have been laid. Certainly an effort would have been made by the authorities to shut the practitioner down to protect the public.

Whether it was misapplied radiation or deadly side-effects from Tamoxifen, the end result was that my mother died years before she should have, a few months before her 52nd birthday. One consolation was that she did not have to suffer through the "best practices" that oncology has to offer and we did not have to watch her throw up and lose her hair and then waste away to nothing at the end. One thing she told me after her mastectomy was that morphine did not so much take the pain away as make you not care that you were in pain. Please, let's find a better way.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bill Bengston at the Toronto Energy Psychology Conference (ACEP)

On October 22nd, almost three years to the day since our last Toronto workshop, Bill Bengston returns to Canada to give a talk entitled "Lessons from the Lab: Energy Healing Experiments on Cancer." This will be an exciting opportunity to find out what new discoveries he has made in the meantime and whether any more strides have been made towards moving the method from the lab to successful application in real life.

Approximately 35 years ago Bill Bengston did an experiment in which he cured laboratory mice of cancer. He then followed up this experiment with three others in which skeptical volunteers who learned a method he developed were also apparently able to cure the mice of cancer. Nothing much was heard of these experiments until the year 2000, when he described them in a paper in the journal of the Society of Scientific Exploration. Since then other experiments followed, in one of which Bill explored why the control mice in his experiments were also cured, and explained why the remission of the control mice did not nullify the results of the experiments and what bearing that has on drug research in general. He published his findings in another paper entitled "Resonance, Placebo Effects, and Type II Errors: Some Implications from Healing Research for Experimental Methods".

Other interesting experiments Bill participated in include fMRI studies to see how his brain functions while he heals, what happens to the brains of the subjects who receive healing from him, and how the healing affects geomagnetic probes.

My own personal interest has been in the clinical application of the method. Starting in July 2007, Bill Bengston and I organized a series of workshops in Toronto to see if the success of the skeptical volunteers with the sick mice could be translated into successful treatment of cancer by practitioners in real world situations. After six workshops over almost a year and a half we found that while students could obtain noticeably anomalous results, such as increased survival and the abatement or reversal of some symptoms, we did not see any cures by them, unassisted, of documented cancers in people.

As early as 2008 Bill raised the question whether healing could be taught in an article for Larry Dossey's Explore magazine. He is still wrestling with the question, although he has taught many workshops since then in other locations. I would be curious to know whether these later workshops produced meaningful results. What we would be looking for, and what I would hope to see, is a meaningful number of cancer remissions reported by a number of practitioners. One or two remissions would not be statistically significant; a dozen or more would be, although it's hard to know where to draw the line. Bill's own observation has been that healing ability, like musical talent, is distributed on a curve, with a few Mozarts who are able to achieve spectacular results surrounded by many others with varying degrees of lesser ability. Significantly he has also raised the possibility that he may have healed the mice in his experiments himself, using the skeptical volunteers as his proxy. Due to a phenomenon he calls resonance, bonding the mice and their healers, it cannot be known with any certainty who did the healing.

The clinician in me would like to see Bill take the next step and begin to study the effects of dissemination. One man being able to cure cancer is an anomaly, and to study his brain and the effects he is able to produce on fMRIs and geomagnetic probes has value in that it adds to our store of knowledge about energy healing, but it does not directly translate into anyone being cured of cancer in the real world. That same man being able to disseminate what he knows in an effective way is revolutionary.

What needs to happen next, in my view, is to study not Bill's brain and Bill's effects, but the brain activity and effectiveness of his students. Do they produce the same brainwaves? The same "resonance" with patients? Just as there is a minimum dose response among the mice, is there a minimum study time or exposure to Bill needed to create a student able to reproduce Bill's success? Skeptical students who participated in a six-week program with Bill were able to heal cancerous mice; students who learned the method in weekend workshops were (to my knowledge) not able to cure documented cancers in people; but that is not to say they would not have been able to cure mice had they been given the opportunity, or that the students who cured the mice would also have been able to cure people. Much is unknown -- a great deal needs to be investigated further.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bruce Lipton on "The Power of Consciousness"

Bruce Lipton is a scientist with a life-long interest in the life of cells. He is a proponent of epigenetics, a new way of looking at the influence of genetics that suggests that lifestyle affects DNA. He has essentially found that if you put cells in a poor environment they deteriorate and if you then put them in a nourishing environment, they recover and flourish. He says that we are all essentially giant petri dishes covered in skin, and how we nourish our cells determines how healthy we are. The blood is the medium which nourishes our cells, and the chemicals in our blood are determined by how we live. That includes not only what we eat and how much we exercise, but also the chemicals created by stressful living. Dr. Lipton believes that to say that we are genetically predisposed to get certain kinds of cancer because of our family history unnecessarily makes us into victims of our genetics. "Epigenetics" means we don't have to be.