Internet considered harmful

A forum to discuss Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency and its relationship to Multiple Sclerosis.

Postby sou » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:21 am

+1 frodo

Disregarding a theory, without even understanding it, is unscientific. I wouldn't want to be treated by a neurologist who thinks that the CCSVI treatment is balloon angioplasty of the veins of the eye during optic neuritis!

The same guy has written an extensive article online with misinformation regarding CCSVI. In that case, why did he do that, since we shouldn't read articles on the internet?

What I am asking for is application of the good old scientific method. It's a pity that many people bandalize it, using scientific-looking (but not scientific) "reasoning".
Shortest joke: "We may not be able to cure MS but we can manage its symptoms."
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Scorpion was right on the money

Postby ScutFarkus » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:42 am

tazbo wrote:Not to rile you but there is lots of recent info about a supressed cancer cure...due to that pharma group we lump in with evil doers.
http://www.arbitragemagazine.com/topics ... ld-7debut/


This is a great example of the "danger" of getting your news from the Internet. You can read a much more informed and reasonable assessment of this so-called "suppressed cancer cure" here: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011 ... cancer.php

The short version (from the article) is this:
There have been no clinical trials of dichloroacetate (DCA) in cancer patients, so there is no basis for claiming they have a cure; some, but not all, cancers might respond in promising ways to the drug, while others are likely to be resistant (cancer is not one disease!); and there are potential neurotoxic side effects, especially when used in conjunction with other chemotherapies.


Back to the original point that (apparently) scorpion made elsewhere, which was then quoted at the start of this thread with a rebuttal I'm unable to parse, scorpion makes a good point. The Internet, by its nature, allows like-minded people to form communities where they reinforce one-another's ideas. There have been a few recent articles about this effect, coinciding with the publication of a recent book on the phenomenon: "The Filter Bubble" http://books.google.com/books/about/The ... alrOI1YbQC

I haven't actually read the book, but based on some summaries and reviews I've read, I think the author overstates his case a bit. Still, scorpion is quite correct that thanks to the broad reach of the Internet, you can now find plenty of online confirmation for whatever opinion you hold, almost regardless of how "nuts" it is. It's up to individuals to seek out different viewpoints, including those that attempt to refute their own beliefs.

A few other points:
sou wrote:Disregarding a theory, without even understanding it, is unscientific. I wouldn't want to be treated by a neurologist who thinks that the CCSVI treatment is balloon angioplasty of the veins of the eye during optic neuritis!

Most neurologists aren't scientists: they're doctors. While I think it's great for doctors to stay abreast of the latest theories, these theories really don't have much place in clinical practice. Most new ideas and theories don't pan out, so any doctor who treats you based on the theory of the week (or month, or year) is doing you a disservice. Once things progress past the theory point to where they have support from clinical trials, that's when your neurologist needs to really know about it.

sou wrote:What I am asking for is application of the good old scientific method. It's a pity that many people bandalize it, using scientific-looking (but not scientific) "reasoning".

I agree strongly with the first sentence, and probably with the second sentence, depending on exactly what "bandalize" means. Neither "banalize" nor "vandalize" quite makes sense here, but if I swap in "pervert" (the verb), then Yes!

frodo wrote:Cancer researchers have a very accurate model about how tumors develop based in their DNA. Audiologist and optometrists also have accurate classifications of the conditions they deal with and know perfectly how they develop, even if they cannot cure some of them.

Can you say anything similar for neuros and MS?


I think you're overstating the state of science in these other fields (cancer, at least), while understating MS understanding. The answer to your rhetorical question is actually "yes". MS researchers have good models for how the damage develops (demylination). What they lack (as do cancer researchers), is an understanding of what exactly causes it, or how to stop it. In the past year or so there were a few articles complaining about the lack of progress in the "war on cancer", so I think frustration with (lack of) medical progress is fairly universal among the major chronic illnesses.

/Scut
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Postby 1eye » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:48 pm

you can now find plenty of online confirmation for whatever opinion you hold, almost regardless of how "nuts" it is. It's up to individuals to seek out different viewpoints, including those that attempt to refute their own beliefs.


The Internet is misused to the fullest extent possible with blogs, forums, videos, newspaper and magazine articles, television appearances, radio talks and email to fundraisers, lawyers, bureaucrats, politicians and other highly-placed individuals, by neurologists (not just scientists) who oppose the "theory" and "practice" of CCSVI procedures. If they only would keep it in the clinics, things would be a bit calmer. Patients would benefit.

Maybe a sign of how sane something is, is that you don't have to work to seek differing viewpoints, you hear them blaring at every street corner, with great haste and frequency.

The Internet by itself is not harmful. It is the nut behind the wheel.
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