It has been reported that Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow now has taken to promoting the weirdest wellness thing she’s ever done: rectal ozone therapy. ‘I have used ozone therapy, rectally. Can I say that?’ she told Dear Media podcast The Art of Being Well. ‘It’s pretty weird. It’s pretty weird, yeah. But it’s been very helpful.’
The benefits of rectal ozone therapy are said to be reduced pain/inflammation, increased energy, improved metabolism/circulation, stimulated immune system, detoxification, anti-aging, and fighting bacterial/viral infections.
But who am I to criticize an authority like Gwyneth?
Therefore, I better look up the evidence! And if you had speculated that there is none, you would have been mistaken. Here are some of the more recent clinical studies listed in Medline:
Objective: Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder with a very complex symptomatology. Although generalized severe pain is considered to be the cardinal symptom of the disease, many other associated symptoms, especially non-restorative sleep, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms also play a relevant role in the degree of disability characteristic of the disease. Ozone therapy, which is used to treat a wide range of diseases and seems to be particularly useful in the treatment of many chronic diseases, is thought to act by exerting a mild, transient, and controlled oxidative stress that promotes an up-regulation of the antioxidant system and a modulation of the immune system. According to these mechanisms of action, it was hypothesized that ozone therapy could be useful in fibromyalgia management, where the employed therapies are very often ineffective.
Patients and methods: Sixty-five patients with fibromyalgia, according to the definition of the American College of Rheumatology (Arthritis Rheum 1990; 33: 160-172), were treated at the MEDE Clinic (Sacile, Pordenone, Italy) from February 2016 to October 2018. Females were 55 and males were 10; age ranged from 30 to 72 years, and the time from fibromyalgia diagnosis ranged from 0.5 to 33 years. Treatment was made by autohemotransfusion in 55 patients and by ozone rectal insufflations in 10 patients, according to SIOOT (Scientific Society of Oxygen Ozone Therapy) protocols, twice a week for one month and then twice a month as maintenance therapy.
Results: We found a significative improvement (>50% of symptoms) in 45 patients (70%). No patient reported important side effects. In conclusion, at our knowledge, this is the largest study of patients with fibromyalgia treated with ozone therapy reported in the literature and it demonstrates that the ozone therapy is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia patients without significant side effects.
Conclusions: At the moment, ozone therapy seems a treatment that, also because without any side effect, is possible to be proposed to patients with fibromyalgia that are not obtaining adequate results from other available treatments and it can be considered as complementary/integrative medicine.
Introduction: The Corona virus disease 19 (COVID-19) has accounted for multiple deaths and economic woes.While the entire medical fraternity and scientists are putting their best feet forward to find a solution to contain this deadly pandemic, there is a growing interest in integrating other known alternative therapies in to standard care. This study is aimed at evaluating the safety and efficacy of ozone therapy (OT), as an adjuvant to the standard of care (SOC).
Methods: In the current randomized control trial, 60 patients with mild to moderate score NEWS score were included in two parallel groups (n = 30/group). The interventional group (OZ) received ozonized rectal insufflation and minor auto haemotherapy, daily along with SOC, while the control group (ST) received SOC alone. The main outcome measures included changes in clinical features, oxygenation index (SpO2), NEWS score, Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction(RT-PCR), inflammatory markers, requirement of advanced care, and metabolic profiles.
Results: The OZ group has shown clinically significant improvement in the mean values of all the parameters tested compared to ST Group. However, statistical significance were only observed in RT-PCR negative reaction (P = 0.01), changes in clinical symptoms (P < 0.05) and requirement for Intensive care (P < 0.05). No adverse events were reported in OZ group, as against 2 deaths reported in ST group.
Conclusion: OT when integrated with SOC can improve the clinical status and rapidly reduce the viral load compared to SOC alone, which facilitate early recovery and check the need for advanced care and mortality as demonstrated in this study.
Introduction: IgA deficiency is a primary immunodeficiency predominantly due to an antibody defect, for which there is no replacement therapy. Treatment consists of prevention and treatment of infections and other associated conditions. Given the immunomodulatory and regulatory properties of the redox balance of ozone therapy in infectious and inflammatory conditions, evaluation of its effect on IgA deficiency is of interest.
Objective: Assess the benefits and possible adverse effects of ozone treatment in patients with IgA deficiency.
Methods: A monocentric randomized controlled phase 2 clinical trial (RPCEC 00000236) was carried out, after approval by the Institutional Ethics Committee of the Roberto Rodríguez Fernández Provincial General Teaching Hospital in Morón, Ciego de Ávila Province, Cuba. Included were 40 patients aged 5-50 years, distributed in 2 groups of 20, after agreeing to participate and signing informed consent. The experimental group received 2 cycles of ozone by rectal insufflation for 20 days (5 times a week for 4 weeks each cycle) with a 3-month interval between cycles, for a total of 40 doses, with age-adjusted dose ranges. The control group was treated with leukocyte transfer factor (Hebertrans), 1 U per m2 of body surface area subcutaneously, once weekly for 12 weeks. Frequency of appearance and severity of clinical symptoms and signs of associated diseases, serum immunoglobulin concentrations and balance of pro-oxidant and antioxidant biomarkers were recorded at treatment initiation and one month after treatment completion. Therapeutic response was defined as complete, partial, stable disease or progressive disease. Descriptive statistics and significance were calculated to compare groups and assess effect size.
Results: One month after treatment completion, 70% of patients in the experimental group experienced significant increases in IgG(p = 0.000) and IgM (p = 0.033). The experimental group also displayed decreased pro-oxidation biomarkers, glutathione modulation and increased antioxidant enzymes, with reduced oxidative stress; none of these occurred in the control group. Complete therapeutic response was achieved in 85% of patients in the experimental group and only 45% in the control group. Mild, transient adverse events were reported in both groups.
Conclusions: Ozone therapy by rectal insufflation is a suitable therapeutic option for treating IgA deficiency because it produces antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects and is feasible, safe and minimally invasive.
Background: Ozone therapy may stimulate antioxidant systems and protect against free radicals. It has not been used formerly in patients with pulmonary emphysema.
Aim: To assess the effects of rectal ozone therapy in patients with pulmonary emphysema.
Material and methods: Sixty four patients with pulmonary emphysema, aged between 40 and 69 years, were randomly assigned to receive rectal ozone in 20 daily sessions, rectal medicinal oxygen or no treatment. Treatments were repeated three months later in the first two groups. At baseline and at the end of the study, spirometry and a clinical assessment were performed.
Results: fifty patients completed the protocol, 20 receiving ozone therapy, 20 receiving rectal oxygen and 10 not receiving any therapy. At baseline, patients on ozone therapy had significantly lower values of forced expiratory volume in the first second (fEV1) and fEV1/forced vital capacity. At the end of the treatment period, these parameters were similar in the three treatment groups, therefore they only improved significantly in the group on ozone therapy. No differences were observed in other spirometric parameters.
Conclusions: Rectal ozone therapy may be useful in patients with pulmonary emphysema.
Background: Pain secondary to chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can limit the administration of chemotherapy, cancer-treatment outcomes, and the quality of life of patients. Oxidative stress and inflammation are some of the key mechanisms involved in CIPN. Successful treatments for CIPN are limited. This report shows our preliminary experience using ozone treatment as a modulator of oxidative stress in chronic pain secondary to CIPN. Methods: Ozone treatment, by rectal insufflation, was administered in seven patients suffering from pain secondary to grade II or III CIPN. Pain was assessed by the visual analog scale (VAS). Results: All patients, except one, showed clinically relevant pain improvement. Median pain score according to the VAS was 7 (range: 5-8) before ozone treatment, 4 (range: 2-6) at the end of ozone treatment (p = 0.004), 5.5 (range: 1.8-6.3) 3 months after the end of ozone treatment (p = 0.008), and 6 (range: 2.6-6.6) 6 months after the end of ozone treatment (p = 0.008). The toxicity grade, according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE v.5.0), improved in half of the patients. Conclusion: This report shows that most patients obtained clinically relevant and long-lasting improvement in chronic pain secondary to CIPN after treatment with ozone. These observed effects merit further research and support our ongoing randomized clinical trial.
Background: Medical ozone is more bactericidal, fungicidal, and virucidal than any other natural substance. Some studies proved that ozone infused into donated blood samples can kill viruses 100% of the time. Ozone, because of its special biologic properties, has theoretical and practical attributes to make it a potent hepatitis C virus (HCV) inactivator, which suggests an important role in the therapy for hepatitis C.
Aim: The study aim is to evaluate the role of ozone therapy in decreasing HCV ribonucleic acid (HCV RNA) load and its effect on the liver enzymes among patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Methods: This study included 52 patients with chronic hepatitis C (positive polymerase chain reaction [PCR] for HCV RNA and raised serum alanine transaminase [ALT] for more than 6 months). All patients were subjected to meticulous history taking and clinical examination. Complete blood count, liver function tests, and abdominal ultrasonography were requested for all patients. The ozone group included 40 patients who received major autohemotherapy, minor autohemotherapy, and rectal ozone insufflation. The other 12 patients (conventional group) received silymarin and/or multivitamins.
Results: There were significant improvements of most of the presenting symptoms of the patients in the ozone group in comparison to the conventional group. ALT and aspartate transaminase (AST) levels normalized in 57.5% and 60% in the ozone group, respectively, in comparison to 16.7% and 8% in the conventional group, respectively. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for HCV RNA was negative among 25% and 44.4% after 30 and 60 sessions of ozone therapy, respectively, in comparison to 8% among the conventional group.
Conclusions: Ozone therapy significantly improves the clinical symptoms associated with chronic hepatitis C and is associated with normalized ALT and AST levels among a significant number of patients. Ozone therapy is associated with disappearance of HCV RNA from the serum (-ve PCR for HCV RNA) in 25%-45% of patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Oxidative stress is suggested to have an important role in the development of complications in diabetes. Because ozone therapy can activate the antioxidant system, influencing the level of glycemia and some markers of endothelial cell damage, the aim of this study was to investigate the therapeutic efficacy of ozone in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes and diabetic feet and to compare ozone with antibiotic therapy. A randomized controlled clinical trial was performed with 101 patients divided into two groups: one (n = 52) treated with ozone (local and rectal insufflation of the gas) and the other (n = 49) treated with topical and systemic antibiotics. The efficacy of the treatments was evaluated by comparing the glycemic index, the area and perimeter of the lesions and biochemical markers of oxidative stress and endothelial damage in both groups after 20 days of treatment. Ozone treatment improved glycemic control, prevented oxidative stress, normalized levels of organic peroxides, and activated superoxide dismutase. The pharmacodynamic effect of ozone in the treatment of patients with neuroinfectious diabetic foot can be ascribed to the possibility of it being a superoxide scavenger. Superoxide is considered a link between the four metabolic routes associated with diabetes pathology and its complications. Furthermore, the healing of the lesions improved, resulting in fewer amputations than in control group. There were no side effects. These results show that medical ozone treatment could be an alternative therapy in the treatment of diabetes and its complications.
What does that tell us?
That rectal ozone therapy is a panacea?
No, I don’t think so.
In my view, it tells us that strange journals publish a lot of dodgy research from strange research groups that use dodgy methodologies to confirm their odd belief that bogus treatments work for everything.
I wonder which orifice Gwyneth will employ next to get the attention of the public.
It has been reported that a well-known conservative activist, Kelly Canon, from Arlington, Texas, USA, has tragically died. She was famous for peddling COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. The complications caused by the virus—just a few weeks after attending a “symposium” against the vaccines – have killed her.
“Another tragedy and loss for our Republican family. Our dear friend Kelly Canon lost her battle with pneumonia today. Kelly will be forever in our hearts as a loyal and beloved friend and Patriot. Gone way too soon We will keep her family in our prayers,” the Arlington Republican Club said in a statement.
Her death was said to be “from COVID-related pneumonia.” Canon had announced on Facebook in November that her employer had granted her a religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine. “No jabby-jabby for me! Praise GOD!” she wrote at the time.
Canon had been an outspoken critic of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and pandemic-related restrictions. In one of her final Facebook posts, Canon shared several links to speeches she attended at a “COVID symposium” in Burleson in early December devoted to dissuading people from getting the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available. The event was organized by God Save Our Children, which bills itself as “a conservative group that is fighting against the use of experimental vaccines on our children.”
Canon had shared similar content on Twitter, where her most recent post was a YouTube video featuring claims that the coronavirus pandemic was “planned” in advance and part of a global conspiracy.
As news of her death spread Tuesday, pro-vaccine commentators flooded her Facebook page with cruel comments and mocking memes, while her supporters unironically praised her for being a “warrior for liberty” to the very end.
A religious exemption?
What for heaven’s sake is that?
I feel sad for every death caused by COVID and its complications. If the death is caused by ignorance, it renders the sadness all the more profound.
Yesterday, it has been reported that Indian scientists found the mode of action of homeopathic remedies. This is the newspaper article:
And this seems to be the abstract of the actual paper:
Homeopathic medicines contain ultra-low concentrations of metal and compounds, and it is challenging to classify homeopathic potencies using modern characterization tools. This work presents a novel experimental tool for classifying various homeopathic medicines under a low-frequency generated electromagnetic (EM) fields. A custom-built primary coil is used for generating EM fields at different excitation frequencies. The potentized test samples were prepared at decimal dilution scale of Ferrum with α‑lactose monohydrate and exhibited significant and distinct induced EM responses in the second sensing coil. The measured responses decrease logarithmically due to reducing Ferrum concentration. The resolution improved in higher potencies from 0.03 µV at 300 Hz to 0.24 µV at 4.8 kHz. Different compounds of homeopathic medicines were also investigated to produce distinct induced EM characteristics. These results were correlated with Raman spectroscopy, impedance analyser, and FT-IR analysis. The experimental investigation confirmed the classification of potencies and the technique developed to detect ultra-low metallic concentrations.
I might be a bit slow on the uptake – but I don’t see how this investigation proves anything. Perhaps someone can explain it to me?
So-called alternative medicine (SCAM) is widely used in Arabia. One of the commonly used methods is camel urine alone or mixed with camel milk. Camel urine is a liquid by-product of camel metabolism. Urine from camels has been used as prophetic medicine for centuries, being a part of ancient Bedouin practices. Camel urine comes out as a concentrated, viscous syrup because the kidneys and intestines of a camel are very efficient at reabsorbing water.
Camel urine is consumed and used for treating numerous ailments. Some employ it as a treatment for hair loss, for instance. The camel urine from a virgin camel is priced at twenty dollars per liter, with herders saying that it has curative powers.
A recent paper offers more information:
Camel is one of the important livestock species which plays a major role in the pastoral mode of life by fulfilling basic demands of livelihood. Traditionally, camel urine has been used in the treatment of human diseases. With regard to the health benefits of drinking the urine of camels, it has been proven by modern scientific researches. Camel urine has an unusual and unique biochemical composition that contributes to medicinal values. The chemical composition of camel urine showed the presence of purine bases, hypoxanthine, sodium, potassium, creatinine, urea, uric acid, and phosphates. The nano-particles in the camel’s urine can be used to fight cancer. Camel urine has antimicrobial activity against pathogenic bacteria. Its chemical and organic constituents have also inhibitory properties against fungal growth, human platelets, and parasitic diseases mainly fasciollosis in calves. The healthy status of the liver can be restored through ingestion of diet and minerals in camel urine. Camel urine is used by the camel owners and Bedouins as medicine in different ways. The Bedouin in the Arab desert used to mix camel urine with milk. Recently; the WHO has warned against drinking camel urine due to the modern attempt to limit Outbreaks of Respiratory Syndrome (MRS) in the Middle East. There is no scientific dosage for camel urine to be applied as medicine for different diseases and the ways of camel urine formulation and utilization for the care of patients varies from country to country. Therefore, the purposes of the present review describe the biochemical composition of camel urine will be scientifically extracted and formulated as a therapy rather than drinking raw urine and people’s health impact.
Researchers from the Medical Oncology Department, Comprehensive Cancer Center, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia wanted to determine whether camel urine shows promise in the treatment of cancer. The aim of their study was to observe cancer patients who insisted on using camel urine and to devise some clinically relevant recommendations.
The authors observed 20 cancer patients (15 male, 5 female) from September 2020 to January 2022 who insisted on using camel urine. They documented the demographics of each patient, the method of administering camel urine, the reasons for refusing conventional treatment, the period of follow-up, and the outcome and side effects.
All the patients had radiological investigations before and after finishing treatment with camel urine. All patients used a combination of camel urine and milk, and treatment ranged from a few days up to 6 months. The average amount of urine/milk consumed was 60 ml/day. No clinical benefit was observed and two patients developed brucellosis. Eleven patients changed their minds and eventually accepted conventional antineoplastic treatments but 7 were too weak to receive further treatment and died from their disease.
The authors concluded that camel urine had no clinical benefits in cancer patients, and may even have caused zoonotic infection. The promotion of camel urine as a traditional medicine should be stopped because there is no scientific evidence to support it.
I fear that, yet again, ‘ancient wisdom’ turns out to be just ‘old bullshit’.
It has been reported that King Charles refused to pay Prince Andrew’s £ 32,000-a-year bill for his personal healing guru. The Duke of York has allegedly submitted the claim to the Privy Purse as a royal expense having sought the help of a yoga teacher.
However, the claim has reportedly been denied by the King, who is said to have told Andrew the bill will need to be covered using his own money. It comes after sources claimed Andrew has been using the Indian yogi for a number of years for chanting, massages, and holistic therapy in the privacy of his mansion. The healer has reportedly enjoyed month-long stays at a time at the £30 million Royal Lodge in Windsor.
Previously, the Queen seems to have passed the claims. But now Charles is in control. A source said: “While the Queen was always happy to indulge her son over the years, Charles is far less inclined to fund such indulgences, particularly in an era of a cost-of-living crisis. “Families are struggling and would rightly baulk at the idea of tens of thousands paid to an Indian guru to provide holistic treatment to a non-working royal living in his grace and favour mansion. This time the King saw the bill for the healer submitted by Andrew to the Privy Purse and thought his brother was having a laugh.”
How is he going to cope without his guru?
Will he be able to recover from the mysterious condition that prevents him to sweat?
Will his ego take another blow?
How will he be able to afford even the most basic holistic wellness?
How can Charles – who knows only too well about its benefits – be so cruel to his own brother?
Should I start a collection so that Andrew can pay for his most basic needs?
Yes, these are the nagging questions and deep concerns that keep me awake at night!
I have just been asked if, by any chance, the yoga teacher is a 16-year-old female. I have to admit that I cannot answer this question.
I have grumbled about prevalence surveys in so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) before, I know. But, as the problem continues to get on my nerves – I estimate that there are about 10 times more surveys in SCAM than in any other field – allow me to do it again. The subject appeared on my screen in the form of a recent article from a minor, not Medline-listed journal. The paper is entitled:
Investigation of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Turkish Patients with Epilepsy
This type of prevalence survey is typical of its genre and stands for hundreds – thousands even – like it. Its findings reveal a high prevalence of use. From that result, enthusiasts tend to draw stereotypical conclusions, namely that we need more research and that we ought to consider the integration of SCAM into routine care.
WHAT A WASTE OF TIME AND EFFORT!
Who really needs to know how many epilepsy patients in Turkey use SCAM?
Fine, then tell me: why Turkey and why epilepsy? If such information were important (and the methodology of the survey were perfect [which it hardly ever is]), then we surely need it for all diseases. How many different diseases are there? Let’s make it easy and say 1000. This means we need 1000 surveys to obtain a valuable picture of SCAM use in Turkey.
And if this sort of information is relevant in Turkey, we need to have it also for all other major countries. How many major countries exist? Let’s make it simple again and say 500. This means that we need 500 x 1000 or 500 000 surveys to generate a meaningful picture of SCAM use.
Since SCAM use changes quickly, we require these articles to be updated regularly; let’s say every 3 years. That means we require half a million surveys every 3 years.
What would it tell us?
What would we conclude from this enormous body of research?
Yes, of course, we would conclude that we need more research and we ought to consider the integration of SCAM into routine care!
My point is that if we truly need more research, why not get on with it? Why not finally forget about such useless surveys and do the science? Why not determine which SCAM works for what condition and at what risks? And, in case the findings turn out to be positive [but only then], let’s talk about integration into routine care. To put it even blunter:
The survey mania in SCAM prevents progress.
‘Agoro’ is a German (all texts are my translations from German) website that claims this:
“We specialize in alternative methods of treatment from the field of natural medicine. Our mission is to ensure that the ancient wisdom of our grandparents and ancestors is not forgotten.”
Unsurprisingly, this subject interests me. In particular, I was fascinated by an article entitled
Nux vomica Globuli in der Homöopathie
Nux Vomica in homeopathy
Nux vomica is (after arnica) amongst the most popular remedies in homeopathy. Therefore, we should all be keen to learn all about it.
Here is the translation of this article:
Nux vomica is one of the homeopathic remedies that you can get in all pharmacies. It can help you with various diseases, such as stomach pain. You can also use this homeopathic remedy for nausea and heartburn. You can buy it in the city pharmacies, but you can also make it easy for yourself and use the online pharmacy for globules. Here you will be well advised on the dosage of homeopathic remedies. Similarly, you can also contact the homeopath or naturopath for good advice.
Nux vomica is a remedy derived from the medicinal plant nux vomica. You can use the homeopathic remedy in the potencies D6 and D12. In some cases, it can be recommended to you also in C6, C12, or C30.
You can use the homeopathic remedy in many ways, including for constipation or exhaustion. You will find out which dosage you can take if you consult a professional. In this way, you will be recommended the appropriate potency to experience help from it.
It is crucial that you always seek advice before taking the remedy. As already mentioned, you can use several contact points for this. Whether it is the pharmacy, the naturopath, or the homeopath. In addition, there are many family doctors who now also use homeopathy and could recommend you the appropriate dosage. The consultation is important in any case because the homeopathy must be adapted to your complaints. Otherwise, the remedy will not work or will not work properly.
If you want to use the remedy for yourself, you always need patience. Homeopathic remedies need a little time to work, that is their only disadvantage. How long this always depends on the person and the remedy. Sometimes it takes only a few hours, sometimes a few days or weeks. You can also get advice on this.
Indications for nux vomica
Stomach and intestinal problems
You can use the remedy for you in case of abdominal pain, mild biliousness, and various stomach and intestinal problems. The remedy can also be of great help for nausea, flatulence, nausea, and constipation.
Headaches and migraines
The remedy Nux vomica can help you if you suffer from headaches that are located just above the eye. It can also help you with migraines. Even with a hangover, the remedy could help.
If you suffer from autumn depression or are often easily frustrated, you can use the remedy.
Yes, I do get easily frustrated with texts like this!
But I doubt that nux vomica can help me with this or any other problem.
Some might say that doubting is not good enough, evidence is needed!
I agree but was unable to find sound evidence to show that homeopathic nux vomica was better than a placebo for any condition (in case any of our regular defenders of homeopathy know more, please let me know). On the contrary, I only found studies that suggested its ineffectiveness. Here is an example:
In a monocenter prospective randomized double-blind clinical trial the efficacy of homeopathic treatment was investigated on children with adenoid vegetations justifying an operation. Patients were treated with either homeopathic remedies such as Nux vomica D200, Okoubaka D3, Tuberculinum D200, Barium jodatum D4 and Barium jodatum D6 or with placebo. The duration of the study for each patient was 3 months. Examination of the ears using a microscope, rhinoscopy, stomatoscopy and pharyngoscopy, as well as tympanometry and audiometry were performed after 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Out of a total of 97 children studied between the ages of 4 to 10 years 82 could be analyzed. At the end of the study no operation was required in 70.7% of the placebo-treated children and in 78.1% of the children treated with homeopathic preparations. These results show no statistical significance.
So, where does that leave us in relation to the “ancient wisdom of our grandparents and ancestors“? I fear, that this story shows yet again that, when it comes to homeopathy, the scrutiny of ancient wisdom quickly turns it into old bullshit.
Acupuncture is a panacea, we are often told.
But is it true?
Of course not!
This study was aimed at evaluating the effect of acupuncture on myelosuppression and quality of life in women with breast cancer during treatment with anthracyclines (ANT).
Women with an indication for ANT chemotherapy were randomized into two groups:
- the acupuncture group (AG) was submitted to an acupuncture intervention, starting before the first chemotherapy infusion, and continuing throughout the treatment;
- the control group (CG) received no acupuncture.
A quality of life questionnaire (FACT-G) and peripheral blood levels of the participants were evaluated before and at the end of treatment.
A total of 26 women were randomized into 2 groups: AG (10) and CG (16). Of these, 26.9% had a dense dose indication according to the service’s protocol for the administration of granulocyte-stimulating factor (G-CSF) from the first cycle, not participating in the analysis. The need for secondary prophylaxis with G-CSF occurred in 72.7% in the control group versus 12% in the acupuncture group. Regarding quality of life (QoL), it was observed that the groups did not initially differ from each other. At the end of the treatment, there was a significant difference in the AG for the physical (GP) (p-value=0.011), social/family (GS) (p-value=0.018), and functional (GF) (p-value=0.010) domains, regarding the initial and final FACT-G showed a difference between the groups, where the GA average at the end rose from 80.68 to 90.12 (p-value = 0.004) and in the CG the average dropped from 81.95 to 70.59 (p-value=0.003).
The authors concluded that acupuncture was efficient in the secondary prophylaxis of myelosuppression during chemotherapy and the quality of life of women during treatment has increased.
My interpretation of these results is quite different from that of the authors.
Please let me explain.
The improvement of the quality of life can easily be explained via a placebo effect; acupuncture itself has not necessarily any part in it. But what about the effect on the bone marrow? Might it too be due to a placebo response, or the additional attention? Probably not.
Does that mean that this study proves a definite positive effect of acupuncture?
Because firstly the study was far too small for allowing such a far-reaching conclusion, and secondly one would need independent confirmation before accepting such a far-reaching conclusion.
Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) in early childhood are known to influence lung development and lifelong lung health, but their link to premature adult death from respiratory disease is unclear. This analysis aimed to estimate the association between early childhood LRTI and the risk and burden of premature adult mortality from respiratory disease.
This longitudinal observational cohort study used data collected prospectively by the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development in a nationally representative cohort recruited at birth in March 1946, in England, Scotland, and Wales. It evaluated the association between LRTI during early childhood (age <2 years) and death from respiratory disease from age 26 through 73 years. Early childhood LRTI occurrence was reported by parents or guardians. Cause and date of death were obtained from the National Health Service Central Register. Hazard ratios (HRs) and population attributable risk associated with early childhood LRTI were estimated using competing risks Cox proportional hazards models, adjusted for childhood socioeconomic position, childhood home overcrowding, birthweight, sex, and smoking at age 20–25 years. The researchers compared mortality within the cohort studied with national mortality patterns and estimated corresponding excess deaths occurring nationally during the study period.
5362 participants were enrolled in March, 1946, and 4032 (75%) continued participating in the study at age 20–25 years. 443 participants with incomplete data on early childhood (368 [9%] of 4032), smoking (57 [1%]), or mortality (18 [<1%]) were excluded. 3589 participants aged 26 years (1840 [51%] male and 1749 [49%] female) were included in the survival analyses from 1972 onwards. The maximum follow-up time was 47·9 years. Among 3589 participants, 913 (25%) who had an LRTI during early childhood were at greater risk of dying from respiratory disease by age 73 years than those with no LRTI during early childhood (HR 1·93, 95% CI 1·10–3·37; p=0·021), after adjustment for childhood socioeconomic position, childhood home overcrowding, birthweight, sex, and adult smoking. This finding corresponded to a population attributable risk of 20·4% (95% CI 3·8–29·8) and 179 188 (95% CI 33 806–261 519) excess deaths across England and Wales between 1972 and 2019.
The authors concluded that, in this perspective, life-spanning, nationally representative cohort study, LRTI during early childhood was associated with almost a two times increased risk of premature adult death from respiratory disease, and accounted for one-fifth of these deaths.
What has that got to do with so-called alternative medicine?
Yet, I feel that this study is so remarkable that I need to report on it nonetheless.
What do the findings indicate?
I am not sure. Perhaps they confirm that our genetic makeup is hugely important in determining our health. Thus even the earliest signs of weakness can provide an indication of what might happen in later life.
Whatever the meaning, I find this study fascinating and hope you agree.
During the last few days, several journalists have asked me about ayahuasca. Apparently, Harry Windsor said in an interview that it changed his life! However, the family of a young woman who took her own life after using ayahuasca has joined campaigners condemning his comments. Others – including myself – claim that Harry is sending a worrying message talking about his ‘positive’ experience with ayahuasca, saying it ‘brought me a sense of relaxation, release, comfort, a lightness that I managed to hold on to for a period of time’.
So, what is ayahuasca?
This paper explains it quite well:
Ayahuasca is a hallucinogen brew traditionally used for ritual and therapeutic purposes in Northwestern Amazon. It is rich in the tryptamine hallucinogens dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which acts as a serotonin 5-HT2A agonist. This mechanism of action is similar to other compounds such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin. The controlled use of LSD and psilocybin in experimental settings is associated with a low incidence of psychotic episodes, and population studies corroborate these findings. Both the controlled use of DMT in experimental settings and the use of ayahuasca in experimental and ritual settings are not usually associated with psychotic episodes, but little is known regarding ayahuasca or DMT use outside these controlled contexts. Thus, we performed a systematic review of the published case reports describing psychotic episodes associated with ayahuasca and DMT intake. We found three case series and two case reports describing psychotic episodes associated with ayahuasca intake, and three case reports describing psychotic episodes associated with DMT. Several reports describe subjects with a personal and possibly a family history of psychosis (including schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorders, psychotic mania, psychotic depression), nonpsychotic mania, or concomitant use of other drugs. However, some cases also described psychotic episodes in subjects without these previous characteristics. Overall, the incidence of such episodes appears to be rare in both the ritual and the recreational/noncontrolled settings. Performance of a psychiatric screening before administration of these drugs, and other hallucinogens, in controlled settings seems to significantly reduce the possibility of adverse reactions with psychotic symptomatology. Individuals with a personal or family history of any psychotic illness or nonpsychotic mania should avoid hallucinogen intake.
In other words, ayahuasca can lead to serious side effects. They include vomiting, diarrhea, paranoia, and panic. Ayahuasca can also interact with many medications, including antidepressants, psychiatric medications, drugs used to control Parkinson’s disease, cough medicines, weight loss medications, and more. Those with a history of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, should avoid ayahuasca because this could worsen their psychiatric symptoms. Additionally, taking ayahuasca can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which may result in dangerous consequences for those who have a heart condition.
Thus ayahuasca is an interesting albeit dangerous herb (in most countries it is illegal to possess or consume it). Currently, it is clearly under-researched, which means we know very little about its potential benefits and even less about the harm it can do.
Considering this, one would think that any half-intelligent person with loads of influence would not promote or encourage its use – but, sadly, it seems that one would be mistaken.