Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Grape Juice Beats The Stomach Flu?

This is nonsense.  It's based on the flawed pH ideology of quacks.  The claim have been that it will change the pH in your intestinal track and thus prevent the viral infection.  The truth is your stomach has acid (this breaks down food).  When things exit your stomach the acid is neutralized by the pancreatic excretions as they enter the small intestine.  The pancreas actually secretes about 8 cups/day of enzymes and bicarbonate.  Drinking a couple sips of juice a day will definitely not effectively change the pH in your intestines.

While grapes has been shown to have antiviral properties, it has not been shown to prevent viral infections in humans.  According to a 2010 review "research in humans is required to confirm previous findings and to better understand the biomedical applications of grape products in broader populations."  Only tests in test tubes have been done.  The human body is much more complex.

I would also suggest eating grapes instead of just grape juice.  You get more nutrients from a whole grape than just juice which can contain in a single serving (240ml) about 36g of sugar.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Misleading Cancer Chemotherapy Headline

Oh the annoyance of social media...

I saw this posted on Facebook.
The headline is highly misleading and seems to pander to quackery lovers. If one reads the study it does not say that it was half at all.

The actual numbers:
30-day mortality was 8.47% for patients with lung cancer (1274/15045)
2.47% for patients with breast cancer (700/28364)

30-day mortality for patients receiving palliative treatment 10% for lung cancer (1061/10587)
 7.48% for breast cancer (569/7602),
 30-day mortality for patients receiving curative treatment 2.88% for lung cancer (70/2429)
 0.26% for breast cancer (41/15626)

This study was with people who are in palliative care. The study also showed the difference in people (in palliative care) who were using it for the first time as opposed to those who have already been using it (hint...those who have already been using SACT (systemic anti-cancer therapy ) lived longer statistically speaking). It did not compare to those without SACT.

According to Dr. David Dodwell, one of the authors of the study "Simply reducing doses of or avoiding SACT altogether would reduce or eliminate instances of treatment-related early mortality, but at the cost of some patients being denied effective SACT and hence the survival and palliation benefits. In order to maximise the benefits of systemic treatment, it is important to gain a detailed understanding of how many different factors affecting patients are linked to the increased risk of early mortality."  Therefore the conclusion is not to use chemotherapy but to find all the factors that will help during palliative care.

This website that has this article with the misleading headline is also a quack site and is not reputable. Linking to it just gives misleading information.

Glyphosate in Food Fear is not Warranted

Don't be fooled by the misleading hype headlines. There's a lot of misinformation out there. The Environmental Working Group has done some testing and found glyphosate in some cereal. Oooooh Scary right? Not really if you are educated and don't fall for fear-mongering.

The EWG is constantly criticized by actual scientists (https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/05/25/dear-ewg-why-real-scientists-think-poorly-you-11323). Here they found that there were trace amounts in some cereals. The highest level was 1300 parts per billion...read that again "per billion"! That's 0.0000013%. The LD50 of glyphosate is 5600mg/kg. So an adult at 70kg would have to consume 392,000mg to reach that. That is nearly 1 pound. So in order to reach that level of toxicity with the EWG figures you would have to consume 301538.462 1kg boxes. So if you consumed 1 box/day it would take 826 years to do eat that much.

Yeah, that's what I thought. lol. Like I said, needless fear-mongering.

*note, my math is not the greatest and the EWG numbers I got from a few sources online. They may be slightly off (now looking at other articles) but the idea is still there that there is no real concern.

Health Canada has set a maximum residue level of glyphosate in oats at 15,000 parts per billion. So this is all well below that threshold.  Toxicology is determined by dosage (among other factors). Everything is a poison in the right dose. The fact is that nowadays we can find traces of almost anything if a lot of products because we can find parts per billion and even parts per trillion. It would be more surprising if one didn't find traces of something. Something to consider https://culinarylore.com/food-science:the-poisonous-apple/

Other views on this:

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Chiropractic Neurology (Functional Neurology)

I was sent this article:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/anthony-lemmo-chiro-brain-injury-windsor-1.4682825

 At first I didn't know what to make of it.  I had never heard of the term chiropractic neurology.   The only thing I knew is that it had to be a pseudoscience in some way because of being linked to chiropractors.  I also knew just from the name that Chiropractic Neurologist is not even a recognized medical profession. 

Most chiropractors fall into one of two categories; straights and mixers.  Straights strictly follow the basis of chiropractic medicine which is that ALL disease is caused by misalignment (subluxations) of the spine.  Mixers, as the name suggests, also dabble in other pseudoscience practices and services and they vary in the amount which they believe in the subluxation/disease mantra.

Some chiropractors call it "Functional Neurology" (probably to make it sound more scientific).  They claim to be able to help many neurological conditions including ADHD, autism, Asperger's, Alzheimer's, Stroke and much more.  This is done through diet, massage, muscular-skeletal manipulations and brain training.     

Diet of course is important to any person's health.  Some diet tips given out by woo peddlers can be reasonable, but that doesn't mean that any other advice is sound.   Some of the diet advice though, simply goes against any evidence that exists.  For example this blackboard I saw at a clinic with homeopathy and other woo.

There is simply no evidence that gluten (or lackthereof)  has any effect, causal or therapeutic, on Autism.

I can't even begin to guess how massage and adjustments of the spine can help with neurological conditions.  Any proposed mechanism just would not make sense to me. 

To make a diagnosis, special goggles are worn.  These track eye movements.  This somehow gives "a map" of the problems in the brain.  I'm sorry, but eye movement can only give a very small amount of information about brain function.  An fMRI would be a better option.  See more options for neuroimaging  
In using EEG, it is hard to figure out where in the brain the electrical activity is coming from.  It is hard to find the "pathways" that are mentioned in the CBC article.  To see more about its limitations:

So now we come to brain training, which seemed to be at the core of the CBC article.  While I am happy for the mother that her son is getting some much needed attention, and that seems to be helping him in controlling his ADHD, I am of the position that it has nothing to do with "chiropractic neurology."   Neurological symptoms can be susceptible to the placebo effect.  So depending on the degree of the problem, some good old attention can help.  As a child with hyperactivity (what it was just called back in the 80s), I personally learned to focus and channel my "energy".  Here with this child, I think some of the same thing is happening.  Stimulation of the brain is better than no stimulation, but it does not follow that an increase in stimulation will increase brain recovery.  Daniel Simmons (of the Monkey Business Selective Attention Test fame) and team did a review on more than 130 studies about brain games and cognitive training.  They found the evidence was lacking, especially when considering the quality of the studies.   http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1529100616661983

You'll note in the CBC article that it states "there is not a lot of research evidence that shows that it works."  To me, to offer a service without the backing of evidence is dubious.  I went to Mr. Lemmo's website to see if he offered any research.      

Two of the articles presented were done by Carrick, who is mentioned in the article (and who has been criticized much for the pseudoscience).  

In this one: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/291557243_Eye-Movement_Training_Results_in_Changes_in_qEEG_and_NIH_Stroke_Scale_in_Subjects_Suffering_from_Acute_Middle_Cerebral_Artery_Ischemic_Stroke_A_Randomized_Control_Trial 
It does state: "The HIHSS is a scale of stroke severity and does not provide any insight as to functional changes"   So really sharing this research shows that it doesn't provide much evidence in it actually working.

In another study provided https://www.drlemmobraincentre.com/research/Concussion-Carrick.pdf
"Many of the C3 Logix are subjective and may be associated with reporting error that can limit interpretation. This is a retrospective review and no control group has been included in this study."  These are huge limitations and in turn provides no real evidence.

Mr. Lemmo said "There's only one thing that I care about and that's results and if I'm getting them over and over that's all that I care about."   This is problematic as it relies solely on testimonial and flawed feedback.  It is the same type of excuse that I've heard from another chiro who was peddling nonsense.  This was was featured on CBC Marketplace (in an episode I appeared in):  https://youtu.be/P-Kl0XkZuCw?t=13m49s  .  Mr. Lemmo is doing exactly the same in selling a service where the research supporting it just isn't there.

So with all of these factors and red flags, it does concern me that this service is being promoted.  It does not come from a neurologist, so the claims are suspect.  The evidence of it working is thin or simply non-existent.  I guess buyer beware would be prudent.