Archive

Archive for December 6, 2010

Oprah Guest Chooses Alternative over Traditional Medicine. The Results are Unfortunate.

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

A few years ago, Oprah had a guest on her show by the name of Kim Tinkham. Ms. Tinkham explained that she had breast cancer, but after reading “The Secret” she decided to forgo conventional treatment and instead pursue “alternative therapies”.

David Gorski has written a post today at Science-Based Medicine about Ms. Tinkham, and the news is quite sad. She pursued a pseudoscientific treatment called “alkalinization” supported by one Robert O. Young, who believes there is “no such thing” as cancer and that this type of illness is caused by “excess acidity” in the body. It goes without saying, but this is totally without scientific merit.

But Ms. Tinkham followed this therapy, and for a few years her health was stable. But unfortunately, she is no longer doing well and is not expected to live through the year.

[Update: I am sad to report that Kim Tinkham passed away on December 7, 2010.]

Why do people seek out these types of therapies? Dr. Gorski explains it quite well:

In fact, Kim Tinkham made it explicit by saying that Young and his wife had told her what causes cancer by saying “there is no such thing as cancer.” Again, remember that Young thinks that cancer is the body’s reaction to cells “poisoned” by too much acid, and he really does say that there is no such thing as cancer. He even goes on and on about how acid being “deposited into the fatty tissues” and thereby causing cancer. From a scientific standpoint, it’s a load of rubbish, pure pseudoscience without any good scientific evidence to back it up. But Young can assert his nonsense about tissue being due to acid “spoiling” tissues with utter sincerity. He looks completely convincing–if you don’t know anything about cancer biology, and most people don’t know much, if anything, about cancer biology. Give him a woman who is afraid, who wants concrete answers, and who has demonstrated that she is fairly clueless about breast cancer, and he can convince her that he has the answer and can cure her. The reason, it appears to me, is that Tinkham (and women like her) just want to believe that someone knows what’s wrong with them and how to fix it. Knowing how to fix it isn’t enough; they want an answer to the question, “Why me?”

Quacks are only too happy to provide that answer.

You can and should read the whole sad story at Science-Based Medicine. People wonder why I get upset about alternative medicines, and this is why. Ms. Tinkham’s cancer was treatable, but has now metastasized into other parts of her body.

It is wholly depressing, because she is a victim. A victim of quacks who prey on the vulnerabilities and wishful thinking of sick people.

I’m ashamed to live on the same planet as those people.

The Adventure of Links: Dec. 6, 2010

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

In this week’s Adventure of Links you’ll find a supernova in a jar, mercury turning birds gay, and injecting pee into yourself to lose weight (yeah, seriously).

Astronomy

Size doesn’t matter. For stars I mean. No seriously, I was talking about stars…

Supernova in a jar. It’s actually not AS cool as it sounds (of course) but it’s still pretty cool.

boomerang shaped galaxy. I guess if you stare at them long enough they start to look like anything.

The amount of stars in the Universe has tripled. Interesting, but not life changing is it?

Creating a wheel for driving around on the surface of the moon is a pretty cool job.

Russia applied $2 billion to help clean up space junk.

Physics

Bank of Montreal gives the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics a hefty bit of funding. Wish I were smart enough to do that.

Canada boosts University research funding. Go Canada!

A dash on cinnamon is not only great in mashed potatoes (trust me) but can also help make gold nanoparticles.

Health

Huge fail found by Skeptic North. Story in the Globe and Mail (they have a high fail rate) about people injecting pregnant women’s pee into themselves to lost weight. Ewwww…

Large scale study shows obesity shortens your life span. I know, we knew that already, but its nice to have more data to back it up.

Harvard scientists reverse ageing in mice. But don’t get your hopes up about eternal life just yet.

Fun/Funny

Restoring the Diamond Sutra, the world’s oldest book.

Professor surgically installs a camera in the back of his head. Sounds comic-bookish, therefore it’s awesome.

Mercury turns birds homosexual. Umm…weird?

It was -30 here a couple of weeks ago. This is what happens to water when it’s that cold out.

Pink Floyd movie. Sweeeeeeet.

Women like romantic music. Thanks science.

Woman in Spain claims to own the Sun. Unsurprisingly, she’s full of crap.

Skepticism

theme park about Creationism. Not only is it stupid, it doesn’t even sound like fun.

Are you a nerd or a geek? Find out here.

Climate change denial comes almost exclusively from Republicans. Oh America, you are screwed.