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The Cure Within
A History of Mind-Body Medicine

by Anne Harrington

Reviewed by Dr. Jerome Groopman

In “The Cure Within,” her splendid history of mind-body medicine, Anne Harrington tries to explain why we draw connections between emotions and illness, and helps trace how today’s myriad alternative and complementary treatments came to be. A professor and chairman of the history of science department at Harvard, Harrington has produced a book that desperately needed to be written.

Snake Oil Science:
The Truth about Complementary
and Alternative Medicine

by R. Barker Bausell

Millions of people worldwide swear by such therapies as acupuncture, herbal cures, and homeopathic remedies. Indeed, complementary and alternative medicine is embraced by a broad spectrum of society, from ordinary people, to scientists and physicians, to celebrities such as Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey.

In the tradition of Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things and Robert Parks's Voodoo Science, Barker Bausell provides an engaging look at the scientific evidence for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and at the logical, psychological, and physiological pitfalls that lead otherwise intelligent people--including researchers, physicians, and therapists--to endorse these cures.

The book's ultimate goal is to reveal not whether these therapies work--as Bausell explains, most do work, although weakly and temporarily--but whether they work for the reasons their proponents believe. Indeed, as Bausell reveals, it is the placebo effect that accounts for most of the positive results.

He explores this remarkable phenomenon--the biological and chemical evidence for the placebo effect, how it works in the body, and why research on any therapy that does not factor in the placebo effect will inevitably produce false results. By contrast, as Bausell shows in an impressive survey of research from high-quality scientific journals and systematic reviews, studies employing credible placebo controls do not indicate positive effects for CAM therapies over and above those attributable to random chance.

Here is not only an entertaining critique of the strangely zealous world of CAM belief and practice, but it also a first-rate introduction to how to correctly interpret scientific research of any sort. Readers will come away with a solid understanding of good vs. bad research practice and a healthy skepticism of claims about the latest miracle cure, be it St. John's Wort for depression or acupuncture for chronic pain.

  • MS Toolkit Blog
  • Based on the recently published book, "MS TOOLKIT - A Patients' & Caregivers' Guide to Multiple Sclerosis," MS TOOLKIT will inform patients and caregivers about the realities of the disease, its possible causes, effects, and treatments. It will provide current information on new developments, clinical trials and other important matters for those dealing with MS.
    BUY MS Toolkit from Amazon
    Finally! A how-to kit for understanding and dealing with multiple sclerosis - "MS" - one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases of the central nervous system. The true "story of multiple sclerosis' impact" - on everyone! If you have MS, or know someone with MS, you simply cannot be without this book! Cary Polevoy speaks candidly about the impact of MS and chronic disease on the lives of patients, family, friends, and co-workers, revealing critical information about the disease, the effectiveness of highly touted treatments, and what everyone should know BEFORE they find themselves stricken with a crippling disease or sidetracked by a career-ending accident: the importance of disability insurance and how to navigate the often onerous paths of insurance companies and Social Security. Everything is contained in one highly readable volume that everyone will understand. It is a necessity for anyone that has MS for dealing with the changes in their lives, family and work, and the medical community.

    The Author
    Cary J. Polevoy

    Cary was first diagnosed with relapsing/remitting MS in July 1995. He currently has secondary progressive MS. He is the author of the new book, "MS TOOLKIT - THE PATIENTS' & CAREGIVERS' GUIDE TO MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS," published in August 2006. Cary's career saw him employed as a chief financial officer, securities analyst, portfolio manager, and stockbroker. He became unable to work in 2000. Since 1996, as his health has allowed, Cary has been a participant in, and a major fund–raiser for, the Colorado MS150 Bike Tour, held for the benefit of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Cary has also been active as a member of the NMSS Speakers’ Bureau and as an NMSS Peer Support Mentor. He has periodically contributed articles and editorials about multiple sclerosis to the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. Cary lives with his wife, Chris, and their two dogs and three cats, in Centennial, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and an M.B.A. from the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University.

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  • Complaint about Enermed medical device advertising in Canada

    Enermed advertisement Toronto Star June 18,2000

    This is an official complaint against a medical device marketed in an advertisement in the Toronto Star on June 18, 2000, page A10.

    Click on picture to see original

    Complaint made to Advertising Standards Council, Health Canada, the Competition Bureau, the U.S. Federal Trades Commission, the U.S. FDA, Allan Rock, Canada's Minister of Health, Elizabeth Witmer, Ontario Minister of Health, and to the management of the Toronto Star.

    Enermed makes unproved claims for device to treat MS and Migraines

    Here is the text of the advertisement.

    Relief from Migraines
    & Multiple Sclerosis
    The Enermed is a non-invasive, pulsed electromagnetic therapy
    which has provided symptomatic relief to 75% of migraine sufferers
    and to 77% of MS patients in Enermed Centres in
    Vancouver and/or Mississauga*.
    Take advantage of the 100% refund policy on the Enermed device cost
    for new patients who do not see improvement in their symptoms.
    Appointments now available in Mississauga Enermed Centre on
    June 23/24/25th, 2000
    Clinic Tel.: 905-276-2466; or 604-602-0983
    mailto:info@enermed.com   http://www.enermed.com
    Health Canada Medical Device Establishment License #608
    *Patient Survey


    Registration for WWW.ENERMED.COM WEB SITE

    www.networksolutions.com/cgi-bin/whois/whois?STRING=www.enermed.com Registrant: Energy Medicine Developments (North America) Inc. (ENERMED-DOM) #104-630 Columbia St New Westminster, BC V3M 1A5 CA Domain Name: ENERMED.COM Administrative Contact, Billing Contact: Fletcher, Bob (BF4821) enermed@DIRECT.CA Energy Medicine Developments (North America) Inc. #104-630 Columbia St New Westminster, BC V3M 1A5 CA 604-522-8618 (FAX) 604-522-9896 Technical Contact, Zone Contact: Administration, DNS (NA979) dnsadmin@IDIRECT.COM ID Internet Direct Ltd 5415 Dundas Street West, Suite 301 Toronto On M9B 1B5 CA 416-233-7150 (FAX) 416-233-6970 Record last updated on 25-Jun-1999. Record expires on 19-Dec-2000. Record created on 19-Dec-1998. Database last updated on 18-Jun-2000 16:13:29 EDT. Domain servers in listed order: CNS1.IDIRECT.COM CNS2.IDIRECT.COM

    Who is Enermed?

    • Do they have a business license in Mississauga?
    • Do they have medical doctors associated with them?
    A phone lookup revealed that the phone number was registered to: Enermed Centre 2085 Hurontario - Suite 300 COOKSVILLE, Ontario In reality 2085 Hurontario St. - Suite 300 has been used by dozens of companies over the years. It's the Southgate Business Centre. Southgate Business Centre 2085 Hurontario Street Suite 300 Mississauga Ontario L5A 4G1 Canada Email: jaz-sgate300@on.aibn.com Phone: 905-949-4444 Fax: 905-896-0391 It's basically a shared office space. Anyone can rent there, it's not a permanent location. For instance Enermed has booked an office for three days in June to sell their devices.

    Academic links to Enermed at the University of Washington
    • depts.washington.edu/chdd/MRDDRC/devneurosci/richards.html - Dr. Todd Richards, PhD
    • faculty.washington.edu/toddr/magnetic.htm -- Claims of success from Todd Richards, U. of Washington staff PhD in the department of radiology.
    • faculty.washington.edu/toddr/ - Richards also links to the Procarin patch, which is another untested magic bullet, and potential scam that has been in Toronto for months. He has applied to do the Procarin study at Bastyr University, a naturopathic school in Washington State. So far funding has not been arranged, but that hasn't stopped Dr. George Gillson, and his entourage from travelling to this country to sell the patches to unsuspecting MS victims.
    Note that the article appeared in the J Altern Complement Med. - This is not a journal that one would ordinarily look to for leading edge and scientifically supported articles. We don't know if the study has been repeated and confirmed since 1997.

    What, no registration...... why should you worry?

    We can find no FDA clearance or registration for the Enermed device. They claim in this statement to have approval to market in Canada: "The device is licenced with the Canadian Health Protection Branch for sale in Canada. It is not, at this time, approved for sale in the USA. We continue to undertake double blind placebo controlled studies, and will continue the research required to meet FDA approval criteria."

    I don't find Enermed in a Canadian patents search:

    In fact, there isn't even a Trademark for it, even in the pending file as of June 13, 2000 The U.S. Patent office has no record of it:

    Warning - unproved devices may not harm you,
    but they may rob you blind

    Enermed researcher say that they base their device on original research from the U.K. We have alerted HealthWatch in the U.K. to see if they can come up with a trail that would substantiate the claims made by the Enermed company that the device originated in research in the early 90s. We ask that they circulate this letter to officials in the U.K. who might have something to contribute. Health Canada makes these comments (Adope .pdf format) This clearly states that no device can make claims like the Enermed device.

    I really saddens me that the Toronto Star, and other papers continues to take advertisements week after week that are obviously in violation of Health Canada regulations.

    When are we finally going to get a written explanation from the editors of The Star that they are wrong in accepting this deceptive type of advertising.

    I have been complaining for years, and have received no response from them. When Health Canada stands by and does nothing at the quackboosting events in Toronto year after year, we are not expecting miracles.

    When someone spends $1,000 or more to purchase an unproved Enermed device to treat their MS or migraine, this certainly could qualify for criminal charges being placed by the Federal government.

    On the other hand, when Hulda Clark invaded Toronto last March, she sold devices to treat cancer, and other diseases, and Health Canada stood around and did nothing. What are we paying our taxes for in Canada? Is the government going to hire Enermed to help design an electromagnetic device department in downtown Hamilton when the dump $100 million in their laps?

    The fact remains that the advertiser who placed the advertisement in the Toronto Star, and possibly other places has said that Health Canada has assigned a #608 to this product. We frankly don't have a clue what that means. It does not show up on their registration page, the patent page, or the trademark page. It could be that it hasn't been posted yet. WE are waiting for a confirmation by phone from Ottawa.

    Meanwhile, we ask that Health Canada investigate the claims made by Enermed, and we ask that the media refrain from publishing any more advertisements for this "medical device" until they have verified it with Health Canada's Health Protection Branch.

    If Health Canada has approved this device, why can't we find it anywhere? If they haven't approved it, then the advertisement is false, and anyone who buys one has a right to recover their costs.

    Comments from others on efficacy of Enermed

    • www.msfacts.org/enermed.htm -- letter concerning Enermed study and answer from Enermed spokesperson

    • www.msfacts.org/indexold1.htm -- MSF - Multiple Sclerosis Foundation

    • MSAA spokesperson commented on June 19, 2000

      "..the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) did fund the Enermed study. In 1997, MSAA provided Energy Medicine Development (EMD) of Vancouver with $300,000 to conduct a three-site pilot and pivotal study regarding the use of pulsed, low-level electromagnetic field therapy and multiple sclerosis. The study was seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the Enermed device in the treatment of bladder dysfunction and spasticity in those with MS.

      Although the results of the study were encouraging, the data for these two treatment modalities were not statistically significant, and thus, EMD did not submit the data to the FDA. The study did produce statistically significant results for the treatment of fatigue. As a result, EMD is hoping to conduct another Enermed clinical trail for FDA-approval - this time focusing on fatigue and MS. At this time, MSAA has not committed funds for the proposed study.

      Note: The MSAA also has a link to Noni juice on its web page!

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