Monday, July 31, 2006

Psychic Serial Killers?

Skeptico and The Two Per Cent Company have both recently commented on what a sad shyster Alison Dubois is. Along the same lines, EoR wonders why Anthony Grzelka doesn't just tell the police who the Claremont serial killer is and where to find him (or her).

Given that both these people are 'real' psychics (real psychics are distinguishable from fake psychics because the real ones reveal information that only you could know by asking you a series of leading questions and providing generalities when that fails, whereas fake psychics reveal information that only you could know by asking you a series of leading questions and providing generalities when that fails) shouldn't they be charged by the police with withholding information relating to a crime? Isn't this the equivalent of an accomplice in the actual murders refusing to name the murderer?

Of course, the only other option that EoR could imagine is that the psychics themselves are the murderers. That would explain their refusal to provide explicit information, and how the murderers are so good at evading capture (psychics obviously know where the police are looking, and go somewhere else).

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Natural Schisms

In a post last year concerning a bachelor of science degree in natural horsemanship, Liz Ditz asked in passing

What would happen if there was a religious schism? That is, if Pat Parelli excommunicates William Kriegel?

William Kriegel is the owner of La Cense Montana ("Natural ranching" - whatever that's supposed to mean), the outside organisation brought in to help run the course.

Well, EoR imagines excommunication would be something like the situation with Parelli UK, which has thrown off the shackles of Pat Parelli-ism and rebranded itself as Equine Ethology, following in the wake of a similar move in France, and which has resulted in dismay among the true believers such as this posting:

As a Parelli practitioner I was taken somewhat aback by the UK organization attempting to trademark "Equine Ethology", so I did some investigating. A few years ago the French arm of Parelli bolted to start their own system to avoid paying the cost of Parelli alignment and to avoid following the stict guidelines Parelli imposes. [...] The Brits are considering also leaving the Parelli system, as their franchise expires thie year.

and this one

Where it might do the most good I don't know - but societies such as the BHS (British Horse .) might be a good start. In fact I'm gobsmacked that they and a few colleges have gone for it. You would think that educators would know the meaning of the term - but either they don't - or commercial gain is more important to them and the bandwagon is just so inviting! Knowing how money oriented education is now it would not be too surprising - just very sad.

(of course, 'natural' horsemanship is even more money oriented) and this one

Out of interest, in what way are EE and Parelli different then? Because from what I have seen, the two are remarkably similar, and when EE was "launched" there were a lot of mumblings that it was just Parelli remarketed...

Equine Ethology itself claims it is the only natural horsemanship:

'Equine Ethology' is the name for Natural Horsemanship and it is the first 'method' to be registered by a national federation. [...]

In effect, it's just one more boring schism in the 'natural' horsemanship religion (note the comment above about Parelli's insistence on 'alignment' and 'strict guidelines' - this presumably makes him the Pope of 'natural' horsemanship). The same post-modernist revamp of traditional horsemanship is still there. The same marketing driven imperative is there. The same pseudo-newage mindset is there. The only thing missing now is Parelli's blessing hand. But EoR is sure Equine Ethology will shortly come up with its own guru for the devotees to worship at the feet of.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

How "Join Up" Works

Lucy Rees, who many consider to have been practising 'natural' horsemanship techniques before the marketers invented the term and created all the special equipments, books, dvds, courses, etc, has some interesting things to say in the March/April 2004 newsletter of the Animal Behaviour Consultants of South Africa.

"Natural" training methods can produce results so spectacular as to be an exhibitionist’s delight. It is not difficult to render the horse completely passive and, in order to impress, work him to the point where he is no longer actively cooperating and learning but passively allowing himself to be pushed about. This satisfies some, but increasingly those with a critical eye see a dullness, a lack of interest, in horses whose imprint, Parelli or round pen training has been overdone. In any kind of training, one of the most difficult sensibilities to acquire is that of knowing when to stop. [...] Although it has been shown that in horses a) under natural conditions dominance hierarchies are so poorly developed as to be invisible, needing artificially created competition to develop, and b) in partially managed groups, the leader and the dominant are not necessarily the same animal, there is a reluctance on the parts of both trainers and some scientists to aabandon human attitudes about dominance. We live in a highly competitive society, where power hierarchies, status struggles and so on are heavily emphasized. A truly cooperative, non-hierarchical, non-authoritarian social structure is inconceivable to many, although we see it on a smaller scale every day. Thus many round pen trainers believe that the technique is a psychological way of demonstrating dominance over the horse, who is driven away every time he does not comply with what is wanted, but then comes to us for leadership and submits to our control. In the light of the above this is muddled thinking, which results, as my friend Amy Coffman (a thoughtful and experienced watcher of American ‘natural’ trainers) has pointed out, in a punitive way of using the round pen: the horse is made to gallop about until he submits. I, too, have seen this aggressive attitude in some pupils who have learned from others. The only round pen trainer I know of who differentiates between the roles played by dominant and leader is Mark Rashid, who probably (I am guessing) has not read the scientific literature but is an acute and dispassionate observer. It is a curious state of affairs when those who know that dominant attitudes repel horses fail to grasp its true significance: that horses do not obey dominants. They avoid them.

EoR notes that Monty and his revivalist roadshow have returned to Perth this weekend ("Be amazed as Monty puts Equus to the ultimate test" - tickets are limited but were still available yesterday at $A113.65). He expects the true devotees to flock along to receive their annual dose of preaching and buying.

Friday, July 28, 2006

EoR In The Blogosphere

Pew Internet have conducted a telephone survey of bloggers (of the American adult variety - your results may differ in other climes and ages). EoR is always fascinated to see how his blog fits in to the blogosphere...

  • 8% of internet users are bloggers, so EoR is definitely in a minority here.

  • 54% of bloggers are under the age of 30, and only 13% live in rural regions. Again, EoR appears in to be in the minority, having been born in 1921, and living in a corner of the 100 Acre Woood.

  • 55% blog under a pseudonym. Again, since EoR is using his real name, he's in the minority.

  • 10% of bloggers spend 10 hours or more a week on their blog, which is what EoR does (researching and disproving SCAMs is hard work).

  • 27% stated they blogged to influence the way others think, which is what EoR does (note: influence, not browbeat or intimidate).

  • 56% of bloggers spend time verifying facts "sometimes" or "often". At last! EoR joins the majority here.

  • 79% of bloggers have broadband. EoR relies on an ancient dialup connection.

  • 87% of bloggers allow comments, 41% have a blogroll, and 18% offer an RSS feed, all of which apply to EoR. Interestingly, the rates drop off for things that need to be changed rather than just accepting the standard blog template.

  • 60% of bloggers are white (less than the general internet population). EoR, being blue-gray, is again in a minority.

  • 13% post daily or more frequently. EoR generally only posts when he has a topic of woo to address. Sadly, this means he posts something new almost every day.

PDFs of the questionnaire and report are available at the link above if you want to see where you stand in the geography of the blogosphere.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

This Is Not A Post About Tebonin's Efficacy

EoR has previously blogged about Big Altie Pharma's use of the legal process to suppress information it considers unfavourable.

It appears Schwabe Australia has achieved its goal.

Aiming to "help consumers make informed choices about these (non-prescription health-related) products", the [AusPharm Consumer Health Watch] founders worked out a process for gathering evidence on a product's effectiveness both from the product's makers and independently. They would then assess the strength of the evidence, and seek further comments before coming to a conclusion about the extent to which the claims made by the makers could be substantiated. But the website now faces an uncertain future after Schwabe Australia successfully took it to the Federal Court to suppress a report being prepared on the firm's herbal remedy for tinnitus, Tebonin. The site's 10 backers had already shrunk to three in the face of the growing legal threat, and the remaining trio are now preparing to capitulate after paying $15,000 out of their own pockets in an unsuccessful bid to oppose the temporary injunction banning publication of their report. It is understood the three are willing to agree on the injunction being made permanent in exchange for Schwabe dropping the case. The company had objected to the process by which the report was drawn up, as well as to its assumptions and conclusions.

As a result, it appears complementary medicines will continue to be listed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration under a notedly laxer system than pharmeceuticals.

According to the TGA, "most, but not all" complementary medicines are considered lower risk - meaning they only have to be "listed" on the register. While they still have to meet quality and safety requirements, they are not evaluated for effectiveness before they go on sale - in other words, there is no independent test to check if they are any good for whatever complaint the manufacturers are selling them for.

Consumer magazine, Choice, is also backing AusPharm.

Choice media spokeswoman Indira Naidoo said consumers "definitely want the TGA to crack down" on the sale of complementary medicines. "A lot of consumers do not realise that a lot of complementary medicines sold on the market do not have enough evidence, we believe, to support the claims made for them," she says. "They are very rarely asked to produce evidence and research material to support the claims they make about their products. Many consumers assume that because a product is available, that it does what it says. That's not the case."

Alties constantly complain about the pharmaceutical industry, citing suppression of unfavourable results, control of the market, and extending into various unsupported conspiracy theories, but it seems the alternative manufacturers are no better. If the evidence was there, wouldn't they be glad to show it?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Addicted to Games

Via Father Bob comes this newspaper report about online gaming addiction.

Smith & Jones, addiction consultants in Amsterdam, offer a new detox service for compulsive gamers, making the astonishing claim that 20 per cent of all game players can develop a dependency. "We saw that these gamers often displayed many of the same characteristics of addiction as heavy gamblers and drug addicts," the centre's website says. "Many of these individuals have neglected family, romance, school and jobs, not to mention their basic needs such as food and personal hygiene." Compulsive gamers are treated using many of the same techniques for other obsessive-compulsive behaviour, including group therapy, psychologists and psychiatrists. The consultants claim to have observed the same "withdrawal symptoms as chemically dependent people" in players as young as eight, and recommend total gaming abstinence.

EoR is automatically a little skeptical of claims of gaming "addiction" since it confuses the general meaning of the word with the specific medical meaning (a compulsive dependency) as opposed to a non-dependent habit, but then the article becomes very confused.

The games commonly associated with anti-social behaviour are multiplayer online worlds such as Everquest, Second Life and World of Warcraft.

It's precisely the MMORPGs that encourage socialising and interacting with other individuals. Just because it happens to be via the use of a computer doesn't change that fact. Should telephones be banned? Should letters? Should only face to face interaction be classed as "socialising"? EoR thinks not.

One commenter to the article stated

"I know two people who've lost long-term relationships to that game. They're both scarily intelligent and hold down well-paid, demanding jobs, yet this game is an obsession."

So. They're "addicted" to the exclusion of everything else, yet manage to hold down "demanding" jobs? EoR doesn't know too many heroin addicts who can perform so well. There is a hint of good news at the end of the article:

Fortunately, Bond University's GamePlay Australia 2005 survey found most gamers play in only short periods and also enjoy a range of other hobbies.

Could that be because they're conducting an independent survey, and they're not selling anything?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


The West Australian newspaper's Mind&Body supplement for 18th July 2006 is generally wishy-washy and of little note (mostly just the exercise, think happy thoughts, eat a healthy diet school of wisdom), but the final paragraph of the lead article ("Skincare for woolly weather") caught EoR's attention, particularly with its new complementary therapy:

And a final tip for glowing skin? "Lots of sex really makes your skin glow," [nutrition consultant] Ms Wilder said. "If you are in love, your skin will be radiant."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Chiropracters: Kill or Cure

The Journal of Neurology has an interesting article on Vertebral artery dissections after chiropractic neck manipulation in Germany over three years (subscription required to view full article, also available as a pdf at Alties might like to note that Germany is regularly cited as an "enlightened" nation where alternative therapies are regularly accepted as real.

Vertebral artery dissection (VAD) has been observed in association with chirotherapy of the neck. However, most publications describe only single case reports or a small number of cases. We analyzed data from neurological departments at university hospitals in Germany over a three year period of time of subjects with vertebral artery dissections associated with chiropractic neck manipulation.

Of 36 patients identified with VAD, one patient died and one was in a vegetative state. The average hospital stay for the others was 20 days, and half were discharged with continuing focal neurological deficits. So it appears chiropracters are not only expert at finding subluxations that no one else can see, but also have some other deadly skills as well. Though it wasn't just chiropracters twisting people's necks, as Quackwatch makes clear:

This report is highly significant but needs careful interpretation. Although it is titled "Vertebral dissections after chiropractic neck manipulation . . . " only four of the patients were actually manipulated by chiropractors. Half were treated by orthopedic surgeons, five by a physiotherapist, and the rest by a neurologist, general medical practitioner, or homeopath. It is possible - although unlikely - that the nonchiropractors used techniques that were more dangerous than chiropractors use in North America. The authors suggested that the orthopedists' treatment was safer, but there is no way to determine this from their data. Regardless, the study proves beyond doubt that neck manipulation can cause strokes, an assertion that many chiropractors deny.

Unsurprisingly, rather than assessing the evidence and reassessing techniques, chiropracters are sticking by their guns and stating it's the other practitioners' fault.

When compared to many medical procedures, the chiropractic adjustment is hundreds to thousands of times safer!

Mr Painter points out that it is not clear which of the various practitioners caused the patient injuries. By a false leap of logic, he seems to assume that, ergo, no chiropracter caused any of the injuries. His own argument is that we don't know.

This article also contains incontrovertible proof that medical doctors (GPs), physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, homeopaths, and medical neurologists should NOT use spinal manipulation on their patients.

Nor, EoR ventures to suggest, should chiropracters.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Better Than Natural Horsemanship

Never mind natural horsemanship, the obvious way to understand your horse better is to use the ancient and revered science of astrology.

As creatures of flight, horses are sensitive at the best of times. Understanding how to study a horse's sun and moon signs will help owners interpret his or her individual behaviour, deepest needs and health.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

George Vs Science

On talk back radio recently (on the subject of science, its parlous state, its lessening attraction to students, and cutbacks to the national science organisation CSIRO) one of the callers was George who epitomised the misunderstanding of science. George's argument was that science has never done any good for us, and scientists only cut up mice (EoR is not joking, that was the whole of his argument). The interviewer suggested that, at least in the realm of health, science has done some good. No! responded George, citing the US where it is common knowledge that science is killing people. It's only because of better shelter and warmth that we're living longer, and nothing to do with science.

Easy as it would be to make fun of George's misunderstanding, it's clear that many people have absolutely no idea what science is and what it has contributed, seeing 'science' only as the atomic bomb (in George's case). George (nor the host, sadly) didn't seem to realise that he was making his complaint on a mobile phone. Nor that the whole of Australia was listening to him through radio. Nor, sadly, that neither of these would exist without science.

EoR wanted to know whether George had a computer. Whether he drove a car. Whether he had a microwave. Whether he ever flew in an aeroplane. Whether he ever took antibiotics. Did he use the internet. Did he eat products produced through modern plant breeding and agricultural practises? And so on. None of which, in George's eyes, had even a vague smattering of science.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Bleeding Edge of Herbal Remedies

Exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) is a condition of horses, particularly high performance athletes such as Thoroughbreds. Affected individuals are commonly referred to as "bleeders" due to visible bleeding from their nostrils, but it seems the great majority of Thoroughbreds suffer from this condition without the visible appearance of exterior bleeding.

The effect of herbal supplementation on the severity of exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (abstract only, full study requires purchase, though one of the authors has provided the same information as a later PhD dissertation) was a study to assess the efficacy of herbal formulations designed to enhance platelet function (in this case, Yunnan Paiyao and the marvellously named Single Immortal) conducted under a randomized cross-over protocol. The study found

The herbal formulations were not effective in decreasing EIPH [...] or in changing any of the other variables measured with the exception of time-to-fatigue, which was slightly but significantly prolonged by Single Immortal compared with placebo and Yunnan Paiyao [...] Thus, these results do not support the use of these herbal formulations in the prevention of EIPH.

Yunnan Paiyao is recommended on the internet for menstrual cramps and excessive bleeding, cancerous bleeding as well as equine bleeders (EoR particularly enjoyed Steve Hart's comment - after seeking a veterinarian's advice which he disagrees with as he would "rather work with something like Yunnan Paiyao"), pet cancer (the desperate, illogical thinking of owners is clear from dalefo's willingness to accept the offer of the unused Yunnan Paiyou from another owner who's dog died shortly after buying the supply), and circulation and regularity. Single Immortal is a little harder to track down (EoR kept finding gaming sites), but the professional sounding Veterinary Institute for Integrative Medicine is still recommending it for EIPH. Mind you, this document is also full of effects such as "clears heat in the liver", "builds qi" and "moves blood and qi".

Thanks to Liz Ditz over at I Speak of Dreams for the link.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

L-Arginine For All The Ills That Ail You

L-Arginine is a popular supplement sold on the internet for such things as (EoR chose this site randomly because it's from Australia and it gave six pages of L-Arginine supplements, but there are many many more out there)

Major energy currency. Detoxification of ammonia. Immune system health - colds and flu. Heart disease - lowers high blood pressure. Erectile and sperm function. Impotence. Build and tone muscle tissue

EoR also wonders in passing about the product whose benefits appear to be a secret, and which carries this mysterious warning in capitals:


Of course, most of these claims are not scientific ("energy currency"? what the hell is that supposed to mean?) and there is little or no evidence to back up the supposed benefits of these products. Luckily, someone is investigating the efficacy of L-Arginine, in relation to its use in Acute Myocardial Infarction. As claimed above, L-Arginine is supposedly useful for heart disease and high blood pressure. Unfortunately, the researchers found the reverse was true, and had to terminate the study when patients began dying.

There was no significant change from baseline to 6 months in the vascular stiffness measurements or left ventricular ejection fraction in either of the 2 groups, including those 60 years or older and the entire study group. However, 6 participants (8.6%) in the L-arginine group died during the 6-month study period vs none in the placebo group (P = .01). Because of the safety concerns, the data and safety monitoring committee closed enrollment.

This has led to the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia issuing an alert.

As a result of the JAMA publication, the TGA, in consultation with the Complementary Medicines Evaluation Committee, is conducting an immediate in-depth review of the scientific literature on the safety aspects of L-arginine before considering further regulatory action. Until such time as the safety review is completed, the TGA advises anyone who has suffered a heart attack to avoid taking medicines containing L-arginine. The TGA points out that topical L-arginine products (such as creams or ointments) available in Australia are not likely to carry the same potential risk reported for oral products.

EoR wonders when the alties will start coming out of the woodwork asserting some BigPharma conspiracy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Flushing Out The Truth Of Altie Remedies

What is it with the whole altie/rectal interface thing? Why are alties so fundamentally fascinated by bowel functions? Pull up a stool why EoR investigates the dark nether regions of alternative health.

While researching some other piece of woo magic, EoR discovered an article by Victoria Bowman, DHM (that's qualification as in "doctorate in homeopathic medicine from the British Institute of Homeopathy"; sort of equivalent to "Master of Magic from Hogwarts") entitled Holistic Rectal Infusions. How could he resist an article with such an inviting title? EoR decided to get to the bottom of the matter.

Ways of ensuring your health include "clyster tablets" (don't you just love the archaic language? - clyster sounds much more technical and comforting than "enema") as detailed in Wobe-Mugos Therapy. Tumor patients are urged to insert the relevant dose of four tablets five times a day. Unsurprisingly, "the typical side effect is anal irritation".

For those with a tablet aversion, there's MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) for the real anal junkie.

For gastrointestinal distress, MSM may be utilized in colon irrigation prior to a rectal infusion.

There's even a case hx (this must be a scientific site if it uses jargon like that):

CASE HX: While traveling, a 72-year-old male found himself exposed to allergens that caused severe symptoms. Having a limited holistic first aid kit, he decided to utilize MSM rectally in the recommended therapeutic dose. After four doses at 12-hour intervals, he reported being symptom free.

Unlike the alties, EoR prefers not to dwell on the thought of a 72 year old male in some motel room somewhere urgently self-administering the required dosage.

Perhaps Intra-Rectal Nutrient Therapy is more up your alley. This can be applied daily and is also clearly scientific with its various 'phases':

Phase I detoxification utilizes B vitamins to speed up its process and Phase II detoxification utilizes taurine and glutathione. Therefore, not only does this create a nutrient rich system but also it activates the liver's detoxification pathways.

EoR ventures to suggest that someone with a liver that was not detoxifying was in urgent need of serious (real) medical attention. Or dead. Speaking of dead, a therapy that cures cancer, Ozone, comes with its woo claim of efficacy for the backdoor fanatic:

By utilizing either rectal insufflation or colon irrigation with ozone, the detoxification of this primary elimination channel will increase the total overall level of tissue purification.

Whatever that means in the real world. "Tissue purification" anyone?

As Ms Bowman concludes:

It is also time to examine our own attitudes about the bowel, release those that are repressed, and educate our patients to the value that these protocols can offer to health and well being.

EoR urges the anally repressed masses of the world to rise up, and to release the chains that are binding them. A sphincter is haunting Europe. The sphincter of confusion.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More Woo Certificates

EoR has previously written about the widening of people eligible to complete medical certificates in Australia to include such health "professionals" as acupuncturists and chinese herbal medicine specialists.

The doctors are unhappy [link goes to pdf file].

Media reports from Tasmania indicate that workers can now easily shop around for medical certificates for sick leave from just about anyone from chiropracters, optometrists to pharmacists. [...] The only concession the Government has made to fix its monumental legislative blunder is to not allow veterinarians to issue sick leave certificates for humans.

And why not? wonders EoR. At least humans are animals, and veterinarians are dealing with real things, not imaginary meridians, or unbalanced humours.

AMA president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal makes a statement sure to upset the host of alternative practitioners out there:

"Managing a patient's health requires a holistic approach that is best provided by a general practitioner."

The AMA is now mounting a test case.

The AMA has submitted a complaint to the Victorian Chinese Medicine Registration Board concerning a 'medical certificate' issued by a Chinese Medicine practitioner earlier this year, which was sent to the AMA by a concerned small business owner.

The AMA is concerned, among other things, that the certificate was purportedly issed by a 'doctor' though the practitioner concerned is not registered as such. The employer was unable to tell from the 'certificate' what the extent and nature of the employee's illness was.

EoR suspects the AMA will lose the case, even though the 'doctor' forgot to mention that his client was suffering from "stagnant qi flow" and would be unfit until "his bank account runs out".

Monday, July 17, 2006

Psychic Attack Real. Major Newspaper Reports.

The Mind&Body supplement from the West Australian newspaper for Tuesday 11th July 2006 excels itself in copious quantities of oozing wooness.

EoR won't go over "How Old Are You Really?" again, since Medgadget has already done so at length. Nor will he dwell for long on puff pieces advertising visiting "wellness gurus" who claim

In sheer frustration, she cried out for help one day and Ms Kavelin-Popov said she was saved by divine intervention. She said an inner voice gave her 10 rules for health which she wrote down in detail and ever since her 1997 epiphany, she has preached what she was told.

Nor will he dwell on the lunacy of "In Tune With Your Body" where he learns that

Every cell, when broken down to its smallest parts, is actually comprised of energy or frequencies.

So why don't radio transmitters (for example) create cells every time they're operated, since they're pumping out both energy and frequencies?

No, EoR prefers to dwell today on the back page of the supplement which he has, until now, ignored. Devoted to "Dream Reader" Charmaine Saunders, readers write in with their dreams and Ms Saunders provides the appropriate interpretation. Generally confined to the "a blue bunny who explodes in flames signifies relationship difficulties" level of dream interpretation, with the occasional psychic trick of "Are you experiencing any difficulties in relationships?" style of information, it's usually just ignorable fluff.

This issue's selection of dreams is remarkable though for its obsession with death. There's the dream of the dead body and ghost, the dream of hundreds of ghosts that ends in the woman stabbing her children, and the dream of a lot of blood which Joan understandably takes as an omen of Doom to Come (Ms Saunders, in a previous issue, did explain how dreams are often prophetic). Unfortunately, Ms Saunders seems to realise how unsustainable such an assertion is, without actually admitting that such things can be attributed to coincidence, or selective interpretation.

If I truly believed that a person's dream contained a serious warning, I would truthfully explain this but I genuinely believe that most dreams are simply helpful messages from our subconscious.

So how does she tell the real omens from the fake omens? Does it come down to that key word "belief"?

Things get worse with Larry's plea:

Is it possible to receive psychic attacks through dreams? I truly believe that I am being troubled by hostile spirits during my sleep. I wake up exhausted and feel very disturbed just about every night.

EoR can't quite remember when the diagnostic manual was updated with "Psychic Attack in Dreams" as indicated by symptoms of disturbed sleep and exhaustion, but it must be there, since the erudite Ms Saunders advises

I do think this phenomenon is possible. Some people would call it being haunted but basically it just means that you have spirits attached to you that are not friendly. They can manifest in many different forms and coming through dreams is one of their expressions. You need not be afraid of them if you keep your hear pure. If you're religious, pray for protection and if not, say a simple affirmation like, "I am always safe from negative forces" before you go to sleep each night. Visualise yourself surrounded by white light. Speak to your priest about a blessing or hire a ghostbuster who will come and cleanse your living space. The main thing is to remember that thoughts are energy so what you put out comes back. Keep your thoughts and your beliefs positive and gradually the energy around you will clear.

This fantastic (literally) mumbo jumbo is printed in a major city newspaper (indeed, the only daily newspaper in Western Australia). EoR wonders sometimes about this alternative universe that the alties live in which seems to coexist in some way with the mundane (literally) world of reality. Hire a ghostbuster? Is this woman serious? EoR just looked at the telephone directory, and there's no such listing. Maybe it only exists in the Middle Earth dreamworld that these people seem to inhabit.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Nutritional Supplement of the Millennium

EoR has received a pharmacist provided brochure on Maca, hailed as a "healer at a cellular level". Promoted for low energy, lethargy, sluggishness, fatigue (presumably all of those are different), "brain fade" (whatever that is - maybe the brain stops showing up on MRI scans), "fuzzy thinking" (EoR thought that was something computers did), lapses in concentration, stress, tension, sexual inconsistency (would that be a lack of a clear gender identity?), hot flushes, sleeplessness, heavy/light flow problems (apparently not of the plumbing sort) and mood swings.

Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon) is a root vegetable grown above 4000 metres in the Andes Mountains of Peru for at least 10,000 years. Grown free of chemicals and pesticides, it is still harvested by hand and dehydrated for consumption. It retains its strong restorative powers endowed by nature, rich in nutrients and minerals. Capable of revitalising and balancing the endocrine system, it allows men and women of all ages to embrace life to the full once more. Maca is an adaptogenic plant, which means that it works on the body according to the needs, age and gender of the person taking it. It is reputed to encourage the glands within the body to produce the needed hormones by balancing the pituitary-hypothalamus axis.

Consumers are warned that it can take different times to work (presumably because it works differently for different bodies). You must take enough, you must take it regularly, and the expensive stuff is the better stuff. A marketer's dream product.

If people are not getting results it is generally because they are not taking enough, so you must monitor yourself to see the best results.

At the very end of the brochure is the usual altie disclaimer:

All information given is only to be used as reference material for educational purposes only. In no way do we imply therapeutic claims. The products mentioned must never be represented as an approved treatment for any conditions mentioned and must never be used in lieu of professional advice for any condition.

So, if it doesn't have any effect on any of the conditions mentioned, why were they mentioned?

A search of the Cochrane database shows a few studies of Maca.

Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men: [...] In conclusion, treatment with Maca does not affect serum reproductive hormone levels.
Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men: [...] In conclusion, treatment with Maca improved sexual desire [but not levels of serum testosterone oroestradiol levels].
Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing propeties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men: [...] In conclusion, treatment with Maca does not affect serum reproductive hormone levels.

EoR also found one study on PubMed:

Lepidium peruvianum chacon restores homeostasis impaired by restraint stress: [...] Thus, it did not appear to affect restraint stress-induced immunosuppression.

There is also Red maca (Lepidium meyenii) reduced prostate size in rats which finds

Indeed, the data presented here show that Red Maca reduced ventral prostate size in normal adult rats and also in rats treated with testosterone enanthate. Hence, it is proposed that Red Maca may have important implications under pathological conditions of the prostate.

Despite these less than impressive results (though the prostate finding may be of use if it also carries across to humans), Maca is touted as The Nutritional Supplement of the Millennium.

MACA is recommended as a nutritional supplement due to its contents of minerals, chemical compounds, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, tannins, alkaloids, etc... It has been discovered that MACA favors the calcification process in the bones, stimulates the formation and maturation of the red blood cells, strengthens the immune system, stimulates the reproductive system for both men and women, relieves symptoms caused by PMS, acts as a hormone replacement, and can be utilized as a co-assistant for infirmities of malnutrition, osteoporosis, AIDS, tuberculosis, etc...

While Maca was recently in danger of extinction, this renewed interest in it has not come without its critics. The Peruvian farmers are critical of Big Altie Pharma's taking out patents and appropriating their product.

Argumedo is referring to a US patent held by PureWorld Botanicals, Inc., a New Jersey-based company that specializes in botanical extracts. PureWorld's patent on maca extract is not recognized in Peru, and thus does not currently prevent Peruvian people from growing, using or selling maca extracts. However, if PureWorld chooses to enforce its patent, the company could prevent maca extracts of Peruvian origin from being imported to the United States, or anywhere else the patent is recognized. PureWorld is already seeking patent rights in Australia, the European Patent Office, and at the World Intellectual Property Organization. In addition, the company has a second US patent application pending on maca extract (published April 11, 2002). Another US-based company, Biotics Research Corporation, holds a patent on maca and antler for augmenting testosterone levels.

More information, including references to other studies, can be found at the Health Encyclopedia.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Quackometer Skepticism

EoR is skeptical of the Quackometer when his blog receives a rating of 2 canards and this warning:

The quacking noise is deafening. This web site is riddled with loosely defined terms and pseudoscientific language with huge sprinklings of alternative medicine mumbo jumbo. Using lots of physics terms like this rarely has any meaning outside of physics books. However, it shows significant sceptical awareness and may be debunking. It also looks like this site is trying to sell stuff. Buyer Beware!

EoR is not selling anything!

At least Anthony Grzelka's website received a superscore of 10 canards (by way of comparison, Masaru Emoto only rates 8 canards), and EoR's blog was listed correctly under "Possible quackbusting web sites...". Sadly, though, so was a page of Mr Grzelka's site. If only the psychics would debunk themselves, it would save EoR so much time and trouble...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Death: A Cure For All Cancers

People offering alternative cancer 'cures' seem to gravitate towards countries with lax laws regarding what constitutes medical treatment. Mexico, for example. Unfortunately, Thailand seems to have been a poor choice for Hellfried Sartori.

A disgraced doctor who left a New Zealand woman fighting for her life after treating her cancer with "liquid ozone" injections has been arrested in Thailand. Austrian man Hellfried Sartori was arrested in a Chiang Mai hotel on Sunday and charged with fraud and practising medicine without a licence. Known as "Dr Ozone", he had previously served two jail terms in the United States for administering the bogus treatments, Bangkok newspaper the Nation reported. Sartori took Kiwi woman Melissa Judith Taylor, who was suffering from lung cancer, to the intensive care unit of a Chiang Mai hospital on June 22. Her relatives told police she had passed out after he injected three doses of an "ozone treatment" into veins in her chest and neck, the newspaper said. Websites claim the treatment cures everything from Aids and cancer to allergies and hardening of the arteries. It consists of injections of "liquid ozone", usually into a vein.

Regardless of what he might be known as, the report makes clear that Mr Sartori (EoR wonders if that's his real name) has not been a doctor since 1974, and had previously had his registration suspended in the UK. He has also had his license revoked in two states in the US in the 1980s.

Nonetheless, desperate people were apparently willing to pay $NZ36,500 for his 'treatment'.

Sadly, the train of miracle cancer cures that seem to leave a surprising number of deaths in their wakes does not stop there.

Police say they have almost completed their investigation into a Perth doctor who treated several terminally-ill cancer patients, who died within days of each other. They are investigating whether Dr Alexandra Boyd received instructions from a Thai-based man, Hellfried Sartori, on how to administer the caesium chloride treatment. Mr Sartori was refused entry into Western Australia last year and has now been arrested in Thailand and reportedly charged with fraud and practising medicine without a licence. Seven patients were treated by Dr Boyd in May last year. Of those, six died and four of the deaths were within four days of treatment.

Dr Boyd's standard response seems to be "it has produced successful results in other patients". Presumably, they were the lucky ones who successfully didn't die. Presumably, this Dr Alexandra Boyd is the same one who wrote a testimonial supporting Emotional Freedom Techinique, Provocative Energy Technique and 100% YES!™, where she relates her transformation from someone who didn't deserve money, to someone who did.

"Thank you for two of the most enlightening and lightening days of my life.... My relationship with money has not been a good one, I think because deep down I have a deeply held belief that I do not deserve it, with other beliefs that you have to work hard, also it is better to give than receive. All these beliefs were challenged and shaken in a way that has allowed me to develop new beliefs that will enable me to keep the money that I work for and deserve to have. How about that for a turnaround. WOW. But that's not all, along with that, so much other work was done on my self-esteem ... Life's cup of joy for me today is overflowing. Was doing 100% YES! worth it? 100% YES, YES, YES."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Terrors of Modern Medicine, The Terrors of Email

EoR recently received this urgent, frightening email:

Fwd: FW: Fw: June 17, 2006 - Medication recall - mainly flu / cold, m2

Medication recall- mainly flu / cold

This was sent out, I had it checked by the Manager of the chemist at Garden City Clinic and apparently this is correct. Although the US authorities have already acted, nothing has yet been forthcoming from our own (dear) Ministry of Health!!!!

All drugs containing PHENYLPROPANOLAMINE are being recalled. Please read this CAREFULLY. Also, please pass this on.

STOP TAKING anything containing this ingredient. It has been linked to increased hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in brain) among women ages 18-49 in the three days after starting use of medication. Problems were not found in men, but the FDA recommended that everyone (even children) seek alternative Medicine.

The following medications contain Phenylpropanolamine:

[List of 35 products snipped]

They are voluntarily recalling the following medicines because of a certain ingredient that is causing strokes and seizures in children:

[List of 3 products snipped]



They can then pass it along to their families.

To confirm these findings please take time to check the following:

Unlike the majority of these scare stories, at least the link goes to something that seems to confirm some of the substance of this evil being perpetrated by Australian Big Pharma (presumably to make people sick, so that they buy more Big Pharma drugs, EoR imagines).

Unfortunately, like all "FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO EVERYONE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK NOW!!!!" emails, it's simply untrue. EoR took a full 60 seconds to find the Therapeutic Goods Admininstration's comments on Phenylpropanolamine.

In Australia, substantial action to limit the availability of many of the products of concern to the US FDA was taken in 1983. This followed a number of Australian reports of episodes of severe high blood pressure attributed to high doses of PPA in appetite suppressant products. Since that time PPA has only been available in cough and cold products from pharmacies in relatively low doses (25mg or less per dose). Specific label warnings were required.

Since 1984 there has been only one Australian adverse drug reaction report to the TGA and that report did not relate to high blood pressure or stroke. This provides some assurance that the current concerns in the US were largely dealt with in Australia in 1983.

In June and July of 2001 the last remaining products containing PPA were voluntarily withdrawn from the Australian market by their sponsors. There are now no products containing PPA authorised for supply in Australia.

The TGA has become aware of information originating from the US regarding the PPA situation that has been circulating widely in the Australian community via email messages. It is not immediately apparent to recipients that this information relates to the US market, not Australia, particularly since some of the brand names mentioned, such as Dimetapp and Robitussin, are familiar to Australian consumers. As a result people have been misled into believing that certain products mentioned in these email messages contain PPA and are subject to drug recalls in Australia. This is not the case; there are no drug recalls in force in Australia relating to PPA and no products containing PPA on the Australian market.

So, in Australia action has been taken on this matter since 1983. Twenty-three years ago. The information on the TGA page was originally posted in 2000. Six years ago. No products containing Phenylpropanolamine have been sold here since 2001. Five years ago. But some credulous people are all willing to propagate the scare story without doing the least bit of information checking.

EoR is off to contact the email sender. He has a bridge he wants to sell...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pigs Fly Over BBC

What do you do when all the studies say homeopathy doesn't work? When doctors band together to write letters to the NHS saying it doesn't work? When the Lancet publishes an editorial saying it doesn't work? When UK homeopathic vets are quietly removed from the veterinary website?

Get a 93 year old to provide a single, baseless, testimonial. Even worse, the BBC are guilty: 93-year-old - 'I know they work'.

Ms Gilchrist said the reason it was difficult to provide proof from research that alternative medicines worked was because they worked differently on individuals. "Everyone is unique. For the same symptoms, people might have different medications." However, she said that the proof they helped was shown by the number of people who wanted to use alternative medicines.

So, if the effect is different on everyone, doesn't that still mean there is (by definition) no measurable effect? In other words, taking homeopathic remedies has no difference from not taking homeopathic remedies. Or, to put it more simply, there is no evidence that homeopathy works.

And just because people want to use something, doesn't mean that's "proof" that they work. A clearly logically fallacious statement. EoR bets lots of people wish they could fly, but it's still not happening.

EoR wants more information: how many people live to their nineties and do not use homeopathic remedies? EoR postulates that more nonagenarians do not use homeopathic remedies as opposed to those who do. In which case, it would be clearly demonstrable that homeopathy actually lessens the lifespan, and that consuming such "remedies" can have clearly fatal consequences.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Best Horoscope Award

Goes to the West Australian newspaper of July 8, 2006.

Scorpio: Whatever decisions or commitments you make over the weekend have a 50-50 chance of working to your advantage.

EoR isn't willing to take any bets that that particular prediction came true for 100% of Scorpios, since he'd be sure to lose. Astrology. Amazing.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

38th Skeptics' Circle

Debunking all the woo out there can be tiring work. Time to take a refreshing drink from the Skeptic Vending Machine.

Proof of Passed-On Spirit Guides

EoR recently downloaded a picture from the site of well-known real™ authentic® psychic clairvoyant spiritualist Anthony Grzelka (original image here). Imagine his surprise when he opened it up to see that these hovering spirit presences had been mysteriously added to the image:

EoR is stunned, and can think of no way that this could have occurred without the intervention of forces Beyond His Comprehension.

More stunningly authentic images can be found at Mr Grzelka's evidence of ghosts page.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Did You Know?

Some factoids from the 27th June 2006 Mind&Body supplement in the West Australian newspaper:

Did you know? Sulfur found in cabbage and broccoli helps cleanse the liver.

No, since "cleansing the liver" is an ill-defined nonentity promoted by the cleansers of livers with no measurable effects.

Fast facts: vitamin C will help to reduce the length of a cold.

No, such a claim is still unproven after decades of alties trying to find evidence.

[Essential oils] have been shown to help soothe the body, mind and spirit.

Where are the studies showing how they calm the "spirit"? How is such an effect measured?

Did you know that the essential oils of basil and black pepper are connected to the Aries star sign and that lavender reflects the gentle innocence of Librans?

No, especially since astrology is a complete farce with no basis in reality. Was Margaret Thatcher a gentle Libran?

For moderate to serious conditions you need to see your general practitioner. Once a diagnosis and treatment plan has been mapped out, then Chinese medicine may be able to assist in strategies to overcome the illness.

So Traditional Chinese Medicine is only suitable for non-serious (ie frivolous) conditions? This is a TCM practitioner writing this, so it must be true.

At least there's a letter from Pfizer Australia pointing out that a previous article on viagra was full of false information and scaremongering. But then, Big Pharma would say that, wouldn't they?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

'Tis The Season To Be Jollier

EoR already has his christmas wish list written up. He wants one of these.

Here at Life Technology Research International® we are continuously developing and evaluating new products and The Hyperdimensional Oscillator™ has certainly given us cause for excitement. The device incorporates several elements of futuristic Tesla technology, psychotronics and quantum physics to allow the user to access other dimensions of space time.

"Futuristic Tesla technology"! That must be like futuristic valve technology - some sort of hyperspace alternative reality steam-driven cyberpunk technology. That must be the "other dimensions" this device accesses. It's like a Tardis in a pendant. But then, Tesla did invent UFOs (the site says so), and a radio to chat to other planets with (the site says so - 2 hours a day for twenty years, regular as clockwork), so who is EoR to complain?

"Psychotronics"! Isn't that what Hari Seldon used in Asimov's Foundation books to determine the future course of history?

"Several elements of quantum physics"! Uncertainty? Spin? Strangeness?

The circuit is so advanced that it is actually a superconductor powered by scalar energies, the biophoton energy of the cosmos.

"Biophoton energy"! The last time EoR encountered that it was in a Superman comic. And yet it's a "superconducter" in a tiny package with no apparent method of cooling or bringing it below the transition temperature. This should scoop the pool at the next Nobel prizes.

Only $US89.95. EoR considers that a bargain for a woo device with no basis in reality, no measurable effects, and no scientific backing of any sort.

This product is designed for experimentation and research purposes only.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly

Like spotting the first cuckoo of spring, EoR is pleased to note the arrival of the first letterbox-filler advertising brochure of the year offering christmas trees and lights for sale, just in time to beat the christmas rush.

EoR blames global warming.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Words to a Potential Medical Student

Before you enrol for that medical course, consider carefully whether it's the best path for your life. Perhaps complementary medicine is actually a better way to go, with many clear advantages...

The course is shorter. Never mind years of study and internship, you could become an aura healer in a weekend.

Insurance premiums are lower. Never mind high liability for high risk procedures - iridology has never been a high risk science. In the better alternative therapies you don't even touch the patient. In the best alternative therapies the patient doesn't even have to come to you.

Profits are higher. If you're a homeopath, you can continue to make your remedies from a small amount of the original for all eternity. If you're a naturopath you can just mark your supplements up at high rates.

More spare time. Since the tenets of complementary medicine never change, you don't have to worry about keeping up with the latest medical research, new drugs and new procedures. The stuff you'll learn on your course will be thousands of years old and hasn't changed at all in all that time.

Patient expectations are lower. If you're a doctor you're expected to make a patient better. Anything you do as an alternative therapist is evidence that your efforts are working. Either the patient gets better (which is good), or has a "healing crisis" (which is also good).

As a doctor you need to make a (correct) diagnosis before deciding on a course of treatment. As an alternative practitioner you are forbidden from making a diagnosis. It is unnecessary, and anyone found making diagnoses is automatically expelled from the League of Alternative Practitioners.

Doctors are required to successfully treat illnesses and diseases. As an alternative practitioner you are not required to cure anything, you simply allow the patient to cure themselves. If they don't it's their fault and they obviously want to be sick.

Doctors only treat the symptoms. As an alternative practitioner you will treat the whole person: mind, body, spirit, soul, past lives, emotions and wallet.

You are not required to swear the Oath of Allegiance to Big Pharma and ensure all your profits go to a bank account in Zurich. This is completely true: ask any doctor about and they will totally deny it - how much more proof do you need?

No damaging publicity from drug recalls. There has been no case of an alternative herb or a healing crystal being recalled.

Alternative therapies are more effective. You can cure cancer, diabetes, autism etc etc, all of which medical science fails at (medical science has cures for all these, but they're not allowed to use them because of the Big Pharma Oath of Allegiance).

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Become a Real True Psychic™®!

Unlike Anthony Grzelka with his shamefully poor accuracy rate (as self reported) of only 60%, via James Randi weekly commentary comes a link to Ian Rowland's The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading.

Cold reading is also often used by people who pretend they give 'psychic' readings, and it enables them to give 'amazingly accurate' readings to complete strangers. [...] I have given more test conditions demonstrations that cold reading works than anyone else in the world. On a BBC documentary, two women said my readings were "99.9%" and "95%" accurate! [...] This is the definitive book on cold reading. It explains everything there is to know about this limitless technique! How can you apparently tell complete strangers about names, dates and events that mean something to them?

EoR remains amazed by how Mr Grzelka can tell complete strangers about names, dates and events that mean nothing to them, and still get paid for it. What was it P T Barnum said?

Here are some amazing psychic feats performed by Mr Rowland, including

During a live discussion show I gave a 20 minute tarot reading to a complete stranger called Lisa. She was then briefly interviewed for her reactions, and she stated that she found the reading very impressive. Later on in the show, it was revealed that I was a fake, and some aspects of my work (e.g. cold reading) were briefly touched on. Lisa refused to accept this explanation, and persisted in her belief that I was 'genuine'. Lisa said, "I'm amazed at how much truth has come out of it. I wasn't a strong believer before but I think this is great."

Notice also the refusal from the customer to accept facts where they contradict what she (or he) expects. Beliefs are far more important for this sort of woo than alities.

EoR suggests Mr Grzelka might like to study this book (or read it again if it's already part of his library of spiritual classics) in order to improve his accuracy rate to rank him up there with the "real" psychics. Or perhaps he could just get his spirit voices to do the work for him and pass on the relevant points.

"S" anyone? "Scam" or "Shyster"? Does that mean anything to you? I feel like it's "Scam" but it might be "Stupid". Or "Shameful". Have you had an aunt or uncle pass beyond? Or are you having some sort of operation? Or someone you know?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

To Be Taken With A Pinch Of Salt

Hilton Herbs in the UK are offering Himalayan Salt Licks for your horse.

Pink Salt - from 550 million year old ocean deposits mined deep in the Himalayas, carried down the mountains on Yaks, and brought to you and your horses and ponies by Hilton Herbs to provide the ultimate salt lick for the upwardly mobile equid.

The website further expounds (EoR won't mention the ability of salt lamps to neutralise "electro-smog", whatever that is):

Most mass-produced salt licks consist of salt with artificially added minerals and trace elements. These minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, and the trace elements are important for your horse’s health, however in salt production they are regarded as impurities’ and are removed during the production process.

Apparently, it's not just the bragging rights of having peasant-mined yak-transported feeds for your yuppie horses (or, more pertinently, the upwardly aspirant owners), but Pink Sea Salt is almost a magic product, as this website shows, with its explanation of Quantum Woo Physics 101:

Primal energy from millions of years ago is stored in the crystal salt's unique structure. [...] Our body does not need to metabolize the crystal salt in order for its energy to enter directly into our cells. Salt has a very unique property. In contrast to all other crystalline structures, the atomic structure of salt is not molecular, but electrical. This is what makes it so transformable. When we submerge a crystal of Himalayan salt into water, it dissolves, creating Sole, the liquid materialization of the sun's energy. Sole is neither water nor salt. It is a higher energetic dimension than either the water or the salt alone. When the Sole evaporates, it leaves behind the salt, exactly as it was. This transformability of salt ensures that it doesn't have to be metabolized in our body.

This is totally unlike pure salt, of course, which is an Evil Substance (this is straight out of Woo Chemistry 101:

Common salt is basically an industrial waste product with only two of the original 84+ elements remaining (sodium and chlorine). It acts as a dangerous cellular poison within the body. Sea salt is a popular alternative to refined salt. However, natural sea salt harvested at the shore is only partially viable even when it is not industrially processed. Additionally, sea pollution, with its many harmful toxins, can cause negative biophysical frequencies that may affect the finished product. When Dr Albert Schweitzer began seeing the first cases of cancer in the jungles of Africa, he noted that they began after the importation of foods from America. Years later he deduced that it was the salt that was the culprit.

So, it's salt that causes cancer then? Not Dr Clark's parasites? Or do they subsist on salt?

There is, however, a double blind university study to prove the effects of magic salt (actually, electrolytes), which was conducted using as one measuring device the Quantum Xxroid Conscious Interface Biofeedback System. You know this is a more effective measure of health and vitality than all those nasty scientific instruments since

These machines are NOT accepted in America. The FDA allows them to be used for Biofeedback only. You can guess that since the bottom line in American medicine is profit, that using a simple machine to diagnose and monitor our health would be outlawed.

Yes, EoR can't see any way that using a cheaper machine would actually increase profit, even if you do accept the Big Pharma conspiracy theory. Are these guys really as stupid as they seem, or are they just pretending?

The principal constituents of this wonder product are (EoR's not sure what the other 79+ elements might be):

Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Iron

Hilton Herbs sells one kilogram of this miracle product for £3.70. This compares to £9.99 for 10kg of a standard mineral lick.

Of course, you could just buy the smallest amount of Wonder Salt, and dilute it homeopathically which would both increase its power, and give you a lifelong supply.