Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gathering Moss

Dr Peter Dingle is currently doing the media rounds, including this interview on ABC radio in which he mentions how he knew nothing about homeopathy, and in fact downloaded 'the Moss Report' which informed him that homeopathy didn't work to cure cancer when his wife was diagnosed.

EoR is not questioning Dr Dingle's recollections, since that is clearly how he remembers it, but he finds the conclusion reached regarding homeopathy's non-efficacy puzzling.

There appears to be no actual 'Moss Report' but rather a whole slew of them. Dr Moss is described as

a leading author and consultant on cancer treatment, The Moss Reports provides you with a detailed, yet very readable, explanation of your particular cancer diagnosis. Bear in mind that Ralph Moss is not a medical doctor, and his information and advice are not substitutes for competent medical care.


EoR wonders why anyone would seek reputable health information from someone who isn't a (medical) doctor?

More information about him states

Moss is the author of such books as Antioxidants Against Cancer, Cancer Therapy, Questioning Chemotherapy, and The Cancer Industry, as well as the award-winning PBS documentary The Cancer War. He also wrote the first article on alternative medicine for The Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook and the first article on complementary cancer treatments for a medico-legal textbook, Courtroom Medicine: Cancer (Matthew Bender). He is co-editor of the first medical textbook in English on non-conventional treatments for cancer, Complementary Oncology (Thieme, 2005).


There seems to be a certain slant to the treatment approach he deals with, but EoR will withhold judgement. Though he does note that Alternative Cancer Treatment Protocols strongly urges

THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMODITY is knowledge. If you've perused this site, you already know that I am skeptical about any miracle cures, many of which you have no doubt seen advertised on the internet. Most of it is sheer manure, and the vendors are shamelessly profiteering on the misery of the afflicted. On the other hand, I've had two friends die this year of cancer. Both elected to absorb the full barrage of chemotherapy (one had a stem cell transplant). Both died after suffering terribly from the treatment. If they would have had the right knowledge, one might have lived, and the other could have had a more humane passing. Having said all of this, let me cut right to the chase. The most knowledgeable person I know of when it comes to ALL the issues is Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. A Biography of Dr. Moss is at the end of this section. Not only is Dr. Moss knowledgeable about the scientific aspects of cancer, he has a profound empathy and unique insight into the psycho-spiritual dynamics as well.


Well, EoR is prepared to believe that a Classics PhD knows more about cancer than an oncologist. After all, a Classics graduate knows more about climate change than climate scientists.

So what does Dr Moss (not a medical doctor) actually have to say about homeopathy?

2010: A landmark paper on homeopathy and cancer has appeared in the February 2010 issue of the International Journal of Oncology. Scientists at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDA), led by Moshe Frenkel, MD, have confirmed the ability of four homeopathic remedies to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in breast cancer cell lines in the laboratory. The scientists in question were from the Integrative Medicine Program, the Department of Molecular Pathology, and the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology of MDA. Their two Indian collaborators were from the Banerji Homeopathic Research Foundation, Kolkata, India, where these same remedies are employed clinically with apparent success. The four ultra-dilute remedies in question were Carcinosin, Phytolacca, Conium and Thuja.


2010: There is no end of critics of homeopathy on the Internet and elsewhere, who consider homeopathy to be quackeryand believe it is their bounden duty to expose this fraud whenever possible. They have trouble stretching their minds and imagining that there are other possible explanations for the action of homeopathic remedies—in other words, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in their philosophy.

(...)

MD Anderson is ranked (by U.S. News) as America's number one cancer center and so it will be particularly interesting to see if the professional skeptics will try discredit this study with their usual sort of personal attacks. I hope that this outstanding paper will be a tipping point, wherein conventional science is finally forced to re-evaluate its rigid opposition to this puzzling but fascinating mode of treatment.


2006: If you are not familiar with Ode, you should be. It began publishing in Holland in 1995. Because of the magazine's success in Europe the publishers launched a US version in 2003. (There is also a Portuguese version.) In recent years, the magazine has earned an increasingly wide readership and a respected place in investigative journalism. Ode maintains a gratifyingly open-minded position towards non-conventional developments in medicine. For instance, last month's issue carried a generally favorable article on homeopathy. I urge you to subscribe to both of these excellent publications.


2005: Dr. Brodie had an eclectic practice. He continued to use Laetrile, but often combined his treatments with those of more conventional oncologists as well. His methods included the use of many natural substances, including herbal preparations, homeopathic treatments, intravenous vitamins and minerals, biological response modifiers, and a number of non-toxic materials, designed to activate and enhance the immune system. These were sometimes given in combination with chemotherapy and radiation, when appropriate. He believed that this combination could almost always reduce the adverse effects of conventional therapies.


2004: So, what about unconventional practitioners who spout strange theories and sport obscure degrees? There are certainly some of those, and part of the reason for their continued existence is that there is little or no organized credentialing apparatus in place for many kinds of complementary and alternative medicine. On the one hand, there are genuine schools of naturopathy, homeopathy, hypnosis, acupuncture, etc., which require long, rigorous and expensive courses of study before they will grant a well earned degree. These schools turn out skilled practitioners who offer valuable services to the community, usually at reasonable prices.


And a 2004 article in which he berates the establishment for ignoring such cancer treatments as laetrile, and Rife machines, ending with the rousing injunction

When the public and the Congress rise up against this intolerable situation — and they will — short-sighted oncologists will have no one to blame but themselves.


There's nothing there from the period when EoR imagines Dr Dingle might have been searching for information, so it may be that Dr Moss has changed his opinion of homeopathy since then, though it is more than abundantly clear that he certainly (now) believes homeopathy (among other alternative treatments) is very effective and not to be ignored at all in the treatment of cancer.

Addendum: Dr Dingle, in a post on his blog, comments

The Moss report, the most definitive report on rectal cancer also said have an operation as did the information we got from the National Institute of Health in the US when the cancer was first diagnosed.


EoR is no kind of medical expert, but he feels that Dr Moss's reports are not 'the most definitive'.

10 comments:

  1. I can understand when people like Meryl Dorey, not trained in research, blame vaccines for damaging their children then go on to evangelise against vaccines.

    I can't understand how a researcher who dispenses health information and advises people to avoid mainstream medicine doesn't know anything about a treatment that his wife relied on as she died five years earlier.

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  2. I find it incredible Peter Dingle BEd, BSc, Hons, PhD, WASM, appears unable to distinguish the works of a cancer propaganda generator from scientific literature.

    I find it incredible someone fascinated with medicine, with enough savvy to run a website, would not have looked up the basics of homeopathy.

    I am concerned at abysmal research skills displayed by one of Murdoch University's most publicly engaged academics, who presumably supervisors research students.

    I am appalled a high profile vet, trained at Murdoch University, practices homeopathy on animals.

    Is Murdoch University the spawning ground of the Antiscience?

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  3. That's really interesting.

    He *really* turned to the Moss report as a definitive source of cancer advice? Good luck to the 2nd Mrs Dingle if she develops serious health problems.

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  4. Lucy Jr, Peter Dingle is the PhD supervisor of Judy Wilyman who was the first speaker at the AVN's anti vaccination seminar at the State Library of Western Australia.
    'nuff said.

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  5. This is a soap opera. It looks as if Dr Dingle once coauthored a book with his sister-in-law Toni Brown
    http://www.tarabookshop.com.au/category7_1.htm
    About *yawn* toxic ingredients natch.

    Think they maybe should've had a bit more focus on toxic family dynamics.

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  6. DavidP, thanks for that. I guess she won't like the new Herpes Simplex Virus vaccine either.

    Murdoch's website banner reads: "Murdoch is where free thinkers come together to make discoveries and encounter new ways of thinking."
    Is this a fancy way of saying "zealots pursuing magical realities"?

    There are a number of very good lecturers at Murdoch, but they don't have radio gigs, a school talkie circuit and pump out chemophobic titles.
    They do, however, get published in Nature.
    I guess they are too busy doing complex and complete research to hang out in the media. Pity.

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  7. RE Anonymous observer said..."Think they maybe should've had a bit more focus on toxic family dynamics."

    Haha I give that LD50

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  8. Don't know much about Murdoch, but I gather the psychology school is well thought of and there are some reputable academics there.

    One imagines that hard working, hard publishing (Dr Dingle's pubs list is pathetic, at least according to the Murdoch website), non self promoting academics in fields such as psychology, nutrition and so forth (not hard sciences, but scientific disciplines), should take umbrage at people like Dingle being on their patch?

    I don't know about nutritionists, but for example psychologists have to study for 6 years and do 2 years internship, but Dr Dingle can go on about how he's 'researched' goal setting, conditioning, and cognitive behavioural therapy and has all the answers.

    I'm not surprised that he is in trouble because he is very careless with words, for example this from his website:
    "Most training simply doesn’t work ...."
    It's just rubbish. One wonders how our society functions if most technicians, tradespeople, medical staff, police, engineers... etc.. undergo training that "simply doesn't work".
    For an academic it's just poor. Murdoch should do something about him.

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  9. Don't get me started on "nutritionists"...
    Go to the DAA and you'll find:
    http://www.daa.asn.au/index.asp?PageID=2145833454#difference

    " Q. What is the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?
    A.'Nutritionist' is a non-accredited title that might apply to a qualified nutrition scientist or a self-professed nutrition adviser.

    All dietitians can call themselves nutritionists if they choose because they have University qualifications in nutrition. These qualifications generally consist of a three year science degree and a two year Masters degree in nutrition and dietetics, or a four year undergraduate course in nutrition and dietetics."

    So you see anyone, including Dingle, can become a nutritionist in an instant.
    Eg, I am sure we don't get enough chocolate.

    Anyone can set up as a counselor too. Anyone can offer medical information so long as they don't pretend to be a real doctor (MBBS), though it appears okay to be a doctor by stealth (Dr of homeopathy,naturalism etc).
    It is a wonder anyone bothers slogging for qualifications.

    As for academics with crushed toes, I guess they just have to endure it, however offensive.
    Murdoch basks in the Dingle-generated publicity and the students(money) attracted.
    There are probably enough soft-science chemophobes to fill his enrolments.
    Even the coroner's court will unlikely upset Murdoch, though the more academically demanding UWA has moved to uphold its reputation.

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