brynndragon: (Default)
It's very interesting what people get as the take-home message from news articles. For example, a friend of mine linked to this article and quoted the following: Echinacea for colds. Ginkgo biloba for memory. Glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis. Black cohosh for menopausal hot flashes. Saw palmetto for prostate problems. Shark cartilage for cancer. All proved no better than dummy pills in big studies funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The lone exception: ginger capsules may help chemotherapy nausea.

But here's the paragraph after that: As for therapies, acupuncture has been shown to help certain conditions, and yoga, massage, meditation and other relaxation methods may relieve symptoms like pain, anxiety and fatigue.

And here's what is never said: In the case of Chinese herbal medicine there are few to no Western studies that reflect the way it is used in practice, where a formula of 14-16 herbs in particular proportion is tailor-made for each patient based on their Chinese diagnosis which involves different categories and criterion than their Western diagnosis. That's assuming a patient isn't being cycled through a few different tailor-made formulas based on cyclical symptoms (e.g. menstrual problems). It's like comparing apples and the 1968 Red Sox.

BTW, there is absolutely nothing new in this article - everything in it has been said repeatedly since at least the late 90s. Hell, I've long been arguing for more emphasis on basic research into the physiological effects of acupuncture rather than these "does it work?" studies using a methodology that works great for drug-based medicine but is made of fail for anything else (has anyone come up with a double-blind or even a patient-blind placebo for psychotherapy yet?).
brynndragon: (Default)
It's very interesting what people get as the take-home message from news articles. For example, a friend of mine linked to this article and quoted the following: Echinacea for colds. Ginkgo biloba for memory. Glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis. Black cohosh for menopausal hot flashes. Saw palmetto for prostate problems. Shark cartilage for cancer. All proved no better than dummy pills in big studies funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The lone exception: ginger capsules may help chemotherapy nausea.

But here's the paragraph after that: As for therapies, acupuncture has been shown to help certain conditions, and yoga, massage, meditation and other relaxation methods may relieve symptoms like pain, anxiety and fatigue.

And here's what is never said: In the case of Chinese herbal medicine there are few to no Western studies that reflect the way it is used in practice, where a formula of 14-16 herbs in particular proportion is tailor-made for each patient based on their Chinese diagnosis which involves different categories and criterion than their Western diagnosis. That's assuming a patient isn't being cycled through a few different tailor-made formulas based on cyclical symptoms (e.g. menstrual problems). It's like comparing apples and the 1968 Red Sox.

BTW, there is absolutely nothing new in this article - everything in it has been said repeatedly since at least the late 90s. Hell, I've long been arguing for more emphasis on basic research into the physiological effects of acupuncture rather than these "does it work?" studies using a methodology that works great for drug-based medicine but is made of fail for anything else (has anyone come up with a double-blind or even a patient-blind placebo for psychotherapy yet?).

Part 2

Jun. 9th, 2006 03:22 pm
brynndragon: (Default)
OK, now that I've gotten *that* out of my system. . .

I'm going to make a filter for traditional chinese medicine and philosophy stuff. If you want in, leave a comment. If not, don't. Really, it doesn't get much more simply than that :).

Part 2

Jun. 9th, 2006 03:22 pm
brynndragon: (Default)
OK, now that I've gotten *that* out of my system. . .

I'm going to make a filter for traditional chinese medicine and philosophy stuff. If you want in, leave a comment. If not, don't. Really, it doesn't get much more simply than that :).
brynndragon: (Default)
I suspect this is going to happen every time I post something even vaguely related to chinese philosophy or medicine, so I want to nip it in the bud right here. If you can't admit to yourself that maybe, just maybe, you don't have the cultural background to have a freakin' clue what the hell you're talking about when you say that traditional chinese medicine and/or philosophy is Bad(tm) because it's "unscientific", then please don't say a damn thing. There have been a lot of dinkum thinkums all over the world in all time periods and deciding that they were wrong just because they didn't/don't work with your favorite methodology is far more narrow-minded than I want to deal with in my journal. I'm sick and tired of normally intelligent people acting like "holier than thou" skeptics who worship at the altar of Science! without any more thought to their dogma than any other fundie in my LiveJournal, and I'm not going to tolerate any more of it. If you couldn't be arsed to say anything when I was trying to determine if I could reconcile TCM with my scientific background and can't get the fuck over yourself enough to say "Hey, maybe if this person who I like and is my friend thinks this thing has merit, maybe it actually does have some merit and I shouldn't just shoot it down out of hand" then you should rethink whether or not you ought to be here.
brynndragon: (Default)
I suspect this is going to happen every time I post something even vaguely related to chinese philosophy or medicine, so I want to nip it in the bud right here. If you can't admit to yourself that maybe, just maybe, you don't have the cultural background to have a freakin' clue what the hell you're talking about when you say that traditional chinese medicine and/or philosophy is Bad(tm) because it's "unscientific", then please don't say a damn thing. There have been a lot of dinkum thinkums all over the world in all time periods and deciding that they were wrong just because they didn't/don't work with your favorite methodology is far more narrow-minded than I want to deal with in my journal. I'm sick and tired of normally intelligent people acting like "holier than thou" skeptics who worship at the altar of Science! without any more thought to their dogma than any other fundie in my LiveJournal, and I'm not going to tolerate any more of it. If you couldn't be arsed to say anything when I was trying to determine if I could reconcile TCM with my scientific background and can't get the fuck over yourself enough to say "Hey, maybe if this person who I like and is my friend thinks this thing has merit, maybe it actually does have some merit and I shouldn't just shoot it down out of hand" then you should rethink whether or not you ought to be here.
brynndragon: (Default)
Saturday was my physiology final. I studied well and I think I did well. I finished the test in under an hour including double-checking my answers. There was only one that really caught me off guard, it basically went "which of these STDs is the most common cause of arthritis in young people?" To which I thought, "Huh, I didn't know there was an STD that could cause arthritis at all." Particularly since the cause of all arthritis is pretty much unknown. I'm not sure when I'll have the results back (the prof told us to bring an SASE to the final to get a copy of the exam back before the grades are posted online), but if I did anywhere near as well as I thought I did, I'll at the very least get a B in the course and possibly even an A.

I had a bit of an epiphany on Wednesday evening. I realized that it was OK to want to be a Chinese medical professional (I don't know which sub-branch I'd be going into yet ;P). I think the doubting thomases caught me off-guard when I was first looking into it and I let myself get sucked into their thoughtless skepticism (which is as bad as thoughtless belief) too readily. At this point I've got more than enough info to know that *something* is going on here, something that is providing real benefits to people, even though we don't know what or why yet. I can understand how a culture with a completely orthogonal view of the universe would come up with a system of medicine that is both difficult for us to comprehend and has different advantages and disadvantages than our own system of medicine. Those advantages and disadvantages fit me a lot better than those of Western medicine, enough that it's worth the increased difficulty. I'm certain that I'm smart enough to handle it, as long as I'm dedicated enough to do the work it requires. I think that I will be - the feeling I have about traditional chinese medicine is akin to that I felt about motorcycles when I first got into them, which is rather encouraging for something I'd be making into a career.
brynndragon: (Default)
Saturday was my physiology final. I studied well and I think I did well. I finished the test in under an hour including double-checking my answers. There was only one that really caught me off guard, it basically went "which of these STDs is the most common cause of arthritis in young people?" To which I thought, "Huh, I didn't know there was an STD that could cause arthritis at all." Particularly since the cause of all arthritis is pretty much unknown. I'm not sure when I'll have the results back (the prof told us to bring an SASE to the final to get a copy of the exam back before the grades are posted online), but if I did anywhere near as well as I thought I did, I'll at the very least get a B in the course and possibly even an A.

I had a bit of an epiphany on Wednesday evening. I realized that it was OK to want to be a Chinese medical professional (I don't know which sub-branch I'd be going into yet ;P). I think the doubting thomases caught me off-guard when I was first looking into it and I let myself get sucked into their thoughtless skepticism (which is as bad as thoughtless belief) too readily. At this point I've got more than enough info to know that *something* is going on here, something that is providing real benefits to people, even though we don't know what or why yet. I can understand how a culture with a completely orthogonal view of the universe would come up with a system of medicine that is both difficult for us to comprehend and has different advantages and disadvantages than our own system of medicine. Those advantages and disadvantages fit me a lot better than those of Western medicine, enough that it's worth the increased difficulty. I'm certain that I'm smart enough to handle it, as long as I'm dedicated enough to do the work it requires. I think that I will be - the feeling I have about traditional chinese medicine is akin to that I felt about motorcycles when I first got into them, which is rather encouraging for something I'd be making into a career.

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