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Steve Jobs, neuroendocrine tumors, and alternative medicine

It’s been a mere two days since Steve Jobs died. Although it hasn’t yet been revealed what his specific cause of death was, it’s a good bet that Jobs’ death was due to a recurrence of his pancreatic cancer, first diagnosed in 2003, for which he underwent surgery in 2004 and ultimately a liver transplant in 2009. It’s a history that I outlined yesterday (at least up to the time the original posts were written) by reposting two posts I wrote about his liver transplant back in 2009. But a funny thing has happened since then, and that’s that Jobs has become a flashpoint in an argument that has nothing do with the technology his company created or his role in the history of American business and technology. Rather, it’s about alternative medicine and what role it did (or did not) play in Jobs’ ultimate demise.

Predictably, first out of the box is the despicable crank known as Mike Adams. As I’ve written about in the case of Patrick Swayze, Tony Snow, Farrah Fawcett, and others, Adams has made a not-so-savory name for himself for ghoulishly (and gleefully) taking advantage of the death of celebrities in order to blame “conventional” medicine for having killed them. It’s a depressing and predictable pattern that continued with Steve Jobs. Indeed, Adams produced an article on Steve Jobs’ death so quickly (within hours of the announcement of Jobs’ passing) that I have to wonder if he had already had it written and teed up, just waiting for Jobs to die. Whatever the case, Adams entitled his article, again predictably enough given his past history, Steve Jobs dead at 56, his life ended prematurely by chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer, which begins with a typical charge (from Adams):

It is extremely saddening to see the cost in human lives that modern society pays for its false belief in conventional medicine and the cancer industry in particular. Visionary Steve Jobs died today, just months after being treated for cancer with chemotherapy at the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, California. In recent months, he appeared in public photos as a frail shadow of his former self. The thin legs, sunken cheek bones and loss of body weight are all classic signs of total body toxicity observed in chemotherapy and radiotherapy patients.


Or, of course, it could have been the recurrent cancer progressing. Cancer does that, you know.

Adams then goes on and on about how gaunt Jobs looked in his last few public appearances, and, indeed, it’s true. Jobs did start to look quite unhealthy in the time leading up to his liver transplant in 2009, and, even after recovering from his surgery, he never quite looked the same; certainly his gaunt appearance never quite rebounded. In public photos, Jobs never looked truly healthy again, and speculation abounded about the cause. Again, I’ve discussed this in detail multiple times before, most recently in my repost. In 2008, I speculated that maybe he had dumping syndrome from his Whipple operation, and this was before his liver transplant was ever revealed. After his transplant, the reason was less clear.

Be that as it may, Adams then concludes, again quite predictably for him:

In other words, there is no question that Steve Jobs underwent multiple conventional cancer treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

In the end, however, even Steve Jobs could not overturn the laws of biochemistry. When you poison the human body, the result is the deterioration and eventual shut down of the body. Chemotherapy does not work! This fact should now be obvious, and yet every year, more and more people choose chemotherapy to their own demise — people like Farrah Fawcett, Peter Jennings, Patrick Swayze, Michael Douglas and many others (http://www.naturalnews.com/027047_c…).

Don’t they see that conventional cancer treatments do not work?

And:

Yet his remaining life was stolen from him by the cancer industry and its poisons. This is yet another frustrating example of how the modern medical system harms our society. It steals from us the longevity of visionary individuals who have so much more to offer our world in terms of creativity and innovation.

Of course, you can’t blame the cancer industry for causing Jobs’ cancer in the first place. Some other cause had to have been present to get the cancer growing — probably a combination of nutritional deficiencies and exposure to environmental toxins. And yet the cancer establishment says nothing to people about correcting obvious nutritional deficiencies that lead to cancer, even when most cancers can be prevented for mere pennies a day.

The truly ironic thing, of course, is that Jobs lived a lifestyle very similar to the one that Adams touts as an all-purpose cancer preventative. For example, Jobs was widely reported to be a vegan. Indeed, Jobs’ veganism was such “common knowledge” that comedy pieces were written about it. Actually, it’s not clear that Jobs really was a vegan. For instance, it’s been widely reported that he was in fact a pescatarian, which is a vegetarian who will sometimes eat fish, and was a Zen Buddhist. It is, however, clear that Jobs did not eat meat and that the animal rights group PETA has paid homage to him after his death for being a vegetarian and sympathetic to animal rights causes. The point, of course, is that Steve Jobs ate a diet and lived a lifestyle far more similar to the kind that Adams touts as a cure-all or prevent-all for cancer than the “typical” fat- and meat-laden American diet that Adams lambastes.

It goes further than that, though.

As I discussed back when it was first revealed, when Jobs was first diagnosed with his cancer, he decided to try to avoid surgery by undertaking a special diet. Indeed, in the Fortune story (The Trouble With Steve Jobs) that first reported this, Jobs was described as “skeptical of mainstream medicine” and having decided to “employ alternative methods to treat his pancreatic cancer, hoping to avoid the operation through a special diet.” In fact, this is how the 2008 article described the situation:

Jobs’ tumor was discovered in October 2003. He had been getting abdominal scans periodically because of a history of intestinal problems. His doctors noticed a growth that turned out to be an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor – a rare and operable form of pancreatic cancer. With surgery, his long-term prognosis would be good.

But Jobs sought instead to treat his tumor with a special diet while launching a lengthy exploration of alternative approaches. “It’s safe to say he was hoping to find a solution that would avoid surgery,” says one person familiar with the situation. “I don’t know if he truly believed that was possible. The odd thing is, for us what seemed like an alternative type of thing, for him is normal. It’s not out of the ordinary for Steve.”

It’s not clear just what, exactly, this “special diet” was. I do hope that Walter Isaacson’s upcoming biography of Jobs, scheduled to be released October 24, reveals a bit more about Jobs’ diet around that time and what other “alternative” cancer therapies, if any, Jobs pursued during those nine months, give that he did know that Jobs was dying several weeks ago because Jobs told him so in an interview and given that he was also given unprecedented access to Jobs and the people close to him during the last few years. It would also be interesting to know more about the events surrounding Jobs’ liver transplant in 2009. Be that as it may, if anything, Jobs might well have decreased his chances of survival by pursuing exactly the sort of non-science-based program of diets and supplements that Mike Adams routinely holds up as the sort of regimen that will cure or prevent cancer.

There is, however, the chance of taking this argument, namely that Jobs might have died because of his embrace of non-science-based treatments, too far in the other direction. Unfortunately, there are a journalist and a skeptic who should really know better who do just that, using Steve Jobs’ death as evidence of the harm that alternative medicine can do. Now, given my reputation as someone who relentlessly applies the cudgel of reason, science, and critical thinking squarely to the back of the head of woo on a regular basis, you just might think that I would heartily approve of this line of argument. You’d be wrong, not because I have any qualms whatsoever about appropriately blaming alternative medicine when someone pursues alternative medicine and ultimately dies. (I have, after all, done it myself on several occasions.) The key word is “appropriately,” and the reason that I’m not so hot on using Jobs’ death as a “negative anecdote” against “alternative” medicine is because I’m not so sure how appropriate doing so is in Jobs’ case. While Jobs certainly didn’t do himself any favors by waiting nine months to undergo definitive surgical therapy of his tumor, it’s very easy to overstate the potential harm that he did to himself by not immediately letting surgeons resect his tumor shortly after it was diagnosed eight years ago. Unfortunately, Brian Dunning does exactly that in his post A Lesson in Treating Illness (also posted over at Skepticblog):

I’m sad that today I’m adding a slide to one of my live presentations, adding Steve Jobs to the list of famous people who died treating terminal diseases with woo rather than with medicine.

Except that Jobs didn’t; at least, he didn’t for the most part. Aside from the initial nine months, Jobs largely relied on conventional therapy to treat his disease. In fact, he underwent the most invasive, cancer aggressive operation (the Whipple pancreaticoduodenectomy), which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest operation, that surgical oncologists do. Then, after his tumor recurred in his liver, he underwent the biggest, mot technically complex type transplant operation there is, a liver transplant, which, let me tell you, was not made any easier by his previous Whipple operation. Having scrubbed on several liver transplants when I was a resident, I can only imagine how difficult it was to do a liver transplant in the face of such extensive prior surgery. When his cancer apparently recurred a second time earlier this year, Jobs was seen going to the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, California, looking frail and thin. Tabloid reports on the sightings came complete with speculations from an unethical physician who, based on photos of Jobs leaving the cancer center, proclaimed him “terminal” and predicted that he had only six weeks to live.

Moreover, the other “alternative” therapy reportedly pursued by Jobs in Switzerland was a therapy based on radiation therapy, you know, the kind of therapy known to the likes of Adams as “burning” the cancer. In any case, Jobs apparently traveled to the University Hospital of Basel in Switzerland to receive a form of “hormone-delivered radiotherapy.” For some reason this is being portrayed in the press as somehow “alternative.” In reality, from what I can tell, it’s science-based, but experimental. Basically, in this therapy, radioisotopes are linked to a peptide hormone, receptors for which are found on the tumor being treated. The hormone then binds to the receptors, bringing the radioisotope close enough to the tumor cells to deliver a high dose of radiation. These can be used for imaging and therapy, depending upon the radioisotope linked to them. Examples include glucagon-like peptide-1 and other targets for directing radiation to insulinoma. This therapy is not “alternative,” although it’s not standard of care; it’s definitely science-based.

All of this leaves the sole remaining question regarding the issue of “alternative” medicine and cancer in the case of Steve Jobs as: Did Jobs significantly decrease his chance of surviving his cancer by waiting nine months to undergo surgery? It seems like a no-brainer, but it turns out that that’s actually a very tough question to answer. Certainly, it’s nowhere near as certain as Dunning tries to make it seem when he writes things like:

Eventually it became clear to all involved that his alternative therapy wasn’t working, and from then on, by all accounts, Steve aggressively threw money at the best that medical science could offer. But it was too late. He had a Whipple procedure. He had a liver transplant. And then he died, all too young.

After over seven years of science-based treatments that prolonged his life.

One has to be very, very careful about making this sort of argument. For one thing, it could not have been apparent that it was “too late” back in 2004, when it became clear that Jobs’ dietary manipulations weren’t working. For another thing, we don’t know how large the tumor was, whether it progressed or simply failed to shrink over those nine months, and by how much it increased in size, if increase in size it did. Again, I hope that information will be revealed in the Jobs’ biography; such data would go a long way in clarifying just how much, if at all, Jobs might have compromised his chance for cure by delaying. Right now, we just don’t know enough to make even a good guesstimate. Based on what we do know now, the thing that has to be remembered is that neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas tend for the most part to be fairly indolent, slow-growing tumors. In fact, reporter Sharon Begley gets it closer to correct when she describes the situation thusly:

Even those that have been present for years, and in some cases decades, often stay safely confined to the pancreas. This kind of cancer can be so indolent that patients often die with it than from it. Although an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed every year with neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas, autopsies find the disease in hundreds more–people who were apparently not harmed by this very slow-growing cancer.

In other words, it’s very much overstating the case to write, as Dunning does:

As he dieted for nine months, the tumor progressed, and took him from the high end to the low end of the survival rate.

We don’t know that this was the case, and we certainly can’t say that for sure–or even with a great deal of certainty. To reiterate, I would certainly agree that Jobs did himself no favors by waiting. If I were his physician or the surgeon to whom he was referred, I would have done my best to talk him out of such a course of action, but I would do so more out of the uncertainty of not knowing how fast his tumor would progress. So, is it possible, even likely, that Jobs compromised his chances of survival? Yes. Is it definite that he did? No, it’s not, at least it’s not anywhere as definite as Dunning makes it sound. In fact, based on statistics alone, it’s unlikely that a mere nine months took Jobs “from the high end to the low end of the survival rate,” as Dunning puts it. That’s just not how insulinomas usually behave from a biological standpoint. They’re too indolent, and that’s not even taking into account issues of lead time bias and other confounding factors that would make comparisons of operating early versus operating later not as straightforward as one might think.

It turns out that Sharon Begley’s story is far more accurate in its assessment of Jobs’ indulgence in alternative medicine, but even she stumbles a bit:

Not that the surgery was a walk in the park. In many cases, says Kim, “you can just remove the tumor with a little of the surrounding [pancreatic] tissue.” But Jobs’s was not such a simple case. He underwent an operation called a modified Whipple procedure, or a pancreatoduodenectomy, Fortune reported. The surgery removes the right side of the pancreas, the gallbladder, and parts of the stomach, bile duct, and small intestine. The fact that so much more than the pancreas itself had to be removed suggests that Jobs’s cancer had spread beyond the pancreas. The cancer might have already spread by the time it was discovered in 2003, though Jobs’s sanguine description of his prognosis suggests that if that were the case, the metastasis might have been so small– “micrometastases”–as to be undetectable. Alternatively, the cancer could have spread during the nine months that Jobs was experimenting with nonstandard therapies.

No, the fact that more than the pancreas had to be removed means that the head of the pancreas had to be removed, which requires removing parts of other organs to do. The tumor could be a centimeter in diameter or several centimeters in size. It wouldn’t matter; if the tumor is in the head of the pancreas and the surgeon judges that it can’t be safely enucleated for whatever reason, be it proximity to the pancreatic duct or whatever, then the head of the pancreas has to come out. If the head of the pancreas has to come out, then from a strictly anatomical standpoint achieving that resection requires removing the duodenum, often part of the stomach (although pylorus-sparing Whipples can preserve the whole stomach), the gallbladder, and part of the bile duct, as I pointed out again yesterday. It says very little about the extent of the tumor that Jobs required a Whipple, although it does say a lot about the location of the tumor. That the surgeon opted to do a Whipple also tells us that there probably wasn’t any evidence of metastatic spread of the tumor at the time. Otherwise, I doubt the surgeon would have recommended as huge of an operation as a Whipple just for palliation. Indeed, Whipple operations are generally done with curative intent and only very rarely done for palliation. The morbidity is too high to justify doing such an operation when it can’t save the patient’s life. In fact, it’s not unreasonable to infer from the willingness of the surgeon to do a Whipple operation that, as far as could be determined, Jobs’ tumor was still restricted to the head of the pancreas and thus still potentially curable, even after nine months’ delay. Also take into account that Jobs’s tumor was originally diagnosed by a CT scan done for unclear indications, meaning that it detected the tumor probably far earlier than it would have been detected from symptoms, and Jobs should have had an excellent prognosis.

As we all know now, he did not.

If there’s one thing we’re learning increasingly about cancer, it’s that biology is king and queen, and that our ability to fight biology is depressingly limited. In retrospect, we can now tell that Jobs clearly had a tumor that was unusually aggressive for an insulinoma. Such tumors are usually pretty indolent and progress only slowly. Indeed, I’ve seen patients and known a friend of a friend who survived many years with metastatic neuroendocrine tumors with reasonable quality of life. Jobs was unfortunate in that he appears to have had an unusually aggressive form of the disease that probably would have killed him no matter what. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t take into account his delay in treatment and wonder if it contributed to his ultimate demise. It very well might have, the key word being “might.” We don’t know that it did, which is one reason why we have to be very, very careful not to overstate the case and attribute his death as being definitely due to the delay in therapy due to his wanting to “go alternative.” It’s also important to remember that, as much of a brilliant visionary Jobs was, even brilliant visionaries can make bad decisions when it comes to health.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

130 replies on “Steve Jobs, neuroendocrine tumors, and alternative medicine”

fwiw, and not worth much I am sure, I posted a comment at skeptoid’s blog yesterday that said much the same thing as the gist of your analysis here. Skeptoid chose not to take that comment out of moderation.

Thank you for a sensible view. I was banging on about this yesterday. For a start we don’t actually even know for a fact that Jobs used any kind of alternative therapy or diet. His obsessive privacy means that all we have is journalistic speculation as far as I can see. Secondly he is hardly a good example of the harm that altmed can do considering the amount of real treatment he underwent. In fact, we know virtually nothing about his health other than he died of a form of cancer.
Sceptics should rely on facts, not speculation.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for emphasizing that we simply do not yet know what Mr. Jobs did or did not do. This is one of the only sensible things I’ve read on the topic so far. I protested yesterday, and have seen alarmingly few signs of other skeptics reserving judgement until we know the facts of the case.

It is a black eye for the entire skeptical community that, apparently, all so many of us could only see in Dunning’s allegation was a juicy opportunity to confirm our bias. And there’s the real skeptical lesson here: a rather sobering reminder that no one is immune to cognitive distortions. This is just as sad as the unconfirmed possibility that Mr. Jobs might have disastrously delayed effective treatment.

If Jobs’ story from the Stanford speech is accurate, and the doctor wept in relief after the biopsy that revealed the type of cancer he had, after earlier telling Jobs to get his affairs in order (because he had little time to live), I’d think that might have contributed to giving Jobs an apparent signal that he had time to investigate other approaches.

Had Jobs initially been diagnosed with a different kind of cancer, not the usual pancreatic cancer that kills quickly, not the slow-growing neuroendocrine type, but somewhere in the middle, he might not have risked the alternative cures at all.

This exploitative anti-oncology crankery is par for the Mike Adams course, but otherwise I worry that he’s slipping ever deeper into a paranoid alternative reality.

For instance, he has a column up on NatNews about jack-booted government thugs forcing their way into the homes of innocent Americans and confiscating their lemon trees, for apparently no other reason than that they’re evil Fascists. Overlooked is the explanation that a bunch of people bought lemon trees from an online nursery using a source that was possibly infected with diseases potentially devastating to the citrus industry, hence the USDA stepping in.
I thought of this when I saw a Wall St. Journal article earlier this week about giant African snails overrunning Miami, and teams of official eradicators going house to house to remove the snails (which are eating everything in sight). It’s believed that this latest outbreak may have been started by someone importing them for religious/healing rituals. In some cases the people being cured developed nasty stomach lumps after consuming snail mucus.

Any day now there should be a Mike Adams column condemning the totalitarian U.S. thugs who are confiscating Magical Healing Snails on behalf of Big Pharma.

Thanks for the moderation. I saw Dunning’s response and it caught me by surprise. I was sitting on it and withholding judgment until you or Dr Novella had a chance to respond. Sounds like I made the right call and we should wait until more data comes in.

Thanks again.

One rumor the “special diet” was a macrobiotic diet drawn up by his wife.

There might be some truth to Jobs being a vegan – I was at Apple during the time Jobs came back to Apple in 1996/1997. The company cafeteria within weeks of his returning dramatically expanded and improved its vegetarian and vegan menus.

This is the best article I’ve seen about the topic so far. Very rational and science based. I really appreciate that instead of grabbing an opportunity to rant about alt med, you stayed consistent and handled the topic in reasonable manner. Much classier than the ghouls.

@Dangerous Bacon – Well, that link effectively ruined my lunch.

Yeah, it’s so easy to take stories like this and fit them to one’s personal axe to grind, but the truth is that very few cases do the celebrities involved provide enough information for even armchair analysis. Patrick Swayze talked very openly of his pancreatic cancer; Steve Jobs, meanwhile, was so private that even many of his colleagues didn’t know he had cancer until he actually had to take time off for the surgery. And he was a very private person, outside of his work with Apple. I didn’t even know he had kids. (I figured it was probable, but I’d never heard a thing about them. And that’s fine; celebrities who manage to achieve privacy have something far more precious than any millions they might be earning.)

Did he spend too much time on alt med? None of us knows. We all have an opinion, of course, but it would be hard enough for his own doctors to predict the might-have-beens, and they actually know the details of his disease.

I am reminded suddenly of the recent death of Elizabeth Sladen, the actress beloved for her portrayal of Sarah Jane Smith on “Doctor Who” and assorted spinoffs. She had battled cancer for a while, apparently, but even her costars and producers had no idea until they were notified that she had passed away. She had kept her private life and her professional life separate; when she was being paid to work, she worked, and she worked hard. I think Steve Jobs was a lot like that as well, at least in terms of work ethic. Health problems are not relevant unless they are impeding the work, so until they do, keep plugging away and focus on your job.

Islet cell tumors (or pancreatic endocrine neoplasms as they are now called) comprise a spectrum ranging from indolent, low grade tumors resembling classic carcinoid tumor to highly aggressive tumors resembling small cell carcinoma. Of course, we don’t know what Steve Jobs had, but I think that there are scenarios in which a nine month delay in treatment would have a significant impact on a patient’s chances of long term survival.

Jobs had an insulinoma. These tend to fall on the more indolent side of the spectrum. In any case, I’m not saying there aren’t scenarios where a nine month delay wouldn’t make a difference. I’m saying that, based on what we know of Steve Jobs’ case, nine months probably didn’t make much of a difference.

Great article, Orac.

@#1 anon:

I can’t say I’m surprised at Dunning’s or his moderator’s action. This probably makes me a traitor to the skeptical movement, but I’ve never been that impressed with Dunning.

IIRC, in a early Skeptoid, he stated he didn’t post his research via show notes as he felt it was up to the listener to verify what he was saying. I believe that’s changed since then.

Another red flag for me is his tendency to point out how “controversial” his views are. In my admittedly anecdotal experience, people who say that tend to be obsessed about not being politically correct at the expense of accuracy.

Don’t get me wrong; Dunning does have some interesting things to say. His dustup with Bug Girl over DDT being an exception, I just wonder sometimes if his skin is much thinner than many skeptics care to admit.

Interesting essay.

This case initially made me wonder if it shares any common thread with a number of other celebrity cases where the celebrities would have been better off if they had just gotten standard care. While we may never get the full picture of Jobs’ illness, what I would find most interesting of all is know Jobs’ thoughts about diet and CAM vs. medicine.

What has been disturbing me lately is the new woo meme: start with woo. As we know many of the so-called cures touted by alt med ( e.g. Suzanne Somers) have curative SB surgery *first*. But they attriibute their success to the subsequent nonsense.

While I haven’t heard Null pontificate yet, you can be sure that Mr Jobs’ death will be used as a selling point for cancer cure products – how-to books and films, supplements- before he’s dead a week.

As Mike Adams mentions, it’s tragic how Michael Douglas met his demise from chemotherapy. However, he’s pretty active and good looking, considering he’s dead.

Is there any evidence that Jobs ever had chemotherapy of any sort? There’s no real good standard chemotherapy for neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors (though I think mtor inhibitors may have some efficacy) and it sounds like he went with surgical options for the most part.

The title is incorrect. It should be “Steve Jobs, neuroendocrine tumors, and iAtrogenesis

This case initially made me wonder if it shares any common thread with a number of other celebrity cases where the celebrities would have been better off if they had just gotten standard care.

It’s been my observation that celebrities often get substandard medical care – Michael Jackson, for example. I think a lot of it has to do with celebrities surrounding themselves with toadies who enable them, whether it’s with Woocare, abuse of prescriptions, addictions, ill-advised plastic surgery, etc.

What I find interesting is the statement made by Jobs’ authorized biographer about the reason for giving him unprecedented access to Jobs…”so that his children would know him…because he wasn’t always ‘there’ for them during their early childhood”. Walter Isaacson, the biographer also had interviewed Jobs during the end stages of his illness and it is reported that the length of the book is expanded.

No matter what is revealed in the expanded book about “alternative” treatment, the woo meisters will “spin it” to conform to their theories of cancer and its treatment.

Why all the crying from the quack mainstream scientists? STeve jobs was diagnosed in 2003, operated on in 2004, and survived until 2011. By all scientific measurements, he was cured. Put up a stiff upper life, quacks. You cured him. lol!!!!!

I think a lot of it has to do with celebrities surrounding themselves with toadies who enable them, […]

Yeah. My comment about Michael Jackson from around the time of his death was that part of his problem was that he was constantly surrounded by an ablative shield of yes-men. A whole lot of his life might have gone better if he’d had someone willing to say to him, “This is a bad idea.”

“Aside from the initial nine months, Jobs largely relied on conventional therapy to treat his disease[.]”

Seriously?!?! If you think leaving a highly aggressive form of cancer essentially untreated for nine months isn’t relevant to the question, you’re deluding yourself. Nine months is between 50 and 100% of the total life expectancy. To dismiss nine months of inaction during the most critical window of treatment is not merely wrong on the science, it’s pretty intellectually dishonest.

S.W.: (Re)read the post, please. The point is that Jobs didn’t have “a highly aggressive form of cancer”: he had a much less aggressive form of cancer in the same location. Yes, they are both referred to casually as “pancreatic cancer,” but that doesn’t mean they’re the same thing.

and yet every year, more and more people choose chemotherapy to their own demise — people like…Michael Douglas…

Douglas sure looks good for a dead guy.

TBruce @16 and @25

Douglas sure looks good for a dead guy.

This could be a sign of the impending zombie apocalypse.

First, let me say I’ve been crying for a couple of days now on and off about the loss of this great icon. I wouldn’t be who i am today if it weren’t for his inventions.
1. We’re taking his word and the journalists word for it about the cancer. I’m not calling anybody a liar, but…
2. There’s nothing wrong with the Macrobiotic diet. When followed correctly, it can have very good health effects for certain people. It did not contribute to making his condition worse.
3. There is documented proof that “alternative” therapies work and prolong life.
4. Chemo is hard on the immune system. If he did have it after the Whipple, his immune system may have already taken a severe hit. Now that his body had already produced a tumour and there was “cancer” imprinting in his digestive system, it could have re-occurred.

Living a very intense and stressful life, especially around things that emit radiation can lead to health issues.

I have had two friends now die of pancreatic cancer. The first was given 3 months to live and he lived 3 years.

I have had one non-blood relatives die from cancer, one live, and one blood relative die, one smoked and worked in the energy sector, one is living and plays golf daily, works out and is 80, the last drank, smoked, ate poorly and did recreational drugs. Only one received chemo – the first. The second is still living as said (and does “alternate” therapies) and the third decided against chemo.

With the first – they say “the chemo killed him”
With the second – he’ll die with it
With the third – we didn’t catch it until it was too advanced.

All are men with high stress.

You’ll never know unless you can talk to the person and get them to tell you the truth.

What can we take away?

Allison,

The macrobiotic diet does not prevent or cure cancer. Followed to the core, it’s a dangerous diet that can lead to severe malnutrition. If you decide to take bits of the macrobiotic diet and simply incorporate it into your normal diet, then you may or may not have health benefits, depending on what your normal diet consists of.

Above all else, however, the macrobiotic diet is based on false premises. The concept of yin and yang, while a nifty myth, is not actually real. Food does not have properties of yin and yang, and ensuring that your diet consists of proper yin and yang balanced foods will not make you healthier.

Yin and yang have nothing to do with diet or health.

@ allison burgueno: I visited your url website and you say you want to start a business as a consultant to schools to teach school children about growing their own food and self-sufficiency.

You also state you support a local dairy that sells “raw goat milk”.

I suggest you take some courses about food safety and nutritional values of “raw milk”…before you promote yourself as an expert:

Raw Milk & Pasteurization: Debunking Milk Myths

While pasteurization has helped provide safe, nutrient-rich milk and cheese for over 120 years, some people continue to believe that pasteurization harms milk and that raw milk is a safe healthier alternative.

Here are some common myths and proven facts about milk and pasteurization:

* Pasteurizing milk DOES NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reations. Both raw milk and pasteurized milk can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to milk proteins.
* Raw milk DOES NOT kill dangerous pathogens by itself.
* Pasteurization DOES NOT reduce milk’s nutritional value.
* Pasteurization DOES NOT mean that it is safe to leave milk out of the refrigerator for extended time, particularly after it has been opened.
* Pasteurization DOES kill harmful bacteria.
* Pasteurization DOES save lives.

(FDA-The Dangers of Raw Milk)

3. There is documented proof that “alternative” therapies work and prolong life.

Apparently we are supposed to take your word for this.

Living a very intense and stressful life, especially around things that emit radiation can lead to health issues.

What kind of radiation? I see a scare word here.

jack-booted government thugs forcing their way into the homes of innocent Americans and confiscating their lemon trees

“It’s part of Moriarty’s cunning plan.”
“How do you know that, Holmes?”
“A lemon tree, my dear Watson.”

@ Militant Agnostic:

The zombies will descend upon Asbury Park, NJ Oct 21-3. They do every year. ( see njzombiewalk.com)
Glad I’ll be elsewhere.

Why are nearly all my comments automatically subjected to moderation approval? I am not, nor have I ever been a troll, a sock-puppet, or a spammer.

In fact, of my previous four comments (one of which is currently held up for approval), the only one that didn’t need mod approval was the one with the link.

Did the rules for moderation change in the past few months, or am I on some sort of list?

Sorry for the off-topic post.

1. We’re taking his word and the journalists word for it about the cancer. I’m not calling anybody a liar, but…

Yeah, right. There’s zero reason to make such a comment except to call him a liar.

2. There’s nothing wrong with the Macrobiotic diet. When followed correctly, it can have very good health effects for certain people. It did not contribute to making his condition worse.

[citation needed]

3. There is documented proof that “alternative” therapies work and prolong life.

[citation needed]. Especially since, once they’re scientifically validated, they become part of science-based medicine and cease to be “alternative.”

4. Chemo is hard on the immune system. If he did have it after the Whipple, his immune system may have already taken a severe hit. Now that his body had already produced a tumour and there was “cancer” imprinting in his digestive system, it could have re-occurred.

Sounds like you’re claiming that chemo caused the recurrence. [citation needed]

Living a very intense and stressful life, especially around things that emit radiation can lead to health issues.

OK, I’ll bite. To what specific radiation exposures are you referring? Keeping in mind that everyone is exposed to a good deal of ionizing radiation (cosmic rays being generally the dominant source of exposure) and so to be relevant any exposure must be significant in comparison to that background.

@30 Herr Doktor: Oh god.

What can we take away?

That you’re a fan of unverifiable anecdotes and blanket statements unsupported by data?

Steve’s choices and my choices are ours alone. I don’t push raw milk on others, certainly not other people’s children. I’m not saying I’m an expert, I believe in empowering future generations to be self-sufficient, educated enough to make their own choices and not those prescribed for them by the FDA. I do not pretend to be a doctor or give expert advice on medicine. I think that the idea of learning where food comes from is key for the health of future generations.

Non-ionizing radiation – is supposedly the “safe” kind, yet we’re recommended to limit our exposure.

I’ll miss following Jobs, really I will. Goodbye, farewell, goodbye.

Adams has made a not-so-savory name for himself for ghoulishly (and gleefully) taking advantage of the death of celebrities

One thing I have learned from Adams is that only celebrities ever have cancer. Or if it happens to non-celebrities, their survival or death is of no interest to him.

In some cases the people being cured developed nasty stomach lumps after consuming snail mucus.

“Alimentary, my dear Watson.”

As I said – I’m not disrespecting anyone, if it is so that the tumour easily operable and was non-aggressive then he should have been in the clear?
in his Stanford speech he said, “I’m fine now.”
We all know that was not true.
I am not saying that Macrobiotics cures cancer.
People confuse modern macrobiotics with veganism. Modern macrobiotics allows some animal protein to balance the vitamin deficiency issues with veganism.
http://macrobiotics.co.uk/cancer.htm
http://www.ohsawamacrobiotics.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29&Itemid=24
http://www.gerson.org/

Steve’s choices and my choices are ours alone. I don’t push raw milk on others, certainly not other people’s children.

“Why do you suddenly mention other people’s children?” Tom asked chattely.

Non-ionizing radiation – is supposedly the “safe” kind, yet we’re recommended to limit our exposure.

Why yes, to UV radiation which can cause thymine dimers and induce mutations.
Anything lower energy is pretty much harmless. You don’t see people wanting you to limit your visible light exposure.

Allison, I checked out your links. The Gerson link is particularly amusing. It’s a juicer diet (consuming raw “organic” fruits and vegies blended into juice); and it claims that eating nearly 20 pounds of fruit and vegies (only) per day will cure cancer.

To help with the process, they “detox” (as a toxicologist, I can tell you that detoxification programs like the one Gerson is selling is completely worthless and will not rid your body of toxins). Their detox program is coffee enemas.

Oh, and Gerson works, because, “we treat the cause of the disease, not just the symptoms.” That should tell you right away that they’re nothing but a snake-oil salesman.

It seems that Allison is promoting some “odd” pseudoscience “commercial” sites.

(hint to Allison) When we ask for citations…we don’t expect links to commercial sites that hawk macrobiotic books and tapes or to the notorious Gerson cancer treatment site. Why not try PubMed for studies that appear in peer reviewed journals, the American Dietetic Association, the National Cancer Institute or American Cancer Society websites for “citations”.

What can we take away?

hmmm wait and see would be better approach rather speculating or commenting on cause of death,could not believe that such a great sense person can undergo so high in confidence and let himself in danger ,so for me its kinda unbelievable but i feel waiting for biography is better option.

2. There’s nothing wrong with the Macrobiotic diet.

One might say the same about the Paleo Diet* as well as a few other of the less loony orthorexias. In fact I have a hunch that if one was say, an Inuit the latter might be much healthier than the former.

*Of the various orthorexias, this is probably the closest to what I eat. However, I recognize that it is based on the naturalistic fallacy and the separate evolution of lactase persistance in Northern Europe and East Africa shoots a hole in the argument that we have not evolved to adapt to agriculture.

allison: “1. We’re taking his word and the journalists word for it about the cancer. I’m not calling anybody a liar, but…

I know, you’re Just Asking Questions.

“There is documented proof that “alternative” therapies work and prolong life.”

Work for what? Prolong life in what situations? Pancreatic cancer? Think again.

“Chemo is hard on the immune system.”

Cancer isn’t great for the immune system either.

“You’ll never know unless you can talk to the person and get them to tell you the truth.

What can we take away?”

That anecdotes are basically worthless. But as I always say, live fast, die young and leave a wasted, prematurely aged corpse.

“What can we take away?”

We only pass this way once…and it we play our cards right…once is enough.

“Chemo is hard on the immune system.”
Cancer isn’t great for the immune system either.

As Orac noted in the previous thread, immunosuppressive post-transplant drugs have a side-effect of, umm, suppressing the immune system.

If Jobs didn’t get around to announcing whether or not he had undergone chemotherapy, I’m happy to accept that it was his own business.

I thought I might change the subject a tad and say that I have (and still have, thankfully) an old friend who underwent a Whipple when they found a mass on his pancreas basically by accident — by the grace of His Noodly Appendage, it turned out to be benign.

But the Whipple was just incredibly hard. Apparently, they practically saw you in half and then stitch you back together after doing a whole lot of internal remodeling. He’s a physician himself, and he said that surgeons visibly wince when he tells them he needed a Whipple.

It’s conceivable that any decision by Jobs to delay his surgery may have been motivated by a wish to avoid this really fearsome procedure if possible.

Sickeningly enough, Adams follows up the Jobs story with one about a nutritionist- Fred Bisci- who “could have cured” the innovator because he had cured his own brother of pancreatic cancer until he backslid.

This is all too common amongst the woo-slingers : perpetrating diet myths, reaching out to celebrities who are ill ( e.g. Aretha Franklin), and blaming people who die of cancer.

Your premise here is flawed, as possibly was Steve Jobs. The premise being that an alternative medicine treatment should “kill” the cancer in 9 months. If your going to go alternative, you have to commit. It took the body a number of years for the cancer to develop. Its simple logic that it will take the body a number of years to “fight” the cancer.

I’ll tell you one thing that you could definitely produce thousands of strong studies for, mr. “evidence based medicine” (i.e. mr. selectively ignore all evidence for anything that is not purely conventional or mildly experimental allopathic medicine.”.

…. the effects of immunosuppressing drugs and having an entirely new liver that the immune system would try to fight if it wasn’t knocked nearly into nonexistence, is certainly FAR more stressful to the immune system than the cancer itself.

Steve was close friends with Dean Ornish who advocates the role of diet in prevention, and vegetarianism. This story goes deep, i’d love to find out more. From what i’ve read about Dean Ornish he was a dude who in med school wanted to kill himself until he met an indian swami and went on a spiritual path.

The problem, in my opinion, is that Steve was probably being advised by guys like Dean who are medical doctors who know that a healthy lifestyle can prevent and sometimes reverse disease, but are not willing to take the next logical step and really look deeply into alternative medicines beyond the accepted CAM treatment which isthings like eating lots of vegetables, meditating etc. He needed to NOT be doing chemotherapy or surgery and in the case of pancreatic cancer taking large quantities of high quality digestive enzymes, stepping down from the role of ceo of a multibillion dollar company to resolve any emotional issues he may have had (which are indicated to have definitely existed in the reports already coming out about how he wanted his biographer with im in the time leading up to his death in order to try to explain to his kids why he wasn’t always there for them) , doing extensive blood testing (that most hospitals do not ever do) to make sure all nutrients and hormones were at optimal levels, drinking large quantities of fresh raw juice, etc.

He also should have donated a large percentage of his fortune instead of just leaving massive amounts of money to his family that they will have no idea what to do with.

This is not to say that he was a bad man for not doing that, but I think coming closer and closer to a possible end to your life with a massive fortune accrued but not leaving a legacy of humanitarian efforts, just selling a bunch of cool looking well designed electronic devices, that is going to weigh on the subconscious mind.

What most of you people who are honest about it will finally realize eventually, that are clinging to your allopathic medicine, despite it’s track record of both pushing the us closer and closer to bankruptcy and resulting in or at least coexisting in, an environment were disease of all kinds is rapidly growing not reducing – is that the mind IS an essential part of recovery from disease, and the science (which is in many cases actually already there if you look for it) will become more and more available and undeniable.

But of course, the followers of this blog will continue to regard everything with suspicion until it is brought to them by a doctor near you.

And the world keeps going on like that. Every advance in human kind was accompanied by tons of people staunchly defending the established ideas and modalities to the death, and scoffing at the claims of the wild eyed heretics daring to overturn old ideas.

Jonathan Browne:

Your premise here is flawed, as possibly was Steve Jobs. The premise being that an alternative medicine treatment should “kill” the cancer in 9 months.

Who is this directed to?

Orac said: “While Jobs certainly didn’t do himself any favors by waiting nine months to undergo definitive surgical therapy of his tumor, it’s very easy to overstate the potential harm that he did to himself by not immediately letting surgeons resect his tumor shortly after it was diagnosed eight years ago.”

Also what evidence do you have for this statement: “But of course, the followers of this blog will continue to regard everything with suspicion until it is brought to them by a doctor near you.”

Though I have a feeling you are new here, since you use the term “allopathic” like it has any real meaning aside from a derogatory term used for real medicine by quacks.

Browne, your last statement is called the Gallileo Gambit. “They were wrong about Gallileo, so they’re wrong about what I believe in!” It’s a flawed idea, as all sorts of heritical ideas are bullshit. There’s nothing else in your post that hasn’t been seen here before, and come up wanting.

This is not to say that he was a bad man for not doing that, but I think coming closer and closer to a possible end to your life with a massive fortune accrued but not leaving a legacy of humanitarian efforts, just selling a bunch of cool looking well designed electronic devices, that is going to weigh on the subconscious mind.

What is the difference between the perceived world and the “subconscious” mind, Jonathan?

“Every advance in human kind was accompanied by tons of people staunchly defending the established ideas and modalities to the death, and scoffing at the claims of the wild eyed heretics daring to overturn old ideas”

As Carl Sagan put it;
“But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

Your post is so full of fallacies and tropes it is difficult to know where to start. If your religious beliefs are true what do you have to lose if you do a deep investigation onto why people say you are wrong? That would be an intellectually honest way to go. The fact is though, the more a person feels persecuted the more tightly they will cling to their religious beliefs.

I call them religious because they are more like faith statements in contrast to science where you would attempt to falsify your hypothesis rather than read only what backs up your beliefs. Hypotheses that cannot ever be disproven are not real science. This is true in law courts and in science. Are you saying that your beliefs are religious or are saying they science? If they are science then produce the proof or go away to your church of non-“allopathic” “medicine” [Just as true as Christian Science].

Let’s see if I can run throught the options for alternative medicine:

1. Dead celebrity used chemotherapy= blame chemo

2. Dead celebrity used chemo and alternative medicine= blame chemo.

3. Dead celebrity used alternative medicine= take credit for him not dying even sooner.

David N. Brown
Mesa, Arizona

@ Jonathan: I visited your web page and I imagine you are feeling very down about your father who was diagnosed with mesothelioma. However, that is not a valid excuse for your accusations directed at Orac or any of the regular posters here.

Most of the posters here have a science background. We are well versed in the science of the practice of medicine and many of us are licensed clinicians, biologists, chemists and researchers. We went into our fields of study and our professions because of our sincere desires to use our education and our desires to leave this world a better place.

Orac has blogged extensively about well-known, “popular” alternative practitioners including your hero Dr. Dean Ornish.

It is obvious to all of us that you are simply not an expert in any field of medicine or science and that this discussion is beyond your capabilities. It is also beyond your capabilities to discuss the the costs of a highly technical and advanced medical system and its impact on the United States budget.

We will of course be asking you to provide some citations about the efficacy of “alternative” treatments from peer reviewed medical journals.

BTW, none of us practice “allopathic” medicine…we only practice science-based medicine.

Jonathan Browne @51

I hear a lot anger in your comment. Better watch that – it could be bad for your health.

You keep using the word allopathic – would you care to define it.

I also noticed that you close on the tired old Galileo gambit.

Regarding the radiotherapy in Switzerland, my admittedly knee-jerk reaction is that you may be giving reporters too much credit. I think it’s likely that the reason they labeled that treatment as “alternative” even though it seems to be science-based to you is that they don’t share your practice of drawing the line at whether a given treatment is based on scientific research or woo. They consider that radiotherapy to be a new way of thinking, outside the box, and believe that it is a challenge to the dogmatic orthodoxy of Western Medicine (boo!)
They think that homeopathy and Bio-Acoustics and psychic surgery are in the same class–new and challenging notions that are shunned by evil Western Medicine not because they don’t work, but only because they are “not mainstream” and challenge the orthodox establishment. Thus, in their minds, the important thing to note about the two kinds of treatment is not their major difference (that one has at least shown promise in terms of actually working in a significant way when studied rigorously, and the others have failed that test for years if not decades or centuries) but what they see as their major similarity–that the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins don’t use them . . . . yet . . . . because they aren’t taken seriously by The Establishment. The difference between a treatment that isn’t widely used because it shows promise but has not been proven YET and a treatment that isn’t widely used because it has been shown over and over again to hold zero promise and work zero times is completely lost on your average reporter. They’re really good at deadlines, pretty good at judging an audience’s reaction to content and presentation, and usually OK at creating a lede and drawing a reader in. It’s asking a lot for them to be experts on everything else, too.

They consider that radiotherapy to be a new way of thinking, outside the box, and believe that it is a challenge to the dogmatic orthodoxy of Western Medicine [and is therefore “alternative”]

Don, I think you may be on to something, there.

Its simple logic that it will take the body a number of years to “fight” the cancer.

That is nice, as long as the cancer is sporting enough to allow you that time.

Jonathan Browne #51

If your going to go alternative, you have to commit. It took the body a number of years for the cancer to develop. Its simple logic that it will take the body a number of years to “fight” the cancer.

That’s not simple logic, it’s simplistic logic. Obviously adopting a healthy lifestyle is sensible at any time, and especially if you are unwell, but the idea that consuming more nutrients than are in an adequate diet (essentially what many alternative approaches to cancer entail) will somehow boost the body to superhuman levels of health that will kill cancer is just childish. We know it doesn’t work like that. There is no good evidence that a greater than adequate intake of nutrients is beneficial (in most cases the body excretes the excess) and having higher than optimal levels of some nutrients can be damaging.

selectively ignore all evidence for anything that is not purely conventional or mildly experimental allopathic medicine

Please direct me to this ignored evidence. I have been looking for it for years, and everything I have seen so far is very disappointing when looked at closely.

the effects of immunosuppressing drugs and having an entirely new liver that the immune system would try to fight if it wasn’t knocked nearly into nonexistence, is certainly FAR more stressful to the immune system than the cancer itself.

What do you base this on exactly? Are you an expert in the effects of an insulinoma that has metastasized to the liver? Do you even understand what an insulinoma is? You seem to be arguing that the potentially fatal hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) caused by an insulinoma is less damaging to the immune system than a liver transplant, which is plainly wrong.

He needed to NOT be doing chemotherapy or surgery

You are telling people with cancer that they should not have chemotherapy or surgery? You seriously think this will improve their chances of survival? If a patient with an insulinoma is not treated they will suffer from hypoglycemia that can cause brain damage or death. Suggesting that Jobs should not have had surgery is idiotic.

and in the case of pancreatic cancer taking large quantities of high quality digestive enzymes

Does that mean you are a fan of the Gerson/Gonzalez protocol for pancreatic cancer? The one that involves the patient spending most of their remaining days juicing fruits and vegetables, cleaning their juicer, swallowing supplement pills and having coffee enemas? The one that was tested in a clinical trial that found patients on conventional therapy lived three times as long as those on the Gonzalez protocol and had a significantly better quality of life?

the mind IS an essential part of recovery from disease, and the science (which is in many cases actually already there if you look for it) will become more and more available and undeniable.

I have looked, and what I have found are studies that show that people’s states of mind seem to have little effect on disease, even on cardiovascular disease. The idea that our emotional state has a large effect on our physical health is an attractive one, but the evidence for it is sadly lacking. That doesn’t stop it from being widely believed, as you have demonstrated.

Every advance in human kind was accompanied by tons of people staunchly defending the established ideas and modalities to the death, and scoffing at the claims of the wild eyed heretics daring to overturn old ideas.

Every one of these advances was accompanied by incontrovertible evidence. The claims you are making are implausible, and have been tested and found to be incorrect. It seems to me that you are the one staunchly defending your beliefs to the death in the face of strong evidence that they are wrong.

Orac, the author of this article said in 2008

“What Steve Jobs needed was for a doctor to get in his face and give him a dressing down of the sort that Jobs gives his employees, saying: “I know you’re a genius when it comes to industrial design of computers, making technology products that people love, and running an animation studio. I know you’ll be remembered as a giant in the history of computing, digital music, and technology. Unfortunately, none of that means you know squat about medicine. Diet, herbs, and the other woo you’re interested in will not stop this tumor. Nothing will heal it except cold, hard, surgical steel. ”

http://respectfulinsolence.com/2008/03/woo_for_cancer_say_it_aint_so_steve.php

although I understand his trying not to take it too far in the current post

Jonathan is dead right when he says: “Every advance in human kind was accompanied by tons of people staunchly defending the established ideas and modalities to the death, and scoffing at the claims of the wild eyed heretics daring to overturn old ideas.”

Defenders of homeopathy, faith healing (and all sorts of spiritual woo), radical diets, purges and useless supplements and patent medicines did stubbornly resist advances in medicine. Mainstream practitioners adapted to the new ways when it became clear through research and clinical practice that they were a vast improvement over the old ideas. Part of the problem now is convincing people who deny the efficacy of science-based medicines and want to rely on homeopathy, faith healing (and all sorts of spiritual woo), radical diets, purges and useless supplements.

Tom Wolfe in “Radical Chic” talked about members of the celebrity Left having “nostalgie pour la boue” (roughly, a longing for the gutter) which made associating with down and out characters “chic”. Similarly, devotees of woo seem to have a longing for the good old days when infectious disease and sepsis ran rampant, modern lifesaving drugs and surgeries did not exist, and people lived shorter, more miserable lives without effective therapies for chronic and fatal diseases.

Jonathan will find that most posters here do not share that nostalgia for the days of primitive medicine.

Tom Wolfe in “Radical Chic” talked about members of the celebrity Left having “nostalgie pour la boue” (roughly, a longing for the gutter) which made associating with down and out characters “chic”. Similarly, devotees of woo seem to have a longing for the good old days when infectious disease and sepsis ran rampant, modern lifesaving drugs and surgeries did not exist, and people lived shorter, more miserable lives without effective therapies for chronic and fatal diseases.

That’s definitely a paragraph that captures how I see it. In the “good old days,” disease was common. The idea that being in a state of health is “natural” and taken for granted today is only possible because of the continuing success of modern science-based medicine.

Nearly every altie I encounter lacks any sense of history. They treat time periods the way Hollywood does: Just change the fashions and the decor.

A few words about Ornish ( Orac has written about him):

I actually read one of his books ( and have heard that he’s a good tennis player); he advocates diet and exercise as health measures, especially contra CV. So does SBM, nothing earth-shattering about that.

However, he does go over-board in assessing his approach’s efficacy and applicability. I also recall detecting a whiff of aesceticism that woud fit him in nicely amongst alt med proselytisers’ spirituality and Jobs’ Buddhism ( ” Desire leads to suffering”. So cut it out, already!). Whereas our woo-meisters act the scold, forever wagging their fingers at mere mortals’ weaknesses all-the-while triumphantly upholding their own sterling examples of perfectionacity, I suspect that Ornish is doing something rather similar in a more sophisticated manner due to his obviously greater intelligence, better education, and social savvy. I can picture him there at UCSF and in Sausalito, dressed all in white, working on his lobs, satisfied with himself as they ascend heavenward.

I seriously can’t believe that watching your weight is a measure of your purity or character ( despite what Bill Maher is saying about a certain governor who shall remain nameless): it’s about avoidance of certain ills. In my own case, I wonder how much is directly attributable purely to vanity ( even more than fear of CV, etc.): you see, I like wearing lovely clothes. I know , I know, another atheistic SB materialist, that’s me… but hey, we are living in a material world, etc.

You gave me a new perspective to think about, but I still feel that those first 9 months were the most important. Anything after that was trying to fix a problem that could have possibly have been unnecessary.

Good article. I hadn’t heard of Mike Adams before reading this, but having looked at his website its obvious he’s just trying to make money off the sick and desperate. His name shouldn’t be mentioned again during informed discussion.

Mr. Jobs at no time made it public that his alternative therapy approach following diagnosis shorted his life. It will be very interesting what is written in his biography in this regard.

Macrobiotic diet(as used in the western world) IS NOT a BALANCED diet(whether its from an excess or more likely lack of (specific) nutrients over the long term for healthy body metabolism,therefore can it NOT add to a healthy life only increase the risk of disease as insignificant as that risk may be.This makes it more utterly naive to assume the Inuit eskimos gain health benefits purely from their overall diet when the evidence points clearly to something in their lifestyles/environment.
Macrobiotics are just MORE FUD from logic/rationality free quacks, for DUMB celebrities Like Madonna “one DUMB shallow gimmick/platitude/cult lifestyle (bye bye Kabalah after taking years + years for her to realize it was screwing half her fortune away) after another” to follow + eulogise. This women believes (brainwashed by another RENOWN con artist fitness trainer) its healthy to starve herself of essential nutrients by everyday of her life restricting her total calorie intake to 700kcal – thank god such stupidity will kill her long before Jobs age)

@lilady

Your response to allison burgueno is illogical. Classic ad hominem attack (attack against the man).

“I visited your url website and you say you want to start a business as a consultant to schools to teach school children about growing their own food and self-sufficiency.

You also state you support a local dairy that sells “raw goat milk”.”

You are not responding to her argument. You are simply attacking her credibility. You bring up her support for raw goat milk, which has nothing to do with her argument, and then you say, “I suggest you take some courses about food safety and nutritional values of “raw milk”…before you promote yourself as an expert.”

Here you are stating that she is not an expert on food safety and therefore is not credible about raw milk, and therefore must not be credible about her argument posted above.

BAD logic!

Quote CG “You don’t see people wanting you to limit your visible light exposure.”

In practise YES because we still don’t have the (practical) ability to filter out the UV from visible light(Vit D production) safely on a continual basis when/where sunlight is stronger.Sun block reduce visible light exposure levels to levels

Really allison burgueno resorting to posting under another name (Marie @ CHEESESLAVE) because you wouldn’t know what logic(NON EMOTIONAL(incl CONCEIT like yours/BIASED THINKING),logical reasoning, the scientific method ( and the VALUABLE evidence it only allows for consideration)if they BEAT YOU AROUND the HEAD SENSELESS.

Unfortunately evolution simply has not provided you with a mind suitable for comprehending/applying with what so far we have had no better tool of logic to effectively/efficiently discover new knowledge/info AKA the scientific method, meaning ANY of your contributions will be endlessly ridiculed + treated with contempt for the UTTERLY misguided NONSENSE of a CHILD like mind they are – take some advice from someone who was using the scientific method to work life out before he was EVEN taught what the “scientific method” was – stop wasting OUR precious time, and your not so useful contributions to mankind + just STOP posting your irrational EGO-CENTRIC/STROKING DRIVEL! CHEERS!

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