Categories
Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Pseudoscience Quackery Science Skepticism/critical thinking

Mouse magic, or How lab mice learned to stop worrying and trust the healing energy

I frequently call homeopathy The One Quackery to Rule Them All, but there are times when I am not so sure that that’s the case. You see, there is…another. I’m referring, of course, to what is referred to as “energy medicine.” What energy medicine modalities have in common is that they postulate that there is some sort “energy field” around humans that can be manipulated for therapeutic intent or that somehow practitioners can channel “healing energy” from elsewhere. For example, as I’ve discussed many times before, reiki is based on the concept that reiki masters can channel this fantastical healing energy from something called the Universal Source. That’s why I frequently liken reiki to faith healing, because, at its core, that’s what it is. Substitute God for the Universal Source, and it’s easy to see why. So what’s different about therapeutic touch (TT)? Basically, it’s the same thing, except that TT practitioners claim that they can wave their hands over patients (touching is actually usually not involved) and manipulate the human “energy field” to therapeutic intent. It’s a specialty so ridiculous that even a 11-year-old girl could show that TT practitioners cannot detect “human energy fields,” much less manipulate them.

None of this, of course, stops advocates from not only practicing “energy medicine” but designing nonsensically quackademic experiments testing “energy medicine.”

I hadn’t seen a particularly silly bit of seemingly “basic science” on energy medicine published in quite a while; that is, until now. The other day a study was brought to my attention. It’s a study by someone we’ve met before, Gloria Gronowicz at the University of Connecticut Health Center. Depressingly, she’s in the Department of Surgery there, and, equally depressingly, she did a study entitled Therapeutic Touch Has Significant Effects on Mouse Breast Cancer Metastasis and Immune Responses but Not Primary Tumor Size.

Basically, this is a mouse tumor model study. Amusingly, it works with a tumor model very similar to mouse tumor models I’ve worked with in my laboratory before. Specifically, the tumor model used is the 6-thioguanine-resistant 66cl4 cell line, which was derived from an aggressive 4T1 mouse mammary carcinoma that can metastasize from the primary tumor to popliteal lymph nodes (lymph nodes behind the knee joint). I’ve used the 4T1 tumor before. Basically, “syngeneic,” means it’s derived from the same mouse strain and is transplantable. That means that it can grow in mice with intact immune systems as long as they’re the same strain from which the tumor was derived. In fact, I know the man, Dr. Fred Miller, who derived the cell line and supplied the cells to Dr. Liisa Kuhn, the corresponding author of this publication.

I always love reading the introductions and methods to papers like this, particularly the explanation of TT and the justification for doing the study. For some reason, authors of pretty much every study of this type can’t resist an appeal to popularity, claiming that because so many people use “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), then killing mice to study magic is justified. In this case, the authors claim that, of all CAM, patients report the most benefit from “energy medicine” or “biofield” therapies. Drolly (unintentionally, of course), they note, “Scientific evidence for the possible reasons for this benefit is needed. As a first step we undertook a cancer study in animals to remove psychosocial factors.”

Gronowicz et al owe me a new keyboard for that one, as I spit up the iced tea I was drinking when I read that part. I suppose that on a strictly literal basis it’s true. Animals don’t have psychosocial factors. Well, that’s not entirely true. Mice don’t like being alone, for instance. They don’t like being too crowded either. They’re sensitive to how many mice are placed in a single cage. In any case, what the investigators did was to inject tumor cells into the footpads of the mice. To be honest, I’m not sure at all why they chose this route. Usually, with 4T1 cells, we inject them into the flanks of the mouse or into the mammary fat pad. However, these are mere quibbles with respect to methodology when it comes to mouse tumor model experiments. To truly appreciate the hilarity of the methods, you must read how the investigators administered TT to the mice:

TT treatments commenced 24 h after cell injection and were repeated twice a week for the entire period. Two mice at a time were placed into large tissue culture flasks (Sarstedt, Newtown, NC, 18 cm × 11.5 cm × 4 cm) with bedding by a technician through a premade hinged door. Previous studies from our laboratory had shown that tissue culture plastic did not impede human biofield treatments [36]. Flasks were clamped two feet in the air in a ring stand at the end of an L-shaped room. Practitioners alternated treatments so that each practitioner treated mice once a week. Treatment lasted 10 min with hands kept 2–10 inches from all sides of the flask without touching (TT1). Briefly the treatment sequelae were centering, assessment, treatment, and evaluation and followed previously published protocols [29, 36]. The control/mock group consisted of placing two mice in a similar flask and setup for ten minutes twice a week (CA1) at the other end of the same L-shaped room with a non-TT person standing next to the flask. The third group of mice was PBS-injected and received no treatment (PBS1). On the 26th day, mice had developed large tumors in their foot pad and were euthanized.

I love the bit about how prior studies showed that putting the mice in a tissue culture flask “did not impede human biofield treatments.” I was half-tempted to look up the paper referenced to see exactly how they had determined this critical bit of information, but then I figured I already had enough amusement for one night sitting right in front of me in the form of this paper. I also didn’t want to risk another keyboard or have to go dry while I wrote this. In any case, for full ridiculousness, just try to visualize what is going on here. Healing touch practitioners apparently stood over the large tissue culture flasks holding two mice each. The flasks were suspended two feet in the air by being clamped to a ring stand. They then held their hand over the flask containing the mouse and thought real hard or did whatever it is TT practitioners do to manipulate the human biofield, except they did it on mice. I couldn’t help but chuckle. A skilled filmmaker could easily make a comedy out this. How, for instance, does a TT practitioner trained on humans detect the mouse energy field? It is, after all, presumably so much smaller and squeakier than a human energy field.

Even more hilariously, the controls consisted of mice placed in the same flask but just having a non-TT practitioner just stand next to it. This must be because the healing power from a real TT practitioner is so awesome that it can’t be the TT practitioner just standing in the same room with the mouse but not exercising his or her skill. Note how the point is made that the control mice were placed at the other end of an L-shaped room. It’s as though the TT practitioners think that the residual energy of their awesomeness might affect the control mouse if they were placed in the same part of the room. Or maybe they did the controls and the TT mice at the same time. It’s not discussed. They also had a no-tumor arm, in which the mice just got a saline injection not containing any tumor cells, presumably for normal values for blood levels of everything they were measuring. Then, investigators repeated the experiment, except that mice were treated with TT or fake TT for two weeks prior to being injected with tumors. I’m telling ya, ya can’t make stuff up like this up. At least, I can’t.

Not surprisingly, the TT had no effect on the growth of the primary tumors. Indeed, the tumor volumes were about as close to each other as I’ve ever seen. Similarly, tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis were unchanged in the primary tumors, as one would expect. One thing I did notice is that the authors let these tumors get rather large, and surely they must have become painful. 220 mm3 is not that big a tumor when it’s in the flank or mammary fat pad, but it’s quite large for a mouse to have on its footpad, which is only a few millimeters in thickness, at most. In the second experiment, the tumors were allowed to grow to grow to as much as 330 mm3. Where was the University of Connecticut’s IACUC during all this? I realize that in this model the tumor has to be on the foot pad because the lymphatic vessels from the foot pad drain to the popliteal lymph nodes being assessed for metastases, but come on.

In any case, the authors’ positive results ended up being not particularly impressive. The authors did clonogenic assays, in which the popliteal lymph nodes were dissociated into a cell suspension and plated to see how many colonies of tumor cells grow. There does appear to be a modest decrease in the number of metastases to the popliteal lymph nodes reported, but the variability is high. Indeed, the authors had to do this to get their result to be statistically significant:

For the metastasis assay, most mice had 2–9 cancer cell colonies/lymph node. In the contralateral control limb (C), no tumors developed and no metastatic colonies were found (Figure 2). In contrast, every mouse had metastatic colonies in the mock-treated group (CA). In the TT-treated group (TT), three mice had no metastatic colonies while the remaining mice had some colonies. One mouse had 7-fold more colonies (76 colonies) than the mean. If this extreme outlier is excluded since it is greater than two standard deviations from the mean, TT significantly decreased metastasis compared to the mock-treated group (Figure 2).

Sorry about that outlier, but if you had to remove the outlier to get a statistically significant result, your result was probably not significant, and you still have to explain the outlier. Believe me, I know. I’ve had this sort of result before. Just because a value is two standard deviations from the mean is not sufficient reason to discard it. I will give the authors some credit, though. They did state that they removed the outlier and that without its removal, their results were not statistically significant. Now if only they didn’t keep referring from that point on to the differences in metastases to the popliteal lymph nodes as being statistically significant when in reality their own results show that TT didn’t affect the size of the primary tumors or the number of popliteal metastases. That‘s the real result: No effect on tumor growth or lymph node metastasis.

So all we’re left with is a fishing expedition among cytokines.

The authors look at a whole slew of cytokines and find some differences, none particularly striking, specifically decreases in IL-1α, IL-1β, MIG, and MIP-2. Of course, they used a commercial kit to check 32 cytokines, of which 11 were elevated in cancer and four were reported as decreased by TT therapy. All differences reported are modest. Also some differences in T-lymphocyte populations were noted. It’s hard not to wonder if this means anything at all, given that TT had no effect on primary tumors or metastases, as we would expect there to be no effect from such magic.

One thing I noticed as I read this study is that it all sounded rather familiar. In fact, so it was. I had written about this study before, only at the time it was just a poster presentation. Here we are, several months later, and the paper is published not in a good journal but in a quack journal, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. At the time, I noticed that no mention of blinding was made. In the paper, the same thing is almost true. No mention of blinding is made other than that the core facility doing flow cytometry was blinded to experimental groups to which the samples belonged. Imagine my relief. That doesn’t change that the people measuring the tumors, counting the clonogenic assays, and measuring the cytokines almost certainly were not blinded to experimental group. Cytokine measurements can be very sensitive to how the sample is collected. If, for instance, the mice being euthanized were subject to different levels of stress right before death, that could produce differences in cytokine profiles. Remember, the blood was collected immediately postmortem by sticking a needle into the mouse’s heart.

So what could explain these results? Leave it to the authors to take a stab at it. First, let’s recall their justification for choosing TT:

Several reasons for choosing Therapeutic Touch for this study were the method of practice, which is an uncomplicated, well-defined protocol consisting of four steps, easily amenable for reproducibility of practice in a research trial and simple to perform in any setting [29]. The rigorous training program and credentialing process for practitioners, mostly nurses in all of our studies, was also important for consistency. There are no religious ties to the practice, so issues such as the role of prayer or religion are not involved in the interpretation of results. The first step in the practice is to set an intention, which is for the “highest good” of the subject. Finally, TT treatments do not require physical touch, so there is no heat transfer or variable handling of the subject being studied.

So the mice didn’t have to practice a specific religion to benefit. Imagine my relief.

Except that we know there was differential handling. The TT group held their hands over the flasks containing the two mice for ten minutes, while the control mice simply had some lab tech stand next to their flask for ten minutes. Similarly, the “control” mice, the mice with no tumors, who were used to produce control cytokine profiles and white blood cells were not regularly removed from their cages and placed in tissue culture flasks at all, unlike both the TT and sham TT groups. I would therefore question whether they were a proper control group for the cytokine measurements, particularly in light of the authors’ cluelessness:

A possible explanation of our findings is that the mice recognize and respond positively in a psychosocial manner to the biofield practitioner [46]. In studying psychosocial stress with inflammation and cancer, mouse models have shown that specific psychosocial stress factors produce generalized immune dysfunction, which particularly affects cytokine production resulting in changes in the numbers and function of specific leukocytes [47]. An alternative explanation of our findings is that the opposite of stress, such as exposure to a familiar and nonthreatening individual, may promote normal immune function. Mice attribute human contact with food, water, and positive environmental stimulation. Recently, rodents have been shown to detect and respond to the state of their social partners [48], and perhaps rodents may also respond positively to repeated human interactions. Thus, mammals may be capable of “felt affective experiences” [48]. On the other hand, mice that were placed in a similar apparatus by the same non-TT individual (CA group) did not manifest these changes in immune function suggesting that the TT treatment itself was responsible for the significant effects.

The problem is that the mice in the non-TT group were not handled the same way as the mice in the TT group, as I described above. Nor was the no-tumor control group handled the same way. More importantly, if it is true that differences in handling explain the results, then there is no need to invoke magic mouse energy fields manipulated by TT practitioners as the reason why there were modest changes in the cytokine profiles of the mice treated with TT. Just chalk it up to differences in handling, no magic required. Oh, and, big surprise, pretreating with extra TT didn’t change anything.

Papers like this simultaneously amuse and appall me. They amuse me because, well, they are ridiculous. Just the vision of earnest TT practitioners holding their hands between two to ten inches from a large tissue culture flask containing two mice are inherently ridiculous. However, it is appalling that many mice were forced to endure tumors growing on their footpads and then death to test whether TT practitioners can magically manipulate their mousy energy fields to cure their cancers. It’s also appalling that money was spent on this that could have been used in real cancer research.

On the other hand, I took a look at the foundation that funded this study, the Trivedi Foundation, which touts itself as giving “Scientific Research Grants to Raise the Consciousness of Living and Nonliving Materials Through the Authenticity of Modern Science”:

The Trivedi Effect® is a natural phenomenon that is harnessed from the universe and is capable of transforming living organisms and non-living materials to operate at a higher level and serve a greater purpose for the welfare of humanity. This phenomenon was discovered through the powerful energy transmissions of Mahendra Trivedi. Through the transmission of this energy, the recipient establishes a deep connection to the Creator, or Universal Intelligence, and awakens their Divine potential. He has since been able to transform three other individuals into Trivedi Masters™ who now have the ability to harness this energy.

The Trivedi Effect® has been scientifically proven to transform all living organisms, such as animals, seeds, plants, crops, fungi, bacteria, viruses, cancer cells and humans. Further scientific exploration has revealed that this energy has no limitations because it has the ability to transform the very structure of the atom: the building blocks of life itself. This means that the Trivedi Effect® is able to transform the very thing that this world is built upon. The Trivedi Effect® has the intelligence and profound capability to transform anything and everything. It is the ONE thing that CAN transform ANY thing.

On second thought, maybe paying to test whether waving hands over mice with breast cancer tumors in their foot pads can cure their cancer isn’t the worst thing a foundation like this could spend money on. Just peruse the website. This is Deepak Chopra-level woo. Besides, who wants people like this transforming the very structure of the atom and the building blocks of life itself. In any case, regardless of its proclaimed ability to “transform anything and everything,” one thing it can’t transform is woo into science.

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]

131 replies on “Mouse magic, or How lab mice learned to stop worrying and trust the healing energy”

I was a bit sickened to imagine the misery of footpad cancer myself. Who designed this study and why did they pick such a cruel location?

I have gotten a lot sicker, with fatigue causing a lot of limitation. Mr Woo has suggested that we just aren’t “doing spirituality right.” TT, different label.

Dear Mrs Woo – sorry that you aren’t doing well and fatigue messing things up. Sending internet hugs and hopes that you improve soon.

The Trivedi Effect® is a natural phenomenon

Glad to see something entirely natural has been registered and trademarked by a private company.
I was told it was impossible to do, that’s why Big Pharma don’t want to sell vitamins.*

* sarcasm

@ Orac

Animals don’t have psychosocial factors.

Animals don’t have human psychosocial factors.*
As you point out, quite a number of animals seem to react to the presence of other animals of the same kind.

* OTOH, human-like psychosocial factors?

I love the bit about how prior studies showed that putting the mice in a tissue culture flask “did not impede human biofield treatments.”

I would have been more impressed if they have put a mouse inside a strong magnetic field and showed they could reach the poor animal with their biofields.
A fridge magnet slapped on the mouse doesn’t count.

IIRC, there was one study 6-8 years ago there even having the control group separated from the treated group was not enough to “impede human biofield treatments.” Mice (or rats?) were cured of cancer all the same in both groups.

These biofields seem very pervasive. Better be careful where you point that finger.

Where was the University of Connecticut’s IACUC during all this?

I had a similar thought. Experiments on live animals are supposed to be approved by an IRB. Was that true of this experiment?

Just because a value is two standard deviations from the mean is not sufficient reason to discard it.

Assuming a normal distribution, about one out of twenty samples will be more than two standard deviations from the mean. That’s why p=0.05 is considered a magical number for statistical significance.

A possible explanation of our findings is that the mice recognize and respond positively in a psychosocial manner to the biofield practitioner [46].

Breaking news: Water is wet, bears defecate in the woods, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. At least they admit, via the citation, that this alleged thought isn’t entirely original.

IMNSHO, the Force from Star Wars is a better conceived piece of woo than theraputic touch. Despite the handwaving retcon of midichlorians as a physiological source of the Force, the Force is shown in-universe to have actual effects (lightning, Darth Vader’s Force chokehold, etc.). And its creators understand that it’s fiction. TT is fiction, too, but its advocates don’t seem to understand this.

IIRC, there was one study 6-8 years ago there even having the control group separated from the treated group was not enough to “impede human biofield treatments.” Mice (or rats?) were cured of cancer all the same in both groups.

That’s probably one of William Bengston’s studies, where the energy healing applied was so apparently so potent it cured not only the experimental mice who received it but the control mice that didn’t receive any treatment.

bengston’s explanation for no statistical difference between the outcomes in the treated and untreated groups by invoking “some mysterious quantum-mystical effect that actually made my control group part of the experimental group, experiencing the benefits of hands-on healing even though the hands weren’t ever on them.”

There was an extended discussion of why this actually represents an utter fail at http://respectfulinsolence.com/2012/06/05/reiki-versus-dogs-just-being-dogs/

This utterly incompetent idiot is concerned with the plastic of the mouse containers, but is apparently oblivious to the influence of the “ring stand”, presumably the typical arrangement of aluminum or stainless steel rods held together with metallic clamps, on “electromagnetic fields.”
The test and control subjects were at different ends of a room, with no mention made of assessing the room for existing “electromagnetic fields.” Neither is there any mention of assessing the room for other energy sources potentially noxious to mice but imperceptible to humans, such as high flicker amplitude in the lighting, sounds at ultrasonic (again, to humans) frequencies, or even odor sources. There is no mention of evaluation of other proximate materials that absorb or reflect radiated energy. She clearly has never been anywhere near and EMI/RFI test chamber.
She is bloody well clueless about “energy.” Her methods are crap.

She asserts that mice associate humans with bringing food and water. Unless the mice are deprived of food and water at times, I call bullsh!t. If they are given special treats occasionally, then maybe. Otherwise, the food hopper and the water bottle are always full, and the human is just something that comes to bring annoyance – or worse.

She should take up magic hand waving. She is crap at science.

I wonder if the fact that the room was L-shaped was deliberate, or just what was available. There’s a Chinese folk belief that evil ‘spirits’ i.e. harmful energy can only travel in straight lines that;s reflected in a lot of theri architecture-I wonder if the designers have some similar unstated belief that energy healing ‘vibrations’ can’t turn corners as well?

Why didn’t the non-TT person moved their hands in exactly the same fashion as the TT practitioner instead of just standing there for the control/mock group? I’m picturing a mouse stuffed into a tube, already stressed out by it…and here is a big human waving their hands around them; the mock/control group instead just got to stay stuffed in the tube without the added stress of hands moving around them.

FYI, this was my medical school. I hope there a some on the faculty there willing to speak up on this nonsense.

@ doug:

Unfortunately, I have learned through woo-meisters that what WE ( i.e. those educated in physics, chemistry, biology, physiology) refer to as ‘energy’ and what THEY refer to as ‘energy’ have little in common.

The energy to which they refer is not merely a physical phenomenon BUT is endowed with various psycho-social, emotional, epigenetic, cultural, possibly bioluminescent, spiritual, religious, moral and biodynamic qualities which are indeed tame-able only by those pure of heart and committed to pseudo-science.

For example, one woo-meister claims that everything is an ‘energy exchange’ then, prosaically describes human interactions such as sexual attraction, learning from a mentor and dealing with a child that would better be understood as psychological events that we’ve studied for the past century or more. That’s the level to which descend in this realm of wishful thinking and practical magic.

When I first came across this nonsense I was reminded of a long essay by Jung ( altho’ I’m not a Jungian) that discusses ‘psychic’ ( that is, ‘psychological’) energy in terms of archaic concepts of mana, prana, ruach, chi, and libido ( as general’ life energy’ not especially sexual).

In other words, ‘energy’ as naively conceived by observers in relation to human activities and beliefs. A person puts ‘energy’ into achieving a certain outcome, a person feels ‘energetic’, an argument is ‘heated’, an active person expends more energy than average. A strong intention, belief or need involves more energy.

And, as if this isn’t bad enough, a few gifted healers/ sensitives are able to adjust or ‘tune’ the out-of-whack energies of others to more resemble their own perfect vibrations. In addition, particularly pure foods, water, supplements and activities can also remedy bad vibes.

How they got the mice in there, I can only imagine because the necks of those tissue culture flasks are kind of narrow, albeit probably wide enough to stuff a mouse in with only minimal trauma. The flasks were suspended two feet in the air by being clamped to a ring stand.

I read this passage over a couple of times – I have been a bit slow in the mornings lately – and still came away with the image of the mice being suspended in the air by their front or hind paws. (Possibly I got stuck on the word “clamped.”) “What is this?” I thought, “Some kind of freakish interspecies BDSM?! What purpose could this possible serve?!”

I did eventually figure out what was actually meant.

If this country could just get on board with the metric system*, these confusions would not be so commonplace.

*Okay, that probably would not fix my problems.

Hiya –

in today’s blog, you said ” In any case, regardless of its proclaimed ability to “transform anything and everything,” one thing it can transform is woo into science.”

but probably meant to say:

” In any case, regardless of its proclaimed ability to “transform anything and everything,” one thing it can’t transform is woo into science.”

or something like that.

You can send my free homeopathic cancer cure kit to me at the address on file. Hi ho!

chris

#4 Eric Lund
All experiments were approved by the Animal Care Committee of the University of Connecticut Health Center.

This does not give me a lot of confidence in the ACC. Possibly Burzynski Ethics committee (whatever it’s called in the States) were moonlighting

I see that the paper was published in a reputable profitable journal or at least with a profitable profitable publisher. The write-up for Hindawi Publishing Corporation on Beale’s list is most interesting.

I had a look at the large tissue culture container study. Didn’t check out the journal but interesttingly enough all the authors were from the University of Connecticut Health Center and included Gronowicz G

I don’t think I want to ever go to the University of Connecticut Health Center.

I did think the experimental design was impeccable. One could divide up a 2nd or 3rd year undergraduate research design class into groups and hold a contest to see which group could find the most problems. Is there anything they did not do wrong?

@ JP:

” Some kind of freakish interspecies BDSM?!”

You win the internet!

Is that Frank Zappa and Alex Harvey I can hear turning in their respective graves?

Altogether now:

Let me put my hands on you!

It’ll cure your asthma too!

This study is ridiculous, and if there’s some foundation out there who knows how to change the structure of the atom, they need to inform the Pentagon. (Today is the anniversary of the Trinity test.)

But, my friend who is the director of a palliative care unit at a hospital also hears reports of TT “working” the best. She asks her outpatients if they’re using any CAM, so she knows what they’re doing. (She doesn’t try to discourage them from it, unless it’s something harmful, because all the patients are terminal.) She also asks if the CAM is “helpful”, just out of curiosity. And, TT is reported by the patients to “work” the best.

From what I’ve seen of TT practioners on TV, they stand very close to the patient, and move their hands very close over their body. It’s a half-hour or more of concentrated attention from another human being, who is focusing solely on you, whom you know is wishing strongly for you to feel better, and who is moving their hands so closely over you that you can feel their warmth on any bare skin.

That’s why it “works” or “helps” better than swallowing a “remedy” or having thin needles stuck into you. It wouldn’t work as well if the patient was inside a plastic culture flask suspended on a ringstand.

I served on an ACC (Animal Care Committee) for several years and we would NEVER have approved something like this. Something about “prior plausibility”…

” In any case, regardless of its proclaimed ability to “transform anything and everything,” one thing it can transform is woo into science.”

Did you mean “can not” transform?

You nailed it with this article. My keyboard is drying now (learned long ago to only drink water sitting in front of a computer).

For the ethics committee, if they function like here, they don’t really judge scientific merit. For that, they rely on whether the study is funded (to them, if it’s funded, then someone decided there was scientific merit, though such a funding source would have elicited bright red flags here). Footpad tumors is another red flag that would have been required a thorough explanation of why not anywhere else. That’s sloppy work there.

Out of morbid curiosity, I looked up the reference they cite as evidence that TT can work through a tissue culture flask. It was an experiment similar to this one (L-shaped room, non-practitioner control, etc.) except that they had their TT practitioners do that voodoo that they do on cell cultures and basically just assessed everything they could think of: gene expression, DNA replication, etc. Same basic strategy as this paper: go on a fishing expedition and run a bunch of different statistical tests on every possible pairwise comparison, then ignore the fact that most of the results showed no statistically significant difference, cherry-pick the few just-barely significant results, and speculate wildly about what they “suggest.”

Also, a minor point re: how they got the mice in the flasks – although their sentence structure is a bit ambiguous it sounds like they’re saying that they made a hinged door in the flask itself (for those who don’t know, culture flasks are shaped like a flat rectangular prism with a neck, not the classic tapered “flask” shape.) I imagine you could get a mouse into the neck of a flask that big, but can you imagine trying to get it out again afterwards? As someone who does animal research, it saddens me that mice were sacrificed for this worthless piece of dreck.

From what I’ve seen of TT practioners on TV, they stand very close to the patient, and move their hands very close over their body. It’s a half-hour or more of concentrated attention from another human being, who is focusing solely on you, whom you know is wishing strongly for you to feel better, and who is moving their hands so closely over you that you can feel their warmth on any bare skin.

Maybe it’s my ethnic background (predominantly Celtic) but that would freak me the hell out. When I’m ailing, I want a comfortable place to lie down, some ginger ale and to be left in peace.

Ask anyone of junior rank who has ever pissed off a senior noncom about directly channeled energy. It’s certainly therapeutic, but not in the way Gronowicz et cie mean.

TBruce, well you see, I’m Italian. Need I say more? 🙂

Actually, it’s that the patients aren’t just ailing, they are terminally ill, so the focus and attention is more likely to be soothing and welcome.

“The mouse energy field is, after all, so much smaller and squeakier,” had me in stitches. Brilliant!

My first reaction to this: What’s up at UConn? Can medical science faculty there publish comedy-gold travesties of scientific method in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine and have that count for promotion and tenure? Curious about this “quack journal” I clicked on the link to the study…

Second reaction: Why is Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine on this NIH PubMed index? From reading here, where folks always ask for PubMed cites, I had the impression that implied some legitimacy, a passing through some filter of scientific legitimacy. There’s a header for the journal at the top of the citation page: I click on the link for “Editorial Board”…

Third reaction: I am gob-smacked that the editorial board of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine had no less than 319 members. No typo: three hundred and nineteen. The members are affiliated with institutions all over the world, including such major US universities as Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Vanderbilt, Emory, UCLA, UCSD, UC Irvine, Florida, U of Miami, Texas, Ohio State, Maryland, Minnesota and Florida State (from the U.S. News top 100), and such prestigious medical facilities as Massachusetts General and Cancer Treatment Centers of America… (I joke about the prestige in the last one, of course). Hmmm…

Fourth reaction: I see Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine comes from an outfit by the name of Hindawi Publishing. I wonder if that’s a subsidiary of
the Uranus Corporation, and consider the possibility some Philip K. Dickian reality shift has dropped me into a Cheech and Chong sketch, but the Google informs me Hindawi is a highly profitable (50% margin) publisher of pay-to-play science journals, infamous for soliciting submissions by mass spam emails. So UConn has ponied up $2250 (hopefully provided by Trivedi, rather than the general fund) to get Gronowicz et al’s paper into EBsCAM. Nice little racket Trivedi has going there with woo-cademia and the ‘open source’ publishing thing…

Thought five: The EBsCAM header declares it has an ‘Impact Factor’ of 2.18. I have no idea what that means, so I do some more Google, and eventually discover two supposedly more rigorous science journal ranking systems: Eigenfactor, which EBsCAM in the 82nd percentile; and SCImago, which has EBsCAM in ‘the first quartile’. Hmm. There are apparently over 1100 science journals in these rankings, which would mean over 900 of them are less influential — and perhaps worse — than a pay-model rag that publishes a study of how hand-waving effects cancer growth in lab mice that have stuffed into plastic flasks. I start to wonder whether Gronowicz paper could have moved up the pecking order if her team had used a control that didn’t beg the whole question of TT ‘energy fields’ — say shamki involving a lab tech mimicing the gestures of the reiki master to see any measured ‘effect’ was just due to cancerous mice being calmed by hand-waving. Oh hell, I dunno stats from my arse, but if Orac says they dumped an ‘outlier’ that sounds squeeky enough to me that I wonder what the peer-reviewers were thinking. Or do I mean drinking?

Seeks sicks 6: EBsCAM “currently has an acceptance rate of 36%”. So what do the 64% of papers they reject look like, where do they come from, and what happens to them? Having been passed-over by EBsCAM, do the authors then get them published in The Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, The Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, or The Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, all of which are in the 3rd quartile per SCImago? Wait… There’s one journal called Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and another, different one called The Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine? The later, which refers to itself as JEBCAM (and I imagine this as the great karmic unconsciousness referencing the killer-quack-friendly legislation shepherded into law under the former governor of Florida) is published by Sage, and must be lame since it only has 32 members on its editorial board… One of whom is Edzard Ernst!?

Summation: At this point my head is so filled with WTF about ‘scholarship in medical science’, I don’t know what to say – except maybe anybody who lives in this glass house would have a lot of damn gall throwing bricks at Social Text… 😉

Q: What’s the scientific term for the application of Therapeutic Touch to mice?

A: Squeeky reiki.

For the ethics committee, if they function like here, they don’t really judge scientific merit. For that, they rely on whether the study is funded

I can’t speak for Canada, but in the US, the IRB is supposed to review any proposed research (even before it is sent to potential funding agencies) that involves human or animal subjects (there are other things, like historical artifacts, that trigger an IRB review, but they aren’t relevant to this discussion). So the IRB should have seen the proposal even before it was sent to the foundation in question. That means that either the IRB didn’t care, or the proposers did not include the protocol in their proposal. There may be cases where a protocol is designed or revised after proposal submission, but the PI needs to have a very good reason for doing so, and the IRB is still supposed to approve it–meaning that either (again) the IRB didn’t care, or they were deliberately bypassed. So there was a major lapse here, either on the IRB’s part or on the PI’s.

And then there’s the issue of this foundation. The UConn Office of Sponsored Research (or whatever they call it) probably doesn’t care as long as the checks don’t bounce, but something tells me that this may not have been a competitive proposal.

Actually, it’s that the patients aren’t just ailing, they are terminally ill, so the focus and attention is more likely to be soothing and welcome.

Wouldn’t giving them a golden retriever accomplish the same thing?

The EBsCAM header declares it has an ‘Impact Factor’ of 2.18….EBsCAM “currently has an acceptance rate of 36%”.

The journal in question may be trying to game their impact factor stats. Obviously higher impact factors are better (at least when comparing journals within a field), but one way to boost your impact factor is by focusing on “sexy” papers and rejecting papers that are obviously unlikely to be cited. (Nature and Science are among the journals alleged to be playing this game.) Not coincidentally, this procedure also boosts your rejection rate, which is another way to make your journal seem better than it is. In addition, some journals (again, Nature and Science are among them) include news focus stories, which boost the numerator (more cites) of the impact factor without boosting the denominator (these stories aren’t counted as articles). Given Hindawi’s dodgy reputation, it seems at least plausible that they are playing these sorts of games.

In my field, an impact factor of 2.18 would be typical of a decent second-tier journal. But that’s not necessarily true in biomedical fields; I suspect impact factors in my field are lower than most other science fields, but in some humanities fields that would be a rather high impact factor.

@shay #25:

Wouldn’t giving them a golden retriever accomplish the same thing?

Shh! I’m holding out for my very own dragon on the NHS.

I should think goldens would be easier on the housekeeping staff.

(sadmar — squeaky reiki. Oy).

Wouldn’t giving them a golden retriever accomplish the same thing?

When my soon-to-be youngest finally got out of the hospital/re-hab center, it took several weeks before she figured out every dog she saw wasn’t a therapy dog put there just to cheer her up.

How did they get an IRB for tihs? The size of the flask they put two mice in was noted as “18 cm × 11.5 cm × 4 cm).” For us Americans that is about: 7′ high, a bit over 4″ wide, and 1.5′ thick.

Since my kids did go through a rodent pet stage which included one mouse I am familiar on how much room they like to have. Even though the mouse was small, it did like to move around. Well, until it died. Then I told them no more rodents and gave the habitats to daughter’s first grade teacher.

Was there no oversight on the treatment of the animals at that university?

my soon-to-be youngest

Oh G-d, does this mean what it seems like it means?

Previous studies from our laboratory had shown that tissue culture plastic did not impede human biofield treatments [36]

I wanted to see what other materials they’d tested, to have some confidence in this claim about tissue culture plastic. Also, the nature of the materials which did and did not impede the treatment would tell us something about the nature of this putative energy field. For example, if they failed to detect any effect through a barrier made of ten-inch thick stainless steel, coated with an inch of beryllium and backed by three feet of lead, we could pretty much discount highly-energetic free neutrons, couldn’t we? (I’m sure that would come as a comfort to the mice.) At the other end of the mice-containing spectrum, a thin sheet of paper is going to block most alpha particles but not a great deal else.

But it seems the study wasn’t actually a study of materials at all. It was simply another claim that TT worked, poorly supported by evidence at that. Gronowicz completely mis-characterises the study and draws a flawed conclusion, which gives us a valuable insight into her woo-soaked way of thinking. Not that we really needed another line into that.

Shay, my cancer center brought in golden retrievers 8 years ago–and look, I’m still alive! Actually, the wife of a partner needed to speak to him, and it was too hot to leave the dogs in the car. I’m sure it was the goldens, not the chemotherapy because dogs are all natural.
I wonder if Blue Heelers are better healers?

Tissue culture flasks are usually made of polystyrene, which is a long way from fur on a triboelectric series chart. I can imagine tiny and unpleasant little lightning bolts following the mousies around inside the flasks.

but that would freak me the hell out.

It wouldn’t freak me out, but I’d last about three minutes before I started trying to rip the “therapist’s” arms out of their sockets. Give me the golden retriever or some mouseses.

As for ethics, I don’t have a great deal of confidence in any reviewing agency. The AVMA, for instance, supports suffocating chickens with fire fighting foam if it is expedient.

It means the adoption hasn’t been finalized, and rght now I’m still her foster dad.

Sorry for any confusion…

It means the adoption hasn’t been finalized, and rght now I’m still her foster dad.

Oh, good. Thinking about it a little bit more, I realized that probably an unhappier meaning would not be so casually construed. At least by normal people, anyway, I talk about seriously awful things in a casual manner all the time.

@ doug #6
At my last employer, the student video editing lab I built / maintained / all-but-lived-in was in a relatively new ‘Science’ building, surrounded by Physics and Astrophysics labs. At one point we got a new, bigger Panasonic monitor for our dubbing/playback cart. I plugged it in, turned it on, before firing up the video source connected to the input — and a kind of psychedelic splotchy color pattern appeared on the otherwise black screen.of the CRT. While wondering if the monitor was defective, I wheeled the cart to a different position in the room — and the pattern changed as the monitor moved through space. I unplugged it, took it down the elevator to the first floor lobby, and tried it there. No color pattern. Back in the lab, I played with all the other electrical things in the room — the computer systems, video gear, both the fluorescent and incandescent-on-dimmers overhead lights. None of them were the source of – or had any effect on – whatever EMR/RFI was being picked up by the circuits in the monitor. I showed the phenomenon to the Computer Science prof whose student lab was in the other half of the room, and he was as puzzled as I was. We observed some more. The elevator machinery for the building was across the hall, and had some big electric motors and and associated control systems, but operation of the elevator had no effect on the pattern either. We wondered if there could be something in adjacent science lab, but we got a look see, and no, no suspects there and besides there was a good sized storage space in between with nothing plugged in. Eventually, we just shrugged and went back to work…

Per Denice @ #9, we might grant Gronowicz et al understand the ‘bio-energy field’ of living creatures as something other than EMR, but the fact they ‘tested’ the plastic for potential blockage of this ‘energy’ means they have to considered it could be affected by the physical properties of the ‘research’ environment – none of the others of which they bothered to catalog, test, control for, yada yada yada.

So, forget Gronowicz, and mull over a peer review process that fails to meet the intellectual standards of Rufus T. Firefly:

Why, a 2nd year undergraduate could understand what’s wrong with this research design! Run out and find me a 2nd year undergraduate; I can’t make head or tail of it.

And here’s a link to the Uranus Corporation (just 1:18, I think y’all will appreciate it):
https://youtu.be/008BPUdQ1XA
“At Uranus, things come out a little differently.”

@Chris #30

I thought the small container suspended in mid air was only for the hand waving part.

I assumed they were in standard research rodent cages when they weren’t being pestered.

#32

Doesn’t look like other materials were tested, that article is on cells in culture dishes so not sure it even applies to intact critters.

CRT monitors are subject to magnetic fields because the electron beam is magnetically “deflected” (scanned). Residual magnetism in steel parts around the tube can cause strange patterns, which is why CRT monitors generally include a degaussing coil to demagnetize the bits each time the monitor is turned on. In severe cases, manual degaussing with an external coil is required. Of course with the near total demise of CRTs, this is no longer an issue.

It is great sport (for the twisted and depraved) to hold a strong permanent magnet up to the face of a color TV CRT while the uninitiated are watching.

CRT monitors are one of the things that have been identified as noxious to some animals. Conventional television monitors had a horizontal scan rate of about 16 kHz. A combination of magnetostriction in certain materials and coils of wire where strands could move microscopically in response to magnetic fields could make the things audibly quite loud at 16 kHz. Computer CRTs suffered the same problems, but the scan rate was usually higher, so fewer animals could hear it. The power supplies used in almost all modern electronic equipment similarly emit high frequency “audio” noise, though again the more modern types operate at frequencies that are ultrasonic even to meeces. Electronic “ballasts” for fluorescent lights can emit frequencies audible to small critters. Then there’s high frequency noise from fan blades.

The elevator machinery for the building was across the hall, and had some big electric motors and and associated control systems, but operation of the elevator had no effect on the pattern either.

Several years ago we noticed a tendency for our office’s electronically-controlled security door to lock and unlock by itself, on about a 90 second cycle.

Strict scientific observation* gave rise to a hypothesised sharp sonic connection with the elevator 25 feet away. Further analysis determined that the elevator wasn’t going anywhere, and the conclusion was reached that there was some effin’ scary sparking action going on with the elevator motors. A suitably qualified elevator technician was called to investigate the problem. We should also have got someone out to investigate why the security door was so crap, but we got bored.

* Preceded by large amounts of joking and bullshitting.

@doug #40:

A combination of magnetostriction in certain materials and coils of wire where strands could move microscopically in response to magnetic fields could make the things audibly quite loud at 16 kHz.

My first introduction to a computer system more complex than a ZX Spectrum was in September 1983, when I got to play with a Pr1me minicomputer. Its boards were housed in an open-sided wardrobe-sized cabinet (for adequate ventilation, naturally), and they ran so slow (by today’s standards) that they sang to you.

There were stories that people had written CPU/RAM-intensive software to exploit this effect, with varying degrees of success. The Holy Grail was generally acknowledged to be a rendition of Delia Derbyshire’s original 1963 Doctor Who theme tune.

“the role of prayer or religion are not involved in the interpretation of results”

Oh God, please let this mouse’s tumors support my hypothesis…

“Was there no oversight on the treatment of the animals at that university?”

C’mon, Chris! Did you miss the part where they provided BEDDING for the two mice in each 7x4x1.5″ flask? It’s not like these people are monsters or anything. They gave Mickey and Minnie pillows to rest those 330 cubic-mm footpad tumors they gave them. That’s less than 7mm per side and mouse feet are… Well, like you said, the mice were just going to move around a little before they died anyway. Or, in the wild, they’d just make a nuisance of themselves chewing through walls and stuff before some cat comes along, boxes their little brains to jelly, and drops them on the living room carpet as a present to its human before heading off to much down some kibble. It’s a better life for us and them if they spend their days in a cozy cushioned home before being humanely euthanized, especially since they’re helping us cure cancer, transform the very nature of the atom, and whatnot. Just think, if there were enough Trivedi Masters™, they could create pest resistant crops without resorting to glysophate or GMOs, and it would be safe because the Trivedi Effect® is a Natural transformation harnessed from the Intelligence of the Universe!

Hmm…

OK, Chris. Jig’s up. I’m onto you. I hope Monsanto’s paying you well for your faux animal-rights shill act, and you sleep well knowing your blocking the energy transmissions Mahenda Trivedi is trying to use to serve a greater purpose for the welfare of humanity.
[/sarcasm]

Actually, I suspect Gronowicz measured at least one other effect of TT on mouse biology, and is hiding her findings: the Trivedi Effect® functions very nicely to transform mouse droppings into cash…

@ TBruce:

Although I’m not Celtic I would be freaked out nonetheless.

Ever see video of those churches/ prayer meetings wherein they heal someone complete with laying-on-of-hands ?

Actually I have mixed feelings about touching in general.
It can be good. BUT some people go overboard- kiss everyone in the room hello even if they have just met them.
Have to touch people if they talk to them.

I can see how you would get mice *into* a T-flask; they like small spaces so they’d probably go pretty willingly through the neck. But there is no way in heck you could get them back *out* of a T-flask without some kind of door.

Eric Lund: You keep saying IRB. For animal studies it’s an IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee).

Which reminds me of a joke.
What happens when you cross a hamster and an octopus?
A visit from your IACUC and the termination of your grant.

JP saith:

“I talk about seriously awful things in a casual manner all the time”

BUT then, she studied Russian lit I imagine,

Doug @40: It’s not just CRTs. One facility I knew had to get all their fancy motion-activated lights removed because the sonic sweep of the motion detector was so upsetting to the mice that the entire facility stopped breeding.

“When my soon-to-be youngest finally got out of the hospital/re-hab center, it took several weeks before she figured out every dog she saw wasn’t a therapy dog put there just to cheer her up.”

I firmly believe that every dog on earth is a therapy dog put here just to cheer me up*. Well, maybe not the purse-dogs.

I would laugh, but I’m just depressed for the poor mice. Jamming them in a TC flask and giving them massive tumors in order to bolster your own personal bullshit. Horrid.

Although I should note that they don’t seem to have been crammed through that narrow neck: “with bedding by a technician through a premade hinged door.” Sounds like they built a little door into the flask. Tiny mercies.

(*They seem to firmly believe I am here just to be licked and to feed them.)

I missed the part about the hinged door when reading the methods. Brain fart from blogging after midnight…

At that point, I don’t see why letting them stay in their plastic cages while they get hands waved at them wouldn’t be just as scientifically valid. For the very lax interpretation of the word that allows this study, of course.

Conventional television monitors had a horizontal scan rate of about 16 kHz. A combination of magnetostriction in certain materials and coils of wire where strands could move microscopically in response to magnetic fields could make the things audibly quite loud at 16 kHz.

More simply, a loose flyback transformer will do the same thing.

As I can be quite sarcastic, my first thought was’Can the flasks block long distance reiki?’ How do we know that someone was not send long distance reiki therapy to the test mice? I would think that there must be occational error when sending long distance reiki healing. What if some one is California is trying to heal someone in Boston, but missed and healed the mice instead. If I am going to believe these results, they will need to prove that the flasks are reiki proof.
http://reikidistancehealing.org/qanda.php#Q5

[email protected]
You make a great point. We really need more research into blocking long distance reiki so we can reexamine how it confounds other studies. Maybe it’s not chemotherapy but rather interference from long distance reiki. Maybe vaccines do cause autism but studies show otherwise because the authors failed to control for reiki.

More simply, a loose flyback transformer will do the same thing.

Twenty-five years ago, I spent some time working at a place that still used IBM 3270-series terminals. During the first training class there, the demonstration model we were being shown how to use was one that had been pulled off of actual usage because of its tendency to overheat and shut down.

Every time it shut down, four people of the forty or so in the room (including me, but not including any of the instructors) would quite visibly cringe from the loud and extremely high-pitched squeal the machine would put out. It took an annoying amount of effort to convince some of those people that yes, the broken terminal actually was making a lot of noise.

KM #38:
The reikied mice and the lab-guy-just-stands-there ‘control’ group were put in the flasks for 10 minutes, twice a week. There’s no mention of where they were “housed’ the other 10,060 minutes of the week, what sorts and degrees of human contact they may have had during that time, whether they were alone or shared space with other mice in the study, what the physical nature of the space surrounding the mouse housing may have been, or whether all these things were identical for each mouse in the study. Not that any such factors could POSSIBLY have anything to do with whatever they measured, compared to 20 minutes of hand-wavnd waving.

Speaking of things Gronowicz et al don’t bother to tell us, that includes how many TT practitioners were employed in the sample, what criteria were used to select them, how the authenticity and representativeness of their TT therapy was verified… But the number of practitioners appears to have been “two”. We’re told nothing about any other ways these two make have been like or different from each other, or from other self-proclaimed TT practioners, or from the “non-TT person standing next to the flask” of the ‘control’ group – the language is also ambiguous as to whether this was the same individual in person in all sessions, or who-knows-how-many different folks. If there were only one or two ‘non-TT persons’ used, that’s a small sample, and wouldn’t rule out a hypothesis that a significant percentage of human beings project energy fields that affect metatasis of foot cancer in BALB/c mice whether they wave their hands or not, but just aren’t aware of having that ‘gift’. And why didn’t Gronowicz control for ‘non-TT’ by having the TT practitoners just stand next to the flasks w/o doing the hand thing? Or rather, why didn’t the peer reviewers find any of this worrisome?

What’s on display here is the sort of reductionism of human characteristics, expression and behavior that is endemic in the so-called ‘social sciences’. The ‘researcher’ makes-up some abstract binary category distinction, and treats it like a self-evident natural phenomenon with utterly unified and identical states of ‘present/absent’. In this case, you’re a TT practitioner if you say you area, all TT practitioners and every one of their their methods, and yea, every individual session of application are interchangeable. And everyone on Earth who does not claim to be a TT practitioner isn’t one, and all of them – and anything any of them may do while standing bored, sympathetic, or in gleeful scopophilic sadism next to a pair of mice trapped in a tiny flask – are likewise functionally the same and interchangeable. Even if you’re loopy enough to think hand-waving can direct a human energy field to re-orient the energy field of a mouse yielding some bio-physical change, that reductionism ought to stop you dead in your tracks…

The WTF of the premises just assumed here knows no end. If a TT-practioner’s energy field interacts with a patient’s energy field, how on Earth do you posit that has a bio-physical effect on the patient, but results in no change to the practitioner? Maybe I should apply for a grant to study the physiological change in newly minted reiki masters by euthanizing one subject group before they treat any patients, and another after each gives 40 treatments to the same patient with non-sbm-treatable physiology-based chronic pain, and then comparing thorough autopsy results…

There is an iPhone app, Sound Grenade, that emits a very high pitched squeal after, say, 3 minuets or so. That’s just long enough to walk over to a young cow-orker who can still hear sounds that high (too many years of lead slinging and rock & roll narrowed my hearing), and bust a gut trying to not laugh as he slaps his CRT trying to fix the loose flyback transformer.

Ahhh, the days of cubical warfare…

Gak. CRT monitors. I could watch the screen flicker at 75 Hz. Yes, it is headache inducing in addition to making your co-workers think you’re crazy.

@shay #25 from Mr Woo: Yes!

@ MI Dawn #2 – Thank you – I think moving, the stress of this type of move and all the complications of it, have hit me kind of hard. Teenagers and their angst on top of it isn’t making it much easier. Moving somewhere would be easier than moving into incompleteness. We’re barely getting places together to keep the animals contained, and planning to find a camper or something until the house is finished for us, so everything goes to plastic containers with silica gel in the barn and we cross our fingers while my century farmer husband considers it a pioneering adventure. Thank you so much for the warm empathy across the interwebs…

Ahhh, the days of cubical warfare…

Until two years ago, when I had to move, I was keeping alive a 1977 RCA XL-100 ColorTrak. The one with the “space-age” rocker-switch remote (which I had long since lost, which is just as well, given that it had a habit of randomly turning on the set at full blast).

If I still had a scope, I could have put the service manual to better use, but there was a lot of swapping in and out of modules that needed trivial rebuilding because I wasn’t that dedicated.

But I digress. Yah, that flyback occasionally needed whacking a gentle suggestion to reseat itself.

Huh; so there is something to whacking a TV. My dad used to “fix” ours that way, and I seem to remember it working, but I wasn’t sure if it was a real thing or not.

On occasion, when streaming video is choppy or slow on my laptop, I get an urge to smack it, but I know it will not help.

#23 sadmar

For info on Hindawi Publishing Corporation google Beale’s list and Hindawi Publishing Corporation in the search box. It is a very profitable publishing organization. FYI getting on Beale’s list is not a good thing.

It is very likely most members of the editorial board have no idea they are on it. http://deevybee.blogspot.com/2015/02/journals-without-editors-what-is-going.html

I have heard of cases where some authors didn’t even know that they had written such and such paper.

Why did the Med Center’s IRB even allow this waste of mice?

If you are going to test a drug, you first have to show that there IS a drug. I’d make them demonstrate this “TT Field” before they could proceed. Then they could try their TT on cancer cell cultures and show me they could affect cells.

Then, with ROBUST and REPRODUCIBLE results from those, they might get a mouse.

I’m sickened by Orac’s photo showing a one eyed mouse cradled in a natural rubber latex glove. ;-(

Is there no decency for mice in medical research?

In continuation to # 65,

If the scientists used natural rubber latex gloves during the experiment how did the “energy medicine” pass through the rubber gloves and into the mouse?

Natural rubber is a material with large ρ and small σ, even a very large electric field in rubber makes almost no current flow through it.

What really steams me about this article is that some anti-animal testing group or person could point to this study as a proof of the wastefulness and negligence of animal testing….. and they’d be right.

The IRB that approved this nonsense should be removed. I work with people that don’t want to work with vertebrates any more (frogs and fish, mostly) because the paperwork is too onerous, and these people got mice to torture with their magic?

Argh. I have no words.

Either the MJD above is a Poe, or MJD has gone completely off the deep end…..

@ Lawrence #67,

Even when I agree with Orac you needle me…

Furthermore, when he uses photo’s showing natural rubber latex gloves I can’t resist the urge to comment.

Congratulations on SB-277 in that your a persistent and persuasive pro-vaxxer.

MJB, how do you know they are latex gloves? They look just like the nitrile gloves in our pantry. Daughter uses them when she cleans the litter box, and if I remember I use them to chop hot peppers.

@ Chris #69,

If you look closely at the photo the mouse’s left paw is elevated, an indication of latex sensitivity.

Furthermore, if the scientists ran such an experiment as Orac described they also foolishly used natural rubber latex gloves (See #65).

I’m glad your using nitrile gloves Chris!

I wonder if Blue Heelers are better healers?

Almost certainly, Heelers would round up all those pesky little cancer cells and shunt them off into a corner of the yard.

Golden retrievers just run around with their tongues hanging out, going “Look at me”.

@ MJD

If you look closely at the photo the mouse’s left paw is elevated, an indication of latex sensitivity.

You are kidding, right?
You must be, or you seriously need help. I am not joking.

The gloves could be latex, but a quadruped rodent having an elevated front paw is only an indication of curiosity (of the “should I get closer or should I run away” type).
Heck, dogs and cats often take a similar position when investigating something new.

Oh, and the mouse is “one-eyed” because its left eye is on its head’s left side, and thus hidden by the way the picture was framed. Rodents’ eyes are more far apart than those of hairless monkeys.

Oh, and the mouse is “one-eyed” because its left eye is on its head’s left side, and thus hidden by the way the picture was framed.

Come on. How do you know that this mouse doesn’t have part of its head missing? Heh? Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it is there.

Indeed, this might be a 3-eyed mouse.

@ ChrisP

Come on. How do you know that this mouse doesn’t have part of its head missing?

Reminds me of a (real-life) exchange between a lawyer and the medical coroner at some trial. It went something like this:

“So, doctor, what was the status of Mr Smith when you started examining him?”
“I had his corpse in the morgue and his brain in a jar on my desk.”
“Were you sure Mr Smith was dead?”
“Well, no,, he could have been walking around and pretending to be a lawyer.”

@ Sadmar

If a TT-practioner’s energy field interacts with a patient’s energy field, how on Earth do you posit that has a bio-physical effect on the patient, but results in no change to the practitioner?

Apparently you need intent to trigger the effect. OTOH, apparently you can spread the good juices around you without even noticing.
What happens if the customer is resentful of the energy healer? (by example, he suspects the healer and his wife strongly intertwined their biofields?)

There is also the question of the morphic field’s elastic resonance. Once you modify someone’s biofield, how long until the morphic field snaps back to its usual shape, out of sheer habit?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: