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Helene Langevin is named NCCIH director. Let the quackery flow again!

Helene Langevin has been named the new director of the National Center for Complemenary and Integrative Health. Given her history of dodgy acupuncture research, my prediction is that the quackery will flow again at NCCIH, the way it did in the 1990s when Tom Harkin zealously protected it from any attempt to impose scientific rigor on it.

I learned yesterday that Dr. Helene Langevin has been named to be the new director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Regular readers know that I don’t much like the NCCIH, formerly known as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The reason is simple. Basically, “integrative medicine” or “integrative health” or whatever you want to call it is nothing more than a strategy for mainstreaming quackery by combining it with science-based medicine. When this happens in academic medical centers, I like to call it quackademic medicine. Of course, the vast majority of the “alternative medicine” that “integrative medicine” purports to integrate with real medicine and that quackademic medicine investigates has either not been proven scientifically to be efficacious and safe, has proven not to be efficacious, or is based on physical principles that violate well-established laws of physics (such as homeopathy or “energy healing). Indeed, if the term “integrative medicine” were not thus, it would be a completely unnecessary moniker.

To paraphrase Tim Minchin, Richard Dawkins, John Diamond, Dara Ó Briain, and any number of skeptics, there is no such thing as “alternative” medicine because “alternative” medicine that is shown through science to work becomes simply medicine. Thus, newly validated medical treatments have no need to be called “integrative” because medicine will “integrate” them just fine on its own. That’s what medicine does, although admittedly the process is often messier and takes longer than we would like. Integrative medicine, like alternative medicine before it, is a marketing term that is based on a false dichotomy. Only unproven or disproven medicine needs the crutch of being “integrative,” a double standard that asks us to “integrate” unproven treatments as co-equal with science-based medicine even though they have not earned that status. So when I see that a new NCCIH director has been named, my question is: Will this director make NCCIH more or less scientific than it already is. Given that this new director is Dr. Helene Langevin, my prediction is that we’re going to be heading back to the salad days of quackery that NCCAM used to engage in back in the 1990s.

A brief recent history of NCCIH: Dr. Josephine Briggs

To understand why, let’s step back a few years to the director before Helene Langevin was named. I’m referring, of course, to Josephine Briggs. Dr. Briggs was a nephrologist with impeccable scientific credentials, which is probably why CAM advocates like our old friend John Weeks were appalled by her appointment. At the time of her appointment, her history was described thusly in an announcement:

Dr. Briggs received her A.B. cum laude in biology from Harvard-Radcliffe College and her M.D. from Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency training in internal medicine and nephrology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, followed by a research fellowship in physiology at Yale School of Medicine. She was a professor of internal medicine and physiology at the University of Michigan from 1993 to 1997. From 1997 to 2006 she was director of the Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. For the last year and a half she has been senior scientific officer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Dr. Briggs has published more than 125 research articles and is on the editorial boards of numerous journals. She is an elected member of the American Association of Physicians and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is also a recipient of the Volhard Prize of the German Nephrological Society. Her research interests include the renin-angiotensin system, diabetic nephropathy and the effect of antioxidants in kidney disease.

As you can see, when she was appointed as director of then-NCCAM, Dr. Briggs was an interesting and odd choice. She had no background in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) or “integrative medicine” and, as far as I can tell, had not used CAM in her practice or done any research into it. I suspect that, at the time, she was intended as a director to bring scientific rigor to NCCAM, although I also wondered how she could have met with the approval of the National Advisory Council for NCCAM, the committee that oversaw it and to whom any NCCAM director had to report. The reason is that the Council by charter has to include as half of its voting members, practitioners “licensed in one or more of the major systems with which the Center is involved”; i.e., they must be acupuncturists, naturopaths, and other practitioners of alternative medicine. Two-thirds must be “selected from among the leading representatives of the health and scientific disciplines (including not less than 2 individuals who are leaders in the fields of public health and the behavioral or social sciences) relevant to the activities of the NCCIH.” In other words, the Council is overwhelmingly made up of true believers. This was by design when Senator Tom Harkin was crafting the legislation that guided the creation of NCCAM, in order to prevent too much scientific rigor. Remember, the original purpose of NCCAM was to prove that quackery worked, not to produce negative studies. Indeed, nine years ago, when that’s pretty much all that NCCAM had produced, Sen. Harkin admonished Dr. Briggs by saying:

One of the purposes of this center was to investigate and validate alternative approaches. Quite frankly, I must say publicly that it has fallen short. It think quite frankly that in this center and in the office previously before it, most of its focus has been on disproving things rather than seeking out and approving.

Note what Harkin said first here. He didn’t say that the purpose of NCCAM was to investigate alternative approaches and determine if they work or not. Rather, he said that the purpose of NCCAM was to investigate and validate alternative approaches.

I had my disagreements with Dr. Briggs over the years. Mainly, these derived from my view that what NCCAM was trying to research consisted of pseudoscience and quackery and that the interventions that it was studying that weren’t pseudoscience and quackery were well within the realm of science-based medicine. It’s what I refer to as the “rebranding” of modalities like diet, exercise, and lifestyle as being somehow “alternative.” Even so, I gave Dr. Briggs some credit because I thought she was in an impossible situation. She was a real scientist trying to impose scientific rigor on an enterprise that was inherently resistant to such an imposition.

You could see her efforts to try to impose scientific in the two five year strategic plans she produced. For example, I referred to the 2011-2015 plan, “Let’s do some real science for a change.” And that was basically accurate. You could see from her second five year strategic plan, from 2016-2021, which I dubbed “Meet the new NCCIH five year strategic plan, same as the old NCCAM five year strategic plan.” On the other hand, that plan made explicit one of the most harmful tactics of quacks to legitimize their quackery under the banner of “integrative medicine,” the co-opting of the opioid crisis as an excuse to claim all nonpharmacological treatments for pain as being “integrative.” The results are threatening great harm to chronic pain patients by misguided governments wanting to force them to undergo quack treatments like acupuncture as a means of getting them off opioids.

Which brings us to Helene Langevin.

Helene Langevin: True quackademic believer

Helene Langevin has been mentioned in the digital pages of this very blog on a number of occasions. Why? Simple. She’s all-in when it comes to “integrative medicine” and totally believes in the theatrical placebo known as acupuncture. Most of her career has been in integrative medicine, and she’s done some howlingly bad studies. First, let’s see what the NCCIH says about her:

Dr. Langevin comes to NIH from the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, jointly based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. She has served as director of the Osher Center and professor-in-residence of medicine at Harvard Medical School since 2012. She has also served as a visiting professor of neurological sciences at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, Burlington.

As the principal investigator of several NIH-funded studies, Dr. Langevin’s research interests have centered around the role of connective tissue in low back pain and the mechanisms of acupuncture, manual, and movement-based therapies. Her more recent work has focused on the effects of stretching on inflammation resolution mechanisms within connective tissue.

Note the part about the role of connective tissue in the mechanisms of acupuncture. Indeed, the first time I ever took note of Helene Langevin, she was at the University of Vermont and she was measuring the electrical impedance of acupuncture meridians and trying to relate them to connective tissue. As I asked at the time while analyzing this steaming turd of a study, did Dr. Langevin actually find a physiological basis for acupuncture points, or was she measuring how much money the Tooth Fairy leaves behind? Did she find an objective way to demonstrate that there is an anatomic difference between the tissue under meridians and the tissue elsewhere that could produce a plausible biological mechanism by which acupuncture “works”? Or was she simply measuring which sorts of teeth bring a larger haul of cash from the Tooth Fairy? I think you know the answer to that one, even without reading the study. It was really, really bad. Basically, she tried to map acupuncture meridians on cadavers and failed.

She also wrote a truly horrendous defense of acupuncture for the Harvard Health Blog, specifically a defense of acupuncture for headache. It basically bought into every trope about acupuncture, including buying into acupuncture as a potential solution to the opioid crisis and characterizing acupuncture as an “ancient practice with a theoretical foundation incompletely understood by modern science.”

So, basically, Langevin’s whole thing is connective tissue. She believes that the stretching of connective tissue is how a number of CAM modalities “work,” such as chiropractic, massage, and, of course, acupuncture. Of course, it’s not entirely unreasonable to think that connective tissue has something to do with massage therapy and even chiropractic. Of course, the problem with chiropractic is not so much the manual manipulation of the spine (with the exception of cervical manipulation, which is potentially dangerous) and muscles, along with connective tissue. It’s that the whole rationale for acupuncture is vitalistic at its core and based on pseudoscience. It’s also that acupuncturists claim to be able to do far more than you could reasonably expect manipulation to do, such as treat allergies and all manner of diseases, as well as even prevent diseases like the flu. (No, really. I kid you not.) That’s why I like to say that chiropractors are middling to incompetent physical therapists with delusions of grandeur.

On Dr. Langevin’s website at the Osher Center, we see this:

Imagine a body that is totally coordinated, strong and flexible, healing quickly when injured and able to fight off infections and cancer cells. This would be a body with healthy connective tissue. The goal of the Osher Center Connective Tissue Lab is to learn how to keep connective tissue flexible and free from pain, slow down aging and increase the health of the whole body.

We believe that many of the seemingly unsolvable riddles of medicine (why do some injuries heal while others result in chronic pain? how does the body defend itself against cancer?) are due to the fact that their answers involve connective tissue, which medicine so far has mostly neglected.

One of the limitations of conventional medicine is its fragmentation of the body into separate systems and body parts. Connective tissue is a body-wide network that connects all the systems and parts of the body together, and therefore is important for the integrated functioning the whole body.

I can’t help but think this reminds me of the whole “discovery” of the “interstitium” based on a dubious study that made the news a while back. Let’s just put it this way: Deepak Chopra liked that study, thinking the interstitium validated a whole lot of woo. I get the same vibe from Langevin’s work.

To see what I mean, take a look at her work on acupuncture by checking out this interview in which she talks about her research:

Notice that Langevin has been studying acupuncture ever since at least the 1990s, when she came up with the idea that somehow the needle interacting with the connective tissue is how acupuncture “works.” Of course, nowhere in her “research” have I been able to see anything resembling a coherent or even suggestive mechanism as to how connective tissue could modulate the “activity” of acupuncture. Also, to her it’s not just the needles, but the twirling of the needles is so important to do…something. Somehow this minute stretching of the tissue is enough to explain acupuncture’s miraculous “effects.” It’s not quite clear. She also seems unduly impressed by ultrasound findings in patients with chronic low back pain suggesting more thickened tissue, as though chronic inflammation might be going on. Ya think? What could sticking little needles into the body do for this? It doesn’t even make sense.

She also regurgitates her previous work in cadavers and human subjects in which she claims that acupuncture meridians correspond to areas where two muscles come together. And guess what? That’s where connective tissue is and the likelihood of getting deeper into connective tissue is higher. As a surgeon, I laughed out loud when I heard that part. Let’s just put it this way. I can jam a needle as deep into a body as I want pretty much anywhere other than where it hits bone, no need to go into grooves between muscles necessary, and there’s a lot of connective tissue within muscles as well, for instance, around the fascicles. (Seriously, Dr. Langevin, look up epimysium, perimysium, and endomysium.) I can’t help but mention at this point that a lot of acupuncture meridians run pretty close to the courses of major nerves as well. Why isn’t she studying that?

Of late, Dr. Langevin has been looking at connective tissue in cancer. To me, this is about the only area where she is doing research that might be of value for anything other than as a justification and to produce a made up “mechanism” for woo. For instance, this year she published a study suggesting that gentle stretching could decrease the rate of breast cancer xenograft growth in a mouse model, but it’s just one study and one as to wonder if there’s a confounder she’s missing. For one thing, other than for the caliper measurements of the tumors, none of the scientists doing the experiments were blinded to experimental group, and I’m not entirely sure that the treatment of the two groups was adequately matched other than the gentle stretching. Whatever the case, such a finding could be consistent with findings that exercise is associated with improved cancer survival, but it says pretty much nothing about acupuncture.

Is the tide shifting towards more quackery at NCCIH?

Delving back into the history of NCCAM/NCCIH, I note that there have been a few constants. The scientific community never wanted this Center, nor did the scientific leadership of the NIH ever ask for it. It was foisted upon NIH by a woo-loving senator who thought that bee pollen cured his allergies, along with his allies and a bunch of quacks who supported him. As a result, from its very formation, NCCAM/NCCIH has been riven by constant war between those who are true believers and, like Sen. Harkin, want to “validate” quackery and those who wanted to impose serious scientific rigor. It’s a battle that goes back to before NCCIH was NCCIH or even NCCAM was NCCAM, all the way back to when all that existed was a precursor organization known as the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM). Indeed, the very first director of OAM, Joseph M. Jacobs (who, by the way, was very open to the concept of alternative medicine) almost immediately ran afoul of Sen. Harkin by insisting on rigorous methodology to study alternative medicine. Ultimately Jacobs resigned under pressure from Harkin and the “Harkinites” on the OAM advisory panel.

Oddly enough, since the late 1990s, the side of science has more or less been at least able to hold its own. Dr. Stephen Strauss was the director of NCCAM from 1999 until 2006, and he fought the same battles. Then Dr. Briggs was director from 2008 until last year, when she retired, and she actually went quite far in eliminating the worst quackery from NCCAM. Gone were studies of homeopathy, and she pledged to fight antivaccine nonsense promoted by so much CAM. Her two strategic plans tried to lay the groundwork for real science. Of course, as a result, the modalities that the real supporters of NCCAM/NCCIH like, the actual quackery, were deemphasized to the point where most NCCIH studies were of nutrition, exercise, pharmacognosy (natural products pharmacology, but in this case primarily of things like herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine) and other modalities that are within the realm of science-based medicine. Sure, there was mindfulness, which might or might not end up being science-based, and acupuncture never really went away, but a lot of the worst quackery (like energy healing) was relegated to the fringes, if not eliminated. That’s because Drs. Strauss and Briggs, whatever their faults (such as ambition leading them to accept the assignment of running an inherently pseudoscientific and unnecessary Center) had backgrounds as real scientists. Also, aside from their efforts to be more scientific, they failed badly in not stopping NCCIH’s cheerleading for pseudoscience through funding credulous “education” about CAM. Even worse, Dr. Briggs glommed onto the whole propaganda effort by CAM practitioners to claim nonpharmacologic treatments for pain as “CAM” or “integrative” and to include acupuncture and other quackery with that. This campaign is starting to lead to horrible policy.

Helene Langevin, on the other hand, is clearly a true believer in acupuncture and any treatment modality involving with manual manipulation of muscle and tissue. Whatever her background as a real scientist might have been it’s now distant, with her having been steeped in acupuncture woo for at least 25 years if not longer. She is a quackademic in every sense of the word. That’s why I think the balance of power at NCCIH is about to shift back more towards pseudoscience and quackery than it’s been since the late 1990s. Worse, Dr. Langevin will have the largest budget ever at NCCIH to fund that shift.

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]

55 replies on “Helene Langevin is named NCCIH director. Let the quackery flow again!”

If you pay people to find that two plus two equals five, you will have the demonstration you need. Some of these mathematicians will be here only for the money, but, even worse, some of them will be true believers.
Unfortunately, this is not specific to quackademic medicine.

There’s still so much that needs to be done to improve our health care system. For nearly a decade, I’ve heard the constant refrain from policy makers that “we can’t afford it”. When I look it at it this way, I can see why you’re so upset about the mere existence of NCCIH. When there’s so much to be done in real scientific research, and in delivering the care that patients need, we’re spending money to “make woo medicine again”?

I agree. We should not be paying for this with government money. We should be spending the money on research related to autoimmune disease, cancer prevention or why people are obese. Heck, I’d rather be paying people to exercise than pay for acupuncture.

Because I know very little about the center, I understand that the director can set priorities, but how much direct control does she have over specific decision? Because this suggests the director has very, very strong power over that.

Proposals submitted to the NIH are reviewed by scientific peer review committees, mostly not federal employees. Proposals that are deemed to have merit are then reviewed by the Council who make recommendations on priority areas of research, pending policy, and funding of particular applications. The council includes federal employees. So, whoever selects the reviewers is going to have an influence over what sort of things get funded.

Also, there are situations where a proposal gets well rated but not quite well enough to make the cut based on how much money there is. Sometimes, if money becomes available later, those proposals may bet funded. I believe there’s discretion involved in that.

Definitely, the director is going to be setting funding priorities.

Langevin shares the same mindset as Harkin, for sure. They know alt med works, period. Science is not trequired. It’s useful only in so far as it confirms what is already known to be true. Of course, then it’s not science that counts, it’s faith. Alt med is a cult, is what it is. Acupuncture is very much a ritual cult.

@ Leigh Jackson:

Of course, I agree with you.
I would add, though, that like many cults, alt med is primarily a means to earn money: it is a business. If one has faith, one can still be business savvy by seeking personal profit as well as revelation

I sometimes think that sceptics don’t focus enough on the monetary aspect of woo and how it is marketted amongst its adherents. Woo-meisters attempt to preclude that criticism by first charging SBM with being greedy. money-hungry pharma shills, paid off and compromised when, in reality, they often exist as multi-million dollar/ euro/ pound enterprises – vast web-based empires of advertisement and product sales.

I’ve discovered this by the following:
– looking up annual sales on business sites like manta or spoke
– comparing the prices of particular products with generic brands offered in brick-and-mortar stores or on-line
– trying to estimate how much time, money and work go into maintaining multiple websites, facebook pages, twitter, you tube accounts as well as creating other media like films, radio/ television shows, video channels or magazines.
– tracking their calls for assistance by paid employees or volunteers. ( they brag about expanding warehouse space or hiring)
– finding out how and where they live: palacial estates and compounds are de rigueur
– noticing how they have more than one type of business: selling supplements, foods, health products, clothing, books, films, seminars, lectures, vacation rentals, movies locations, advertising on websites etc.
– discovering how many businesses the principals own/ manage
– looking into their “charities”
Whilst part of this can be obfuscated, much is easily visible on the ‘net.

Denice: Excellent idea! YES, let’s focus on how much money they’re making.

Call them Big Woo. Make that a viral meme. “Mikey Adams, whose nutri-quackery empire is a cornerstone of Big Woo, said (blah blah blah)…”

Always draw attention to their palatial estates: people are getting sick of ostentatious real estate, by way of its dirty connections to stolen & laundered money and Russian mobsters. In particular, the left is allergic to ostentatious display, so this will help peel off altie-sympathizers from the left end of the spectrum. Frequent use of “s/he’s in it for the money” may also raise cynicism about their motives.

Something we eventually need: a means of providing a financial “soft landing” for people who quit woo-world and speak out against it, and thereby throw away their former careers promoting dreck. I’m willing to bet that a lot of them get to a point in life where they realize it’s BS but they keep at it because they have to earn a living. A “soft landing” for defectors would liberate those who are stuck in that position.

It would be interesting to compare earnings of Brave Maverick Physicians before and after they dove into woo full-time.

For instance, I’ve seen multiple online tributes from her fan club about Suzanne Humphries’ alleged financial sacrifices (Humphries, who has espoused homeopathy, reportedly gave up a career as a nephrologist and is now viewed as an antivax guru). What’s her income as a “private medical consultant”, lecturing and selling books?

How much is former neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock making from his lectures, books, subscriptions to his “Wellness Report” and supplements?

Hard to know whether the incomes of such physicians have decreased or increased compared to conventional practice, but you’d figure it’s less stressful to be a private guru (not to mention savings on malpractice insurance and other practice expenses).

I suspect that for every Mercola raking in the big bucks, there are numerous M.D. woosters who merely have comfortable incomes.

I wonder if we can estimate woo-meisters’ wealth based on what their websites look like?

I imagine that owning and operating sites like Mercola, NN or PRN – plus their associated sites- is not inexpensive.
They need people to create websites, keep them functioning- especially when they have stores selling merchandise- phone call-ins/ ordering reps, shipping etc. Mike brags that he needed much more warehouse space so he had to buy/ rent? a large building. Null is always hiring computer people. They display videos and audios of their brilliance as well as adverts.
If they weren’t earning money, would they invest so much in media?

-whether they sell products like supplements / foods is another factor:
a website with only books and noting appearances of the woo-meister might show less earning potential. Dr Humphries is most likely not in the seven figure range but has to rely upon consultations, appearances, book sales.

as I said above, some anti-vaxxers/ woo-meisters have charities/ non-profit orgs ( even NN and PRN) where you can support their work. Most of these are registered: Null has at least 3 at present. NN has one as well. AoA IS one.

Another way to estimate wealth is how and where they live. We’ve seen several woo-palaces already. Being a woo-meister in/ near NYC or SF shows that you’re earning enough to keep up with expenses.
Not every altie can hook up with an ex-model millionaire.

To be fair, woo was always going to flow from the NCCIH. That’s what it’s there for, and that’s their business model.

What would a science-literate director do with such a position, other than shut down operations immediately?

“What would a science-literate director do with such a position, other than shut down operations immediately?”

Insist that the studies be rigorous? Though it sounds as if the director’s hands may have been tied on that.

There are some types of studies that the NCCIH FOAs support that are, in fact, perfectly reasonable. All the things that alternative medicine likes to claim as its own that are really part of mainstream medicine. Things like exercise, certain kinds of physical therapy, nutrition, stress management. I’ve certainly encouraged our OT, PT and Behavioral faculty to apply to some of them. It would make me even happier than usual if one of them were funded through that institute. I love the idea that we’d get money from them to do real science.

Sorry, “Quackery” is also name calling. It surprises me to hear such ignorance from Doctors and Surgeons! Acupuncture is medicine that has been practiced for over 3000 years (if it were quackery it would have gone away long ago). Finally there is research happening to understand it better. Isn’t that the true purpose of research anyway? Also, Acupuncture meridians are pure energy (called Qi) moving through the body. Since a cadaver no longer has energy it is impossible to map. Instead of being so fearful, why not try to understand there may be something to this.

“Acupuncture is medicine that has been practiced for over 3000 years (if it were quackery it would have gone away long ago).”

Appeal to antiquity, that is inaccurate. There was no way to make the needles that thin even a few hundred years ago.

“Also, Acupuncture meridians are pure energy (called Qi) moving through the body.”

Show us how much you know about energy. Explain the difference between kinetic energy and potential energy, and how they are related.

wasn’t meditation considered quackery science? I just seen a ted x video how meditation reverses the shrinkage of the hippocampus related to stress and cortisol.
so people want to study alt medicine and this push back is insane. instead of an open mind you’re pushing the public to have the opposite of the placebo effect..where it won’t work even when proven so.
money grab in science is everywhere esp the past couple of decades. yet where’s the money to reproduce studies?
scientists historically have ruined their peer’s careers when they have fringe theory even when the evidence is in front of them. then it’s accepted theory when there’s overwhelming evidence. in between there’s no consideration of their work when they follow all procedures. the Clovis Indigenous people theory is a good example.
it takes courage to change your belief system but you’re literally killing people because of your hard headedness. ie. sugar vs natural fat battle that gave rise to margarine consumption. diabetes and cardiovascular disease anyone?
science started to counter superstitions and the church and the quest for knowledge. your thinking of how you know it all yet, as a whole, we don’t know much and barely scratching the surface. the attitude of the article makes it clear how you want to shut your eyes and make your new religion (science) thinking intact. luckily science evolves but you’re just hindering it

TED videos have a little more cachet than ordinary YouTube videos, but bvb you can still s as y bvb whatever you wish.
Have those meditation results been pop published?

It is generally accepted that meditation, and other methods, can reduce stress but alt med advocates claim much more for it without good evidence.

There have been numerous changes in medical practice in the last 20 years. What are the 3 most significant results the NCCIH has discovered in that time?

nice. without looking up video or even researching anything you’re going to attack the outlet.

meditation just for stress relief seems logical. fortunately scientists have looked beyond that. Harvard released a study about meditation and depression. stress, of course, is connected but goes deeper. other studies have shown meditators brain are different by size and connections to different parts of the brain.

20 years ago this article could have replaced acupuncture with meditation yet it’s been known for 100’s of years.

not sure what significant results nccih has found. I believe it has found homeopathy useless. the past director has been quoted to say acupuncture is more placebo effect yet the NIH officially says theres acupuncture, acupressure, and cupping evidence for pain relief and more research is needed. she also said a different approach than opioids for pain relief has come from acupuncture research. but the new director is progressing acupuncture research following the current scientific model and yet criticized. the video posted seems logical to me.

you’re right. past 20 years has seen significant results. I credit some to newer technology tools that helps us advance. but not all areas unfortunately. ie. psychology. NIMH past director seemed to be on track except he seemed to have also gotten pushback from peers and big pharma.

point is that things could be used from the ancients instead of dismissing them outright. dietary fasting as been advised in most world religions and just now science is finding benefits and mechanisms of it.. mostly cellular autopathy.

may want to step out and look at the bigger picture sometimes. it’s easier for me since I’m not in the industry but the public is following your mindset. remind yourself how science was 100 years ago and how it will be 50 years from now. may be humbling.

other studies have shown meditators brain are different by size

Does this come before or after? Could you cite these studies?

I’ve heard that a year of DBT actually rewires the brains of people with borderline personality disorder, and DBT is actually mostly stuff borrowed from Zen Buddhism, so I don’t find it entirely implausible.

It was in a lecture though, so I’ll have to look for a text source.

JP: I believe dbt uses mindfulness? not only as meditation but being present at the moment and using surroundings to focus to the now. past can be depressing and the future can cause anxiety so it can help with a racing mind.

Narad: I didnt link anything since I didnt know if I could.
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/what-does-mindfulness-meditation-do-to-your-brain/ interesting how experienced meditators seemed to be in the state of meditation 24/7 ie. pain sensations.

I might be reading it wrong but ‘As the amygdala shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex .. becomes thicker’

it was written 4 years ago so idk what more is known. ie. the hippocampus size reversal from stress & cortisol isnt mentioned. if anyone sees any more research to link that’ll be great.

Anderson Cooper went on a mindfulness retreat and said he was a skeptic; then it changed his life. https://youtu.be/vBhimxmhCpI towards the middle of the video Anderson is hooked up to to a brain sensor. as noted it’s not just meditation but mindful in the shower…walking how much do I actually enjoy the sights, sounds, smells of the walk.. even around the block?

science seems to be focused on the physical and shrugs off the non. not sure what it’s called but the phenomenon of feeling someone staring at you has some new evidence. nothing new really from Tesla’s quote.

I’m writing too much

last post poop’d I think. it was too long anyways.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/what-does-mindfulness-meditation-do-to-your-brain/

‘As the amygdala shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex – associated with higher order brain functions such as awareness, concentration and decision-making – becomes thicker’. this article was 4 years ago. any new insight is appreciated.

JP: dbt may use general mindfulness with meditation which probably helps a racing mind as the past can depressing and future anxious.

It’s interesting to see what has developed since my comment last night. Since my job doesn’t allow me time to watch videos, I prefer reading as a means to garner information to adjust my “belief system”, especially since you didn’t link to the particular video you had in mind.

Since this article is primarily about the benefit or lack thereof from an additional (and competitive) funding source specifically for alternative medical techniques, I checked out the funding for the references posted. JP’s article was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the VA. And Scientific American is a journal for explaining science to the educated lay public, not for publishing scientific research. But it at least links to the original study, which was funded by the NIH. I also noted that the original research referenced in JP’s article was published back in 1991, so it is unlikely it was funded by one of the NCCIH’s predecessor organizations.

Which shows that we don’t need an additional organization to support useful research on meditation. And also reinforces the claim often made here that what is useful in alternative medicine is not really alternative and what is truly alternative (such as homeopathy and acupuncture) is not really useful.

That aside, the SciAm reference was a study of regular Zen meditation practitioners when they were not actively meditating. So they had a long time to adjust their mental use patterns. And we can’t rule out a prior predisposition which led them to regular practice of Zen. That leaves the value of this practice for the general public somewhat uncertain.

Going back to my original comment about mediation reducing stress (which is about all the Zen study shows anyway), I don’t find it surprising that some sort of meditation therapy could benefit patients with mental issues as referenced in JP’s link.

I would also note that, historically, (the last 2 or 3 hundred years at least) aggressive and even hostile criticism of striking results has played a key role in weeding out the chaff of incorrect and spurious results from the wheat of the underlying truth.

And finally, since after a long day of stressful work I didn’t have time for my preferred method of charging up my dopamine receptors with a five mile walk (which also has scientifically been shown to benefit my cardiovascular system for over 50 years), I chose to relieve my stress with a short nap followed by a visit to a local craft brewery for some excellent beer battered onion rings and a boysenberry brew. Sadly, I was unable to search through TED videos while watching the football game ;(

And we can’t rule out a prior predisposition which led them to regular practice of Zen.

This is very strictly anecdotal, but I’ve noticed that people don’t tend to get into Zen because they’re already calm and have all their sh!t together, but rather because they’re screwed up in some way or have something to deal with. Make of that very anecdotal evidence what you will.

I haven’t had onion rings in ages. I used to get them once in a while with beer in Ann Arbor, usually on a late Friday afternoon when classes and teaching were done for the week. The tavern here has them, but they cost almost as much as an entree. I don’t need the extra grease/calories, I suppose.

They are really good, though.

As the amygdala shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex – associated with higher order brain functions such as awareness, concentration and decision-making – becomes thicker

Whatever you say. The problem is that you alleged a difference in brain size. If you’re just yammering about somebody’s throwing around fMRI, it had better be good.

In case anybody is interested in the lecture/panel I mentioned, link below. (Somebody I know well is featured.)

I know the prefrontal cortex was mentioned, but I don’t think it was as much about it getting bigger as much as it was about it getting better connected to other parts of the brain.

https://aadl.org/node/367281

squirrelelite: I disagree on why nccih is needed. ‘alt medicine is just considered medicine’. but what is alt medicine before its proven as medicine..quarkery & psuedo science? you mentioned homeopathy but didnt the nccih discredited it?

it’s been pointed out problems with current science is to study only the physical which, I think, limits its ability to progress faster. kinda seeing with one eye instead of both. I think the nccih is trying to be the other eye.

this says moderate evidence concerning acupuncture, acupressure and cupping for pain and more research is needed.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25710765

another example would be yoga. 20-30 years ago it was considered quackery. theres a story of an ex military paratrooper that dr.s told him he would never walk unassisted. got depressed and overweight. found the right yoga instructor and you see him progress to not only walking unassisted but running to balancing on his head. but then again western yoga may have Dutch roots.
https://www.yogajournal.com/.amp/yoga-101/yoga-s-greater-truth

I mentioned dietary fasting before. science is doing their part and fine tuning it but research has just begun.

another example would be yoga. 20-30 years ago it was considered quackery.

What? You’ve never heard of Lilias, Yoga and You? {I think these were mainly sitting asanas, but we’ve [tinw] been through the Swedish gymnastics, etc.)

Who “considered” (hatha) yoga to be “quackery”? It has certainly gotten more popular (but weirder) lately, but it’s <a href=”https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/yogas-trip-america>nothing new. “Stretching? Quackery!” Did the AMA bring the hammer down on Jack LaLanne, as well? Philosophically speaking, is your eschewing the majuscule a feature or a bug?

narad: sorry I misworded. obviously space in the skull has limitations.. thicker in the cortex to me means a size difference? literal would be the shrinking of the amygdala. the Tedx video didnt have a source for meditation reversing the effects of stress related brain shrinkage.

2011 Harvard noted changes in the brain after 2 months of mindful meditation
https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain/

2015 article.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/

Harvard article part 1 of 2

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchers-study-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients/

they also have a study posted in August 2018 about meditation and depression results.

more research is needed obviously but what kept it from being started and what happened as it initially progressed?

squirrelelite mentioned the weed out process which is normal but what I said was different. seems when evidence is presented that shakes the foundation of thought then pushback can be expected.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/jacques-cinq-mars-bluefish-caves-scientific-progress-180962410/
can you can think of other examples?

hope these website are good enough.

squirrelelite: idk if I can edit but breaded in-house onion rings are awesome. hope it passed the Guy Fieri onion ring test.

seems when evidence is presented that shakes the foundation of thought then pushback can be expected.

This isn’t exactly 1000 mics of Sandoz.

2011 Harvard noted changes in the brain after 2 months of mindful meditation

People who are activating their brains differently have different patterns of brain activation.

narad; no I haven’t heard of the 70’s yoga; had to look it up. but as you mentioned that’s stretching. no amount of stretching is going to help you walk unassisted when dr.s tell you your life sentence. yoga can be more spiritual; non physical which current science ignores while Tesla alluded otherwise.

https://youtu.be/bIXOo8D9Qsc

while the Smithsonian article uses the clovis theory as a model of scientists in general. it’s an example how people want to ignore evidence when it’s in front of them. true it’s different from the birth of antibiotics. it would be the same, I guess, if someone stumbled upon penicillin 100-200 years before and the pushback it would have received.

smut cylde: before meditation was just ‘relaxion’ so how is that activating anything? I think the links prove it’s more than relaxation. massage all day every day but your brain probably wont respond like meditation does. nccih maybe can research that.

I spent time researching (helpful for me to gain more insight but..). your doubts seems like you haven’t read or probably just skimmed over at most. its expected with closed minds. it’s been said it hurts when information disputes your own views and you have to be brave enough to accept them and ‘kill’ the old way of thinking (paraphrase Jordan Peterson).

please less strawman arguements.

narad: I use capitals when I feel I have to. most of the time its phone spellcheck

JP: bothers me that with mindfulness popularity is the lack of the source. you mentioned clinical applications but linked articles, meditation apps, and the 60 minutes segment linked below doesn’t credit Indian spirituality (Buddha was Indian). cultural appropriation maybe a lil but spirituality aspect scares people. science has been focused on the physical so masses attitude reflects the same.

https://youtu.be/vBhimxmhCp

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence” -Tesla. meditation would be an example I think

penicillin 300 years ago there would have been no progress. needed prayer.

stretching can’t help ex paratrooper run from told he wont be able to walk unassisted. nccih should research yoga from India since westernized is more exercise scale.

thought meditation was only for stress relief so how can that activate the brain?

4 Harvard sources. Tesla alluded to studying non physical. finally starting to yet you wanna put up your mental wall

A. Cooper gained from “Zen”

nccih should research yoga from India since westernized is more exercise scale.

And “yoga from India” is in large part Swedish gymnastics.

They also need to study the “non physical ” like whether praying to Zeus, Gautanma, Odin or Yahweh makes you more likely to survive metastatic cancer /sarc

straw man arguements? no mention of the articles about acupuncture or meditation benefits? for people in the industry thought you’d want new info

A. Cooper said mindfulness changed his life but with meditations popularity theres no mention anywhere of its source: spirituality from India. I wonder why?

https://youtu.be/ipLzQnAmmqo

interesting read on aerobics. too bad medical industry didnt apply that to geriatrics (ie. after hip surgery or in general). no mention of his brain change from exercise. how does that relate to meditation when theres no physical activity?

https://youtu.be/qX9FSZJu448

I linked article that western yoga is Dutch. yoga from India has different poses which may have more benefits since it’s from the source?

if prayer works for you? you seen radiation/chemo success at stage 3, 4?

J. Peterson says it takes courage to change your mindset when information counters your current beliefs..

straw man arguements? no mention of links from nih and acupuncture or meditation? for people in the industry thought you’d want new info

A. Cooper said mindfulness changed his life but with meditations popularity (Harvard study or apps) no source : spirituality from India. I wonder why?

https://youtu.be/ipLzQnAmmqo

interesting read on aerobics. too bad medical industry didnt apply that to geriatrics (ie. after hip surgery or in general). no mention of his brain change from exercise. how does link relate to meditation when theres no physical activity?

https://youtu.be/qX9FSZJu448

I linked article that western yoga has Dutch roots. yoga from India has different poses which may have more benefits since it’s from the source?

if prayer works for you? you seen radiation/chemo success at stage 3, 4?

J. Peterson says it takes courage to change your mindset when information counters your current beliefs..

straw man arguements? no mention of links from nih about acupuncture or meditation and depression. just push back?

A. Cooper said mindfulness changed his life but with meditations popularity (Harvard study or phone apps) theres no source: spirituality from India. I wonder why?

https://youtu.be/ipLzQnAmmqo

interesting read on aerobics. too bad medical industry didnt apply that to geriatrics (ie. after hip surgery or in general before). no mention of brain change from exercise. how does link relate to meditation when theres no physical activity?

https://youtu.be/qX9FSZJu448

I linked article that western yoga has Dutch roots. yoga from India has different poses which may have more benefits since it’s non Dutch?

prayer? idk. but chemo/radiation success rate for stage 3-4?

J. Peterson says it takes courage to change your mindset when information counters your current beliefs..

straw man arguements..no reply of links from nih on acupuncture or meditation & depression?

mindfulness changed A. Coopers life but with meditations popularity (Harvard study or phone apps) theres no source: spirituality from India. I wonder why?

https://youtu.be/ipLzQnAmmqo

interesting on aerobics. too bad medical industry didnt apply that to geriatrics before (ie. after hip surgery or in general). no mention of brain change from exercise. how does link relate to meditation when theres no physical activity?

https://youtu.be/qX9FSZJu448

I linked western yoga has Dutch roots. Indian yoga has different poses which may have more benefits since it’s non Dutch?

prayer? idk. but the chemo/radiation success rate for stage 3-4?

J. Peterson says it takes courage to change your mindset when information counters your current beliefs..

straw man arguements..nothing positive about links from nih on acupuncture or meditation & depression?

mindfulness changed A. Coopers life but with meditations popularity (ie. Harvard study or phone apps) theres no source: spirituality from India. I wonder why?

https://youtu.be/ipLzQnAmmqo

interesting on aerobics. too bad medical industry didnt apply that to geriatrics before (ie. after hip surgery or in general). no mention of brain change from exercise. how does link relate to meditation when theres no physical activity?

https://youtu.be/qX9FSZJu448

I linked western yoga has Dutch roots. Indian yoga has different poses which may have more benefits since it’s non Dutch?

prayer? idk. but the chemo/radiation success rate for stage 3-4?

J. Peterson says it takes courage to change your mindset when information counters your current beliefs..

reply has pooped on me hella times.

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