First, I am always up for a challenge and so when writer Geoff Freed starts off his email “You pure miserable person”, I know I am in for a treat! When Geoff adds “I bet you would not have the guts to print this” I really have no alternative!
Subject: Geoff Freed
You pure miserable person. It seems you get off by putting others down. It seems you are afraid of new ideas. New ideas threaten the established and then often become the accepted.
I know Geoff well we were at Uni together and have a great admiration for his courage and discretion. I bet you would not have the guts to print this, you hide ( I think you maybe Andy Lewis ) it seems like your underhanded cynicism and hopeless inadequacy.
Sugest you get some therapy and cure your intellectual impotency.
Well, that has told me. Now, there are a number of odd things about this email. The writer talks about Geoff in the third person and signs off with the pseudonym “Whaletooth“. Now whilst the email address is an anonymous hotmail account, the email headers clearly say that the email is from a Geoff Freed. Now are these two friends who shared a name at University or was someone hiding behind a email pseudonym whilst trying to convince me that he is courageous? Unfortunately ‘Whaletooth‘ will not respond to my emails so I must leave it up to you to decide.
Before we go on to the next email, Geoff, yes, new ideas do ‘threaten the established’, but not all ideas do. The threatening ones tend to be the good ideas that can be backed up with published and repeatable evidence. Geoff has many alternative ideas about ‘UFOs, the Inner Child, Pre-Life Agreements, Physics and its application to healing, the Chakra System and, of course, the huge tansformations that are currently taking place’ I don’t see too many evidence-soaked ideas there that might be up for the challenge, unless by Physics he is talking about radiotherapy, diagnostic imaging and various non-invasive measurement techniques. Somehow I doubt it.
Next a much more sensible contribution to the quackery debate from a Guy Dauncey of the Canadian non-profit society, Prevent Cancer Now . Guy writes to defend the idea that salvestrols were the new super cancer cure. I commented earlier that this was a somewhat premature statement as there was no good evidence to suggest that taking supplements of salvestrols would have any such effect.
I would encourage people to have some patience here. I understand the value of a quackometer, but I don’t think there’s evidence to include salvestrols. I have met Gerry Potter twice. He is genuine, sincere, and a solid scientist.
When ripe fruits and vegetables are attacked by fungus, which happens all the time, they develop the salvestrols as a natural defence. When we eat the plants, the salvestrols in the food trigger the enzymes in any cancer cell to produce piceatannol, which then attacks the cancer. Having discovered this, his team searched for plants that had the highest level of salvestrols, and stared testing to see if the compound would fight an active cancer if eaten as a supplement. When they discovered that it seemed that they did, he helped create the Nature’s Defence to sell the food supplements as Fruitforce; these are simply concentrated salvestrols, taken from fruit.
This is really my point. Sounds like nice science about how some plants may defend themselves from fungus, but now we have a long string of what-ifs and maybes to get to the mass supplementation of the public with a pill. Whatever trials are currently being done, the results are not in and yet and in the meantime these companies are marketing products as if it is a done deal. As with my first correspondent, there are many good ideas out there and loads of laudable intentions. However, not all those ideas are good – in fact the majority end up on the dustbin of discarded science, no matter how much we wish them to be true.
As Guy correctly states, the best evidence for salvestrols as a cancer/cure prevention is largely anecdotal – a few doctors with case histories. Guy says,
It is not true that all anecdotes are nearly worthless. Some are; some are not. It depends on the source of the evidence.
It is completely right that we should cast a skeptical eye on new developments, since the world is full of scams and quackeries, but this one deserves to be given patience while the clinical trials are proceeding.
ShoeLover, being a, er, shoe lover is noticably upset by these claims and says,
While the author of the article, Brian Roberts, writes that Dax (assuming that Dax is the “expert”) claims that wearing five-inch killer heels can affect their (women’s) internal organs and fertility, there is not a single reference to a medical and or research journal. Hell, one would have thought the author might have consulted a gynecologist to back up the claims of “expert” Dax, unless of course Dax is also a gynecologist. Dax, are you a gyno?
I must tell Mrs Canard Noir to stop going to her pole dancing classes in those heels. She told me she was doing it for fitness reasons. Dax knows better.