Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmx DOT com

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Sunday, 6 July 2014

Video purportedly showing a cure of motor neurone disease, with #homeopathy - nope

A couple of weeks ago I rather lost my temper with the discussions on the #homeopathy hashtag when someone implied that homeopathy could cure Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and that there was video evidence for this. This is flat out untrue. Homeopathy pills are made in such a way (diluting, then a special kind of shaking called 'succussion', the more more diluting and so on) to the point that there's no, or negligible levels of, active ingredient in the end product. People might certainly feel better and reassured after talking to a friendly homeopath, or taking their pills - but they cannot cure any diseases.

"Case of MND Restored to Healthy State with Homeopathy By Prof Dr A K Gupta" - below I go through each of the segments, struggling to make much sense of it.



It's difficult to follow what's being said. Someone is definitely speaking some English words but the rest is spoken in an Indian language and I think there is also a translator, and the sound is not good.

At no point is any evidence offered that the patient has or ever had a correct diagnosis of motor neurone disease. We are presented with a man who is unwell (coughing, difficulty speaking) and we all seem to be accepting that he has MND. Perhaps he does but this video doesn't bother to offer any robust confirmation.

We first see the patient on 10 July 2010 and the screen titles notes that he is experiencing "Coughing with difficulty in speaking, falls back when sitting". I cannot understand what is being said but the doctor (presumably) is asking a series of questions and the patient answers them through coughing.

We next see the patient on 11 August 2010 where his "Coughing, Fasciculations* (and) Muscle Pain (are apparently) Reduced", though he seems to me to be in more discomfort. *involuntary muscle twitching which can be of the harmless eye-twitch variety if you're a bit tired to twitching that's associated with a variety of more serious conditions.

Then on 15 December 2010 his "Speech (is) slightly better, Fasciculations much better" - the clip is too short to see how he's really changed but he seems fairly similar to the video from his first clip. Of course it's impossible for me (who doesn't speak the language) to know what's going on but it looks very much like the poor man is anxious and appears to be looking at someone else for support - if that was what he was after I hope he was getting it.

11 March 2011 "Speech nasal but much better, Choking Better, No More Falling Back" - the man's speech seems worse if anything but he looks happier at least.

We're now 2m 35s into an 8 minute video and there's been NO CONFIRMATION about what condition he may have or have had.

10 September 2011 "Swallowing improved, overall symptoms are better, patient feels stable" - I keep hearing the word 'fasciculation' and wonder if the doctor is just asking him if his fasciculations are better. While I agree that patients should be asked about their symptoms it would seem that fasciculations produce signs that are fairly obvious.

There's a risk, with self-reported improvements, that the doctor hears what they want to hear... the coughing seems better but the speech doesn't.

31st October 2011 "Better in general, speech affected due to Pollution of crackers during Diwali" - er, what? The crackers were polluted, or eating crackers polluted treatment? No indication given. I'm none the wiser.

7.1.12 "Choking & Suffociation completely cured" - I'm glad to hear it but at no point in this video (we're 5m 21s in) has there been any evidence offered that the man has ever been correctly diagnosed with any particular health condition, let alone MND.

No information is given about his other treatment (is he under the care of a neurologist?), none about the natural course of whatever condition he might have (does it progress relentlessly or are there periods of remission). Is it possible that he has been misdiagnosed and has another condition that is resolving by itself (so far I've not seen much evidence of dramatic improvement overall, and of course I am probably being led to look for things by the intertitles telling me how he's improving in certain aspects).

With the benefit of the doubt I'm going to assume that it's not fake (ie not an actor portraying symptoms) but of course that can't be ruled out as literally no evidence is offered for what's going on in the video. It's just a man talking to another man in an office in a language I don't understand. This is emphatically NOT evidence for homeopathy. If you're using this as evidence for homeopathy I recommend not doing that as it doesn't prove anything and the video is incomprehensible enough to be working against you.

At this point in the video I'm struggling to see much improvement in his speech, though it is slightly better - to be honest I didn't know what his speech was like previously.

At 6m 33s the intertitles state "Wife thanks homeopathy and Dr A K Gupta in restoring her husband's almost bed ridden condition & inability to eat / drink", then "Lost voice, choking, fasciculations back to near NORMAL HEALTHY STATE. Now he does not has (sic) to write to communicate."

We then see the man's wife (presumed) sitting in front of a calendar from Dr Reckeweg (seller of homeopathic tissue salts, though possibly not in the UK) who then (apparently) reads something from a cue card (she's looking away from the camera unless a question is asked, though perhaps she's just sitting opposite her husband and is looking at him). As I don't understand the language I don't know what she's saying.

Having now watched the full video at the request of a homeopathy supporter I have to assume I'm being expertly trolled and have been bested by their quick-thinking mockery. Well done homeopathy supporters and I think we can all agree that this video offers zero evidence in favour of (or against, it literally offers no evidence of any kind) homeopathy.

The Motor Neurone Disease Association were also tagged in the tweet sent to me with the video link so I had a look at their pages to see what they say about homeopathy. Sadly they don't say "it's a load of nonsense" but they do at least make it clear that you need to be talking to your doctor:
"Homeopathy
The objective of homeopathy is to alleviate illness or conditions by stimulating the body’s own natural healing processes. Homeopathy can be applied to the symptoms of many illnesses, as well as causes. As people can present varying symptoms, separate remedies may used for the same condition or illness for different individuals.

It is essential that a qualified homeopath be consulted, as their first task is to identify which remedies may work for the individual involved.

Note: it is important that you consult your doctor before taking any homeopathic remedy to ensure there is no conflict with any other medication you may be taking."

See also
Motor Neurone Disease Association website
The Homeopathy Awareness Week website on why people should be very, very aware of homeopathy.

Comments on this post
I am no longer adding further examples of these almost-identical generic comments despite receiving between three and five a day of them as I think their purpose (which is to help people be aware that they're spam comments in case they come across them elsewhere) is served already. Anyone trying to leave a comment of that nature here, with promises of miracle cures and whatnot, has been pre-cursed by me and will experience dreadful pains before a lingering death. It's only what you deserve ;) Mwahahaha.



13 comments:

  1. Nagalia Foster comments (I have heavily redacted it as she's advocating a dangerous course of action):

    Please note: there is no herbal treatment nor spell that can cure anyone of the conditions mentioned. This is a bogus claim and a scam designed to trick desperate and vulnerable people into handing over money.

    "(MUST READ: HOW I GOT CURED FROM ALS DISEASE (LOU GEHRIG'S DISEASE))
    I am Ruth, I was diagnosed of ALS disease in 2011 and I have tried all I can to get cured but all to no avail, my life was gradually coming to an end, until i saw a post in a health forum about a herbal spell caster from Africa who casts herbal spells to cure differeing kind of diseases including ALS, MND, Epilepsy, Leukemia, Asthma, Cancer, Ghonorhea etc, at first i doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try, when i contact this herbal spell caster via his email, he prepared a herbal spell portion and sent it to me via courier service, when i received this herbal spell portion, he gave me step by step instructions on how to apply it, when i applied it as instructed, i was cured of this deadly disease, I am now free from the deadly disease, all thanks to Dr [REDACTED]. Contact this great herbal spell caster via his email [REDACTED] Goodluck "

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ella Philip, who is a completely different person from Nagalia Foster aka 'Ruth', came up with this entirely novel comment never before seen on thousands of other websites:

    "I am ella philip, I want to testify of how i got cured from ALS (Lou Gherigs Disease), I was diagnosed of this disease in April 2009, I was bedridden, i tried all possible means to get cured but all to no avail until i saw a post in a health forum about a healing herbal spell caster who casts spells to heal all kind of diseases including ALS, at first i doubted it but decided to give it a try, when i contacted this herbal spell caster via his email, he created a herbal spell portion and sent it to me through the courier service, when i recieved the herbal spell portion, i used it under his directives and i was totally cured from this deadly disease, I am well and healthy again, all thanks to this great herbal spell caster. Contact him for cure to any kind of deadly and incurable diseases via his email [I've deleted the email address] or call him [I've deleted the phone number too]".

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another one, redacted - this is not a genuine cure for anything let alone ALS, this is just a desperate attempt (as the above are) to get the scammer's contact details on a website so that people contact them and either give away personal details (name, address) or money. All these comments will be heavily redacted.

    hello everyone,
    i don't just know the reason why some people are finding it difficult to believe that there is a cure for ALS, i have been Diagnosed with ALS since last three years but today i am happy that i am Cured of ALS with herbal medicine of [REDACTED] the great healer,i was browsing the internet searching for help when i came across a testimony shared by someone on how [REDACTED] cure his ALS i was so much in need of getting his treatment but after all [REDACTED] brought a smile to my face with his herbal medicine. i am so much happy today that we have someone like this great healer out there, so my people out there kindly contact this great healer on his email address: [REDACTED] please sir keep your good work cause there are people out there who is in need of your healing medicine.once more contact him now: [REDACTED] or call him at [REDACTED]

    ReplyDelete
  4. If nothing else this blog post serves as a repository for similarly phrased spam comments ;) Another one in the spam queue. In fact this one's come through twice (a day apart).

    My names is Richards Stone… ALS has been ongoing in my family for long..I lost both parents to ALS and it is so much pain that i have not been able to get over. As we all know medically,there is no solution or cure for ALS and the cost for Medication is very expensive..Someone introduced me to a Herbal man email:([REDACTED])(Native Medical Practitioner)in AFRICA.. I showed the man all my Tests and Results and i told him i have already diagnosed with ALS and have spent thousands of dollars on medication..I said i will like to try him because someone introduced him to me..He asked me sorts of questions and i answered him correctly..To cut the story short,He gave me some medicinal soaps and some herbs(have forgot the name he called them) and he thought me how am gonna use them all..At first i was skeptical but i just gave it a try..I was on his Medication for 2 weeks and i used all the soaps and herbs according to his prescription.. that he will finish the rest himself..and i called him 3 days after, i arrived and i told him what is the next thing..he said,he has been expecting my call.. he told me to visit my doctor for another test..Honestly speaking,i never believe all he was saying until after the test when my doctor mention the statement that i am also negative and the doctor started asking me how do i get cure….Am telling this story to everyone of you incase you are may need his help. you can contact him on his via email address: [REDACTED] .

    Kind Regards!
    Thanks…

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just Googled the redacted email, it also appears in a comment offering people a chance to join the Illuminati haha ;)

      Delete
  5. Another one, again redacted (in fact this one came in twice, a few minutes apart).

    Matilda Morgan has left a new comment on your post "Video purportedly showing a cure of motor neurone ...":

    My names are Wendy Morrison … ALS has been ongoing in my family for long..I lost both parents to ALS and it is so much pain have not been able to get over. As we all know medically,there is no solution or cure for ALS and the cost for Medication is very expensive..Someone introduced me to a Herbal man email: [REDACTED] I showed the man all my Tests and Results and i told him have already diagnosed with ALS and have spent thousands of dollars on medication..I said i will like to try him cos someone introduced me to him..He asked me sorts of questions and i answered him correctly..To cut the story short,He gave me some medicinal soaps and some herbs(have forgot the name he called them) and he told me how am going to use them all..At first i was sceptical but i just gave it a try..I was on his Medication for 2 weeks and i used all the soaps and herbs according to his prescription.. that he will finish the rest himself..and i called him 3 days after, i arrived and i told him what is the next thing..he said,he has been expecting my call.. he told me to visit my doctor for another test..Honestly speaking,i never believe all he was saying until after the test when my doctor mention the statement that am, also negative and the doctor started asking me how do i get cure….Am telling this story to every one of you encase you also having same problem you can contact him on his via email address: [REDACTED].

    ReplyDelete
  6. Another one... contact details redacted because these people are liars. They can't cure anyone of anything and will steal your money. Beware.

    [REDACTED] CAN HELP YOU CURE ALS DISEASE [REDACTED phone number]

    jack nelly Allen I am from UK , I was diagnosed of ALS disease (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2013 and I have tried all I can to get cured but all to no avail, my life was gradually coming to an end, until i saw a post in a health forum about a herbal doctor from Africa who prepares herbal cure to cure all kind of diseases including ALS, MND, Epilepsy, Leukemia, Asthma, Cancer, Ghonorhea etc, at first i doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try, when i contact this herbal doctor via his email, he prepared an ALS herbal portion and sent it to me via courier service, when i received this herbal portion, he gave me step by step instructions on how to apply it, when i applied it as instructed, i was cured of this deadly disease within 6 days, I could not walk or talk understandably before but after i took the herbal cure as he instructed i regained strength in my bones and i could talk properly unlike before, I am now free from the deadly disease, all thanks to [REDACTED]. Contact this great herbal doctor via his email [REDACTED].

    ReplyDelete
  7. Another one

    (MUST READ: HOW I GOT CURED FROM ALS DISEASE)
    I am from Philadelphia, I was diagnosed of ALS disease (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2013 and though I know there is no cure I have tried all I can to get cured but all to no avail as expected , my life was gradually coming to an end, until i saw a post in a health forum about a herbal doctor from Estonia but lives in Africa who prepares herbal medicines to cure all kind of diseases including ALS, MND, Epilepsy, Leukemia, Asthma, Cancer, Ghonorhea and so on, at first i doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try, when i contacted this herbal doctor via his email and he asked some questions,then he prepared an ALS herbal portion and sent it to me via courier service, when i received this herbal portion, he gave me step by step instructions on how to apply it, when i applied it as instructed, i was cured of this deadly disease within 10 days, I could not walk or talk understandably before but after i took the herbal cure as he instructed i regained strength in my bones and i could talk properly unlike before, I am now free from the deadly disease, all thanks to [DR NAME].please for those suffering from ALS please and please Contact this Great and humble herbal doctor via his email [EMAIL DELETED] to prepare a portion for you too. Goodluck

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello everyone, I'm here to speak about the good work {NAME DELETED} has done in my life, the man who cured me from MND/ AIDS, I was infected by someone i loved and he didn't say it me he was MND positive. i was searching through the internet for help when i saw a comment of people speaking on how {NAME DELETED} has helped them cure their MND disease and other diseases, i didn't believe but i just choose to give Him a try to {NAME DELETED} and i contacted him through this e-mail (EMAIL DELETED) and i was told what to do and i did it. To my greatest surprise after patiently going according to instruction given to me by this man called {NAME DELETED} and i went for a medical test and the result was negative. I want to say thanks to [DR NAME] and God will bless you for the good work you are doing. you also contact this great and powerful man if you have any problem on your body via his e-mail: [EMAIL DELETED] or call him on [PHONE NUMBER DELETED]
    he is for real a herbal doctor.

    ReplyDelete
  9. you are a fool,just because it hasn't worked for you doesn't give you the right to destroy another person's hope,that was how i use to think until my grandpa got cure with a spellcaster's help,thank God for them my grandpa would have been dead.so rethink.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joy, I'm not destroying anyone's hope - these people don't offer hope but I bet they take money.

      I get several of these similarly-worded comments every week (I just delete them now) from different people claiming that someone is a healer or spell caster. The comments vary with slightly different medical conditions cured, or slightly different email addresses. It's a scam, it's a shame you don't see that, but I'm not going to permit any of them to tout their wares on this blog (which is, obviously, my right as the owner of the blog).

      Delete
  10. I *still* get several of these a week though it is beginning to die down. Perhaps posting this redacted version will start it all up again which would probably serve me right ;)

    Erickson Milner amuses us with this tale which is only slightly different from all the other spam comments left here -

    -----

    Good Day everyone, just want to share my experience here, because i have been screwed by some of these fake casters...

    My Husband was DX with ALS for years and i went everywhere to get useful information that will help cure or suppress the disease. then i came across testimonies of those that took my hard earn money without any useful information or cure but they keep telling stories. about two months ago, a new staff was applied in my place of work and when He heard about my Husband Disease He was so remorseful and told me about [fake doctor].but i felt it was still one of those internet guys so i didn't call or text [fake doctor]. later that week, He asked me if i have heard from [fake doctor] and he gave me proof and reasons to try. well, lots of thanks to [fake doctor] because as i am writing this message, my Husband is CURED through the herbs that [fake doctor] sent to us. so after my experience, i decided to save some people from falling to the hands of SCAMS. thanks for your time and if you require the service of [fake doctor] you have to reach him via email: [fake doctor]@yahoo.com or [fake doctor]@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Aftaab Rehman inexplicably asks "Can u send me the details of the doctor."

    No Aftaab. I suggest reading the post to see why I'm not going to do that.

    ReplyDelete

Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).