HEALTH RESEARCH, AND ITS DANGERS
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© October 2014, L.D.Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Scientific research is important, and with the internet it is easier than ever to search for any topic imaginable. However, researching today is fraught with problems and requires great discernment to avoid confusion and misinformation. This article discusses some problems with scientific research today.
HOW DO WE KNOW THINGS?
This article really deals with the question of how we know things. This subject is called epistemology. For example, ways we know things include:
1. The evidence of our senses. For example, we know when we have a toothache.
2. Reading or hearing what others tell us. This is the most common way we know many things, such as that the earth rotates around the sun.
3. Divine or direct revelation. This involves hearing voices or guides or talking with God or the angels, perhaps.
4. Use of logic and reason. This is the application of mental power to a problem. Mathematical theorums, for example, and many other things can be figured out logically. Logic and reason can also be used to perform experiments and then to observe the results and then, perhaps, to generalize from your research. This is a common scientific method.
5. Intuition. This is another faculty of the human being. It can be described as a gut feeling, perhaps, or a hunch.
The above may be helpful to understand why scientific research today is difficult to do accurately.
PROBLEMS WITH SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH TODAY
1. Ignorance. Anyone can write an article. For example, many authors, bloggers, and others are not aware of the medical literature regarding the hazards of water fluoridation. Many are also not aware of the potential side effects of vaccines, or of some of their drugs. Most are very unaware of how to use foods and supplements for healing the body at deep levels. Most do not understand the use of the near infrared sauna, or coffee enemas. They are simply not trained and not educated in this area, but this is difficult to assess, as they may write with great authority and finesse.
People also wrongly assume that because someone has a medical degree, a PhD or other credential that he or she knows their subject matter. Again, this is simply not true today. The medical care system is quite dysfunctional, in fact, and many doctors, nurses and others are quite ignorant on many health matters, although they may be called “experts” in their field.
One may ask, “Why would health professionals actually be ignorant about a health matter?” The reasons include:
1. Many health methods, theory and more are simply not taught to doctors, nurses, nutritionists, dietitians and other professionals.
2. Some of them specialize, and may be outside of their specialty. However, many are arrogant enough to think they can just look up the answer to a health question and write about it as if they are experienced in this area when they are not.
3. Some important health information is deliberately falsified or held back from your doctor by those who sell drugs, for example, or others have other vested interests in the status quo or in a particular health system or ideology. This is the truth, however unpleasant it may sound.
4. Even if health professionals do study a method or substance or technique, many are confused, overwhelmed with information, and some have brain fog or other conditions that make it difficult for them to render accurate assessments on health matters.
2. Copycats or repeaters. Many, or most websites and doctors simply repeat what they read elsewhere. This is an enormous problem. It is confusing because you may consult a dozen websites and read the same information, so you may think it must be true. All that you have really seen, however, is websites that repeat the same information they have read in books or on websites.
3. Maliciousness. Many professional-looking and well-written articles, authors and websites are actually deliberate “hatchet jobs”. That is, their specific goal is to discredit and embarrass natural healing, or a specific method or concept.
Anyone or any method that really helps people will arouse opposition and make some enemies. Millions of dollars are spent annually by drug companies, medical societies, and others to discredit and even to shut down those whom they deem to be their competition or their enemies.
For example, drug companies own thousands of websites with consumer-friendly names and gimmicks to attract your attention. However, their real goal is to gently steer you, frighten you, seduce you, and/or lure you away from natural healing and back toward using only drugs and surgery for healing.
Hair mineral analysis has been the subject of several “hatchet jobs” that were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and widely circulated to the media. I write about them in Controversy In Hair Mineral Testing.
I recall my own “transformation” from believing mainly in drug medicine to knowing through daily experience that natural methods can work as well or better, in most cases. It took some years and was a slow and often painful process of having to question against my friends, against my family, and against the mainstream thinking on the subject of health.
Please be very careful because some of these articles and websites can seem very genuine. They subtly twist logic around to make their points seem very reasonable. The main ways they confuse people are:
a) Deliberately disparaging therapies they do not want you to use.
b) Promoting toxic products as though they are “natural” or non-toxic.
c) Subtly promoting the use of drugs or other standard toxic methods or products.
d) Discussing and promoting poorly-done, flawed or even fraudulent medical “studies”.
e) Other lies about product information, testimonials, medical opinion, etc.
4. Commercialism. Some information and “research” on the internet is fabricated or exaggerated to sell a product, or to sell one brand of supplements over another. This is another common source of false information. For example, please ignore the articles on the horrors of calcium carbonate, magnesium stearate, rice protein chelates, buying spring water in plastic bottles, and more. I have checked these things carefully for toxicity, and my experience is that they are all quite safe.
5. Defensive medicine. Many internet sites practice “defensive medicine”, which means they don’t tell the truth, if they even know it, because someone might get in trouble from it and sue the website or its directors. Basically, an attorney reviews information posted on the site and has the final say whether it is published on the site. He or she frequently decides that the information must bealtered, usually to avoid a possible lawsuit.
As a result, many sites are “politically correct”, but the truth often suffers. For example, a website may write against hair mineral analysis simply because it is frowned upon by some mainstream medical authorities. Similarly, a website may recommend vaccination simply because it is widely used. If one opposes it one may be labeled as a kook or a quack, and that might open one to lawsuits.
Many doctors and other licensed personnel are scared of opposing the wishes or policies of their licensing board. As a result, they change their websites and information to appease the board, even though they know it is not the truth. Doctors have confided in me that it is simply more important for them to keep their license and stay in practice than to tell the truth.
With the advent of The Affordable Care Act of 2010, I expect this problem to get even worse, as there will be more regulations, fines and other government intervention in health care. Sadly, this problem is very real and very common, but the consumer has no idea about it, in most cases.
7. Arrogance. Simple arrogance is rampant in the health field. Arrogance here means that someone with a medical degree or a naturopathic degree believes they have all the answers, even when they do not. This personality trait is very common in the health field.
For example, most doctors are simply not that experienced with hair mineral testing, coffee enemas, foot reflexology, meditation and the rest of nutritional balancing science. Yet they make comments as though they know what they are talking about. It took me years to realize how arrogant many doctors are.
Ideally, one should work with nutritional balancing for at least 10 years before writing anything about it. That would be the responsible thing to do, but few practice it.
8. Legitimate difficulties interpreting studies. This is a very important problem. Even when studies and research are done well, and the author is honest, concerned and thoughtful, evaluating other people’s work and other people’s studies is not easy!
Many, if not most studies do not supply enough information about how the study was done in order to allow proper evaluation of the study. Also, studies done on one nutrient or one procedure such as coffee enemas do not provide the same data as studies performed on a nutrient or procedure that is used in a context of a complete healing program.
Finally,, unless one is quite experienced in a field such as natural healing, it can be difficult to even know how to evaluate some studies. It can be quite different from evaluating studies of drugs, for example.
Questions that should be addressed and must be written about in the study in order to properly evaluate it include items such as:
What was the size of the experimental group(s)?
How were the participants chosen?
Were there control groups, and what kind of controls were used?
Exactly what protocols and procedures were used in the study?
Is the time period of the study appropriate?
If non-standard protocols were used, why were they used?
Were results reported in standard ways, and was the reporting checked and correct?
Did the authors draw the right conclusions?
9. Crazies. Finally, I find that some information on the internet is written by people who are mentally unbalanced, or have some ax to grind, such as promoting vegetarianism or another ideology. Others seek attention, and are prone to hyperbole and exaggeration.
They are often excellent writers, however, so you may not realize how far they have falsely extrapolated their logic or otherwise distorted the truth. This problem is more common than one might imagine, and is particularly a problem with the internet, where there are basically no controls on what information is published.
The only defense is realize that this is a human trait in some cases, and ignore most of what you read. Please do not advocate for government censorship of the internet, which I feel would be far worse.
If one takes the trouble to do all this, often the study was not done well, or it is not relevant, or it may even have yielded information that is different or even opposite from what the authors concluded.
The result of all the
above is often:
1. Information overload.
2. Massive confusion.
3. Finding whatever you are looking for. For example, if you think garlic is harmful, if you read enough websites you will find one that agrees with your viewpoint.
HOW TO AVOID THE INTERNET RESEARCH TRAPS
1. It is impossible to avoid the problems with internet research listed above. So always search with lots of skepticism.
2. Read this site. I filter loads of information that is brought to me daily by our clients, practitioners and coaches.
3. Avoid most websites. They are not reliable sources. Here is a very rough overall guide to the accuracy of websites, in general, to help guide you:
Medical sites – 10-15% accurate
Holistic sites – 20% accurate
Product companies – 50% accurate
News sites –
conservative ones - 50% accurate
liberal ones – 10% accurate
4. If you surf the net, try to figure out what kind of internet site you are looking at. However, this is not always easy, at all.
5. Is the site selling anything? This does not necessarily mean you must ignore the information, but you must take this into account.
6. Use common sense, although one must know enough, or anything can seem like common sense. I will give an example.
According to medical doctors, many drugs, vaccines and operations are “safe”. However, one must realize that the doctors’ perspective is skewed because they do not understand natural healing.
Therefore, they accept toxicity and other risky adverse effects of drugs, vaccines and operations as necessary evils. I do not share this view because I know about safer alternatives.
It is necessary to understand various perspectives or you won’t be able to discern your way through the information.
7. Meanwhile, I will continue to write more articles to counter and dispel false information as I become aware of it. Some of these articles appear in the section of the Read Articles Page called “Warnings About Medical And Other Procedures”. Others are in the food section or other parts of the website. You may search the Read Articles Page to find them.
I also have over 35 years of direct patient experience with at least 50,000 people. Dr. Paul Eck, my mentor, had another 10 years experience. I am not just a “staff writer” who reads things and then puts information up on a website, as is the case with most health websites.
I am also extremely careful about toxicity, side effects and other possible problems with foods, supplements, drugs and everything else. I also listen to patient feedback on a daily basis. If a problem shows up, I can and do act upon it quickly, and I share our observations and research on this website.
A COMMON EXAMPLE
I receive many comments from clients and others that coffee enemas are not safe, according to some websites. People write me that coffee enemas can deplete electrolytes, cause constipation or dependency, perforate your colon, or other problems.
In fact, the hazards of internet research listed above can come into play when researching coffee enemas. That is, there is:
- much ignorance
- partial truths
- opposition by competing interests or methods
- hatchet jobs just trying to stop people from getting well
- studies that are hard to evaluate because not enough information is given.
- so many comments that you can find someone who will support any viewpoint at all.
In fact, this is hopelessly confusing. The truth, we find repeatedly, is that if one does daily coffee enemas as part of an integrated nutritional balancing program, no major problems arises, even if they are continued for years. Meanwhile, the benefits are just amazing in some cases, and the benefits occur in all cases.