June 26, 2010

From Carl Kaun:

Re: Sense of direction may be innate (June 17): It's anecdotal, but ...

I grew up in Montana. While I lived in Montana, I pretty nearly always had a pretty good sense of where north was, and of course the other directions as well. This was true on gray days and sunny, and also at night although not quite as sharply. When I moved to Maryland, after college, I still had a sense of where north was, but actual north was always about 30 degrees clockwise from where I felt it was. This actually seems to be the wrong direction if my sense was based on magnetic north, but that was my experience. Still, it's nice to know that us mammals might have a sense of direction acquired somehow.

The sense seems to have faded now in my old(er) age, and I no longer have any sense at all of where north might be, except by accessing a compass, the sun, or some other device.

Carl Kaun
Henderson, NV

Re: Hey Jude: Get that song out my head! (May 28, 2010): Despite the positive spin you place on these infections, I can tell you from personal experience, they can be *quite* problematic.

A couple months ago, I got a U2 song stuck in my head and it wouldn’t let me sleep at night and when I woke up, it was there. Yes, I was under a great deal of stress and had some personal turmoil in my life, but I never thought music would affect me that way.

I told my doctor about it and he put me on Celexa. That helped and it eventually went away. I am no longer on the medication. I have been musical all my life, so I have had earworms before. But I have never had a song stick so badly that I had to seek medical help.

Of interest also, was that my grandmother used to complain of her upstairs neighbor playing the piano loudly. There was no piano upstairs. Many years later, I read of musical hallucinations. I think she was having them. I hope it does not run in families!

Leila M. McMichael

From Peter Apthorp:

Re: Study seeks to show how acupuncture really works (May 30, 2010): I thought you’d be interested in knowing about a form of acupressure that works just as well, It’s called Emotional Freedom Techniques. Those of us who are practitioners of EFT find it not only relieves emotional disturbances, but many physical aliments, as well. It has been a very beneficial healing method for approximately 15 years and “often works where nothing else will.”

See http://www.eftuniverse.com.

Peter Apthorp, D. Min.
EFT Advanced Practitioner
8340 N Thornydale, #110-105
Tucson, AZ 85741

From Kermit Rose:

Re: Diversity within species may be as important as among them: study (June 2): When, years ago, I had first read the phrase “Diversity of species”, I had interpreted it to mean “Diversity within species”. I wonder what Charles Darwin had had in mind when he said “Diversity of species”.

From Marinus Anthony VanderSluijs:

Re: Mice show pain in their faces, study finds (May 9): I am disappointed that you report on scientific research that has involved the torture, abuse and wilfull mutilation of healthy animals, such as mice. Is that progress?

June 17, 2010

From Ben Dussan:

Re: Arctic ice at multi -millennium low: researchers (June 3): It is amazing that “scientists” use such iffy terms in their scientific output:

ap­pears to be un­matched over at least the last few thou­sand years: Is this an opinion? Otherwise, how can you make such an unsubstantiated statement?

with cer­tain skills and luck: Although luck may play a role in some scientific finds, I think that it is unscientific to rely on luck when making factual like statements.

sci­en­tists can search for a bio­chem­i­cal mark­er that is tied to cer­tain spe­cies of al­gae that live only in ice. If that mark­er is in the sed­i­ment, then that loca­t­ion was likely co­vered in ice at the time: Does it mean that ALL ice must have such algae? What does likely mean in terms of probability?

Satel­lites can pro­vide de­tailed meas­ures of how much ice is co­vering the pole right now…. While know­ing the loss of sur­face ar­ea of the ice is im­por­tant, Polyak said that this work can’t yet re­veal an even more im­por­tant fact: how the to­tal vol­ume of ice—thick­ness as well as sur­face ar­e­a—has changed over time. “Un­derneath the sur­face, the ice can be thick or thin. The new­est sat­el­lite tech­niques and field ob­serva­t­ions al­low us to see that the vol­ume of ice is shrink­ing much faster than its ar­ea to­day. The pic­ture is very trou­bling. We are los­ing ice very fast,” he said. These statements are contradictory. Care to elaborate on them new­est sat­el­lite tech­niques and field ob­serva­t­ions, and much faster?

Perhaps what is the most troubling aspect of subject article is the inference that just from a few (compared to the utter vastness of the arctic) sediment core samples you guys give a whole picture of the arctic. In other words it is implied that the arctic ocean floor is homogeneous, in terms of its composition, and that the sediments came primarily from above the floor, thus appearing to neglect particulates carried by ocean currents from just about anywhere in the world oceans and rivers…. Also the inference that you guys know all what’s needed to be known to make such factual like statements quite frankly is, to put it mildly, quite ludicrous. It is ok to give opinions, but they must be stated as such, and not as facts.

From Warren Harding:

Re: Hey Jude: Get that song out my head! (May 28): I’m 57 and have been a musician all my life. While I’ve never heard the term “earworm” there’s rarely a time in my life when some song isn’t going round and round in my head (often to my dismay). All to often it’s stupid stuff like nursery rhymes or songs I hate. Don’t get me started on Achey Breakey Heart. 8^O

What I wanted to say is that whatever’s going around in my head when I go to bed is usually there when I wake up. That’s got to be a significant clue as I imagine it rules out some sort of support from conciousness.

Just thought I’d say. If anyone wants to discuss it with me I’m happy to help.

New Zealand
Warren Harding

From Charles F. Barth:

Re: Study seeks to show how acupuncture really works (May 30): Maiken Nedergaard’s research on the mechanism by which acupuncture relieved pain was quite interesting. The results, however, raise questions as to locating the source of the pain. Masking pain is largely palliative and, idiopathic conditions aside, may mask a serious condition that may be life-threatening.

Dr. Charles F. Barth

From Robbie Hatley:

Re: Off-kilter planetary system surprises astronomers (May 24): That article says: Scientists had generally assumed that when more than one planet orbit a star, the orbits share one plane.

Not so. Almost, but the word “had” makes a falsity of this, because up until recently (the last few months, actually), the word “planet” was defined a little more broadly, and included Pluto (which was “demoted” a few months back from “planet” to “dwarf planet”). Pluto’s orbit is inclined about 17 degrees from Earth’s orbit. Furthermore, Pluto is not the only major body in our solar system with unusual orbital dynamics. Uranus is even stranger: even though its orbit is close to being coplanar with Earth’s orbit, it’s orbit is extremely eccentric (long, narrow ellipse, not even close to being circular), and it’s spin axis is tilted roughly 90 degrees to the ecliptic, so we’re often looking at its poles rather than its equator as it orbits Sol. So when researchers found that the orbits of these two distant planets were atilt 30 degrees relative to each other, while it was surprising I’m sure, it was certainly not unprecedented. I believe your article overstates the “surprise” factor, and would have been more accurate and informative if local precedents (Pluto, Uranus) had been mentioned.

Robbie Hatley
Stanton, CA, USA

From Larry Coffey:

Re: Study seeks to show how acupuncture really works (May 30): About 17 years ago I had three gall bladder attacks within the space of six months. Each of them was so painful that not only could I not sleep, I couldn’t even sit. I walked the floor twisted in pain. I learned what the conventional treatment was, and didn’t want to have my gaul bladder removed so I didn’t go back to the MD after that first attack. Instead, I finally decided to try acupuncture. I had two sessions, didn’t go back yet I’ve never had another attack.

If the success of acupuncture is as a result of activating pain-suppressing receptors, as this study suggests, then what explination could account for my being sympton free for all of these years. After all, pain supression woud only be addressing a sympton and not a cause, and I never had another treatment for gall bladder or the pain.

Scientific medicine is a very jelous God, and does everything it can to maintain its monopoly. For years they dismissed acupuncture as plecebo

They discount the ancient Chinese explination of how it works as usless because it isn’t their model. They have even concluded in this study that their drugs would make acupuncture work better. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that they lean on legislators to require by law, that various drugs be required in future acupuncture sessions.

From Susan Linden:

Re: Study seeks to show how acupuncture really works (May 30): I haven’t read the original study which was the subject of this article, but the way it’s reported on your site impelled a response.

Call me cynical, but it sounds like “Big Pharma” has struck again!

Ex. , last statement: “ ‘Thus, medications that interfere with A1 receptors or adenosine metabolism may improve the clinical benefit of acupuncture, ’ the researchers wrote.”

I’m guessing that perhaps Big Pharma was a contributor to this study, but regardless... why is it always that the end conclusion involves a way to insert the possibility of a new drug?

First, I’d guess that the parameters of the study were too narrow.

As a clinician of thirty years experience, I’ve spent the last ten years including a meridian-based therapy in my practice.

Essentially, it works without needles, by energetically contacting key meridian points through the tissue by the hands of the practitioner.

It has been discovered that needles are fine, but not necessary for results if the meridians can be unblocked in less intrusive ways. My clients and I can testify, as can many other recipients of this technique, that there are startlingly effective changes, shifts, etc. in not only pain perception, but more importantly, healing, with these techniques.

Therefore, my conclusion is that while acupuncture needles might indeed facilitate pain pathways and therefore relieve pain, there is something far more important going on here, and that is freeing up the energy pathways that are blocked, so that they can do their jobs.

The technique involved was not of my making but has been brought from the East and taught in this country for many years.

It’s not relevant to mention the particular one, since there may be others equally effective.

The point is that as a scientifically trained clinician with medical board licensure, I’ve spent my professional life trying to disprove much “holistic” theory and there is no question that unblocking meridians works.

My clients confirm it and I have experienced it myself.

The study you’ve covered today is like other studies critiquing acupuncture... they all seem to focus on the pain-relieving qualities of the technique. There is something far greater involved with this theory, which eclipses the actual pain control.

Again, going in the direction of implying that acupuncture and related modalities are primarily pain management practices (1) diminishes the concept; and (2) plays right into the hands of the drug industries that, frankly, would rather see us limp along with a band-aid approach to physical dysfunction.

I welcome the day that science research can stand independently and make its own conclusions out of curiosity and altruism!