SCIENCE!

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Re: SCIENCE!

Postby mushroom_curry » Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:27 pm

I'm just going to chime in here and point something out...

In science we seek the truth. To get to the truth, we use structured inquiry to make observations, from which we make deductions and then further observations.

The point of this process is to find situations in which a phenomena occurs, then circumstances in which it does NOT occur in order to falsify it.

For example, if let's say we observe that cancer occurs when someone stands outside in the wind for 10 minutes. If wind is the cause of cancer, then conversely a person who has never come into contact with wind should remain cancer free forever. In order for something to be true, we have to observe it to be not true also... it is a requisite.

Yes our bodies are a network of circuits, but these operate using neurons with their own electrical potential, which interact chemically between the terminus of one neural cell and the start of another. What you're describing is rather similar to touching one end of a meter to the housing of a CPU on a desktop computer with a series of closed circuits on circuit boards nested inside of it. If you're seeing something register on that meter in that scenario there is something seriously wrong with your computer (i.e. you have current running to the metal casing). Do you have some sort of reference that explains this phenomena where you can measure the body's cumulative "energy" via the socket's third prong?

What I will also point out is that if you had a sufficiently long metal rod (i.e. antenna) which you connected through a series of resistors and to a ground that was sufficently deep, you CAN create an electrical potential... and you have in turn built something capable of receiving radio signals/radio. So yes you are able to do that, but the key difference there is metal to metal contact through your resistors creating the electrical potential necessary to generate the radio output/current... and yes thats entirely without any external power source.
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Re: SCIENCE!

Postby professor science » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:07 am

mushroom_curry wrote:In science we seek the truth. To get to the truth, we use structured inquiry to make observations, from which we make deductions and then further observations.

The point of this process is to find situations in which a phenomena occurs, then circumstances in which it does NOT occur in order to falsify it.


I'm going to go a little farther on this with specific regards to my mother's condition (MS).

A few years ago, the news media had reported that there was promise in a miracle treatment for MS called CCSVI (Chronic CerebroSpinal Veinous Insufficiency). Dr. Zamboni thought that the lesions in the brain of people who live with MS were caused by poor draining of the blood from the brain due to blockages in the veins leading out of the brain and back to the heart.

There was a lot of promise, he had discovered that many people with MS had these blockages, and so he devised a treatment where the blockages were removed and the veins reopened (similar to how arteries are kept open/reopened in heart attack/angina patients).

Many people sought this treatment, my mother flew to Germany to have this done, Kim's (Tristan's lady) mother (I think) also had this done in two places (IIRC, Hungary was one). There were many success stories of this treatment, and few stories of negligible improvement. Many were up in arms over the lack of support from Health Canada and the MS Society.

More research was done, and it was found that about 50% of those with MS had these blockages, it was also found that about 50% of people who don't have MS also have these blockages. So really we have no way of knowing if these blockages are a potential cause of MS, a potential symptom of MS, or a confounding factor.

Without knowledge of when it works, who it works for or why it works, it can't be recommended as a treatment method for *anything*.

There is no mechanism for Earthing to work. To the layperson it seems to make sense, but our biological organism is more complex than that. If everything that made sense was correct, then old wives tales would be included in modern medicine.
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Re: SCIENCE!

Postby tripwalking » Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:42 pm

This certainly isn't my field, so I hesitate to defend the position, but I do still have some questions.

Is 9 volts running through the body ok? Is 20 volts? 60? 200? At what point do we say "hold on, that's enough." and at what point do we begin to measure the effects of this interference on the various electrical systems in our bodies?

Is Aspirin effective for everyone? Is it more effective than the placebo effect if someone is told they're taking Aspirin?

Rob, regarding your bolded sentence... If I'm reading you correctly, and let me know if I'm not, we need to know why something works to say that it does work. And if something works, under this system we have to say it's either a placebo or there was something else going on and that it didn't really work. Is that right? But you said there were success stories, so they did know when it worked, who it worked for, but just not exactly why. Do we cancel the whole program because of that? Are they still doing research?

Who benefits financially from studying earthing? Who loses? I know this has been brought up before, but if we think we understand the back rooms of corporate funding of drug testing, I think we're kidding ourselves. There is incredible amounts of money to be made from patenting drugs, and comparatively zilch to something alternative. I'd like to believe this is a pure process, but I don't feel I can trust the system.

What do you mean there's no mechanism for earthing to work? Do you mean we can't explain it, so therefore it doesn't work, or do you mean it's hippy feelsgoodman and not scientific? I returned my voltmeter to my brother, but if you have one that measures in millivolts I can show you at least how I'm measuring.

The inverse of how you explained why I might feel good while walking barefoot on the earth could also apply. Someone might think it's because they're on vacation and walking barefoot on the beach is the explanation for why they feel well, but maybe it's because they're touching the earth. Maybe gardeners feel well when they garden because they enjoy it, but maybe it's because their hands are in the dirt. Maybe you feel great when you walk outside in your bare feet in the morning because you just woke up and it's a nice day, but maybe touching the earth has something to do with it. If someone feels well while they're gardening, what do we do with that? Tell them they don't really feel well because we don't know whether it's the earth or the gardening that's doing it? I'm probably confusing feeling well with getting better in a medical sense.

Sorry, I've had this on my screen for hours... I keep getting interrupted. My thoughts might not be completely coherent! Or maybe I'm just wrong :)
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Re: SCIENCE!

Postby Maraschino Larry » Wed Apr 30, 2014 2:20 pm

I think the primary point of contention is having things like earthing considered and marketed as medical treatment based on scientific basis, when there isn't the background to substantiate that. The scientific process for proving cause:effect correlations is a specifically defined process, and as far as any of us can tell no study has been able to prove that earthing meets these requirements. Who benefits/who loses/etc. has nothing to do with the scientific/medical substantiation, and (for me at least) that's what's being contended here.

If wearing a red hat makes you feel better than when you wear a blue hat then that is excellent, and the perceived benefit could potentially even be rooted in some tangible physiological changes (see: the placebo doc I posed), BUT, that doesn't mean I should be allowed to go around marketing a "Pain relieving feel good red hat" to the infirmed.
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Re: SCIENCE!

Postby professor science » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:20 pm

DW, your response was definitely coherent. I'm going to try to break down what you're asking into coherent responses.

tripwalking wrote:…but I do still have some questions.


Good! I'm glad you still have questions. Only by asking questions do we learn.

tripwalking wrote:Is 9 volts running through the body ok? Is 20 volts? 60? 200? At what point do we say "hold on, that's enough." and at what point do we begin to measure the effects of this interference on the various electrical systems in our bodies?


Our body's electrical systems work in a much different way than conventional electricity. The cells which rely on electrical signals depend upon ion concentrations (potassium ions and sodium ions) to produce their effect. In order to send signals, "holes" in cell membranes open and ions flow in opposite directions (from high concentration to low concentration). Ions have a electrical charge (sodium is positive, and potassium is negative), so this motion of ions produces an effect similar to electricity as we know it, but the mechanism is different.

When we are looking at the body and electric potential difference (what many people call voltage) what's harmful depends on the type of electric current (AC or DC). From what I have read, Earthing has more to do with static charge, and so no current is involved at all. Charge should evenly distribute around the body. When this happens, there is no net charge in the body. Unless you can store extra electrons in one specific part of your body then there will be no net effect on anything happening inside the body (your body essentially acts as a faraday cage). The only issue is what happens when you come into contact with ground. If you have a large amount of charge stored on the body and ground at your hand, you may have a large amount of electricity flowing through your heart. This would have to be an INCREDIBLY large amount of charge that would have to be deliberately placed on the body.

See this video to watch a cool demonstration of putting 200,000 V on your body. It's super accessible and might help clarify some misconceptions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubZuSZYVBng

tripwalking wrote:Is Aspirin effective for everyone? Is it more effective than the placebo effect if someone is told they're taking Aspirin?


Aspirin is not necessarily effective for everyone. Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) is a pain reliever, fever reducer, inflammation reducer, and anticlotting agent. It interferes with the production of compounds in the body that cause pain, fever, inflammation, and blood clots. Because of this, it is not recommended for persons who have allergies to ASA or any ingredients of the medication, are in their last trimester of pregnancy, are prone to bleeding, or have an active peptic ulcer. (source: http://chealth.canoe.ca/drug_info_detai ... me_id=1325)

It is more effective than placebo, otherwise it could not be used. That's part of the purpose of research and double blinded trials, to ensure that the effect is due to the drug and not to coincidence, placebo or other confounding factors.

tripwalking wrote:Rob, regarding your bolded sentence... If I'm reading you correctly, and let me know if I'm not, we need to know why something works to say that it does work. And if something works, under this system we have to say it's either a placebo or there was something else going on and that it didn't really work. Is that right? But you said there were success stories, so they did know when it worked, who it worked for, but just not exactly why. Do we cancel the whole program because of that? Are they still doing research?


I should restate that. We need to know, conclusively, that something works. If one group produces results but another group running the same procedure cannot replicate the results, then it puts the medical field in a bit of a tough place.
We then have to figure out why does it work for you, but for no one else? What is so special about the way you are doing things? Or what is so special about your patients?

If the effect is not reproducible in a larger sample, then it's back to square one.

If we find that something does work, we must be able to say that it works **better** than placebo. And if it works, and we can't figure out why, but we know who it works for and who it doesn't work for, what any side effects are, and how to effectively administer it, then we can use it, but need to determine a mechanism for why it works. (I doubt it would be used without knowing why it works, there should be some theoretical backing for the evidence, otherwise we probably wouldn't want to use it. — Someone feel free to correct me if this is wrong)

There were success stories, but what was shown was that while there may be a difference 6 months later, 18 months later there was no difference. The article below sums things up nicely.
http://www.theguardian.com/science/brai ... e-cures-ms
I believe there are still trials going on, but they're not showing much promise for multiple reasons.

tripwalking wrote:Who benefits financially from studying earthing? Who loses? I know this has been brought up before, but if we think we understand the back rooms of corporate funding of drug testing, I think we're kidding ourselves. There is incredible amounts of money to be made from patenting drugs, and comparatively zilch to something alternative. I'd like to believe this is a pure process, but I don't feel I can trust the system.


Yes, profit is an initiative, but we can also take a look at it now and say, who is profiting from Earthing? If you can buy a silver threaded sheet with a plug for $180 *SOMEBODY* is profiting from it. http://www.earthing.ca/Shop_s/1824.htm

We also need to understand that doctors and scientists are the ones doing the research. Doctors, when they take the hippocratic oath, pledge that they will avoid any voluntary act of impropriety or corruption. While they are just words, and there will be those who violate those words, the number is likely small and the scientific community will likely make sure that the corruptors are outed. (Here's a nice link to a summary of the Andrew Wakefield MMR Vaccine/Autism case: http://tallguywrites.livejournal.com/148012.html)

By intentionally not doing research for the greater good, doctors are indirectly, but willingly, harming their patients.

We have to remember that if a treatment is shown to be effective it *WILL* be taken into medicine and used as medicine, regardless of whether it originated as a complimentary/alternative medicine or a pharmaceutical.

tripwalking wrote:What do you mean there's no mechanism for earthing to work? Do you mean we can't explain it, so therefore it doesn't work, or do you mean it's hippy feelsgoodman and not scientific? I returned my voltmeter to my brother, but if you have one that measures in millivolts I can show you at least how I'm measuring.


I mean there's no mechanism for it to work because of multiple reasons. There's the faraday cage effect mentioned above, a buildup of charge on the body won't have an effect on the actions within the body. Also because we consistently ground ourselves throughout the day. Walking on the dirt for 2 hours a day will keep you grounded for those 2 hours, but as soon as you put your shoes back on, you won't be grounded, until you wash your hands, or touch a tap, or the sink, or any number of things in your home or workplace. Additionally, if the air is humid, you will bleed off charge to the air, thereby grounding yourself (when we try to do static electricity experiments at high school we have to make sure it's not rainy or damp because the things we are trying to charge will not retain their charge).

Even if it was a hippyfeelsgoodmanism, but produced a measurable and reproducible effect, then it would become treatment within the medical field.

tripwalking wrote:The inverse of how you explained why I might feel good while walking barefoot on the earth could also apply. Someone might think it's because they're on vacation and walking barefoot on the beach is the explanation for why they feel well, but maybe it's because they're touching the earth. Maybe gardeners feel well when they garden because they enjoy it, but maybe it's because their hands are in the dirt. Maybe you feel great when you walk outside in your bare feet in the morning because you just woke up and it's a nice day, but maybe touching the earth has something to do with it. If someone feels well while they're gardening, what do we do with that? Tell them they don't really feel well because we don't know whether it's the earth or the gardening that's doing it? I'm probably confusing feeling well with getting better in a medical sense.


Yes, you're right, maybe it's because they're in contact with the Earth, but until the effect is supported by measurable, repeatable evidence (not anecdote), then it cannot be recommended by a medical professional as a treatment for anything.

I hope that helps!
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Re: SCIENCE!

Postby tripwalking » Fri May 02, 2014 1:11 am

Thanks for that, Rob. I appreciate your time. Digesting :)


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Re: SCIENCE!

Postby professor science » Fri May 02, 2014 12:16 pm

No problem. I'm glad you are asking questions. I'm trying not to be dismissive, please let me know if I come across as such.
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Re: SCIENCE!

Postby Dreamstate » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:38 pm

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Re: SCIENCE!

Postby professor science » Sat Dec 20, 2014 1:09 pm

This is old, but I was reminded of it this week when teaching optics/vision/perception to my grade 10s and 12s.

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Blackest is the new black: Scientists develop a material so dark that you can't see it...

And:
Upgrade your grey matter 'cause one day it may matter.

Don't be in such a hurry to condemn a person because they don't do what you do, or think as you think. There was a time when you didn't know what you know today...

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Re: SCIENCE!

Postby wide_load » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:40 am

Neat stuffs!
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