oil pulling debunked

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oil pulling debunked

Postby Fin24 » Sat 25 Oct 2008 23:49

great article does the work for me


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Re: oil pulling debunked

Postby Claudia » Sun 26 Oct 2008 14:08

The claim is that oil pulling "draws toxins out" through the large veins that run under the tongue, apparently like some sort of amazing hemofiltration or dialysis process through the mucosal lining of the mouth. Of course, the biggest problem with this concept is basic chemistry. Assuming that oil pulling could actually somehow "pull toxins" out of your bloodstream, what kind of toxins would it "pull"? Obviously it would have to be fat-soluble toxins. The problem is, fat soluble compounds tend not so circulate in the blood but to accumulate in the fat stores. So, even if oil pulling could bind toxins somehow, even drawing them through the skin, how, then, would it even get to them where they are in the fat stores? I suppose a woo-meister could counter that fat soluble toxins do slowly recirculate between the fat stores and the blood and that doing this procedure three times a day over time would leech out the toxins. However, given that there's no physiological mechanism by which oil could "pull toxins" into the mouth through the oral mucosa, worrying about equilibration of these unnamed "toxins" between fat stores and the blood is a pointless exercise.

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/ ... _oil_1.php

It's sad that something as ridiculously nonsensical as oil pulling even needs to be debunked. :bonk:

But in LymeLand, we not only have patients believing it, but also some highly regarded/hyped (in certain circles) "LLMD's" such as Dr. Cowden and publications like The Public Health Alert promoting it :roll: :

From the thread "Press Release: New Series Available": viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1196 ... cd=3&gl=us

Dr. Cowden supports a number of options for enhancing the body's ability to detoxify. First, pesticides, herbicides, and solvents can often be removed effectively with the use of homeopathic detoxification formulas. Far-Infrared(FIR) sauna can promote effective detoxification through the surface of the skin.

Detox foot pads worn on the soles of the feet while sleeping afew nights aweek can support elimination of toxins through the feet.

A technique referred to as"oil swish and spit" or "oil pulling", whereone continuously moves a healthy oil(such as sesame, walnut,almond, or olive oil) around in the mouth for at least 10 minutes before expelling the oil into the trash, can support the removal of fat-soluble toxins.

For toxins bearing a chemical charge, such as pesticides and heavy metals, an ionic foot bath such as the GTech BodyCleanse™ can be a powerful intervention.

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Re: oil pulling debunked

Postby LymeEnigma » Mon 27 Oct 2008 10:37

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Re: oil pulling debunked

Postby jenbooks » Sat 1 Nov 2008 20:30

It doesn't pull toxins out of the blood but it does attract bacteria (which are lipophilic) and help clean the gums and teeth. I do it for about ten minutes every morning and it has cleared up a problematic gum issue around a wisdom tooth that was really bothersome. Similarly, "liver flushes" use a mechanical method (oil) to flush out the liver, and ayurvedic medicine uses oils to cleanse, and even nutsy Ron Hubbard invented a good method of detox with saunas, niacin (to open blood vessels) and oils to absorb toxins that were flushed out during saunas.

There is good logic to some of these methods.

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Re: oil pulling debunked

Postby Claudia » Sun 2 Nov 2008 14:58

jenbooks wrote:

Similarly, "liver flushes" use a mechanical method (oil) to flush out the liver, and ayurvedic medicine uses oils to cleanse, and even nutsy Ron Hubbard invented a good method of detox with saunas, niacin (to open blood vessels) and oils to absorb toxins that were flushed out during saunas.

There is good logic to some of these methods.

No, just more "detoxification" woo. Liver flushes explained by a research scientist and surgeon:

So what, exactly, does a liver flush entail? Well, most liver flushes involve drinking large quantities of fruit juices of some kind, usually along with epsom salts and oils such as olive oil. For example, here's one protocol found (where else?) on CureZone:


1 gallon apple juice (freshly pressed)

2 ounces orthophosphoric acid (Phosfood from Standard Process or Ortho phos from Nutra-Dyn)

Enema bag and colon tube


Epsom Salts

Whipping cream and berries

Olive oil


Add one bottle (2 ounces) of orthophosphoric acid to the gallon of apple juice. Shake and refrigerate. Over the next three to five days, drink the gallon of juice (3 to 4 8-ounce glasses a day) between meals. Be sure to rinse your mouth out with baking soda and/or brush your teeth after drinking the juice to prevent the acid from damaging the teeth. Eat normally during the liver flush.

On the day following whatever day you finish the gallon of juice, eat your normal breakfast and lunch.

Two hours after lunch, drink 1-2 tablespoons of Epsom Salts dissolved in warm water.

Four hours after lunch, do a one pint coffee enema.

Five hours after lunch, drink 1 tablespoon of Epsom Salts dissolved in warm water.

Six or seven hours after lunch, eat a dinner of heavy whipping cream and frozen or fresh berries - as much as desired.

At bedtime, drink 1/2 cup of olive oil. A small amount of orange, grapefruit, or lemon juice may be added if desired. Immediately after drinking the oil, go to bed and lie on your right side with knees drawn up for 30 minutes. You may feel nauseated during the night. This is due to the release of stored toxins from the gallbladder and liver. This is normal and a sign that the protocol is working.

Upon arising in the morning, do a coffee enema.

I still haven't figured out how the coffee enema "flushes" the liver. I also still haven't figured out why anyone would want to partake of the glorious coffee bean in any way other than the usual way. Certainly, this is a rather difficult way to get your caffeine fix!

There are, of course, many variations. Here are but a few:

1. Hulda Clark's Liver Cleanse-Gallbladder Cleanse
2. Dr. Kelley's Liver-Gallbladder flush
3. Are You Stoned? Liver-Gallbladder flush
4. Liver flush protocol with apple juice and orthophosphoric acid
5. "Classic Coke" liver flush and gallbladder flush (Egads, this one requires a good slug of magnesium citrate!)
6. "Cleansing or Surgery" liver and gallbladder cleanse (with four gallons of apple juice!)
7. Olive oil liver/gallbladder cleanse
8. Seven day program liver/gallbladder cleanse
9. Dushan's grandmother's liver/gallbladder cleanse

And the list goes on and on and on and on. (And so will you if you try these cleanses.)

So what will happen if you do this (besides your inducing a lot of poop)? Well, certainly you will find things in your stool. If you read the many testimonials and look at the disgusting pictures on all the websites touting liver flushes, you will see photos proudly displayed of greenish balls or various other things that sort of look like--well, sort of "stone"-like. Naturally, the liver flushers claim that these are gallstones--without actually proving that's what they are. Indeed, although it is possible to pass gallstones into your stool and occasionally even find one, it's highly unlikely to pass such copious amounts of stones (as claimed by testimonials) without having had clinical symptoms of gallbladder disease. In some cases, the number of "stones" observed in the stool would have required a gallbladder the size of a basketball to hold them all! And, given that more always seem to "come out" when additional flushes are done, it would seem to imply that there is an endless supply there to be "dumped" out. In any case, check out this testimonial to see what I mean:

"I just completed my 3rd liver cleanse. Whew! 1st cleanse 250 small stones pea size or less brown and green. 2nd cleanse 460 stones, small stones pea size or less brown and green. 3rd cleanse 260 stones light and dark green. Many marble size and 2 almost as big as golf balls (I saved these!) I highly recommend Andreas Moritz's book, "The Amazing Liver Cleanse". I followed to the letter and did colosan and colonics before and after. I read your testimonials and thought I would add my information."

This testimonial gets a bit closer to what may be the truth behind liver cleansing:

"I did a 'liver cleanse' or gallbladder flush about 6 nights ago! I'm a 50 year old female in good health. I'm not overweight and have no health problems. I'm active and have been a schoolteacher for 25 years.
I did not have any symptoms of gallstones nor did I have an ultrasound. I just had always been curious to try a gallbladder flush and see if anything came out- as they say most everyone has these gallstones and it's good to get them OUT.

I did the flush at about 9:30 p.m. And I vomited about 12:30!!! I thought oh hell what an un-pleasant waste of time. BUT the next morning I DID pass some (25?) gelatinous looking things that were greenish - none larger than a small pea. I felt lousey - bloated and not hungry the next day. But since then I've felt great!!

I think I vomited because I ate some plain white rice and drank some carrot juice about 5pm. I have been researching various liver/gallbladder cleanses and most say NOT to eat all day and to drink organic apple juice and only that for at least 2 days prior. I took only 4oz of fresh squeezed lemon juice followed by 4 oz of olive oil at about 10 pm. I nearly gagged **YUK** as I was taking it! I will do it again but will follow your directions. I wish I had come across this website BEFORE I did my flush.

Note that this is an asymptomatic woman with absolutely no evidence of gallbladder or liver disease and without even any GI symptoms. Because of a vague curiosity, she made herself miserable for a couple of days with this "liver flush" and then noticed something "coming out." These "gelatinous things" were almost certainly not gallstones. There are several varieties of gallstones. Of these, cholesterol stones can be kind of soft and easily broken, but I don't think they could be correctly described as "gelatinous." In any case, if these "flushes" actually removed gallstones, it would be easy to show scientifically, as I've pointed out time and time again, going back to my Usenet days even, when I answered an altie who complained that "healers" don't have access to CT scanners to "prove" that stones were being removed:

"Healers" don't need a CT machine. They just need an ultrasound machine, which is less expensive by a factor of at least 25-50. Ultrasound machines have become quite ubiquitous, as the price has fallen dramatically (and the quality has increased dramatically) in recent years. Virtually every OB/GYN practice that does prenatal care has at least one in their office. Many general surgeons have them now, too; as do most big emergency rooms. They now make portable ultrasound machines that fit into briefcases....Heck, you can find ultrasound machines in very poor parts of China and India, where, unfortunately, they are used to determine the sex of fetuses, so that parents can abort females they don't want. So don't tell me alt-med "healers" can't get access to basic ultrasound machines. I don't buy it for one minute, particularly since I've seen ads from such "healers" claiming to use ultrasound as part of their approach.

All you would need to do such a pilot study is a interested and/or sympathetic radiologist to team up with a "healer" who has an ultrasound machine--and, of course, the will to document symptoms, physical examination, diagnosis, pre-flush stone load in the gallbladder, and post-flush stone load in the gallbladder rigorously.

So, given how easy it would be to do such a pilot study, why haven't alties pushing these flushes done it? It's perhaps among the easiest of their claims to prove or disprove.

Not surprisingly, it's still never been done, as far as I can tell.

What has been done, however, is a study that suggests just how much self-delusion is involved in liver flushes. It is based on a case report that a group in New Zealand contributed to the Lancet:

"A 40-year-old woman was referred to the outpatient clinic with a 3-month history of recurrent severe right hypochondrial pain after fatty food. [Note: Here "hypochondrial" means "below the ribcage,' not "hypochondriac."] Abdominal ultrasound showed multiple 1-2 mm gallstones in the gallbladder.

She had recently followed a "liver cleansing" regime on the advice of a herbalist. This regime consisted of free intake of apple and vegetable juice until 1800 h, but no food, followed by the consumption of 600 mL of olive oil and 300 mL of lemon juice over several hours. This activity resulted in the painless passage of multiple semisolid green "stones" per rectum in the early hours of the next morning. She collected them, stored them in the freezer, and presented them in the clinic.

Microscopic examination of our patient's stones revealed that they lacked any crystalline structure, melted to an oily green liquid after 10 min at 40°C, and contained no cholesterol, bilirubin, or calcium by established wet chemical methods. Traditional faecal fat extraction techniques indicated that the stones contained fatty acids that required acid hydrolysis to give free fatty acids before extraction into ether. These fatty acids accounted for 75% of the original material.

Experimentation revealed that mixing equal volumes of oleic acid (the major component of olive oil) and lemon juice produced several semi solid white balls after the addition of a small volume of a potassium hydroxide solution. On air drying at room temperature, these balls became quite solid and hard.

We conclude, therefore, that these green "stones" resulted from the action of gastric lipases on the simple and mixed triacylglycerols that make up olive oil, yielding long chain carboxylic acids (mainly oleic acid). This process was followed by saponification into large insoluble micelles of potassium carboxylates (lemon juice contains a high concentration of potassium) or "soap stones"

In other words, the "stones" that liver cleansers are so proud of and go to such effort to strain their poo for after doing their flushes are not gallstones and were almost certainly the result of the actual flush itself! It makes perfect sense, if you think about it. These protocols usually involve fasting and then up to a half liter or more of olive oil at one time. That could easily provide the conditions for this sort of reaction to take place. Neat, isn't it? The very sign of "success" of the liver flush is something that has nothing to do with gallstones and everything to do with the results of the flush itself. Indeed, it's quite clear that, even if you don't have gallstones, if you do a liver flush and then look, you'll find things in your stool that very much look like gallstones due to saponified oil. (Now I know why pretty much every liver flush protocol includes large amounts of olive oil or similar oils plus epsom salts or orthophophoric acid and fruit juices).

It's a beautiful scam. People do these flushes, they see things that look to them like gallstones being "flushed" out, and they believe it works. Consequently, they keep doing it. Because these flushes involve materials that don't have to be purchased from a "healer" (although certainly many "healers" sell various "supplements" to "aid" liver flushes), they can be viewed more as a means of healers to demonstrate their skill and keep the patient coming (and going). It also serves as a way of "demonstrating" the efficacy of "detoxification." After all, if this "flush" appears to cause "gallstones" to be "flushed out," then perhaps the other detoxification altie woo will similarly "flush out toxins," as claimed and might be worth a try. (Liver cleanses might indeed be a gateway altie therapy.) To me the ironic thing about liver flushes is that they are so strongly advocated by alties, and alties frequently castigate "conventional" medicine for "iatrogenic diseases or complications" (iatrogenic=caused by doctors). What, then, can we call these "stones" coming out of people using liver flushes, but a case of i-altie-ogenic disease?

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/ ... like_a.php

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Re: oil pulling debunked

Postby Claudia » Sun 2 Nov 2008 17:22

And about nutsy Ron Hubbard: even IF a meaningful level of "detoxification" could be achieved through sweating (in a sauna), I don't know how logical or smart adding niacin is to the mix. Niacin stimulates prostaglandin (a hormone that affects many different body functions). It's actually the prostaglandin that causes blood vessels to abruptly dilate and fill with blood ("to open blood vessels"). Additionally, excess niacin supplementation can cause liver toxicity, and raise diabetic blood sugar levels, among other side effects. Seems not only useless, but even potentially harmful.

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Re: oil pulling debunked

Postby jenbooks » Mon 3 Nov 2008 15:43

I told you bacteria are lipophilic. Oil pulling is mechanical--it attracts the bacteria.

Are you against tooth brushing? How about flossing, which disrupts the biofilm?

It's purely and simply mechanical and it works.

As for scientology, check out the 9/11 workers who instead of dying have recovered:



I'm sure you'll find a way to debunk it. There was an article in the NY Times last year about two rescue workers who are buddies and both on multiple meds and DYING.

I suppose you think they should take all the meds prescribed for symptoms and DIE rather than participate in a free program that has helped them.

:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Can we say: A PRIORI BIAS?

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Re: oil pulling debunked

Postby Claudia » Mon 3 Nov 2008 18:02

jenbooks wrote:

:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Can we say: A PRIORI BIAS?

And your idea of unbiased evidence to support your argument for the validity of these "detoxification" methods and scientology would be testimonial from the so-called "International Academy of Detoxification Specialists" of the Church of Scientology marketing website?:

As for scientology, check out the 9/11 workers who instead of dying have recovered:



I'm sure you'll find a way to debunk it.

I don't have to debunk it, what a surprise, it's already been done for me in very thorough and glorious detail:

http://www.xenu-directory.net/documents ... lysis.html

International Academy of Detoxification Specialists: Analysis
Last updated on September 14, 2008 12:59, Raymond Hill.


A paper from Dahlgren et al. claims a 65% reduction in toxic level of various PCB compounds following Scientology's Purification Rundown. Closer scrutiny of the paper shows that no such reduction took place, and hints at deliberate deception.

Deceitful study used in promoting Scientology's detoxification program
Two experts comment on Dr. James Dahlgren's deceitful study
James Dahlgren et al. reply to Drs. Crouch and Green
Dioxin 2004 vs. NYRWDP study
Further reading

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Re: oil pulling debunked

Postby jenbooks » Tue 4 Nov 2008 14:49

I figured you'd find something to debunk it and only focus on that. Because you're not interested in seeing if folks actually got better.

It's drugs, drugs, drugs, all the way? Anything other than drugs has got to be a scam.

First of all we're kind of off track in regards to oil pulling, but in any case:

The workers are very ill

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/06/nyreg ... nted=print

and "More than 2,000 New York City firefighters have been treated for serious respiratory problems following their work at the World Trade Center recovery site. Toxic dust from that area has been directly linked to sarcoidosis, a debilitating disease that FDNY members now develop at five times the rate they had previous to working around the toxins."

Here's a good article. And by the way, if you use the "placebo/psychology" argument, it should be turned back on you. I mean, we all know that chronic lyme is just depression and this and that minor symptom and all in your head and if you'd just exercise and get a life, you'd get better, right: ("“A lot of how you feel depends on belief and hope,” says James Kenney, a registered dietitian with a doctorate in nutrition and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition. “You can’t underestimate the power of suggestion and self-hypnosis in terms of mitigating people’s symptoms, especially when it comes to vague psychosomatic problems such as depression and fatigue.”)

Scientology cure aids 9/11 workers

Doctors doubt, but it gets results


Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Within days of beginning treatment, Mike Wire noticed changes. His pain eased. His mood brightened. His sense of smell returned, sharper than ever.

A retired millwright, Wire, 60, is among thousands of rescue workers, firefighters and police officers who developed an array of serious ailments after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. Wire spent 2½ weeks at ground zero helping rig cranes to remove a precarious fallen girder.

Wire’s symptoms — shortness of breath, depression, aching joints and feelings of doom — surfaced later. And he found little relief until he began getting treated at the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, a Manhattan clinic that follows a protocol pioneered by the late L. Ron Hubbard, controversial founder of the Church of Scientology.

The Scientology link spooked Wire a bit, frankly. But he and hundreds of Sept. 11 responders were desperate for help. What they got has left most of them amazed.

Set against these believers are skeptics who emphasize the need for an independent review of the center’s detox regimen. They question whether the program’s reported benefits are real or purely psychological. The harshest critics call the method quackery.

But many independent medical experts who have visited the center and talked to patients say they are impressed by the experiences of Wire and others. They are also mystified: This clinic seems to be doing something good that is helping heal those who came to the country’s aid, but what it is, no one fully understands.

Dirty work, dirty places|

Mike Wire is a big man — 6-foot-6, 260 pounds. He had spent his career building and fixing industrial machinery. It was dirty work conducted in dirty places.

Last winter, Wire, who lives in Richboro, Pa., was feeling bad.

He had trouble breathing. He couldn’t sleep. Bile was backing up in his throat — acid reflux.

He went to see a pulmonary specialist. He went to see an allergist. Meanwhile, his symptoms were getting worse. His joints began aching; his mood turned sour.

“He became short-tempered and began snapping at the grandkids, which was really unlike him,” says his wife, Joan. “He didn’t have a whole lot of zest. He wasn’t as lighthearted as he once was.”

Wire was already somewhat depressed. He was still reeling from the death of his brother, Frank. A fellow millwright, Frank was robust and physically active until acute myeloid leukemia was diagnosed in the fall of 2004.

He died, at age 62, in May 2005, leaving his wife, three sons and a grandchild.

It affected Mike deeply.

“It may be down the road for me,” he remembers thinking. “Do I have to go through the same agony?”

Then, in March, Wire got a call that changed his life.

On the phone was Jan Stewart, the wife of his cousin Bobby Stewart. She wanted to tell him about the unorthodox detox center in Manhattan that was achieving remarkable results helping Sept. 11 rescue workers who had symptoms just like Wire’s.

Supported by actor and prominent Scientologist Tom Cruise, it opened in September 2002 and is housed on the fifth floor of a narrow office building on Fulton Street, a couple of blocks from ground zero. She urged him to look into it.

A toxic storm|

The collapse of the twin towers produced an unprecedented dust storm of hazardous substances. For weeks, the fires that burned in the debris sent all manner of poisonous gases into the atmosphere.

Since Sept. 11, thousands of rescue workers, firefighters, police officers and residents of the area have developed a persistent hacking cough and other ailments, such as asthma, chronic sinusitis and gastrointestinal distress. In a May interview with the New England Journal of Medicine, Robin Herbert, director of the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program, warned that ground zero health problems seemed to be occurring in waves of escalating gravity: coughing and respiratory difficulty, then chronic asthma-like lung disease, and now cancer, especially cancers of the blood and lymphatic system, such as leukemia and lymphoma.

Free program|

Herbert and her colleagues were seeing conditions like multiple myeloma in young people, something they had never observed before. “That’s been a really unusual and troubling experience,” she said in the interview.

The Manhattan clinic offers its detox program free to all who were involved in the rescue effort and do not have medical issues, such as a heart condition, that would make participating unsafe.

It is also strictly nonreligious and engages in no proselytizing for the Church of Scientology. But it is affiliated with the Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education (FASE), a Los Angeles research and education nonprofit rooted in Scientology and backed by leading Scientologists.

The clinic’s president is Jim Woodworth, 46, a Scientologist. Personable and enthusiastic, he has ties to FASE and moved to New York from Sacramento, where he had been involved with a similar detox program.

So far, 838 people have completed detoxification in New York, and in nine out of 10 cases, symptoms have disappeared or diminished substantially, Woodworth says.

A half-dozen people who reported similar dramatic improvements were interviewed by The Philadelphia Inquirer, as were several union leaders, who spoke enthusiastically about the program and said scores of their members had benefited from the treatment. While more than 400 members of New York’s fire department have sought treatment at the clinic on their own — on average it lasts 34 days and costs about $5,000 — the department does not pay for the care. “It is not an approved medical-treatment program,” department spokesman Tony Sclafani says.

The full cost of care is covered by the center’s fundraising efforts, with contributions coming from a wide range of supporters, including celebrities and Wall Street investment managers.

On the Internet, Mike Wire learned that the detox regimen was pioneered by Hubbard and involves exercise, body-cleansing through sessions in a sauna, high doses of the vitamin niacin, and other vitamin, mineral and oil supplements. Hubbard devised it to rid addicts of drug residues in their fat and blood.

Wire is by nature skeptical. Nevertheless, what he was learning was persuasive. Still, he wanted more proof. So in early April, he visited the clinic to see for himself.

He was astonished and comforted to learn that rescue workers, cops and firefighters who were there for treatment were experiencing the same cluster of ills afflicting him: acid reflux, shortness of breath, aches and pains in bones and muscles, depression, feelings of doom.

“There were guys in their 20s and 30s who were having these symptoms,” Wire says. “It was not just me. It was not just about getting old. This was about 9-11. The common factor was ground zero.”

Finally convinced, Wire signed up and, a week later, underwent a complete physical.

The most persuasive case for the detox regimen is made by the patients, many of whom report dramatic improvement in their health.

Critics and skeptics are leery of these testimonials, what scientists call “anecdotal evidence.” They attribute the tales of recovery to the power of suggestion, the placebo effect and psychological delusion.

“A lot of how you feel depends on belief and hope,” says James Kenney, a registered dietitian with a doctorate in nutrition and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition. “You can’t underestimate the power of suggestion and self-hypnosis in terms of mitigating people’s symptoms, especially when it comes to vague psychosomatic problems such as depression and fatigue.”

But doctors and experts with no link to the clinic who have visited and spoken to the patients are invariably impressed. The changes in appearance and health are too salient to be written off merely as wishful thinking, they say. Something remarkable appears to be happening, and it deserves thorough scientific scrutiny.

“I don’t understand how or why this particular method works,” says John Brick, a biological psychologist and expert on psychopharmacology who visited the clinic in July. “Whether it’s from some mysterious combination of vitamins or just good diet and exercise, I can’t say. But the bottom line is that it helped the patients I talked to.”

The validity of the program should be verified by an independent, disinterested party, Brick adds. “As a scientist, I like to see data. To the best of my knowledge, no one has clearly demonstrated a causal relationship between the treatment and the outcome.”

The mainstream medical establishment looks askance at the Hubbard detox program. Over the years, some doctors and scientists have denounced it as unsound and dangerous. Critics say the program is based on physiological fallacies and is unsubstantiated by science and credible studies.

In the 1980s, Bruce Roe, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma, was asked to examine the rationale behind Narconon, a Scientology-linked drug-rehabilitation program that employs a similar detox protocol. After studying a stack of published material, Roe called the method “pure unadulterated cow pies.”

It’s “a scam,” he said, based on “half-truths and pseudo-science” and “as medically valid as using copper bracelets to cure arthritis.”

Keith Miller, president of FASE, the Los Angeles nonprofit that supports the Manhattan clinic, says his organization has long sought a partnership with other institutions to produce “an independent, university-based research study” of the detox program.

Indeed, one of the experts FASE approached is David Carpenter, a research physician whose professional focus is the effect of environmental contamination on human health.

After FASE contacted him, he twice applied for grants from the National Institutes of Health to evaluate the detox regimen, but was turned down both times. He is committed to trying again.

A professor of environmental health and toxicology, Carpenter is director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York at Albany.

“I’m convinced the program has beneficial effects,” he says. “The question from my perspective is: Are they mainly psychological, or is it really ridding the body of nasty chemicals?”

Medical science has yet to discover a way of removing contaminants from the body, especially fat-soluble contaminants stored in fatty tissue, Carpenter says.

“But before we get too excited, it must be demonstrated that it clearly does work through an objective, totally independent, rigorous analysis.”

Asked to explain why the NIH has yet to fund any studies of the clinic and the Hubbard detox method, a spokesman says: “It is the science that drives NIH funding, and so we cannot discuss projects that were not funded. The privacy of applicants is protected in that way.”

John Howard visited the Manhattan clinic in 2006, was also impressed by the “great testimonials,” and believes the NIH should fund a formal study of what is happening.

Howard, a physician, is director of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and coordinator of World Trade Center programs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIOSH has been funding the screening, monitoring, and recently the treatment of those whose health has been damaged by Sept. 11.

“What I’d love to see are some controlled trials that would address the question: Does the treatment really work?” he says.

Commuting by train, Wire underwent detox sessions at the clinic day after day, with no breaks. As time went on, the detox sessions grew to five hours, with more spells in the sauna. The dosage of niacin was steadily increased — eventually to 5,000 milligrams, way above what conventional medical authorities deem safe.

“If it’s as toxic as they say, I should be dead,” says Wire.

In addition to niacin, Wire drank a concoction of lecithin and polyunsaturated oils (soy, walnut, peanut and safflower). According to the Hubbard protocol, this cocktail of cold-pressed oils keeps the mobilized contaminants from being reabsorbed by the intestines and helps usher them out of the body.

During his time at the clinic, Wire saw plenty of dramatic transformations. After finishing the program, many men were able to walk out with a bounce in their step for the first time in years, free of drugs and medications, he says. In a ritual, they left their inhalers on a shelf by the door, like crutches at Lourdes.

After 35 consecutive days of treatment, Wire was pronounced detoxified.

His shortness of breath, his acid reflux, his aches and pains, his gloomy outlook — all gone.

“I feel great,” Wire says. “I’m much healthier, more invigorated and involved in life.”

Since then, he has felt no need to revisit the specialists who had treated him previously, nor has he sought further medical care.

He’s looking forward to the future again, making plans to save a ranch in Burnt Fork, Wyo., once owned by his grandmother.

“He feels better. He looks better. His eyes are clearer. He’s happier. I got my old Mick back,” says Joan, using a pet name.

Wire wants to do more. He wants more people to know about the program. He wants businesses to contribute money and supplies. He wants his union, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, to patronize the clinic.

“People don’t realize that for people who are sick, 9-11 is not over,” Wire says. “The government is doing what it has to, but this is the only group that is proactive, that is actually helping people get better.

“If I had known about it when my brother was sick, he might still be alive.”

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Re: oil pulling debunked

Postby Claudia » Tue 4 Nov 2008 18:12

Anecdotal stories may be very compelling, but other than from a human interest point of view or to develop a hypothesis, most people with critical thinking skills understand how flawed and problematic they are when erroneously used as supportive evidence or fact, in place of hard data. For example:

My grandfather smoked two packs of cigarettes a day and lived to be hundred! Never sick a day in his life!

My uncle drank like a fish, and he was just fine! Lived to be 101! Said that whisky is the best tonic of all.

Oil swishing 10 minutes a day cured me of my canker sores! It works!

I tried antibiotics but they didn't help me at all. They are just man-made poison that pads the pockets of Big Pharma. Salt and Vitamin C cured me!

Those detox foot pads really worked for me! I know of many others they have helped improve and regain their health! My doctor even recommends them to his patients!

I broke a mirror and had seven years of bad luck.

The key take-away content from the Philadelphia Inquirer story (when was this published?) you posted should have been these statements:

... the need for an independent review of the center’s detox regimen.

Medical science has yet to discover a way of removing contaminants from the body, especially fat-soluble contaminants stored in fatty tissue, Carpenter says.

“But before we get too excited, it must be demonstrated that it clearly does work through an objective, totally independent, rigorous analysis.”

“What I’d love to see are some controlled trials that would address the question: Does the treatment really work?”

Anecdotal and testimonial evidence in science, medicine and law (you can Google many articles about this topic, I thought this wiki one was an interesting and easy read):

The expression anecdotal evidence has two quite distinct meanings.

(1) Evidence in the form of an anecdote or hearsay is called anecdotal if there is doubt about its veracity: the evidence itself is considered untrustworthy or untrue.

(2) Evidence, which may itself be true and verifiable, used to deduce a conclusion which does not follow from it, usually by generalizing from an insufficient amount of evidence. For example "my grandfather smoked like a chimney and died healthy in a car crash at the age of 99" does not disprove the proposition that "smoking markedly increases the probability of cancer and heart disease at a relatively early age". In this case, the evidence may itself be true, but does not warrant the conclusion.

In both cases the conclusion is unreliable; it might happen not to be untrue, but it doesn't follow from the "evidence".

Evidence can be anecdotal in both senses: "Goat yogurt prolongs life: I heard that a man in a mountain village who ate only yogurt lived to 120."

The term is often used in contrast to scientific evidence, such as evidence-based medicine, which are types of formal accounts. Some anecdotal evidence does not qualify as scientific evidence because its nature prevents it from being investigated using the scientific method. Misuse of anecdotal evidence is a logical fallacy and is sometimes informally referred to as the "person who" fallacy ("I know a person who..."; "I know of a case where..." etc. Compare with hasty generalization). Anecdotal evidence is not necessarily representative of a "typical" experience; statistical evidence can more accurately determine how typical something is.


In all forms of anecdotal evidence, testing its reliability by objective independent assessment may be in doubt. This is a consequence of the informal way the information is gathered, documented, presented, or any combination of the three. The term is often used to describe evidence for which there is an absence of documentation. This leaves verification dependent on the credibility of the party presenting the evidence.

Scientific context:

In science, anecdotal evidence has been defined as:

"information that is not based on facts or careful study"[2]
"non-scientific observations or studies, which do not provide proof but may assist research efforts"[3]
"reports or observations of usually unscientific observers"[4]
"casual observations or indications rather than rigorous or scientific analysis"[5]
"information passed along by word-of-mouth but not documented scientifically"
Anecdotal evidence can have varying degrees of formality. For instance, in medicine, published anecdotal evidence is called a case report, which is a more formalized type of evidence subjected to peer review.[6] Although such evidence is not regarded as scientific, it is sometimes regarded as an invitation to more rigorous scientific study of the phenomenon in question.[7] For instance, one study found that 35 of 47 anecdotal reports of side effects were later sustained as "clearly correct."[8]

Researchers may use anecdotal evidence for suggesting new hypotheses, but never as supporting evidence.

Anecdotal evidence and faulty logic:

Anecdotal evidence is often unscientific or pseudoscientific because various forms of cognitive bias may affect the collection or presentation of evidence. For instance, someone who claims to have had an encounter with a supernatural being or alien may present a very vivid story, but this is not falsifiable. This phenomenon can also happen to large groups of people through subjective validation.

Anecdotal evidence is also frequently misinterpreted via the availability heuristic, which leads to an overestimation of prevalence. Where a cause can be easily linked to an effect, people overestimate the likelihood of the cause having that effect (availability). In particular, vivid, emotionally-charged anecdotes seem more plausible, and are given greater weight. A related issue is that it is usually impossible to assess for every piece of anecdotal evidence, the rate of people not reporting that anecdotal evidence in the population.

A common way anecdotal evidence becomes unscientific is through fallacious reasoning such as the Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, the human tendency to assume that if one event happens after another, then the first must be the cause of the second. Another fallacy involves inductive reasoning. For instance, if an anecdote illustrates a desired conclusion rather than a logical conclusion, it is considered a faulty or hasty generalization.[9] For example, here is anecdotal evidence presented as proof of a desired conclusion:

"There's abundant proof that God exists and is still performing miracles today. Just last week I read about a girl who was dying of cancer. Her whole family went to church and prayed for her, and she was cured."

Anecdotes like this do not prove anything.[10] In any case where some factor affects the probability of an outcome, rather than uniquely determining it, selected individual cases prove nothing; e.g. "my grandfather smoked 40 a day until he died at 90" and "my sister never went near anyone who smoked but died of lung cancer".

More generally, a statistical correlation between things does not in itself prove that one causes the other (a causal link). A study found that television viewing was strongly correlated with sugar consumption, but this does not prove that viewing causes sugar intake (or viceversa).

In medicine anecdotal evidence is also subject to placebo effects[11]: it is well-established that a patient's (or doctor's) expectation can genuinely change the outcome of treatment. Only double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials can confirm a hypothesis about the effectiveness of a treatment independently of expectations.

Sites devoted to rhetoric [12] often give explanations along these lines:

Anecdotal evidence, for example, is by definition less statistically reliable than other sorts of evidence, and explanations do not carry the weight of authority. But both anecdotal evidence and explanations may affect our understanding of a premise, and therefore influence our judgment. The relative strength of an explanation or an anecdote is usually a function of its clarity and applicability to the premise it is supporting. [1]

By contrast, in science and logic, the "relative strength of an explanation" is based upon its ability to be tested, proven to be due to the stated cause, and verified under neutral conditions in a manner that other researchers will agree has been performed competently, and can check for themselves.


Now, we are still left with the formal published study with the massaged data done by the scientologist's "International Academy of Detoxification Specialists" on their 9/11 detoxification results (Chemosphere, May 26, 2006) and the resulting critical analysis (with references) done by Raymond Hill and the published rebuttal by Drs. Crouch and Green in Chemosphere journal (May 23, 2007) of this highly questionable and proven faulty study. "Debunked" as you noted.

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