Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TexasTornado, Jan 31, 2007.
Post deleted by tiredmommy
Just my personal thoughts (because I haven't heard of this before) but I'd be very careful. Make sure you know exactly what is in that pill. My state has the highest con rate in the nation (at least that is what the newspapers say) and this kinda sends up red flags. You'd want to ask about any research they have done to validate their claims. How long they've been in business and how many people they have helped.
My warning radar is up. Anything that sells itself using anecdotal reports or testimonials is suspect, in my opinion. In Australia, therapies are not permitted to be advertised using testimonials (although some try it). The thing is, it's not a scientific way to promote it, because the people trying to sell it to you are also the people telling you about it.
Example: There is a story saying that keeping a horsehoe magnet in your left shirt pocket will ease your arthritis. But you need to buy a permanent magnet made from a particular alloy patented by Firm X. This magnet costs $20. It's sold by demonstration in the shopping centre and by mail order form late night TV ads. And sometimes, magazine ads.
So let's say one thousand people buy a magnet. Out of that 1000, you will get about a 10% placebo response - these are the people whose symptoms improve simply because they are doing SOMETHING. If you believe in it enough, you will convince yourself that you feel better. Or maybe you're having a better day for other reasons.
So 100 people feel better. The other 900 - some will say, "Just another scam" and use the magnet in the workshop to pick up spilt nails, or give it to the kids to play with. others will reconsider and think - "but I didn't wear it in my shirt pocket every day," or "I don't have a left shirt pocket, I only have one on the right," or "I don't have any pockets in my shirts, it probably didn't work because I tried it in my coat pocket or trouser pocket instead," or "Maybe I didn't try it for long enough."
There are always 'escape clauses' or ways to explain lack of success.
But 100 people feel better. Of those 100, maybe 10 feel a lot better. Who knows what was wrong in the first place? But they write to the company with their story - in some cases, the company offers some incentive for positive outcome letters, such as refund of costs, the chance to have your photo in the promotional literature, some publicity - who knows? There are always people willing to do this.
The company goes over the letters and either prints one or two in whole, or extract a few lines here or there to put into their next advertising brochure.
Of the 900 for whom this didn't work, maybe 90 write in to complain. None of those letters will make it to the advertising.
If you see a new therapy, don't ask for testimonials. Ask for research data; double-blinded studies; independent confirmation of the positive results; statistics for the number of successes as a proportion of those using the methodology (ie how many people have used this? How many got better? Are they remaining better?).
And if they DO provide this information, check to see who did the research. A properly evaluated treatment should be independently studied, so it should NOT have the primary author of the paper also being the CEO of the company marketing the treatment.
Some treatment methodologies that seem totally insane can actually work. However, this is not necessarily due to the methodology itself.
Example: I was once part of a trial of a new drug treatment designed to strengthen the immune response. The subjects had to attend a clinic for treatment (injection). They then had to attend another clinic for immune testing, which involved pressing a block loaded with antigen onto the skin. We had to return three days later for the test to be read. it was a double-blinded trial, which means some of us were getting injected with the treatment, some with pure saline (inert - the placebo). The doctors did not know who was receiving placebo and who was receiving the treatment. The patients were number-coded, as were the injection vials. Only the computer knew and the code could not be broken until the trial was complete.
The early results were looking promising - with half getting treatment and half getting placebo, about half the patients were getting well. Slightly more than half, which fitted nicely with an expected 90% recovery rate plus 10% placebo response (which is about normal).
Then they broke the code. I saw my doctor within an hour of this happening. I'd never seen anyone so depressed. There had been a 38% placebo response, which meant, when all results were calculated, that the treatment was a dud.
But why had so many people reported an improvement?
It was because the doctors, in an attempt to organise their lives and the clinic staff's, had arranged for all trial subjects to come in on the same day. These were people who had to a large extent been housebound by illness, feeling isolated and alone. Suddenly there were other people with the same condition, who they could talk to and compare notes with. Returning three days later - more social contact, more lifting of spirits. These doctors had improved their patients by accidentally forming support networks.
Back to people who sell unusual treatments - because they see the repeat business from people who feel they're being helped, the practitioner's opinion of their modality is often skewed. As a rule, most of them really believe in what they're promoting. But these treatments, especially if they're outside mainstream, are generally expensive and they're not necessarily working. Improvement can come for many reasons and really, treatment should be approached scientifically. You can still apply scientific methods to unusual treatments and do your own experimentation; you just need to read up on scientific method and become your own expert.
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