Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fertility Treatment is Hugely Successful but Largely Ignored by Medicine

I know nothing about the procedures promoted below but pass this on in case there are readers who want to look in to it. I tend to have a kneejerk reaction in favor of anything that has apparently been censored

NaProTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology or NPT) is a dramatically successful, but not well known or practiced method of diagnosing and treating gynecological diseases and infertility in women. It is a morally acceptable and very cost effective method of restoring fertility, using a fertility-care based medical approach, rather than a fertility-control approach.

This new reproductive science works cooperatively with the natural fertility [menstrual] cycle. It has been developed as a series of medical applications based on a standardized assessment of the biomarkers of the fertility [menstrual] cycle, known as the Creighton Model FertilityCare System. It can be used to evaluate and treat infertility, miscarriage, irregular cycles, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome, postpartum depression and many other women's health conditions.

When used to treat infertility alone, NaProTechnology has a success rate of 76% in assisting couples to achieve pregnancy - remarkably superior to the 10-15% success rate of in vitro fertilization, and without the enormous financial cost and adverse emotional and other psychological effects of in vitro fertilization.

NPT was developed from thirty years of scientific research in the study of the normal and abnormal states of the menstrual and fertility cycles by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and the National Center for Women's Health in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Hilgers is currently a senior medical consultant in obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive medicine and surgery at the Pope Paul VI Institute and a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine.

According to Dr. John B. Shea, medical consultant for, NPT has not been accepted by the majority of the medical profession because "in reference to female infertility, NPT competes against a well financed option, in vitro fertilization [IVF], that is already deeply entrenched in the marketplace and in political circles."

"Furthermore, physicians who might be interested in NPT experience a lot of peer pressure to view NPT as an oddball kind of medical care simply because they had not heard of it in medical school," Dr. Shea explained. "Also, since NPT originated in the Pope Paul VI Institute, there may also be an element of anti-Catholic bias and an element of 'go-along-to-get-along' pressure involved."

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), which maintains a fully staffed Office of Public Affairs in Washington D.C., and a web site that contains a vast amount of information on reproductive matters, does not have any information on NPT posted on its website. Chuck Weber has reported that a spokesperson for ASRM, when asked to comment on NPT, declined to comment, saying, "We tend to just ignore these people".


Censorship built on junk arguments

The global campaign to ban junk food ads is based on junk science: there's little evidence children 'eat what they watch'. Patrick Basham and John Luik, co-authors of Diet Nation: Exposing the Obesity Crusade, say it is folly to try to change people's diets and waistlines by banning ads for fatty foods.

A new global campaign to restrict junk food advertising to children is the public health equivalent of using a cricket bat to swat a fly. Such a ban would not just be an over-the-top, crude policy instrument - it is also deeply unscientific.

In the UK, there is currently a ban on such junk food adverts during television programmes that have a `particular appeal' to under-16s. The ban covers both programmes and channels aimed specifically at kids, and other programmes that have a relatively high audience of children. The aim of the new campaign, spearheaded by the London-based International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), is to go further than this: to ban television advertising between 6am and 9pm for foods high in fat, sugar and salt; to completely ban internet and new media advertising; and to prohibit the use of celebrities or cartoon characters, competitions and free gifts to promote `junk food'.

The IOTF's rationale rests upon a series of influential recent reports by the American Psychological Association, the US Institute of Medicine, the UK Food Standards Agency, and the UK television regulator, Ofcom. These reports claim that food advertising to children causes them to eat a diet that makes them overweight or obese. Consequently, it is alleged that restrictions on food advertising will reduce weight problems and obesity amongst young people.

If you peek behind the regulatory curtain, however, the claims about the causal influences of food advertising on children's diets and weight share a central and definitive flaw in their understanding of what counts as demonstrating causality. In order to establish an evidence-based case for food advertising as a cause of childhood overweight and obesity, one would have to demonstrate that such advertising had an independent effect on children's weight. This, in turn, would require a research study design that controlled for the multiple other risk factors (by some estimates dozens) connected with childhood obesity.

However, none of the studies purporting to demonstrate that food advertising causes childhood obesity control for more than a handful of these other risk factors. These studies therefore cannot establish an evidence-based case about the connection between food advertising and children's weight.

If food advertising caused children's weight gain and obesity, wouldn't you expect to find an increase in advertising that parallels the increase in obesity? This is not the case. UK food and drink ad spending has been falling in real terms since 1999 and is now roughly at 1982 levels, even while rates of overweight and obesity have been rising. Consider, too, that in 1982 food ads constituted 34 per cent of total television advertising, whereas in 2002 they made up only 18 per cent.

In the US, one finds a similar trend. According to the Federal Trade Commission, advertising during children's TV programming has declined by 34 per cent in recent years. Data from Nielsen surveys shows that food advertising on television has declined by 13 per cent since 1993.

If the level of advertising has not increased, perhaps the level of TV viewing has gone up? In fact, to the surprise of many, TV viewing has not increased during the period of the obesity `epidemic', and some observers suggest that it has not changed for children and adolescents for the past 40 years. There is some evidence that the time children spend watching TV has actually declined in recent years.

Furthermore, when children sit down to watch TV, they actually view a balanced presentation of foods. A unique British study looked at the food references and messages in regular programming, as opposed to those contained in food advertising. There were as many references to food within regular programming as during the adverts. Children's regular food programming contained references far more centred on so-called healthy foods. For example, fruit and vegetables were the most frequently portrayed foods in regular programming.

The IOTF will not tell you this, but there is also no proven connection between food advertising and food consumption patterns. There is a substantial econometric literature that disproves the alleged connection between advertising, diets and weight. Peter Kyle of the University of Lancaster examined the impact of food advertising on food consumption and found no evidence to support the popular myth that advertising will increase market size.

Martyn Duffy of the University of Manchester studied the impact of advertising on 11 food categories. Not only did advertising have no effect on food demand, but it also had virtually no effect on the demand for any individual food. Duffy's conclusions are hardly exceptional. Other studies into the effect of advertising of such items as breakfast cereals and biscuits, both frequently cited as bogeymen in the childhood obesity epidemic, have concluded that advertising did not affect market size in any general way or to any material extent.

Bob Eagle and Tim Ambler looked at the impact of advertising on chocolate consumption in five European countries in order to test the claim that a reduction in advertising would reduce consumption. They report no significant association between the amount of advertising and the size of the chocolate market. Eagle and Ambler's work is corroborated by evidence from the Canadian province of Quebec and from Sweden, both of which have had advertising bans on foods to children, Quebec since 1980. In both jurisdictions, however, there have not been significant reductions in childhood obesity or marked differences in obesity rates compared with other adjacent areas.

Brian Young of Exeter University studied the effects of food advertising on children's food choices for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Young found that children's food acceptance patterns and eating preferences develop in infancy. Therefore, they predate the influence of advertising. If children do prefer foods that are sweet, high in fat and salty, it is not because advertising created those preferences.

Despite the highly publicised claims to the contrary, the scientific evidence fails to provide a causal link between food advertising and children's eating patterns or weight. You cannot expect parents pushing their supermarket trolleys to be aware of this inconvenient truth. But the IOTF has no excuse for hauling obesity policy into this evidence-free zone.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

9). And how odd it is that we never hear of the huge American study which showed that women who eat lots of veggies have an INCREASED risk of stomach cancer? So the official recommendation to eat five lots of veggies every day might just be creating lots of cancer for the future! It's as plausible (i.e. not very) as all the other dietary "wisdom" we read about fat etc.

10). And will "this generation of Western children be the first in history to lead shorter lives than their parents did"? This is another anti-fat scare that emanates from a much-cited editorial in a prominent medical journal that said so. Yet this editorial offered no statistical basis for its opinion -- an opinion that flies directly in the face of the available evidence.

Even statistical correlations far stronger than anything found in medical research may disappear if more data is used. A remarkable example from Sociology:
"The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre's yield of cotton. He calculated the correlation coefficient between the two series at -0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic conditions and lynchings in Raper's data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his analysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic conditions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added."
So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. But in medical research, data selectivity and the "overlooking" of discordant research findings is epidemic.

"What we should be doing is monitoring children from birth so we can detect any deviations from the norm at an early stage and action can be taken". Who said that? Joe Stalin? Adolf Hitler? Orwell's "Big Brother"? The Spanish Inquisition? Generalissimo Francisco Franco Bahamonde? None of those. It was Dr Colin Waine, chairman of Britain's National Obesity Forum. What a fine fellow!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"7). Tendency to weight is mostly [78%] genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behavior change."

That 23% of people are genetically immune to obesity (at what age or race, by the way? College students do not count as much as older people.), does not indicate that fat people do not want to find a diet that works for them. A low refined-carbohydrate diet that avoids insulin spikes, as far as I know, prevents hunger (so isn't really a "diet"), while it corrects for the modern diseases of civilization, including obesity.

I also want to point something else out. Yes, being a bit fat is healthier than being anorexic or vegan anemic, just as having super high insulin sensitivity is unhealthy, yet being a highly sexually active male, truth be told, sex with the lights on is just not as fun when you see your own self huffing and puffing away, aerobically, with even 10% excess body fat. It's *fun* to look like a Greco–Roman statue, in your 20s to 50s, and not need Viagra one wit. And the data is in on how self-image greatly effects overall health.

The plural of spouse being spice, but one-night stands are the worst, since it's usually with women who haven't gotten laid for several months, and they want to have sex five times a day. This taxes the libido of any man who is not in a state of true aerobic fitness, nor who suffers from blood sugar spike randiness followed by crashes due to eating a lot of...sugar.

"8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm]."

They banned Tryptophan, though I just saw it in vitamin catalogs again this month. Cheese is full of it. One reason is that an ivy league (but not state school) chemist could easily figure out how to convert it into the world's most powerful yet short acting psychedelic drug, though they never published the method, even informally, so most run-of-the-mill synthetic (cookbook) chemists don't know how to do it. But the government of the USA knew it might be figured out. And did you know that if you put two deuteriums at the end of the chain, it's four times as powerful and lasts four times as long, because the Monoamine Oxidase enzyme can't destroy it but one fourth as fast as usual? Yet few people have access to heavy-water-based reagents. The Statute of Limitations ran out many years ago, for this sort of 1980's play in this field, and happen to know several Ivy League chemistry professors who such things are kid's play for, who by policy look the other way if their students stay after hours to create entire personal libraries of psychoactive compounds, most of which have not, nor will, appear on the club scene, since such students are scientists, not drug dealers. That this aspect of psychology, molecule-based probes of conscious states, has been outlawed, is just another aspect of fascism. Can you imagine how many such compounds companies like Merck are being tight lipped about, as they look for psychiatric medicines without any "getting high" side effects? No wonder Prozac is mainly a placebo, much less effective than exercise, which tragically, cannot be patented, or sold in a bottle.

Want to know what the drug does? It makes your thoughts visible, as geometric objects.

Want to know how schizophrenic "math savants" multiply two hundred digit numbers together. They SEE them, in their mind's eye, as shapes. Two shapes merge to give a third, which, somehow, they read the new number out of. Yet nobody has even asked them to sketch these shapes. Not even for 1 + 1 = 2. Here, neurobiology merges with philosophy, both very old and very new philosophy. But it is not pursued.