Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Crank magnetism

That's the inexplicable tendency of one for of crankery to be associated with others, within the same individual. Here I give you Dr. Marc Siegel, Fox News's answer to Dr. Gupta, who is one of the most vocal proponents of the idea that trying to allocate medical resources efficiently and effectively is tantamount to murdering your grandmother. It turns out that's not the only way in which he is nuts. I received the following e-mail:


- Mind-Body Control The Key Says Dr. Marc Siegel – Prayer And Faith Can Help

In a new thought provoking, sure to be controversial book, Dr. Marc Siegel, Associate Professor of Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine and a Fox News Senior Correspondent says that cancer, heart disease and even death can be prevented by people understanding and recognizing their “inner pulse.”

The just released book, The Inner Pulse, explores the mysterious connection between body, mind, and spirit in the health and healing process.

“You don’t have to get sick, don’t have to die and can rise out of your wheelchair to walk again. Prayer counts, meditation matters, exercise is crucial, and understanding your inner pulse can allow you to master your body, and defeat many illnesses which modern doctors will tell you are uncureable,” says Siegel. “You can defy the odds by learning to know your inner pulse and responding to what it tells you. Disprove anyone who would write you off too soon.”

Dr. Marc Siegel is the author of several acclaimed books on the effect of pandemic viruses and how to prepare for them; his latest, The Inner Pulse, explores the mysterious connection between body, mind, and spirit in the health and healing process. Dr. Siegel is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, the Founder and Medical Director of Doctor Radio and a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and USA Today.

Diana Lombardi


So now he's a faith healer. You don't need no stinking Medicare (even though controlling Medicare spending is murder), prayer will cure your heart disease and cancer! To take this more seriously than it deserves, there was some interest in the idea that optimism and equanimity and all those good vibes might be associated with longer cancer survival and reduced risk of heart attacks, but it's been carefully studied and it just isn't true. This sort of quackery is particularly pernicious because it tells people that if they are sick, it's their own fault for not having achieved the proper spiritual state.

As for prayer, that's been tested too -- why I don't know -- and no, it doesn't work either.

This guy is a fascinating stew of mismatched offensive stupidity, that's all I can say.

Update: Just for kicks, I ran Siegel through the Quackometer.


kathy a. said...

oh, give me a freaking break. this is yet another quack blaming cancer victims [and other people who are ill] for their disease, because they didn't think happy enough or something.

the disease does not care. it will or will not respond to medical measures, and will or will not follow its expected course. period.

i think that support, good thoughts, and caring matter a lot personally to people who are ill, because that improves their quality of life. the life they have, whichever way the medical stuff works out.

roger said...

...even death can be prevented..."

oh yeah. where exactly is my "inner pulse?" can i cure warts? heartburn? hangnails?

thanks for my morning laugh.

C. Corax said...

Seems to me that if you are peddling snake oil, you do need to blame the victim as an out when the time inevitably arrives that your snake oil proves ineffective.

xlpharmacy said...

those are really good ideas about how to solve this, take it into account that we need that solutions now, our health system need to bring back to life quickly.