Quickies: Health Care in America, Acupuncture Studies, and a Bible Theme Park

  • A Girl Gets Her Period And Is Banished To The Shed: #15Girls – “Kamala believes that if she enters the house while she’s menstruating, the people and animals will get sick. The gods will be angry and she’ll bring a curse onto the house. She’s also been told her hands will curl up and become deformed. We try to reassure Kamala that no one will hurt her, but she’s scared and runs away.”
  • The Loss – “To understand everything wrong about health care in America today, look to a horrifying trend in amputation.”
  • An Industry of Worthless Acupuncture Studies – “The problem (for acupuncturists) with this definition is that carefully controlled scientific studies consistently show that it does not matter where you stick the needles or even if you insert needles (as opposed to just poking the skin with dull needles, or retracting needles, or even tooth picks). To further support this conclusion, the perceived effectiveness of acupuncture does not depend on the degree of training or experience of the acupuncturist (so whatever they are learning has no effect), but only upon how warm and nice they are to the patient. In short, acupuncture is an elaborate placebo.”
  • See the Bible in Real Life: Photos of Florida’s Holy Land Theme Park – There is a cardboard cut-out of Jesus on a motorcycle and Jesus in a boxing ring. And live crucifixion shows too!
  • Behind The Founding Foodie, A French-Trained Chef Bound By Slavery – “As part of his deal with Jefferson, James Hemings spent the next three years training his little brother, Peter, to replace him in the kitchen. Then, at 31, Hemings became a free man. But freedom was far different for a black man in America than it had been in Paris. He was a man adrift, searching for his place in the world.”

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Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. The link between poverty and amputation is one of the things covered in the song “9-11 is a Joke” (though I don’t agree with everything Public Enemy said), so it’s not surprising.

    Acupuncture, like most TCM remedies, gets Western appeal just because, you know, Westerners and their orientalist fantasies. Seriously, there seems to be this belief that if meridians and qi aren’t real, it must be saying something about the Chinese (other than that they were exactly as superstitious as the rest of humanity).

    Man, did Jefferson name all his slaves Hemmings?

    Better use of your money if you want to see the Bible in real life: Take a trip to Israel. Too bad you can’t see the rest of the Bible for various reasons. (One of my favorite Bible stories was Esther, back when I was still Catholic. Obviously I’m not going to Iran any time soon.)

  2. By the time any discouraging word was being murmured about acupuncture, there were already thousands of ‘practitioners’ all over the U.S. Thanks to Nixon, Mao, James Reston and credulous reporting in the American Newspapers.

    By the mid 70s doctors, nurses, chiropractors etc. were taking quickie courses to become acupuncturists. Like homeopathy, the large body of credulous professionals were able to generate their own literature and engage in half-baked ‘studies’ that were always enough to satisfy THEM.

    Medical publications tend to cover only what doctors do. Hence the endless flow of worthless papers around medical fads and fringe cultures.

    A straightforward paper like:
    Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain.
    BMJ 2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a884 (Published 19 August 2008)
    Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain: economic evaluation
    BMJ 2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2656 (Published 11 December 2008)

    Simply vanish unread. It isn’t part of an ongoing topic, nor do the readers of the BMJ have any way to ‘do it themselves’ without engaging with unfamiliar teachers they may not be able to ‘vet.’

    1. There’s also the fact that, quite frankly, nobody ever got any sort of notability for an essay reaching the conclusion that vitamin C doesn’t cure cancer. Negative findings just get filed away.

    1. Evangelicals have a way of kitschifying religion. I think it’s because of the distinct lack of unifying traditions, for all their talk of ‘traditional marriage’. There are no sites sacred to Christians in North America, no ritual objects that everyone owns, and when they try to invent a new life cycle tradition, it’s always something creepy like girls pledging their virginity to their fathers.

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