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Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface, The Musical
August 9, 2008 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Quack and fugitive from justice Professor Bill Nelson, inventor of the Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface, sings of his noble struggle against the evils of conventional medicine! Via Ben "Bad Science" Goldacre.

And that's just the trailer for one of Nelson's many autobiographical feature films. (All of which, you'll be glad to know, are hosted by an Angel of God and do not leave a carbon footprint.)
posted by jack_mo (35 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, and I just worked out that said 'Angel of God', Desiré Dubonnet, is in fact Prof. Nelson's alter ego.
posted by jack_mo at 11:12 AM on August 9, 2008


I love his film blurbs. Too many times have I watched something, and wondered "You know, I'm just not certain if this is AN EXCITING COURTROOM DRAMA or not."
posted by Damn That Television at 11:25 AM on August 9, 2008


There's a fair amount of nudity in the trailer for his cowboy movie, Paprika Western. It also features his almost completely unintelligible rendition of Bon Jovi's Dead or Alive.

A+++ would watch again.
posted by rustyiron at 11:29 AM on August 9, 2008


"These people prey in many cases on consumers who are desperate in seeking cures for very serious diseases."

I don't have any sympathy for people who pay for devices like these. If I contract a serious disease, the first thing I do is... buy an expensive blackbox from some random website? That makes no sense. I similarly don't feel sorry for 419 fraud victims or those who pay televangelist hucksters.

Granted, scammers don't contribute anything useful to society. But I've never understood this mentality of feeling sorry for fools and demonizing those who do the obvious thing: simply going after easy money.
posted by wastelands at 11:33 AM on August 9, 2008


Some people don't have enough of a science background to differentiate between legitimate medicine and outright quackery. Factor in the growing negativity towards the medical community and the increasing push to legitimize more well-known pseudosciences such as homeopathy and I'll wager more people are "fools" than we would like to think.
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 11:53 AM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


wastelands writes "I don't have any sympathy for people who pay for devices like these. If I contract a serious disease, the first thing I do is... buy an expensive blackbox from some random website? That makes no sense. I similarly don't feel sorry for 419 fraud victims or those who pay televangelist "

I have a serious disease. Along with the disease, there's a lot of fear and anxiety. That fear creates stress and worry and preoccupation, it saps my time and my will and clouds my thinking.

It's easy for me to see how people, daily faced with their own imminent death, grasp at straws and become less skeptical of the promises of charlatans and priests and hucksters.

The people being taken advantage of are just like you, but without health and consumed by fear; that makes them much more susceptible to stupid magical thinking.

At some point, if you live long enough, you'll get old enough that your body, which you once delighted in or took for granted, begins to betray you. What was once effortless will become surprisingly difficult, then daunting, then scary, then impossible.

You'll walk with a slight hunch because of your bad back, you won't as often met others' gazes because of your stiff neck, and when you do you'll betray your weakness by an essential tremor. Foods once delicious will be too spicy, triggering your acid reflux or leaving you constipated. The beers you used to enjoy will now cost you endless miserable hangovers. Your morning Starbucks pick-me-up will be abandoned because the ensuing heart palpitations are too scary. Then you'll abandon even weak tea because of your painfully inflamed fibrocystic breasts.

You'll slowly become old and tentative and fearful, and at some point you'll feel diminished, so fragile, so tired, that you'll snatch at anything, no matter how ridiculous, that promises even temporary relief.

And when you do, some youth like you are now will sneer at your feeble-minded stupidity.
posted by orthogonality at 12:03 PM on August 9, 2008 [32 favorites]


Well said, orthogonality.
posted by jack_mo at 12:12 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just wanted to pop in here and mention that not every therapy that has connotations of holistic medicine, or lacks widespread support in medical practice, is necessarily junk science.

If you're willing to go dig through the literature, there are legions of studies indicating that oxidative stress may be among the (if not the) primary mechanisms of neuronal damage in diseases ranging from Alzheimer's to CJD, Parkinsons, and Diabetic neuropathy. Whether the underlying pathology is based on plaques, protein tangles, or metabolic problems, rampant oxidative damage seems to be a common backdrop.

My grandmother has Parkinson's, and, while they prescribed her the usual l-dopa to reduce her symptoms, her neurologists never considered supporting it with any antioxidant therapy, or made any dietary recommendations at all as a way of helping manage the disease.

Diet and fitness gurus may go overboard in ascribing supernatural powers to your broccoli, but that doesn't mean that our dinner plates are not brimming with chemistry, good and bad. It would be a real shame if we waited for every quotidian chemical to be repackaged by Pfizer (with an extra, inactive methyl group to secure the patent, naturally) in pill form before we considered it relevant to medicine. In the last 24 hours you've probably eaten an antioxidant capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. It probably didn't cost 300 dollars.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:26 PM on August 9, 2008


Not having a science background doesn't mean you automatically blow thousands of dollars on quack medicine. I don't know the science of cancer treatment, yet I'm still more likely to trust a trained expert over some Internet kook.

And I sincerely doubt that everyone who's purchased these things is old, confused, and feeble. Surely the purchase of "healing magnets" and new age crystals and all the rest isn't exclusively the domain of those with mind-dampening illnesses.
posted by wastelands at 1:30 PM on August 9, 2008


orthogonality nailed it. Desperation makes for desperate measures. My girlfriend's son suffered from a type of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It was maddening to stand helplessly by and watch as this heretofore rational and intelligent woman was serially victimized by charlatans.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:04 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is an amazing story. I wonder if Dr.Nelson's body weight changes are at all connected with syntheticopathy, specifically hormones.
posted by CCBC at 2:04 PM on August 9, 2008


Wow, wastelands, you sure do love blaming the victim.
posted by Shepherd at 2:08 PM on August 9, 2008


Not having a science background doesn't mean you automatically blow thousands of dollars on quack medicine.

If that was a response to my post, I never claimed not having a grasp of science "automatically" causes one to buy into quackery. But it certainly can be (and I'm sure frequently is) a factor.
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 2:13 PM on August 9, 2008



I don't have any sympathy for people who pay for devices like these.


Well then, feel bad for the children of people who pay for these devices.
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:33 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fear literally makes people stupid: the amygdala shuts down the cortex if the fear is intense enough and these people prey on those in that state. It makes sense for fear to do this in light of a physical threat where fighting or fleeing needs to be done faster than thinking can get it done, but it really messes us up in terms of this stuff.
posted by Maias at 3:07 PM on August 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yes, so agreeing with orthogonality.

Bill Nelson is in fugitive 'n bad-medicine company with Karadžic's quackery.

A lot of authentic medicine can seem like magic or quackery and would have been considered magic not long ago. Plenty of contemporary medical advancements or discoveries can sound like bad science and not far removed from Quantum Xrroid (ha! What a hilarious name!) mumbo jumbo.

Examples that sound like ridiculous quackery but are medical science:

Stop tooth abscess with cashew nuts

A new miracle eyedrop -- non- patented and available over-the-counter without a prescription -- is dissolving cataracts!

Treatment of psoriatic arthritis at the Dead Sea.

Neurofeedback

Bipolar permanent magnets for the treatment of chronic low back pain

Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk

Acupuncture, turmeric, Shiitake mushrooms, L-Glutamine, Noni.

Axe-grindyFilter: My experienced opinion is that a *lot* of doctors are not especially nice when dealing with their patients' fear of death/pain/the illness they are dealing with. Like all business people, they're doing a job for the money. But the thing is, it's a job that can impact a patient in a life-or-death way. It's well known that most doctors are aggravated by patients who research their illnesses, bring internet research into the office. Doctors seem to prefer dumb patients, or smart ones who play dumb. Skepticism is not encouraged in patients by the medical industry, surrendering to the doctor's opinion and doing what you are told is.

Doctors, imo, want sheeple as patients, passive, easy-going, easy-to-manipulate; sheeple on conveyor belts with excellent insurance coverage. Or cash.

Many of the sheeple with a serious illness they are contending with, who have been on this medical conveyor belt, end up feeling ripped off, which may be true to one degree or another. Most people who have chronic illnesses or needed major surgery often have at least one nightmare medical story to tell.
A recent study by Healthgrades found that an average of 195,000 hospital deaths in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002 in the U.S. were due to potentially preventable medical errors.

A 2006 follow-up to the 1999 Institute of Medicine of the National Academies study found that medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes, harming at least 1.5 million people every year.


And those are the instances that are recorded.

And yet there are so many miraculous things about all the advancements in science. Robotic surgery, organ transplants, mind-boggling successes in spite of all odds. Medical science does inspire awe, wonder and amazement. It can seem mysterious. And often miracles come from the most unlikely places, like bread mold or willow trees.

Angry former sheeple, or those skeptical of the capitalist aspects of the medical industry, may end up looking for medical answers elsewhere. And sometimes they get suckered by quacks. On the flip side there are/have been medical psychos who mix medical science with criminal behavior throughout history.

Vitamins were treated like health-nut bs not so long ago. Not any more. From migraines to cancer.

And then there is stuff that may or may not be quackery. But might have potential and it may be worth the risk. Like DCA, Dichloroacetic acid.

So I feel for those who were were in a bad medical circumstance, seeking better health and got suckered but no sympathy for the quack, who knew what frauds he or she was committing.
posted by nickyskye at 3:44 PM on August 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't know the science of cancer treatment, yet I'm still more likely to trust a trained expert over some Internet kook.

That's the point - the people investing in equipment of the kind Nelson sells set their machines up in seemingly-professional clinics staffed by trustworthy people in white coats who just ooze trained expertise and blind their patients with pseudoscience, plus a bit of nudge-nudge stuff about the evils of the medical establishment. And if those patients have read some lazy, irresponsible hack boosting the internet kook's machine in the health section of The Telegraph, why wouldn't they believe in its diagnostic powers?

I mean, I'm guessing that, before charging someone £150 to be hooked up to the Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface (which reveals that you urgently need 120 placebo pills and a homoeopathic artichoke and milk thistle tincture, for god knows how much more cash) the good people at The Organic Pharmacy don't tell you that the bloke who sold them the machine is wanted in the US on felony fraud charges before treating you to a screening one of his nutso flicks.

(Obviously, some people are into this stuff in a 'lifestyle' way, and if that's how they want to spend their money, fair enough. But it's a different matter when folk who are ill are dazzled by fancy-looking equipment into spending hundreds of pounds on snake oil when what they need is medical attention.)
posted by jack_mo at 4:04 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


My experienced opinion is that a *lot* of doctors are not especially nice when dealing with their patients' fear of death/pain/the illness they are dealing with. Like all business people, they're doing a job for the money. But the thing is, it's a job that can impact a patient in a life-or-death way. It's well known that most doctors are aggravated by patients who research their illnesses, bring internet research into the office. Doctors seem to prefer dumb patients, or smart ones who play dumb. Skepticism is not encouraged in patients by the medical industry, surrendering to the doctor's opinion and doing what you are told is.

I'm sorry for your experience, but as someone from a medical family, I have to take exception. It isn't that the doctor wants to be obeyed to feed his god complex and get you out of the office. (Unless the doctor is a load, which happens.) It's that diagnosis is difficult and situational, and people are generally not trained medical observers of their own bodies and behavior -- confirmation biases, psychological factors, cultural impressions of illness, etc. And hypochondria is easy to fuel with gobs of medical information when you have no medical frame of reference of your own. That said, I'm not going to disagree with your observation. My own mom, as an MD, has agreed that it's best not to start off telling the doctor what you think the problem is -- that just makes them think of what else it might be.

I am a big fan of evidence-based medicine and skepticism, but the video is really putting forward a remarkable case for NATUROPATHY bomp bomp bomp.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:05 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


But the real issue here is that apparently Joss Whedon totally plagiarized this guy for "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog", right?
posted by wendell at 4:06 PM on August 9, 2008


Granted, scammers don't contribute anything useful to society. But I've never understood this mentality of feeling sorry for fools and demonizing those who do the obvious thing: simply going after easy money.
posted by wastelands at 11:33 AM on August 9


And that's why the world is a mess: thieves and charlatans prey on the weak, and cowards look the other way.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:11 PM on August 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Jack is a corporate shill for these crazed new agers - he's already got some sort of energy machine in his house.

He's like - oh aye i would never want one of those things - well i don't believe it - first the fereliminal lycanthropizer and then this - if there was one of these on sale in the pound shop on sauchiehall street you'd be camped outside quicker than a daniel o'donnell fan : )
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:32 PM on August 9, 2008


I thought his work with Bebop Deluxe was better.
posted by scruss at 6:00 PM on August 9, 2008


nickyskye writes "Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk"

Mostly in agreement, but the Vit-D and calcium has some science behind it.

As far a doctors go,it's only been very recently that med schools have taught much about how doctors can best respond topatient anxiety about death -- and it hasn't been much longer than doctors have had many tools beside palliative care for many conditions.

I agree they don't do the best job, but I don't know if greed and callousness are the reason.
posted by orthogonality at 8:01 PM on August 9, 2008


Countess Elena: but as someone from a medical family

Both my brothers are medical doctors, my sister and father PhDed scientists.

My brothers made it abundantly clear to me the disdain they feel for patients. One told me he learned "the trick" of being thought well of by his clients was nodding and saying, "I hear what you're saying" (while actually being disinterested). He conveyed with hilarity how successful that was. The other says flatly, honestly -and with amusement- that he "can't stand talking or dealing with patients".

So I've learned first hand, from a medical family, how some doctors may experience their sources of income, ie their patients.

I didn't say all doctors. But in my experience it is a lot of doctors. Adding to this is, imo, the possibility that a number of doctors are excellent technicians, but are quite Aspergery in their communication ability, just not skilled in conversing.

It's that diagnosis is difficult and situational

My experience is that many doctors are much more inclined towards cookie cutter diagnosis and treatments. It's marvelous when shows like House come on and a doctor is depicted as part Sherlock Holmes, part brainiac science-magician. I haven't met doctors like that in real life. Except for ikkyu2 here on MetaFilter. :)

people are generally not trained medical observers of their own bodies and behavior

I don't think one has to be a "trained medical observer" to know how one's body feels and to want to try and convey that to a doctor. I think the assumption is that one has to be a doctor to be an intelligent observer of one's body. So patients, who aren't doctors, are treated like ignorant idiots.

hypochondria is easy to fuel with gobs of medical information


Initially that may be true. But in my experience, the more a person learns the more mature they become in a medical situation.

The opposite may also be true. That knowing, understanding, comprehension and being part of the treatment, knowing what's going on can be a huge relief.

Information overload may be just confusing or can be overwhelming when one is facing a life and death medical situation. But an intelligent doctor, imo, would educate the patient, rather than prefer mere obedience. However, as far as I understand, doctors want patients in and out of the examination room and office, when possible, every 15 minutes.

Inversely, I've been told by five highly educated doctors in the last three years, not to worry about something, which, in fact, turned out to be 1. late stage cancer. 2. A second and even more dangerous cancer. 3. A stroke. 4. A third late stage, aggressive cancer.

And about a decade ago I was told by Dr. Leslie Elliot Strong, a surgical oncologist, that I had a breast tumor, when I didn't.

There is a whole new, intelligent, internet research savvy generation. I think the medical establishment will need to change in their approach to patients who do want to know, are more educated and want a two-way dialog, not to be treated as sheeple.

I look forward to respected medical institutions, like Sloan Kettering's Integrative Medicine Service, providing evidence-based information about herbs, botanicals, supplements, clinical trial results in examining naturopathy. Or the excellent Cancer Treatment Centers of America innovating a new medical style, like their "Patient Empowerment Medicine", which encourages the patient to be educated and to take an active part in their treatment.
posted by nickyskye at 8:07 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thank you orthogonality.
posted by jcworth at 8:36 PM on August 9, 2008


From my own experience, disdainful doctors tend to arise in areas that have overly narcissistic patients. America tends to produce more cynical doctors per capita because of the increased patients demands (not requests) for top-notch "personalized" diagnosis and treatment even when the system cannot financially afford it.
posted by desiderandus at 9:00 PM on August 9, 2008


overly narcissistic patients...increased patients demands (not requests) for top-notch "personalized" diagnosis

When people are ill, weak, in pain, afraid of death, they may tend to focus on their own needs other than those of others. This may be a situational narcissism but I think that's understandable, to a degree, in the circumstance of illness or physical weakness.

When medical diagnosis is not personalized, a sort of McDonald's cookie cutter treatment, I think medicine is less likely to be effective because human beings are complex physically, constitutionally and genetically. Naturally, logically, people prefer the best treatment, rather than something second rate or considered inferior in effectiveness.
posted by nickyskye at 9:23 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


sgt.serenity writes 'Jack is a corporate shill for these crazed new agers - he's already got some sort of energy machine in his house.'

For my people, the Casio MT-40 is a religious artefact.
posted by jack_mo at 4:01 AM on August 10, 2008


nickyskye writes: Examples that sound like ridiculous quackery but are medical science:
...
Bipolar permanent magnets for the treatment of chronic low back pain


My incredulity just breached the 'I can be bothered to check this out' threshold on this one. Yes it's a link to an extract from a real medical paper: "Bipolar permanent magnets for the treatment of chronic low back pain: a pilot study". However, the results and conclusion do not show that magnets had any detectable effect:

'RESULTS: Mean VAS scores declined by 0.49 (SD, 0.96) points for real magnet treatment and by 0.44 (SD, 1.4) points for sham treatment (P = .90). No statistically significant differences were noted in the effect between real and sham magnets with any of the other outcome measures (ROM, P = .66; PRI, P = .55). CONCLUSIONS: Application of 1 variety of permanent magnet had no effect on our small group of subjects with chronic low back pain.'

Of course the results of just one trial are not conclusive evidence either way but just because a study is conducted to test an 'alternative therapy' doesn't automatically mean that the treatment has been accepted by mainstream medicine, nor does it mean that it is an effective treatment. The results of said study and other similar ones might
posted by JustAsItSounds at 5:30 AM on August 10, 2008


OH. YOUR. GOD. The film trailers are pant-wettingly funny. This guy is either the biggest narcisist douchebag or a comedy genius.

The whole medical fraud/fugitive from justice thing makes me favour the former possibility
posted by JustAsItSounds at 6:25 AM on August 10, 2008


JustAsItSound, thanks for pointing out the conclusion of the magnet link on PubMed, I did a hasty search. I should have included this completely ridiculous sounding magnets and medical link.

Magnets 'help regrow brain cells'

posted by nickyskye at 6:45 AM on August 10, 2008


Experts said the work was encouraging but would need to be replicated in humans.
...
Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer's Society said: "This is a potentially interesting piece of work, but is a preliminary study in mice.

"Further research is now needed before we can find out if TMS is a useful treatment approach for Alzheimer's disease in humans."


One-off effects in animal studies is the very meat of science journalism, but not evidence-based medicine. When the effect is replicated in multiple medical trials in humans, then I'll believe it.

TMS is IMO the latest medical tool that is currently being thrown at every condition researchers can find in the hope that something sticks.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 7:15 AM on August 10, 2008


* oops, JustAsItSounds with an s at the end.

PS, in the Bell Nelson is insanely funny department (with accent on insane), check out his Sworn On The Altar.

Obviously one ego wasn't enough for this guy. His alter ego, Desiré Dubounet. Him as her, singing Crying.
posted by nickyskye at 7:20 AM on August 10, 2008


PPS, Bill, not Bell Nelson, although in his case...

My point is that authentic medical science can sound unbelievable. Here's another PubMed magnets one: The role of electrical stimulation in bone repair.
posted by nickyskye at 10:29 AM on August 10, 2008


Ah yes, sorry for the derail. Agreed, medical science can sound unbelievable - I guess that's where our friend Bill Nelson/Desire Dubounet cashes in.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 4:30 PM on August 10, 2008


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