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hey’re among the nation’s premier medical centers, at the leading edge of scientific research.

Yet hospitals affiliated with Yale, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and other top medical research centers also aggressively promote alternative therapies with little or no scientific backing. They offer “energy healing” to help treat multiple sclerosis, acupuncture for infertility, and homeopathic bee venom for fibromyalgia. A public forum hosted by the University of Florida’s hospital even promises to explain how herbal therapy can reverse Alzheimer’s. (It can’t.)

This embrace of alternative medicine has been building for years. But a STAT examination of 15 academic research centers across the US underscores just how deeply these therapies have become embedded in prestigious hospitals and medical schools.

Some hospitals have built luxurious, spa-like wellness centers to draw patients for spiritual healing, homeopathy, and more. And they’re promoting such treatments for a wide array of conditions, including depression, heart disease, cancer, and chronic pain. Duke even markets a pediatric program that suggests on its website that alternative medicine, including “detoxification programs” and “botanical medicines,” can help children with conditions ranging from autism to asthma to ADHD.

“We’ve become witch doctors,” said Dr. Steven Novella, a professor of neurology at the Yale School of Medicine and a longtime critic of alternative medicine.

STAT’s examination found a booming market for such therapies: The clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, is growing so fast, it’s bursting out of its space.

Just in the past year, the teaching hospital connected to the University of Florida began offering cancer patients consultations in homeopathy and traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia launched an institute whose offerings include intravenous vitamin and mineral therapies. And the University of Arizona, a pioneer in the field, received a $1 million gift to boost practitioner training in natural and spiritual healing techniques.

“[If a hospital is] offering treatment that’s based on fantasy, it undermines the credibility of the institution.”

Steven Salzberg, Johns Hopkins

Even as they count on these programs to bring in patients and revenue, several hospitals were reluctant to talk to STAT about why they’re lending their distinguished names to unproven therapies.

Duke Health declined repeated requests for interviews about its rapidly growing integrative medicine center, which charges patients $1,800 a year just for a basic membership, with acupuncture and other treatments billed separately.

MedStar Georgetown quietly edited its website, citing changes to its clinical offerings, after a reporter asked why it listed the energy healing practice of reiki as a therapy for blood cancer. Cleveland Clinic struggled to find anyone on its staff to defend the hospital’s energy medicine program, ultimately issuing a statement that it’s “responding to the needs of our patients and patient demand.”

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And the director of an alternative medicine program at another prestigious hospital declined to speak on the record — out of fear, he said, that his remarks would be construed as “fake news” and stir a backlash.

The rise of alternative therapies has sparked tension in some hospitals, with doctors openly accusing their peers of peddling snake oil and undermining the credibility of their institutions.

By promoting such therapies, Novella said, physicians are forfeiting “any claim that we had to being a science-based profession.”

As for patients? They’re “being snookered,” he said.

Online promotions with little room for nuance

The counterargument: Modern medicine clearly can’t cure everyone. It fails a great many patients. So why not encourage them to try an ancient Indian remedy or a spiritual healing technique that’s unlikely to cause harm — and may provide some relief, if only from the placebo effect?

“Yes, as scientists, we want to be rigid. But me, as a physician, I want to find what’s best for a patient. Who am I to say that’s hogwash?” said Dr. Linda Lee.

A gastroenterologist, Lee runs the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center, which offers acupuncture, massage therapy, and reiki — a therapy that the center’s website describes as laying on hands “to transmit Universal Life Energy” to the patient.

Lee and others who promote alternative therapies are careful to say that they can supplement — but can’t replace — conventional treatments. And they make a point of coordinating care with other doctors so that, for instance, patients don’t get prescribed herbal supplements that might interact badly with their chemotherapy.

“Yes, as scientists, we want to be rigid. But me, as a physician, I want to find what’s best for a patient. Who am I to say that’s hogwash?”

Dr. Linda Lee, Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist

“Here at UF, we do not have alternative medicine. We do not have complementary medicine. We have integrative medicine,” said Dr. Irene Estores, medical director of the integrative medicine program at the University of Florida Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla.

But while those cautions may come through in the clinic, the hospitals also promote alternative medicine online — often, without any nuance.

Duke’s Integrative Medicine store, for instance, sells “Po Chai Pills” that are touted on the hospital’s website as a cure for everything from belching to hangovers to headaches. The site explains that taking a pill “harmonizes the stomach, stems counterflow ascent of stomach qi, dispels damp, dispels pathogenic factors, subdues yang, relieves pain.” None of that makes sense in modern biomedical terms.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s website touts homeopathic bee venom as useful to relieve symptoms for arthritis, nerve pain, and other conditions. The site does tell patients that the biological mechanism for the treatment is “unexplained” but asserts that studies “have been published in medical journals showing homeopathic medicines may provide clinical benefit.”

Asked about the therapy, Dr. Daniel Monti, who directs the integrative health center, acknowledged that the data is “largely anecdotal,” and said the hospital offers the treatment only rarely, “when there are few other options.” But those caveats don’t come through on the website.

Novella gets alarmed when he sees top-tier hospitals backing therapies with scant evidence behind them. “Patients only want [alternative medicine] because they’re being told they should want it. They see a prestigious hospital is offering it, so they think it’s legitimate,” said Novella.

“The perpetuation of these practices is a victory of marketing over truth,” said Steven Salzberg, a biomedical engineer at Johns Hopkins who lectures in the medical school. If a hospital is “offering treatment that’s based on fantasy, it undermines the credibility of the institution.”

The debate burst into the public view earlier this year when the medical director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute — which markets a variety of alternative therapies — published an article raising discredited theories linking vaccines to autism.

Cleveland Clinic’s chief executive, Dr. Toby Cosgrove, disavowed the article. And the clinic told STAT last week that it will take down its online wellness store and stop selling homeopathy kits.

But Cosgrove has stood up for the general principle of offering alternative treatments.

“The old way of combating chronic disease hasn’t worked,” Cosgrove wrote in a column posted on the hospital’s website. “… We have heard from our patients that they want more than conventional medicine can offer.”

Aromatherapy

A booming market for ‘natural’ therapies

There’s no question that patients want alternative medicine. It’s a $37 billion-a-year business.

The typical American adult spent about $800 out of pocket in 2012 on dietary supplements and visits to alternative providers, such as naturopaths and acupuncturists, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospitals have taken note. A national consortium to promote integrative health now counts more than 70 academic centers and health systems as members, up from eight in 1999. Each year, four or five new programs join, said Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple, the chair of the consortium’s policy working group.

In most cases, insurers won’t cover alternative therapies — there’s simply not enough evidence that they actually work — so patients pay out of pocket: $85 for acupuncture, $100 for reiki, $38 for pills made from thyme and oregano oils that promise to “harmonize digestive and respiratory function.”

To be sure, not all such integrative medicine clinics are big profit centers. Many are funded by philanthropists, and some hospitals say their programs operate at a loss — but are nonetheless essential to woo patients in a highly competitive marketplace. If they failed to offer “natural” therapies, some hospital executives fear they would lose a chance to attract patients who need more lucrative care, such as orthopedic surgeries or cancer treatments.

The integrative medicine center at Thomas Jefferson, for instance, is part of an “enterprise strategy for growth and development,” Monti said.

“The people running the hospitals are doctors, but they also have MBAs. They talk of patients as customers. Customers have demands. Your job is to sell them what they want,” said Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University’s medical school. Too often, he said, the attitude is, “We’re damn well going to do it if the guys down the street are doing it.”

“We’ve become witch doctors … [forfeiting] any claim that we had to be a science-based profession.”

Dr. Steven Novella, Yale School of Medicine

While most hospitals declined to give specific revenue figures, STAT found indications of rapid growth.

“We’re literally bursting. We have to convert office space to clinic exam rooms,” said Shelley Adler, who runs the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. It offers a wide range of services, including Chinese herbal medicine, massage therapy, and Ayurveda, an ancient healing system from India based on the belief that health results from a balance between the mind, body, and spirit.

The center is on pace to get more than 10,300 patient visits this fiscal year, up 37 percent from 2012. It’s expanding its clinical staff by a third.

Duke University’s integrative medicine clinic, a stunning space with arching wood ceilings and an indoor garden, has seen strong growth: Total visits jumped 50 percent in 2015, to more than 14,000, Dr. Adam Perlman, the executive director, told IntegrativePractitioner.com. (He declined to talk to STAT.)

The center’s membership count also jumped, up 25 percent to 885, Perlman said. If all members paid the list price, that would bring in more than $1 million a year just for primary care.

At the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Integrative Medicine, meanwhile, “our volume pretty much has increased steadily, even when we’ve had recessions and financial downturns,” said Dr. Ronald Glick, the medical director. The center now treats about 8,000 patients a year.

Many hospitals have also expanded into more general “wellness” offerings, with classes in healthy cooking, tai chi, meditation, and art therapy. UCSF offers a $375 class on “cultivating emotional balance” (and a free class on “laughter yoga”). Mayo Clinic sells a $2,900 “signature experience,” which includes consultations with a wellness coach.

And the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital offers specialized stress management services to help patients deal with conditions including cancer, infertility, and menopause. John Henry, the owner of STAT, has contributed funding to the Benson-Henry Institute.

Wellness programs — which are designed to ease stress and encourage healthy behaviors — are seen by many clinicians and hospitals as key to slowing America’s epidemic of chronic disease. They don’t tend to draw sharp criticism, except for their cost.

It’s the alternative therapies promoted as a way to treat disease that raise eyebrows.

Reiki

‘Energy healing’ takes root

Despite their deep wells of medical expertise, many top hospitals are offering to help treat serious medical problems with reiki — a practice based on the belief that lightly touching patients can unleash a cosmic energy flow that will heal them naturally.

STAT found that it is widely used by academic medical centers, including Johns Hopkins, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, part of Partners HealthCare in Boston.

So, where’s the evidence supporting it?

There is none, according to a division of the National Institutes of Health that funds research into alternative medicines. It says the practice has not been shown to be useful for “any health-related purpose” — and adds that there is no scientific evidence that the “natural healing energy” it’s based on even exists.

Asked about the Cleveland Clinic’s promotion of reiki, Dr. Richard Lang, the recently named interim director of the clinic’s Wellness Institute, said he hadn’t had a chance to think about it. “I don’t know that I could give you a plus or minus on that,” he said. Lang served as a vice chair of the wellness institute for nearly a decade before taking the top post.

“[Hospital executives] talk of patients as customers. Customers have demands. Your job is to sell them what they want.”

Arthur Caplan, bioethicist at New York University

Pressed for a more substantive answer, the clinic sent a statement saying it offers energy medicine as a complementary therapy, not as a replacement solution. But its website only briefly alludes to a patient’s broader “care team” in describing a “full range of emotional and physical issues” that can be treated with energy therapies, including autoimmune diseases, migraines, hormonal imbalances, and “cancer treatment support and recovery.”

Academic medical centers often boast that they’re more rigorous in evaluating alternative therapies  — and weeding out scams  — than a for-profit wellness center might be.

“The important thing about practicing in an academic center is that we must hold ourselves to certain standards,” said Estores, the medical director at the University of Florida’s integrative medicine clinic.

At the University of Pittsburgh, Glick echoed that sentiment: “We’re an academic institution … [so] we’re offering services that have greater evidence basis [and] scientific explanation.”

But that evidence isn’t always rigorous.

The University of Florida, for instance, is using Facebook to advertise an herbal medicine workshop for providers and the public that promises to answer questions including, “How can we stabilize or reverse Alzheimer’s disease?”

Asked about the evidence for that statement, Susan Marynowski, the herbalist presenting the workshop, cited several papers and a book chapter that she said showed herbs, in conjunction with lifestyle adjustments, could reverse Alzheimer’s-associated memory loss. However, at least two papers were small collections of case studies published in a journal with a reputation for less-than-rigorous review. (Marynowski said she knew the studies’ size and design limited the strength of their conclusions, but that she was not aware of the journal’s reputation.)

At Pittsburgh, the integrative medical center does take care to note on its website that alternative therapies “generally have not been subjected to the same level of research as standard medical approaches.”

But the site then goes on to promote dozens of treatments for everything from ADHD to whiplash, saying they have “appeared to be beneficial in this and other complementary medicine clinics.” (Glick noted that the body of research had grown since he wrote the caveat on the website in 2003.)

Acupuncture

‘It’s not black and white’

Perhaps the most prevalent alternative treatment STAT found on offer is acupuncture. It’s promoted for more than a dozen conditions, including high blood pressure, sinus problems, infertility, migraines, and digestive irregularities.

A 3,000-year-old Chinese therapy, acupuncture is based on the belief that by stimulating certain points on the body, most often with needles, practitioners can unlock a natural healing energy that flows through the body’s “meridians.” Research suggests it helps with certain pain conditions and might help prevent migraine headaches — but it also suggests that the placebo effect may play an important role.

Its value in treating other conditions is uncertain, according to the NIH’s center on integrative medicine.

Several major insurers, including Aetna, Anthem, and regional Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates, cover acupuncture as a treatment for chronic pain and nausea. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services won’t pay for acupuncture, dismissing the scientific evidence as insufficient.

Still, it’s important for physicians to keep an open mind, said Lang, the interim director of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

He said, for example, that he used to avoid referring patients for acupuncture, until he saw the benefit it provided to some of them. “I have seen it work in some chronic pain situations,” said Lang. “It can be very helpful. If it doesn’t work, I don’t know that you’ve lost anything. If it does, you do get to a better place.”

“If it doesn’t work, I don’t know that you’ve lost anything. If it does, you do get to a better place.”

Dr. Richard Lang, Cleveland Clinic

And while the evidence of its efficacy is not ironclad, neither is the evidence for various pharmaceutical therapies that are routinely provided by hospitals and covered by insurance. Some of those solutions, such as opioids to treat pain, have resulted in addiction and harm to patients.

Advocates of alternative medicine say it’s difficult to test some alternative therapies through rigorous clinical trials, primarily because treatment techniques vary from patient to patient. (The federal government does, however, spend roughly $120 million a year to fund research through the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.)

They note, too, that traditional doctors sometimes stray from proven treatments, for instance when they prescribe medicines off-label for conditions the drugs have not been approved to treat.

“We do use things that aren’t necessarily 100 percent evidence-based, but I would argue that’s also true within all of medicine,” said Dr. Jill Schneiderhan, co-director of the University of Michigan’s integrative family medicine program. “I feel like it’s not black and white.”

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  • So, the NIH says that there is no evidence the benefits of homeopathy, acupuncture and all other constituents of integrative medicine even exist. Well, that’s pretty pathetic in 2017. Because clearly many know this to be true. So before casting off in a negative light….do the research. Or is there no money to be had in integrative medicine like good old pharma?

  • I don’t usually comment on articles, but I found this piece to be disturbingly biased. There isn’t one voice in here that advocates for these alternative therapies or explains why people might choose to turn to alternatives. The authors should have spoken to the patients in these clinics, or found at least one person who works in one of these hospitals who is a staunch advocate and can explain their position. One guys saying “we should keep an open mind” isn’t good enough. Surely there are people who believe in this or it wouldn’t exist. Without those perspectives, the piece is pretty one-sided and gives the impression the authors have an agenda or a point to prove.

  • I have just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia on December 5, 2016. I had the symptoms for a long time and it became unbearable. I am a Head Start preschool teacher and my attitude changed, short tempered. It was time for me to retire. I am tired all the time and all I want to do is sleep. I don’t sleep well at night. I stopped taking naps because I am able to sleep the whole night. I know that I have to take one day at a time. This is not a mind over matter in this situation. I had support from my doctors, family and friends. i looked further for an alternative treatments, and then a friend of mine told me about Health Herbal Clinic in Johannesburg who sell herbal formula for diseases including FIBROMYALGIA disease, I contacted the herbal clinic via their website and purchased the fibromyalgia herbal remedy. I received the herbal remedy through DHL couriers within 8 days and i immediately commenced usage as prescribed, i used the herbal remedy for about a month and 1 week, my condition has greatly improved, all my symptoms including Chronic muscle pain, Abdominal pain, nausea, I am fibromyalgia free! contact Health Herbal Clinic via their email healthherbalclinic@ gmail. com or visit www. healthherbalclinic. weebly. com

  • KDN, I’m very much into energy medicine (see www toms good files dot com), but am not into the psi-mediation things. However, I had to let you know I just LOVE your story about the Wright brothers! Not only did I never know that, but it perfectly illustrates most MDs’ unwillingness to think “outside the box”. Love it! And I LOVE annecdotal stories of natural means working great healings (and it’s way beyond any placebo effect). The means I prefer is at the website I gave. Yes, it is a form of energy medicine.

    • Thank you Tom. Yes, thinking “outside the box” is what is lacking in many “experts” today!

  • It’s amazing how all you pseudoskeptic doctors lump acupuncture in with everything else and how you seem to conveniently forget that the WHO has vetted years of research on acupuncture and has stated officially that its effective for a whole range of conditions.

  • The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. This may sound stupid to some people, but I suggest that you read the article titled “The Mental Universe” [reference: Henry, R. C. (2005). Nature, 436, 29.], as well as the article titled “The Five-Aggregate Model of the Mind” [reference: Karunamuni, N.D. (2015). SAGE Open, 5 (2).]. Both these articles should be accessible over the internet – when you read the second article, pay special attention to “Two Levels of Analyses.”

    • The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. This may sound stupid

      It is.

      to some people, but I suggest that you read the article titled “The Mental Universe”…

      Rather than promoting a book, that anyone can publish, please provide references to good quality research that has been replicated that demonstrates your claim.

    • Gold: It is a conceptual understanding – you need to read the two articles very carefully. They are not books. The first one is an article published in Nature. The other one is very understandable, but you need to take your time and read very carefully, pause and contemplate.

    • Article, book, no difference.

      Please provide references to good quality research that has been replicated that demonstrates your claim.

    • That’s fascinating, kdn.

      Now, about the lack of good evidence for the practices mentioned in the article…

    • Gold……..

      Do your own research. You’ve been told that over and over again on all the many anti-natural medicine articles you love to hold forth on. It’s getting old, as are your constant demands to be spoon-fed material you could find for yourself.

      As for you, Alan, it’s so interesting that you’ve acknowledged you have absolutely no training in any field of medicine or medical research but continue to come to these articles asking for “evidence”. One of your goals in doing this is to deny any evidence that’s presented. Heard it and seen it many times over. The “skeptic” platform that all the positive studies, every last one of them, are flawed even when replicated and published in your own peer-reviewed journals just isn’t credible to thinking people.

      You both need real jobs.

    • Christine

      If you can’t back it up either, please just admit it so we can move on…

      Meanwhile…

      ” One of your goals in doing this is to deny any evidence that’s presented.”

      If only someone would provide hard evidence! All we get is hand-waving-allusions-to-something-or-other-that-might-exist-somewhere-but-we-can’t-be-bothered-to-actually-provide-a-link-to-it-but-it-really-really-does-exist-honest-just-please-believe-us evidence…

    • Gold: Advancing theory is one thing and conducting research is another thing. The two articles I mentioned are THEORY articles. You need to read them and understand them conceptually. Please take your time and read them leisurely when you are in a better mood.

    • Do your own research.

      You are starting from the false premise that I’ve not done this. I have. I have not found any good quality research for the points I tend to challenge. Why else would I ask for the person making the claim to back it up?

      You’ve been told that over and over again on all the many anti-natural medicine articles you love to hold forth on. It’s getting old, as are your constant demands to be spoon-fed material you could find for yourself.

      Given the constant inability to actually present good quality research to back the points claimed I can only conclude that there isn’t any.

      Stop being an idiot.

    • Gold: Advancing theory is one thing and conducting research is another thing. The two articles I mentioned are THEORY articles. You need to read them and understand them conceptually. Please take your time and read them leisurely when you are in a better mood.

      Ah. You don’t even understand the most rudimentary elements of science.

      Where you say “Theory” you actually mean Hypothesis. A Theory is, in laymans terms, a fact. A scientific Theory is an hypothesis that has been put to the test so much and found to have not been falsified that it effectively gets “promoted” to the level of Theory.

      Your articles may be hypothesis, in which case I don’t care. It’s not something that is worth considering from the point of view of this article. If they’re at a point of actually being useful I’d take the time.

      But I’m busy and just can’t be bothered with fanciful hypothesis about undemonstrated woo.

    • Gold: I think you should watch Rupert Sheldrake’s talk titled “science delusion” – in it, he talks about the difference between ‘science as a method of inquiry’ vs. ‘science as a belief system.’ What you are adhering to is the latter – you are not opening to new ideas and theories, not even wanting to consider those. That is a way to stop the progress in science and turn it into a a belief system.

    • kdn: There’s little about Sheldrake that is worth taking seriously outside of his biochemistry origins. Much of his work in parapsychology is undemonstrated and that which has been tested is of very poor quality and easily explained away via observer bias and cognitive dissonance.

    • There is so much evidence for phenomena like telepathy – take a look at the book titled “Brain Wars” by Dr. Mario Beauregard for some interesting meta analyses results (utilizing numerous studies) that have completely ruled out chance factors for this phenomena. He describes it step by step. The problem is that people like you prefer to believe that all those carefully conducted studies are incorrect because these phenomena do not neatly fit your belief system (you probably prefer to believe that the ‘mind is inside the head,’ and therefore phenomena like telepathy are just impossible). Although drug trials that are conducted by pharmaceutical companies have a great deal of selective reporting, medical ghostwriting, data mischaracterisation and academic malfeasance, you prefer to believe in those results, because they align with your belief systems. This phenomenon is called “confirmation bias.”
      By the way, evidence for telepathy also come from recent research using brain-computer interfaces – see for example, the following study: Grau C, et al. (2014) Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies. PLoS ONE 9(8): e105225.

    • There is so much evidence for phenomena like telepathy – take a look at the book…

      Studies. Show us the research. Anyone can publish a book.

      …titled “Brain Wars” by Dr. Mario Beauregard for some interesting meta analyses results (utilizing numerous studies) that have completely ruled out chance factors for this phenomena.

      “completely ruled out chance factors for this phenomena” to the author’s satisfaction.

      If this was a real effect it would be very easy to establish and it’d be in use all over the world. Every military and big business would be all over it. It would be in use everywhere.

      But it’s not.

      It has been extensively studied and found to be not a real thing. It’s been studied so much and the finding are so robust that no-one bothers with it any more. There are better places to sink research resources into.

      He describes it step by step. The problem is that people like you prefer to believe that all those carefully conducted studies are incorrect because these phenomena do not neatly fit your belief system

      Those studies you describe as “carefully conducted” are incorrect because they have been debunked time and time again. And the ones that were actually carefully conducted found no effect. You conveniently ignore those though. It is you that must be experiencing the cognitive dissonance due to the cherry picking you must have to go through to reach and maintain your position.

      (you probably prefer to believe that the ‘mind is inside the head,’

      The mind is what the brain does. If you disagree, please present me with evidence of a mind that we can interact with that doesn’t have a brain.

      and therefore phenomena like telepathy are just impossible).

      Well, no. I can think of many ways that a telepathy like effect could work. But just because I can think of them, doesn’t mean they’re real.

      Please, present solid, robust evidence to back your claim and we can consider it. Be aware though, this has been tested to death.

      Although drug trials that are conducted by pharmaceutical companies have a great deal of selective reporting, medical ghostwriting, data mischaracterisation and academic malfeasance, you prefer to believe in those results, because they align with your belief systems. This phenomenon is called “confirmation bias.”

      This is irrelevant to your argument.

      By the way, evidence for telepathy also come from recent research using brain-computer interfaces – see for example, the following study: Grau C, et al. (2014) Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies. PLoS ONE 9(8): e105225.

      If you consider this “telepathy” you’re either quite young and haven’t had the exposure to the information yet, are just uneducated, or are just an idiot. I’m hoping for the first one, in which case my tone is a little harsh.

      Anyway…

      This is not evidence for telepathy. It’s machine assisted communication. And do you know how? A conscious thought is established in the sender that is readable via ECG. This device measures changes in the brain. You know… that chunk of jell-o like neural tissue that the mind manifests in. That gets read and transmitted over the ‘net to another device that uses magnetic stimulation of the brain (c.f. earlier reference) which is manifested in how the recipient feels. That new sensation is interpreted.

      From this point of view when the telephone was invented and you heard about it for the first time you would have been referring to it as telepathy.

    • Gold: The research studies are cited within the book – you need get the book, read it, and then note down the academic studies. I do not have the book in front of me, but if you look it up, you will be able to see for yourself the actual carefully conducted academic studies and meta analyses. Simply refusing to see the evidence is the conduct of a bad scientist – it is clinging to science as a belief system. By the way, ruling out chance factors are based on statistical inference regarding calculating the odds against chance – these are described well in that book. It is NOT the author’s opinion. So, please read the book. I also suggest that you read “Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality” by Dr. Dean Radin – this book also refers to many good studies – get the book (it should be available in libraries) and read it for yourself, and note down the studies.
      Regarding your statement “If this was a real effect it would be very easy to establish and it’d be in use all over the world.” That is true, but we need to find out the factors and circumstances under which these phenomena happen, and what factors can bring about it at will – for example, the presence of a calm mind appears to be one factor that facilitate the phenomena, but there are other factors. If these are properly investigated, we would know more about these things. Unfortunately, these types of studies get very little funding because of the assumption that these phenomena could not possibly work. Saying that they have been “debunked time and time again” is your OPINION ONLY – it is because you refuse to see the evidence.
      This reminds me of how reports of stones falling from the sky (many years ago) was scornfully denounced as unscientific absurdity (before the serious investigation of meteorites).
      Regarding the mind – of course, the brain is involved, but the brain is just another organ in the body that does not talk for itself. It is the mind (sense impressions and mental phenomena that are constantly changing) that describes the brain. If you carefully read the two articles I mentioned, you will understand – when you read, make sure to pay particular attention to “Two levels of analyses.”
      I think the argument regarding mischaracterization, etc., of data by pharmaceutical companies is valid here – because no matter how they obtain their data, their results are considered quite valid evidence, whereas when other phenomena present such carefully conducted studies, they are cast away. You do not even bother to examine the evidence, just assuming that there is no evidence because you believe so. As I see it, you are not willing to challenge your own beliefs because of your emotional attachment to the materialist ideology.
      In that study (Grau, et al), the message was sent over mind-to-mind between human subjects separated by a great distance. Even if you think that study is not related to telepathy, that still does not take away the arguments I made above.

    • Alan – regarding your comment (“Now, about the lack of good evidence…”), please check out the website of ‘American Mindfulness Research Association’ that lists hundreds of studies that validate mindfulness meditation.

    • KDN: Arguing that the quality of the evidence is just my opinion goes both ways. You consider it good, the vast majority of the scientific community don’t. I’m not expressing my opinion here. I’m going with the consensus of those that are qualified in the field and backing their best understanding of it. My opinion is irrelevant and not a point worth arguing against.

      Lets look at it from another angle then.

      Let’s assume that you are correct and telepathy is real. How is it that we don’t see it everywhere? Regardless of research, if it’s a real phenomenon why do we not see it every day and all over the place?

    • KDN: You also appear to be arguing from a point of view that those of us that don’t hold your position have never considered it.

      Many of us, myself included, have been where you are. We believed in telepathy, morphic fields, Sheldrake, Geller, astral projection, UFOs (as ET visitors), etc.

      Upon investigation they even seem more valid.

      However, learning just a little about rational and critical thinking, the scientific method, the nature of how the easiest person to fool is yourself, etc… You quickly see how you manage to trick yourself into thinking how you do and just how gullible the human mind can be.

      But to assume that all we need to do is read your stuff is a naive position to hold. Most of us have read it, or things like it.

      It’s poor research. It’s crap.

      I really wish it wasn’t, but it is what it is and I live in the real world. If I was holding to any belief I’d still be where you are now.

    • Gold: It is not merely my opinion that I consider the evidence to be very strong. I have carefully read these books as well as research papers and am compelled by the overwhelming SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE. You haven’t even read the (new) books I mention, so I doubt it very much that you have carefully looked into the evidence.
      Do you think that people who do research in those fields (various psi phenomena such as telepathy) are creating lies upon lies? I think those individuals are the ones who have an open-mind, and are fearless to conduct an objective inquiry for the truth. They have an unprejudiced questioning attitude towards facts, and are willing to challenge their own beliefs. Majority of scientists are simply committed to defend scientific materialism, get promotions to enhance their status, etc.
      Regarding observing telepathy – I have personally experienced telepathic phenomena, and have also met others who have reported very interesting episodes – but because they are just individual experiences (are not carefully conducted studies), I just forget about them and do not report to others (except sometimes to close friends and relatives).
      Carefully conducted research studies in psi phenomena have shown an association between decreased mental “noise” (chatter of mind), and the manifestation of psi phenomena, and this may explain why people experience these phenomena only some of the time. In the laboratory, when sensory stimulation is significantly reduced (artificially), psi phenomena are reported to be much more prominent.
      By the way, reading new stuff and considering alternatives is not a naïve position. That is REAL critical thinking. The vast majority of the scientific community are merely “brain washed” (shall we say “deeply conditioned”?) to think that these types of phenomena are nonsense. Consensus of those that are “qualified in the field and backing their best understanding of it” is not evidence – they have not looked at the evidence carefully – they are simply emotionally attached to their materialist ideology.

    • kdn: It is not merely my opinion that I consider the evidence to be very strong.

      Yes, it is. And if you read your own words that followed the claim above with with even a basic understanding of the english language you would be able to see that, by definition, all you have established is that it is your opinion that you are so emphatic about.

      Again, if there was anything real there it wouldn’t be considered a fringe research topic. It wouldn’t be considered something that is very well established to be not a real thing. And we would see evidence of it being utilised in business, govt and the military. But we don’t.

    • Gold: You are the one who have established YOUR opinion. I have carefully read the studies, so as I said it is not merely my opinion.
      Also, as I mentioned earlier, topics like telepathy are not researched much because such investigations hardly receive funding (because such findings do not align well with scientific materialism, which is prevalent today). So, unfortunately, these interesting topics are not allowed to get established, let alone become widely utilized.
      But there have been reports of some use of psi phenomena for police investigations sometime back (that book ‘brain wars’ I mentioned earlier gives specific examples with references that you can look up). However, because such endeavors have such a negative view and opposition from the public (e.g. individuals such as you), such programs do not last too long. This is comparable to how stones falling from the sky was scornfully denounced as unscientific absurdity – at that time, embarrassed museums all over Europe had hurriedly thrown out their cherished meteorite collections with the garbage – people simply get influenced by opinions of the crowd, without trying to establish evidence.

    • KDN: You are the one who have established YOUR opinion. I have carefully read the studies, so as I said it is not merely my opinion.

      You did see where I stated that I outsourced my position to the scientific consensus of experts in the various fields on the topic, yeah? When that consensus changes my position will change.

      You quite specifically state that you have read selected studies. Therefore any outcome you settle on is, by definition, your opinion.

      The rest of your post is conspiratorial bollocks that demonstrates a poorly formed ability to think rationally or critically. Not worth responding to.

    • kdn said:

      “Alan – regarding your comment (“Now, about the lack of good evidence…”), please check out the website of ‘American Mindfulness Research Association’ that lists hundreds of studies that validate mindfulness meditation.”

      The article says nothing about ‘mindfulness meditation’, just ‘meditation’: do they have any evidence for the practices the article does talk about?

      But for ‘mindfulness meditation’, Google shows a warning that the website of the AMRA might be hacked, so you’ll excuse me if I don’t visit it. However, it’s not up to me to look up some evidence or other you say is there somewhere. I have nothing to do here: the burden is on you to provide the specific evidence you are referring to, not wave your hands around claiming it really does exist somewhere, honest it does…

    • Gold: You say that your position will change when the “scientific consensus of experts in the various fields on the topic” would change – this means right now, you simply follow the crowd… Also, if you ask those “experts in various fields,” I am sure they will give the exact answer you give, and if you probe deeper, you will also realize that none of them have actually carefully looked at the evidence – each of them are simply following the others blindly! (Each one is assuming that the others have looked at the evidence!)
      By the way, I never mentioned ‘selected studies’ – I couldn’t find that phrase in any of my posts (I did attempt a search) – remember that meta analyses takes into account ALL published studies, not just positive studies.
      Gold – I really do hope you will grow up soon! Perhaps in years to come, you will come to realize that there are things that you need to think and consider more deeply, rather than reacting based on your deeply conditioned views.

    • Alan – Do you want me to provide you a reference list? I suppose I could do that, if that is what you like.

    • kdn said:

      “Alan – Do you want me to provide you a reference list? I suppose I could do that, if that is what you like.”

      Well, that would finally be progress… But please just cite the one high quality study – or preferable a meta analysis or systematic review – that you believe is the most compelling.

    • Alan: I have listed some studies below. The first one is a meta-analyses that included a combined total of 8683 participants consisting of different patient categories as well as healthy adults and children. Please also check out the other articles that have shown healthy structural and functional changes in the brain, etc. If you have questions, please let me know.

      Gotink, R. A., Chu, P., Busschbach, J. J., Benson, H., Fricchione, G. L., & Hunink, M. M. (2015). Standardised mindfulness-based interventions in healthcare: an overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of RCTs. PloS one, 10(4), e0124344.

      Creswell, J. D. (2016). Mindfulness Interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 68. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1053-0479.14.3.25310.1146/annurev-psych-042716-051139

      Paulus, M. P. (2016). Neural Basis of Mindfulness Interventions that Moderate the Impact of Stress on the Brain. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(1), 373-373. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npp.2015.239

      Tang, Y.-Y., & Posner, M. I. (2013). Special issue on mindfulness neuroscience. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 8(1), 1–3. http://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nss104

      Simon, R., & Engström, M. (2015). The default mode network as a biomarker for monitoring the therapeutic effects of meditation. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 776.

      Hölzel, B. K., Lazar, S. W., Gard, T., Schuman-Olivier, Z., Vago, D. R., & Ott, U. (2011). How does mindfulness meditation work? Proposing mechanisms of action from a conceptual and neural perspective. Perspectives on psychological science, 6(6), 537-559.

      Querstret, D., & Cropley, M. (2013). Assessing treatments used to reduce rumination and/or worry: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 996-1009. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2013.08.004

      Atchley, R., Klee, D., Memmott, T., Goodrich, E., Wahbeh, H., & Oken, B. (2016). Event-related potential correlates of mindfulness meditation competence. Neuroscience, 320, 83-92.

      Creswell, J. D. (2016). Mindfulness Interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 68. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1053-0479.14.3.25310.1146/annurev-psych-042716-051139

      Paulus, M. P. (2016). Neural Basis of Mindfulness Interventions that Moderate the Impact of Stress on the Brain. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(1), 373-373. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npp.2015.239

      Tang, Y.-Y., & Posner, M. I. (2013). Special issue on mindfulness neuroscience. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 8(1), 1–3. http://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nss104

      Simon, R., & Engström, M. (2015). The default mode network as a biomarker for monitoring the therapeutic effects of meditation. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 776.

      Hölzel, B. K., Lazar, S. W., Gard, T., Schuman-Olivier, Z., Vago, D. R., & Ott, U. (2011). How does mindfulness meditation work? Proposing mechanisms of action from a conceptual and neural perspective. Perspectives on psychological science, 6(6), 537-559.

      Querstret, D., & Cropley, M. (2013). Assessing treatments used to reduce rumination and/or worry: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 996-1009. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2013.08.004

      Atchley, R., Klee, D., Memmott, T., Goodrich, E., Wahbeh, H., & Oken, B. (2016). Event-related potential correlates of mindfulness meditation competence. Neuroscience, 320, 83-92.

    • Alan: I have listed some studies below. The first one is a meta-analyses that included a combined total of 8683 participants consisting of different patient categories as well as healthy adults and children. Please also check out the other articles that have shown healthy structural and functional changes in the brain, etc. If you have questions, please let me know:

      Gotink, R. A., Chu, P., Busschbach, J. J., Benson, H., Fricchione, G. L., & Hunink, M. M. (2015). Standardised mindfulness-based interventions in healthcare: an overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of RCTs. PloS one, 10(4), e0124344.

      Creswell, J. D. (2016). Mindfulness Interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 68:491-516.

      Paulus, M. P. (2016). Neural Basis of Mindfulness Interventions that Moderate the Impact of Stress on the Brain. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(1), 373-373.

      Tang, Y.-Y., & Posner, M. I. (2013). Special issue on mindfulness neuroscience. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 8(1), 1–3.

      Simon, R., & Engström, M. (2015). The default mode network as a biomarker for monitoring the therapeutic effects of meditation. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 776.

      Hölzel, B. K., Lazar, S. W., Gard, T., Schuman-Olivier, Z., Vago, D. R., & Ott, U. (2011). How does mindfulness meditation work? Proposing mechanisms of action from a conceptual and neural perspective. Perspectives on psychological science, 6(6), 537-559.

      Querstret, D., & Cropley, M. (2013). Assessing treatments used to reduce rumination and/or worry: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 996-1009.

      Atchley, R., Klee, D., Memmott, T., Goodrich, E., Wahbeh, H., & Oken, B. (2016). Event-related potential correlates of mindfulness meditation competence. Neuroscience, 320, 83-92.

    • @kdn

      As I asked, which one do you believe is the most compelling?

      But are you now referring to mindfuless, mindful meditation or meditation?

    • Alan: If you only want to look at one article, just try the first one: Gotink, et al. 2015.
      Regarding your question, perhaps you need a bit of an introduction on what meditation is. The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices. However, all meditation practices can be subdivided into two main groups. One is ‘focused attention meditation’ and this meditation practice is mainly used to calm the mind (this meditation could involve focusing on body sensations, the breath sensation, the use of a word or phrase, etc., during a period of time). The other type of meditation is ‘open monitoring meditation,’ where one is attentive moment by moment to anything that occurs in experience in the present moment without focusing on any specific object. Open monitoring meditation forms the basis for mindfulness practice. Also, training in focused attention meditation is useful to cultivate open monitoring meditation. The following article describes these two types of meditation:

      Lutz, A., Slagter, H. A., Dunne, J. D., & Davidson, R. J. (2008). Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation. Trends in Cognitive Science, 12, 163-169.

      [By the way, my previous comment has got posted twice – when it did not come up the first time I posted, I removed the hyperlinks and posted it again…]

    • Gold: You say that your position will change when the “scientific consensus of experts in the various fields on the topic” would change – this means right now, you simply follow the crowd…

      I, like you (I suspect (based on your ability to grok what you talk about)), am not an expert in the fields being discussed. So yes, I “simply follow the crowd”.

      It is however, a very well educated crowd that knows what they are talking about. For me to speak out against these people, like yourself, would be the height of arrogance and an insult to their professions, education and expertise.

      Also, if you ask those “experts in various fields,” I am sure they will give the exact answer you give,

      “[You] are sure…” So, again, by definition, that’s your opinion. I disagree with it. You have so far failed to give any reason that your opinion should be taken seriously.

      and if you probe deeper, you will also realize that none of them have actually carefully looked at the evidence – each of them are simply following the others blindly! (Each one is assuming that the others have looked at the evidence!)

      Again, you make assumptions about the person you are debating online rather than addressing the specific claims being made.

      Nanos gigantum humeris insidentes

      Or, you may be more familiar with it’s most famous utterance by some dude called Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

      But Pfft… what did that guy ever figure out?

      By the way, I never mentioned ‘selected studies’ – I couldn’t find that phrase in any of my posts (I did attempt a search) – remember that meta analyses takes into account ALL published studies, not just positive studies.

      …and now you get to the point of arguing specific wordage. You’re correct, you never mentioned these words. My use of these words is indicative of what I think of your ability to select studies that back your cognitive bias. The only way you can reach this point today is to cherry pick what you read and perform massive mental gymnastics to account for the things that don’t agree with your closed-minded, antiquated position.

      Gold – I really do hope you will grow up soon!

      Ghods I hope not. Otherwise I would have to start responding in a more mature and “adult” manner. You’re not worth that level of effort given how easy it is to counter your points and point out the flaws in your position.

      Perhaps in years to come, you will come to realize that there are things that you need to think and consider more deeply, rather than reacting based on your deeply conditioned views.

      I do that already. However, there are somethings that are just so well known that it is literally pointless to sink any research funds into unless someone is able to demonstrate, reliably and repeatedly, that the phenomenon is real.

    • Gold: You say that there are somethings that are just so well known that it is literally pointless to bother about unless someone is able to demonstrate, reliably and repeatedly, that the phenomenon is real. But, psi-phenomena have been demonstrated RELIABLY AND REPEATEDLY to be real – you just refuse to see the evidence stating that you prefer to follow “experts” who you think know what they are talking about – that is a VERY WRONG assumption you make. Around 1908, when the Wright brothers repeatedly claimed to have constructed a heavier-than-air flying machine and to have flown it, their claim was scorned and dismissed as a hoax by several American scientists – these are the “experts” in those fields. They rejected the claim without even bothering to examine the evidence. It was only after President Roosevelt (who was not an “expert” in the field) ordered public trials that it was accepted as a reality. I tend to wonder how many valuable discoveries would have got lost because “experts” gave their own opinion…
      Remember that our minds tend to cling to what is familiar, and do not like at all to move to unfamiliar territory – this does not mean that what is in the unfamiliar territory is wrong. So, don’t overestimate these “experts.” It was Plato who said: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

    • kdn said:

      “psi-phenomena have been demonstrated RELIABLY AND REPEATEDLY to be real”

      Have they indeed? I don’t suppose you’d like to back that up, would you?

    • kdn said:

      “Alan: If you only want to look at one article, just try the first one: Gotink, et al. 2015.”

      That wasn’t what I asked, was it?

    • Alan: Regarding psi phenomena – lots of research studies are cited within the two books I mentioned (the books list carefully conducted academic studies with detailed descriptions, as well as meta analyses – with references that you can look up). I have listed the two books again below:
      1. “Brain Wars” by Dr. Mario Beauregard.
      2. “Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality” by Dr. Dean Radin.
      Alan – To prevent repetition, I suggest that you PLEASE read the comments I wrote to Gold regarding this matter (before you reply – in case you reply).
      Regarding your second question “which study I believe is the most compelling” – I will pick the same (Gotink, et al. 2015), especially since it has a large sample size.

    • kdn said:

      “Alan: Regarding psi phenomena – lots of research studies are cited within the two books I mentioned (the books list carefully conducted academic studies with detailed descriptions, as well as meta analyses – with references that you can look up). I have listed the two books again below:
      1. “Brain Wars” by Dr. Mario Beauregard.
      2. “Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality” by Dr. Dean Radin.”

      I’m afraid books don’t cut it for me – any fool can write and publish a book. I’m interested in the research evidence. You say the books you mentioned lists some studies. I will have to take your word for that, but I still await your references.

      “Regarding your second question “which study I believe is the most compelling” – I will pick the same (Gotink, et al. 2015), especially since it has a large sample size.”

      Well, that’s progress at least. However, Gotink et al. has been roundly criticised for not declaring competing interests in that study: see Misleading systematic review of mindfulness studies used to promote Bensen Institute for Mind-Body Medicine services: http://blogs.plos.org/mindthebrain/2017/03/15/misleading-systematic-review-of-mindfulness-studies-used-to-promote-bensen-institute-for-mind-body-medicine-services/

      “Conclusion

      The Bensen-Henry review produces a glowing picture of the quality of RCTs evaluating MSBR and the consistency of positive findings across diverse outcomes and populations. This is consistent with the message that they want to promote in marketing their products to patients, clinicians, and institutions. In this blog post I’ve uncovered substantial problems in internal to the Bensen-Henry review in terms of the studies that were included and the manner in which they were evaluated. But now we have external evidence in two reviews without obvious conflicts of interest come into markedly different appraisals of a literature that lacks appropriate control groups and seems to be reporting findings with a distinct confirmation bias.”

      In other words, Gotink et al. cherry-picked the studies and it looks like you cherry-picked Gotink et al.

    • Alan: Regarding psi studies – PLEASE read the comments that I wrote to Gold, because you seem to be asking the very same questions. The research studies are cited within the books – you need get the books, read them, and then note down the academic studies. I do not have the books in front of me, but if you look them up, you will be able to see for yourself the actual carefully conducted academic studies and meta analyses – the books should be available in libraries.
      Regarding Gotink, et al., even if the competing interests were declared, the study does not change – these are published studies that have gone through vigorous peer review. Remember that almost all drug trials have lots of competing interests– yet what they publish is accepted with reverence.

    • Gold: You say that there are somethings that are just so well known that it is literally pointless to bother about unless someone is able to demonstrate, reliably and repeatedly, that the phenomenon is real. But, psi-phenomena have been demonstrated RELIABLY AND REPEATEDLY to be real – you just refuse to see the evidence stating that you prefer to follow “experts” who you think know what they are talking about – that is a VERY WRONG assumption you make.

      As mentioned, think through the consequences of this being correct.

      Show us the police departments, governmental departments, law firms, detective agencies, courts, HR companies, military organisations etc that are currently and effectively using this.

      Can you put me in touch with a telepath?

      Can you find someone that can tell me what is in the black envelope on my desk right now? I’m on Level 9 of the building here: -41.2900932,174.7739813

      There is only one envelope and I already know its contents. If you’re so convinced go and find someone get them to tell you what is in it and post the results here.

      You claim that it’s me that refuses to see. It’s not just me. The groups above, that stand to profit from such a phenomenon, also don’t see it. All of them.

      Why do you think that is? Think about it for a moment. If you were involved in any of these industries and wouldn’t you use these abilities if it would make your work easier?

      Seriously, forget about your claims of an individual or 2 not believing it. Think about why entire industries and governments aren’t using this.

      Do I think you’ll change your mind after thinking about the scale of that? Unlikely.

    • you need get the books

      You’ve been told time and time again that books aren’t going to cut it. They will just be the distilled opinion of the author and literally anyone can produce that.

      Show us peer-reviewed research. If you think the research in the books is as good as it gets then present that. But link to the research. Not some article or book.

      How can you not understand this point?

    • Regarding Gotink, et al., even if the competing interests were declared, the study does not change

      I guess you didn’t read the criticism about the undeclared competing interests being a reasonable cause of the cherry picking of the studies.

      Just saying. If you’re going to challenge something another commenter states please challenge the full context of the statement. Otherwise you are continuing to cherry-pick.

      – these are published studies that have gone through vigorous peer review.

      For some definitions of “vigorous” and some definitions of “peer review”.

      Regardless of the quality of these individual studies they’re pointless from the point of view of a meta analysis due to the cherry-picking. If you argue against that you are just demonstrating that you don’t science very well.

      Remember that almost all drug trials have lots of competing interests– yet what they publish is accepted with reverence.

      1. ROTFLMAO!!!111!11one!11
      2. You’re wrong, these are held up to the same standards.
      3. Bad acting in this research does not validate your claims, your book or the research you present.
      4. Congrats! You’re at the point of pleading irrelevancies.

      You’ve lost this comment thread.

    • Comment: Show us peer-reviewed research.
      As I said before – the peer-reviewed research articles (that you can actually look up) are cited WITHIN the books. These books also discuss why these studies are not generally considered to be valid by the general public – so, please read the books.
      However, since you keep repeating that you want to see peer-reviewed research, I have listed some articles below. Note that the first article is a meta-analyses published in a top psychology journal:

      Storm, L., Tressoldi, P. E., & Di Risio, L. (2010). Meta-analysis of free-response studies, 1992–2008: Assessing the noise reduction model in parapsychology. Psychological Bulletin. Vol.136(4), Jul 2010, pp. 471-485.
      Bem, D. J. (2011). Feeling the Future: Experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 407-425.
      Radin, et al. Effects of Healing Intention on Cultured Cells and Truly Random Events The Journal Of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 10, Number 1, 2004, pp. 103–112

      Schiltz, M., Wiseman, R., Watt, C. & Radin, D. I. (2006). Of two minds: Skeptic-proponent collaboration within parapsychology. British Journal of Psychology, 97, 313-322.

      Storm, L., Tressoldi, P. E., & Risio, L. D. (2010). A meta-analysis with nothing to hide: Reply to Hyman (2010). Psychological Bulletin. Vol.136(4), Jul 2010, pp. 491-494.

    • Comment: Profits and consequences
      We do not have to always think of profits when conducting research – studies in these fields advance human knowledge.
      Also, I am not trying to promote psi, but only saying that these are valid studies that show interesting effects and should not be dismissed (I brought up psi to the conversation because you were critical of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s parapsychological studies).

    • Comment: Regarding Gotink, et al., study.
      This Gotink, et al., study is published in a good peer reviewed journal, so the contents of it is correct regardless of whether the authors declared conflicts of interest or not. If you are jealous that other people are profiting from it, then that is your problem. At least they are providing a therapy that works for people with mental issues. This is in contrast to giving psychiatric drugs (that pharmaceutical companies come up using a hit or miss approach) – it is well known that these psychiatric drugs do more harm than good. Also psychiatric medicines are known to be only as good as placebos.

    • kdn said:

      “Comment: Regarding Gotink, et al., study.
      This Gotink, et al., study is published in a good peer reviewed journal, so the contents of it is correct regardless of whether the authors declared conflicts of interest or not.”

      No, that’s not how it works. Publication in a journal – peer reviewed or othewise – does not make it immune from criticism, nor should it. It is’t a crap, biased study then it should be called out for that and not just accepted as you seem to have done. And there has been a lot of criticism of that paper as I have pointed out to you.

    • Alan Henness said: a crap, biased study:
      It is crap to you because you decided to call it crap – it is simply your opinion. You probably do not know how the peer review process works. When an article is submitted to a journal, it is sent to several reviewers (generally professors), and these reviewers do not know who the authors are (it is blinded review). They read the paper carefully and lets the editor know their criticisms or recommendations. Based on these recommendations, the paper is revised by the authors and then if everyone is happy, the paper is published. If it is crap, then it would not have been even published in this good journal.

    • kdn said:

      “Alan Henness said: a crap, biased study:
      It is crap to you because you decided to call it crap – it is simply your opinion.”

      No, it’s crap for the reasons I’ve already highlighted.

      “You probably do not know how the peer review process works. When an article is submitted to a journal, it is sent to several reviewers (generally professors), and these reviewers do not know who the authors are (it is blinded review).”

      No, you don’t understand peer review. It may or may not have been blind (single, double or otherwise) – I don’t think we know in this case. However, although peer review can catch some problems with papers, they most certainly do not catch everything.

      “They read the paper carefully and lets the editor know their criticisms or recommendations. Based on these recommendations, the paper is revised by the authors and then if everyone is happy, the paper is published. If it is crap, then it would not have been even published in this good journal.”

      That’s patently not true: perhaps you should take a look at some retracted papers sometime.

      You may find this guide to understanding peer review interesting and useful:

      http://senseaboutscience.org/activities/peer-review-the-nuts-and-bolts/

    • Alan: By the way, I looked at the site of James Coyne (the blog link you gave in an earlier comment) – in that link, if you scroll down, you will see that he is trying to sell his “skeptical e-books”! (they are quite expensive too!!!). I agree that in some very rare cases, reviewers of peer reviewed articles may not catch some problems in an article. However, all the arguments James Coyne makes are just playing with words – there is no substance at all in any of what he is saying. If you have a specific argument (other than saying that “the article is cherry picking because James Coyne says so”), I would like to hear what that would be.

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