612 thoughts on “Death by “alternative” medicine: Who’s to blame?

  1. daedalus2u says:

    I have been thinking about the practices of burnt sacrifice in that context. Sacrificing the first born in a birthing season of animals such as sheep, would tend to reduce the dispersion in birth date by removing from the gene pool the outliers.

    When the screw fly was eliminated from the southern US, it was noticed that many deer suddenly had twin fawns. It wasn’t that the incidence of twin births increased, rather that both twins survived. The explanation was that one twin usually was killed by screw flies.

    Sacrificing the first born might have done something similar. Any gravid flesh eating flies such as screw flies (there are old world versions) would have been attracted by the bloody sacrifice, laid their eggs and then been killed when the sacrifice was burned. The charred residue would be a useful soil amendment, analogous to the Terra Preta found in South America rain forest which still has remarkable fertility centuries after it was created.

    Similarly sacrificing a large animal before a battle would deplete the local population of flesh eating flies. That just might save the lives of the wounded who might otherwise become infested.

    What to do with agricultural surpluses is actually a problem. If they are saved, they provide food for vermin and the next season there are more mice and rats to deal with. Better to destroy the excess so the vermin can’t eat it. Partial combustion as in burnt sacrifice turns it into a slow release source of fertilizer.

  2. pedidiva says:

    Iniatially, why was a needle biopsy done rather than a lumpectomy? The lumpectomey would have given the tissue required for hisological purposes & may have been curative.

  3. David Gorski says:

    Most breast biopsies (approximately 70-80%) wind up being benign. Consequently, over the last decade or so we’ve moved to doing far more image-guided core needle biopsies, which are just as accurate for diagnostic purposes but are less invasive and require less tissue. It’s pretty standard.

  4. pedidiva says:


  5. Dr Benway says:

    Holy crap. I ran out of popcorn.

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