[LINK] electromagnetic fields effect brain activity

Ivan Trundle ivan at itrundle.com
Wed Jan 10 12:21:32 AEDT 2007

On 10/01/2007, at 10:52 AM, Stewart Fist wrote:

> Karl writes re placebo:
>> if they believe it will help them then it very likely WILL help  
>> them, even if
>> only by improving their perceived well-being.
> I dont' disagree at all.  But I think one of the most common  
> misconceptions
> about the use of a placebo (and the patient is not supposed to know  
> that it
> is only a placebo)  is that the patient's feeling of well-being  
> actually
> contributes to the healing process.
> This is dubious in my opinion; it might effect/affect (Ivan??) the  
> mood, but
> I doubt it affects/effects the body.

Effect - noun

Affect - verb

...though psychologists have tried hard to confuse this (I'm  
qualified to talk about this) but in the context of what is being  
discussed here, more confusing because we are debating emotional  
'fluency' and affective behaviours.

Internalised moods, feelings and well-being are influenced by a host  
of factors, and these in turn do directly influence the body. Mental  
states ARE recorded as having an effect on the body: but this is not  
then presume that mental states will mitigate or reverse a medical  

It's a complex issue, if only because we still don't properly  
understand how pain, suffering, and an overall negative state all  
have on an ill or broken body. Mitigation of pain alone can assist in  
recovery, and not just because of the physiological dampening of the  
transmitted signals. On the other hand, pain is actually a useful  
process in itself, to prevent further injury. We simply don't know  
the sum total. There is no conclusive research to date.


> An extension of this "feeling of well-being" idea is the firmly- 
> held-belief
> in the general community that the bravery of certain people helps  
> them cure
> themselves of supposedly incurable diseases.

And we all know anecdotally that this simply isn't true. Nonetheless,  
I can speak anecdotally of those who have died around me - and can  
vouch for how quickly someone will die if they want to. But this is  
an extreme environment, and I'm not certain that we should  
extrapolate too much. Others in the business of dealing with the  
dying will tell similar stories, but our cultural beliefs will tell  
us not to delve into this topic too far with people who are dying  
(either expectedly, or not).

> This is never discussed truthfully in the media, because its not a
> characterisation that anyone can vocally object to without looking  
> like a
> complete bastard.

Agreed, our social and cultural beliefs preclude this.

> However consider its corollary, which presumably is that those who  
> die, do
> so because of cowardice or lack-of-willpower in facing and fighting  
> their
> disease.   I often wonder how the families of those who die think  
> about this
> implied characterisation of their loved ones.

Not a good corollary, as those dying express many emotions, sometimes  
all at once. It all gets very confusing at that time for those who  
are aware of their condition. Some are ready to die, prepared to  
accept it is a fate, but is it really cowardice or lack of willpower?  
A desire to die expresses willpower in a different way, and cowardice  
might be expressed in not wanting to die. It can be worse for  
bystanders, emotionally - who will interpret what they see in other  
ways again.

> Karl's condemnation of people who "exploit the credulous" however,  
> seems to
> under-rate this as a problem.  It is a multi-billion dollar problem in
> Australia, and a multi-trillion dollar problem around the world.

True, too true.


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