Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Our Skeptic Forums
 Pseudoscience
 Laser therapy (photo-bio-modulation)
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

ThorGoLucky
Snuggle Wolf

USA
1110 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2012 :  14:08:00  Show Profile  Visit ThorGoLucky's Homepage Send ThorGoLucky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
While there are legitimate laser therapies, as posted by NIH at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001913.htm, my veterinarian and his assistant extolled the benefits of a kind of laser therapy for pain reduction, reducing inflammation, and the speeding of healing. I told them that my skeptical alarm bells were going off, but they insisted that it was legitimate because they used it themselves (anecdotes) and it is also used by professional sports teams ({cough} power bands {cough}).

I looked over the literature that they sent home with me and looked at the website at http://www.litecure.com/medical/laser-therapy/ and I couldn't find any references to real scientific studies, just their claim that it is "scientifically proven", and that it works by inducing a biological response in the cells called "photo-bio-modulation".

I then found that The SkeptVet posted about it at http://skeptvet.com/index.php?p=1_25 and it is also referred to as "cold laser therapy" and used by pet chiropractors and other alternative vets, and he says that it is not supported by scientific evidence.

I'm disappointed that my veterinarian is pushing such bunk.

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
24891 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2012 :  20:37:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Time to get a new vet.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

ThorGoLucky
Snuggle Wolf

USA
1110 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2012 :  08:44:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit ThorGoLucky's Homepage Send ThorGoLucky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Time to get a new vet.

I will have a word with that particular vet, Dr. Vaughn. If he doesn't relent, I will ask if there are any vets at Willamette Veterinary Hospital that reject the nonsense. If not, it will be inconvenient to go to a different location because it's just a few stone throws away from me.
Go to Top of Page

ThorGoLucky
Snuggle Wolf

USA
1110 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2012 :  19:16:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit ThorGoLucky's Homepage Send ThorGoLucky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I talked with Dr. Vaughn, and when he mentioned laser therapy again I told him that I looked up "photo-bio-modulation" and found that it has no medical meaning and that such laser therapy is quackery. He says that he's trying to make up his own mind, that he's "skeptical", and wants to use it more before he decides. I explained the need for controlled studies to determine efficacy and he said that there isn't money for such studies as there is with humans so they must go on anecdotes. But the pet care industry is multi-billion dollar annually!

That vet is AAHA https://www.aahanet.org/ certified so I emailed them and asked if Laser Therapy is part of their standard, accepted or rejected. I'll let y'all know their response, if any.
Go to Top of Page

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4573 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2012 :  23:02:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by ThorGoLucky
He says that he's trying to make up his own mind, that he's "skeptical", and wants to use it more before he decides.
If he's not certain that it works (or can't provide a plausible mechanism of how it even could work), then it's unethical to charge pet owners for the treatment, isn't it?

I explained the need for controlled studies to determine efficacy and he said that there isn't money for such studies as there is with humans so they must go on anecdotes.


"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." -Upton Sinclair


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15821 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2012 :  00:17:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In the case of veterinary application of such quackery, even the (minor but sometimes real) benefits of the placebo effect are lacking. The animals simply don't understand that the treatment is supposed to make them feel better.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
24891 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2012 :  05:43:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

In the case of veterinary application of such quackery, even the (minor but sometimes real) benefits of the placebo effect are lacking. The animals simply don't understand that the treatment is supposed to make them feel better.
The blanket term "placebo effect" includes observer effects of often very biased humans. In animal studies on drugs and therapies, the gold standard is still a random, placebo-controlled, double-blind experiment, just like with human subjects (and the animals on known placebos do exhibit improvement).

By the way, the placebo effect can be responsible for upwards of 33% of the improving animals or humans. It isn't exactly minor.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15821 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2012 :  07:28:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by HalfMooner

In the case of veterinary application of such quackery, even the (minor but sometimes real) benefits of the placebo effect are lacking. The animals simply don't understand that the treatment is supposed to make them feel better.
The blanket term "placebo effect" includes observer effects of often very biased humans. In animal studies on drugs and therapies, the gold standard is still a random, placebo-controlled, double-blind experiment, just like with human subjects (and the animals on known placebos do exhibit improvement).

By the way, the placebo effect can be responsible for upwards of 33% of the improving animals or humans. It isn't exactly minor.
This is where karma catches up with us skeptics. Placebos don't work if you don't believe.

But isn't the use of placebos in testing drugs for animals merely as a control? I mean, they aren't actually getting a placebo effect with animals, are they?

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 11/08/2012 07:30:23
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
24891 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2012 :  13:20:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

This is where karma catches up with us skeptics. Placebos don't work if you don't believe.
No, placebos don't work at all. They are non-therapeutic. Improvement after taking a placebo is always due to something other than the placebo.
But isn't the use of placebos in testing drugs for animals merely as a control? I mean, they aren't actually getting a placebo effect with animals, are they?
In a typical trial for something intended to be a psoriasis medication (for example), the researchers will want to see an 80% reduction in symptoms after two weeks of treatment. Despite the control group being given nothing but a placebo (say, an ointment with no medication in it), some percentage of those in that group will meet the 80% reduction criteria during the trial. As many as 33% of them.

It's hardly ever 0, because most conditions are self-limiting (the common cold), or they relapse/remit in cycles (psoriasis, some varieties of MS), or they resolve for no apparent reason (some 5% of cancers spontaneously go away).

So how do you tell if the medication works or not? What the researchers want to see is that in the treatment group, the number of subjects who meet the 80% criteria is much higher than in the control group. They want to see something like 95% of the subjects in the treatment group meet the 80% criteria. At the end of the experiment, they take all the raw numbers for how many patients in each group got thus-and-such reduction in symptoms, run the data through one or more statistical functions, and publish that (for example) there's a 99% likelihood that the medication works (and thus a 1% chance that the results were just a fluke). Typically, anything less than a 95% chance is going to be unpublishable or otherwise a dead-end to research.

But, what we're really talking about here with the "Placebos don't work if you don't believe" thing is fooling oneself into believing that a non-therapeutic treatment actually has a therapeutic effect. When faced with someone who is taking a scam cold cure who claims that they feel better, I find it difficult to say negative things about whatever it is they're using, because I don't want to talk them out of whatever effect they've talked themselves into (I'm much more likely to speak up if they're trying to talk other people into spending money on the scam). But again: it's nothing that the placebo actually did, it's all in their own head.

With the laser therapy Thor is talking about, it's easy to see where such placebo effects can come into play. The animals certainly aren't going to be reporting a reduction in pain. Instead, it's going to be fallible human beings saying, "well, it looks like Sparky is limping less today." In the absence of an objective measure of pain in animals and/or a double-blind RCT, placebo effects can run rampant in the reporting of whether a therapy is making a pet better.

And without specific metrics for wound-healing and inflammation, the same problems will arise with those factors. There is no hard-and-fast rule like, "this sort of wound will take six days to heal." Like humans, some animals will heal faster than others, so if you give a naturally fast-healing animal this laser therapy, you (the vet) might fool yourself into thinking that the laser therapy will make all animals heal faster. If the laser does no such thing in reality, then what you'd be seeing would be a placebo effect.

And skeptics are in no way immune to all of these effects. Sure, we might not spend money on things we know ahead of time will have no effect, but if we take part in a placebo-controlled trial and wind up in the placebo group, we'll have no control whatsoever about whether we experience a reduction in symptoms or not. We either will or we won't, and if we do, it'll necessarily be due to something other than the non-therapeutic treatment we got, and our result will be chalked up to the placebo effect.

Don't forget that merely being attended to by doctors and nurses can make a person feel better, just because they'll feel like something is being done to ease their discomfort, even if nothing really is.

Similarly, skeptics are susceptible to the nocebo effect, as well. If someone convincingly provides you with a fake emetic, odds are that you'll wind up puking. Being a skeptic may just mean that they'd have to make their presentation more convincing than if they were trying this nasty trick on a gullible person. Instead of just telling you that a glass of water has an emetic in it, they may have to produce a medical-looking bottle (full of water) with a medical-looking label on it and a medical-looking seal, and open and pour it in front of you, for example. You'd huck your guts, probably.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2604 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2012 :  13:50:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interesting topic, I have a question and don't know if anyone can answer it but here it goes. Actually I have a couple more but would prefer to go one at a time. Do animals in the wild have health issues and get better with out ever going to a Vet?

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
24891 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2012 :  15:38:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by sailingsoul

Do animals in the wild have health issues and get better with out ever going to a Vet?
Never seen a one-eared alleycat?

Cats and dogs get "colds," too, but from different viruses/bacteria than are responsible for human colds. I'd never take a cat to a vet for a cold unless it lasted a week or more. I don't think I'll own another dog, but if I do and it gets a "cold," I'd be a lot more likely to take it to a vet because I just read that early-stage rabies can look a lot like a cold.

But there are a gazillion diseases that animals get in the wild and survive without treatment. They haven't gone through half a billion years of evolution with every sniffle being a death sentence.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2604 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2012 :  15:50:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Never seen a one-eared alleycat?

Cats and dogs get "colds," too, but from different viruses/bacteria than are responsible for human colds. I'd never take a cat to a vet for a cold unless it lasted a week or more. I don't think I'll own another dog, but if I do and it gets a "cold," I'd be a lot more likely to take it to a vet because I just read that early-stage rabies can look a lot like a cold.

But there are a gazillion diseases that animals get in the wild and survive without treatment. They haven't gone through half a billion years of evolution with every sniffle being a death sentence.
That's what I thought. Now for my next question. So if I waved a stick over any of these health issues for some animals and treated others with the services of a vet, would one be able to say my stick waving induced a placebo effect?

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
24891 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2012 :  16:06:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by sailingsoul

That's what I thought. Now for my next question. So if I waved a stick over any of these health issues for some animals and treated others with the services of a vet, would one be able to say my stick waving induced a placebo effect?
The waving stick is a placebo, yes. "Induced," however, doesn't seem to be an appropriate word.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15821 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2012 :  18:06:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I expressed myself inexactly, Dave: What I meant to express was that the placebo effect depends upon belief in the efficacy of the placebo itself working. Purely psychosomatic, agreed. But animals and (good) skeptics can't get the effect, I've been supposing.

But perhaps animals can. If you regularly gave an old dog a painkiller that helped it feel better, then one time substituted that with a placebo that was designed not to be distinguishable by sight, texture, smell or taste, I suppose one might see it perk up via a placebo effect. Never heard of a study of this, however.

And even disbelief can't stop all human placebo effects. I always take a Ranitidine anti-acid tablet before hitting the sack. After years of this, I now find myself conditioned to get quite sleepy whenever I take one during the day. Sort of like a "contact high" effect.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 11/08/2012 18:09:27
Go to Top of Page

sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2604 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2012 :  20:35:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by sailingsoul

That's what I thought. Now for my next question. So if I waved a stick over any of these health issues for some animals and treated others with the services of a vet, would one be able to say my stick waving induced a placebo effect?
The waving stick is a placebo, yes. "Induced," however, doesn't seem to be an appropriate word.
Agreed. I'm trying to understand just when an improvement in health can and can not be placebo effect caused. I think Mooner is onto something. I need to look up a podcast that was on the placebo effect. Perhaps hearing it again with clear me up. It went into a experiment with monkeys that brought out the difference when it is and when it isn't ,,, if I remember right. It was good, I'll find it and post the link.

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
24891 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2012 :  21:59:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by sailingsoul

I'm trying to understand just when an improvement in health can and can not be placebo effect caused.
It's impossible to tell for sure without lots and lots of individualized testing. There is no medication for which the response rate is 100% (some people get zero relief from aspirin, for example). So for some percentage of subjects, even wildly useful medications will be placebos in that they won't be biologically therapeutic. But those same subjects can experience spontaneous remissions and/or the psychological relief (etc.) which we lump into "the placebo effect."

So it's possible that a person "immune" to aspirin doesn't know it because every time he takes one for a tension headache, the mere act of self-medicating provides enough stress relief to mitigate the headache. This obviously muddies the waters about what can or cannot be placebo-effect caused.

I would also remind that some people who fervently believe that a placebo will have an effect do not find relief, and blame the failure on some other factor (God, mis-aligned chakras, etc.) while continuing to take the placebo. And some others will refuse to believe that perfectly working therapeutic medicines are anything but worthless scams. In other words, they believe that valid drugs are placebos, and attribute all relief from those drugs to other factors (God, properly aligned chakras, whatever). So mere belief isn't enough to guarantee a placebo effect, and mere disbelief isn't enough to invalidate actual therapies. This further blurs the line.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.52 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000