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Cystic Fibrosis is all your fault

Cystic Fibrosis is a serious genetic disorder caused by the inheritance of a defective transporter protein. It leads to an accumulation of mucus and fluids in the lungs that can cause progressive scarring and damage to the tissue, and eventually loss of so much lung function that respiration is inadequate, and the victim dies. It’s a terrible disease, and it’s in the news today because a ten year old girl just received a lung transplant to deal with CF.

If you want to learn more or do more, read the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website. That’s a reasonable source of public health information.

But do not read the Guardian Express.

The Guardian Express has published an article that suggests lung transplants aren’t the best option for CF. I just want to say…lung transplants are a last-ditch effort when no other recourse is available; nobody would suggest casually getting a transplant when other precedures are available for amelioration and maintenance. You get a lung transplant when your lungs are on the verge of failing to function.

So this article is talking nonsense from the title onwards. And then you discover why they’re arguing against transplants.

The problem is, after receiving a lung transplant, the new lungs do not have CF, but Cystic Fibrosis still exists in the sinuses, pancreas, intestines, sweat glands and reproductive tract, which may find their way to the new lungs eventually.

Let that sink in. CF is a genetic disease. This article is giving out medical advice, written by an author who thinks genes migrate out of the sweat glands into the lungs.

And what does this author suggest in lieu of a transplant? Oregano oil, yoga, rubbing essential oils on your skin, and herbs.

You may be thinking this all sounds terribly ineffective in the face of a disease that destroys the tissues of the lungs. But you’d be wrong. It’s an emotional disease, believe it or not.

According to metaphysics and those who study the relationship between our emotions and the body have found a correlating belief for nearly every physical manifestation in form. Often these beliefs are passed down to us from our parents and we aren’t even aware we are carrying them. In those with what is known as cystic fibrosis, this could be the case – as more often than not, individuals are born with this condition.

Louise Hay, a famous proponent for linking emotional causes to physical ailments has written several books on the subject (You can Heal your Life; Heal your Body) after healing herself from serious health problems by addressing her thoughts and emotions. The correlation she places for those suffering with cystic fibrosis is that they have a ‘thick belief that life won’t work for them.’ In order to combat or heal this belief, she offers the daily affirmation: “Life loves me and I love life. I now choose to take in life fully and freely.” If this is a condition you or someone you love is dealing with, perhaps it would be beneficial to look at the emotions behind the dis-ease. We are a whole being, not just a body, and when we can address our problems more holistically we have a greater chance at success.

Holy crap … I thought the article was a solid wall of garbage until that point, but when they stoop to victim blaming and telling people that cystic fibrosis is a “choice”, I suddenly find myself sympathizing with those people who believe in a Hell, because I want this person to go there.

But don’t worry! They include a disclaimer at the end!

(Information in this article is not intended to diagnosis, treat or cure and is not medical advice, but rather the researched opinion of the journalist. Please discuss options with your health care professional)

The article is full of medical misinformation and medical advice. The disclaimer fools no one, Stasi Bliss, you ignorant fraud.

It’s not just this one author, though. The Guardian Express regularly publishes tripe, such as this one about “Organ Transplants Cellular Memory Proves Major Organs Have Self-Contained Brains?”.

Organ transplants cellular memory is a premise which exemplifies that our brain is not the only organ that stores personality traits and memories because major organs may have self-contained brains. This is not a new theory because imaginative writers have already written about this concept in the 17th century, which is long before organ transplants were even believed possible.

In our modern culture, cellular memory was first studied in heart transplant recipients when the patients displayed strange cravings, change in tastes, cravings and mild personality. Major organs like the heart, liver, kidney, and even muscles are known to contain large populations of neural networks, which are self-contained brains and produce noticeable changes. Acquired combinatorial memories in organ transplants could enable transferred organs to respond to patterns familiar to the organ donors, and it may be triggered by emotional signals. Science discovered evidence that nervous system organs store memories and respond to places, events, and people recognized by their donors.

When your ideas are supported by 17th century fiction, you have a problem. They do cite one contemporary source: Gary Schwartz, the life-after-death charlatan from Arizona.

Comments

  1. says

    There’s also the issue of people blaming her difficulty getting a lung transplant on Obamacare death panels. Transplants always worked like this.

  2. says

    Clicked on the Guardian Express link and got:

    Page not found!

    Sorry the page you were looking is not here.

    Is it too much to hope, that someone with some sense spotted it and got it taken down?

  3. lb says

    Apparently there was an enormous backlash against the article by the CF community and it was taken down. The same author then wrote some kind of non-apology opinion piece. Someone else has written another article sort of refuting the first article but criticizing the commenters for basically eviscerating the initial author for her ignorance and stupidity. They’re rather a hot mess at that place.

  4. overworldtheme says

    Considering the same site has an article up today about a dark star “the size of Jupiter” being discovered next to the sun, I’m not sure scientific accuracy is their strong suit.

  5. ChasCPeterson says

    According to metaphysics

    Great, great opener. You can say just about anything after that.

    telling people that cystic fibrosis is a “choice”

    Where does it say that?
    (I can’t see the original, but quotation marks mean something.)

    major organs may have self-contained brains.

    Nah, not so much. Except the organs of the GI tract. The enteric nervous system is quasi-independent of the CNS and regulates much of digestive function without extrinsic control. It includes interneurons. It uses the same neurotransmitters as the brain, including stuff like dopamine and serotonin.
    But unfortunately, no ‘enteric brain’. It’s at a similar level of organization as the nervous system of a jellyfish, a ‘neural net’.
    (And, fascinatingly for PZM and DDM if no-one else, it’s derived from neural crest!)

    the patients displayed strange cravings, change in tastes, cravings and mild personality.

    Copy editor stat!!

    Science discovered evidence that

    Another great all-purpose opener.

  6. overworldtheme says

    @Daz
    For the record, the Guardian and the Guardian Express are not the same publication.

  7. says

    I seem to have caught an atheist virus a few decades ago and believe it may have settled in my genome. It’s been making me think I can’t change reality with thought alone. Also, I get a really bad headache when I read things like this.

    I want to remove it, but nothing seems to work. The tin-foil hat failed to focus backscatter radiation from the virus – I was hoping to cook it. I even tried drinking anti-bacterial soap diluted by many orders of magnitude.

    Can someone recommend a strong anti-viral I can take?

  8. says

    Kudos to PZ for picking this news up. I am also sure PZ is aware of how many nut cases are out there who make up their own science and fervently back it up with…well… their own science. These are the people who prey upon those who are desperately seeking treatments and I am not sure how many they have successfully killed. I call them (pseudoscientists, pseudo doctors, anti-vaccinologists, etc.) the scientific imams. :)

  9. Rey Fox says

    According to metaphysics

    *flush*

    Organ transplants cellular memory is a premise

    No it’s not. You can’t have a noun string like that where one of the nouns is plural. And right next to a soft “c” sound too. Try saying that shit out loud, it’s painful. And it’s not a typo either because it appears in the headline too. I guess the “express” part of the Guardian Express means that it fast-tracks to publication without fact-checking or editing.

  10. Angus Merrill says

    I usually lurk, but this hits too close to home. “Ignorant fraud”? Is that the best you can do, PZ?
    As someone who is slowly dying from pulmonary fibrosis, much more colorful descriptors come to my mind for that gibbering, self-serving piece of human filth preying on the hopes and fears of the dying.

    I really didn’t need to be this pissed off today, but a sincere thanks for bringing the matter to light.

  11. raven says

    I’ve seen people cure their medical conditions with the power of metaphysics and wishful thinking with doses of quackery tossed in the mix.

    Or try to anyway.

    Some of them died and rather quickly at that.

  12. morgan says

    Angus Merrill, my heart goes out to you. My brother-in-law developed pulmonary fibrosis and luckily was able to get a lung transplant at the last minute. He is now doing well. It is a grim disease and I truly hope for the best for you. Did you know that there MAY be a genetic connection?

  13. fmitchell says

    As absurd and horrible as this is, sufferers of mental illness get this crap way more often … as fellow Minnesotan Maria Bamford points out in this interview.

  14. says

    According to metaphysics and those who study the relationship between our emotions and the body have found a correlating belief for nearly every physical manifestation in form.

    everything up to “the body” is part of a different sentence than everything after. What did Chas call that? Sentence syngamy?

    Where does it say that?
    (I can’t see the original, but quotation marks mean something.)

    in this case, they mean scarequotes. I suggest you complain to whoever is in charge of English punctuation and demand a new set of symbols to distinguish direct quotation from scarequotes. :-p

  15. Angus Merrill says

    Morgan @ 21 – Thank you. I am aware that there may be a genetic connection. However, I have no way of knowing if it applies in my case. I know next to nothing about the paternal side of my family and no way fix that. I have mixed feelings about the possibility of a transplant in my case. My selfish side would jump at it in a second. But given my age, I think it best that younger folks be given priority. I hope to have few more years before dealing with that dilemma, though.
    It’s a very good thing I’m an atheist. I find it to be very liberating and of great comfort to me. If I were the superstitious type, I’d probably be spending my days frightened, depressed, and miserable. I am none of those things.

  16. David Marjanović says

    everything up to “the body” is part of a different sentence than everything after. What did Chas call that? Sentence syngamy?

    Yes.

    I’d call it homologous recombination, though, between

    “According to metaphysics and those who study the relationship between our emotions and the body”

    and

    “those who study the relationship between our emotions and the body have found a correlating belief for nearly every physical manifestation in form.”

  17. stever says

    From ancient times until the early 1950’s asthma was considered to be primarily an emotional disorder. It’s still fashionable in some circles to blame cancer on the victim. This is somewhat justifiable in the case of lung cancer in smokers who won’t quit, but some victims of brain and abdominal cancers are told “God is punishing you for your sin!”

  18. David Marjanović says

    But unfortunately, no ‘enteric brain’. It’s at a similar level of organization as the nervous system of a jellyfish, a ‘neural net’.

    I thought jellyfish had more complexity in their rhopalia than that? Compulsory neuroscience lecture for molecular biologists sez human brain is 99 % concerned with itself, only 1 % of the connections go to the outside, while the nervous system of the gut is mostly concerned with the outside – it’s modular and performs peristalsis: in each module there’s a sensor neuron that notices stuff incoming, a motor neuron farther upstream that triggers muscle contraction when the sensor neuron sends an impulse, and at least sometimes a neuron between them.

    (And, fascinatingly for PZM and DDM if no-one else, it’s derived from neural crest!)

    Awesome, if unsurprising. :-) Peripheral nerves are all derived from neural crest.

  19. David Marjanović says

    From ancient times until the early 1950′s asthma was considered to be primarily an emotional disorder.

    See also: stomach ulcers. Grain of truth in that stress suppresses the immune system, but still you can’t get a stomach ulcer without Helicobacter pylori.

  20. Gregory Greenwood says

    Louise Hay, a famous proponent for linking emotional causes to physical ailments has written several books on the subject (You can Heal your Life; Heal your Body) after healing herself from serious health problems by addressing her thoughts and emotions. The correlation she places for those suffering with cystic fibrosis is that they have a ‘thick belief that life won’t work for them.’ In order to combat or heal this belief, she offers the daily affirmation: “Life loves me and I love life. I now choose to take in life fully and freely.” If this is a condition you or someone you love is dealing with, perhaps it would be beneficial to look at the emotions behind the dis-ease. We are a whole being, not just a body, and when we can address our problems more holistically we have a greater chance at success.

    Brought to you by the same woo mongers and/or callous arseholes who claim that cancer can be cured by ‘thinking good thoughts’.

    It is bad enough that they are sufficiently delusional to think that physical reality is so amenable to changing itself to fit one’s mood (or at least are prepared to give the public impression that they believe that for their own purposes), but that they actually go so far as to effectively blame the victims of serious diseases and conditions for their ailments on the notional basis that it is all a product of a bad attitude is sickening beyond words.

    I would never seek to inflict any medical condition upon anyone, even if I somehow had the ability to do so, but it is undeniable that there would be a certain… pleasing symmetry if the people who promote this rubbish were to be struck with such a condition themselves. I wonder if they would be so eager to blame the victim, and by implication dismiss the efficacy of scientific medicine, then?

    Nah – what am I saying? Hypocrisy pretty much always goes hand-in-hand with this kind of cynical snake-oil peddling.

  21. says

    It’s still fashionable in some circles to blame cancer on the victim.

    There was a woman completely into “natural healing” and all that BS around here who stated to those she knew that no one had to get cancer at all, that it was entirely preventable. The cancer she died from was ovarian, as I recall.

    Poetic justice? No, nothing just or poetic in that. But the blame-the-victim nonsense she tried to spread was at least somewhat undone by that.

    Glen Davidson

  22. Stacy says

    I seem to have caught an atheist virus a few decades ago and believe it may have settled in my genome. It’s been making me think I can’t change reality with thought alone. Also, I get a really bad headache when I read things like this.

    ….Can someone recommend a strong anti-viral I can take?

    According to metaphysicians and scienticians who study the relationship between mind and body, if you overwork the rational part of your brain and do too much linear thinking, focusing on the material to the neglect of the spiritual will result in imbalance and an atheist virus may result. Try this affirmation: “I am he as you are he and you are me and we are all together.”

  23. carlie says

    Whew. If someone has posted between Stacy and me, that would have looked even more awkward.

  24. zenlike says

    Some of the other ‘articles’ posted by Stasia Bliss:

    “NASA Photos Reveal Possible Solar Star Gate”

    “Super Full Moon Affects Humans”

    “Super Moon Gazing Induces Superman-like Qualities?”

    “Endangered African White Lions Really Reincarnated Spiritual Masters?”

    She isn’t a journalist, just a full-on new-age crank

    Whatever credibility this newspaper might have (never heard of this paper until now) by making this idiot “Senior Editor of Health and Science” they have lost it all.

  25. Pierce R. Butler says

    Somewhere, the Neurolinguistic Programming guys (or maybe just Richard Bandler on his own) tossed out the implication that, by endlessly pushing the idea of “inner growth”, new-agers were mentally inducing their own future cancers.

    Perhaps unfortunately, Bandler then torpedoed the NLP boat before he and his colleagues could develop a decent set of Deep Rifts.

  26. lovecherryred says

    I’ve had asthma on and off, and had ulcerative colitis for 20+ years, I dealt with an increasing barrage of New Age bullshit around those conditions, getting much worse as time went on. Anybody with a chronic disease these days gets beat over the head with it…
    I’ve recently been told by two separate people that a healthy immune system can fight ANYTHING off. From a cold to cancer. No one ever *has* to get sick, ever. I work with one of them, she’s an RN.
    And since I’ve been around them more in the past couple of years, because of my job–I have noticed, to my horror, that many nurses, of all kinds, seem to be into woo.

  27. Richard Smith says

    Quoth Stasi Bliss

    dis-ease

    I don’t think there was a line break in the original article right there, was there? I really, really hate the “clever” re-purposing of words to support BS like the “illness is caused by bad feelings” crap. If there isn’t a name for this kind of linguistic appropriation, there ought to be. How about “homeonyms”?

  28. says

    I know I shouldn’t let crap like this get to me, but it does. I am simply furious. Our beloved WinAce (of FStDT) died of C.F. because he didn’t love life enough?

    Words fail.

  29. David Marjanović says

    Somewhere, the Neurolinguistic Programming guys (or maybe just Richard Bandler on his own) tossed out the implication that, by endlessly pushing the idea of “inner growth”, new-agers were mentally inducing their own future cancers.

    *snigger*

  30. lb says

    One of the strongest people I’ve ever met is a 33 year old young woman with CF. She doesn’t let anything slow her down, doesn’t use the disease to gain sympathy. She goes for what she wants with no apology in an assertive way and loves her life with a passion I’ve never seen before and I admire her so much. I see her struggle with this disease every day and it makes me try harder to appreciate what I’ve got. She’s an inspiration and I wish I could find this Stasia Bliss–and if that isn’t a fake name I don’t know what is– and kick her… well I won’t go there. But you know what I mean.

  31. F [is for fluvial] says

    Organ memory! Queue up all the haunting stories of “I had a transplant and…” (was drawn to the donor’s family / was haunted by the restless spirit of the donor with unfinished business or a tragic death / acquired some traits of the donor…)

    As to the CF hypothesis put forward by the “journalist”*: I’m developing a new hypothesis on acquiring some type of illness from reading offensive and ridiculous claptrap.

    *Yes, those quotation marks mean something. ;)

  32. Azuma Hazuki says

    Do you suppose there may be something to this in the form of epigenetic effects? No actual consciousness is required here, but the donor’s life history in the form of gene expression, methylation/gene silencing, etc may have an effect, no?

    I defer to PZ and other biologists on this, as I am only a geologist and haven’t done academic research since junior year of college.

  33. 24fps says

    I would like to force the cretin who wrote that article to watch a film called “65 Red Roses”. It’s the story of Eva Markvoort, a young woman who was dying of CF when she got a lung transplant. It’s an incredible film. They were there when she was waiting, when she got the call that there was a set of lungs for her and through her recovery. Beautiful, positive, gutsy, nothing short of an inspiration.

    http://65redroses.com/

    Unfortunately, she suffered chronic rejection and died. But the transplant was her best hope, and she used her time well. Didn’t think life would work out for her? Maybe. She knew how the odds were stacked. And yet she made the best of a poor hand.

  34. says

    @31/@32 Stacey/carlie, thanks, I found the line: Elementary penguin singing Hari Krishna.

    A few hours of hari krishna and I’m now the eggman. I’ve given up on the rest of my cancer treatments(*) and will now focus solely on healing with thoughts of loving life alone. What a relief!

    * – I really do have cancer and am two days from the end of my chemo. Western medicine has done an amazing job of melting my tumors and my prognosis is nearly 100%. I be dead two years ago if I thought I could have fixed this (solely) with my mind. My mind deserves quite a bit of credit, however. It insisted I see my doctor when the disease was tiny and before it grew and spread (Stage IA), it pushed me to process information, analyze therapies, keep my physical health up by exercising in between subsequent metastasis, and finally despite an overwhelming revolt from my body wishing to refuse the intake of any more chemotherapy poisons, my brain, the dictator, forced me to keep going.

    So, yes, I do believe our brains have the power to heal our bodies, not with woo, of course, but as really powerful and reality-based difference engines.

    goo goo g’joob.

  35. Ichthyic says

    those who study the relationship between our emotions and the body have found a correlating belief for nearly every physical manifestation in form.

    of course they have.

    it’s what snake oil salesman DO.

  36. Ichthyic says

    telling people that cystic fibrosis is a “choice”

    Where does it say that?

    it’s an obvious conclusion when you read in the article that they think emotional state affects the disease.

    since you can change your emotional state by yourself, this makes it a choice.

    the scare quotes are appropriate, the conclusion is sound.

  37. says

    The Guardian Express Online is Huffington Post-lite. All its contributors are unpaid readers. the author of the CF piece, Stassia Bliss, is an aspiring 39-year-old model in Portland, Oregon who believes she can survive on a diet of sunlight and a little buttermilk. Check her out here: http://www.modelmayhem.com/133259

  38. ChasCPeterson says

    in this case, they mean scarequotes.

    No they don’t. (I don’t even really see how you’d think they could in that sentence.)
    As I suspected and implied, it’s a one-word quote mined (arguably out of context) from part of the article that wasn’t quoted in the OP (viz. the last paragraph; see #41).

    So that’s the answer to my original question; thank you, Mostly Harmless.

  39. says

    In case something happens to the cache for the “Lung Transplant May Not Be Best Option for Cystic Fibrosis” quack article, I uploaded a screenshot of the entire text she wrote to ImageShack to preserve her irrational claims for public viewing:

    http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/6576/yd2.png

    (if someone reads this at a later date and the ImageShack screenshot link is broken, contact me by clicking my name above and using the contact form and I’ll send you the original image file).

  40. vole says

    I loved PZ’s typo of this appalling woman’s name: “Stasi”. I hope it was deliberate.

    A friend and colleague recently had to give up up work, because there were no longer enough hours in the day to both keep the CF at bay and hold down a job. That article made me extremely angry on his behalf. May the wretched woman drown in oregano oil.

    Thanks, Mostly Harmless, for giving us a sight of the article. But the only part of that page that was worth reading was the comments on it.

  41. =8)-DX says

    telling people that cystic fibrosis is a “choice”

    Where does it say that?
    (I can’t see the original, but quotation marks mean something.)

    in this case, they mean scarequotes. I suggest you complain to whoever is in charge of English punctuation and demand a new set of symbols to distinguish direct quotation from scarequotes. :-p

    As Jadehawk says.. can people stop “faux-grammar-trolling” on FTB comments? I mean you regulars all hate tone-trollers, but “quotation mark trolls” are all ok? And that’s taking into account the fun and helpful comments correcting people on mistakes and encouraging second language Englishers here.

    On the OP: disgusting someone should peddle the insane idea that people undergoing lung transplants after almost dying from being unable to breathe(!) are all wrong and silly and should rush to the alt-med. I’ve not been seriously ill in my life, but the few times things have felt the worst were always due to an inability to breathe. Experiencing this through mucus-enduced laryngitis (at about 12 so no real threat) and a general collapse (little sleep, stress, took wrong medicine), those were the few times I’ve felt literally 30-seconds away from death. Please, please alt-med people. Shut the fuck up about life-threatening diseases. Ok, no, just shut the fuck up.

  42. says

    The Google cache of her post is now gone. However, I managed to find a Yahoo! cache of it that can be found here.

    I also decided to take a Webcite of that Yahoo! cache in case that too went missing. That webcite can be found here.