From: Linda Rosa ([email protected])
Date: Sun Sep 05 1999 - 08:12:49 MST
From: Linda Rosa <[email protected]>
Subject: please check (for Beliefs)
Dr. Ed Uthman wrote:
>> It seems to me that publishing a study is the best way to make sure that all
>> potential challengers have an opportunity to step forward. On the other
>> hand, people that _read_ publications should not take as gospel the
>> conclusions of a single study. Those who publish scientific journals
>> certainly need to be responsible, but so do those who read them.
>Perhaps Linda Rosa has more information than I do, but I believe that the
>have only agreed to participate in one study of their technique.
Regarding basic TT research: In two trials, Emily Rosa got 21 TT
practitioners as subjects (about half were nurses). Bob Glickman, RN, et
al, tested one non-nurse TT practitioner about 6 months after Emily's first
series of tests, as a preliminary try for Randi's $1M (written up in
*SRAM*). I helped out with that by contacting some 70+ prominent academics
and organizations that promote TT, formally inviting them to participate
and take Randi's money by demonstrating what they claim to do every day.
Rebecca Long has made a claim that she's just interested in tightening up
TT testing protocol, but it's been quite clear to a great number of people
that since the publication of the JAMA paper, no TT practitioner will ever
again be the subject in basic TT research.
Since nurse-researchers have not rushed out in droves to replicate Emily's
experiment, my husband Larry decided to spend some time pinning down TT
proponents further, by posing the following challenge:
Please publicly state, in clear and unambiguous terms, ANY
objectively observable evidence which would convince YOU
that Therapeutic Touch is NOT a real phenomenon, or that it
can NOT be practiced by living human beings.
He has gotten only one response, and the requirement to be "clear and
unambiguous" has been a real hurdle.
It appears TT proponents only accept (endlessly funded) clinical studies in
the way of evidence -- at least from now until the end of their long,
undemanding careers. That will, unfortunately, leave the nursing
profession with allegedly only two basic research experiments on TT --
Long's and Emily's.
I agree heartily with Dr. Ed Uthman that people need to read journal papers
with a critical eye, but alas, that is the ideal, and practically unheard
of in certain areas of nursing.
Peer review is intended to sift out the inadequate and give a cachet of
acceptability to published studies. But, in descending order, there's good
peer review, bad peer review, and *nursing* peer review. In the case of
TT, the vast majority of published "research" is hopelessly flawed, yet
enjoys prominence and status because of the fact that it is both published
and "peer reviewed." [Aside: The editor of AJN once accused me of not
acknowledging Krieger's initial TT articles as peer reviewed. The masthead
says "AJN has been peer-reviewed since 1980." (Krieger's articles had been
published in 1975-1979!) But yes, who would notice?]
The thing to remember is that TT is being practiced on patients in many of
the nation's hospitals at this very moment because piles of those
worthless, so-called peer-reviewed clinical studies were waved under
impressionable administrators' noses. With the Rosa study, nurses
challenging TT in their hospitals got a chance to wave a paper of their
own. But now, with the publication of Long's obfuscations, TT proponents
will win the paper waving. I predict TT proponents will make brief
characterizations of Long vs. Rosa, to wit:
"There have only been two experiments involving basic TT principles. One
was done by skeptics that shows people do, indeed, feel something. (They
think it was heat, but we know it's really the HEF.) This study was even
published in cranky old SRAM, of all places. The other was, well, just
some kid's science fair experiment, really a parlor game, published by old
white guys controlled by the greedy, uncaring medical establishment."
Pro-TT papers don't die, no matter what. Take Krieger's old hemoglobin
study -- it is still cited prominently in most nursing articles on TT,
though it was definitively ground into the dust by Clark and Clark in 1984.
Good grief, even TT research reporting no significance take on significance
in later recountings. Even if Long's study were to die a thousand deaths
at the hands of scientific scrutiny, I assure you it will live on and on in
I am so saddened by all this. I feel like years of progress made by many
hard-working, pro-science nurses is being undone before my eyes. Things
looked promising, but now I don't think we'll ever be able to turn the
nursing profession back onto the path of science.
I would wish that whenever skeptics declare war on other skeptics that, at
least, a healthy competition would ensue. That would happen if the major
focus of all parties was confronting quackery.
Don't get sick.
Majorly bummed, Linda Rosa, RN
P.S. Not that I recommend it, but for anyone interested in further
discussion of the Long/Scheiber/Bernhardt/Evans study, go to Eric Krieg's
TT List. I'd rather see the Beliefs List used for other matters.
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