‘Wellness Warrior’ Jessica Ainscough dies from cancer

Comparing the eternally positive reflections of Jessica Ainscough with the reality of her recent passing from epithelioid sarcoma just two days ago, one cannot help feel somewhat disturbed. The ABC website has a leading description of Jessica’s struggle;

When initial mainstream cancer treatment didn’t work, one woman chose alternative methods that offer a different perspective on health and wellbeing.

Jessica initially underwent isolated limb perfusion. Her left upper limb was treated with chemotherapy. Initial signs were positive but within a year or so her tumor had returned. The surgical option she then faced involved amputation of not just her arm but the shoulder also. This disfiguring alternative may have offered some hope and Orac writes that before the choice of perfusion arose, Jessica may have been preparing herself to face the surgical option [2]. Ultimately she didn’t decide on surgery. A disturbing cornucopia of woo, “positive affirmations”, “cancer thriving”, coffee enemas, “the tribe”, etc… and surrendering to what the universe had in store led to The Wellness Warrior. Jessica also took on promoting the widely discredited quackery known as Gerson Therapy with gusto. You can read what Cancer Council Australia write about Gerson, and also check some citations here. This summary is from an article in today’s news.com.au;

Australia’s leading cancer organisations do not endorse Gerson therapy as a means of treating cancer. The National Cancer Institute says: “Because no prospective, controlled study of the use of the Gerson therapy in cancer patients has been reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, no level of evidence analysis is possible for this approach. “The data that are available are not sufficient to warrant claims that the Gerson therapy is effective as an adjuvant to other cancer therapies or as a cure. At this time, the use of the Gerson therapy in the treatment of cancer patients cannot be recommended outside the context of well-designed clinical trials. Cancer Australia says there is “little evidence” that alternative therapies are effective in cancer treatment. “Most have not been assessed for efficacy in randomised clinical trials, though some have been examined and found to be ineffective.” If you’d like to know more about cancer treatment in Australia, visit cancer.org.au or call 13 11 20.

The scale of denial Aiscough was in for so many years comes across in her piece published on ABC’s The Drum website. Eg;

How have I managed to escape the frail, sickly appearance that is so firmly stamped on the ‘cancer patient’ stereotype? I refused to follow the doctor’s orders. […] Our bodies are designed to heal themselves. It is really that simple. Our bodies don’t want to die. […] This is the basis of natural cancer-fighting regimes. While conventional treatment is hell bent on attacking the site of the disease and destroying tumors with drugs, radiation and surgery, the natural approach aims to treat the body as a whole. […] This stuff isn’t new. Reading Plato shows that holistic modalities have been understood for centuries: “You ought not to attempt to cure the eyes without the head, or the head without the body, so neither ought you to attempt to cure the body without the soul… […] …I will spend three weeks being treated at the Gerson Clinic. The basis of the Gerson Therapy is a diet, which includes eating only organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking 13 glasses of freshly squeezed juice per day in hourly intervals. The idea is to strengthen the immune system and load you up with heaps of minerals, enzymes, beta-carotene, Vitamins A and C, and other antioxidants that attack free radicals and ultimately the cancer.  According to the late Dr Max Gerson, if you can stick to the strict regime for a minimum of two years, Gerson Therapy has the ability to cure cancer like no drug can. Alternative treatments like Gawler and Gerson offer patients hope, choice and understanding. They also offer them a cure, not just remission. To me, that sounds like the much more attractive option.

The Cancer Council of Victoria has some great advice on the topic, “How will I know if claims of a cure are false?”. On page 39 of this booklet they note that the dishonest and unethical may;

  • Try to convince you your cancer has been caused by a poor diet or stress: they will claim they can treat you or cure your cancer with a special diet
  • Promise a cure – or to detoxify, purify or revitalise your body. There will be quick dramatic and wonderful results – a miracle cure
  • Use untrustworthy claims to back up their results rather than scientific-based evidence from clinical trials. They may even list references. But if you look deeper these references may be false, nonexistent, irrelevant, based on poorly designed research and out of date
  • Warn you that medical professionals are hiding “the real cure for cancer” and not to trust your doctor
  • Display credentials not recognised by reputable scientists and health professionals

Comparing Jessica’s beliefs and a small amount of advice from Cancer Council (Victoria) indicates Ainscough was entertaining a range of dangerous ideas about what both caused and might treat or even “cure” her cancer. Plainly the Cancer Council would reject Gerson Therapy based on its major traits. Tragically Jessica’s mother died from breast cancer after following her into trusting the disproved belief system. Orac writes in October 2013;

From what I can gather, it is the story of a death from quackery, a death that didn’t have to occur. Even worse than that, it appears to be a death facilitated by the daughter of the deceased, a woman named Jessica Ainscough, who bills herself as the “Wellness Warrior.” It’s a horrifying story, the story of a woman who followed her daughter’s lead and put her faith in the quackery known as the Gerson therapy.

An excellent blog is The View From The Hills by Rosalie Hilleman. It is an excellent examination – through postulation, questioning and evidence – of Jessica’s extensive deception and manipulation of her readers in order to maintain two illusions. One being that Gerson offers some efficacy. The second being that Jessica’s epithelioid sarcoma was not progressing with the morbidity expected for that condition diagnosed at the time it was.

EDIT: Jessica insisted she was “thriving”. Readers could easily be left with the impression that Gerson Therapy is effective. All the more because most don’t associate “cancer” with the bright, positive Jessica. This is why questions raised in The View From The Hills were and are so necessary. Gerson was actually doing nothing. In reality her cancer was markedly indolent – very slow to progress.

But it was progressing. It always was. Clinically, just as cancer of this type does progress. And now like her mother, Jessica Ainscough has died from cancer.

JessAinscough

David Hawkes on the fake anti-vaccine “church”

Dr. David Hawkes chats with Jon Faine on radio ABC 774 about the bogus “church” set up to allow anti-vaccine devotees to plead religious exemption.


It was reported in The Age today the loophole would be exploited to bypass the “no jab, no play” legislation emerging in Australia. This legislation aims to ensure children not fully immunised will be:

…unable to enrol in childcare unless their parents declare they have a medical reason or personal, philosophical or religious objection.

The recent and ongoing outbreak of measles in California is a firm example of the ticking time bomb unvaccinated children pose. Regrettably vaccine refusers have been misled on even the most basic facts pertaining to vaccination. As such their understanding of what vaccination seeks to achieve is misguided to the point of being ludicrous.

In this respect basic notions such as herd immunity or poor immune response to a vaccine are seen as false claims or evidence that vaccines are 100% ineffective. A perfect example of this is indeed the Disneyland measles outbreak in which vaccinated individuals were infected (<100% efficacy) but the outbreak itself is due to the zero immunity of the unvaccinated (low herd immunity in an area of high vaccine refusal).

Despite this reality the antivaccine lobby will continue to falsely insist only the vaccinated are infected, the unvaccinated enjoy robust disease free health and that safe vaccines are in fact riddled with disease and “toxins”.

The only answer to managing what are lethal and disabling diseases is presently vaccination.

The Church of Conscious Living – another Stephanie Messenger Anti-vaccine Enterprise

@advodiaboli:

In the present environment of the Tenpenny anti-health saga it’s well worth catching up on this brilliant post from reasonablehank who has joined the disturbing dots with information from Diluted Thinking.

Originally posted on reasonablehank:

Stephanie Messenger is in the business of anti-vaccinationism. She’s an old hand.

Messenger is one of the founders of the Queensland anti-vaccination group, the Vaccination Awareness and Information Service. She ran the group with anti-vaccine stalwart Susan Lindberg and Roxanne Iwinski, the latter leaving later to gain a conscience. Messenger and Lindberg even wrote an anti-vaccine manual with Meryl Dorey, called Vaccination Roulette, which was published by the hideous anti-vaccine pressure group, the Australian Vaccination Network. Messenger’s husband, Leslie Bailey – remember that name – is the business name holder for Vaccination Awareness and Information Service.

Healthy Lifestyles Naturally is another business run by Messenger which seems to be a portal into which the pouring of money is partaken: other people’s money. HLN is the business entity to whom marks part themselves from their cash to pay for such things as the recent series of seminars which are no longer…

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2015 anti-vaccine tour of Australia – the Tenpenny caravan of hurt

@advodiaboli:

If I was a certain type of nincompoop I might argue that Sherri Tenpenny coming to our shores is “un-Australian”. Or worse, an affront to “Team Australia”.

In reality her own history – and her devotees – underscore the problem here. Tenpenny is a very unpleasant, dangerous and monumentally dishonest person. I’ve written about Isaac Golden (at least) here and here.

You can gather everything else you need to know from Hank’s post, below.

Originally posted on reasonablehank:

Anti-vaccinationists have their own anti-Hippocratic oath: first do harm. First and foremost they must evangelise, like any fundamentalist organisation. First and foremost they must persuade vulnerable parents – those sitting on the fence – that vaccines are dangerous, poisonous, unsafe, untested…you know the drill. Time and again they are shown to be nothing but brazen liars; not by people who merely disagree with them, but, by evidence.

We have just been advised that US anti-vaccine campaigner Sherri Tenpenny is coming to Australia to do a series of seminars with a host of other anti-vaccine campaigners. Among them is Isaac Golden, the homeopath recently torn to shreds in the Federal Court, in the humiliating Homeopathy Plus! case. That’s quality information for you right there.

If you haven’t heard of Tenpenny, she’s one of the leaders of the global anti-vaccine cult. She’s like the duchess, to Barbara Loe Fisher’s queen. She is…

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One ring to rule them all… revisited

On April 2nd 2009 I wrote a post about a scam product claiming to stop snoring by stimulating acupressure points.

One ring to rule them all… looked at the AntiSnor “acupressure… modern miracle” that could boast of 140,000 satisfied customers. The post originated on the Atheist Age blog and fortunately attracted some comments from a David E. Woodley.

According to David there were some conflicting details about the ring’s inventor John R. Woodley – David’s father and, “our greedy and selfish and underhanded little brother John V. Woodley” or ‘Golum’ as he is affectionately called by family members these days”. This had led to two separate stories as to how the power of this ring was discovered circulating in the public domain.

golum_snor1annotatedOne story was that John Woodley, aka Golum had made the ring in an attempt to find pain relief following a car accident. The other story was that John Woodley Snr. had made the ring for his wife. She was heading to hospital and needed to control embarrassing snoring.

Clearly a magic ring was in order.

That I’d chosen the title, “One ring to rule them all…” and then found out later that he who coveted ownership of The Precious was nicknamed “Golum”, was indeed delightful. Or perhaps testimony to the limits of my imagination.

Since the post was written, the ACCC published a media release. On March 25th, 2010 they wrote in part;

Misleading advertising claims about an alleged anti-snoring ring have been withdrawn by the manufacturer and supplier after Australian Competition and Consumer Commission intervention.

More than 200,000 consumers worldwide are understood to have sought relief from the Anti Snor Therapeutic Ring which the supplier, ATQOL Pty Ltd, claimed used acupressure to stop a person from snoring and provide a relief from sinus, restless sleep and insomnia.

The ring was sold at most major chemist and health store chains in Australia and promoted through national television advertising and the company’s website.

Additionally, the company’s website, www.nosnor.com, claimed the ring had a ‘proven history of successful drug free treatment of snoring’ and was ‘Tested and recommended by a Physician’.

The ACCC raised concerns that these claims were likely to mislead consumers to believe that the product had proven medical outcomes in treating snoring, sinus, restless sleep and insomnia when this was not so.

antisnor ring

AntiSnor: Purportedly the two impressions place pressure on acupressure points on the inside of the finger and thus relieve snoring

It was claimed in 2009 that this modern miracle works because the little bumps apply pressure on key points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. The two prongs on the inside of the Antisnor Therapeutic Ring press on the heart meridian and the sterling silver metal also gives energy to this channel. Wearing the ring increases energy flow to what is referred to as the upper jiao, which contains the heart and lungs. This allows for improved breathing, which leads to the cessation of snoring”.

Yes. The ACCC were onto something to be sure. Pharmacy News confirmed that the manufacturers of the “deceptive” One Ring had complied.

Time has passed.

In 2011 Choice listed AntiSnor amongst “quack” health products pharmacies sell.

A year ago Choice included AntiSnor amongst it’s collation of dubious pharmacy-sold products.

The website now lists results and a conclusion from a purported 2012 clinical trial, conducted in France by Proclaim. Under the heading, The ACCC and AntiSnor acupressure ring it is no surprise that we read, “ATQOL first developed an innovative natural therapy product in 1999, based on nerve point stimulation and the ancient Chinese practice of acupressure. After being approached by the ACCC in 2009, we began scientific research into Western medical reasoning behind why this product is so effective. This lead to conducting an independent Clinical Trial performed in France with alarmingly positive results.”

It continues with some Peacock terminology;

Clinical trials concluded in 2012 conducted by PROCLAIM ( France ) supervised by Sonia Guillou ( Study Director) Lydie Guiard (Technician) and Dr Mathilde Rauch ( Pulmonologist Specialist)
2009 , Registered in Germany (DIMDI) Class 1 medical device for Acupressure Snoring Device ( UMDNS Reg; DE/CA67/53.2-2678.400/102 )
Registered with the Australian TGA (184173)
After a two year filing process in 2012 the ANTISNOR Ring was given an exemption snoring device sold over the counter by the USA FDA.

So now the AntiSnor acupressure/reflexology ring has a proud website boasting on the home page:

antisnor_home page

A visit to the site confirms that the registration of TGA listed products in Australia still benefits the sponsor of these products more than consumers. Despite the fact that testimonials are not evidence and there is no evidence of a control group – or indeed the much touted study itself – readers are informed this very same product is now “clinically proven” to reduce snoring. Somehow it even involves “modern medical technology”. The link to “articles” takes readers to blurbs crafted to support the logic of an “acupressure” ring.

We’re also informed, “Our website may contain links to other websites “ONLY” operated by ATQOL Pty Ltd”. And the study is condensed to this bar graph based on participant answers:

sleep quality

Whilst the study may be absent, there is a “conclusion”:

The report concludes that “77% of the spouses and 80% of the snorers were satisfied with the anti-snoring ring” (page 25) and that … “the anti-snoring ring … tested under the supervision of a pulmonologist doctor by 30 couples, was effective in reducing snoring and improving the sleep quality of the snorer and his spouse” (page 25)

Presently the ring remains on sale in Australian pharmacies and consumers are offered testimonials as evidence of efficacy.

“Deal or Dud” judges AntiSnor

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