How Empty Science becomes Wisdom

April 14, 2008 at 4:30 am 27 comments

Let me introduce you to Nikolai Shevchuk. He’s worked at the Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. One day Nikolai gets an idea. What if cold showers could treat depression? After all, cold showers get the adrenaline pumping, doesn’t it? So Nikolai gets a few friends together and asks them to try taking a cold shower and seeing if it improves their moods. Nikolai probably likes to take cold showers himself and he feels just fine!

So Nikolai writes down his ideas. There’s not what you’d call a huge amount of evidence for them. Nikolai tries his hardest to think up a mechanism by which cold showers can make you feel good. The adrenaline thing was good, but what if he can invoke some kind of evolutionary mechanism. Hey! Yeah! That’s it! Back when man was a hunter-gatherer chasing after prey, he’d have to swim after it in cold water. So modern man, lacking these environmental stressors must be getting depressed as a result!

It’s not rocket science, but it’ll do.

Nikolai doesn’t want to keep this breakthrough to himself, so he sends it all off to a medical journal. Medical Hypotheses, to be specific. Medical Hypotheses. It sounds so truthy, doesn’t it?

This is how Medical Hypotheses describes itself:

Medical Hypotheses takes a deliberately different approach to review. Most contemporary practice tends to discriminate against radical ideas that conflict with current theory and practice. Medical Hypotheses will publish radical ideas, so long as they are coherent and clearly expressed. Furthermore, traditional peer review can oblige authors to distort their true views to satisfy referees, and so diminish authorial responsibility and accountability. In Medical Hypotheses, the authors’ responsibility for the integrity, precision and accuracy of their work is paramount. The editor sees his role as a ‘chooser’, not a ‘changer’: choosing to publish what are judged to be the best papers from those submitted.

Nikolai’s ideas are interesting to the editor and his paper gets published: Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. Now Nikolai’s no fool. He knows that his paper isn’t what you’d call conclusive. He knows that his method was far from rigourous. He says it himself: “In conclusion, wider and more rigorous studies would be needed to test the validity of the hypothesis.” And there’s nothing wrong with this – the journal is supposed to be publishing stuff that’s on the fringes of science.

So far everything’s happened as it should. Scientist has an idea. Publishes. Suggests more study is needed. It’s not quite science, but it’s getting there.

Which is why it’s unfortunate that The Times picked up on it.

GOT the glums? Jumping into a cold shower could give your grey matter just the boost needed to spark it into a festive mood, claims an American brain-scanning expert.

Nikolai Shevchuk, a researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University’s radiation oncology department, believes that short, cold showers may stimulate a part of the brain stem called, appropriately, the “blue spot”, or locus ceruleus.

This region is the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline, a chemical that may mediate depression, Shevchuk says in a research paper scheduled for publication in the journal, Medical Hypotheses.

He believes that regular cold showers may stimulate the blue spot by giving it a mild but intense sensory shock, thanks to the fact that we have a high density of cold sensors in the skin – around five times more than those registering warmth.

Shevchuk suggests that modern life lacks sufficient physiological stressors, such as sudden changes in body temperature, to keep our brains sparked up. He suggests that twice-daily cold showers of three-minute duration should do the trick. In another paper, published in Behavioral and Brain Functions in October, he says the practice may also alleviate chronic fatigue syndrome.

The theory may sound like a boost for the public-school philosophy of “snap out of it and buck yourself up”, but it has other antecedents. Research by the psychiatrist Thomas Wehr, of the National Institute of Mental Health, has shown that people who chronically suffer from depression in summer benefit from frequent cold showers.

Traditional Chinese medicine has also long prescribed cold water swims for lifting dismal moods. Shevchuk cautions, though, that you should check with your doctor first, in case the shock might be a little too much.

This is an idea that has not been subjected to any rigourous test, being recommended.

Discovery News is even worse:

“Treatments for depression range from medicines that can come with scary side effects to electric shock therapy, but a new paper suggests a simple cold shower might sometimes cure, and even prevent, the debilitating mood disorder.

Cleanliness may be a pleasant side effect, but the key lies in the water temperature.

Would you call this responsible journalism. Nikolai’s ideas are on the fringes of science, published in a journal that doesn’t even engage in peer review. And yet neither the Times nor Discovery News seems to feel that this is an important fact that their readers should know. And while I can’t imagine anyone stopping their medication and switching to cold showers, I wouldn’t call this responsible reporting.

So, on the back of this research, people start writing about how cold showers make them feel good. Nikolai’s idea has gone from an idea to accepted wisdom without ever being subjected to reality:

News from The Discovery Channel: “Treatments for depression range from medicines that can come with scary side effects to electric shock therapy, but a new paper suggests a simple cold shower might sometimes cure, and even prevent, the debilitating mood disorder.” Now I understand why I always feel so uplifted and, well, happy, after my morning cold shower gush. If you want to read more, <a href=”“>here is the link to the full article. Cold showers also have other health benefits, as noted here.

And then people pick up on this, and the idea that cold showers cause depression gets completely separated from Nikolai. Now it’s just from the Discovery Channel. And someone else writes about it, tags it with depression and it ends up in the WordPress tag feed for “depression” in my RSS reader, which sparks this whole rant.

Roanne Weisman has a wonderful blog on WordPress – Own Your Health.

She has interesting information on holistic health along with great links. There is a post from an article from the Discovery Channel – the benefits of a cold shower for depression. You can access it here –

<a href=”http://ownyourhealth.wordpress.com/2007/12/29/cold-showers-may-help-with-depression/&#8221;?http://ownyourhealth.wordpress.com/2007/12/29/cold-showers-may-help-with-depression/

After you’re done reading this piece – spend some time on her blog, and be sure to bookmark it for future reference.

If I wanted to get all postmodern, I’d talk about how the structures of science priveledge certain people with the ability to dispense Truth and how these same structures are open to subversion by things that look like science, but aren’t. Things that are sciency rather than scientific. Things that are ultimately empty, the informatics equivalent of a cookie. But then again, this post is long enough as it is.

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27 Comments Add your own

  • 1. duanesherry  |  April 14, 2008 at 6:07 am

    Well, on the subject of good clinical trial information – maybe we should all just continue to believe the FDA and Big Pharma as we have in the past.

    …..With reports from mainstream sources around the world indicating that unpublished data accounted for a third of the ‘research’ conducted on SSRI’s.

    …..As they were touted to help with depression. We now have millions of Americans addicted (and yes, they are addictive agnets) to antidepressant drugs that are clinically no better than placebo.

    The question should not be whether cold showers might help, but whether sugar pills do. We humans have always found ways to address depression – for quite some time, and up until we began to believe in magic pills, there was some creativity behind how depression was addressed and dealt with……

    Taking walks, talking with close friends, listening to music, reading a book……But, of course now we have our ‘magic pills’ – they have done so much to improve lives haven’t they?
    Actually, they destroy neutransmission – but, with your medical background you are probably already aware of that….

    Do cold showers help depression – maybe ‘more research is needed’. We certainly don’t need any more with SSRI’s.

    Duane Sherry

  • 2. experimental chimp  |  April 14, 2008 at 6:38 am

    I’m not really very concerned about SSRIs. They make me go crazy, so I’m not likely to be prescribed them. My depressions aren’t the kind that talking with close friends, listening to music and reading a book helps. They’re the kind that destroy friendships and make me isolated, unable to appreciate music or anything else, and frustratingly unable to concentrate enough to remember the plot of a book from one page to the next.

    Anyone whose depressions can be fixed by chatting, listening to music and relaxing with a novel should probably not be on drugs. The evidence base for pharmacotherapy in mild depression wasn’t exactly strong before this latest round of SSRI research. Here in the UK, the clinical guidelines recommend waiting and talking therapies before any drugs should be considered (unfortunately, the resources don’t exist to offer talking therapies to most people, but that’s not the point).

    My problem isn’t really with your blog, which I quoted here because it was honestly the point at which I looked at this whole cold-showers thing. What annoys me is how journlism completely misrepresents the quality and content of research to the public. This was also part of the problem with SSRIs – the evidence for their use was never that impressive, but science journalists bought into the clinical story that the pharmaceutical companies were pushing.

    And people have a tendency to uncritically believe any research that confirms their own biases. So when the pharmaceutical companies told depressed people that it was a chemical imbalance and not a personal failing, that was something lots of people wanted to believe. And with the cold showers and natural remedies kind of research, there’s a whole different group of people whose biases are fed.

    Again, it’s the low quality of science and health journalism that really annoys me. If someone wants to take cold showers then why the hell should I care? But they shouldn’t do so because the Times or the Discovery Channel made them think it was science.

  • 3. duanesherry  |  April 14, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Understood.

    I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be, but I am quite familiar with the type of symptoms you describe.

    If you take some time on my blog – as a whole, I think you will find some good information regarding natural alternatives.

    I think science – true science is incredibly important. The problem with human trials is that they are quite expensive. It costs, for instance, about a billion dollars here in the US to get FDA approval for a drug.

    When we look at herbs and nutrients, we are of course talking about things that cannot recieve patents. And so, a billion dollars US is quite a bit of money to pay for the trials, and when they are finished, there is no way to recover the costs.

    There has been great success for many people with such things as fish oil, niacin, niacinamide, b-6, b-12, and others – along with specific amino acids.

    The problem is that the amino acids and herbs do not always do well with meds – interaction. The other issue is the many months, and often years it takes to safely withdrawal from psych meds.

    But, I continue to believe in recovery – full recovery for many. My own son experienced it – and it’s hard to believe in something you see with your own two eyes. His diagnosis was ‘bipolar’ – after thousands of hours of research, we figured out what works for him.

    Others are doing the same thing – around the world – working with holistic MD’s and other licensed practitioners – with such things as neurofeedback, nuerotransmitter testing – leading to specific amino acid blends that heal the brain, and help it do what it does best – function.

    In my opinion, the ‘research’ behind psychiatric medication is nothing short of criminal. These ‘clinical trials’ were hardly scientific – the truth is beginning to come out now…..around the world.

    What are the alternatives? There are many.
    Take a peek around my site.

    I’lll end this way – anyone who suffers from these symptoms is a kindred soul – been at this game a while myself.

    No hard feelings here – You were expressing information you thought was vital – something I can relate to – more than you can possibly know.

    My best.
    Stay strong,

    Duane Sherry
    http://discoverandrecover.wordpress.com

    Duane

  • 4. duanesherry  |  April 14, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Many typos in the emiails – meant to say ‘it’s hard NOT to believe in something you see with your own two eyes’ – when referring to my son’s complete recovery.

    Check out ‘Your Drug May Be Your Problem – How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medication’ by Peter Breggin, MD – Harvard Medical School Grad – Psychiatry

    Also, Joan Matthews Larson, PhD – ‘Depression-Free Naturally’

    Both good books – good places to start.

    Also, look at the success with Neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback) in this area…..amazing stuff.

    Duane

  • 5. Alexa Fleckenstein M.D.  |  April 14, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Of course, the cold shower against depression has been around for a while – especially in the old countries. Nicolai Shevchuk publishes his ideas in a journal for HYPOTHESES – so he did not claim he has all the answers and all the studies.

    In Europe, cold showers have been used for at least 150 years against depression – and in small studies they have worked fine.

    The problem is that big studies will never be funded because – who will have an interest in them? Definitely not the pharma industry!

    The cold shower makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint: As cave people, we were exposed to many more (benign) stressors than we are now, in modern times. The cold shower re-institutes one of our oldest birthrights: Being exposed to the elements. Cold shower does not only fight depression, it also activates and strengthens the immune system – and a host of other systems.

    Nicolai Shevchuk proposes that a cold shower against depression makes sense also from the standpoint of brain physiology. I think you do a disservice to depressed people to discount a cold shower off- handedly. At least,a cold shower has NO negative side-effects (if done right). And it has an invigorating effect on mind and body!

    You can read more about this in my book “Health20 – Tapping into the Healing Power of Water”, McGraw Hill 2007. (including the contraindications for cold shower).

    Alexa Fleckenstein M.D.

  • 6. George  |  April 15, 2008 at 4:30 am

    I recommend a bit of rest around a fire in a cave, chatting with men while women prepare the meal.

    Doesn’t this make sense from the evolutionary standpoint too? :):)

    And if it does not work – try hunting a water buffalo with a spear! 🙂

  • 7. grant czerepak  |  April 15, 2008 at 6:48 am

    Synchronicity!

    I just came from a blog where a statistical analysis was performed. The analyst was performing a linear regression when he should have been performing a non-linear regression. Leading to a totally false conclusion.

    This guy is anonymous, makes grandios claims about himself without evidence and reacts to challenges of his method with emotional outbursts.

    And he has a broad readership because he supports a popular opinion of a certain political bent.

    There is a great deal of bad science out there. And peer review does not protect us because, like bad science, peer review is generally not rigorous.

  • 8. experimental chimp  |  April 15, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Alexa: I completely agree. I don’t see anything wrong with Nikolai Shevchuk’s actions here. What’s wrong is the credulous way that journalists – one of them writing for The Times – have reacted to the press release as if it’s some kind of scientific revelation.

    I don’t have any problem with this specific idea. Cold showers may work for depression or they may not. What’s interesting is how a weakly supported idea gains credibility merely by being published in a medical journal – even one that doesn’t require peer review.

    Bringing an evolutionary narrative to the table in order to explain a biological response that has not, in fact, been established is laughable and pointless, but also lends credibility. It looks like science and speaks the same language, but isn’t science in any meaningful way.

    As to who will fund the research? There’s been plenty of research into exercise as an antidepressant and there’s currently research on eco-therapy. The world does not stop at America’s borders. Canada and Europe both have socialised health-care systems that spend lots and lots of money treating depression. Funding for research on cheap non-drug therapies like exercise is really not that difficult to find.

    But like I say, I’m more interested in the way that these ideas originate and are distributed than with the specifics.

  • 9. schmoopy871  |  April 15, 2008 at 9:09 am

    The science is not so empty, it’s just hard to find relevant studies and the idea has been around for a long time. Here are some relevant peer-reviewed articles:

    Cold (and cool) water treatments can improve mood:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15253480
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6635105

    Cold water can work as a CNS stimulant:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10885123

    A patient with summer seasonal depression expriences a dramatic improvement after 5 days of cold showers several times a day:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3688288

    And some other relevant effects –
    Cold therapy can reduce fatigue:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15253480
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13985984
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5246975
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18058595
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11879418

    Heat temporarily depresses mood and increases fatigue:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16309771
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17575400

    Repeated exposure to heat can improve baseline mood in depressed cancer patients, but increases fatigue:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1607735

    And some minor corrections, if I may. Nicolai Shevchuk talks about noradrenaline, not adreanaline, and the paper is about gradual cold showers, not cold showers:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17993252

  • 10. grant czerepak  |  April 15, 2008 at 9:22 am

    You might explore the nature and spread of urban legend. It sounds like a journalistic equivalent.

    http://www.snopes.com/info/whatsnew.asp

  • 11. A7  |  April 15, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Well, there are many things we believe are true but cannot scientifically prove them.

    Even scientific truths are a bit like that:

    Seth Lloyd on science:

    I believe in science. Unlike mathematical theorems, scientific results can’t be proved. They can only be tested again and again, until only a fool would not believe them.

    I cannot prove that electrons exist, but I believe fervently in their existence. And if you don’t believe in them, I have a high voltage cattle prod I’m willing to apply as an argument on their behalf. Electrons speak for themselves.

    I think that just the belief that showers are good for depression lifts you up, affected —but not determined— by a scientifical effect.

  • 12. experimental chimp  |  April 15, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    A7: Yeah, whatever. You’ve missed the point. Two points actually.

    Cold showers might work for depression. They might not. What’s crystal clear is that what we have here is some guy coming up with an idea and some other guy deciding to publish it in the journal he edits. This is not science, and that’s absolutely fine. What’s not fine is the way that several journalists have pretty much copy and pasted the press release from the journal, presenting it as a scientific finding.

    This is a particularly egregious example of something that happens all the time. I’m only using cold showers as an example, because I could follow it through from the initial journal article to the alternative health blogs. It’s this false credibility that annoys me.

    Secondly, your glib statement about scientific truth is so far off the mark that it couldn’t see it on a clear day.

    What Seth Lloyd is referring to is the fact that electrons, like pretty much every other useful theory in science, are a result of deductive reasoning. Electrons are a theory that explains what happens when you gett zapped with a high voltage cattle prod.

    That’s what a scientific truth is – a theory that has solid evidence behind it. Comparing this to an idea that has been tested by the author feeling cheery after taking a few cold showers is, to be frank, bollocks. There being plenty of things in the world that can’t be proved doesn’t mean that abandoning the idea of needing to prove assertions to have them regarded as scientific is at all a good idea.

  • 13. A7  |  April 15, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    experimental chimp: OK, I missed the point.

    Perhaps I could make my previous comment become more relevant to the discussion if I say that:

    Despite the fact that the information is erroneously being widespread as scientific facts, people practicing the advice could objectively experience the desired results, based on the fact that they believe the information; considereng that effects on people are kind of subjective, with a great deal of dependence on the individual’s own conscience.

    [I can’t find supporting evidence for the last statement, but I guess it’s true that factors as the individual’s conscience, perception, attitude, mood, etc. play an important role in the effects of a practice like the one in discussion. I’m just willing to contribute with my thoughts.]

    —–
    If that fails, please take my previous comment just as interesting, related info I found in this post at kottke.org.

    PS: Do you think this comment has the same relevance as would one’s saying that he also finds cold showers mood-lifting?

  • 14. experimental chimp  |  April 15, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    A7: I spent a couple of years at university reading around the philosophy of science (without actually doing philosophy or a science subject) and it’s still something I keep a passing interest in, which is maybe why I sounded a bit harsh in my last comment.

    You’re right. If you set up a study for cold showers as a treatment for depression, some people will get better.

    When studying the effect of a medication (and not just on depression, but all illnesses) usually the ideal kind of study is a randomized controlled trial. That means that the patients are split into two groups at random. One group receives the real medication, the other a sugar pill (or a ‘placebo’). This is the control group. Neither the people running the study nor the patients know who is receiving the medication and who isn’t. This prevents the people running the study from accidentally biasing the results.

    The response to the non-medication in the control group is called the placaebo effect. You’ve probably heard of it. The effect of the medication is measured as the effect it has above placebo.

    The point being that although effects of treatment – especially with mental iillnesses – are subjective. It’s possible, indeed essential, to measure how well they perform in spite of the subjective effects.

    The weird consequence of this is that even if a medication or other treatment doesn’t work better than the effect of non-treatment (i.e. it has no effect), a percentage of people who were taking it will have objectively experienced its intended effects. Science is a process that takes unreliable individual experience and organises it in such a way that reliable conclusions can be drawn.

  • 15. A7  |  April 16, 2008 at 12:10 am

    experimental chimp:

    That is really interesting.

    Yes, I had studied the placebo experiment at junior high, just didn’t recalled.

    I think the discussion was constructive, though my first comment wasn’t clear at all about my idea.

  • 16. experimental chimp  |  April 16, 2008 at 2:12 am

    schmoopy871: (Sorry it took a while for your comment to show up – it got caught by the spam trap because of the number of links)

    The first couple of studies you mention refer to swimming. Since exercise has a significant effect on mood, these would have to have been controlled against exercise that did not involve cold water in order to have anything significant to contribute to this discussion.

    Cold water acting as a CNS stimulant is not surprising. Something acting as a CNS stimulant does not equal an effective treatment for depression. Nor does reduction of fatigue in athletes and multiple sclerosis patients. Heat stress having an immediate effect on mood isn’t surprising.

    None of this relates to cold showers as an effective treatment for depression.

    As I’ve said, my problem is not with Nicolai Shevchuk, but with the way that his rather inconsequential paper was represented in the media. Discovery News was pretty much hailing it as a replacement for electric shock therapy and medications! And this was on the basis of a non-peer reviewed paper that was almost entirely without evidence. Anyone could make the statement that cold showers cure depression, but because Nicolai Shevchuk is a scientist and got his idea published in a medical journal (one that does not apply any of the editorial standards that make scientific journals different from, say, this blog) suddenly news outlets are hailing it as an important and newsworthy discovery.

    The point isn’t whether cold showers are an effective treatment for depression. After this I’d quite like to see a controlled study on it. The point is that Nicolai Shevchuk’s paper was utterly misrepresnted by the media. And this happens all the time.

  • 17. Front page! « Experimental Chimp  |  April 16, 2008 at 2:30 am

    […] 16, 2008 A recent post of mine – How Empty Science Becomes Wisdom – hit the front page of WordPress. Which was kind of disconcerting for a post that I wrote on the […]

  • 18. schmoopy871  |  April 16, 2008 at 3:56 am

    experimental chimp:
    I agree with you that the paper presents no serious empirical evidence and the reaction of the mass media was way out of proportion.
    The studies that I cited do not provide strong support to the hypothesis, but they do seem to present circumstantial evidence. Virtually all known psychostimulants have a strong effect on mood, fatigue and sleep (they tend to disrupt sleep). Stimulatants such ritalin, amphetamines, and modafinil can be and are used to treat depression and the positive effect on mood becomes evident within hours, not weeks as is usually the case with SSRIs.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3356672
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4089058
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10607161

    Many (but not all) antidepressants tend to reduce fatigue. My own experience is that gradual cold showers have a strong instant mood-lifting effect, far greater than exercise. The bottom line is, further research is definitely needed in this area.

  • 19. maxpwnage  |  April 16, 2008 at 6:58 am

    I think the only flaw there is that they didn’t mention that it actually needs to be proven and experimented upon. If they actually stated this then there would be nothing wrong with their article.

    I agree with you however that they made it sound like a fact when it’s only in the hypothesis stage.

    Well, your article making front page will at least allow people to know the truth about the matter….

    Good job…

  • 20. penguinjim  |  April 16, 2008 at 10:57 am

    http://itsmagic.wordpress.com/

  • 21. Gabriel...  |  April 16, 2008 at 11:15 am

    What’s missing is one line in the reported stories explaining the background of the magazine. “…according to Medical Hypotheses, medical journal and repository for zany, unproven science.”

    The problem with stories like this is the source gets in the way. As soon as the reporter tags the source, in this case the magazine, as “unproven” or “a magazine full of wackjobbery” the editor redirects it away from the Health Section to the “Can You Believe This Crap” page. So what was once eight inches of copy over four columns with a nice 30pt headline, would be torn down to a brief.

    So it’s in the reporter’s best interest, and really the paper’s interest, to gently ignore the source on stories like this… which is never actually Nikolai Shevchuk. All of the media source the magazine, until they start sourcing from each other. As far as I can tell no one actually quotes Nikolai directly… was he happy with the version of the study which appeared in the Journal? Did they represent his research properly? Is he, right now, writing a long letter to the Journal’s editor asking for an apology? What happens if a retraction appears in the next issue?

    Ten minutes on the phone with Nikki and this could have turned into a decent story…

  • 22. Ed Darrell  |  April 16, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Since it’s so easy to get a relatively unthought out idea into this journal, and since other people comment on it so freely — it makes one wonder why, in more than 20 years, intelligent design in biology advocates have been unable to do even this sidewalk level of research into intelligent design, doesn’t it?

    Maybe they should install cold shower stalls at the Discovery Institute in Seattle.

  • […] Cold showers for intelligent design: ID not even fringe science Experimentalchimp raises some serious questions about how fringe science sometimes stumbles into the stuffier meetings of real science – or, at least, into the gossip columns of real science, with his post, “How Empty Science Becomes Wisdom.“ […]

  • 24. Ernesto_b  |  May 4, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    “Medical Hypotheses” uses editorial review instead of peer-review. This does not mean that the review process is sloppy or biased, it is just somewhat different from peer-review. The journal is included in the PubMed index and the guys at PubMed review the quality of journals and the quality of the editorial process very carefully before including a journal into the index. there are peer-reviewed journals that are excluded from PubMed due to poor quality. There are a number of peer-reviewed journals included in PubMed where the peer-review process is rather lax.
    Every paper submitted to Medical Hypotheses undergoes review by an independent panel of experts, in this case the editorial board of the journal. The instructions for authors state that the theory/hypothesis submitted to the journal must be clearly explained and based on existing scientific data. IMO, the integrity of scientific process at “Medical Hypotheses” is not compromised and is not inferior to peer-review.

  • 25. brian  |  May 14, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Rymaszewska J., Ramsey D., and Chładzińska-Kiejna S. Whole-body cryotherapy as adjunct treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders. Archivum Immunologiae Therapiae Experimentalis. (Warsaw). 2008 Jan-Feb;56(1):63-68. Epub 2008 Feb 5.

  • 26. normalagain  |  July 29, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    If a cold shower lifts the mood of someone depressed why does he then need doctors and scientists to tell him it works?

  • 27. bit.do  |  October 2, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I absolutely love youur site.. Very nice colors & theme.
    Did you make this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create myy very own wevsite and would love to
    learnn where you got this from or what the theme is
    called. Many thanks!

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Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?

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