2016 Discoveries Made by Spanking FIT

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It was out of growing concern about false claims and exaggerations that abound in media that in 2014 I, Dr. Garrett, launched my web site Spanking FIT! (http://www.spankingfit.com/). I introduced it as a “spanking new” approach to health, medicine, fitness, and sexual topics based on REAL Science. As explained in the web site’s ABOUT US section, a common source of false claims in health-related fields are peer-reviewed papers published in well-regarded scientific journals. Their authors, while well trained in medicine, often have little or no education in the Science of Statistical Inference, also. Understandably, the media journalists who report on them do not possess the skills to critically evaluate them. My stated objective was a thorough investigation into all popular claims using my special personal statistical expertise. It is my belief that with reader input, I have been able so far to take a modest step forward toward achieving my goal.

What major topics did Spanking FIT cover in 2016? They are best summarized as (1) natural health restoration and performance enhancement using human bodily acid supplementation (H.B.A.S) (2) natural illness prevention (3) natural pain alleviation, and (4) healthful recreation and nudity. Here’s a summary of major findings relevant to each topic:

Natural health restoration and performance enhancement using human bodily acid supplementation (H.B.A.S)

In 2016, Spanking FIT rigorously evaluated published efficacy research pertaining to four important natural bodily acid supplements: alpha lipoic acid, L-carnitine, L-citrulline, and taurine. Natural supplementation therapy, if effective, obviously may provide a much safer alternative to conventional pharmaceutical therapy. We present below a summary of findings in tabular form. Column 1 of each table names the natural acid supplement. Column 2 summarizes the most common health/ medical claims made about it by so-called medical “authorities”. Column 3 presents a summary of published research “findings” based on clinical trial outcomes. Note my use of quotation marks around the word findings. This is due to the fact that much published medical research suffers from common weaknesses and flaws, especially in the field of statistical data analysis. These flaws, in most cases, do not completely undermine published claims, in my opinion. Rather they call attention to the need for additional experimental work and improved statistical design and analysis in order to validate them. Let’s get started:

Natural Bodily Acid Commonly claimed supplementation benefits Claims made in published clinical trial outcomes Uncovered weaknesses & flaws in published works
Alpha lipoic (A.L.)/ thioctic acid 1)    AL is an anti-oxidant which limits damage to body cells caused by free radicals. (a)  Supplementation with AL lowers creatine kinase (C.K.) content of muscles following aerobic/ anaerobic exercise (C.K. is a marker for muscle damage.) (a) Small sample sizes, inappropriate parametric stat tests.
(b)    Supplementation with A.L. reduces oxidative stress to the muscles of athletes. (b) Small sample sizes, inappropriate parametric stat tests.
(2)    A.L plays important role in energy metabolism (a)    Supplementation with A.L. enhances exercise work performance

(athletes performed isometric/ isokinetic exercise of their quadricep muscles)

(a) Small sample sizes, inappropriate parametric stat tests.
(b)    Increases PGC-1 alpha protein activation in mice (said protein induces cells to synthesize mitochondria) (b) Small sample sizes, inappropriate parametric stat tests, extremely high doses used (human equiv. of 40 gms. per day)
(c)     Yields higher relative percentage of lean mass to total mass in mice. (c) Small sample sizes, inappropriate parametric stat tests, extremely high doses used (human equiv. of 40 gms. per day)
(d)    Elevates E.P.O. levels in young athletes. (d) Small sample sizes, inappropriate parametric stat tests.
(e)    Yields weight reduction

 

(e) Potential conflict of interest on the part of researchers

(work sponsored by Dalim BioTech, manufacturer of A.L.)

(f)  lowers food consumption in mice (Nature Medicine publication)

 

(f) Small sample sizes, inappropriate parametric stat tests

For the detailed results please read: “Can Alpha Lipoic Transform Your Body?“; Spanking FIT,  Jan. 2016

alpha-lipoic

 

Natural Bodily Acid

 

Commonly claimed supplementation benefits

 

Claims made in published clinical trial outcomes Uncovered weaknesses & flaws in published work
L-carnitine: amino acid derivative of Lysine (1)    Memory improvement

 

 

(a) Improvement in both total no. of intact mitochondria and ultra-structures of neurons in hippocampus of rat brain.

 

(a)    Small sample sizes, inappropriate parametric stat tests.

 

(2) Transports cellular fuel in form of fatty acids across mitochondria membranes to oxidation sites (a) Improves symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (C.F.S.) including declines in “attention concentration”. (a)    Lack of a control or a placebo group.

Appearance of a conflict of interest on part of study authors.

 

 

(b)    Decreases mental & physical fatigue, & increases cognitive function in elderly patients (b)    Research study involved centenarians only.

 

 

(c)     Enhances athletic performance

 

(c) Small sample sizes, inappropriate parametric stat tests, appropriate stat tests yielded non-significant results.

 

(d)    Improved male sexual performance which is safer than t-supplementation (e.g. prostate volume (P.V.) does not increase.) (d) Less than ideal stat tests were employed, an appearance of a conflict of interest on part of researchers.

For detailed results please read: “Does l-carnitine Enhance Sexual performance & more?“; Spanking FIT, Aug. 2016.

l-carnitine-2

 

Natural Bodily Acid Commonly claimed benefits of supplementation Claims made in published clinical trial outcomes Uncovered weaknesses & flaws in published work
L-arginine/ citrulline (1) Increases production of the enzyme NOS, which in turn increases NO production in endothelial tissue of arteries & veins yielding improved blood circulation. (a)    Supplementation improves erectile response

(b)  Improves sexual satisfaction

 

 

 

 

(c)     Enhances aerobic athletic performance

 

 

(d)    Enhances anaerobic athletic performance & aids in muscle repair

(a) & (b) The majority of studies used small sample sizes; some study results were erroneously reported as statistically significant; only a single study supports claimed hypotheses.

 

(c) Small sample sizes; inappropriate stat tests; conflict of interest appearances

For detailed results read: “Penis Improvement Ideas”; Spanking FIT, Sept. 2016.

penis-improvement-2

 

Natural Bodily Acid Commonly claimed benefits of supplementation Claims made in published clinical trial outcomes Observed weaknesses & flaws in published work
taurine Enhanced athletic performance

 

Improvements in concentric strength of athletes

 

Researchers employed inappropriate stat tests

 

 

Improved isometric strength of athletes

 

Small sample sizes; inappropriate stat tests

 

 

Decreased oxidative damage to muscles

 

Small sample sizes; inappropriate stat tests

 

 

Improvements in treadmill performance of heart patients Small sample sizes; inappropriate stat tests

For detailed results read: “Are Taurine Energy Drink Claims Bull?”; Spanking FIT, Oct. 2016.

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Based on the above observed weaknesses and flaws in published medical research, Spanking FIT recommends that researchers slow down and focus on fewer human physiological parameters, while paying greater attention to critical statistical data requirements. Also, it is essential that they improve the quality of statistical analysis that they use.

Natural Illness Prevention

The skin cancer paradox

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Spanking FIT advocates regular moderate sunshine exposure (preferably nude) for health reasons. Consequently, it was necessary for me to investigate  common overexposure warnings and sunscreen use recommendations from the medical community. In “Can Sunscreen Cause Skin Cancer?Spanking FIT, March 2016, I evaluated published research pertaining to the current medical controversy regarding causality between sunshine exposure and both melanomic and non-melanomic skin cancer. (Melanoma is the more deadly form of that disease). Recently, some researchers have taken a dissenting position by suggesting that a lack of adequate sunshine, and not over-exposure, may be causal for melanoma. Spanking FIT got started by reviewing key references cited by the World Health Organization (W.H.O) which, in their opinion, support the sunshine/ overexposure skin cancer hypothesis. We were surprised to discover that principal W.H.O. references contain results that are not statistically significant and; hence, do not validate their claims. We also uncovered non-W.H.O. research which suggested that a negative correlation actually exists between sunshine exposure and incidence of melanomic skin cancer. This is to say that inadequate sunshine exposure may, in some cases, be causal for melanoma. These apparent contradictions led Spanking FIT to question the standard methodology used by W.H.O. researchers and others which consists of comparing incidence rates among populations located in different latitudes and therefore receiving different U.V. exposure levels. We noted that studied populations had probably adapted to their environments following the laws of environmental selection, and that such adaptive behavior would tend to invalidate their method of studying sunshine exposure/ skin cancer correlation by using latitude comparisons. Subsequently, Spanking FIT performed an independent comparison of melanoma rates in Oslo, Norway versus Helsinki, Finland. (Both cities are at the same latitude and have similar populations with respect to skin type and sunshine exposure patterns.) We discovered that Oslo has a much higher adjusted incidence rate than Helsinki. Our findings suggest that there are other unknown contributing factors to melanoma development aside from sunshine exposure patterns. On the other hand, our discovery that the adjusted melanoma rate of Australians compared to Brits is substantially higher, led us to conjecture that high melanoma incidence may result when a population that is not environmentally selected for prolonged exposure to high intensity U.V. radiation is transplanted to such a high U.V. environment.

The nasty debate on circumcision within the medical community

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In “To Cut or Not to Cut-the Circumcision Question“,  May 2016, Spanking FIT addressed another well-publicized medical controversy regarding the age-old practice of male circumcision. (This one has become especially nasty among medical “professionals”, even resulting in malicious online name-calling.) We began with an examination of U.S. Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) claims that “circumcision reduces risk that a man will acquire H.I.V. from a female partner, and also lowers risk of other S.T.D.s”. C.D.C. further makes the claim that there exists a reduced risk of cervical cancer and H.P.V. for female sex partners of circumcised males. Upon review of published research that C.D.C. cited to back up their claims, Spanking FIT discovered significant defects in both their methodology and in their analysis. In the majority of studies, researchers failed to record the safe sex practices of participants. Whether or not an individual practices safe sex obviously influences their chances of acquiring an S.T.D., regardless of their circumcision status. In one major clinical trial conducted in Africa by the Male Circumcision Partnership and which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, research “findings” were confounded by the fact that a large percentage of trial participants did not use condoms during sex. This would, of course, tend to exaggerate the importance of circumcision as a S.T.D. preventative measure. Spanking FIT also conducted an independent comparative risk assessment and found that for those individuals who consistently use condoms during intercourse, circumcision affords only miniscule reduction in probability of acquiring H.I.V. infection. Spanking FIT also presented analysis which suggests that high quality latex condoms, when used correctly, are very effective in preventing a wide range of S.T.D.s. Finally, we reviewed research asserting that an uncircumcised  penis provides enhanced sexual pleasure for a man.

Exercising for “Healthy Body Art” in lieu of  tattoos

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Legitimate concerns on the part of Spanking FIT regarding tattooing health risks, especially among the very young, led us to embark on our “Healthy Body Art for the ‘Boys’ & the ‘Girls‘” series.  The series contains exercise sets designed to safely enhance sexual attractiveness of the female and the male body, but without the health hazards of commercial “body art” such as tattoos and piercings. So far, our series includes exercises for acquiring Venus Dimples, for enhancing the Butt, for developing Broad Shoulders, for enhancing the Chest, Biceps & Triceps, and the Legs. In the Legs segment, Spanking FIT also evaluated health claims that cycling is beneficial for rehabilitation of the knees following injury and even following knee surgery. Cycling may in certain cases also be prescribed for such chronic knee conditions as osteoarthritis (O.A.). The unproven theory behind this claim is that cycling “nourishes” joint cartilage. Spanking FIT discovered that presently only anecdotal evidence exists to back up these common medical practices, and that there is a lack of experimental work refuting or affirming them. The good news, however, is that clinical trials are presently underway in Oslo, Norway to investigate this issue. We also examined the current sports controversy pertaining to “deep squatting”, and whether or not this exercise type leads to serious degeneration of the knees over the long term, as some believe. Our evaluation of published research indicated that, although professional weight lifters are at increased risk for O.A., there is no evidence that those who incorporate moderate squatting into their regular exercise routines are at any risk. Finally, for those concerned about the risk of long term joint injury from conventional squatting, Hindu Squatting may provide a safer alternative with added aerobic benefits.

A vitamin D connection to muscle health & repair?

shoulder-pain

Reliable sources indicate that over 100 million Americans each year suffer from some form of chronic pain. Conventional chronic pain treatments including steroids carry with them serious side effects such as osteoporosis and aseptic necrosis (bone death). Over-prescription of opioid pain killers has contributed to the current U.S. addiction crisis. For this reason, Spanking FIT decided to embark on its Scientific Advancements in Pain series where we evaluate research pertaining to more natural pain alleviation remedies. The series begins with the topic of “shoulder pain”. First, we evaluated the efficacy of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy (M.T.P.T.) in treating chronic pain. M.T.P.T. is based on the theory that chronic pain may be the result of small knots which develop in muscle fascia following injury or strain. M.T.P.T. practitioners believe that it is possible to eliminate pain by massaging out these fascia knots. Spanking FIT’s research evaluation uncovered clinical trial evidence that supports the theory. I also uncovered solid scientific evidence that Vitamin D not only plays a well-recognized important role in bone health, but also in maintaining the health of skeletal muscles. Hence, vitamin D therapy also shows promise in alleviating chronic muscle pain following injury or strain.

Healthy Recreation & Nudity      

ufo beach

The scientific evidence is convincing that moderate all over sun light exposure benefits human health. There is even unconfirmed evidence that exposing male genitalia to sun light may be healthier yet! For this reason, Spanking FIT embarked on a quasi-scientific international nude beach evaluation. The evaluation begins in North America. Part I-A covers the U.S. state of California. Part I-B covers the Pacific Northwest including Oregon, U.S.A., and Vancouver, British Columbia. Also there is , Part I-C: “Dangerously Naked-Nude Beaches of Mexico”, Part I-D: “Skinny Dipping in the Southern U.S.A.”, and Part I-E: “Fellow Travelers-Hit the Nude Beaches of Communist Cuba”. Stay tuned for more to come in 2017.

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The Science of Seasonal Allergy Relief- Pt. 1

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Throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere including the U.S., Canada, and Europe, allergy season is already in full bloom as trees, grasses, and other shrubs release potentially irritating pollens into the atmosphere . For the substantial number of seasonal allergy sufferers, it appears almost as if these plant species are employing an insidious form of biological weaponry to defend their territory.

In many of the same regions, a second allergic onslaught is about to commence as ragweed pollen joins the chorus. For those individuals most sensitive to these biologic allergens (the so-called seasonal allergic rhinitis sufferers) numerous prescription and over-the-counter remedies provide varying degrees of symptomatic relief. Most popular among them are the anti-histamines, which generally block the chemical activity of the inflammatory mediator histamine. They achieve this by binding to H(1) histamine receptors on sensitive nasal tissues. Although anti-histamine usage dates back to the 1930’s, concerns regarding its side effects linger. Main side effects acknowledged by their makers include drowsiness, prostate enlargement in men, fatigue, mental confusion, memory loss, and fast or irregular heart beat. However, an even more serious question looms regarding their safe usage: given the important immune role that histamine and H(1) receptors normally play, do anti-histamines in any way compromise the ability of the human immune system to fight off other pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, or even cancer cells? In an attempt to address this often overlooked issue, Spanking FIT conducted an extensive review of the scientific literature. Surprisingly, we turned up a dearth of relevant serious experimentation. (Bear in mind that both prescription and over-the-counter anti-histamine products constitute established multi-billion dollar industries.) One exception was: “Effects of anti-histamine on innate immune responses to bacteria in mice” by M. Metz which was published in International Archives of Allergy and Immunology in 2011 (155(4): 355-60). The study itself is rather impressive experimentally in so far as it utilized mice which were genetically engineered to be deficient in H(1) receptors.  Researchers reported that the use of anti-histamines adversely affected the ability of the mouse immune system to fight off bacterial infection. Unfortunately, due to small sample sizes used, solid statistical inferences could not be made. Further experimentation regarding this question is clearly warranted.

In addition to the anti-histamines, corticosteroid nasal sprays are often used to reduce the inflammation associated with allergy. Their acknowledged side effects include sore throat, coughing, and glaucoma.

It’s unsurprising that the previously explained health concerns regarding pharmaceutical products have generated renewed interest in so-called “natural” allergy remedies. Those medical practitioners, on the other hand, who strictly adhere to pharmaceutical approaches, vigorously criticize the more natural methods by citing a paucity of clinical data supporting their efficacy and safety. They correctly remind us that anecdotal evidence alone does not constitute legitimate justification for the use of any medicine. In response to all of the above concerns, Spanking FIT began by compiling a list of some of the most popular online natural allergy products. Some of them are even ancient folk remedies and sound like ones that “Granny” from the 1960’s U.S. T.V. show “The Beverly Hillbillies”  would use. Next, I collected and evaluated modern clinical research supporting their efficacy claims. Let’s begin with the Granny list:

Granny’s list of possible natural seasonal allergy remedies

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  • Bromelain– an enzyme contained in the pineapple plant which is promoted as an effective anti-inflammatory.
  • Butterbur (petasites hybridus) leaf or root extract- plant also goes by the names bog rhubarb, devil’s hat, and pestilence wort. It’s a member of the daisy (asteraceae) family.
  • Cat’s claw (uncaria tomentosa)- a woody vine which grows in South American jungles.
  • Echinacea– a genus of herbacious flowering plant that is also in the daisy family.
  • Grape seed extract (procyanidin)- procyanidins are a class of flavonoids or secondary plant metabolites which protect from herbivores.
  • Heart-leaved moonseed (tinaspora cordifolia)- ancient Asian Indian “remedy”.
  • Pine bark (pycnogenol)
  • Quercetin (a plant polyphenol flavonoid)
  • Stinging nettle (urtica dioica)- herbaceous flowering plant
  • Timothy grass (phelum pratense)
  • Vitamin C (ascorbate)
  • Vitamin D ( secosteroids)

Spanking FIT’s next goal was to filter out all anecdote associated with the above products, and identify and evaluate the results of pertinent clinical research only, if existent. We were able to accomplish that goal for only four out of the twelve possible natural allergy remedies on the list: butterbur, procyanidin, pycnogenol, and timothy grass. This is not to say that the others on the Granny list are ineffective in treating allergic rhinitis; but, simply that clinical evidence is currently lacking. In the course of my investigation, I also explored the proposed working mechanisms behind each one. Such mechanisms went beyond mere blockage of histamine receptors as most anti-histamines do. They include possible reduction in histamine production itself, as well as reduction in other chemicals known to be involved in the allergic reaction chain. In this segment (Part I) of “The Science of Seasonal Allergy Relief”, I begin by presenting the results of my investigation into butterbur:

Butterbur (petasites hybridus)

butterbur

Of the more than fifty published studies evaluating use of butterbur extracts for allergic rhinitis which Spanking FIT identified, three principal ones  involved analysis of hard data based on actual detailed clinical trials. They are summarized below:

  • Anti-inflammatory activity of an extract of petasites hybridus in allergic rhinitis” by O.A. Thomet,et al. published in International Immunopharmacology, June 2002

This clinical trial involved six subjects only. Five were confirmed to suffer from a variety of grass and tree pollen allergies. One was allergic to cat hair. Patients were treated each morning for five days using Ze339, a trademarked extract of butterbur. A number of both objective and subjective measures of the degree of allergic response were made before and after the treatment. Among the measured objective parameters was nasal airway resistance (N.A.R.). The latter is a measure of the degree of obstruction that is caused by an allergen. The researchers reported statistically significant improvements from baseline with respect to all symptoms including nasal congestion, rhinorrhea (runny nose), nasal itching, and sneezing. They also reported improvements in objective measures including quantities of nasal and serum histamine, leukotriene B4, and cysteinyl-leukotrienes. The latter two chemical substances are associated with prolonged inflammatory allergic symptoms. Pollen counts were carefully observed over the five day period, and it was claimed that no fluctuations occurred which could have confounded their results. Researchers also explored potential systemic immuno-suppressive effects of butterbur. No changes in blood leukocyte counts including lymphocyte numbers or functioning was detected. In other words, researchers reported that there was no evidence that medication caused any immediate degradation in the ability of immune system to combat other pathogens.

From a statistical perspective, their study suffered from a number of weaknesses. I realize that the majority of readers are not statisticians, but I state them any way for completeness: while I commend authors for their attempted use of nonparametric stat tests in lieu of parametric ones given small sample sizes, they incorrectly used a Mann-Whitney test for independent samples when, in fact, something like a Wilcoxon signed-rank test for dependent samples should have been used. Furthermore, since measurements were taken at six different times on the same group of subjects, multivariate analysis such as Friedman’s non-parametric version of repeated measures ANOVA should have been used. By increasing statistical power of tests, the use of larger sample sizes could have yielded more convincing claims regarding the lack of immune system degradation  in the event the above preferred tests failed to detect significant differences.  A control group also should have been included in the experiment to make accurate comparisons possible. Lastly, Spanking FIT uncovered an appearance of a conflict of interest on part of researchers, in so far as the study was supported in part by grants from Max Zeller & Sohne, the manufacturer of the Ze339 product.

  • “Buttercup Ze339 for treatment of intermittent allergic rhinitis: dose dependent efficacy in prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study” by A. Schapowal, et al. published in Archives of Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery”, Dec. 2004, 130 (12): 1381-6.

In this experiment, 186 subjects with a confirmed history (for at least two seasons) of intermittent allergic rhinitis were randomly assigned to either placebo, a low dose of Ze339, or a high dose of Ze339 for two consecutive weeks. Pollen exposure was confirmed for each patient by cross-checking with online regional pollen count services. Subjective measures of allergic symptom severity based on patient diary entries and clinician observations were utilized. The main efficacy variable was individual change in self-assessment from baseline to end point (14 days later) in symptom severity for (1) rhinorrhea (2) nasal congestion (3) itching (4) sneezing. Scores were also combined into a “single global evaluation”. Hierarchical non-parametric hypothesis testing was employed, even though relatively large sample sizes of more than 60 were used.

Upon careful examination of the results which the researchers presented in tabular form, Spanking FIT detected a rather odd switch on the part of data analysts to parametric stat tests when dealing with the nasal congestion variable. It is possible that the non-parametric methods they originally tried may have failed to produce significant results. If so, researchers should have stated so. Also, the researchers did not report significance levels in analysis of differences, before and after, in combined symptom scores. Hopefully this was only an oversight on their part, and not a deliberate omission. Finally, once again it should be noted that study was funded by Ze339 maker A.G.Zeller.

Petasol butenoate complex (Ze339) relieves allergic rhinitis-induced nasal obstruction more effectively than desloratadine” by A.F. Dumitru, et al. published in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, June 2011, 127 (6): 1515-21. This experiment utilized a double-blind randomized three arm cross-over design.  The three arms consisted of (1) five day treatment with placebo, (2) five days with the anti-histamine desloratadine, or (3) five days with Ze339. At end of each five day period, a number of allergic reactivity measures were taken following an allergen challenge. Among the measures was nasal air flow as ascertained by rhinomanometry of patient nasal passages. Researchers reported significantly superior results in the air flow measurements of subjects treated with Ze339 compared to placebo. They also reported significantly lower levels of certain allergy mediators that suggested a physiological mechanism by which the product works. Specifically, they reported significantly lower levels of interleukin-8 (IL-8) and leukotriene B4 (LTB4) in nasal excretions before allergen challenge in the Ze339 treatment group by comparison with placebo. IL-8 is a so-called chemokine produced by endothelial tissue lining blood vessels which causes leukocytes to migrate there. LTB4 induces adhesion and activation of the leukocytes as they arrive at the endothelium contributing to inflammation. Both substances are responsible for any prolonged allergic response. There was, however, no drop in histamine levels reported in the Ze339-treated group compared with placebo. Interestingly, results indicated that not only was Ze339 more effective than the anti-histamine desloratadine, but that the latter was not effective at all when compared with placebo. Surely a surprising finding given the relative popularity of that product.                                                                                                                                                                                                               From a statistical perspective, the study suffers from common flaws in medical research: since more than two populations were involved, a multivariate test such as Friedman’s should have been employed in lieu of the Wilcoxon signed rank test which was used. Also, the analysts conducted pair-wise comparisons of treatments using a parametric t-test with small samples and without the appropriate adjustments in significance levels a Bonferroni test or something similar could have afforded. Consequently, their conclusions did not possess conventional significance levels (e.g., P less than 0.05). Finally, there is the same conflict of interest concern, because A.G. Zeller provided funding.

Conclusions regarding Butterbur

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Butterbur extract is among only a handful of online recommended natural remedies for which clinical trials regarding efficacy have been conducted and completed. Results tentatively support the theory that it is effective in the treatment of allergic reaction and related symptoms including rhinitis, sneezing, itchy nose and eyes. Analysis of relevant data tentatively suggests that it may work by inhibiting production of certain chemical substances known as leukotrienes and cytokines which contribute to inflammation. Nevertheless, the research suffers from flaws in statistical design and analysis which are common throughout modern medical research. (This comes as no surprise to readers familiar with our previous evaluation of work in the field of natural amino acid therapy for other medical conditions-see “2016 Discoveries Made by Spanking FIT”.) They include the use of inadequate sample sizes and  inappropriate statistical tests. These noted weaknesses do not, in my opinion, completely undermine the case for butterbur efficacy; rather, they call attention to the need for independent funding and undertaking of large-scale clinical trials to evaluate butterbur as well as other “natural” therapies. Also, medical journal editors need to make it mandatory that all published research provide links to raw data collected so that independent statistical analyses may be conducted. I should note that my colleagues and I have tried butterbur and have personally found it to be effective for allergic rhinitis. However, as previously noted in Spanking FIT’s ABOUT US section, anecdotal evidence alone never justifies the use of any medical product including this one.

As usual, I look forward to your valuable feedback. Please stay tuned for my evaluation of the three other possible allergy remedies on the Granny list: procyanidin, pycnogenol, and timothy grass. Sincerely, Dr. Garrett

A spanking new approach to fitness, health, etc. based on REAL science