Hyperbaric oxygen treatment and Michael Crichton

Hyperbaric oxygen treatment and Michael Crichton-- the two leading keywords by which people find their way to this blog. Hardly a day passes without one or the other or both listed as "referral" keywords.

Michael Crichton

 Michael Crichton  had long been one of my favorite authors--some have termed him the founder or king of the science techno-thrillers-- and so I when I find something interesting on him I usually link to it from this blog. (Sadly, he died in 2008.)  

There was quite a flurry of pieces about him in the past few months, in part because his earliest thrillers, pubished under the name John Lange, had been re-published. Partly also because of the new sequel to JURASSIC PARK, as well as a remake of WESTWORLD.

 Here's the link to an old interview with him, click to go to that page in this blog.  That will lead to some of the other Crichton articles.

But the two Michael Crichton-related posts that draw the most relate to articles on the Michael Crichton conspiracy.  Why those draw highest, over more informative interviews with him, I have no idea. 

 Hyperbaric oxygen therapy -- HBOT

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy plays a key role in the plot-line of my science techno-thriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH, so I've been posting here links to articles from my older research, as well as newer peices that I run upon.

 This week (January 6, 2015) the Wall Street Journal ran quite a long article, "Patients take pure oxygen in off-label treatments" link. I had not known that some parents of children with autism have been using HBOT as an off-label treatment.

HBOT is also being used for FDA-approved uses including nonhealing wounds and, of course, the orignal use--treating divers with decompression problems.

Not in this article, but I have heard of other studies using high pressure oxygen therapy in fields including regenerative medicine, rejuvenating aging bodies and body parts, and other anti-aging therapies

But HBOT is being used experimentally with, in addition to treating autism, sports injuries, strokes, and various athletic injuries.  

Also, according to that WSJ article, the Defense Department has also studied the use of HBOT to treat post-concussion symptoms. DOD found no significant difference between the test group (who did receive HBO), and a control group, the members of which did not actually receive pure oxygen but were told they did.

However, seems to me that by telling the control group that little fib, the researchers were casting a shadow over the whole test. Why? I don't have time or space to get into it here, but a number of recent studies have explored the placebo and "nocebo" effect. Those studies (still underway) suggest that simply by telling the control people they were getting the treatment they may have unconsciously improved themselves.  (Granted, that is just my speculation; I haven't seen the full study. But, based on what I do know, seems to me the study invalidated itself.)

"What if age is nothing but a mind-set?" asks NYTimes Magazine article

The article begins with a fascinating experiment conducted by Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer back in 1981. In it, a group of elderly men were brought to a site for a week where they were induced to imagine themselves as they might have been a couple of decades earlier.  The result? As Prof. Langer phrased it, the men in the experiment "'put their minds in an earlier time,' and their bodies went along for the ride."

To be sure, some other academics reject the reported results, for a variety of reasons, including the design of the experiment.  

Others, I gather, would reject it and other experiments on the grounds "Everyone knows that sort of stuff is impossible.". Prof. Langer responds, "To which I would say, 'There's no discipline that is complete.  If current-day physics can't explain these things, maybe there are changes that need to be made in physics,'"

Yes, her work also addresess the issue of placebos (and the opposite: nocebos), and the effect of expectations. I won't get into that here, just encourage you to read the whole article.  

Here's the link: NYTimes article.  It will also appear in the NYTimes Magazine's paper issue of October 26, 2014