Wakarimahen

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MetaMed: Evidence-Based Healthcare

I'm surprised as well. I expected to be downvoted to -2 or so pretty quickly, and stay around there.

As for your disagreements, I should stress that what I said is perhaps the absolute most important thing for the average person with a health issue like that to hear. All too many people get hung up on trying to target the problem specifically, when they're dealing with an issue where doing so is not practical. Day after day, they ask, "What causes fibromyalgia? What are the new treatments suggested for it?" They remain fixated on these questions, while they sweep all sorts of other symptoms under the rug--random symptoms like headaches or splitting nails, which may be coming from the same source.

As for the Google hits, I'm not sure why you're calling them suspect. Jon Barron is one of the best alternative health writers out there, the Weston A. Price Foundation has a huge following, PaleoHacks is perhaps the best forum on paleo (which is a diet and lifestyle with a massive following), and the other link is a blog that I've seen cited a bunch of times in paleo circles as being someone who is less likely than average to fall for various forms of silliness.

Is this enough evidence to suggest you should read the links and take them seriously? No idea. They have a lot of links within them though. My goal was to as quickly as possible find some articles that put the conditions for 'tab explosion' in place in a way I thought would be beneficial. Generally when conventional medicine doesn't have the answer, the best place to look is where people are talking about paleo. Even stereotypically non-paleo things like raw vegan juicing, such as the Gerson Diet, will come up in paleo circles--quite simply because it seems to work.

MetaMed: Evidence-Based Healthcare

Current prior: nothing has helped so far, so the odds of something she missed ended up being useful is pretty low.

This assumes she's good at sifting through the massive expanse of information available, and good at implementing the suggestions therein. These are two extremely questionable assumptions. Knowing nothing about her except that she has severe fibromyalgia and that she's the friend of a frequent poster on LW--two factors that hardly seem very relevant, and I'd put the likelihood of those two assumptions holding up to be very low. Quite bluntly, most people have no idea what's really out there. The Internet is a vast space.

MetaMed: Evidence-Based Healthcare

All possible conventional and alternative medicine? I doubt it. This is a mind-destroying sentence if I ever saw one. I'd suggest re-wording it to "she's tried a ton of different approaches both from conventional and alternative medicine".

First thing to be said: Fibromyalgia is one of those health issues where there are no widely adopted hypotheses for the base mechanism at work. This means, quite simply, that there is little hope for targeting it specifically. It's not a case where e.g. your lips are chapped and your knuckles are splitting, and one of the first places you look is hydration--more water, more trace minerals, etc. Instead it's a health issue where you have nothing to target, and your only real hope is to do whatever you can to improve your general health, and hope whatever the yet-to-be-discovered underlying cause is taken out by fortunate accident.

Look to the other symptoms. What other symptoms does she have? It doesn't matter whether they're considered to be related. Constipation, headaches, splitting nails, PMS, dry skin, cold extremities, dandruff, frequent colds, dizziness upon standing too quickly, acne... anything at all. Note it, target it, fix it. Keep doing this for years. Make a checklist. Anything to be considered a symptom. Notice it, treat it, move on. Do this for a long enough time, and either the fibromyalgia will go away or get better, or it won't. But at least you tried, and believe me: Her life will be better either way. Well, unless she doesn't like hard work.

Potential leads I found through a few brief Google searches:

http://www.jonbarron.org/article/fibromyalgia-goes-pharmaceutical

http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2012/02/magnesium-deficiency-and-fibromyalgia.html

http://www.westonaprice.org/miscellaneous/fibromyalgia

http://paleohacks.com/questions/107562/fibromyalgia-can-this-paleo-diet-help-me-with-fibromyalgia#axzz2Mjjvmzq6

http://paleohacks.com/questions/133865/what-are-the-causes-of-fibromyalgia#axzz2Mjjvmzq6

http://paleohacks.com/questions/1990/paleo-and-fibromyalgia#axzz2Mjjvmzq6

Good luck.

Politics Discussion Thread January 2013

One should also distinguish between different kinds of alcohol. Unpasteurized beer or organic dry wine, for example, I imagine is way less likely to be a problem for one's health than cheap beer or wine with all sorts of additives and shortcuts with the process.

Politics Discussion Thread January 2013

Alcohol causes temporary loss of motor control and some brain functions, and this is exactly the point. Any mistakes can be blamed on 'being drunk', and thus people are able to cast of the shackles of social inhibition, and enjoy themselves more unimpeded. Our society is rather oppressive when it comes to making mistakes or looking 'low status' in normal situations, so alcohol is the perfect way for many people to compensate, and allow themselves temporary spans of time where they're less afraid to make mistakes or look incompetent (and I would argue this general fear of making mistakes or looking incompetent is one of the main plagues in society, preventing all sorts of people from improving their lives).

Call it placebo if you want, but placebo is great if it works. Anything is great if it works.

TIL in Medical School - Doctors have myths too.

Yeah. Slightly fed up is too fed up. It's never useful to be fed up, as far as I've ever seen. I've read a decent number of Yvain's posts, and he's always come off as rather immune to getting 'fed up' or 'annoyed' or anything, so I thought it was sort of out of character, and not in a good way.

TIL in Medical School - Doctors have myths too.

I've read a decent number of your posts, and it seems a bit out of character for you to generalize so heavily, and use all caps to describe everyone on LW as having a sentiment similar to, "Doctors are incredibly stupid and just by knowing about this one study I can totally outdo all of them."

I know you don't really mean it literally, but it may be worth pointing out that that sort of thing is just another one of those epistemically hazardous and unhygienic habits that should be done away with.

TIL in Medical School - Doctors have myths too.

What, you didn't think doctors had medical myths too? Although Yvain seems to have voided your particular example, it should be pointed out that there are a ridiculous number of doctors in any first-world country, and based on what we know about the sanity waterline it seems absurd to assume anything other than, "Most of them are probably rather irrational."

Outline of Possible Sources of Values

I would define it as something like, "The course of action one would take if they had perfect knowledge." The only problem with this definition seems to be that one's utility function not only defines what would be the best course of action, but also defines what would be the second best, and third, etc.

I would say "utility function" takes all possible actions one could take at each moment, and ranks them from 'worst idea' to 'best idea'. A coherent agent would have no disagreement between these rankings from moment to moment, but agents with akrasia, such as humans in the modern environment, have utility functions that cycle back and forth in a contradictory fashion, where at one moment the best action to take is at a later time a bad choice (such as people who find staying up late reading Reddit the most fun option, but then always regret it in the morning when they have to wake up early for work).

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