October 19, 2006

Excuse me while I retreat into my detoxification room.

What do you think of “multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome"? And how much will you change your way of life to help out a neighbor who says she's got it?

Movie recommendation: "Safe."

63 comments:

Jake said...

I would not change.

There is a 90% chance that this woman has schizophrenia. She obviously suffers from paranoiac delusions. Only drugs used to treat schizophrenia will help her.

kettle said...

sounds like a dubious euphemism for 'hypochondriac'.

Jonathan said...

What do I think? I think it's her (very inefficient) way of controlling her environment. It seems to be effective on her husband, and she may have some of her neighbors intimidated. If she were my neighbor I would probably try to avoid her.

NSC said...

I think she is nuts, but in the interest of being a good neighbor I would probably let her know when I am going to spray any herbicide or other chemical outdoors and avoid doing so on a windy day when it might blow over onto her property.

If that is not enough, she should move somewhere secluded with a lot of property between her and any neighbors.

Dave said...

What do I think of it?

Bullshit.

People are exposed to all manner of chemicals every day. What these so-called sufferers fail to explain is how man-made chemicals, but not naturally occurring chemicals, affect them. The air you breathe is full of chemicals--nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, etc.

These people want to attribute to an insidious source--man-made technology--their ills, much like cancer patients want to attribute to power lines their illness, when, in fact, there remains little epidemiological evidence that there is a causal connection between the two.

Correlation, of course, does not prove causation, but to these types of people, the lack of connection between correlation and causation is conveniently ignored in favor of the more complex notion that these chemicals, which largely do not affect people generally, nonetheless affect this particular individual.

Occam's Razor applies here.

Timothy said...

I think she's making it up because she's some sort of hippie. I'd just go ahead and use my chemicals, because I'm sure any "reaction" is going to be entirely in her mind. If I go ahead and do so when she's not home and she doesn't know I bet nothing happens.

Alternatively, if she's not lying, she should be carrying an epi pen with her at all times because herbicides and pesticides are all over public spaces and if she's that at risk of anaphalaxis she should be taking precautions. Like the people I know who ran XC in high school with theirs because they were allergic to bee stings.

Aside from that, given that any chemicals I would be using on my lawn are legal, we could always use Coase bargaining to come up with a solution. She should just offer to pay her neighbors not to use pesticides and go from there.

Pogo said...

Ah, here's what happens when we let "diversity" and nonjudgementalism infect our way of life. Crazy people and their imaginary diseases get to rule the behavior of others.

Not schizophrenic.
More likely post-truamatic stress disorder, but I'd have to know more.

Henry said...

Maybe she's a hypochondriac, but what would be so hard about notifying her? Our neighbor notifies us when she has her trees sprayed, which I appreciate -- we keep the kids out of the back yard that day.

On the other hand, you have to wonder why the couple went to the trouble to build a safe house in a subdivision.

One way to control weeds in a non-toxic fashion is with heat. You can pour boiling water on each dandelion, one by one.

I would buy her a teakettle and let her loose. As long as she kept my lawn and sidewalk free of weeds, I'd refrain from the Roundup. I would definitely notify her when I did use it, though; that's just basic consideration.

bill said...

I would build a geodesic dome in Alaska and hope to make the acquaintance of a cute bush pilot.

The ability to borrow a spacesuit would also be nice.

MadisonMan said...

It would be hard to be a good neighbor to her, I suspect, because her life is all about her ailments. I've met people like that (not in my neighborhood, thank goodness) and they are exhausting to be around. Neighborliness would be very 1-sided.

Pogo said...

Re: "Maybe she's a hypochondriac, but what would be so hard about notifying her?"

As is common to folks claiming MCS, her sensitivities will escalate, as will her demands. Her neighbors have no doubt encountered this.

Like any delusion, it's an itch that cannot be scratched.

altoids1306 said...

Hypochondriac? This is pretty simple to test.

If I were her neighbor, I would use her organic-whatever-herbicide, and on certain days, switch to regular chemical herbicide (being careful to pretend that it is organic), and track her symptoms.

If her symptoms bear no correlation to my pesticide usage, I would increase the concentration - I'd start spraying 2 or 3 times the recommended dosage on my driveway, mixed with solvents to drive up the rate of evaporation, and see if there was any reaction.

If she had no reaction, I would call BS, send an email to the neighbors, use whatever the hell I want, and have a good laugh at the government and assorted experts for giving her free money.

George said...

About 35 or 40 years ago I saw the elderly silent-film star Gloria "Sunset Boulevard" Swanson on the Tonight Show.

Johnny Carson said, "I'm told that when you go out to eat in restaurants, you take your own food with you from home."

"That's right," she said.

"And you never cover your food with Saran Wrap. Is that right?"

"Yes," she replied. "Saran Wrap causes cancer."

About six months later she died of a heart attack. Ever since then, I've been a big fan of Saran Wrap.

Jack Shaftoe said...

As is common to folks claiming MCS, her sensitivities will escalate, as will her demands. Her neighbors have no doubt encountered this.

That's exactly what has been happening in this specific case. The neighbors went out of their way to accomodate her, but it has only exacerbated the situation.

Henry said...

Okay, so maybe I should just give her the teakettle.

No, I would still notify her. I can establish my own standard for consideration and stick to it, regardless of her craziness.

Frank IBC said...

"Multiple chemical sensitivity"... "chronic fatigue syndrome"... "fibromyalgia"... all the same. Illness, yes. But a better name for it would be "psychosomatic manifestations of depression or anxiety disorder". It used to be called "hysteria". (The traditional meaning of that word was different than the modern/popular usage of that word, with its implied sexism.)

HaloJonesFan said...

Sounds like Morgellon's Syndrome.

quietnorth said...

What about the general ethical question? Maybe she is a crackpot, but there may be health risks to using chemicals on lawns that some people would choose not to take. Can we claim a libertarian "right" to do what we want on our lawn, if our "doing" leaks into other people's property?

tiggeril said...

It's nice that there's a new boogeyman in "chemicals." After all, we're surrounded by "chemicals." We can just blame all our issues on the ones produced by those eeeeevil multinationals!

Revenant said...

What these so-called sufferers fail to explain is how man-made chemicals, but not naturally occurring chemicals, affect them

I'm not going to take a stand on whether or not MCS is real -- I've no idea. But there's an easy answer to your question: we've been regularly exposed to naturally-occuring chemicals for as long as life has existed on Earth, whereas we've only been exposed to most manmade chemicals for a few centuries or less. It would not be shocking if we had more resistance to the former than the latter.

Anyway, we do know that there are genes which can cause some people to be strangely reactive to certain chemicals -- there is one related to alcohol that is common in Asians, though I forget the name of it. So MCS *could* exist -- whether it *does* exist, I do not know.

Irene Done said...

She completely lost any sympathy I might have had for her when she called herself and fellow sufferers "the new homeless." She's got a detox room in her safe house and she's "homeless."

My sympathy is now with her (very cooperative, exceptionally kind) neighbors.

Dave said...

"So MCS *could* exist -- whether it *does* exist, I do not know."

Aliens *could* exist--whether they *do* exist, I do not know.

Your point? If it exists, then fine. But when doctors say they can't demonstrate a link between exposure to chemicals and this woman's symptoms, what are we to conclude? That she is correct where people with medical degrees are not?

Anonymous said...

Heh.

Why can't we just go back to calling it what we used to call it?

Neurasthenia.

The "reality based" community is based in the kind of reality that all effete hypochondriacal paranoid self-absorbed persons have always inhabited. They just change the curtains in their double-wide trailer in the John Jacques Rousseau trailer park every twenty five years or so by giving it a new name.

You're paranoid cranks. Deal with it.

Sigivald said...

I'm glad to see that my initial answer to both questions ("Go to hell. Thanks.") is not an outlier.

Pogo said...

Her neighbors should claim to have MCSSS: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Sensitivity Syndrome.

Whenever the neurasthenic neighbor comes near, it makes you feel ill. So she should never ever talk to you.

My current neighbor is in this realm of disorders. Horrific abuse history. Now completely unsalvageable, taking to bouts of self-imposed silence, piercings, drawing in the dirt, and irritable bowel. Ambulances are not infrequent, followed by immediate returns home.

And don't try to wave 'hello' to her. Just don't.

Freeman Hunt said...

And how much will you change your way of life to help out a neighbor who says she's got it?

I would just ignore her requests and otherwise treat her as a regular neighbor. I wouldn't want to further enable her physical manifestations of a psychiatric problem. People, including the government workers who approved her disabled status, catering to her imaginings are just making her condition worse.

Cat said...

I say, put her in a plastic bubble and be done with it.

Tim Sisk said...

Irene Done: I was logging into the comments section here to say the same exact thing!

No one has mentioned here yet that apparently the neighbors had to take out restraining orders against the husband. Apparently it has gotten pretty nasty.

HaloJonesFan said...

Ah, for the simple days of yesteryear, when it was the electromagnetic fields produced by high-tension lines that were going to kill us all. Now it's "chemicals".

quietnorth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
quietnorth said...

It seems like a "half libertarian" position-which is not libertarian at all-to say that I have a right to use a chemical that spills over into your property and that since I decide it isn't a risk, that is the end of the story. Don't both people have property rights here? What if you don't want to assume the risk I am willing to assume so that I can have a grass lawn?

Revenant said...

But when doctors say they can't demonstrate a link between exposure to chemicals and this woman's symptoms, what are we to conclude? That she is correct where people with medical degrees are not?

No doctor in the cited article claims that MCSS doesn't exist; no doctor in that article claims that it DOES exist. Several of them note that individual chemical sensitivites DO exist.

In short, they completely agree with what I said in my post -- it is possible, but unproven, and we don't know whether or not to think it exists.

You're making the common mistake of equating "no link has been found" with "we've found that there is no link". Smarten up.

dreamingmonkey said...

Just because she's an obnoxious, crazed hippy with an infrared detoxification room doesn't mean that she doesn't necessarily have an allergy to some chemical commonly found in herbicides. People are allergic to all kinds of weird things, for example, peanuts.

If she's not crazy (but based on that picture, she is), it would sure help if her doctors could figure out what she actually is allergic to, rather than just slapping the "multiple chemical" diagnosis, which makes her SEEM crazy, and it would probably also help her cause with her neighbors if she could explain an actual, particular chemical to avoid rather than just complaining that modern life is making her sick.

Mike said...

I'd use the "nontoxic" chemicals and do it on her schedule just to be a good neighbor but I strongly doubt, as others have noted, that it would be enough to mollify her.

OddD said...

Let me start by saying I have a friend whose (brain-injured) daughter is extremely sensitive to chemicals--including pesticides and lawn chemicals, but also including plenty of natural chemicals, all kinds of foods, organic or not, etc. This, I'm told, is very common among children with her type of brain-damage.

I think it's a little dumb to point out oxygen, nitrogen, etc., since sensitivity to those chemicals would make one non-viable. I also wonder about the whole attack on "correlation=>causation": Seriously, what else are people with issues like that supposed to do? Same family that has the brain-injured daughter became very aware (hyperaware?) of the relationship between food and changes in their children: One kid got a cold every time he ate at McDonald's. So, no more McDonald's. Did McDonald's cause it? Who knows? But why not eliminate it? They also eliminated a number of other packaged foods that seemed to alter his behavior.

They ultimately found out that he was diabetic. But they had evolved that lifestyle for him just through trial-and-error. Correlation = cause, if correlation is immediate and direct enough, and an absence of effect occurs when the suspected cause is removed. It's not double-blind science but it doesn't have to be if it works.

My only point, really, is that it's not like all this stuff--human health--is taped up. People are afflicted with a variety of ills. Telling them that they're just imagining things would not seem to be helpful. Maybe this woman is paranoid now, but maybe that's from people telling her she's imagining things, because her genuine condition escaped diagnosis. (Happens all the time.)

I guess my other point would be this, come to think of it: A lot of people operate on the basis of "if I can't perceive it, it isn't real". Whether it's distinguishing Coke from Pepsi, or smelling the chemicals in use on a lawn (I know people who can do that, who are "sensitive" in the one sense of the word without being "sensitive" in the sense of being affected by it).

A schizophrenic's eardrums vibrate when he hears voices. He really is hearing voices. Fibromyalgia sufferers apparently have (way) more pain receptors. They're genuinely feeling pain by the only objectively measurable standard of pain we have. What good does it do to tell them it's "in their head", even if it is?

Put another way: The brain is part of the body, why should diseases or conditions that originate there not be met with the same sympathy as diseases originating elsewhere?

SteveR said...

Just don't play Trivial Pursuit with her.

OddD said...

As DreamingMonkey says, some people are allergic to peanuts. Let a paper run a story on this, and the response here would be, "Preposterous! Why peanuts and why not bananas?"

Though I meant to add in my overlong rant that I don't understand the notion of a "detox" room. A clean room might be helpful, but you'd have to be sure that none of the things you were sensitive to were used in building it. Good luck there.

Cat said...

Oddd - it's one thing to eliminate things when trying to determine cause and effect. If I had a tummy ache every day I would anlayze my diet amd I might first cut out milk and see how if feel and so on. However, my doing that or your friends eliminating foods from their child's diet is A LOT different from asking your community to change it's ways to suit YOU. You are talking about two different things.

If this woman really was so afraid of chemicals, she and her husband should have bought property that was secluded - in the woods. Plenty of places like that. Then she can sell her decontaminator. :)

Pogo said...

It is not up to her neighbors, shops, and the entire city she lives in to accomadate her sensitivities. It's why the Disabilities act is so outrageous: it assumes an endless capacity by citizens to absorb the costs of meeting a complainer's needs, ans assumes that all complaints are valid simply on their say-so.

She can live that way alls he wants. But when she wants me to pay for it, forget it. Your belief in unicorns doesn't mean I have to buy you a saddle.

Revenant said...

She can live that way alls he wants. But when she wants me to pay for it, forget it. Your belief in unicorns doesn't mean I have to buy you a saddle

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that your neighbor was storing leaky barrels of benzene on his property. Would your belief that this stuff is a carcinogen that endangers your health be "your problem, not his"?

Some libertarians would say "yes", but the government would generally say "no". There is a lot of law backing up the idea that if you're doing something that endangers people's health, they can make you stop, or even sue you.

It isn't quite the bright line that you suggest. We accept that things that are dangerous to 100% of the population can be restricted, and that things dangerous to 0% of the population generally cannot be... but there are a lot of things in the middle, dangerous to 100 > X > 0% of the population, that get banned or restricted too. If your behavior is only dangerous to 0.05% of people, can we make you behave differently? 5%? 50%? 95%? It is a tricky question.

Of course, all this begs the question of whether she's chemically sensitive or just crazy. Personally I'm really sensistive to new paint and carpet (as I discovered to my dismay when I had my house remodelled), so I'm less skeptical than many of the people here. Sure, she *acts* crazy, but being sick from something beyond your control can do that.

Bleepless said...

Her nuttiness is only exacerbated by her neighbors, who are wimps and enablers. To Hell with her and with them.

SteveR said...

In environmental analysis of risk, it is "unacceptable" say in the case of drinking water, to have a chemical above a concentration, two orders of magnitude below a level that a person drinking two liters a day for 70 years, would incur a increased cancer risk of 1 in a million.

Worry destroys more people than chemicals

Pogo said...

Re: "Sure, she *acts* crazy, but being sick from something beyond your control can do that."

Revenant, I take care of people like this frequently. The patholgy is far more complex and enveloping than can be described in a simple article.

Medical craziness evolves with testing. When simple tests were able to refute neurasthenic paralysis and hysterical blindness, those symptoms became rare. When chronic yeast infections were proven false, it became rare. Same for chronic hypoglycemia and Epstein-Barr.

I repeat: believe in unicorns all you want, just don't expect me to pay for the saddle. Sometimes people who act crazy are, in fact, crazy.

knoxgirl said...

“multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome"

more like "anything for attention syndrome"

I worked with a woman who had chronic fatigue/fybromyalgia, among other things. She called in sick constantly but couldn't be fired, of course. It was lovely having to cover for her all the time. Then when she did come in, there was a litany of every ailment.

Revenant said...

Revenant, I take care of people like this frequently. The patholgy is far more complex and enveloping than can be described in a simple article.

And yet, a simple article is enough for you to diagnose them. Amazing.

Maybe the fact that my sister had to try three different doctors before one of them noticed her health problems were due to a tumor-induced hormonal imbalance and another friend had to try two doctors before her initial diagnosis of "oral herpes" was correctly identified as a peppermint allergy makes me a little reluctant to accept these casual "trust me, I'm an expert, I've seen this a zillion times before" diagnoses. Medical professionals are often skilled, but they are even most often arrogant and convinced of their own inability to be wrong.

Paddy O. said...

"I would build a geodesic dome in Alaska and hope to make the acquaintance of a cute bush pilot.

The ability to borrow a spacesuit would also be nice."

Ha! Hooray for Northern Exposure fans!

Jim H said...

Michael Fumento debunked the MCS diagnosis in a Reason Magazine article a decade ago: Sick of it All

Herman Staudenmayer, a Denver psychologist, studied MCS for years and published Environmental Illness: Myth and Reality. MCS claims do not withstand double-blind tests. According to Staudenmayer, the symptoms are real, but they're cognitive in origin. In other words, MCS sufferers are victims of their false belief systems. They tend to be anxious to begin with, and are vulnerable to unscrupulous and irresponsible practitioners.

BeckyJ said...

Since I just last week developed an allergic reaction to the face cream (all natural w/ mineral extracts from the Dead Sea) I was using, I do have some sympathy. I woke up one morning and my eyes had swelled up like the Michelin Man. What a way to face the day! And, I am sensitive to some lawn treatments and make up products. But I don't expect the world to make way for me & my strange allergies.

Theo Boehm said...

For what it's worth, we have an old friend who came down with a diagnosed viral infection that led to a long period of multiple chemical sensitivities. She was also a nurse. She worked in pediatric intensive care and picked up a virus (I don't remember which one, specifically), which led to a longish flu-like illness. In the aftermath of the illness, she became extremely sensitive to quite a few common chemicals and some natural substances. Again, this was all tested and diagnosed at a major teaching hospital on the West Coast (sneer if you like, Harvard-types).

Unlike our Colorado complainer, she took her own situation in hand and moved to Hawaii. She stayed in an isolated upwind location far from Honolulu, and got better after a couple of years. She then moved back to California and did fine.

Was she stressed out or otherwise suffering psychological problems? Perhaps, but her medical doctors didn't think so. They were of the opinion that her immune system had been affected, and although her condition was rare, it was legitimate.

Now, of course, these were West Coast doctors dealing with her case. We all know they're a bunch of hippies, too, eh?

The one thing I can say about this for sure was that she didn't whine or complain or expect anyone else to accomodate her condition. She did what she had to do to get better. This is, I think, good advice for anyone.

OddD said...

Cat,

Actually, they did ask for concessions from their neighbor who runs a pest control company. (And who obliged, generously enough.)

The other thing is that these people may be like canaries in a coal mine. We may all be affected by some of the same things, and not learn of it till some diagnosable disease turns up.

Ron said...

I don't dismiss outright odd diseases. After all, there are people who can't withstand sunlight, or people who can't shed skin naturally. Doesn't mean this lady's problems are real. They shouldn't be dismissed outright, but some skepticism is healthy. Beyond that, let's say she is affected by chemicals. I don't have a lot of sympathy for someone who, under the impression that chemicals, including those people spray on their lawns, negatively affected her health decided to move into a place surrounded by these people so that they were required to change their behavior. Clearly, she should have moved some place to be the smallest burded upon others as she could manage. At the very least she was being rude and selfish.

Revenant said...

According to Staudenmayer, the symptoms are real, but they're cognitive in origin.

That is, indeed, a theory. Emphasis on "a". Other theories include that it is caused by some other physical ailment or that it really is caused by exposures to toxins. There is no definitive answer yet. Besides, given that the physical mechanism involved in psychosomatic illnesses isn't understood yet either, saying "it is all in your head" isn't much better than saying "we've no idea what the hell's going on here".

Again, I'm not saying this really is caused by chemical sensitivity. But a lot of people here are rushing to a judgement that science itself has yet to reach. There is NO consensus thus far that the illness is psychological in origin. Theo's got it right -- the situation's more complex than many of you seem to think.

Jim H said...

That [the symptoms are cognitive in origin] is, indeed, a theory. Emphasis on "a".

When those symptoms can only be produced randomly under double-blind conditions, it's a quite convincing one.

I've seen some improper burden-shifting on this thread. MCS advocates have had years to produce some evidence--other than subjective reports of every possible symptom--that it exists, and they haven't. Skeptics don't have to prove a negative; it isn't possible.

Jim H said...

There is NO consensus thus far that the illness is psychological in origin.

There's a good deal of consensus that there is no evidence of disease. From the 1986 Fumento article cited above:

American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, 1986: "Review of the clinical ecology literature provides inadequate support for the beliefs and practices of clinical ecology....Diagnoses and treatments involve procedures of no proven efficacy."

The American College of Physicians, 1989: "The existence of an environmental illness as presented in clinical ecology theory must be questioned because of the lack of clinical definition." There is "inadequate support" for the basic beliefs of clinical ecology.

American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs, 1992: "No scientific evidence supports the contention that [MCS] is a significant cause of disease or that the diagnostic tests and the treatments used have any therapeutic value....[M]ultiple che mical sensitivity should not be considered a recognized clinical syndrome."


I've seen no indication that these organizations have since modified their positions.

Jim H said...

I left one of the organizations out of the block quote above:

WHO Workshop on Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, 1996 (as summarized by Gots, who participated): MCS "cannot be recognized as a clinically-defined disease. There are neither accepted underlying mechanisms nor validated clinical criteria for diagnosis. A relationship between exposures and symptoms is unproven."

charlotte said...

I'm not going to even read about the woman because there's just no way to really know the problem.

But, as a very healthy and fairly green Republican who doesn't believe most of what the Environmental Religionists have to say, may I just say that we use too many chemicals on our yards, no matter have safe we deem them today. I pull up weeds by hand (and don't get many, anymore), and grow ornamentals, fruit and veggies in my urban yard without any help from Ortho. My yard has more butterflies, dragon flies, praying mantises, walking sticks and nesting birds in it than the Chem-lawned sterile yards around.

I've nicely asked neighbors not to use herbicides and pesticides close to my vegetable garden in back and they nicely comply, although I did move half a dozen blueberry bushes that got sprayed every two weeks by one neighbor's chemical man.

Too few people even mow their own grass, and whoever it may be doing the grass and leaves inevitably uses extremely loud blowers, instead of rakes. One neighbor straps on his huge blower and blows for four hours straight every week (we've timed him, this is no exaggeration.) I feel pretty bad for all the animals with keen hearing (not to mention for us in the house given the noise and dust that infiltrates.)

A little Round-up and judiciously applied chemicals in the yard are not terrible, but I kind of like how the dew on the grass isn't laden with my laziness. Also, it really is better if your kids play in the yard barefoot without absorbing excessive "safe" chemicals.

Pogo said...

Re: "And yet, a simple article is enough for you to diagnose them. Amazing."

From the same simple article, you were able to conclude that she does not in fact have MCS as she believes, but perhaps a brain tumor or peppermint allergy. Amazing.

In contrast, I am assuming that someone who has gone to the trouble of building an infrared detoxification room to combat MCS has done her research and had multiple evaluations at leading medical centers, having come to the diagnosis of MCS.

Your scenario is less compelling, but possible. But you appear to know so little about MCS as to be unaware of the enormous amount of research available on it, yet nonetheless confident of your own abilities to sniff out unwarranted arrogance to pronounce me guilty. Amazing.

You seem rather susceptible to the "trust me, I'm an expert, I've seen this a zillion times before" sort of rush to faulty diagnosis yourself.

And "no consensus"? Consensus is worthless in science. Facts and reproducability make science. I happen to think MCS is far more complex than you realize, and its origins fascinating. Not "cognitive" the way you'd think, but neuroendocrine, genetic, and nigh uncontrollable ...but not a hypersensitivity to chemicals.

But you'd rather insult me.

Revenant said...

And "no consensus"? Consensus is worthless in science. Facts and reproducability make science.

Semantic quibbling. Once you have the latter, you get the former.

I happen to think MCS is far more complex than you realize

Um, I'm the one saying the cause of MCS is not definitely known and that this is a more complicated question than most people in this thread will admit to. You're the one who is saying the woman's just crazy.

Since you now agree with the position I've been advocating all along, I guess the argument's over.

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Revenant said...

From the same simple article, you were able to conclude that she does not in fact have MCS as she believes, but perhaps a brain tumor or peppermint allergy. Amazing.

Pogo, I know you're not stupid. Go back and read what I wrote. I did NOT say that the woman might have a brain tumor or a peppermint allergy. As I clearly stated, those were *different* women that I knew who had suffered from misdiagnosis -- the effects of a tumor were misdiagnosed as stress, and the blisters and inflamation around the mouth caused by an allergy to peppermint were dismissed as obviously being herpes.

The point I was making -- which, ironically, your misguided reponse helps illustrate -- is that medical professionals can make snap judgements that are completely wrong and are often resistant to investigating further.

charlotte said...

Gosh, I like the politics and writing of both Revenant and Pogo and each makes good points about causation unknowability and mental indicators. Just got a new car today that's not terribly green, sorry, but R and P need to know that everything's OK because my radio now tells me the names of artists and songs that play.

Be happy, guys, and invite the insects and birds to your yards by cancelling the Chem Lawn man.

Love,
the organic wing of the GOP

Theo Boehm said...

You know, I was going to post a long (and I hope better) second comment based on the the experience of our friend with MCS. She was examined and treated at Stanford, and her case made it into the literature. I think it would have been an interesting addition to this discussion. However, given how the tone of comment on this thread has developed, it would be a waste of perfectly good electrons.

Augsnod said...

Gots, Staudenmayer, Fumento . . . is Barrett in there as well? These people are tools of the chemical industry. If you'd really like to understand an illness that defies current knowledge, as germ theory and allergies once did, then read the people who are actually studying the illness as opposed to those who made up their minds before they knew anything about it. Martin Pall has developed a theory about how it starts and how it perpetuates. His work has been published in a major toxicology text and has also published a separate text on the subject. His theory has also now been confirmed in a recent study. There are reams of data that prove a physiological origin for the illness. It's time to have some compassion for these people as someone you love could be the next victim.