0790: "Control"

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DaPwnzlord
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby DaPwnzlord » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:06 pm UTC

I think this is a good comic. Spreading chaos in the world and causing extreme confusion is funny. I understood the scientists confusion to be from observing the unusual reactions of the subjects. Unless you're actually conducting a study on LSD (and the title text implies that there was another, different study where that happened) hallucinations of spiders is a pretty unusual effect.

chrth
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby chrth » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:23 pm UTC

Mr. Burke wrote:Also, I didn't know LSD reduces skin rashes. I mean, the girl who sees spiders obviously has a different problem.


The guy with the 20% rash reduction is *not* in the Control Group, so he did not receive any LSD.

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lsdigit
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby lsdigit » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:37 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:I see this as proof that Randle has never taken LSD.


Nonsense. it certainly isn't the most common kind of reaction to have, but I have known one or two people who have had 'insect' trips (mostly about cockroaches) all it takes is a high enough dose, a little anxiety and one small misinterpreted sensation and *bang* your on your way to the locked ward for the next half a day.

Also This one time at a bush doof, a wall of fractals exploded and coal esced into the biggest fricken stick insect i have ever seen. Though I think the insect was real. maybe.
J.G.Frazer wrote:"The danger, however, is not less real because it is imaginary; imagination acts upon man as really as does gravitation, and may kill him as certainly as a dose of prussic acid." ('The Golden Bough')

Lerkistan
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby Lerkistan » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:03 pm UTC

a.sub wrote:this one time i did a test on control groups
but i forgot which control was the control


I put a control group in your control group so you can control your group while you control. And yes, I'm cringing myself for meme-overuse.


Anyway, this one's a funny comic. However, I find "My hobby:" comics are among the funniest xkcd comics, and in this control group, it's not as good as its peers (the ones that were linked above).

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ritvax
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby ritvax » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:10 pm UTC

LaralynMurphy wrote:
SorryBoringNickName wrote:The girl has 8 limbs.

Just like a spider.


I logged in specifically so that I could mention that. But you beat me to it. Oh well. I'd like to think her eight limbs were intentional on Randall's part. I hope so.



The "eight limbs" is Randall's way of showing quick, blurred, frantic motion... As in, Megan is TOTALLY FREAKING OUT because she is COVERED WITH SPIDERS!
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Xerox_Cat
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby Xerox_Cat » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:08 pm UTC

First good one in a while

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SpringLoaded12
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:01 am UTC

Yay, a My Hobby comic! So classic xkcd, no one can possibly complain :mrgreen:

Megan isn't actually on LSD, she's wearing contact lenses that let her see the Red Spiders, who have developed cloaking technology since the disastrous battle now depicted on a mousepad and the back of a book.

Eternal Density wrote:Is that Megan?

'Round here, ALL dark-haired girls are Megan, ALL light-haired girls are Eileen, everyone's last name is either Monroe or Lenhart, and anyone who doesn't fit the above categories has no name, but a self-descriptive title (e.g. Hat Guy, Beret Guy, Just-Got-Out-Of-The-Shower Guy, and Boombox-Playing-"Under Pressure" Guy). These are the rules forever. :wink:

Lerkistan wrote:
a.sub wrote:this one time i did a test on control groups
but i forgot which control was the control

I put a control group in your control group so you can control your group while you control. And yes, I'm cringing myself for meme-overuse.

Yo Lerkistan, I know you makin' control groups, I'm really happy for you, and imma let you finish, but
RANDALL'S EXPERIMENT HAD THE BEST CONTROL GROUP OF ALL TIME
:mrgreen:
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Faranya
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby Faranya » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:03 am UTC

LaralynMurphy wrote:
Kayangelus wrote:If the participants in the experiment already know who is in the control group, the experiment is useless anyways...


For everybody worrying about whether the study is blind or double-blind, don't you think that if a participant is crazy/brilliant enough to have this hobby, he could somehow also figure out who was in the control?


Hey, somebody had to prepare the dosage for the control, unless double-blind means "Lets give the control group some random assortment of drugs that we tossed blindly together"

It shouldn't be that hard to sabotage the control substance.
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dysprog
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby dysprog » Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:53 am UTC

hthall wrote:
Relsqui wrote:
Workaphobia wrote:Eh, this seems implausible to me. Why isn't the experiment double-blind?


Even if the experiment IS double blind, I can imagine the researchers being startled that any of the subjects are responding that way at all. :P


I saw this and assumed that it was double-blind (and also that arranging both subjects in the same frame--different places at the same time--was a visual metaphor for what would actually happen: same examination room at different times). Now that I think about it though, the logical response of blinded researchers would be not bewilderment but extreme alarm at the career-ending side effect exhibited in the half of subjects that are "obviously" not controls. (A 20% rash reduction is perfectly consistent with the null hypothesis.)

I like the subtle pun in the title, but it could have been even better: "Control Freak".


In Double Blind the doctor seeing the subject does not know what he is giving. The techs prepping the pills and the doctor analyzing the results better damn well know!

"Doctor Smith is reporting hallucination and random freakouts"
"WTF?! He's supposed to be giving placebo!"

dookiecheese
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby dookiecheese » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:11 am UTC

Hmmm...I'd rather set up a bottle to drip LSD on the assembly line for Q-Ray bracelets.
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Karilyn
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby Karilyn » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:16 pm UTC

>8< spider pride

userxp wrote:
chapel wrote:http://www.wired.com/medtech/drugs/magazine/17-09/ff_placebo_effect?currentPage=all
Oh my god... Placebos are getting stronger? This could lead in the far future to a dystopian society, where a sugar pill can cure all types of cancer and solve any problem you have, and the scientists are desperately trying to figure out how it works.
The article does mention that placebo reactions do not have any effect on some conditions, such as Cancer and Alzheimer's. But basically what it amounts to is people's confidence in medicines has gone up, to the point where very few drugs, even classic ones like prozac, are no longer able to outperform placebos. Particularly with conditions like depression, anxiety, or stress related disorders, it's just proving how the conditions really are caused by the mind, and just as they are caused by the mind, they can be fixed by the mind.

Not that the conditions aren't real of course. Nobody is going to try and say ulcers aren't a real condition. But at the same time, it's well known that ulcers are caused by stress, and if you control your stress, they go away without medicine intervention (and probably more permanently and reliably than trying to control them with drugs). Your body is naturally capable of healing itself within limits. You get a cold, and you are better in a week. Your leg breaks, a doctor sets it back into the right position, and a month later the break is healed.

The point is that scientists really need to start seriously looking at what can be cured by the body without medicinal intervention, and start developing treatment methods that encourage people to heal themselves, without pumping themselves full of medicines they don't need (if they don't need them).

Medicine is not a magic cure all for everything, despite it having been treated like that in the past, and it's about time the medical industry starts acknowledging that, and producing more effective, non-medicinal treatments for conditions that don't require medicines. After all, primum non nocere. First, do no harm.

EDIT: There's a reason why homeopathy has persisted as long as it has. And that's because ya know, within limitations, people respond to the placebo, and they do experience real benefits. The disgusting aspect of homeopathy of course, comes from when homeopathy is applied to conditions which cannot be treated by a placebo, such as cancer, resulting in the certain death of the patient. Homeopathy can be summarized as: quacks discovered placebos, think it's a genuine effect of their non-medication (and not a placebo at all), and that it will work on any condition ever no matter how life threatening, and thus end up killing people who could have been saved.
Gelsamel wrote:If you punch him in the face repeatedly then it's science.

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StNowhere
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby StNowhere » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:18 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:>8< spider pride

userxp wrote:
chapel wrote:http://www.wired.com/medtech/drugs/magazine/17-09/ff_placebo_effect?currentPage=all
Oh my god... Placebos are getting stronger? This could lead in the far future to a dystopian society, where a sugar pill can cure all types of cancer and solve any problem you have, and the scientists are desperately trying to figure out how it works.
The article does mention that placebo reactions do not have any effect on some conditions, such as Cancer and Alzheimer's. But basically what it amounts to is people's confidence in medicines has gone up, to the point where very few drugs, even classic ones like prozac, are no longer able to outperform placebos. Particularly with conditions like depression, anxiety, or stress related disorders, it's just proving how the conditions really are caused by the mind, and just as they are caused by the mind, they can be fixed by the mind.

Not that the conditions aren't real of course. Nobody is going to try and say ulcers aren't a real condition. But at the same time, it's well known that ulcers are caused by stress, and if you control your stress, they go away without medicine intervention (and probably more permanently and reliably than trying to control them with drugs). Your body is naturally capable of healing itself within limits. You get a cold, and you are better in a week. Your leg breaks, a doctor sets it back into the right position, and a month later the break is healed.

The point is that scientists really need to start seriously looking at what can be cured by the body without medicinal intervention, and start developing treatment methods that encourage people to heal themselves, without pumping themselves full of medicines they don't need (if they don't need them).

Medicine is not a magic cure all for everything, despite it having been treated like that in the past, and it's about time the medical industry starts acknowledging that, and producing more effective, non-medicinal treatments for conditions that don't require medicines. After all, primum non nocere. First, do no harm.

EDIT: There's a reason why homeopathy has persisted as long as it has. And that's because ya know, within limitations, people respond to the placebo, and they do experience real benefits. The disgusting aspect of homeopathy of course, comes from when homeopathy is applied to conditions which cannot be treated by a placebo, such as cancer, resulting in the certain death of the patient. Homeopathy can be summarized as: quacks discovered placebos, think it's a genuine effect of their non-medication (and not a placebo at all), and that it will work on any condition ever no matter how life threatening, and thus end up killing people who could have been saved.



I though most ulcers were caused by H. pylori infection. Stress is likely a major contributing factor in the severity of the ulcer, and may even be part of the reason ulcers develop in some, but not in the majority of people affected by H. pylori infections, but is not likely its ultimate cause. Unless you mean physical stress, not psychological. But your overall point is well taken. It may prove exceedingly difficult, however, to determine which conditions have a psychosomatic basis (I hope I'm using that instance correctly here), a physical basis, or a mixed basis, and (in the latter case), where one draws the line. Depressive disorders and anxiety disorders are one obvious set of situations in which the correct answer may be a combination of the two, but I'm not sure it's well understood whether the chemistry affects the thoughts or the thoughts affect the chemistry.

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BioTube
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby BioTube » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:25 pm UTC

Psychological stress is known to put stress on the body, including depressing the immune system(hence the continuing association of ulcers and stress); the future of treatment for a number of condition may well include stress relief and other mental-balancing factors to reduce immunodepression.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

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Karilyn
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby Karilyn » Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:52 pm UTC

StNowhere wrote:But your overall point is well taken. It may prove exceedingly difficult, however, to determine which conditions have a psychosomatic basis (I hope I'm using that instance correctly here), a physical basis, or a mixed basis, and (in the latter case), where one draws the line. Depressive disorders and anxiety disorders are one obvious set of situations in which the correct answer may be a combination of the two, but I'm not sure it's well understood whether the chemistry affects the thoughts or the thoughts affect the chemistry.

Mmmhmm. Part of it is just the ethical concern of, you try not to prescribe a patient medicine they don't need, out of risk of side effects.

But, it also means that if the scientists working in medicine start looking at placebo reactions as part of the cure, instead of simply an obstacle to overcome, that means they can, in theory, work with the body's natural healing capabilities to produce more effective treatment methods. Or perhaps, study how the body handles pain, or heals this or that condition, and model the medications after the chemicals the own body produces while under placebo to help treat itself. In which case you can produce more natural medications which are more in tune with the chemicals the body uses to heal itself, or create medicines which help enhance the body's own healing powers.

To some extent we already do that. Ya know? Such as using vaccines as a way to encourage the body to produce it's own antibodies (at least in people who don't have immunodeficiencies), to enhance the body's own disease fighting powers, instead of trying to directly combat those diseases with medicines.

It's a good thing that scientists are discovering that placebo reactions aren't "all in people's heads," but rather a real physiological response (a semi-conscious response), where the body responds with it's own chemicals to help treat the condition.

EDIT: Another way it benefits to study, is for helping to prevent negative placebo responses; where a person experiences a side effect that they shouldn't have, because they are told they will experience it, and their body reacts with chemical responses as if they had. To use an example in that article... Can chemotherapy cause nausea? Of course, but once it became common public knowledge that chemotherapy can cause nausea, the rates of nausea skyrocketed to near 100%, because people ASSUME that it's going to make them nauseous, and their body responds accordingly. But proper application of a placebo can help prevent people from thinking they are going to be nauseous, thus their body doesn't go out of it's way to make them nauseous. Doesn't cure the people who were going to be nauseous either way, but it does help stop people from scaring themselves into illness.

People thinking something is going to be worse than it is, can become a self fulfilling prophecy once adrenaline and stuff gets added into the mix. Ye olde nurse gives you a shot, tells you to look the other way, says she's going to stick on the count of 3, and she sticks you on 1, and you don't feel a thing. But if you were watching, and knew when it was coming, you'd pump yourself full of so much adrenaline, and you anticipate the pain so much, you placebo yourself into feeling a lot of pain.
Gelsamel wrote:If you punch him in the face repeatedly then it's science.

SorryBoringNickName
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby SorryBoringNickName » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:12 pm UTC

ritvax wrote:
LaralynMurphy wrote:
SorryBoringNickName wrote:The girl has 8 limbs.

Just like a spider.


I logged in specifically so that I could mention that. But you beat me to it. Oh well. I'd like to think her eight limbs were intentional on Randall's part. I hope so.



The "eight limbs" is Randall's way of showing quick, blurred, frantic motion... As in, Megan is TOTALLY FREAKING OUT because she is COVERED WITH SPIDERS!


Thank you, Captain Obvious.
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StNowhere
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby StNowhere » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:43 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:negative placebo responses; where a person experiences a side effect that they shouldn't have, because they are told they will experience it


Slightly off point, but I've always imagined that a small portion of men who are involved in drug trials report "menstrual pain" as a side effect because they think it sounds good.

Azshade
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby Azshade » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:10 pm UTC

StNowhere wrote:Slightly off point, but I've always imagined that a small portion of men who are involved in drug trials report "menstrual pain" as a side effect because they think it sounds good.


Speaking as a male with a partner, can I say I do get "menstural pain", or perhaps more correctly, passive menstural pain. Though I have found that large quantaties of chocolate seems to cure the symptoms.

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StNowhere
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Re: "Control" discussion (#790)

Postby StNowhere » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:40 pm UTC

Azshade wrote:
StNowhere wrote:Slightly off point, but I've always imagined that a small portion of men who are involved in drug trials report "menstrual pain" as a side effect because they think it sounds good.


Speaking as a male with a partner, can I say I do get "menstural pain", or perhaps more correctly, passive menstural pain. Though I have found that large quantaties of chocolate seems to cure the symptoms.


Generally speaking, what large quantities of chocolate won't cure, large quantities of alcohol will. Includes existence, in the case of large enough doses.


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