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OTA Report: Behavioral and Psychological Approaches, 13/1/2006
Several popular books on the role of emotions and behavior in recovery from serious illness have helped bring this subject into the foreground of cancer treatment. Some of the best known examples include Norman Cousins' Anatomy of an Illness and Head First, Bernie Siegel's Love, Medicine and Miracles and Peace, Love and Healing, and the Simontons' Getting Well Again. From various points of view, these books encourage patients to combat feelings of hopelessness, passivity, and depression that may accompany life-threatening illness and to develop positive outlooks and effective coping strategies. Along with a number of other available books on the subject, these books support the view that patients' efforts to promote physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being, or "healing," can enhance the environment for medical care, improve psychological and physical adjustment to the disease, and in some cases tip the balance toward recovery. Guided imagery, meditation, psychological counseling, support groups, and other approaches are often used to help patients achieve these goals.

Another widely known support group is the Exceptional Cancer Patients (ECaP) program founded in 1978 by Bernie Siegel, M.D. in New Haven, Connecticut.

The program is said to be based on "carefrontation," described as "a loving, safe, therapeutic confrontation, which facilitates personal change and healing" (804). Siegel's program includes individual and group support that makes use of patients' dreams, drawings, and images in an effort to "make everyone aware of his or her own healing potential" (804) and to become an "exceptional cancer patient," which Siegel defines as one who gets well unexpectedly. Patients are charged for an initial, intensive, intake session, and for group and individual sessions thereafter.

Researchers in this area have, in general, focused more on the evaluation of quality of life issues than on anti-tumor effects. The few studies that have addressed the issue of survival —one on Bernie Siegel's ECaP program, and two others on different forms of psychotherapy —are summarized in this section.

A study of the ECaP program was conducted in the early 1980s by Hal Morgenstern and colleagues in collaboration with Bernie Siegel (639). The study attempted to assess the impact of the ECaP program on survival of patients with breast cancer. The ECaP program consisted of groups of 8 to 12 participants who met once a week for 90 minutes. Sessions included discussions of patients' problems, meditation, and mental imagery using drawings. The investigators designed a retrospective followup study comparing survival in a group of 34 ECaP participants with a group of 102 nonparticipants. The group of patients to whom the ECaP participants were compared were matched for age at histologic diagnosis, stage of disease, surgery, and course of disease.

Questionable Cancer Therapies, 2/8/2015
Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of Love, Medicine & Miracles and Peace, Love & Healing, claims that "happy people generally don't get sick" and that "one's attitude toward oneself is the single most important factor in healing or staying well." Siegel also states that "a vigorous immune system can overcome cancer if it is not interfered with, and emotional growth toward greater self-acceptance and fulfillment helps keep the immune system strong." However, he has published no scientific study supporting these claims.

A 10-year study co-authored by Siegel found that 34 breast cancer patients participating in his program did not live longer after diagnosis than comparable nonparticipants. The program consisted of weekly peer support and family therapy, individual counseling, and the use of positive imagery . In November 1998, Siegel sent a series of email messages to Dr. Barrett in which he said that the study bearing his name had been done by a student and was improperly designed.

Gellert G, Maxwell RM, Siegel BS. Survival of breast cancer patients receiving adjunctive psychosocial support therapy: A 10-year follow-up study. Journal of Clinical Oncology 11:66-69, 1993.

Herbert, Sharp, & Gaudiano - Autism, 14/1/2006
Proponents often recommend that Nystatin, a medication used to treat women with yeast infections, be given to children whose mothers had candidiasis during pregnancy, whether or not the children show signs of infection. However, there is no evidence that mothers of autistic children have a higher incidence of candidiasis than mothers in the general population and only uncontrolled case reports are presented as evidence for the etiological role of candida infection in autism (Siegel, 1996).

Adams and Conn (1997) presented the case study of a 3-year-old autistic boy who reportedly showed improved functioning following a vitamin treatment for candida infection. However, the boy was never medically diagnosed with candidiasis and was only reported to meet criteria based on questionnaire data. In addition, reports of the childs functioning were mostly based on parental report (especially concerning functioning prior to the course of vitamin treatment) and not on standardized assessment instruments. Although interesting, such presentations provide no probative data on the possible role of candidiasis in causing autism. Without reliable and valid evidence to the contrary, case reports cannot rule out a host of confounding variables, including any natural remission or change in symptoms due to developmental maturation or even merely to the passage of time. It is important to remember that many people, especially women, contract candidia infections at different points in their lives, sometimes without even knowing that they are infected because the symptoms are so mild (Siegel, 1996). However, there is no evidence that even severe candidiasis in humans can produce brain damage that leads to the profound deficits in functioning found in autism.

Although they uniformly take exception with the claims of "recovery" from autism proffered by Lovaas and colleagues, even these critics concede that the YAP study yielded promising results that merit further investigation. Although several studies of similar ABA interventions have now been published, two points about these studies are noteworthy. First, each is methodologically even weaker than the original YAP study. Second, the results of these studies, although generally promising, fall significantly short of those obtained by Lovaas (1987) and McEachlin et al. (1993). Birnbrauer and Leach (1993) reported on 9 children who received 19 hours per week of a one-on-one ABA program for 2 years, and 5 control children who received no ABA. Four of the 9 children in the experimental group made significant gains in IQ, relative to 1 of the 5 control children, although none of the participants achieved completely normal functioning. Sheinkopf and Siegel (1998) conducted a retrospective study of 11 children who received between 12 and 43 hours per week of home-based ABA programs for between 7 and 24 months, relative to a matched control group of children who received unspecified school-based treatment. Data were obtained through record reviews of an existing database. Relative to the control group, children in the experimental group achieved higher gains in IQ, although few differences emerged between the groups in autistic symptoms.

Sheinkopf, S., & Siegel, B. (1998). Home-based behavioral treatment of young children with autism. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 28, 15-23.

Siegel, B. (1996). The world of the autistic child: Understanding and treating autistic spectrum disorders. New York: Oxford University Press.

OTA Report: References, 13/1/2006
802. Siegel, B.S., Love, Medicine, and Miracles (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1986).

803. Siegel, B.S., "ECaP," unpublished form letter, New Haven, CT, Summer 1988.

804. Siegel, B.S., Peace, Love, and Healing (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1989).

OTA Report Contents, 1/1/2009
Behavioral and Psychological Approaches (includes Commonweal Cancer Help, Bernie Siegel's Exceptional Cancer Patients program, LeShan's psychotherapy, Ainslie Meares' meditation, and the Simonton's imagery and visualization)

Unnaturalistic Methods: O, 10/1/2007
Orionic Healing System: Proponents describe this method as "a systematic way of lifting limiting thoughts and negative patterns from one's cellular programming in the DNA, where cellular memory lives." They also say it is "a cutting edge method for changing consciousness by utilizing the upper chakra system, and other tools that reorganize one's frequency and functioning." Janna Zarchin, M.A., originated the system with help from Annie Schiavone, and Deborah Siegel Humanitzki, LPN.

"Alternative Medicine": Views of a Concerned Layperson, 16/10/2006
There is clearly a battle between the proponents of "alternative" medicine and those of science-based medicine. I wish that I could say that the good guys are winning. But to be quite honest, I'm not at all sure that is the case, particularly in light of the many people I know with strong beliefs in "alternative" modalities. I have tried my best to educate them and have given them articles that I have downloaded from Quackwatch, but it is virtually impossible to reason with them. They have such an irrational hatred for the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry that they would rather believe in the metaphysical nonsense of Gary Null and Bernie Siegel than go to a doctor.

OTA Report: Index, 14/1/2006
Sarcomas, 78, 84 Schneider v. Revici, 202, 203, 223 Science, 114, 134 Selenium, 116, 118-119 Shumake v. Travelers, 192 Side effects, see Adverse effects Siegel, Bernie, 31, 36 Simonton-Atchley, Stephanie M., 13, 35-36 Simonton, O. Carl 13, 35-36 60 Minutes, 131, 138 Slippery elm, 73 Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 73-74, 100, 104 Smith, Elaine 10 Social Security Act, 186-187, 221 Social support, 13, 29-31, 36 Sodium, dietary, 43, 46, 113 Sorrel, 73 Speckhart, Vincent, 111 Spiegel, David, 36-37 Spiritual approaches, 12-13, 53-54, 216

Be Wary of Attachment Therapy, 25/2/2005
The most publicized case is that 10-year-old Candace Newmaker, who died in the care of Watkins, Julie Ponder, Brita St. Clair, and Jack McDaniel. The coroner listed the cause of death as asphyxiation brought about by a bizarre plan to re-enact the birth process so that Candace could be "reborn" to her adoptive mother, Jean Newmaker. (Mercer, 2003) Candace was wrapped tightly in a flannel sheet and sofa cushions were placed around her. Over a 70-minute period, five adults pushed on her, encouraged her to be "reborn," and told her to "go ahead and die." For the last 45 minutes, the only sounds coming from the child were whimpering and panting. During the final 20 minutes, she made no sound. (Siegel, 2001) During the trial, many hours of videotaped therapy sessions where shown. In addition to the "standard" holding or rage reduction therapy, Candace received "compression therapy" in which her 195-pound mother laid on top of her in a face-to-face position telling Candace that she would be going home without her daughter if Candace did not change, licking her daughter in the face and otherwise demeaning and frightening her.

Rexall Hit for Deceptive Marketing of Calcium Supplements, 24/4/2002
The jury determined that each purchaser lost $4.99 per bottle of Calcium '900' and $5.99 per bottle of Calcium 1200, which means that the total potential award could be about $400,000. The winning attorneys are David Speziali, of Speziali, Greenwald & Hawkins; David Jacoby, of Tomar, O'Brien, Kaplan, Jacoby & Graziano; and Donna Siegel Moffa, of Trujillo, Rodriguez & Richards, LLC. Rexall is expected to appeal the verdict. A similar suit is pending in Florida.

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