Monday, June 13, 2016

#1676: Gloria Gronowicz

Quackery and pseudoscience have been infiltrating academic medicine for a while, and we have covered the phenomenon before. The University of Connecticut Health Center is another example. The Department of Surgery there is the home of Gloria Gronowicz, who for years now have been looking into the effects of energy healing on tumor growth and metastasis. “Let us use everything to help patients,” says Gronowicz to justify spending efforts and resources for years on funneling resources to study the most ridiculous, medieval magic nonsense that will, of course, not help a single patient. Energy medicine, of course, encompasses things like Reiki, qigong and Therapeutic Touch (TT), and Gronowicz is focused primarily on the latter – basically, the idea is that practitioners emit energy or spirit matter, which they call “biofields”, from their hands and can thereby cure patients without even touching them. Yes, it’s magic, nothing less.

But Gronowicz has produced “results”; she’s made posters and published articles in places like the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM) and even low-ranked “real” journals like the Journal of Orthopedic Research (the latter one is reviewed here). And in 2015 she produced “Therapeutic Touch Has Significant Effects on Mouse Breast Cancer Metastasis and Immune Responses but Not Primary Tumor Size,” which managed to achieve statistically significant results on a small sample by removing the outliers). It’s worth noting that the latter study was funded by the Trivedi Foundation: “The Trivedi Effect® is a natural phenomenon that is harnessed from the universe and is capable of transforming living organisms and non-living materials to operate at a higher level and serve a greater purpose for the welfare of humanity.”

Diagnosis: Pseudoscientific nonsense. Give it up Gloria, and spend your resources and energy on something to help patients.

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