Boy Uses Magic to Heal His Little Friends

Fox 9 News has sunk another notch, and is billing this little deluded wonder as a “real life Harry Potter”, although they made no reference to him ever living under a staircase or battling Lord Voldemort.

What they were trying to sell us, though, is a claim that this little boy has been using magic powers to heal his little playmates, an “ancient Chinese method”  called Qigong. From Wikipedia, “the philosophy and practice of aligning breath, physical activity and awareness”.

He’s using ancient methods, alright. The “ancient methods” of superstition and the placebo effect. When you sprain your little toe, yes you can”think of something else”. It can take your mind off the pain. But, telling children that it’s magic at work is just plain wrong.

They can either bone up and tell this little the kid the truth, that placebos can work for subjective ailments like pain but have not shown any effect in studies of real measurable illness, or someday he might be featured in another headline like this: Faith-healing Couple Found Guilty Over Son’s Death.

One of the news casters had the gall to bring up cancer after the piece. He did pull back and say that it couldn’t “cure” cancer. Truthfully, though, it doesn’t “cure” anything.

Explore posts in the same categories: Superstition in the Modern World

2 Comments on “Boy Uses Magic to Heal His Little Friends”

  1. Kassul Says:

    eh? Gonna have to take issue with this line in your commentary:
    “They can either bone up and tell this little the kid the truth, that placebos can work for subjective ailments like pain but have not shown any effect in studies of real measurable illness”
    Amongst others, Ben Goldacre has had some good articles and given talks about the placebo effect and some of really strange effects.

    In short, the placebo effect can lead to significant improvements in many clinical areas besides pain. The wackiest to my mind is that real pacemakers that are put in a person start improving their arrhythmia before they’re turned on. Not as well as active pacemakers, but they do help more than not implanting any pacemakers.
    http://tinyurl.com/ArrhythmiaStudy

  2. Victor Says:

    Yeah, that is interesting. It does mention a significant improvement in pain, as one would expect. The change in the outflow gradient is odd, though. I’m not aware of how pronounced a change these measurements are actually are. There seems to be quite a bit of fluctuation in the measurements, the deviation being 45% or the mean.

    From my understanding, in small groups such as this, odd results often show up, but they won’t be reproducible nor will they show to any statistical significance in meta analysis of all clinical studies, which is where the real confidence comes from.

    So, I would say, interesting, we need to keep an eye on it to see if it pans out.


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