Earwax Transplant Story

I think this actually happened:

A man came to the [University of Pittsburgh] clinic with a chronic infection in his left ear. He told doctors that other doctors had tried everything: anti-fungal drops, antibiotics, and many other treatments. The Pittsburgh doctors gave him additional antibiotics. The patient came back to the clinic a week later and said he was cured. The clinic doctors told him they were glad they had helped him. He said: “You didn’t. I suffered so much after your drugs I took some earwax from my right ear and put it in my diseased left. In two days I was fine, infection cured.” . . . The good ear contained good bacteria that killed off the bad in the bad ear.

I predict that people will eventually realize that the 2005 Nobel Prize for “ulcers are caused by bacteria” was a big mistake.

Thanks to Mark Griffith.

10 Replies to “Earwax Transplant Story”

  1. Confused. If you believe his story, and you say you do right up top, then how does it follow that you say bacteria wasn’t involved?

    Seth: I don’t say “bacteria wasn’t involved”. The 2005 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for the “discovery” that ulcers are caused by a certain species of bacteria. The earwax story implies that some bacteria are helpful: they hold down other (bad) bacteria. The broader implication is that when people get stomach ulcers it may be because other bacteria were not holding the bad bacteria in check. If this is true — and I think it is likely — then giving antibiotics for ulcers is a poor idea, even though it may help for a while.

  2. OK, got it.

    You may not give this much value, but I work with a guy that promotes juicing and a juice machine and he has a proven way to fix stomach ulcers and it’s with cabbage juice. He was involved in a Stanford University study in the 50s with an M.D. that proved it. A way to make it that’s more palatable is called the 3 C’s and that’s cabbage, carrot, celery at 1/3 each. Drink three times a day for a week or two. Not sure how this fits into your bacteria/not bacteria theory, but based on people who have had success, all it takes is freshly made cabbage juice. I could send you links if you care for it, but if you think this is too easy and food and diet isn’t the answer to most trouble Americans have, then I won’t bother you with it. I like most of your stuff Seth, but I’m also bothered by your lack of credence to people’s own experiences that show stuff works. You downplay evidence-based approaches, which is a shame.

    Seth: My “lack of credence to people’s own experiences that show stuff works”? Could you give an example? This post (“earwax transplant”) gives credence to an unusual way of treating an ear infection based on one person’s experience.

  3. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I recall you saying in various posts that you were negative to “evidence-based” medicine. Maybe we have different definitions for the term. The main reason I read your blog is because you show stories like this one today and the fermentation ones, and all the others. Perhaps you meant it in a different way. I didn’t save your posts so I’ll have to wait until you bring it up again. Maybe you didn’t say “evidence-based”, perhaps it was a different term you used to distinguish scientific studies from people’s actual experiences and from current medical practices.

    Sorry for the confusion on my part. I’m very interested in the experiences of you and others in finding ways to be healthy that work. Today in this new crowd sourcing era, we have an unprecedented opportunity to learn from millions around the world about health giving approaches that were previously unavailable to us. Some things will work and some won’t of course, but the alternative is the same top-down health care we already have.

    Seth: Well put. I have a low opinion of “evidence-based medicine” because in practice the practitioners ignore a lot of evidence. I am against ignoring evidence. I wrote about this here — the example of tonsillectomies where the “evidence-based medicine” reviewers ignored a vast amount of evidence that tonsillectomies are dangerous.

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