Friday, October 26, 2012


The liver-destroying toadstool Amanita phalloides, administered in such high dilution as to retain only the name without any mushroom-related molecules, is long-established in the homœopathic pharmacœpeia as a cure for "fear of dying". The association makes perfect sense in the arsey-versey paradigm of homœopathy, if you assume that at some point in the development of the discipline some 'provers' reported "fear of dying" as their response to ingesting straight A. phalloides, followed by vindication of that fear a few days later.

So it was predictable that a German homœopath (terming herself an 'independent researcher') should springboard from this indication, to the extrapolation that diluted A. phalloides is also a sovereign nostrum for cancers -- applying it in cases of prostate cancer, leukæmia and breast cancer.

The three papers reporting her claims are identical in most respects, differing only in the details of the specific cancer being cured. Only the first of them concerns us here. The others are irrelevant... as are indeed the two previous paragraphs, which are present as a framing device, enabling the style of expansive, discursive narration that we favour at Riddled.** For the first paper reaches us courtesy of the Journal of Integrative Oncology, an open-access journal from the OMICS group.

Now it is not the case that everyone in open-access academic publishing is an opportunistic grifter running a vanity-publishing scam. Many such publishers are serious about providing an outlet for decent research, with rigorous peer-review to smelt the chaff and winnow out the dross, charging authorship fees that merely cover costs. But then there is the OMICS group, which has a reputation for spamming marks potential authors and signing up editors at the drop of a hat (including fictional satirical characters). At last count the OMICS stable boasted some 200 journals (many with names not already in use by longer-established and more-reputable publishers), of which many had recruited an Editorial Board and about a third had solicited enough articles to publish at least one issue before fading back into the quantum vacuum from whence they sprang. And of course they contribute to the proliferation and cheapening of the suffix "-omic" as an empty but trendier alternative to "-ology", which is a Bad Thing that makes PZ Myers cry.

It may be that membership of an OMICS-journal editorial board is more of a prestigious honorary title than an onerous duty, for the peer-review process of the Journal of Earth Science and Climate Change gave us The Stonehenge. This is not a joke; its authorship and history are addressed on page 18 of Poynder's interview with the OMICS proprietor. Here is a sample to persuade you to go and Read the Whole Thing. Also there are Crop Circles.
The Stonehenge appears to be a cell, an ancient eukaryotic cell that did not complete all of its cell interior organelle structural formation. Before its completion, the structural formation seems to have suffered a premature cell death Apoptosis / Necrosis. The Stonehenge structure appears to be a nearly completed ancient eukaryotic cell with nearly all of its organelles in their correct places Figure 4 (included as supplementary data). Most of the organelles are present and accounted for, but not within the defined boundaries of a healthy cells’ interior membrane structure. The mitochondria appears as the 2 circular disk within The Stonehenge image. Mitochondria is always circular in shape within eukaryotic cells. The Golgi Apparatus does not appear to have succeeded in its journey through the cis side of the Nucleus attempting to attach to the Endomembrane system of The Stonehenge structure.
The diagrams would probably add clarity but alas they are listed as 'supplementary data', i.e. do not exist. But in way of consolation the list of references is a thing of beauty and a joy in itself. The cream of the jest, perhaps, is that the author has complained to the OMICS crowd for publishing his work without his permission in a journal falling so far below his minimum expectations. They promised to take it down, but failed to do so, leaving it there for our edification and delight.

People who enjoyed "Tumor Therapy with Amanita phalloides" also enjoyed "Magic of Homoepathic Tinctures of Herbs in Breast Tumour", from the Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy. This is quite mad. Occasionally a sentence in recognisable English emerges from the mist of neologisms.*** 'Cancer Science' for this journal is a term of art, broad enough to encompass such revelations as "a blood parasite called Siphonospora polymorpha - a form of Mucor racemosus freshen was identified as an agent in the development of cancer."

Nor should we neglect another new arrival from the Augean OMIC stable, Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs. Its first issue contains a somewhat slightly contentious paper from Tomljenovic & Shaw (who have featured in earlier weekly installments of the Riddled World of Knowledge).

It appears, however, that the future lies not with open-access vanity publishing, but with multi-level pyramid-scheme open-access vanity publishing. For an inspection of the Riddled mailbox reveals an invitation to sign up with Bioinfo Publications and recruit authors for a Special Issue, with the prospect of receiving a bounty share of their publication fees. This is important and potentially lucrative.

In other news, Riddled Press is proud to announce the advent of the Journal of International Golliwology, and to invite our readers to submit manuscripts for editorial review and possible publication.

* Alternative title: Nuclear OMICgeddon.

** "Bury the lede!" is our maxim, on the theory that after all the digging one might as well take full advantage of the hole.

*** Citizen-Commenter 'Narad' pays more attention to the paper in this thread.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

In other news, Riddled Press is proud to announce the advent of the Journal of International Golliwology


I have an important paper I'd like to submit, and your loink is borken.

Smut Clyde said...

Payment first.

tigris said...

the Riddled World of Knowledge


Smut Clyde said...

Welcome to the Riddledome!
The first rule of Riddledome is that "What have I got in my pocket" is not a fair question".

Hamish Mack said...

Oh fine! I'll just think up ANOTHER question, then shall I?
Can you ask about things that might be up your nose?

tigris said...

AK apparently thinks of Smutnose whenever Master Blaster is alluded to.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Where did this rubber hose come from, anywho?

mikey said...

I have spent a great deal of time* studying the history of the C programming language. Not the language itself, mind you, as structured programming is HARD and I honestly can't be arsed, besides, I tried it once and it took too much time away from Porn, but the whole Dennis Ritchie/Bell Labs/UNIX/GNU Recursive acronym/Hunt the Wumpus/You can tune a file system but you can't tuna fish sort of historical crap.

As such, I have become a leading researcher in teh field of Comics...

mikey said...

* Almost 20 minutes...

Narad said...

With respect to cyclopeptide mushroom poisoning, I will make note of one purported treatment that made it as far as a mention in the Annals of Internal Medicine (which I can't access): Rabbits, it seems, can produce amatoxin-binding IgG. Thus, "take the stomachs of three rabbits and the brains of seven, chop them up finely, and give them (raw) to the patient mixed with sugar or jam" (recipe per David Moore). I'm not sure what the brains are for.

Smut Clyde said...

I'm not sure what the brains are for.

I look at the human race and ask the same question.

Smut Clyde said...

In other news, inspired by the existence of IJEST, we've decided to launch the International Journal of Interactive Natural Knowledge Systems.

Hamish Mack said...

Molecular Organic Natural and Kinaesthetic Evolutionarily Young Systems with Heuristic Integral Nanotechnology Educative Specialities

Smut Clyde said...

I-larity will ensue!