Talk:Amygdalin

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Biased Content from Article (please rewrite)[edit]

"However, neither of these compounds nor any other derivatives are vitamins in any sense,[3] and studies have found them to be clinically ineffective in the treatment of cancer, as well as dangerously toxic. They are potentially lethal when taken by mouth, because certain enzymes (in particular, glucosidases that occur in the gut and in various kinds of seeds, edible or inedible) act on them to produce cyanide.[4][5][6][7][8] The promotion of laetrile to treat cancer has been described in the medical literature as a canonical example of quackery,[9][10][11] and as "the slickest, most sophisticated, and certainly the most remunerative cancer quack promotion in medical history."[3]"

I agree completely with this, yet there is more bias ingrained deeper within the article. This article contains too much bias to even be considered as a viable resource for research or study. Its misleading to those who use Wikipedia as a source of fast information on a topic. Anyone who comes to this article and reads only the first section will likely get the wrong impression about amygdalin in general which encourages conflict amongst the populace. At first glance, the way this was written insinuates laetrile was the cause: "actor Steve McQueen died in Mexico following cancer treatment with laetrile" when in fact the substance could have contained adulterants or not have been caused at all by the laetrile, but instead the cancer or surgery. This entire section is unduly biased against everyone who thinks contrary to the opinions laid forth in the entirety of the article. "Laetrile was proven clinically ineffective more than 30 years ago and is considered a canonical example of "quackery".[3] Nonetheless, advocates for laetrile dispute this label, asserting that there is a conspiracy between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the pharmaceutical industry and the medical community, including the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society, to exploit the American people, and especially cancer patients. Advocates of the use of laetrile have also changed the rationale for its use, first as a treatment of cancer, then as a vitamin, then as part of a "holistic" nutritional regimen, or as treatment for cancer pain, among others, none of which have any significant evidence supporting its use. Despite the lack of evidence for its use, laetrile developed a significant following due to its wide promotion as a "pain-free" treatment of cancer as an alternative to surgery and chemotherapy that have significant side effects. The use of laetrile in place of known effective treatments of cancer led to a number of deaths." The subjective themes are abounding and what doesn't help is the level of scientific fraudulence to support this viewpoint as well as attack it. http://people.brandeis.edu/~tsommer/Bahramdipity/2001sciengethics77.pdf ArrowOfAces (talk) 18:24, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

It's been found to be unambiguously negative according to a super-high-quality source. Is there any reliable source which says otherwise? Wikipedia must accurately reflect current medicial/scientific knowledge as found in the best sources. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 18:59, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Where "It" means health effects of amygdalin, including its lack of effectiveness against what it's promoted to accomplish and its toxicity and other negative side-effects. Don't want anyone accidentally thinking the ref Alexbrn mentions is studying the perspective or neutrality of the Wikipedia article. DMacks (talk) 19:11, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
ArrowofAces wrote "Nobel prize winner Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura" -- a major error which makes me wonder where he is getting his information. The edit violated WP:NPOV, WP:VERIFY and WP:NOR (besides being written in an advocacy style). Dougweller (talk) 15:26, 8 August 2014 (UTC)


WIKIPEDIA IS CONTRADICTING ITSELF — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lgalec (talkcontribs) 13:32, 12 August 2014 (UTC) This Wiki article on Amygdalin is contradicted elsewhere on Wikipedia. The present ("Amygdalin") article states that amygdalin (a.k.a. laetrile/nitrilosides) is quackery and has no place in cancer treatment. Elsewhere, on the "Nitrile" Wiki page, it is stated that

"Over 30 nitrile-containing pharmaceuticals are currently marketed for a diverse variety of medicinal indications with more than 20 additional nitrile-containing leads in clinical development. The nitrile group is quite robust and, in most cases, is not readily metabolized but passes through the body unchanged. The types of pharmaceuticals containing nitriles is diverse, from Vildagliptin an antidiabetic drug to Anastrazole which is the gold standard in treating breast cancer."

If you go to the Anastrazole drug Wiki page, an empirical diagram of the use of cyanide in that cancer drug exists on the page. So what appears to be happening is that a pharmaceutical company can get away with marketing laetrile/amygdalin/nitrilosides in an anti-cancer drug, as long as the name of the chemical is carefully buried in a longer list of ingredients and then given a slick marketing name.

lgalec```` — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lgalec (talkcontribs) 13:30, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

You seem to be making a logical fallacy by assuming that because one chemical compound has a specific effect, every chemical compound that is even remotely related must have the same effect. This is of course not true. This talk page is supposed to be used to make specific suggestions with specific wording changes cited to specific sources, not as a general discussion of the topic. Please provide specific wording changes cited to specific reliable sources in the future. Yobol (talk) 13:47, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for guidance Yobol. Perhaps we can start by suggesting a refinement to this quote: "...studies have found them to be clinically ineffective in the treatment of cancer, as well as dangerously toxic." The redundancy "dangerously toxic" could be qualified and balanced by offering a link to this table offered by Internet Scientific Publications on amygdalin toxicity, which shows disagreement among 9 different scientific studies, along with suggested safer experimental doses: http://ispub.com/IJH/9/2/10959.

Incidentally, Wiki's own article on Amygdalin seems somewhat to violate Yobol's stated rule of not lumping together similar chemicals by mentioning several related compounds together in the same article without addressing each one separately on its own merits. Perhaps it could be clarified to the reader that the old drug Laetrile was a synthesized compound, while advocates of using amygdalin experimentally in cancer prevention/treatment are suggesting/using an organic nitriloside in prunus genus seeds and stones. That also brings up another point: this quote from the Wiki article calling Laetrile "...the most remunerative cancer quack promotion in medical history" could be contrasted with the zero financial gain potential of eating prunus fruit stones that would have been sent to the compost heap after the fruit itself had been consumed.

Hope I'm improving Yobol. lgalec```` — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lgalec (talkcontribs) 15:53, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Laetrile and amygdalin are considered in tandem by reliable sources, and we follow them. A systematic review from the Cochrane Collaboration (about the strongest possible source we can get) states: "The claims that laetrile or amygdalin have beneficial effects for cancer patients are not currently supported by sound clinical data. There is a considerable risk of serious adverse effects from cyanide poisoning after laetrile or amygdalin, especially after oral ingestion. The risk–benefit balance of laetrile or amygdalin as a treatment for cancer is therefore unambiguously negative". Unless there is some similarly strong source contradicting that, there seems little more we should be saying on safety/effectiveness. Your link doesn't seem to work. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 16:03, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Note that even if the link worked, ISPUB is on the list of predatory publishing houses and is therefore not a reliable source for medical claims, anyways. Agreed about the amygdalin/laetrile terminology; it is not particularly relevant as neither has been shown to be useful for cancer. Yobol (talk) 16:07, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Alexbrn: The banning of ISPUB would seem not to require the banning of the studies cited on that webpage. I just now clicked on the above link and went straight there, so the link does work. Am very sorry that you are having trouble at your end. In refutation of the Cochrane Collaboration's claim of "considerable adverse risk," here is a fairly recent (2006) government-issued (U.K.) authoritative source refuting blanket toxicity claims regarding food-sourced amygdalin:

The U.K. Committee on Toxicity in 2006 made the statement "...the current high level of intake of 3-6 micrograms per kg body weight per day from foods...was not of concern." They conclude the report with this dosing guideline: "Taking the available evidence together, the CoE TDI of 20 μg/kg bw/day should be applied, this is equivalent to 1.2 mg for a 60 kg adult and represents an intake of approximately 1-2 kernels per day." The Committee also concludes that there is no finding of cumulative toxicity from ingesting the wide variety of naturally cyanide-laced foods over a period of time. Here is the current working link: multimedia.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/cotstatementapricot200615.pdf

Because this modern government source is so inexplicably in conflict with your sources, that reason alone should suggest to you that the Wiki article needs to be reworked, hopefully as a high priority, if it is to be taken seriously by independent readers and researchers.

As far as efficacy, the original Krebbs microscopic studies on this topic demonstrated rapid kill of cancer cells upon contact with cyanide. Here is a film summarizing their research: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDggXZS3THc As far as the Cochrane Collaboration's conclusion of a lack of cost-benefit analysis, perhaps that decision should be left up to the patient diagnosed with cancer who chooses not to enter into clinical trials with even more toxic substances than food.

Thank you for your comments, lgalec 98.114.49.216 (talk) 17:47, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

A 2006 government report would not supersede a 2011 scientific publication. We do not offer advice to patients at all. We merely report what the highest quality WP:MEDRS says, and then, as you propose, let them decide based on our re-statements of those sources or any other sites and information they find elsewhere. DMacks (talk) 17:53, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
The UK govt. document is not properly published and is old compared to our authoritative Cochrane source. And in any case it (in agreement) observes: "In the 1970s and 1980s, amygdalin (also known as laetrile or, though not a recognised vitamin, as vitamin B17) extracted from bitter apricot kernels was sold as a treatment for cancer. The treatment was never proven and was associated with significant toxicity." The document seems to be concerned with apricot kerners themselves - not the same thing. I see no need for any change. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 17:57, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
And no, we will not be using a film that supports a theory of cancer that is over 100 years old and has been long discarded by medical science. Yobol (talk) 18:02, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Also: whenever anyone says that compound X kills cancer cells in a petri dish, we must remember: so does a flamethrower. Guy (Help!) 11:33, 26 December 2014 (UTC)