Talk:Goji/Archive 3

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Removal of JAMA source

I don't think opinions expressed at a trade show should trump a JAMA source. We've all seen how the tobacco industry twisted facts and I don't think the natural foods industry, or any other industry for that matter, is above such tactics. Badagnani 04:49, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

FYI some more anti-antioxidant publications below (and the frightening conclusion they reached).
  • [1] (Treatment with beta carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E may increase mortality. The potential roles of vitamin C and selenium on mortality need further study.)
  • [2] (Combined vitamin C and E supplementation during pregnancy does not reduce the risk of preeclampsia, fetal or neonatal loss, small for gestational age infant, or preterm birth. Such supplementation should be discouraged unless solid supporting data from randomized trials become available)
  • [3] (Our meta-analysis showed no evidence of a protective effect of antioxidant or B vitamin supplements on the progression of atherosclerosis, thus providing a mechanistic explanation for their lack of effect on clinical cardiovascular events.)
  • [4] (We found no convincing evidence that antioxidant supplements have significant beneficial effect on primary or secondary prevention of colorectal adenoma.)
  • [5] (We could not find evidence that antioxidant supplements prevent gastrointestinal cancers. On the contrary, they seem to increase overall mortality.)
  • [6] (There is currently no evidence to support recommending vitamins such as alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene or retinol, alone or in combination, to prevent lung cancer. A harmful effect was found for beta-carotene with retinol at pharmacological doses in people with risk factors for lung cancer)
This is the only "rather encouraging" study about antioxidants I could find: [7] (After 7.5 years, low-dose antioxidant supplementation lowered total cancer incidence and all-cause mortality in men but not in women.)
Paul, I'd be grateful if you could provide us with something valuable to balance the weight of these two groups. Ill stop chewing goji for the time being.
BTW The "antioxidant" Entry in Wikipedia has already been updated: [[8]]
Waiting for the "clinical and industry experts" gathered at ExpoWest, I do believe that at least the JAMA citation shall have its place back in the article. And I'll be soon visiting the "Antioxidant" entry--Stefano 23:23, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Stefano, you must see the distinction, however, between vitamin-rich plant foods and the processed vitamin tablets, powders, or serums that were likely used in the studies you reference. There can't be anything wrong with a varied diet including vitamin-rich plant foods. Although as the new sources claim, an overabundance of antioxidants may have the unintended consequences of stopping the body from healing itself after the stresses of exercise. It's something to think about. Badagnani 00:34, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Please review articles here -- I'll provide other alternate views of the industry and medical professional response in a few days after my trip
http://www.npicenter.com/Search/Default.aspx?qs=antioxidants
--Paul144 17:38, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes Badagnani, it's definitely something to think about. I actually find appropriate your comparison with the tobacco industry: although various studies seem to indicate that (some ?) antioxidant supplements have - at best - limited (no ?) effect, the nutraceuticals industy is flourishing.
Paul, an extract from your link above: “Killer”Antioxidants? New Study Contains Serious Flaws". "Despite the widespread attention to this new study, it’s important to put its findings into context and remember that there is well-demonstrated evidence that antioxidants may improve or prevent certain medical conditions and improve overall quality of life".
I'd have appreciated to see some literature references at the end of this Healthnotes Newswire Opinion. Preferably published in this century.
The amount of scientific and credible industry information supporting dietary use of antioxidant-rich foods so vastly outweighs the few negative studies like the flawed JAMA report that it would be like making a synopsis of a dissertation to bring them into a point-by-point discussion.
In addition to the NPI Center summary of reports responding to the JAMA study are other recent industry articles shown below. I believe it is valid to bring industry discussions into this analysis as industry is sensitized to the stringent requirements of bodies like the FDA to be accurate about label information. As no antioxidant chemical has been conclusively linked to disease prevention, watching the industry trends is a way to see how antioxidants will be tested to become eligible as ingredients highlighted on common consumer products. --Paul144 15:36, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Fruits of the future
Antioxidants: A most fruitful category
Media mauls antioxidants after 'inappropriate' review
Other articles on antioxidants from Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals
Articles on antioxidants from the Linus Pauling Institute
Welcome back Doc. It looks like every expert (you included) is strongly against the infamous JAMA article:
[9], [10], [11]. I'd say that the last paragraph of the last citation summarizes it all: "Those who wish to supplement with antioxidants because they are either not able or not inclined to consume enough antioxidant-rich foods would be wise to purchase combinations that do a reasonable job of approximating the mixture found in an antioxidant-rich diet, for which there is a wealth of evidence of benefit, and avoid single-substance formulations, with the possible exceptions of vitamin C and selenium."
In other words, "there can't be anything wrong with a varied diet including vitamin-rich plant foods". Badagnani said it first. (Ahhh, the good-old "synergy").

The bottomline of the above discussion (to the kind attention of Blaxthos) is: no need to mention the JAMA reference on the goji article. --Stefano 16:48, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Got to say I agree with removing JAMA sources - speaking as a medical doctor, and resident of a part of China (with family ties to Ningxia, but that is another story) - goji berries are a major part of my life. In tea. But the hype against natural medical sources as seen exemplified in JAMA is nothing more than the ongoing attempts of a medical profession dominated by the pharmaceutical business. The trick is not to condemn such articles outright, but to use the information contained (from all sources) to find truth. And truth, in medical "peer-reviewed" articles, is sadly hard to come by. docboat 01:43, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

From Wiki guidelines: "How to use article talk pages"

Talk pages are not a forum for editors to argue their own different points of view about controversial issues. They are a forum to discuss how the different points of view obtained from secondary sources should be included in the article, so that the end result is neutral and objective (which may mean including conflicting viewpoints). The best way to present a case is to find properly referenced material.

This is exactly' what we are doing over here. (Jeah. I've removed my Walt-Disney joke) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wstefano (talkcontribs) 19:05, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Section removal

I have removed a speculative section that contained several sweeping claims unsubstantiated by sources. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 11:45, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Section in the article is restored. Bring your issues here first. Please state them and let's hear your side of the story. --Paul144 15:09, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
An abuse of admin powers RFC is going to be implemented immediately unless the editor playing games with this page begins to present his/her case here. Badagnani 19:03, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Please be aware that the removal is due to complaints sent to WP:OTRS. I have no other interest in the article and am merely assisting in resolution of the emailed complaint. '

The first paragraph of the section in question contains leading text that presumes that FreeLife International has made "numerous unverified health claims" and that "none of the more than 20 health claims asserted by FreeLife...has scientific, peer-reviewed proof of validity." The first statement is sourced to a TV program, a weak source. The second statement does not cite a source.

The second paragraph cites four sources. Three of them do not even mention wolfberries. The fourth does but the reference does not support the assertion that "wolfberries ... require[s] regulatory review of label and marketing claims..."

The third paragraph summarizes a possibly related case involving a mangosteen juice product and speculates that the FDA action taken with regard to that product may auger similar actions with regard to wolfberry juice products. While perhaps true, it is not our place at Wikipedia to infer such conclusions, and no source is cited.

These paragraphs paint FreeLife International in a poor light and may be libellous if untrue. Since they do not meet our sourcing requirements, it is inappropriate for us to include them until the sourcing problems are addressed. Accordingly, I have again removed the text and protected the page. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 19:13, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

You should have taken the time to explain yourself in this way before your blanking took place. Badagnani 19:16, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
We get 100 of these a day, and in most cases no one is following the page. I did prepare a response as soon as I protected the page, but it took about ten minutes to compose. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 19:29, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
100 a day? Who knew???  ;) Thanks for the explanation. It should not be difficult to fix the text beyond reproach. Badagnani 19:31, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
To be fair to the process, I am posting the original section below and adding content and references for it ["Marketing claims under scrutiny in Canada and the United States"]. I did not do this originally because it gives undue recognition to the conspicuous marketing fabrications of Mindell and FreeLife.
For what it's worth, I object that I and others seeking the truth about wolfberry have to respond to a heavy-handed administration of this article and the misinformation promoted by commercial motivations. It should be those parties having to state their case here first on the Discussion page -- that is the Wikipedia method of collaboration.
User Uninvited states above that "We get 100 of these a day, and in most cases no one is following the page". What does that mean? 100 what? No one is following this page? On the contrary, the wolfberry page has been under active new contributions, editing and review for many months.
If it is the band of Goji Juice marketers following Mindell's exaggerations and lies, let them come here where everything is fair game for debate to establish the truth. That offer has been made often in the past, still stands, and should have been Uninvited's first remedy rather than autocratically removing a carefully composed section. --Paul144 21:21, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Marketing claims under scrutiny in Canada and the United States

[removed section with added content and references]

In January 2007, marketing statements for a goji juice product were subject of an investigative report by CBC Television's consumer advocacy program Marketplace[12]. During interviews with the product spokesperson, Earl Mindell, critical questions were raised about the validity of numerous unverified health claims made by the product's manufacturer, FreeLife International LLC, as stated in Mindell's booklet on wolfberries (Bibliography below). None of more than 20 health claims asserted by FreeLife and Mindell has scientific, peer-reviewed proof of validity.

By one example in the CBC interview, Mindell claimed that the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in New York had completed studies showing that consuming goji would prevent 75% of human breast cancer cases, a statement false in three ways: 1) no such project has ever been undertaken at Sloan-Kettering, 2) no natural or pharmaceutical agent has been shown by peer-assessed research to prevent cancer and 3) there is no sufficient scientific evidence that wolfberry has any cancer-preventing properties.

It is not appropriate to infer such benefits from abstracts of Chinese literature retrieved by PubMed, as Mindell asserts. The Chinese literature cited on PubMed is laboratory research, preliminary human research for which clinical trial design is insufficiently described, and unacceptable for making health claims.

Having significant nutrient and phytochemical composition, wolfberries are under assessment[13][14][15][16] as a functional food that requires regulatory review of label and marketing claims being conducted in 2007 by the European Union (above).

By other example in the United States, such a process was applied by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in September 2006 to challenge a manufacturer of another novel fruit product, mangosteen juice, to provide scientific and clinical evidence for health claims asserted in marketing materials and the juice product label[17]. Without compliance, the FDA letter warned that enforcement was imminent, including seizure and/or injunction of products. This position by the FDA essentially requires the manufacturer to abandon all unverified health claims from its marketing materials because no such research has been done, as is the case for wolfberries and any goji juice product.

[end removed section]

First, I disagree with Uninvited that an investigative reporting resource like the CBC Marketplace team, staffed by experienced reporters who had completed extensive objective research of their own, is an insufficient reference for this article. It is an open forum to reply to such reporting for which there has been no serious counterpoint presented here or in the public media.
Second, it is not my or any objective person's responsibility to provide sources for information that does not exist (as applies to Mindell's numerous health claims about goji juice benefits). In the scientific process, the person making such claims must present the laboratory- or clinical trial derived evidence for such effects under the scrutiny of peer-review and regulatory examination as currently being conducted on the mangosteen juice product, Xango (FDA reference provided in original section). As this is precisely the process that wolfberry or any goji juice manufacturer must pass to make health claims, it is very pertinent to include in the article.
Third, three of the four references used in original paragraph two (now four) refer directly to wolfberry (goji) and the fourth is directly pertinent.
Fourth, having to address these issues, Uninvited, changes the encyclopedic nature of the article, converting it into debate. I've addressed the matters as you requested, but this was not necessary. The original article is factual. If the goji juice marketers wish to contest it, they should bring their evidence and proposed new text to this Discussion where we can expose it to the test of truth. --Paul144 21:21, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
So. here we are, with a mountain of "sources" below and above, waiting for Mindell, Freelife International and/or their disciples to come and substantiate their point of view, instead of compianing with Mr Uninvited. I am looking forward to see this article unblocked at his earliest convenience. --Stefano 20:26, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Earl Mindell's fraud and its promotion by FreeLife marketers

In Chapter 2 of Earl Mindell's booklet, Goji, The Himalayan Health Secret, Ed. 1, 2003, are listed the "Top 24 Health Benefits of Goji" including

  • extends life
  • maintains health blood pressure
  • reduces cholesterol
  • enhances sexual function
  • improves disease resistance
  • prevents morning sickness
  • alleviates anxiety
  • promotes cheerfulness

and 16 other claims, not one of which is scientifically validated or approved for use on consumer products by a regulatory agency such as the FDA.

Not one of the 24 claims listed in his book nor the claim made by Mindell in the CBC Marketplace interview that consuming goji berries or juice prevents cancer[18] has even been demonstrated adequately in preliminary laboratory research. Mindell's history of fraud is discussed on Wikipedia[19] and Quackwatch[20].

Mindell and FreeLife make the preposterous claim that goji polysaccharides are "master" molecules in the human body, serving as "directors and carriers of the instructions that cells use to communicate with each other"

  • balancing immune function
  • lowering cholesterol
  • normalizing blood sugar
  • acting as an anti-inflammatory agent
  • and preventing cancer

All of this is fabrication, as none has been proved in science, postulated by other scientists, nor is it even a recent research topic of scientific interest, as there are no North American or European studies published to support the scant and mostly in vitro Chinese research done to date on goji polysaccharides.

Neither is the concept even a good hypothesis to test, as polysaccharides consumed in whole fruit or juice are subjected immediately upon ingestion to the acid and digestive enzyme environment of the stomach which would alter their structure -- and therefore their function -- in ways impossible to measure in vivo. Polysaccharides are simply sources of dietary fiber, as discussed on Wikipedia[21].

In advertisements for Himalayan Goji Juice, Mindell, FreeLife and distributors or marketers of this product use the same invalid claims, as any Google search shows. The Tanaduk Institute and Tibetan Goji Berry Company make similar unsupportable statements on their website[22], leading one to believe that the Mindell and Tanaduk fabrications may derive from the same source of misinformation and outright lies.

In the view of basic researchers and eventually that of the FDA, the fraud is all linked. Any fraudulent statement made in relation to a consumer product is the responsibility of the manufacturer providing the product to the general public -- in this case, FreeLife, to either prove scientifically or stop using the claim.

The FDA takes this position: such claims "cause the product to be a drug" (see example letters about goji and Xango below) requiring all the stringent peer-evaluated research that drugs must achieve before approved as safe agents for sale to the public.

"Safety" in this sense does not only imply "free from harm" but also means that such a product must be proven specifically for the effect it is claimed to have -- in Mindell's and FreeLife's case, for each of at least 25 diseases or conditions of health. As this process has not taken even its first adequate scientific step for any one claim, FreeLife has a seemingly steep road ahead of it to present its case satisfactorily to the FDA.

To my knowledge, there has never been a peer-reviewed goji research publication by Earl Mindell and neither has FreeLife ever financed independent, peer-reviewed research with resulting publications on any aspect of the goji berry, as has been done for other fruits such as cranberry[23] or pomegranate[24]. Yet the FreeLife website states "Working together, FreeLife and Earl Mindell have been pioneers in the research of goji polysaccharides."[25]

A PubMed search shows that Earl Mindell has never published a research study listed by the US Library of Medicine which catalogues all medical research published in the world. This is where credible scientists with peer-reviewed publications have their work listed.

The FDA currently has two goji distributors on notice with letters issued in the middle of 2006

  • Dynamic Health Laboratories Inc. of Brooklyn, NY, May 8, 2006[26]

and

  • Healthsuperstore.com of Elk Grove, CA, August 7, 2006[27]

In both cases, there is little doubt that the marketing statements under question extend from those fabricated by Mindell (only the words are changed), as is evident from the content of the above two FDA letters.

The FDA's position for these fabrications is that asserting such health benefits of Goji Juice whether by Dynamic Health ("Lycium Barbarum Goji Juice") or Healthsuperstore.com (Goji Juice by FreeLife) implicates FreeLife as the juice manufacturer making the claim, as that is the position the FDA takes.

The result of such FDA review is that the manufacturer must cause change in the marketing literature for all distributors, marketers and retailers of the product, withdraw the product, or risk having the product seized. The situation is identical to that underway against Xango for their scientifically unfounded health claims about a mangosteen juice product[28].

This is the underlying story for the article section entitled "Marketing claims under scrutiny in Canada and the United States". These issues were introduced before on this Discussion board (above) but have yet to see any reponse to address any claim supported with even minimum science by Mindell, FreeLife, the Tanaduk Institute or Tibetan Goji Berry Company. --Paul144 16:16, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

First of all, this is an article about Wolfberry, the plant. Wikipedia is not a vehicle for activism, but to the extent such material is appropriate for inclusion it would be more topical in an article about the marketers in question. Second, if we do include the paragraph (either here or elsewhere), each assertion must be sourced. If we're going to say that FreeLife is implicated, we must have a source that says "FreeLife is implicated in <whatever>," rather than trying to connect the dots ourselves. Even if the reasoning is straightforward and sound, we can't include it unless there is a reliable source that connects the dots for us. If one of you want to rework the paragraph, or find more sources, great. But it can't go back in the way it is. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 03:27, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Articles about plants often include an extensive "Medicinal use" section. As the FreeLife company is one of the largest marketers of the berry in the English-speaking world, presenting it as a "cure-all" it is certainly relevant to discuss this aspect of the plant's use. Badagnani 03:47, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Ok. We still have to have proper sources for the material. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 04:33, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
The section written under "Earl Mindell's fraud.." was not intended for the Article and, reviewing it, I don't see anything I'd want in the Article from what I've written. It is background to 1) raise a debate with proponents of Mindell and so further expose his/their fraud used pervasively in marketing of Himalayan Goji Juice and likewise Tibetan Goji Berries, and 2) educate parties like Uninvited who seem persuaded that Mindell's fraud holds kernels of truth. This misunderstanding was apparently combined with the mentioned complaints so was worthy of attention and respect sufficient to have stimulated withdrawing the section "Marketing claims under scrutiny in Canada...".

From Uninvited's remarks above: Second, if we do include the paragraph (either here or elsewhere), each assertion must be sourced. If we're going to say that FreeLife is implicated, we must have a source that says "FreeLife is implicated in <whatever>," rather than trying to connect the dots ourselves. Even if the reasoning is straightforward and sound, we can't include it unless there is a reliable source that connects the dots for us.

That section was fine as it was, intentionally avoiding direct implication of FreeLife, but rather associating FreeLife with the source of the fraud -- Mindell. What sources are needed? I feel the CBC Marketplace interview is a respectable source. Published sources countering Mindell's writing don't exist because scientists would not waste their time arguing with such nonsense.... as I am doing now. Science does not create sources for untested hypotheses.

Two new paragraphs were offered in the Discussion section above:

By one example in the CBC interview, Mindell claimed that the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York had completed studies showing that consuming goji would prevent 75% of human breast cancer cases, a statement false in three ways: 1) no such project has ever been undertaken at Sloan-Kettering, 2) no natural or pharmaceutical agent has been shown by peer-assessed research to prevent cancer and 3) there is no sufficient scientific evidence that wolfberry has any cancer-preventing properties.

It is not appropriate to infer such benefits from abstracts of Chinese literature retrieved by PubMed, as Mindell asserts. The Chinese literature cited on PubMed is laboratory research, preliminary human research for which clinical trial design is insufficiently described, and unacceptable for making health claims.

Let's focus on revising the offered revisions so the section can be restored. And, Uninvited, when the complaints still come to you, as they will, bring them here as you should have done in the first place. --Paul144 05:50, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

OTRS policy is that incoming mail is confidential. I can summarize the nature of the complaints, as I have done. I cannot provide them verbatim and cannot put you in touch with the people who have contacted us. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 19:46, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I am not interested in verbatim content of the complaints or who made them. As you can see from the history of the discussion page and the article, no advocate of Mindell's positions has opposed what has been stated with supportable content or sources. When I suggest you "bring them here", I mean send them here for debate and discussion, i.e., the healthy discourse that bares the facts.

We don't seem to be making progress toward resolving the language you would deem acceptable for the relevant section on "Marketing claims under scrutiny...". Can you provide some specific feedback please?

I believe this is your summary of the complaints, quoting you in italics followed by my responses

1. The first paragraph of the section in question contains leading text that presumes that FreeLife International has made "numerous unverified health claims" and that "none of the more than 20 health claims asserted by FreeLife...has scientific, peer-reviewed proof of validity." The first statement is sourced to a TV program, a weak source. The second statement does not cite a source.

CBC Marketplace to Canada is like 60 Minutes or The Washington Post are to a US scandal like Watergate. I see nothing wrong with investigative reporting as a source when there is no scientific argument available. The burden of proof against Mindell's fraud lies not with me to disprove him, but with him or his supporters to provide scientific evidence for his statements (which of course do not exist, explaining why they do not contribute to the Article).

2. The second paragraph cites four sources. Three of them do not even mention wolfberries. The fourth does but the reference does not support the assertion that "wolfberries ... require[s] regulatory review of label and marketing claims..."

As stated above, three of the four sources mention goji (same as wolfberry) and the fourth is relevant to this debate.

3. The third paragraph summarizes a possibly related case involving a mangosteen juice product and speculates that the FDA action taken with regard to that product may auger similar actions with regard to wolfberry juice products. While perhaps true, it is not our place at Wikipedia to infer such conclusions, and no source is cited.

I have provided above two references to current FDA actions against goji juice distributors/marketers who are making unfounded health claims similar to (or derived from) those of Mindell. By its history, the FDA will not identify similar violations one by one, but will use decisions that apply generally across violations. FreeLife's fate will be similar to those under investigation now.

4. These paragraphs paint FreeLife International in a poor light and may be libellous if untrue. Since they do not meet our sourcing requirements, it is inappropriate for us to include them until the sourcing problems are addressed.

If FreeLife has credible information to add to the Article, why is it not offered as a contribution? The answer is that they know Mindell's information is fraud but, in this case, the fraud is moving product sales at a lucrative rate. This is all revealed adequately in the CBC Marketplace report. --Paul144 20:35, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Ok. Let's try to be constructive. If all is needed are "proper sources for the material", we can provide them. Here is what I found:
Not enough ? Here are some more:
--Stefano 20:05, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
FreeLife has no responsibility to come here and make their case. Basically, where I am at with this is that the material I removed is unacceptable as written. I am on the whole unconvinced by your rebuttal. If people interested in the page are willing to fix the section so that each assertion is properly sourced (a process which may require removing or modifying some claims), then we can put it back in the article. I myself am uninterested in doing this and leave it up to you. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 01:53, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

While we all wait for the supreme decision to be taken

I'd like to draw your attention to the following entertaining clip from youtube. I would really love to have your opinion on that. It looks like Dr Marcial-Vega decided to stop sharing his cutting edge research with the rest of the Medical world on 1994, the year of his last publication avaiIable in Pubmed. Try however "Marcial-Vega" in google and discover that his name as a "renowned cancer specialist, Oncologist" and "recognized as being in the top one percent of medical doctors in the U.S" is only one click away from the one of "Dr Mindell" and his Himalaian Goji. His motto appears to be: "Acid Is For Batteries! Not For Healthy People". I am speechless. --Stefano 21:31, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Interesting. I've begun an article at Victor A. Marcial-Vega. Is this one of the people promulgating the blood alkalinity/acidity theory? For about a year, people have been popping into our natural foods store asking if certain foods are "acid" or "alkaline." One guy was asking about a grain, quinoa. It seemed strange to ask this about a grain, but for people like this, people can jump behind a theory with such vigor that it dictates everything they eat. What is your own opinion of the video? Badagnani 23:23, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

As a PhD physiologist, I can say the video has all the scientific sophistication of a high school science fair project where the student was given the parameters of a microscope, blood cells and a magical fruit, then asked to make up a story. Addressing any part of it may dignify it as having a gram of plausibility, which it doesn't, so I'm leaving it alone.

As with all fabrications, myths and outlandish theories characteristic of Mindell, there exists a channel to gain credibility: publish a series of studies in good journals involving the rigors of peer-review, then build on it the way all scientific hypotheses are tested, tried under peer scrutiny and redefined before being acceptable to the FDA. There isn't a single hypothesis about specific health values or lowered disease risk from consuming goji berries or juice that is ready for good animal experiments, let alone statements on food labels for general consumers.

I'm working on a re-draft of the disputed section and hope to post it in the near future. --Paul144 17:55, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, this is what happened with Velikovsky, isn't it? Even though he had some interesting ideas, he was shut out entirely, with no scientist even willing to debunk him. And the non-science-minded folks were left to make up their minds on their own. How could a M.D. just make things up like this? Did you see the part where the juice magically turned the hemoglobin dark at the end? Is it all a fabrication? Badagnani 18:38, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

We know nothing about the conditions of the experiment. In vitro, in vivo or in dreamo? All the experimental conditions necessary to establish good science need to be available for the most skeptical fellow-scientists to review and even try to reproduce the results in their own labs. This is the purpose of rigorous peer analysis in scientific research and publishing. If there is anything to be believed from Mindell or Marcial-Vega, then they should publish in one of the sections of American Journal of Physiology[29] or a similar research journal. Let's not waste time on this. --Paul144 19:48, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

He also stated that he was using "goji juice," which contains only a small amount of wolfberry in any case. Badagnani 19:57, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

I have to say that I fully agree with Paul that the clip loos very much a commercial lacking a scientific base (disclosing the conditions used and the means to reproduce his "experiments" is science's first rule - Paul, I loved "in dreamo"!). However, Badagnani is very right in that scientists should warn against such a nonsense. This is the biggest issue with Internet: everything is immediately available to everybody. Contrary to Velikovsky, who was shut out entirely, Dr. Mindell's sites are spreading everywhere in the web and I could not find one single site disputing Dr Marcial-Vega findings, which are often even used to support the effects of Mindell's juice (see for example the comment of Ms [Yvonne Weatherbee] to the cbc investigation).

Wikipedia may help people make up their mind by providing a correct information. Since The Uninvited Co. is "uninterested in doing this", it is up to us to describe Mindell's marketing operation in a more objective way. (How?) Good luck to Paul with the reformulation of this difficult section.

Concerning the [theory of acidity and alcaniliny of blood], the existence of which I discovered 30 minutes ago, here is an interesting [discussion] and [its destruction].--Stefano 21:41, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Stefano, I think we should have an article on this blood acidity-alkalinity thing. I think many thousands of people are believing in this, and it is dictating their food choices. But I couldn't find any sources about it. Badagnani 22:11, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Badagnani, I'm copying this discussion on the one of Marcial Vega. If you agree we'll discuss over there about that. Please Paul do contribute as well: I am not a medical doctor. --Stefano 14:29, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Working draft of revised section

Marketing claims under scrutiny in Canada and the United States

In January 2007, marketing statements for a goji juice product were subject of an investigative report by CBC Television's consumer advocacy program Marketplace (TV series)[30]. During interviews with the product spokesperson, Earl Mindell, critical questions were raised about the validity of numerous unverified health claims made in marketing materials for Himalayan Goji Juice, a product manufactured by FreeLife International LLC and promoted by Mindell.

None of 23 health claims asserted in this marketing information has been scientifically proved [31] or accepted by a regulatory authority such as the Natural Health Products Directorate of Health Canada or the FDA.

In a review of medical literature pertaining to each proposed claim, Gross et al. (2006, book chapter 6; see Article Bibliography) summarized that 22 of 23 claims had no evidence for providing a health benefit beyond that inferred from preliminary in vitro or laboratory animal research. For cancer specifically, four studies were reviewed in Chapter 4 of their book, but Gross et al. (2006) concluded the research was too preliminary to allow any conclusion about an anti-cancer effect of consuming goji berries or juice.

By one specific example in the CBC interview, Mindell claimed the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York had completed studies showing that use of goji juice would prevent 75% of human breast cancer cases, a statement false in three ways:

  1. no such project has been undertaken at Memorial Sloan-Kettering[32]
  2. according to the National Cancer Institute of the US National Institutes of Health, no natural or pharmaceutical agent has been shown in prevention studies to fully prevent breast cancer, only to reduce its risk [33]; specifically, there are no completed or ongoing clinical trials in the United States testing the effects of goji berries or juice on breast cancer outcomes [34] or any other disease[35] and
  3. beyond preliminary laboratory studies[36] [37][38] and one Chinese clinical trial described only in an abstract[39], there is no scientific evidence for goji berry phytochemicals or juice having cancer-preventive properties (Gross et al., 2006, chapters 4,6).

Significant in nutrient and phytochemical composition, goji berries are being developed[40][41][42][43][44] as new products in the functional food industry, currently under FDA regulatory review for label and marketing claims[45] as being conducted in 2007 by the European Union (above). As described by the Institute of Food Technologists[46], rigorous standards of scientific evidence will be required for FDA approval of health claims made for natural food products such as those from goji berries.

At present, the FDA has two goji juice distributors on notice with warning letters about marketing claims with language similar to that used by or derived from Mindell:

  • Dynamic Health Laboratories Inc. of Brooklyn, NY, May 8, 2006[47]
  • Healthsuperstore.com of Elk Grove, CA, August 7, 2006[48]

The result of such FDA review may be that the manufacturer must change the marketing literature for all distributors, marketers and retailers of the product, withdraw the product, or risk having the product seized. The situation is similar to the 2006 FDA enforcement action against a manufacturer of a fruit juice product containing mangosteen juice, XanGo LLC, for making scientifically unfounded health claims in their marketing materials[49]. --Paul144 12:46, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Note to Uninvited: your process here is inequitable. Those of us refuting Mindell's claims are providing objective information based on science in support of our argument, whereas supporters of Mindell's claims have provided no evidence or written defense. In a discussion such as this, siding with science is the safer position for Wikipedia.

--Paul144 16:26, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I have again removed unsourced claims and speculation from the main article. Please do not re-add them. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 22:14, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

You appear to be a pipeline for FreeLife people protecting their fraud, and are not useful to the factual improvement of this article. You should "uninvite" and recuse yourself from further involvement here. --Paul144 01:03, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I am a pipeline for FreeLife only in the sense that I am seeing to it that their complaints about unsourced derogatory claims are handled in a fashion consistent with our policies. I, of course, remain Uninvited throughout the project; my involvement continues nonetheless. :-) The Uninvited Co., Inc. 03:49, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I am pretty happy with the current version of the disputed section as it is now. Especially thanks to the book of Dr. Gross, each statement made is now clear and substantiated. If people still believe Mindell after reading this paragraph, that's their problem. We've done what we had to do. --Stefano 19:04, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Opinion, fact and POV

Can you provide a cite for the opposing views? If they're notable, they need included, but it does need to be shown they're notable. Adam Cuerden talk 20:15, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

I added some references but even w/o them, the text needs rewording because it is opinion not fact. ie "No published large randomized double blind tests for Wolfberry can be found in PubMed" is fact but "this regulation provides important safeguards for consumers" is opinion and must be presented as such. Cayte 01:56, 11 June 2007 (UTC)Cayte

Tibetinfonet: The commercial legend of goji: selling a Chinese crop under the Tibetan flag

Useful perspective published June 29, 2007[50].

Quotes and highlights:

  • "This Special Report shows that the purported Tibetan origin of goji berries is bogus... there are no indications that the berries that have swamped worldwide markets have actually been grown commercially in any Tibetan region"
  • "Many companies distributing goji products appear to cynically take advantage of the naivety or serious health problems of western consumers, as well as of inaccurate Tibet images in order to market a Chinese crop as a Tibetan product without providing any apparent returns to Tibetans."
  • "The example of the goji berry demonstrates that, unless transparent structures are established within and outside the PRC to verify the authenticity of Tibetan products, the name of Tibet is destined to be misappropriated as a convenient label that profits non-Tibetans."
  • "...there is no mention of any name close to goji in Traditional Tibetan Medicine texts."
  • "TibetInfoNet contacted the Prefectural Agriculture Department in Nyingchi and officials reiterated that there is no commercial cultivation of Lycium/wolfberries/goji in the prefecture to the best of their knowledge, although there is no doubt that Lycium chinense does grow naturally in Nyingchi, as in many other areas on the Tibetan Plateau."
  • "All circumstantial evidence indicates that Tibet Authentic, and with them most other goji companies, buy their berries from producers who cultivate Lycium barbarum at the northern and eastern foot of the Tibetan plateau (ed: in China), but not in Tibet. With that, the claim that “Tibet Authentic’s goji berries are certified grown in the wild on the pristine Tibetan Plateau” appears to be completely bogus."

--Paul144 13:58, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

WorldwideWarning.net -- Exposing Goji Scams

Captivating reading[51][52]. Mentions Earl Mindell and the CBC Marketplace interview, FreeLife Himalayan Goji Juice, the Tanaduk Research Institute and Tibetan Goji Berry Company owned and managed by Bradley and Julia Dobos from their Orcas Island location in Washington state, USA and goji MLM activity.

The site purports to expose scams and just tell the truth, so is worthy for each person to read and make one's own judgment. --Paul144 15:48, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

telegraph.co.uk article

This article might be useful as a reference: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/main.jhtml?xml=/gardening/2007/10/12/garden-superfruit-superfood-goji112.xml --Ronz 22:39, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

It's evident the author(s) of this newspaper article did not absorb information provided in the Wikipedia article. For example, the italicized excerpts below are baseless.

1. Goji berries scored a spectacular 25,300 per 100g, while prunes, which came second, had a mere 5,770 per 100g. According to Gillian McKeith, the presenter of Channel 4's You Are What You Eat, they have 2,000 more antioxidants and 500 times the amount of vitamin C per weight as oranges. They also contain beta-carotene (their ability to improve vision has been documented for more than 1,500 years in China).

An ORAC of 25,300 has not been published under peer-review; there is no objective source of this information.

Is Gillian McKeith a reliable scientific reference? I think not, as the 2,000 more antioxidants and 500 times the amount of vitamin C per weight as oranges are pure Mindellian fabrications. Such numbers are not even remotely credible.

How well could improved vision be convincingly documented in 500 AD?

2. ...claimed that they enhance longevity (a Chinaman, Li Quing Yuen, who ate them every day, is said to have lived to the age of 250).

Li Quing Yuen, a JK Rowling character created by the wave of a wand? What reasonable person would believe this? More misleading fable perpetuated by Mindell.

3. Most of the goji berries that are sold in this country are cultivated in China, but they also grow in Mongolia and on vines in the sheltered Himalayan valleys of Tibet and Nepal, where they have been eaten for centuries and are nicknamed "happy berries" because of the sense of wellbeing they are said to induce.

Researched, refuted and discussed, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfberry#Tibetan_goji_berry

--Paul144 17:08, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

No more links template

This article appears to be attracting more than its fair share of spam, therefore I have added the somewhat contentious No more links template (only visible when editing). Experienced editors, will I am sure, just be able to ignore it; as will -I think- most of the spammers but there we go. --Aspro 15:54, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Sales pitch?

What's up with the sales pitch under "Significance?" This otherwise interesting article and discussion suffers from it, I think. At least the title of the paragraph should be changed to Economical Significance if the main information provided will be marketing numbers. Remmelt (talk) 11:11, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

A good point. The purpose of the section is to create a perspective for people unfamiliar with a plant food mostly new to the western world. The current information covers historial significance in the first paragraph with economic significance in the second, whereas nutritional significance -- probably the main reason users would consult this page -- may need better emphasis in a separate middle sentence. Or perhaps economic significance should be provided only in the marketing section later. Thoughts? --Paul144 (talk) 17:00, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

The lead paragraph (WP:LEAD), Significance section and data for commercial growth were edited today. Following Remmelt's comments, the commercial information was removed to the section on Commercial Products where it certainly has a better fit. --Paul144 (talk) 22:58, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Wolfberry Economics

Is there any information we could add about the cost of wolfberries? The price runs ~$15/pound US for individual pounds. Considering food imported from China tends to be quite cheap, is there a reason the price is so high other than the relatively low volume? --Karuna8 (talk) 23:12, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Label anything "natural/organic/ancient/magic/Tibetan...", you are out there to make big bucks. Although the berry itself is healthy and has many disease-fighting properties, blow it out of proportion to target stupid white hippies is the way to go. --cecikierk —Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.126.75.181 (talk) 23:11, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Food and drink Tagging

This article talk page was automatically added with {{WikiProject Food and drink}} banner as it falls under Category:Food or one of its subcategories. If you find this addition an error, Kindly undo the changes and update the inappropriate categories if needed. The bot was instructed to tagg these articles upon consenus from WikiProject Food and drink. You can find the related request for tagging here . If you have concerns , please inform on the project talk page -- TinucherianBot (talk) 11:47, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Reliable source?

Is this a reliable source? It looks like a commercial site to me. Badagnani (talk) 03:32, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

The site derives from recycled Mindellian fabrications on the goji story, naturopathic nonsense on several other topics, and contains numerous spelling errors and bad writing. As it is a commercial site, I have removed it as spam. --Paul144 (talk) 11:21, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Self-published book

(copied from User talk:Fram to get more editors involved)

You reverted my removal of a self-published book from Wolfberry and other articles[53]. The problem is not that the book does not exist, but that it is not a reliable source. Anyone who is willing to pay the production costs can publish a book with BookSurge, and every book that is printed by BookSurge is available through Amazonand a number of other online sellers. Perv WP:V#Self-published sources, this is not an acceptable source. Fram (talk) 13:22, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

By those definitions, what book isn't self-published?
The book had independent editorial review by the publisher and is an accurate scientifically-based text, the only one available not associated with a commercial product. There is nothing invalid about this book.
Also, according to WP:V#Self-published sources, the author is an independent expert who has written for several other publishers.
Your objections are unclear. I can think of no book interpreting wolfberry science that has higher qualifications or more independence than this one.--Paul144 (talk) 13:35, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Um, have you actually checked what BookSurge is? It is a self-publisher[54], not a publisher where someone reads the books before they decide to publish them or not. No "independent editorial review" is done at BookSurge. Furthermore, a book on science should have reviews, being used in scholarly publications, and so on. This book has 21 Google hits[55], and no Google News, Books, or Scholar hits. The book has no qualifications whatsoever. Fram (talk) 13:45, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
An independent editorial review was submitted to Booksurge with the book manuscript. Given the subject of wolfberry is hardly in the view of American science (there are no US-derived publications on wolfberry at PubMed), it's no surprise scholarly reviews of this book haven't been done. Given its long history retained in China until recently, the subject is obscure to North American and European scientists. One wonders, who other than a scientist specifically interested in wolfberry would review a book about it? So with these conditions, it's difficult to meet the criteria of peer-review as described in WP:RS.
Looking at every book listed in the Wikipedia wolfberry article, all would be removed by your criteria.
Bottom line is that the book meets these Wiki criteria [56] and is recognized by other publishers as the authoritative text on wolfberry, making it a valid objective and comprehensive reference.--Paul144 (talk) 14:43, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
"An independent editorial review was submitted"? Either you are making this up, or you are very closely connected to the author... Wikipedia is not about American science, it is about science in general. If there are no good sources on the medicinal aspect of wolfberry, then the whole section should be removed as WP:FRINGE. If there are good non-American sources about it, use those. If the only good sources are in other languages, use those (sparingly). If the other books listed are not from reliable publishers, remove them. But this book is not a source "about itself": this would mean that the article is about either the author or the book, which it obviously isn't. Fram (talk) 14:52, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
As an experienced editor of many Wikipedia pages, particularly of the wolfberry article, I can say this article is well-referenced across subsections with science from many sources, and the books listed in the bibliography are acceptable sources of information. I don't understand your motivation which seems narrow, limiting and exclusive. The book in question is one I have researched extensively and it stands as the best scientific, non-commercial reference text available, easily meeting the needs of RS. It deserves to stay by all criteria. --Paul144 (talk) 15:42, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

I've requested a third opinion on this. Fram (talk) 06:49, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Comment I am not going to spend too much time on this because the removal is based on a logical fallacy... Here is a simple brake down:

First sentence: “Anyone can create a website or pay to have a book published then claim to be an expert in a certain field.”

If this statement is TRUE then there is nothing to prevent an expert from also self publishing. So far so good.
Second sentence: For that reason, self-published books, newsletters, personal websites, open wikis, blogs, knols, forum postings, and similar sources are largely not acceptable.

Wholly would admit no exceptions, however it states largely. This is a subjective value judgement clause and so requires a judgement to be made on each individual source regarding its suitability for inclusion. Therefore: Self publication is in itself not enough for automatic exclusion.

Editor Fram seems so confused as to the duties of a publisher that I'll leave that area well alone, but mention it to point out that his comments about what he believe they do only help to create a 'circular augment' that leads nowhere. This last point also includes the question about any independent expert review of this book and the reviews supposed purpose . Instead one must consider the books possible merits like any other book i.e, based on the academic standing of the author/s and his/their supposed competence (this aspect has already been addressed to some extent).

as an aside: Academics do self publish (for instance in Public Library of Science if they wish it to be peer reviewed etc). Why -one might ask- should they feel they need to self publish?

Ans. The advantage is the same as offered by Booksurge, in that you can keep all your publishing rights. It looks like that Paul Gross has done a review of the current evidence sufficient to give a qualified opinion of his own and wants to control publication of this work.

Fram say: “If there are no good sources on the medicinal aspect of wolfberry, then the whole section should be removed as WP:FRINGE.” This is absurd. The article repeatedly make the current lack of knowledge clear. Fram's conclusion would justify medical insurance companies making a lot of clinicians redundant, if they only paid out for medical treatments with “good” sources for effectiveness -and it would also prevent the introduction of any new advances on the bases that they were not yet main stream. See figure One at the bottom of:[57]

Also, Gross clearly does not make medical claims; instead he is reviewing the evidence so far: If we take this as an example of his work: The reasons for such strict regulations? In studies of foods, it's difficult – if not impossible -- to isolate the health benefit of a single nutrient (in this case, lycopene) when so many other nutrients may be at play following dietary intake, even in a well-controlled clinical trial. As a result, FDA concludes there has been insufficient credible evidence to support a link between tomato lycopene in any form (as a supplement or as part of whole food) and a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Likewise for currently marketed goji berries or juice, there is no health claim validated by acceptable human research criteria, as there have been no well-controlled clinical trials on goji, any of its nutrients or individual goji phytochemicals.

Bottom line: There's just not enough evidence to recommend that we eat tomatoes or goji to gain specific health benefits or prevent diseases. [58]
Therefore, it appears that bases for the objections to this book are confused and unclear.--Aspro (talk) 14:37, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

I'll ignore your ramblings and reply to the conclusion; my objections are simple: why is this self-published book that is not reviewed (niether by scientific media nor by mainstream media), and is not used as a source by other authors, ... considered an acceptable source per WP:V and WP:RS? Fram (talk) 15:41, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Aspro does bring up a relevant point, Fram. If the book were being used as a source for one or two "claims" statements, it would be fair to include it. (I.e. XYZ has claimed that ABC.) But when I looked at the history of the page, I can understand why you don't feel this is relevant. It's being used as a source for several outright assertions. (I.e. ABC causes DEF. GHI is true. JKL and MNO have PQR benefits.) arimareiji (talk) 18:57, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

On the face of the arguments presented here, I'm strongly inclined to agree with Fram. But that could easily change based on the following questions, which haven't been answered: Is there any evidence of peer review, and is there any evidence that the authors are considered to be knowledgeable on the subject by their peers? I've seen a lot of utter tripe in self-published books. I've also seen extremely valuable information - but this is the exception, not the rule. Paul144, do you have examples of any of these?

  1. Citations of this work in other works
  2. Professional qualifications of the authors
  3. Periodical (newspaper, magazine, etc) reviews of this work
  4. Recommendations of this work or the authors by qualified professionals

By professional, I do not mean exclusively mainstream - I mean verifiable recognition of qualifications by a group with no obvious CoI. arimareiji (talk) 18:47, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

This discussion does have merit as it bears not only on the objectivity of self-publishing but also on all of the nutrient data mentioned in the wolfberry article.
First, two comments on objectivity.
1) Generally, only books that are solicited by a publisher, are a summary of a conference or are assembled by an editor would not be self-published. Would that be perhaps just 25% of all books on plants and nutrients? The Wikipedia definition of self-publishing[59] unfortunately has a negative connotation, implying that a self-published author only has self-aggrandizing motives for publishing. All of the books listed in the Bibliography appear to be self-published. I would assert that most book authors with credible credentials and sincere intent write to share their interpretations about a subject with the public. Each reader would make her/his own judgment about the validity of those interpretations.
Some of the Bibliography books are objective summaries of what is known about wolfberries, combined with scientific interpretation and no marketing intent, as in the Gross book. Others contain exaggerations, misleading statements or fabrications about health benefits with full intent for marketing, as in the books by Mindell (a former spokesperson for FreeLife, maker of Himalayan Goji Juice) and Young (owner/CEO of Young Living, maker of NingXia Red Wolfberry Juice).
Couldn't self-publishing be motivated by expedience and affordable cost, two factors important to most unsponsored authors? A solicited book defined as above might require one year to be published after the manuscript is submitted, at no cost to the author, but only by invitation. A self-published book can be printed within weeks of submitting a manuscript, but at a cost often reasonable to the author. The publisher in question -- Booksurge for the Gross book -- does do editorial reviews (if paid by the author), is owned by Amazon.com and specializes in "print-on-demand" publishing, meaning no physical inventory is kept (a prohibitive cost usually borne by the author), but rather prints a book from the digital manuscript when each new order is received.
2) Responding to Arimareiji's comments above
  1. books that summarize literature and present tables of nutrients as done in the book by Gross et al. are outside the typical literature used in publishing new science on a plant like wolfberry. Other than by Gross, there seem to be no other authors interpretating wolfberry for the general public over the past two years. There have been numerous publications of research papers that cite other journal literature, as shown by searching "wolfberry" on Pubmed,[60] but these papers mostly cite other scientific publications, not summaries about science for the public.
  2. The reader has to make this judgment alone based on credentials given in the author biographies.
  3. In the functional food industry where books of this nature apply, there are limited reviews of published works. I have searched but did not find any book reviews.
  4. Professional recommendations would fall under #1 above, but it's likely this type of book is not pertinent to the new research of basic scientists. Rather, it is written for general consumers, and may or may not be reviewed by the publisher's editorial staff.
Parts of the wolfberry book by Gross have been republished in online industry journals whose content is peer-reviewed and approved by an editor/publisher, e.g., [61](bottom article)[62][63][64][65]
In the final analysis, someone motivated to learn about wolfberry would have to read the self-published books listed in the Bibliography and judge for her/himself. Even in scientific journal publication of new research, however, findings and interpretations by one author may exist for years unchallenged by other scientists. Standing alone with that "self-published" idea does not disqualify the author from the scientific literature, as Fram proposes to do.
Comments on nutrient data. Nutrient contents of plant foods are not usually found in scientific literature but rather are generated from contract assays paid to third-party labs by growers or product manufacturers. All of the wolfberry nutrient data tabled in the article[66] came from either the Young book or the Gross book which are two of only four sources I know for wolfberry nutrient data. The other two are from private growers in China.--Paul144 (talk) 02:05, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm willing to accept this as a rare exception to the strongly-suspect nature of self-publishing. The key word is nature - just as peer review is not suspect by nature but sometimes produces drivel, self-publishing sometimes produces information that's worthwhile, credible, and verifiable.
Looking through the links provided and doing some of my own digging, I see no compelling evidence for CoI. I sharply disagree that industry journals are evidence of peer review, but I'm willing to accept that there's been enough exposure that someone could have called shenanigans - and I can accept his credentials as legitimate. Last, on a gut level I don't smell bull5#!7 (i.e. someone trying to cover reasoning flaws or suspect motives with scientific jargon).
If this is only a toehold that later gets rapidly expanded with new claims, I'd suspect that my current opinion was a mistake. But the claims are not unreasonable, and I think there's a lot of reason to AGF here. Fram was absolutely right to suspect a self-published book and reflexively kick it back at first, but I think this one is an exception to the usual pattern and definitely a case for WP:IAR.
Support keeping it as a reference, though that conclusion surprises me. arimareiji (talk) 05:51, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand your change of heart. This self-published book is not reviewed, not used as a reference, ... but because an editor claims it is good nonetheless, you AGF and let it pass? If there are no reliable sources for some information (e.g. nutrution contents, we should not include it). Take a sentence like "Soil origins in the Yellow River basin of Ningxia have stimulated interpretation about the exceptional nutrient qualities of the Ningxia wolfberry". This is sourced to Gross. It may be correct, but as long as we don't have a good source for it, we don't include it. AGF is about the motives of users, not the inclusion of material. Fram (talk) 08:34, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The reference to the Yellow River basin soil origins was corrected to the original source last week. If there are other references in question, you should either correct them yourself or post them here for someone else to do the work.
You removed the reference to the Gross book for the discussion of traditional medicinal applications of wolfberry. I am restoring that. Two coauthors of the Gross book are native Chinese, one of whom -- an MD trained in TCM -- contributed that chapter.
Your interpretation is counter-productive to the native knowledge, research and publishing intent of the Gross book. Native Chinese, long involved in the wolfberry growing industry and with insight only Chinese could have, wished to publish a book with an English-speaking physiologist able to interpret the wolfberry nutrient data and medical literature. This was a fresh perspective on an old literature still not actively interpreted or studied by western scientists.
It would be a mistake to dismiss the nutrient data used from the Gross and Young books, as only from sources like this would the public have access to such information. Likewise, throughout the Gross book, are insights from how common Chinese perceive wolfberry's value -- from TCM to growers and horticulturalists. Only from a self-published book could information like this be made public.
It's evident you haven't read the book. Before writing off resources having potential value for the Wikipedia article, it seems reasonable to first invest sufficient research of your own to fairly assess them.--Paul144 (talk) 10:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
It is not the function of Wikipedia to make information public. It is our function to gather and summarize information from reliable sources, per WP:V. If the only information is in unreliable sources (not meaning they are incorrect, only that Wikipedia policies don't consider them acceptable), then we should not publish this information. Fram (talk) 11:13, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The criteria for WP:SELFPUB are met in the article's use of the Gross book.--Paul144 (talk) 11:21, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Just like I argued in my post below, you have a significant misunderstanding of both what is and what isn't a self-publisehd book, and of what is acceptable use of a self published book. Selfpub says: "Questionable sources, and most self-published sources, may only be used as sources about themselves": I repeat, about themselves, i.e. in an article or a section about either the book or the author. Not in an article on wolfberries... Fram (talk) 11:32, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The title of the Gross book is "Wolfberry". This discussion would go a long way toward improvement of the article if you took a constructive attitude and made edits or recommendations that actually enhanced what we know about the subject. This may require reading the book which seems like the logical place to begin before writing it off as a violation of WP:RS. --Paul144 (talk) 11:49, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but you seem to be starting from a profoundly wrong point of vue: "Generally, only books that are solicited by a publisher, are a summary of a conference or are assembled by an editor would not be self-published." This is of coures not at all what is meant by "self-published" on Wikipedia. If you send your work to a scientific magazine, a publisher, ... and they accept to publish it after having read it, then the work is not self-published. If, however, yo sent it to some enhanced copycenter, where all they do is pack your stuff, make X copies, and list it on Amazon, all because you pay for this, then the work is "self-published". This is the case here. A work that is unsolicited by a publisher is not "self-published". Harry Potter was not solicited, but it was not self-published either. If I sent a paper to the Lancet tomorrow: it will be rejected: if I sent the same paper to BookSurge, it will be published, no matter how good or bad it is, as long as I pay for it.

Another thing you state: "The publisher in question -- Booksurge for the Gross book -- does do editorial reviews (if paid by the author)". Yes, they have authors like Ellen Tanner Marsh who write five-star blurb texts if you pay for it. So? This makes it less' reliable, not more so.

As long as you start from such a misunderstanding, I have a hard time accepting your conclusion. If all this book does is publishing an uncontrolled summary of previously controlled (peer-reviewed) studies, then we should not link to the uncontrolled summary, but to the original studies. Fram (talk) 08:34, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

I don't understand... why request a third opinion if you're going to ignore both of the ones offered? I do agree that self-published books are almost invariably full of crap, but they keyword is "almost." The statements referenced to this one don't exceed the scope of its believable authority.
I'm already familiar with the arguments you're still making, and could amplify them with a number of examples I've seen myself. But I still believe that this is a rare exception; a situation where those arguments don't hold sway. arimareiji (talk) 22:05, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
WP:3O is the starting point for most Dispute resolution, so that's where I started. That doesn't mean that the third opinion is in any way binding. However, since the third (and fourth) opinion did not agree with me, I did not remove the source again, but continued arguing those arguments that were incorrect (like the misunderstanding of what WP:SELFPUB means, or even the general misunderstanding about what self-published means). The third opinion was to me completely unconvincing as I failed to see any logic in its reasoning, yours was clearly better thought out but I did not share your interpretation of the policies and the precedence of them (AGF doees not trump WP:V). If multiple people come to a wrong conclusion because they miusinterpret some of our policies and assume too much good faith by just believing the statements made by the editor of the article, who has a clear conflict of interest wrt the book, then I'll continue arguing my point and look for advice from people with more knowledge of both reliable sources and conflict of interest. If this is to be an exception to our policies, then it will need stronger arguments than those yet given. I notice that meanwhile, two more people have at least expressed their doubts or reservations, so I am not the only one who still needs to be convinced. Fram (talk) 05:42, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Arbitrary Section Break

A couple of comments by way of full disclosure, then a question for discussion on this. I saw this dispute posted at COIN, and have read through the article and the discussion on the validity of the Gross book. I agree with the sentiment that Arimareiji and Paul144 brought up, that the policy on Self Published Sources is worded in such a way that nothing is 100% excluded just by virtue of being self-published. I am open to the possibility that the book could be considered a reliable source, but the arguments above have not been sitting right with me, from a logic perspective. A lot of arguing the omissions in the policy, etc.

So, rather than poking holes in a deliberately non-all-inclusive policy, lets look at this the other way.

Articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.

In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers.

Academic and peer-reviewed publications are highly valued and usually the most reliable sources in areas where they are available, such as history, medicine and science. Material from reliable non-academic sources may also be used in these areas, particularly if they are respected mainstream publications.

This is from WP:SOURCES which is a policy and not a guideline as is WP:RS. Please explain how the book fits this criteria, specifically the parts in bold. ArakunemTalk 23:47, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

I go with that. The book is not automatically out, and its inclusion as a source should be considered entirely per WP:NPOV. However, (redacted to avoid "outing") Paul144 (per WP:COI) should let others decide about its inclusion. Gordonofcartoon (talk) 00:28, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
What's the evidence of the asserted CoI? I dug around a little myself when this was first posted at 3-O, and didn't find anything suggesting it. (But that doesn't mean that there isn't something I just didn't find.) Additionally, I'm curious - how many more forums has this been posted to since 3-O? Apparently COIN, but anywhere else? arimareiji (talk) 05:51, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
(Redacted to avoid "outing") As for other fora: I posted it on the Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard (since the third opinion was in my view not adequate, and this noticeboard was the most logical for these problems), and another user posted it to COI noticeboard. As far as I know, that's all. Fram (talk) 07:55, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Responding to points requested by Arakunem

WP:SOURCES defines sources as having three related meanings: 1) the piece of work itself, 2) the creator of the work, and 3) the publisher of the work. All three affect reliability.

  1. the book in question is a non-commercial summary of the status of wolfberry science dated to 2006. It was written as a nutritional source reference for consumers. Its contents include i) extensive nutrient data tables produced by independent contract labs, ii) discussion of all wolfberry phytochemicals published in the scientific literature, iii) review of all 81 studies reported about wolfberry on PubMed[67] as of early 2006, iv) a chapter on TCM written by a coauthor Chinese general practice physician with TCM training, v) the botanical origins of Lycium barbarum and vi) new horticultural methods written by Chinese scientists who permitted translation specifically for this book. As there were no promotional intentions for the book other than stating the extraordinary nutrient qualities of wolfberry, there is no conflict of interest.
  2. two of the coauthors are native Chinese with extensive backgrounds on wolfberry and the lead author is a retired scientist now a freelance author -- Gross, whose record of scientific publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals can be readily assessed using PubMed, search = gross pm. This is partial evidence for the author's fact-checking and accuracy for scientific and NPOV interpretation. The only other way to assess objectivity of Gross' writing is to read the book and numerous online articles, e.g.,[68](bottom article)[69][70][71][72].
  3. the publisher, Booksurge, should be viewed with neutrality. Booksurge operates a GPS digital manuscript allowing low-cost, rapid editing and print-on-demand fulfillment, requiring no high-cost hard-copy inventory which is often a discouraging cost factor for individual authors. Because it is owned by and integrated with Amazon.com, Booksurge facilitates a published book to gain visibility via Amazon's online store and affiliations. Simple as that.

For this book, peer-review in the way we respect it works for scientific or other professional literature has not been and cannot be achieved. In the functional food or beverage industry, the book is one of three on wolfberry. The other two -- by Mindell or Young as listed in the article Bibliography -- were promotionally self-published to help sell products, violating WP:SOURCE and WP:NPOV. But they nevertheless do represent history on the subject of wolfberries possibly sought by Wikipedia users.

In the consumer industry since 2006, Gross has been the only author of science-for-consumer articles on wolfberry published online. Scientists would not seek this literature as reference support for scientific publications. One other author, Dharmananda, a PhD traditional medicine expert, has self-published an article for the TCM community.[73]

These articles do not receive the same desirable rigor of peer-review subjected to scientific papers, but they did receive scrutiny by the editors of those online journals confidentially using referees as 3rd party reviewers. The online journals that published Gross' articles such as NPI Center[74] and Natural Products Insider[75] are considered "mainstream" in their industry, as would Dharmananda's for TCM.

One would have to judge quality and objectivity of these articles and the book by reading them.--Paul144 (talk) 12:49, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

the book in question is a non-commercial summary of the status of wolfberry science dated to 2006 ... As there were no promotional intentions for the book other than stating the extraordinary nutrient qualities of wolfberry, there is no conflict of interest ... two of the coauthors are native Chinese with extensive backgrounds on wolfberry and the lead author is a retired scientist now a freelance author
We can start by calling bullshit on that? A quick Google finds the book was produced by Rich Nature Nutraceutical Laboratories, which sells wolfberries and wolfberry products (here's their press release) and is copiously linked from the book's official site wolfberry.org. The two other co-authors, Richard Zhang and Xiaoping Zhang are the founders of Rich Nature. And it was just written out of sheer fascination with wolfberries? Gordonofcartoon (talk) 15:19, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
"...written out of sheer fascination with wolfberries?" By the lead author, yes. Cynicism and healthy skepticism have their useful place, but wouldn't it be fair to assume WP:AGF?
Except for the chapters on TCM (translation by X. Zhang) and horticulture (translated from Mandarin by Chinese authors), the book was proposed, planned, written and produced entirely by Gross, a freelance author who approached the Zhangs for wolfberry information. Also, as best as I know, the two Zhangs do not contribute to Wikipedia so are not part of WP:COI.--Paul144 (talk) 16:50, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Nice catch on the (redacted to avoid "outing") CoI, Gordon - I completely missed it, and CoI changes the entire basis for discussion. I still think the claims are relatively mild, and that it's still open to debate whether it should be included, but you appear to have the matter well in hand and I'll gladly defer to your opinion.
If you hadn't already noticed, I'm feeling kinda dumb about not having caught this gem of an insinuation and its counterpoint:
  • "Native Chinese, long involved in the wolfberry growing industry and with insight only Chinese could have, wished to publish a book with an English-speaking physiologist able to interpret the wolfberry nutrient data and medical literature. This was a fresh perspective on an old literature still not actively interpreted or studied by western scientists." (earlier in the talkpage, from Paul144)
  • "Richard Zhang, a Seattle-based importer of Chinese goji berries" (wolfberry.org/documents/ParryFruitlessSearchforGoji12-06.pdf) arimareiji (talk) 16:58, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm less concerned at this stage about the specifics - the book's reliability is open to analysis - than whether Paul144 has sufficient conflict of interest to not be making the call about its inclusion.Gordonofcartoon (talk) 19:18, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Paul144 removed a wide swath of information demonstrating heavy conflict of interest on his part in editing the article, as well as on the part of others in publishing the book he's citing. One item which "outs" him (despite its probative value in showing his MAJOR conflict of interest), I've left out and it should be permanently redacted out. The remaining items do not describe him in any fashion - they only outline the CoI on the part of the publisher/wolfberry-importing company. In addition, a grossly-misleading description of the books' coauthors as uninterested parties is debunked. Per Paul144's own description, they have no known involvement with Wikipedia. Even if they are involved with Wikipedia, this information doesn't say anything about such an identity - much less "out" them.
Please note this for future reference, from WP:COI:

If you fit either of these descriptions:

  1. you are receiving monetary or other benefits or considerations to edit Wikipedia as a representative of an organization (whether directly as an employee or contractor of that organization, or indirectly as an employee or contractor of a firm hired by that organization for public relations purposes); or,
  2. you expect to derive monetary or other benefits or considerations from editing Wikipedia; for example, by being the owner, officer or other stakeholder of a company or other organisation about which you are writing;
  3. Generally speaking, the Reward Board is an exception as you may derive monetary gain from editing Wikipedia, due to the fact these are usually rewards for featured or good article status; which should not introduce bias. However, be wary of editors asking you to make specific edits or to "clean up a hatchet job" as you may unwarily become their meatpuppet.
then we very strongly encourage you to avoid editing Wikipedia in areas where there is a conflict of interest that would make your edits non-neutral (biased). Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy states that all articles must represent views fairly and without bias, and conflicts of interest do significantly and negatively affect Wikipedia's ability to fulfill this requirement. If your financially-motivated edits would be non-neutral, do not post them.
Paul144 - if you haven't already posted a request for oversight to permanently redact your information out, go here. They have no interest in "punishing" you, only in getting your information out pronto. But please note that editing an article without disclosing that you have a major financial conflict of interest will also need to be dealt with, if you continue to do it after this point in time. arimareiji (talk) 23:07, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Mention of Mindell

Mindell's literature is relevant in that he is likely the only Western marketer of "Himalayan goji berries" that actually states which provinces of China the berries are grown in. Badagnani (talk) 04:10, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Edible

What about mentioning it's an edible fruit in the first paragraph? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.228.231.82 (talk) 22:30, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Formatting

Cleanup needed per WP:MOS on all the URLs in the body text; also all the deep links, such as in the Culinary section, to images at random websites. 86.140.182.71 (talk) 03:49, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Potential sources

Removed from article "external links" per WP:EL. placed here as potential sources for improving the article. -- The Red Pen of Doom 22:59, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

potential sources

Contains several interesting articles. Looks like a blog, though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.52.4.154 (talk) 20:21, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Not for use. The "free goji berry sample" popup marks it as commercial, and Googling shows it's entirely populated with advertorial from free-syndication sites. And as a completely anonymous site (right down to the obfuscated domain ownership) with zero reputation as a source, it ain't going to be up to WP:RS - ever. So quit plugging it. 86.161.33.22 (talk) 19:24, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
They already improved the article, some exceptionally so. Badagnani (talk) 05:23, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
But The Red Pen of Doom has done the right thing. Per the usual interpretation of WP:LINKS, an external links section isn't just a collection of "oh, and here's another interesting item about the topic" links. External links are mostly for resources that can't be integrated into the article, whereas most of these are just individual news items. If any of them have anything substantial to say, that can be integrated into the article and the item cited as a source. If not, what are they there for? Gordonofcartoon (talk) 10:57, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
If they are already used as sources in the article, then they shouldnt be attached as a seperate external link. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TheRedPenOfDoom (talkcontribs) 13:46, 6 March 2009
And given the state of the article, there's no need for these links. --Ronz (talk) 01:35, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
The above editor just removed links supporting text in the article, which is impermissible and damaging to the article. Badagnani (talk) 02:15, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
I've removed the links again, per the discussion above, WP:EL, and WP:NOTLINK. I see absolutely nothing that's "impermissible" here. I'm having a hard time seeing anything "damaging" either.
I notice that the article has needed basic formatting of references for a few years now. How about working on that first? --Ronz (talk) 03:01, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Please undo the damage first and cease editing in a hyperaggressive manner. A look at WP:STALK would also be in order. Badagnani (talk) 03:26, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Please take your behavioral complaints to an appropriate venue. I'll continue to ignore them. --Ronz (talk) 04:46, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Photo links

I removed the links to photos. Perhaps a couple of the better images from links that aren't dead could be downloaded and included in the article instead per image guidelines? --Ronz (talk) 04:47, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Please undo these highly damaging edits pending discussion and consensus for such removals, and also a consideration of WP:STALK. The latter is very important to avoid, yet you appear to be engaging in such behavior, which is quite against our project's highest ideals. Thank you for this consideration. Badagnani (talk) 05:29, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Responded on your talk page. --Ronz (talk) 15:48, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
I've reverted, as I agree with Ronz. This kind of overblown description of edits - "hyperaggressive, highly damaging and disruptive, WP:POINTy" - isn't helpful. Outside links within the body text are at the least discouraged and may well be against WP:MOS. Links direct to the front pages of commercial sites - particularly www.gojiberries.us and www.gojiberry.com/ - look more like product placement than useful references. Many of the links are unreliable in the mundane sense of links dying because they're at transient one-horse sites (for instance, http://www.zgycsc.com/affix/3238088/%D5%D5%C6%AC%20127.jpg). Plus it's just not done to link in mid-stream out to individual images at sites of no particular credentials. If we want images, we can find some we can get rights to. It's also bad sourcing and skating on the edge of original research to build sections saying "Wolfberry is used for X (photolink), Y (photolink) and Z (photolink)", and not a substitute for finding reliable sources that say wolfberry is used for X, Y and Z.
The links were crucial to the article's text and the implication that I am some sort of spammer is absolutely unacceptable! Please restore those links. Summary removal was very wrong. Further, the editor insisting on the removal does need to familiarize him/herself with WP:STALK. Badagnani (talk) 23:54, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not making any such implication. I looked at the article as I found it. Please stop these attacks and statements of bad faith. As Ronz said, take it to an appropriate conduct forum if you want to complain. Gordonofcartoon (talk) 00:07, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Your highly rude response notwithstanding, the links were crucial in backing up many aspects of the text. Summary, hyperaggressive removal of them rather than reformatting or careful working together to find replacements for them, combined with WP:STALKing, was very, very wrong. We can all work together to improve this article if we don't edit in a unilateral and hyperaggressive manner. That is, in fact, WP's original ethos, to which we should always aspire, because we all do want the same thing--to have the best, most encyclopedic, and best-sourced article on this subject. Badagnani (talk) 00:12, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
We can all work together to improve this article if we don't edit in a unilateral and hyperaggressive manner.
Right. So stop responding as if removing links equates with shooting your puppy.
So, as to these links, let's start with www.gojiberries.us and www.gojiberry.com/. These look to me to come squarely under WP:ELNO - Links normally to be avoided - #5: "Links to web pages that primarily exist to sell products or services". Gordonofcartoon (talk) 00:26, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
The berries are marketed by some sellers as coming from "the Himalayas" or "Tibet," or "the Tibetan and Mongolian Himalayas." Those sources show such verbiage to be in current use by such sellers. That should be clear. This user has become well known for removing sources, then tagging huge amounts of text as unsourced, then removing that text, impoverishing our articles. S/he has WP:STALKed me here and is doing the same thing. Information about uses of this plant in China have had many, many sources simply wiped away, without consensus. Careful and thoughtful discussion is needed prior to such "wiping." Badagnani (talk) 00:50, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Those sources show such verbiage to be in current use by such sellers. That should be clear.
OK, but that small amount of information needs weighing against the overall weight of the sites, whose main aim is to sell Goji berries. Are there third-party reliable sources mentioning the claims? If there aren't, why should we even include it?
This user has become well known
I asked you to stop this. If you have a genuine complaint, take it to Wikiquette alerts or WP:ANI or start an RFC or something. You've mentioned WP's original ethos: I don't recall that including constant open display of bad faith. Gordonofcartoon (talk) 01:19, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
and even using Those sources show such verbiage to be in current use by such sellers. That should be clear. is a violation of WP:OR. -- The Red Pen of Doom 01:47, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
No, it is not original research. Badagnani (talk) 01:53, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
But it is, because (as far as I'm aware) no third-party commentator has made those observations and comparisons between where different vendors say the berries from. The whole Wolfberry#Tibetan goji berry section is WP:SYNTH that collects climate/geographical information and growing conditions in order to debunk a Tibetan origin for goji berries. Unless some third party has brought the same data together to make that analysis, it's OR. Gordonofcartoon (talk) 15:46, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Note on partially formatted references

I started formatting links that appear to be references. Because there were so many, I didn't even try to check them against WP:V and WP:RS. --Ronz (talk) 05:07, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Reformatting of links is fine, if crucially important links are not removed in the process. Badagnani (talk) 20:32, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Massive deletions

See [76]. Badagnani (talk) 16:58, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Both versions are 56 kilobytes long. No sourced material was removed. Anyone care to discuss specific changes? --Ronz (talk) 19:43, 19 March 2009 (UTC)