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Edfuscation in biomedical research and education

On 28 May 2016, I coined and defined the terms "edfuscate" and "edfuscation" to denote a type of education (formal information transmittal) that is contaminated with the intent to confuse, generally for the sake of creating some type of dependency, whether that is subjugating the reader/attendee/student to the pseudoknowledge of the writer/teacher, maintaining the status quo via use of thought-terminating clichés, or artificially creating a need for a service or product.

  • Education: 1.the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university. 2. an enlightening experience. Traditionally, the goal of education has been to liberate people, to empower them.

  • Obfuscation: 1. to make something less clear and harder to understand, especially intentionally, 2. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy. 3. to make obscure or unclear . 4. to darken. The goal of obfuscation is to confuse people.

  • Edfuscation: 1. To confuse or intellectually hinder someone under the guise and auspice of education. The goal of edfuscation is to fool people into thinking they are receiving information/education while they are being confused, distracted, or numbed with inaccurate, misleading, or nonsensical information.

This topic could and already has occupied volumes of books and hours of video by numerous authors, activists, and scholars, most notably Chomsky, Frankfurt, and Gatto, introduced/cited per the titles and videos included below.

While this specific essay will be developed over time, I want to start this conversation by using a very poignant example from the biomedical literature, in this case a clinical trial published by the American Medical Association (AMA), the same group that obfuscated the science on tobacco for 50 years so that the business of the AMA could divest itself financially from the tobacco industry with which it was entwined. The specific citation and access to the full text are provided here:

  • Full citation: Mark A. Pereira, PhD; Janis Swain, MS, RD; Allison B. Goldfine, MD; Nader Rifai, PhD; David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD. Effects of a Low–Glycemic Load Diet on Resting Energy Expenditure and Heart Disease Risk Factors During Weight Loss. JAMA. 2004 November

  • Hyperlink to full-text:

  • Quoted summary from the abstract of article: "Changes in dietary composition within prevailing norms can affect physiological adaptations that defend body weight."

  • Why this is totally absurd, consistent with what Princeton Professor Emeritus Henry Frankfurt PhD would call "bullshit" (see video below): No-one can make sense of this sentence. What is worse is that this article is actually very important so its editorial emasculation/ evisceration carries major consequences for the health of millions of people.

  • What they also said: "C-reactive protein declined by nearly 50% with weight loss in the low–glycemic load group but remained essentially unchanged in the low-fat group."

  • What they should have said if they wanted to tell the truth: Reducing carbohydrate intake reduces systemic inflammation by 50%, thereby demonstrating a major physiologic improvement for the prevention of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

  • Why they did not want to tell the truth: JAMA/AMA wants to keep doctors and patients disempowered so that doctors will sell drugs, pharmaceutical sponsors and advertisers will continue to give money and "research grants", and so that patients will continue to think that diet change is ineffective at best, dangerous quackery at worst.

See Dr Vasquez discuss this research during his introductory presentation at the 2013 ICHNFM conference in his presentation on functional inflammology, now detailed in Inflammation Mastery, 4th Edition.

Medical education is completely deficient in Nutrition, also Musculoskeletal training, also anything beyond handwashing and vaccines for preventing viral infections. To be sure, chiropractic and naturopathic education also have some pretty huge blind-spots as well.


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