Nutty German Scientists: We Could Really Use a Century Off by Pat Conrad MD

Fair warning up front:  this story is just plain weird.  I write a lot about why physicians should avoid becoming government operatives, and about how doing so makes us subject to any and every political whim and mob demand.  Please note, as crackpot as this story sounds, I have found it in multiple sources and it is not a parody from The Onion.

“Researchers from the University of Bonn said that humans tend to be generally kinder to friends and family than strangers.”  Sure, okay, glad they researched that burning question.  “But this natural tendency can be overridden by getting humans to take oxytocin and then setting up a ‘social norm’ which pushes people into accepting migrants.”  And there we are.  Some nut lab Germans are trying to find chemical ways to support controversial public policy.  They gave 183 subjects 50 Euros each, which they could spend on either the local needy, or migrants.

Researchers discovered “that people donated around 20 per cent more to migrants than to needy locals to begin with, and when drugged with oxytocin — the so-called ‘love hormone’ — participants already well-disposed to migrants gave even more generously.

People who had ‘negative attitudes towards migrants’ were not affected — but, when they were shown how generous others had been towards migrants in combination with the drugs, they ‘donated up to 74 per cent more’.  Is this not the definition of intervention bias?

“The research suggests that people could be made to be more generous to migrants through a combination of oxytocin and peer pressure.”

Kindly put, this is junk.  How did these clowns differentiate the effects from the oxytocin from the effects of the peer pressure?  Showing test subjects how other test subjects behave, and then recording altered behavior as anything significant is worthless.  But what about dosing subjects with a psychoactive substance, not to make them feel individually better, but to make them “better” in a societal context?

Not to peddle clichés, but pursuing pharmacologic mind control in a central European nation with, shall we say, not the best track record in the last century, would be frightening if it weren’t so numbskulled.  What is frightening is that anyone with grant or government support would think that chemically correcting someone’s attitude toward a topical issue is in any way acceptable.

Pick your favorite topic, from immigration, to sexuality, to religion, to global climate warming/freezing/change, or the obvious threat posed by international soccer:  if a majority thought it right, should a doctor smile, give a thumbs up, and dose the miscreant?


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  12 comments for “Nutty German Scientists: We Could Really Use a Century Off by Pat Conrad MD

  1. Sir Lance-a-lot
    August 27, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Oh, and your illustrating this with Dr. Krieger is brilliant.

    He’s my favorite, along with Dr. Nick (who graduated from the Hollywood Upstairs School of Medicine).

    • Pat
      August 27, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      “Archer” is my spirit animal.

      • Sir Lance-a-lot
        August 27, 2018 at 4:25 pm

        Krieger is mine…

  2. Dave
    August 27, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Heil Hormone!

  3. PW
    August 27, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Very scary…

  4. Sir Lance-a-lot
    August 27, 2018 at 10:19 am

    As documented in Dr. Robert Jay Lifton’s excellent history, “The Nazi Doctors,” under that German regime, the responsibility of the physician was shifted from being to the well-being of the individual patient being seen to being to the well-being of the “volk,” ie: “the People.” This made such things as selecting whom to kill next, and experimenting on unwilling subjects, acceptable, as the doctor was doing what he was doing for “the People” or “the common good.”

    All of this nonsense where we are supposed to try to create “community health outcomes” or whatever, is related back to this conflict between treating the person, and treating “the People.”
    When Medicine turns away from the individual human being, and toward some concept of society as a whole, no good can come of it.

    • JRDO
      August 27, 2018 at 10:45 am

      Individual liberties vs the good of the collective (which is basically conservatism vs liberalism).
      The point of A Clockwork Orange is that either side of that coin can go off the rails.

    • PW
      August 27, 2018 at 11:05 am

      Population Medicine.

      • RSW
        August 27, 2018 at 4:54 pm

        I’ve never gotten a clear explanation of what “population health” actually is, but I think it has something to do with penalizing docs for poor results in patients they’ve never met. Personally, I don’t do populations, I do individuals; I don’t do health, I do medicine.

        I definitely want to ask one of those morons at the AAFP pushing this if, when they need legal or financial advice, they search out someone who does population law or population accounting – someone, that is, who balances their needs against those of society as a whole when arguing their case or filing their taxes

        • PW
          August 28, 2018 at 12:11 pm

          I think you pretty much got it. We’re supposed to treat society instead of individuals.
          I ain’t doing it.

  5. Sir Hakum of Hugo
    August 27, 2018 at 9:02 am

    This would explain the plague of Ultra-violence across liberalized Western Europe. Excellent observation JRDO. Cue up Ludwig von Beethoven…..

  6. JRDO
    August 27, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Sounds like a real life A Clockwork Orange.

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