Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Men Who Stare at Warts

Clearly, the movie is probably a more entertaining experience but, nonetheless, the version in the title stands to make a profit. And if you don't believe me, then you obviously haven't heard about Apple's decision to remove an app from it's iPod/iPhone store that is supposed to help people remove warts.

"But wait," you ask, "how can an app- even one for a cool and over-priced piece of consumer electronics- possibly help with the removal of a dermatological issue?"

Well, the simple answer is, "it can't," but that doesn't mean you can't make a profit on it anyway. To quote the article:

Apple has decided psychic healing has no place in the App Store, despite last week approving a "distance healing" application for warts available for only $12.99.

The faithful who bought a copy of Wart Healer were asked to take a photograph of their wart which is sent to the "professional mental healer", who spends the next 111 days thinking about it after which "first effects are visible".

This is honestly even better than that breast enlargement hypnosis CD from a while back. It is literally an app which allows you to photograph an unsightly blemish, send it to a stranger* via the internet, and wait for them to remove your wart through some sort of action-at-a-distance brought about by thinking about your wart for 111 days. And as long as we're on the subject, how much money would it take to convince you to think about some stranger's wart- professionally, mind you- for 111 days? That "professional mental healer" is either very dedicated or entirely unemployable.**

Honestly? If you bought this app, you probably deserved to lose your $13.00. Think of it as a learning experience.

* This is assuming that the picture goes anywhere but straight into a trash file. I, in fact, suspect the trash file is the true destination.

** Or, as implied in the above footnote, non-existent.

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Blogger Jay Livingston said...

But what if the treatment works? Warts are, I think, one of those conditions that is responsive to psychological cures -- some of them more costly and credulity-challenging than this.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010 7:51:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

Hey Jay,

I've never heard of any evidence supporting a psychological cure for warts, though that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Warts are produced by viral infection, however, which suggests that any psychological influence would have to be via immune response. The evidence for a psyche-to-immune connection is, of course, rather mixed. The main issue with the "treatment" I mention above, though, is that most warts resolve on their own in a few months anyway. So, claiming that the program won't start to work for almost 4 months is a pretty safe gamble.

There's also the additional question of whether spending $13.00 for a dubious "cure" like this is a better bet than buying OTC salicylic acid and an emery board. Even if it does work to some extent, if there's a cheaper and more effective treatment readily available...

Thursday, May 06, 2010 7:33:00 AM  
Blogger Jay Livingston said...

Drek, I think I was remembering this from an old Andrew Weil book. He says that doctors sometimes amuse themselves with stories of the preposterous things they've had patients do to for warts. But the "treatments" often work (as does doing nothing).

Thursday, May 06, 2010 8:46:00 AM  

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