Thursday, December 21, 2006

Some Questions about the Ansar

Beware morons bearing advice. Yesterday I found myself waiting for my doctor (yes, the same one who has been failing to aid me lo these many months) to write me a prescription for my medicine. His accent is often so thick and his face so uncommunicative that I struggle to understand what he's cajoling me about. He asked if "I knew the Ansar." This struck me as some sort of trick question. So I told him what dosage of what medicine I have been taking. He attempted, though failed, to clarify by saying, "No, the Ansar. The machine." Confused, more than usual, I waited for him to mount up and take a third go at the windmill of basic communication. After some gestures and his full focus on using multiple words to explain the concept in his mind, I began to understand. Well somewhat. He was talking about a great new machine he bought. The machine, I came to learn, cost him $30,000. It was called Ansar. Having satisfied himself that I understood that he owned a machine that was called Ansar he set about trying to explain why one would use this machine.

He promptly explained that there are two parts to the nervous system, the sympathetic and the wait, what is the other one. Oh, right, the parasympathetic one. He told me that the sympathetic is engaged in action, and worry. That it controls focus and depression. While the parasympathetic controls headaches. Now, I'm highly dubious of these claims. Sadly, if he told me I was on fire I might get a second opinion before stopping, dropping and rolling.

I asked what this machine does. It measures whether or not your parasympathetic or sympathetic is stronger and determines if they are in balance. Then it tells him what medicines to prescribe. Then he will know for sure what and what dosages to give me for any problems I might have. I asked whether the diagnosis for say, depression or other conditions would include any discussion of how I'm feeling, what I'm thinking. He calmly and somewhat dismissively said no, that this was better. That the Ansar system would be more accurate.

He then thrust a very phony looking pamphlet into my hand, and reiterated again and again that if I wanted to try the machine he could arrange that. Apparently he needs to pay off his $30,000 investment.

It was appaling to me to think that this machine is supposed to be able to in 30 minutes diagnose any and all problems. That depression is solely a physical condition. That biorhythms and the balance between your various nervous systems will accurately predict the condition, medication and dosage. I guess I'm unwilling to accept that level of analytical expertise from a computer, to say nothing of one hawked by a man unable to identify my various body parts.

I went to the ANSAR web site, looking for any information. Any major journal that has reviewed this favorably. I have to admit I'm largely baffled by the site. If other more trained observers what to help me decode it, I'd love the assistance. From what I can tell, it seems a bit of an overstatement. My favorite statement is

"A balance between the two branches of your ANS is essential for good health. In fact, most illnesses and injuries cause or result from an imbalance between these two branches. An imbalance in your ANS can tell your doctor many things about how healthy you are, as well as what can be done to keep you as healthy as possible.
Am I wrong, doesn't this sound like Homer's great quote about beer. "Beer the cause of and solution to all life's problems." So this imbalance can either be the cause or a symptom of a problem. Without investigating through conversation and medical history how does one know whether you're viewing symptom or cause? Can an over exercise of the parasympathetic lead to more than one problem?

Maybe I'm too skeptical, but when presented by my awful doctor, penicillin would seem risky and worthless.

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