The Posture Theory Controversy
When I was 25 years old I had to make a serious decision about continuing to consult my doctor who was unable to explain or relieve my health problems, or to study the medical literature to determine the cause myself. I had numerous symptoms which had persisted for many years, and were getting worse to the point of being intolerable. During the previous few years I had many x-rays and blood tests which were all negative (i.e. they didn't reveal anything), and I had been told that there was no scientific way of explaining a physical cause for such a diverse range of ailments. Of course, it was suggested that they may have been due to psychological factors because the brain is connected to the nervous system which is connected to all parts of the body.
My reasons for disagreeing with that idea was simply related to the fact that many things, unrelated to my mind, were obviously aggravating the symptoms. For example, I would get chest pains while jogging up and down on beach sand, and dizzy if I bent down to tie up my shoe laces, or abdominal pain if I leaned toward a desk, or I would feel faint if I was the passenger in a car which sped around a curve in the road, and of course, I had never been afraid of tying up my shoelaces or driving, and none of the other passengers were feeling faint.
I therefore decided that I had no other practical choice but to start reading medical and anatomy books, and try to find, or develop some methods of relieving the symptoms.
During the next five years I kept detailed notes on everything that aggravated any of the symptoms, and was eventually able to determine that they all had one thing in common. When I examined and re-examined all of the details I saw a definite tendency for the symptoms being aggravated by leaning forward. I also concluded that leaning forward was putting pressure on my heart and lungs, and on the air in my chest, and on my stomach and abdomen, so it became obvious that leaning forward was the common factor.
However, I couldn't explain why I was getting those problems and other people weren't, until much later when I realised that I had a very bad posture which was due to an abnormal curve in my upper spine. I was eventually able to conclude that people with poor posture, who lean forward repeatedly for many years would be prone to those health problems, whereas people with straight spines would not. Many more years went by and then I finally noticed that chest shape was also a major factor, where a broad and deep chest would protect the internal structure from damage, and a long, narrow chest would make the mechanical pressures on leaning much worse.
As you can appreciate the idea is perfectly matter of fact and logical in every way, and can be summed up as "The Posture Theory".
The controversy began: Unfortunately, in the very early stages of my study, I found that patients who have a large number of symptoms which are not evident on x-rays, are diagnosed as having the 'imaginary' symptoms of hypochondria, The cause of the symptoms had been attributed to a lot of different psychological factors such as the morbid preoccupation with imaginary or trivial illness, the fear of disease, laziness and the need for sympathy and attention, and anxiety, depression, or insanity.
It was obvious to me that my posture theory would never be popular with people who held those views, and that they would do everything they could to discredit me. As you can appreciate, I didn't want to be controversial, and I didn't want to offend or argue with anyone who had different ideas to mine, but it was essentially impossible to avoid.
I decided to try and avoid controversy by only discussing my ideas with very close friends and not mention them in public unless the situation was anonymous. For example, I would discuss them on talk back radio, or have articles published in newspapers. I asked a science magazine to publish my ideas without mentioning my sir name, and all of the newspaper articles and my books were published without my photo.
I was skeptical of anyone in conventional science ever accepting such a controversial idea, so In about 1982, when I was introduced to the head of the South Australian Institute for Fitness Research and Training, I was surprised to see that he was a friendly agreeable person who was always casual and frank and asked me to run a research programme based on my ideas about fatigue.
I didn't want to do the programme because I was getting quite severe abdominal pain within a short time of sitting at a desk and reading or writing, but I managed to get the study done when it involved data on 20 patients. The problem got worse on the next three monthly group which took it to 40, and the next which involved summarising the data of 80 volunteers.
I then left the programme without saying why, because mentioning health problems always sounds like an excuse, even if it is a valid reason.
I later completed a summary of the data and sent it off to The Australian Medical Journal, which replied with a standard rejection, and to the New Guinea Medical Journal where the editor sent me a reply explaining that the study was valuable but not accepted because it hadn't been written in the standard research article style.
I also contacted a freelance journalist who did a summary of the project which was published in major state newspapers in Western Australia, Brisbane, and Sydney.
About a week later the head of the institute called me in for a meeting and explained that one of his research cardiologists had moved to Sydney and saw the article in the Sydney Morning Herald, and rang to suggest not using the word 'hypochondria' in any future articles. It was a casual comment without any tone of force, but I understood that the Institute would rather not get involved in controversy.
I had scientifically proved that chronic fatigue was a real physical ailment, and that it wasn't trivial, or imaginary, and was different from normal tiredness.
I then went off to try other forms of employment but sooner or later I would have to stop for health reasons, so I went back to reading and studying to find out more about the problems and how to refine the methods of managing the symptoms.
I maintained my general anonymity to avoid prejudice, so that I didn't become a victim of it, and I knew that conventional journals and major newspapers were unlikely to publish my ideas so I sent them to natural health magazines or new or radical newspapers.
I also knew that people would be stealing my ideas and trying to pass them off as their own, which is one of the main reasons I had mine published, either in magazines or my own self-published books.
Wikipedia: Many years went by and I kept being told about Wikipedia, a new online encyclopedia that anyone could contribute to, so eventually I joined.
However I learned of a policy that recommends that you don't write about your own theories, so I started adding information to other pages. Soon after that I received an email from a woman who had seen my book and wrote to say how impressed she was with it's accuracy and usefulness, and after a few weeks I got the idea of asking her to do an article on my theory. She agreed so I provided her of a draft summary of my 1000 page book to be rewritten in her own words, if, of course, she agreed with the information.
Everything was going smoothly, and I had sent amendments for her to make, so within a short time it was almost the perfect, small, but complete article called The Posture theory. None of the other editors had anything to say about it. I was beginning to think that Wikipedia really was open to all members of the public to provide all of the ideas in the community, so I asked her to add the word 'hypochondria'to the text. That one small word made the difference between an article about "poor posture causing a large number of undetectable symptoms", and "poor posture is the real cause of the symptoms of hypochondria which were previously considered to be imaginary'.
The instant response: This is what happened - Within seven hours, seven different editorswanted it deleted for six entirely different reasons, namely - copyright violation, original research policy and single purpose account, copyright violation again, Non-notable topic, WP:Fringe and WP:OR, and "one guys theory". Those comments were made between 21:35 on 28-11-07 and 4:50 on 29-11-07 here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/The_posture_theory
It was immediately obvious to me that they were seven different editors who were personally offended by the theory, and didn't want to give their real reasons for deleting it so they just hurried in with the first policy objection that they could use as their excuse.
That article was soon deleted despite me giving the editors virtually all of the evidence and proof of publication that they asked for.
As you can appreciate from my thirty years of experience that was 'not surprising', and was, more the to point - 'TYPICAL'.
The Posture Theory is an excellent idea, but when some people learn that it was written by an ordinary person, and not a doctor, and that it proves the symptoms of hypochondria are real, and not imaginary, they want to delete it and hide it from public view, and do everything they can to insult, discourage, and discredit me.
My email correspondent left Wikipedia, and soon after that I looked through some pages to find other topics to contribute to, and then i saw "Da Costa's syndrome" so I started adding to it, and included a small amount of information about my theory and research because it was relevant.
Within a short time I had two critics who made it perfectly clear to me that they were going to brand me with as many psychiatric traits or labels as possible if I didn't leave the page. They put my personal Sir name at the top of the topics discussion page and then my personal name in the first few paragraphs, and continued to describe me as a person who had stupid, non-notable, nonsense ideas, and argued that I was having 'difficulty' understanding simple concepts. After deliberately ignoring, disrupting, or deleting everything I wrote they told the other editors that I had an inability to co-operate with others in a collaborative environment, and that I needed to be banned for 'disruptive behaviour'. They also filled the topic page with psychiatric explanations for everything, and saturated it with comments, references, and links to several hundred different psychiatric labels which included anxiety, depression, mental disorders, cowardice, and of course the new jargon for hypochondria - Somatization autonomic dysfunction' with the acronym of SAD, and the general inference that the symptoms were trivial, imaginary and caused by psychological factors.
I could write more here, but if you agree that The Posture Theory is a perfectly logical, sensible, and evidence based concept, then that is good - thankyou. However, if you are filled with prejudice it won't make any difference because you will still believe, or pretend to believe whatever you want without any regard for the evidence.
I will give this comment - If you have a choice about what illnesses you get - and you won't - but if you did, remember the popular expression - break a leg - because it will show up on x-rays and be remedied in a few months, and you won't have to deal with the bullshit of controversy. M.A.Banfield 21-10-10
The start of the Da Costa's talk page where they added my Sir name in bold print can be seen here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Da_Costa%27s_syndrome/Archive_1
The topic page has many psychiatric labels in the text, reference list, and reference notes, and in the two links at the top right side of the page - ICD-9 and ICD-10, and the two links at the bottom of the page "Somatoform disorders" and "Anxiety disorders", can be seen here http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Da_Costa%27s_syndrome&diff=200626664&oldid=200493334
Typical examples of their editing style of deleting scientific evidence of physical cause, and replacing it with psychiatric labels, can be seen here http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Da_Costa%27s_syndrome&diff=178805024&oldid=178801481
and here http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Da_Costa%27s_syndrome&diff=190462118&oldid=190379699
The Worried Well - a misnomer
Within a few days of me posting this essay on my website one of my critics made the following suggestion for Wikipedia . . .
"Worried well seems to be a redlink. It looks like the old code was "2008 ICD-9-CM Diagnosis Code V65.5, Person with feared complaint in whom no diagnosis was made". Is there a new name for it? Is there anything much to be said about it, beyond that it exists?" WhatamIdoing 20:51, 22 October 2010. See here http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Medicine&diff=prev&oldid=392713289#Worried_well
This is my response: When I began studying my own health problems it was due to the necessity of having to determine the cause. It had absolutely nothing to do with "worry". My approach was patient, calm, objective, methodical, and successful.
I established that the supposedly unexplainable symptoms had a real physical cause, namely poor posture. I also established that previous theories about trivial or imaginary symptoms, which had been diagnosed as hypochondria, were wrong in many, if not all cases.
My main critic is fully aware of the new labels for hypochondria which include the term "MUPS" (Medically unexplained physical symptoms) because that individual edited the following section of that topic page in Wikipedia on 18-12-08 shortly before I was banned.
"MUPS is not synonymous with somatization disorder or psychosomatic illness where the cause or perception of symptoms is mental in origin. Instead, MUPS refers to the clinical situation where the cause of the symptoms cannot be determined, but might include psychiatric, physical and/or environmental causes."
See 18:29 on 18-12-08 here http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Medically_unexplained_physical_symptoms&diff=prev&oldid=258819089
and a few minutes later here http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Medically_unexplained_physical_symptoms&diff=next&oldid=258819089
Here is a definition of the Worried Well - people like my two critics who are well, but get easily frustrated and are on the verge of tearing their hair out. See here http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Moreschi&diff=prev&oldid=288770661
If my main critic wants to stop worrying they should stop claiming to have an annoyingly high IQ while playing dumb. That editor also needs to learn the difference between "is" and "might", and "opinion" and "proof", and stop messing around with the English language as if it is a childrens toy.