[Ibogaine] Reply from Alex

Nick Sandberg nick227 at tiscali.co.uk
Fri Feb 15 06:40:14 EST 2008

Personally I figure Alex has his heart in the right place and that he's just
somewhere got off on the wrong foot with ibogaine. He's mailed me for more
scientific information and I've put him on to Ken Alper, who I'm hoping will
get in touch. He's a professional guy and the stance he's taking can't
really be faulted so much in terms of strict clinical procedure or
empiricism. It's just that it's also highly misrepresentative. I'm hoping
that if people stop reacting too much with a load of rhetoric then he will
come on board. It's tough, I know. I like reacting with a load of rhetoric
so I know what it's like! I have to hold myself in. I regret being too
confrontational with Peter Cohen when he briefly came on this list and I
think it is important that people can listen to each other.





From: ibogaine-bounces at mindvox.com [mailto:ibogaine-bounces at mindvox.com] On
Behalf Of Nyc W. Alberts
Sent: 13 February 2008 17:43
To: The Ibogaine List
Subject: Re: [Ibogaine] Reply from Alex


It's bullshit to be tossed to the back of the bus after you've been invited
to sit up front.


Wodak sounds just like the "Mason Parrish" Med School Administrator
character in "Altered States" that gives the William Hurt character a hard

Here are some relevant pull quotes from the movie:

Mason Parrish <http://imdb.com/name/nm0354024/> : I want someone to look at
those X-Rays who can read them. 
Eddie <http://imdb.com/name/nm0000458/>  Jessup: I'd rather not have
everyone in the Brigham in on this. It's bad enough we've got this nosy
x-ray technician. 
Mason <http://imdb.com/name/nm0354024/>  Parrish: Are you all right? 
Eddie <http://imdb.com/name/nm0000458/>  Jessup: I'm fine, Mason. I tried to
indicate this was just a transient thing. 
Mason <http://imdb.com/name/nm0354024/>  Parrish: Transient ischemic attack,
that's what it was. 
[Addressing Arthur] 
Mason <http://imdb.com/name/nm0354024/>  Parrish: He's got his voice back. 
Eddie <http://imdb.com/name/nm0000458/>  Jessup: It wasn't an ischemic
attack! It wasn't a seizure. You saw the x-rays, Mason. There was clearly
something anterior to the larynx that looked like a laryngal sack. That's
strictly simian! I obviously regressed! To some quasi-simian creature. 
Mason <http://imdb.com/name/nm0354024/>  Parrish: I'm gonna show these to
someone who can read them right, 'cause you're reading them wrong, that's
all there is to it. Because no one is gonna tell me you de-differentiated
your goddamn genetic structure for four goddamn hours and then reconstitued!
I'm a professor of endocrinology at the Harvard Medical School. I'm an
attending physician at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital! I'm a contributing
editor to the American Journal of Endocrinology and a I am a fellow and
vice-president of the Eastern Association of Endocrinologists and president
of the Journal Club! And I'm not going to listen to any more of your
kabbalistic, quantum, friggin' dumb limbo mumbo jumbo! I'm gonna show these
to a radiologist! 


Mason Parrish <http://imdb.com/name/nm0354024/> : You're supposed to be
reputable scientists! Not two dorm kids freaking on Mexican mushrooms! 


Mason Parrish <http://imdb.com/name/nm0354024/> : It looks to me like the
architecture is slightly abnormal. 
Dr. <http://imdb.com/name/nm0310960/>  Wissenschaft: Somewhat? This guy's a
fucking gorilla! 

What an asshole.


Nick Sandberg wrote: 

I got a reply back from Alex Wodak and replied, both copied below








From: Alex Wodak [mailto:awodak at stvincents.com.au] 

Sent: 12 February 2008 23:53

To: Nick Sandberg

Cc: gerry.stimson at ihra.net

Subject: Re: Ibogaine Talk


Dear Mr Sandberg,


It is very unusual for people to debate an abstract of a talk before the
paper has been presented


I was invited to do this talk and accepted the invitation


My reward for that acceptance has been to be subjected to tirades


My abstract states that 


'Published evidence for Ibogaine as a treatment for heroin dependence is


Please provide me with a list of publications that provides strong empirical
evidence for iboguaine. 


I have defined in the abstract exactly the kinds of publications I need:


''Evidence' means several rigorous scientific trials published in reputable
peer-reviewed scientific journals demonstrating major benefits consistently
and in the absence of unacceptable side effects. Evidence of effectiveness
preferably (but not necessarily) requires randomised controlled trials where
this is possible. 'Evidence' is not a strong theoretical rationale'. 


I note that you have already had the opportunity to provide this information
for me in your e-mail and have not already done so. 


You refer instead to unnamed studies.  


Please provide more details: Author, title, journal, year, volume, pages. 


Please do so now. 


Please understand that neither of us has a monopoly on concern about the
plight of people you describe as 'addicts'


In my view it is not compassionate to advocate for a treatment unless we
know from evidence that the treatment is effective and safe (and preferably
also cost effective)


I am sure you know the saying 'The road to hell is paved with good


While you may regard the statment that 'Since the tragic experience of
thalidomide some decades ago, medicine has been based firmly on scientific
evidence' as manipluative, I note that you did not say it was wrong. 


Just as well. 


That statement is correct. 


How can it be manipulative. 


I have just used the very same sentence in an editorial for a medical


Neither of my 3 distinguished co-authors, nor the editor nor the 2 reviewers
took exception to this comment. 


I don't have any position on iboguaine  - I certainly want more and better
treatments for injecting drug users 


But I don't have any desire to see iboguaine come or go 


My position, as outlined in the abstract, is very simple. 


I assume that all interventions are ineffective, unsafe and cost-ineffective
until proven otherwise and that includes iboguaine. 


If you want me to be impressed by iboguaine, then show me the evidence. 


It's that simple 


I assume after reviewing your qualifications that you do not appear to have
had any training in empirical research relevant to evaluation of
pharmaceutical treatments. 


None of us can cover all the areas that this field encompasses. 


Perhaps your qualifications and expetrience put you at a disadvantage for
reviewing scientific literature on empirical research relevant to evaluation
of pharmaceutical treatments


best wishes, 






-----Original Message-----
From: Nick Sandberg [mailto:nick227 at tiscali.co.uk] 
Sent: 13 February 2008 15:17
To: 'Alex Wodak'
Cc: 'gerry.stimson at ihra.net'
Subject: RE: Ibogaine Talk


Hi Alex,


Thanks for getting back to me. It is not my intention to mindlessly give you
a hard time. It is not nice to be on the receiving end, for sure, but I must
say that if you did associate ibogaine with thalidomide then it is perhaps
not surprising that it happens. If not then it is certainly unwarranted. The
2 papers I referred to in my letter to you are as follows:


- Ibogaine: Complex Pharmacokinetics, Concerns for Safety, and Preliminary
Efficacy Measures - Neurobiological Mechanisms of Drugs of Abuse, Volume 914
of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, September 2000 - Ann N Y
Acad Sci 2000;914:394-401) DEBORAH C. MASH,a,b,h CRAIG A. KOVERA,o JOHN


- The Ibogaine Medical Subculture - Journal of Ethnopharmacology 115 (2008)
9-24 Kenneth R. Alper Howard S. Lotsof Charles D. Kaplan


I fully appreciate your concern as to the lack of good empiric data. It is
true that much more research needs to be done. I would however mention that
even a basic Medline search will reveal many hundreds of animal studies
involving ibogaine. By no means is it the primary intention of all of these
studies to demonstrate efficacy, but if you read at least some of them I
believe it will become clear that ibogaine's dependence-breaking
characteristics are increasingly well accepted by many scientists. Academics
give ibogaine to rats often to better understand the mechanistic pathways
involved in the neurobiology of addiction. 


As to the issue of manipulation. Firstly, I need to state that I am basing
my judgment on the abstract that was forwarded to me as being written by
yourself. If you did not write it then I unreservedly apologise. 


To be honest, I would accuse the writer of this piece of manipulation on two
counts. Firstly, referring to the drug Thalidomide in the manner that the
writer did clearly is likely to create a reasonable degree of association in
the mind of the reader with Ibogaine. I'm not a pharmacologist but my
understanding is that Thalidomide is not naturally-occurring and has not
been used by native peoples for at least some centuries. One might claim
that the word is simply being used to give some historical context as to the
need for extensive clinical trials and, whilst I would consider this fair, I
would still hold that the writer is creating an unwarranted association in
the mind of the reader. 


Secondarily, I find the picture of clinical trials that is presented by the
writer of this abstract utterly one-sided and, again, completely
manipulative. It is necessary to grasp that the business of bringing new
drugs to the market is almost wholly in the hands of "for profit" entities.
Ibogaine does not fit into the Pharm Corporation's idea of what a suitable
medication looks like and so they don't put money in to develop it. I can
give you more information here if you wish. Yet the writer of this abstract
fails to even mention this. If I were a casual reader I would be left with
the impression that ibogaine simply isn't good enough, that it's been tried
and found wanting. This is absolutely not the case as a decent study of the
background and history of the drug will clearly show.


You claim you are not biased against ibogaine. That is absolutely not my
impression from reading that piece. I consider it absolutely reprehensible
to portray in such a manner a medication that clearly has the potential to
transform the treatment of drug and alcohol dependency worldwide. I can
scarcely believe that the writer of it could give a damn about the plight of
those who suffer with this worldwide.


Nick Sandberg




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