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rampant

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

7 ways to a dumber you

This WDDTY article has also been placed in Families magazine (it’s not the first time WDDTY have weaselled their dangerously misleading claptrap into a mainstream family-oriented publication). You might feel motivated to contact the magazine and warn them that they’ve been had. School’s about to get tougher this September, but you can boost your child’s …

 Continue reading 7 ways to a dumber you

The post 7 ways to a dumber you by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

2014 Douchebag of the Year: Robert Sears, MD, FAAP

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for a great 2014 in the world of fighting back against pseudoscience. While the Douchebag of the Year award was created to ridicule the worst of the worst in the anti-science world, I want to take a minute or two to thank everyone who did their part, however small, to fight the quacks, hacks, and scammers. Here are some honorable mentions, in no particular order: […]

Read more at: 2014 Douchebag of the Year: Robert Sears, MD, FAAP by Reuben

The #WDDTY 7-Step Plan

WDDTY have published a 7-step plan for any practitioner who has attracted the attention of the ASA. The whole page is comedy gold. If you were a magazine under constant criticism for publishing misleading information, would you take the time to promote the ASA’s adjudications against your contributors and advertisers? Well, you might if you …

Read on: The 7-Step Plan To Get Yourself Prosecuted For Unfair Trading Practices

This post by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

WDDTY repeats hysterical anti-abortionist propaganda. Again.

WDDTY appear to be losing their marbles – perhaps they should nip down to the homeopath for some 30C Batshittium?

Back in October 2014 they ran “Autism ‘caused by MMR using human fetal cell lines’“, an entirely credulous repetition of a paper written and funded by a rabid anti-abortionist group, “showing” that foetal cell lines …

Continue reading WDDTY repeats hysterical anti-abortionist propaganda. Again.

The post WDDTY repeats hysterical anti-abortionist propaganda. Again. by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

ACCC v Homeopathy Plus – 18th and 19th November 2013 | mochuck's musings

FEDERAL COURT NOVEMBER 2013
18th November 2013

The barrister appearing for Homeopathy Plus and Ms Sheffield was Mr Marcel White who also represented Australian Vaccination Sceptics Network (AVSN) in their unsuccessful attempt to have a direction by NSW Fair Trading to change their name overturned. The barrister appearing for ACCC was Ms R Higgins...

Read the second part of this 4-part series here: ACCC v Homeopathy Plus – 18th and 19th November 2013 | mochuck's musings

ACCC v Homeopathy Plus – Background | mochuck's musings

A regulatory prosecution issued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) against Homeopathy Plus, resulted in a four day trial in November 2013. It was held in the Federal Court in Sydney, Australia and was presided over by Justice Melissa Perry. The trial ran from Monday 18th November to Thursday 21st November 2013. Homeopathy Plus – as well as Ms Fran Sheffield personally were charged with engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct by ACCC according to section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and of making false or misleading representations in contravention of sections 29(1)(a) and (b) of the ACL...

Read the rest here: ACCC v Homeopathy Plus – Background | mochuck's musings

This is Part 1 of what is promised to be a 4-part series on the case.

Monday, 29 December 2014

HOMEOPATHY: proof of concept or proof of misconduct? | Edzard Ernst

As promised, I will try with this post to explain my reservations regarding the new meta-analysis suggesting that individualised homeopathic remedies are superior to placebos. Before I start, however, I want to thank all those who have commented on various issues; it is well worth reading the numerous and diverse comments. To remind us of […]
Read on: HOMEOPATHY: proof of concept or proof of misconduct?

Learned Friend: The Saatchi Bill - True or False?

Here is the current version of the Medical Innovation Bill, following its Report Stage in the House of Lords in December 2014.

As the Bill approaches its Commons stages, the following statements about the Bill seem to me to be true. I don't flatter myself that Lord Saatchi, his professional support team or government ministers read this blog, so if you want to know whether they believe the following statements are true or false, you will have to ask them yourself...

Read the full dissection of the Saatchi Bill by an eminent QC here: Learned Friend: The Saatchi Bill - True or False?

Stop the Saatchi Bill

The Kid can’t take the heat

Score one for the good guys. After two (just two!) blog posts on “The Epoch Times”, The Kid has decided that he can’t take the heat in the comments section. People pointing out his logical fallacies are, in his words, “trolls.” He even says that “Ren” has threatened him online without offering any kind of […]

Read more at: The Kid can’t take the heat by Reuben

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Voting is open for the Douchebag of the Year, 2014

2014 Anti-Science Quack Douchebag of the Year Voting

Official ballot for the "2014 Douchebag of the Year" award from The Poxes Blog. The winner will be lauded on the last blog post of the year on December 31, 2014. Also, a donation of $50 will be made in their honor to the Autism Science Foundation....

Read more and vote at: Voting is open for the Douchebag of the Year, 2014 by Reuben

Just So We’re Clear

You might know what I’m talking about. You might not. If you do, then you know what this is about. If you don’t, then this is not for you:

I do not tolerate bullies in any way, shape or form. Bullying at any level and in any form is the highest form of cowardice, and […]

Read more at: Just So We’re Clear by Reuben

“Proof of concept that homeopathic medicines have clinical treatment effects.” A challenge for experts to comment | Edzard Ernst

On this blog and elsewhere, I have repeatedly cast doubt on the efficacy of homeopathy – not because I have ‘an axe to grind’, as some seem to believe, but because the assumptions which underpin homeopathy fly in the face of science, the clinical evidence fails to show that it works beyond a placebo effect. […]

Read on: “Proof of concept that homeopathic medicines have clinical treatment effects.” A challenge for experts to comment

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Your Perfect Homeopathy Kit for Christmas | The Quackometer Blog

Have you over-done it this Christmas?

Don’t worry. That homeopathic pharmacy to the Royals has the perfect remedy kit to see you through the following days.
Ainsworths Pharmacy is pleased to bring you the following remedies. Remember, these are homeopathic medicinal product used within the homeopathic tradition for the symptomatic relief of Christmas overindulgence.

More on this at: Your Perfect Homeopathy Kit for Christmas | The Quackometer Blog

15 complaints about pro-science skeptics from an antivaccine activist – Respectful Insolence

Having recently discovered a veritable Library with Doctor Moon of antivaccine misinformation and quackery known as Modern Alternative Mama’s blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel, I couldn’t resist taking one more drought from the same well. It is, after all, almost Christmas, and truly, as far as the blog is concerned, the discovery of Kate Tietje, a.k.a. Modern Alternative Mama, was an early Christmas gift that could not but be opened immediately. Besides, with Christmas coming up in a couple of days, after today I plan on taking a brief blog break until Friday, with the possible exception of a recent recycled & tweaked post (to make it more…Insolent) from my not-so-super-secret other blog that I’d like to expose to a greater world. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Now read on: 15 complaints about pro-science skeptics from an antivaccine activist – Respectful Insolence

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

It’s beginning to look a lot like DETOX…everywhere I go | Edzard Ernst

Well, not everywhere actually; if you go on Medline, for instance, and search for ‘detox’, you hardly find anything at all on detox as used in alternative medicine. This is because there is no science behind it (for the purpose of this post, ‘detox’ means the alternative detox that is supposed to rid us from environmental poisons and, more relevant to the Christmas season, of the effects of over-indulgence). Notwithstanding this lack of science and evidence, detox is currently being heavily promoted in magazines, newspapers and, of course, via the Internet...

Read more: It’s beginning to look a lot like DETOX…everywhere I go

Religion: The latest scientific exploration. Or not. - WWDDTYDTY

If there’s one thing that doesn’t seem to trouble Lynne McTaggart, it’s doubt. When her world-view is contradicted by science, then it’s science that’s wrong. MMR-autism link refuted? Not in WDDTY it’s not. Urotherapy is derided nonsense? Not in WDDTY. Intercessory prayer? Let’s have a talk about that...

Religion: The latest scientific exploration. Or not. - WWDDTYDTY

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

‘The 10 commandments of quackery’ | Edzard Ernst

Each year, during the Christmas period, we are bombarded with religious ideology, soapy sentimentality and delusive festive cheer. In case you are beginning to feel slightly nauseous about all this, it might be time to counter-balance this abundance with my (not entirely serious) version of the 10 commandments of quackery?

Some experiences of life at Imperial College London. An external inquiry is needed after the death of Stefan Grimm

The tragedy of the apparent suicide of Stefan Grimm is now known worldwide. His last email has been read by more than 160,000 people from over 200 countries. This post gathers together some of the reactions to his death. It’s a Christmas card for the people who are responsible...

Read the full story: Some experiences of life at Imperial College London. An external inquiry is needed after the death of Stefan Grimm

WDDTY on: Andrew Wakefield - WWDDTYDTY

If there’s one figure the anti-vaccination movement idolises, it’s the struck-off former doctor and research fraudster Andrew Jeremy Wakefield. As a trailblazer for the anti-vaccination movement, Wakefield is widely identified as being responsible for current outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease, causing serious harms and deaths...

Read on: WDDTY on: Andrew Wakefield - WWDDTYDTY

Monday, 22 December 2014

More potentially good news about fish oil | Edzard Ernst

The regular consumption of fish-oil has a potentially favourable role in inflammation, carcinogenesis inhibition and cancer outcomes. An analysis of the literature aimed to review the evidence for the roles of dietary-fish and fish-oil intake in prostate-cancer (PC) risk, aggressiveness and mortality.

A systematic-review, following PRISMA guidelines was conducted. PubMed, MEDLINE and Embase were searched to explore PC-risk, aggressiveness and mortality associated with dietary-fish and fish-oil intake. 37 studies were selected...

 Read the full story here: More potentially good news about fish oil

How is it that I hadn’t heard of this antivaccine “warrior” before? – Respectful Insolence

vaccineshot
One of the depressing things about having dedicated over a decade of one’s life to combatting pseudoscience and quackery is that, no matter how much I think I’ve come to be familiar with all the woo that can be out there and all the players promoting that woo, there are always new people popping up. It’s impossible for one person to keep track of them all. Sometimes, however, there are, for example, antivaccine activists that I haven’t heard of before whom I really think I should have heard of sooner than this. Such is the case with Kate Tietje...

Read the rest of this post at:
How is it that I hadn’t heard of this antivaccine “warrior” before? – Respectful Insolence

Friday, 19 December 2014

Web pages, including ours, deemed “critical” of Universal Medicine removed from Google Search results | Doubtful News

Well, well, well, looks like a certain alternative and controversial “esoteric healing” group was busy for a year or more trying to scrub their image on the internet. Doubtful News is one of many pro-consumer blogs that have reported information about Serge Benhayon’s questionable health treatments resulting in complaints to Google initiated by Universal Medicine (UM) and our URLs removed from Google search results.

Holiday reading – web pages censored by Universal Medicine | The FACTS about Universal Medicine.
For the past two years alternative medicine conglomerate and religion, Universal Medicine, has spammed Google with complaints of defamation. Some succeeded. The following is an incomplete list of URLs removed by Google from search results. It includes links to blogs, including this one, and links to news reports from major media outlets. So much for free speech and a free press in Australia.
The UM group is in Australia. Defamation claims have been made through Google, however, UM has not made any actual legal threats. Hmm, this seems a low-cost, low-risk, easy route to follow to manipulate your online reputation. Even though they seem to have lawyers at the ready, none of the websites received real legal threats. Other sites evicted from search results include many news reports on UM’s activities (including the reports we linked to in our FACTUAL stories). Also, Pharyngula (FTB), Museum of Hoaxes, the JREF forum, Reasonable Hank, and, naturally, “universalmedicineaccountability”, “factsaboutuniversalmedicine” and “universalmedicinecult”. They obviously dislike those sites...

Read more here - Web pages, including ours, deemed “critical” of Universal Medicine removed from Google Search results | Doubtful News and pass it on. It's called the Streisand Effect.

The power of recycling: WDDTY on urine therapy

A forthcoming article for the January 2015 issue is billed thus in Dec 2014:
lt sounds impossible, but besides a long history of use in India, urine therapy has growing evidence of success in all manner of conditions, from skin cancer to peptic ulcers. Cate Montana separates fact from fiction.
Spoiler alert: no evidence, growing or otherwise, is provided, and if Cate Montana does indeed separate fact from fiction then the fact was sent to the shredder and only the fiction published...

Quell your rising gorge and read the rest here: WDDTY on urine therapy

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Chiropractic and other manipulative therapies can also harm children | Edzard Ernst

Few subjects make chiropractors more uneasy than a discussion of the safety of their spinal manipulations. Many chiropractors flatly deny that there are any risks at all. However, the evidence seems to tell a different story.

The purpose of a new review was to summarise the literature for cases of adverse events in infants and children treated by chiropractors or other manual therapists, identifying treatment type and if a preexisting pathology was present. English language, peer-reviewed journals and non-peer-reviewed case reports discussing adverse events (ranging from minor to serious) were systematically searched from inception of the relevant searchable bibliographic databases through March 2014. Articles not referring to infants or children were excluded...

Read the rest here: Chiropractic and other manipulative therapies can also harm children

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Another bogus claim by chiropractors debunked | Edzard Ernst

How many times have we heard from practitioners of alternative medicine, particularly chiropractors, that their patients are more severely ill than those of conventional clinicians. The claim is usually that they have tried all that conventional medicine can offer and eventually, as a last resort, they turn to the alternatives.

But is this true? If so, it would explain why these patients do no better or even worse than those treated conventionally.

Here is a new article that goes some way in addressing these issues...

Read the full story: Another bogus claim by chiropractors debunked

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Vasectomy raises prostate cancer risk by 10 per cent

Some issues in medicine are complex – sufficiently complex that they actively invite Mencken’s famous expression: for every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, neat and wrong. Other things are relatively straightforward. This October 2014 story on prostate cancer risk is straightforward, but that doesn’t stop WDDTY turning it into an alarmist…

The post Vasectomy raises prostate cancer risk by 10 per cent by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

Finally a piece of meaningful chiropractic research: compensation claims against chiropractors | Edzard Ernst

Adverse events have been reported extensively following chiropractic. About 50% of patients suffer side-effects after seeing a chiropractor. The majority of these events are mild, transitory and self-limiting. However, chiropractic spinal manipulations, particularly those of the upper spine, have also been associated with very serious complications; several hundred such cases have been reported in the medical literature and, as there is no monitoring system to record these instances, this figure is almost certainly just the tip of a much larger iceberg...

Read the rest here: Finally a piece of meaningful chiropractic research: compensation claims against chiropractors

Monday, 15 December 2014

Fish oil supplementation may be useful for rheumatoid arthritis | Edzard Ernst

As I have said on several occasions before: I am constantly on the lookout for new rigorous science that supports the claims of alternative medicine. Thus I was delighted to find a recent and potentially important article with some positive evidence. Fish oil has been studied extensively in terms of its effects on health. We […]

Read on: Fish oil supplementation may be useful for rheumatoid arthritis

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The current craze for dietary supplements: irresponsible charlatans pulling wool over our eyes?

Dietary supplements (DS) are heavily promoted usually with the claim that they have stood the test of time and that they are natural and hence harmless. Unsurprisingly, their use has become very wide-spread. A new study determined the use of DSs, factors associated with DS use, and reasons for use among U.S. college students.

College students (N = 1248) at 5 U.S. universities were surveyed. Survey questions included descriptive demographics, types and frequency of DS used, reasons for use and money spent on supplements. Supplements were classified using standard criteria. Logistic regression analyses examined relationships between demographic and lifestyle factors and DS use...

Read on: The current craze for dietary supplements: irresponsible charlatans pulling wool over our eyes?

Saturday, 13 December 2014

What DOES it take for people to get real in this world? | Edzard Ernst

Guest post by Pete Attkins

 Commentator “jm” asked a profound and pertinent question: “What DOES it take for people to get real in this world, practice some common sense, and pay attention to what’s going on with themselves?” This question was asked in the context of asserting that personal experience always trumps the results of large-scale scientific experiments; and asserting that alt-med experts are better able to provide individulized healthcare than 21st Century orthodox medicine.

What does common sense and paying attention lead us to conclude about the following? We test a six-sided die for bias by rolling it 100 times. The number 1 occurs only once and the number 6 occurs many times, never on its own, but in several groups of consecutive sixes....

Read on: What DOES it take for people to get real in this world?

Friday, 12 December 2014

Monetizing fear: Food Babe show how it’s done | The Skeptical OB

PT Barnum famously said that you can’t go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public and blogger Vani Hari (Food Babe) is demonstrating the truth of that adage. Her artful manipulation of her Food Babe Army would warm Barnum’s heart.

Like Barnum, Hari depends for her money on the gullibility and lack of sophistication of her followers. They are so naive that they seem to have no awareness that Food Babe is a business, and they’ve been duped into buying an endless array of its useless products...

Read the rest here: Monetizing fear: Food Babe show how it’s done | The Skeptical OB

Seven things to remember before you consult a naturopath | Edzard Ernst

Naturopathy can be defined as ‘an eclectic system of health care that uses elements of complementary and conventional medicine to support and enhance self-healing processes’. This basically means that naturopaths employ treatments based on those therapeutic options that are seen as natural, e. g. herbs, water, exercise, diet, fresh air, heat and cold – but […]
Read on: Seven things to remember before you consult a naturopath

Who will be 2014’s “Douchebag of the Year”?

A few years ago, a fan of this blog got into a lot of trouble at work because he dared call a misogynist anti-vaccine loon who was being more than creepy to women on social media a “douchebag.” The douchebag launched a series of emails to our friend’s employers. He also made an appearance in blogs talking about the issue, threatening to sue people who dared talk bad about him. Needless to say, the guy eventually backed off and went back to doing whatever people like him do when they’re not harassing people who call them on their crap...

Read more at: Who will be 2014’s “Douchebag of the Year”? by Reuben

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

All the fail you can fit into an infographic

Friends on social media pointed me to this infographic the other day. It states that it wants to “set the record straight” on vaccines and autism, and it uses all of the tricks that we know anti-vaccine cult members use to try and deceive those who are uninitiated. So let’s take it one panel at a time and dissect this thing for all the fail that it is...

Read more at: All the fail you can fit into an infographic by Reuben

Monday, 8 December 2014

Aromatherapy: not much more than a bit of pampering | Edzard Ernst

Aromatherapy is one of the most popular of all alternative therapies. It is most certainly a very agreeable experience. But is it more that a bit of pampering? Does it cure any diseases? If you believe aromatherapists, their treatment is effective for almost everything. And, of course, there are studies to suggest that, indeed, it […]

Read on: Aromatherapy: not much more than a bit of pampering

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Thousands of cancer patients are being duped into having bogus treatments | Edzard Ernst

Complementary treatments have become a popular (and ‘political correct’) option to keep desperate cancer patients happy. But how widely accepted is their use in oncology units? A brand-new article tried to find the answer to this question.

The principal aim of this survey was to map centres across Europe prioritizing those that provide public health services and operating within the national health system in integrative oncology (IO). A cross-sectional descriptive survey design was used to collect data. A questionnaire was elaborated concerning integrative oncology therapies to be administered to all the national health system oncology centres or hospitals in each European country. These institutes were identified by convenience sampling, searching on oncology websites and forums. The official websites of these structures were analysed to obtain more information about their activities and contacts...

Read on: Thousands of cancer patients are being duped into having bogus treatments

Friday, 5 December 2014

The chiropractic profession: “struggling to define themselves” | Edzard

This investigation was aimed at examining the messages utilised by the chiropractic profession around issues of scope and efficacy through website communication with the public. For this purpose, the authors submitted the website content of 11 major Canadian chiropractic associations and colleges, and of 80 commercial clinics to a mixed-methods analysis. Content was reviewed to quantify specific health conditions described as treatable by chiropractic care. A qualitative textual analysis identified the primary messages related to evidence and efficacy utilised by the websites...

Read on: The chiropractic profession: “struggling to define themselves”

Court finds Dana Ullman “not credible” | Guy Chapman's Blahg

A court in the US has ruled that private individuals may not bring a class action for lack of substantiation of product claims. The products are, of course, homeopathic nostrums, and the complaint was that they don’t work.

The provisional finding is that the burden of proof lies on the class to prove its claim of lack of efficacy: this is quite reasonable and is the normal standard in any legal proceeding...

Read more: Court finds Dana Ullman “not credible” | Guy Chapman's Blahg

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Chiropractic education seems to be a form of religious indoctrination | Edzard Ernst

The purpose of this paper was to compare the characteristics of the chiropractic technique systems that have utilised radiography for subluxation detection with the characteristics of religion, and to discover potential historical links that may have facilitated the development of those characteristics.

The authors found 23 technique systems requiring radiography for subluxation analysis. Evidence of religiosity from the early founders’ writings was compared with textbooks, published papers, and websites of subsequently developed systems. Six criteria denoting religious thinking were developed: supernatural concepts, claims of supremacy, rules and rituals, sacred artefacts, sacred stories, and special language. All of these were found to a greater or lesser degree in the publicly available documents of all the subluxation-based chiropractic x-ray systems.

Read on: Chiropractic education seems to be a form of religious indoctrination

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Homeopathy for autism? Negatory!

A friend of mine sent me a story the other day of a group of homeopaths who thought they could go peddle their magical thinking in West Africa and try and treat people with Ebola. I’m happy to say that they were soundly refuted by health authorities and are now left to wander around with their tails between their legs, begging for scraps. To think that you can treat anything with magic is idiotic at best and extremely dangerous at worst.

It’s not just Ebola that these idiots are attempting to treat with homeopathy, of course[…]

Read more at: Homeopathy for autism? Negatory! by Reuben

CAM for KIDS: more good than harm? | Edzard Ernst

Adults using unproven treatments is one thing; if kids do it because they are told to, that is quite another thing. Children are in many ways more vulnerable than grown-ups and they usually cannot give fully informed consent. It follows that the use of such treatments for kids can be a delicate and complex matter.

A recent systematic review was aimed at summarizes the international findings for prevalence and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among children/adolescents. The authors systematically searched 4 electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, AMED; last update in 07/2013) and reference lists of existing reviews and all included studies. Publications without language restriction reporting patterns of CAM utilization among children/adolescents without chronic conditions were selected for inclusion. The prevalence rates for overall CAM use, homeopathy, and herbal drug use were extracted with a focus on country and recall period (lifetime, 1 year, current use). As predictors, the authors extracted socioeconomic factors, child‘s age, and gender.

Read on: CAM for KIDS: more good than harm?

WDDTY Then And Now: 1998 interview with Lynne McTaggart

In November 1998 the Independent published an interview with Lynne McTaggart. We thought it might be interesting to see what’s changed since then. Its hundredth issue, published in July 1998, included a letter from a doctor that condemns it as “inflammatory, scare-mongering hyperbole”. OK, so that’s still the same… So what are Lynne and her…

The post WDDTY Then And Now: 1998 interview with Lynne McTaggart by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Publish and perish at Imperial College London: the death of Stefan Grimm

This week’s Times Higher Education carried a report of the death, at age 51, of Professor Stefan Grimm: Imperial College London to ‘review procedures’ after death of academic. He was professor of toxicology in the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial.


Now Stefan Grimm is dead. Despite having a good publication record, he failed to do sufficiently expensive research, so he was fired (or at least threatened with being fired)...


Read it all here: Publish and perish at Imperial College London: the death of Stefan Grimm

Monday, 1 December 2014

Cholesterol: zero shades of grey or, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia - WWDDTYDTY

The thing about quacks and quackery shills is that they don’t do nuance. Medicine = bad, natural = good because duh obvious. This simplistic thinking is absent in science, of course, but it makes for some pretty comical content in WDDTY. Consider LDL. The starting premise here is that statins – sorry, statin drugs, mustn’t forget to label them as products of big pharma – are evil. But they provably lower levels of LDL cholesterol. Therefore LDL cholesterol must be good, right? So WDDTY expends significant effort persuading its readers that LDL cholesterol is beneficial...

Cholesterol: zero shades of grey or, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia - WWDDTYDTY

Doctors who question vaccination are being ‘forced out of medicine’

Thanks to the editors of WDDTY for a rare bit of good news:
English doctors who may be ambivalent about vaccines are being weeded out of the profession by the ‘revalidation’ process, where they have to renew their licence to practice.
Being “ambivalent about vaccines” is a great litmus test I agree. Any doctor who…

The post Doctors who question vaccination are being ‘forced out of medicine’ by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

My offer to educational institutions of alternative medicine | Edzard Ernst

Getting good and experienced lecturers for courses is not easy. Having someone who has done more research than most working in the field and who is internationally known, might therefore be a thrill for students and an image-boosting experience of colleges. In the true Christmas spirit, I am today making the offer of being of assistance to the many struggling educational institutions of alternative medicine .

A few days ago, I tweeted about my willingness to give free lectures to homeopathic colleges (so far without response). Having thought about it a bit, I would now like to extend this offer. I would be happy to give a free lecture to the students of any educational institution of alternative medicine. I suggest to...

Read more: My offer to educational institutions of alternative medicine

World AIDS Day 2014 Theme | Scepticemia

Arguably one of the most effective plans for global health awareness and Information, Education and Communication activities, the World AIDS Day is generally aimed at getting to zero: zero new infections, zero AIDS related deaths, and what is very important, zero discrimination...

Read on: World AIDS Day 2014 Theme | Scepticemia

Sunday, 30 November 2014

GcMAF: The superhero for your health problem?

WDDTY present GcMAF as a medical miracle, curing cancer, AIDS and autism, and claim that ti is being aggressively suppressed and its proponents attacked by "pharma-funded" groups. They rely entirely on information provided by a company illegally selling treatment based on GcMAF, and in particular Marco Ruggiero, an officer of that company who is also an AIDS denialist.

To boost the claimed credibility of Ruggiero they invoke the support of AIDS denialist Peter Duesberg and homeopathy believer Luc Montagnier - in reality, associations which substantially weaken any claim to legitimacy.

WDDTY loves to tell readers to "follow the money". This article shows that they do not even pay lip service to this when the content fits with their anti-science agenda.

The post GcMAF: The superhero for your health problem? by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

Ginkgo biloba for ADHD? | Edzard Ernst

GUEST POST by Jan Oude-Aost: After pediatric nurse training and medschool, Jan Oude-Aost now works as a physician in child psychiatry in Dresden. Since medschool he is interested in Complementary and Alternative Medicine and made it his favorite hobby. He is also on Twitter (@diaphanoskopie) and blogs under diaphanoskopie.wordpress.com, but mostly in German.
Introduction
ADHD is a common disorder among children. There are evidence based pharmacological treatments, the best known being methylphenidate (MPH). MPH has kind of a bad reputation, but is effective and reasonably safe. The market is also full of alternative treatments, pharmacological and others, some of them under investigation, some unproven and many disproven. So I was not surprised to find a study about Ginkgo biloba as a treatment for ADHD. I was surprised, however, to find this study in the German Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, officially published by the “German Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy“ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie). The journal’s guidelines state that studies should provide new scientific results.

Read on: Ginkgo biloba for ADHD?

Friday, 28 November 2014

Homeopathy for Ebola: an update directly from the ‘horse’s mouth’ | Edzard Ernst

A German homeopathic journal, Zeitschrift Homoeopathie, has just published the following interesting article entitled HOMEOPATHIC DOCTORS HELP IN LIBERIA. It provides details about the international team of homeopaths that travelled to Liberia to cure Ebola. Here I take the liberty of translating it from German into English. As most of it is fairly self-explanatory, I abstain from any comments of my own – however, I am sure that my readers will want to add their views.
In mid-October, an international team of 4 doctors travelled to the West African country for three weeks. The mission in a hospital in Ganta, a town with about 40 000 inhabitants on the border to Guinea, ended as planned on 7 November. The exercise was organised by the World Association of Homeopathic Doctors, the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis (LMHI), with support of by the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors. The aim was to support the local doctors in the care of the population and, if possible, also to help in the fight against the Ebola epidemic. The costs for the three weeks’ stay were financed mostly through donations from homeopathic doctors...

Read more: Homeopathy for Ebola: an update directly from the ‘horse’s mouth’

Quack reports Cancer Research UK over “false” information. Hilarity ensues.

We’re grateful to WDDTY for bringing us this gem:
The UK’s major cancer charity, Cancer Research UK, has been reported to the Metropolitan Police for being in breach of a recent law for “knowingly or recklessly providing false or misleading information”.
Note to quacks: information does not become false just because you don’t like it…

Read on:
The post Quack reports Cancer Research UK over “false” information. Hilarity ensues. by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Seven things to remember before consulting an acupuncturist | Edzard Ernst

Acupuncture seems to be as popular as never before – many conventional pain clinics now employ acupuncturists, for instance. It is probably true to say that acupuncture is one of the best-known types of all alternative therapies. Yet, experts are still divided in their views about this treatment – some proclaim that acupuncture is the best thing since sliced bread, while others insist that it is no more than a theatrical placebo. Consumers, I imagine, are often left helpless in the middle of these debates. Here are 7 important bits of factual information that might help you make up your mind, in case you are tempted to try acupuncture...

Read more: Seven things to remember before consulting an acupuncturist

"What Doctors Don't Tell You" - Dangerous advice - WWDDTYDTY

Reblogged from Swift at the James Randi Educational Foundation

If you want an alternative to reputable health magazines, look no further than What Doctors Don’t Tell You (WDDTY) - the winner, once again, thanks to assiduous astroturfing, of a “people’s choice” award for most popular website in the Health category.

This paean to quackery is published in the UK by US expatriate Lynne McTaggart and her husband Bryan Hubbard. Its editorial panel is a rogues’ gallery of “alternative” practitioners, several of whom are no longer licensed to practice medicine. It’s now being published in the US. Originally by subscription only, WDDTY’s editors promised to offer a well-researched independent critique of medical practice and never to take advertising, in order to stay pure...

Read on: "What Doctors Don't Tell You" - Dangerous advice - WWDDTYDTY

Wheat intolerance? Processed breads are the real culprit, says researcher

There is no bullshit in the world so self-evidently fatuous that someone won’t assert it. Non-existent “wheat intolerance” caused by bread that has gone through some nebulously-defined “processing”? Sure, why not? Most people who think they have a wheat intolerance actually have an aversion only to highly-processed wheat products, a controversial new study suggests. Actually…

Read on:
The post Wheat intolerance? Processed breads are the real culprit, says researcher by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Vaccines won’t protect our children, say 74 per cent of parents

The stupid. It burns. WDDTY’s story “vaccines won’t protect our children, say 74 per cent of parents” covers a publication which shows that 74 per cent of parents understand that antivaxers are a public health risk. Yes, that’s right: McTaggart says that anybody who understands the dangers of unvaccinated children, believes that vaccines won’t protect…

The post Vaccines won’t protect our children, say 74 per cent of parents by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

Intriguing statistics on the volume of alternative medicine research | Edzard Ernst

The volume of medical research, as listed on Medline, is huge and increases steadily each year. This phenomenon can easily be observed with simple Medline searches. If we use search terms related to conventional medicine, we find near linear increases in the number of articles (here I do not make a distinction between types of articles) published in each area over time, invariably with a peak in 2013, the last year for which Medline listing is currently complete. Three examples will suffice:
  • PHARMACOTHERAPY: 117 414 articles in 2013

  • PHARMACOLOGY: 210 228 articles in 2013

  • ADVERSE EFFECTS: 86 067 articles in 2013
Read more Intriguing statistics on the volume of alternative medicine research

Monday, 24 November 2014

Who wants to join in the fun and play BULLSHIT BINGO with me? | Edzard Ernst

One thing that has often irritated me – alright, I admit it: sometimes it even infuriated me – is the pseudoscientific language of authors writing about alternative medicine. Reading publications in this area often seems to me like being in the middle of a game of ‘bullshit bingo’ (I am afraid that some of the commentators on this blog have importantly contributed to this phenomenon). In an article of 2004, I once discussed this issue in some detail and concluded that “… pseudo-scientific language … can be seen as an attempt to present nonsense as science…this misleads patients and can thus endanger their health…” For this paper, I had focussed on examples from the ‘bioresonance’- literature – more by coincidence than by design, I should add. I could have selected any other alternative treatment or diagnostic method; the use of pseudoscientific language is truly endemic in alternative medicine.

Read on: Who wants to join in the fun and play BULLSHIT BINGO with me?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Seven things to remember before you take a herbal remedy | Edzard Ernst

While the previous post was about seeing a traditional herbalist (who prescribe their own herbal mixtures, tailor-made for each individual patient), this post provides essential information for those consumers who are tempted to take a commercially available herbal remedy available in pharmacies, health food shops, over the Internet etc. These remedies are usually bought by consumers and then be self-administered, or (less frequently) they might be prescribed/recommended/sold by a clinician such as a doctor, naturopath, chiropractor etc. Typically, they contain just one (or relatively few) herbal extracts and are used under similar assumptions as conventional medicines: one (hopefully well-tested) remedy is employed for treating a defined condition, diagnosed according to validated and generally accepted criteria (for instance, St John’s Wort for depression or Devil’s claw for back pain). This approach is sometimes referred to as ‘rational phytotherapy’ – it is certainly more rational than the traditional herbalism referred to in my previous post. The manufacture, promotion and sale of commercial herbal remedies (in many countries marketed as ‘dietary supplements’) has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry...

Read on: Seven things to remember before you take a herbal remedy

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Seven things to remember before you consult a herbalist | Edzard Ernst

Here I am not writing about herbal medicine in general – parts of which are supported by some encouraging evidence (I will therefore post more than one ‘seven things to remember…’ article on this subject) – here I am writing about the risks and benefits of consulting a traditional herbal practitioner. Herbalists come in numerous guises depending what tradition they belong to: Chinese herbalist, traditional European herbalist, Ayurvedic practitioner, Kampo practitioner etc. If you consult such a therapist, you should be aware of the following issues...

Read on: Seven things to remember before you consult a herbalist

Friday, 21 November 2014

The jelly bean problem - WWDDTYDTY

If you’ve wondered why we are so skeptical about the studies that WDDTY cites (at least those where WDDTY does not misrepresent the findings, which is alarmingly common) then you may not understand the “jelly bean problem”...

Read on: The jelly bean problem - WWDDTYDTY

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Reiki: the gullible belief in the super-natural | Edzard Ernst

Reiki is a form of energy healing that evidently has been getting so popular that, according to the ‘Shropshire Star’, even stressed hedgehogs are now being treated with this therapy. In case you argue that this publication is not cutting edge when it comes to reporting of scientific advances, you may have a point. So, let us see what evidence we find on this amazing intervention.

A recent systematic review of the therapeutic effects of Reiki concludes that the serious methodological and reporting limitations of limited existing Reiki studies preclude a definitive conclusion on its effectiveness. High-quality randomized controlled trials are needed to address the effectiveness of Reiki over placebo. Considering that this article was published in the JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE, this is a fairly damming verdict. The notion that Reiki is but a theatrical placebo recently received more support from a new clinical trial...

Read on: Reiki: the gullible belief in the super-natural

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Acupuncture for US military veterans: a victory of ‘political correctness’ over science? | Edzard Ernst

A special issue of Medical Care has just been published; it was sponsored by the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation. A press release made the following statement about it:
Complementary and alternative medicine therapies are increasingly available, used, and appreciated by military patients, according to Drs Taylor and Elwy. They cite statistics showing that CAM programs are now offered at nearly 90 percent of VA medical facilities. Use of CAM modalities by veterans and active military personnel is as at least as high as in the general population.
 If you smell a bit of the old ad populum fallacy here, you may be right. But let’s look at the actual contents of the special issue. The most interesting article is about a study testing acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)...


Read on: Acupuncture for US military veterans: a victory of ‘political correctness’ over science?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Let me remind you what this blog is about | Edzard Ernst

Some of the recent comments on this blog have been rather emotional, a few even irrational, and several were, I am afraid, outright insulting (I usually omit to post the worst excesses). Moreover, I could not avoid the impression that some commentators have little understanding of what the aim of this blog really is. I tried to point this out in the very first paragraph of my very first post:
Why another blog offering critical analyses of the weird and wonderful stuff that is going on in the world of alternative medicine? The answer is simple: compared to the plethora of uncritical misinformation on this topic, the few blogs that do try to convey more reflected, sceptical views are much needed; and the more we have of them, the better...
Read on: Let me remind you what this blog is about

New supplement best for preventing bone loss, says study

Churnalism. Don’t you just love it? The repetition of self-serving claims from press releases into press as if they were facts. Wikipedia calls this “fact-washing”.

WDDTY said they would not do this. It’s as true as their principled statement that they would never take paid advertising.

So it’s no surprise to see a tweet from WDDTY:

Read on:
The post New supplement best for preventing bone loss, says study by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

Miss me? | The Poxes Blog

You’ve got to give me some credit. I write more often on this blog than “the kid” does on his, and I check/cite my sources. There is more journalism in my pinky finger than in all anti-vax bloggers combined. Yes, combined. I apologize for not posting more often lately. I’m between jobs and running in […]

Read more at: Miss me? by Reuben

Sunday, 16 November 2014

What a paean from Ben Goldacre can do

After an interchange on Twitter about how blogs get noticed, I commented that the best thing for me was being thrown off the UCL web site by Malcolm Grant, and the subsequent support that I got from Ben Goldacre. I am a big fan of just about everything that Goldacre has done. So are a lot of other people and his support was crucial.

When I looked up his 2007 post, I found a lot of links were now broken, and some characters didn’t render properly. So, as a matter of historical record, I’m reproducing the whole post with updated links where possible...

Read the rest here: What a paean from Ben Goldacre can do by David Colquhoun

Homeopathy: this is how it could kill millions | Edzard Ernst

I recently tweeted the following short text: “THIS IS HOW HOMEOPATHY CAN KILL MILLIONS” and provided a link to a website where a homeopaths advocated using homeopathy to control blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. The exact text I objected to is reproduced below:
“Management of Blood sugar

The commonly used remedies are Uranium Nitricum, Phosphoric Acid, Syzygium Jambolanum, Cephalandra Indica etc. These are classical Homeopathic remedies. These are used in physiologically active doses such as Mother tincture, 3x etc. depending up on the level of the blood sugar and the requirement of the patient. Several pharmaceutical companies have also brought in propriety medicines with a combination of the few Homeopathic medicines. Biochemic remedies which is a part of Homeopathy advocates Biocombination No 7 as a specific for Diabetes. Another Biochemic medicine Natrum Phos 3x is widely used with a reasonable success in controlling the blood sugar. Scientific studies on the impact of homeopathic medicines in bringing down blood sugar are limited, but many of the above remedies have some positive effects either as a stand-alone remedy or as an adjunct along with other medications.”
Read on: Homeopathy: this is how it could kill millions

Friday, 14 November 2014

Seven things to remember when you are tempted to try homeopathy | Edzard Ernst

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO HRH, THE PRINCE OF WALES WHO CELEBRATES HIS 66TH BIRTHDAY TODAY AND HAS SUPPORTED HOMEOPATHY ALL HIS LIFE

Like Charles, many people are fond of homeopathy; it is particularly popular in India, Germany, France and parts of South America. With all types of health care, it is important to make therapeutic decisions in the knowledge of the crucial facts. In order to aid evidence-based decision-making, I will summarise a few things you might want to consider before you try homeopathy – either by buying homeopathic remedies over the counter, or by consulting a homeopath.

Read on: Seven things to remember when you are tempted to try homeopathy

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The tolerance of quackery renders chiropractic a profession of quacks | Edzard Ernst

The chiropractic profession have been reminded time and times again that their claim to be able to effectively treat paediatric conditions is bogus. Many experts have asked them to produce some compelling evidence or stop this dangerous nonsense. Yet most of them seem to remain in denial, famously documented by the British Chiropractic Association suing Simon Singh for libel after he disclosed that they happily promote bogus treatments.

Some chiropractors now say that things have changed and that chiropractors are finally getting their act together. If that is true, progress must be painfully slow – so slow, in fact, that it is hard to see it at all. There are still far too many chiropractors who carry on just as before. There are hundreds, if not thousands of articles promoting chiropractic for childhood conditions; a very basic Google search for ‘chiropractic for children’ returns more than 7 million hits many of which advertise this sort of approach. Take this website, for instance; it makes its bogus claims entirely unabashed:

Read the rest here: The tolerance of quackery renders chiropractic a profession of quacks

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

"If vaccines work, why are my unvaccinated kids a threat to your vaccinated kids?"


(to which we have to add: there are also all the people who cannot be vaccinated because of poor immune systems, such as HIV sufferers, or because they have to take immunosuppressive drugs, such as cancer sufferers or transplant patients)
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Alexander technique: some evidence and plenty of wishful thinking | Edzard Ernst

The Alexander Technique is a method aimed at re-educating people to do everyday tasks with less muscular and mental tension. According to the ‘Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique’, this method can help you if:
  • You suffer from repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • You have a backache or stiff neck and shoulders.
  • You become uncomfortable when sitting at your computer for long periods of time.
  • You are a singer, musician, actor, dancer or athlete and feel you are not performing at your full potential.
Sounds good!? But which of these claims are actually supported by sound evidence?

Read on: Alexander technique: some evidence and plenty of wishful thinking

Monday, 10 November 2014

Popehat Signal: Help Fight the Censorious Villainy Of Roca Labs | Popehat

It's time to light the Popehat Signal to find pro bono assistance for citizens threatened with a bogus and censorious lawsuit.

The cartoonish villain of this story is Roca Labs, whose belligerent attempts to silence critics inspired my post last month. Roca Labs, you may recall, produces a pink slime that one is supposed to eat to suppress the appetite. Roca Labs is pathologically adverse to criticism, and therefore has hit upon an increasingly familiar tactic — they require at least some of their customers to sign contracts promising not to criticize them at all. Based on those contracts, they filed a lawsuit against Pissed Consumer.com, a gripe site that printed complaints by their customers. Their quasi-legal flailing became more desperate when First Amendment heavyweight Marc Randazza took up PissedConsumer.com's defense...

Read on Popehat Signal: Help Fight the Censorious Villainy Of Roca Labs | Popehat.

Seven things to remember when you next consult a chiropractor | Edzard Ernst

In many countries, consumers seem to be fond of consulting chiropractors – mostly for back pain, but also for other conditions. I therefore think it might be a good and productive idea to give anyone who is tempted to see a chiropractor some simple, easy to follow advice. Here we go:
  1. Ask your chiropractor what he/she thinks about the chiropractic concept of subluxation. This is the chiropractors’ term (real doctors use the word too but understand something entirely different by it) for an imagined problem with your spine. Once they have diagnosed you to suffer from subluxation, they will persuade you that it needs correcting which is done by spinal manipulation which they tend to call ‘adjustments’. There are several important issues here...
Read the rest here: Seven things to remember when you next consult a chiropractor

How does naturopathy work? A bit like a flying vacuum-cleaner to Mars � Spectator Blogs

Every so often you read a piece about alternative medicine that asks: how does it work? How does homeopathy work, how does acupuncture work, etc. There was a piece in the Telegraph recently that asked: how does naturopathy work?

There was a complicated answer about ‘healthy electromagnetic frequencies’ and so on; ‘bioresonance’, ‘modalities’, and a marvellous quote about how
‘Every cell in the body puts out a certain electromagnetic frequency, that can be measured – a healthy stomach cell sounds different to a healthy brain cell…’

Read the rest of this excellent post by Tom Chivers (who is a journalist at The Telegraph) here: How does naturopathy work? A bit like a flying vacuum-cleaner to Mars | Spectator Blogs

No, it's not often we link to the Spectator.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Biopuncture = quackery at its purest | Edzard Ernst

After yesterday’s post mentioning ‘biopuncture’, I am sure you are all dying to know what this mysterious treatment might be. A website promoting biopuncture tells us (almost) all we need to know:

Biopuncture is a therapy whereby specific locations are injected with biological products. The majority of the products are derived from plants. Most of these injections are given into the skin or into muscles. Products commonly used in Biopuncture are, for example, arnica, echinacea, nux vomica and chamomile. Arnica is used for muscle pain, nux vomica is injected for digestive problems, echinacea is used to increase the natural defense system of the body. Biopuncturists always inject cocktails of natural products. Lymphomyosot is used for lymphatic drainage, Traumeel for inflammations and sports injuries, Spascupreel for muscular cramps. Injections with antiflogistics, hyaluronic acid, blood platelets, blood, procaine, ozon, cortisone or vitamin B are not considered as Biopuncture…

Read more: Biopuncture = quackery at its purest

Dr. Bob Sears is not anti-vaccine, except when he is, which is pretty much all the time

The last time I wrote about Dr. Bob Sears, pediatrician to the uninitiated, I told you about his anti-vaccine views and his anti-vaccine activism on Facebook. Let me make it clear to you that he is an administrator of an anti-vaccine Facebook page:

The page is titled “Parents and Others Against Vaccines.” If that is not anti-vaccine, I don’t know what is. We rational people have a mole in that group, and that’s how we learned of Dr. Bob Sears’ involvement. Yet it doesn’t take covert action to see his anti-vaccine ways. Dr. Bob Sears does the anti-vaccine thing quite well out in the open...

Read more at: Dr. Bob Sears is not anti-vaccine, except when he is, which is pretty much all the time by Reuben

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Irresponsible promotion of quackery even by the ‘respectable’ press | Edzard Ernst

The question that I hear with unfailing regularity when talking about alternative medicine is WHY IS IT SO POPULAR? I always struggle to find a simple answer – mainly because there is no simple answer. The reasons for patients and consumers to use alternative medicine are complex and multiple. They range from dissatisfaction with conventional medicine to clinging to the last straw. However, one factor is very clearly always involved: the often bafflingly uncritical promotion of quackery by the daily papers – and that even includes those with a reputation for being respectable.

Yesterday’s article in THE TELEGRAPH is as good an example as any. In the following section, I quote excerpts from it and add my own comments in bold. 
It is perhaps easier to list what the naturopath Katrin Hempel doesn’t offer her clients than what she does. “Bioresonance and live blood analysis, acupuncture, biopuncture, infusion therapy, oxyvenation…”

Read more: Irresponsible promotion of quackery even by the ‘respectable’ press

Friday, 7 November 2014

Alternative medicines to die for | Edzard Ernst

If you have diabetes, chances are that you need life-long treatment. Before effective anti-diabetic medications became available, diabetes amounted to a death sentence. Fortunately, these times are long gone.

…unless, of course, you decide to listen to the promises of alternative practitioners many of whom offer a cure for diabetes. Here is just one website of hundreds that does just that. The following is an abbreviated quote where I have changed nothing, not even the numerous spelling mistakes:

Modern medicine has no  permanent cure for diabetes but alternative medicines like yoga ,mudra,ayurveda is very useful to control and even cure diabetes.Ayurveda is an alternative medicine to cure diabetes...
Read the rest here: Alternative medicines to die for

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A new trial seems to show that homeopathy is effective for acute tonsillitis | Edzard Ernst

Acute tonsillitis (AT) is an upper respiratory tract infection which is prevalent, particularly in children. The cause is usually a viral or, less commonly, a bacterial infection. Treatment is symptomatic and usually consists of ample fluid intake and pain-killers; antibiotics are rarely indicated, even if the infection is bacterial by nature. The condition is self-limiting and symptoms subside normally after one week.

 Homeopaths believe that their remedies are effective for AT – but is there any evidence? A recent trial seems to suggest there is...

Read on: A new trial seems to show that homeopathy is effective for acute tonsillitis

Amber Anklets

Some people are born tosspots, some become tosspots, but nobody ever has tosspothood thrust upon them. There’s no excuse for it. Today’s exercise in extreme arsewartery comes to us discourtesy of a woomeister calling herself Tamara (yes, really) and trading as Amber Anklets in the Affluent White Idiot Belt of England. That’s Surrey to you.

I came across this Friend of Sandra‘s as she pelted, with the verbal equivalent of muck and faeces, people who were politely asking for evidence for the claims made for her products on her webshite. Responding to simple questions with frothing hate is of course a hallmark of the terminally cult-ridden, fuckwitted and/or brazenly dishonest. Of course I was intrigued. It didn’t take much effort to find out that she was seriously butthurt at being added to the ASA’s naughty list, for refusing to stop making unsubstantiated claims for her wares. Another paid-up member of … Continue reading

The post Amber Anklets by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice .


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Another dead autistic child killed by his mother

I’m writing this with tears in my eyes. My tears are from frustration and from a form of anger and, dare I say, hate that I feel toward certain people at this moment. I just read about yet another autistic child killed by his mother. This time, the mother (allegedly) threw the child off a bridge.

OFF A GODDAMNED BRIDGE...

Read more at: Another dead autistic child killed by his mother by Reuben

Monday, 3 November 2014

How to mislead people with seemingly sound research | Edzard Ernst

Rigorous research into the effectiveness of a therapy should tell us the truth about the ability of this therapy to treat patients suffering from a given condition – perhaps not one single study, but the totality of the evidence (as evaluated in systematic reviews) should achieve this aim. Yet, in the realm of alternative medicine (and probably not just in this field), such reviews are often highly contradictory.

A concrete example might explain what I mean...

Read more: How to mislead people with seemingly sound research

Two more cases of hype in glamour journals: magnets, cocoa and memory

In the course of thinking about metrics, I keep coming across cases of over-promoted research. An early case was “Why honey isn’t a wonder cough cure: more academic spin“. More recently, I noticed these examples.

“Effect of Vitamin E and Memantine on Functional Decline in Alzheimer Disease".(Spoiler -very little), published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. ”

and ” Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet” , in the New England Journal of Medicine (which had second highest altmetric score in 2013)

and "Sleep Drives Metabolite Clearance from the Adult Brain", published in Science
In all these cases, misleading press releases were issued by the journals themselves and by the universities...

Read the rest on DC's Improbable Science: Two more cases of hype in glamour journals: magnets, cocoa and memory

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The relentless demolition of chiropractic’s reputation by chiropractors | Edzard Ernst

Some people are their worst enemies, and it seems as though chiropractors are no strangers to this strange phenomenon.

On this blog, I frequently criticise chiropractic; my main concerns are that
  1. chiropractors make far too many bogus claims far too often,
  2. there is precious little evidence that their hallmark treatment, spinal manipulation, generates more good than harm.
I repeatedly voice those concerns because I feel strongly that consumers have the right to unbiased information for making evidence-based therapeutic decisions. When I do this, I get invariably attacked by some chiropractors who disagree with me. Frequently, these chiropractors are not interested to discuss the issues I raised with me; instead they insult me in the most primitive way imaginable...

Read on: The relentless demolition of chiropractic’s reputation by chiropractors

Thursday, 30 October 2014

A gentle ethical defence of doing nothing

I’m going to tell you about an amazing new alternative therapy that you should consider. It’s called procrasteopathy, and its treatment modality is exactly what the name suggests: procrastination. For whatever condition you believe you have, the treatment is simply to find something else to be getting on with. Licensed procrasteopaths work with patients to find exactly what sort of procrastination will fit best with their lifestyles. Unlike boring, reductive Western medicine, practiced by boring, reductive colonialists, procrasteopaths target their treatment specifically to you as a whole person. They are treating the whole you, not just your disease...

 Read more: A gentle ethical defence of doing nothing by Tom Morris

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Some chiropractors quite simply adore me!!!

“Dr” Brian Moravec is a chiropractor from the US; he has a website where he describes himself and his skills as follows:
I attended Chiropractic College and I am a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport Iowa. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree as well as my Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College, which is the first chiropractic college in the world and the origin of our profession. I also attend continuing education seminars designed to keep doctors current with regard to clinical chiropractic, technique and nutrition...

Read on! Some chiropractors quite simply adore me!!! by Edzard Ernst

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The chiropractic attempt to have the cake and eat it has failed


One of the problems regularly encountered when evaluating the effectiveness of chiropractic spinal manipulation is that there are numerous chiropractic spinal manipulative techniques and clinical trials rarely provide an exact means of differentiating between them. Faced with a negative studies, chiropractors might therefore argue that the result was negative because the wrong techniques were used; therefore they might insist that it does not reflect chiropractic in a wider sense. Others claim that even a substantial body of negative evidence does not apply to chiropractic as a whole because there is a multitude of techniques that have not yet been properly tested. It seems as though the chiropractic profession wants the cake and eat it...

Read the full story of The chiropractic attempt to have the cake and eat it has failed by Edzard Ernst

The difference between them and us

I was talking to an anti-vaccine activist the other day, and she said that scientists, doctors, and anyone else who believed in the science of vaccines were “blindly devoted to the religion of vaccines.” I almost laughed in her face, but I was trying to be civil. After all, the woman had ventured into an institution of higher knowledge to have this debate. She was like a fish out of water as it was clear that she had no formal training in science, and she admitted to those present that she knew all she needed to know through her experience of being a mother of a child with autism.

I’ve never been tossed an easier softball for me to hit out of the park, but I just sat there and listened to what she had to say. She began her tale by telling us about her “stolen” child and how that child is now 5 and starting kindergarten..

Read more at: The difference between them and us by Reuben

Monday, 27 October 2014

Wheelbarrow of Stupid | The Wandering Teacake

Or How Wandering Teacake Wasted His Time Trying To Understand WDDTY’s Sales Figures
It’s been a while since I’ve written about What Doctors Don’t Tell You, the journal of record for those looking for an alternative to real medical advice. But here I am, pretty much back where I started my blogging career all those 12 long months ago.

Here’s why. Over the past 18 months or so, various individuals, myself included, have contacted various supermarkets and newsagents that stock WDDTY, expressing our concern at the content of this – how can I put it? – festering purulent pile of discarded, discredited and dangerous treatments. Over the years, some stockists have dropped the title, some have dropped it and then reportedly started again, some have just ignored us. But through it all, the editors of WDDTY have screamed about free speech and how the nasty Big Pharma shills want this magazine banned.

Read the rest of this hilarious investigation here: Wheelbarrow of Stupid | The Wandering Teacake

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Vaccination: chiropractors “espouse views which aren’t evidence based”

Influenza kills thousands of people every year. Immunisation could prevent many of these deaths. Those at particularly high risk, e. g. young children, individuals aged 65 and older and people with severe diseases in their medical history, are therefore encouraged to get immunised. Nova Scotia health officials have just started their annual flu shot campaign. Now they are warning about some anti-flu vaccine literature being distributed by a chiropractor.

The leaflets from local chiropractic clinics suggest that flu shots increase the risk of a child ending up in hospital and link Alzheimer’s disease to flu shots. When questioned about this, the chair of the Nova Scotia College of Chiropractors defended this misinformation and claimed the author of the pamphlet did his homework. “Chiropractic is really pro information. Look at the positive, look at the negative, look at both sides, get your information and make the appropriate decision that’s right for you,” he said...

Read the rest here Vaccination: chiropractors “espouse views which aren’t evidence based” by Edzard Ernst

Lynne McTaggart - HELP US DO IT AGAIN - Plague of Mice

I grow weary of her delusional rants. I even tried to unsubscribe from a mailing list I never subscribed to in the first place, but Alex at WDDTY-dot-com cares little for such niceties. If you want updates on the latest deadly antics of WDDTY (prop. L. McTaggart and A. Hubby) and its editorial team, you will be forcibly subscribed to updates from the ill-written egowank that McTaggart calls a blog.

So the Blessed McFuckwit continues, regardless of others’ wishes, with her self-pitying spam. She, who apparently thinks she intuitively knows about Science – see the slogan used to flog her pathetically deluded Happy Thoughts Via The Fundamental Interconnectedness Of All Things shite – objects violently to being contradicted by science. As, once again, we will see…

 Read the full story here: Lynne McTaggart - HELP US DO IT AGAIN - Plague of Mice

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Saatchi bill won’t find a cure for cancer, but it will encourage charlatans

Maurice Nathan Saatchi, Baron Saatchi is an advertising man who, with his brother, Charles Saatchi ("why tell the truth when a good lie will do?"), became very rich by advertising cigarettes and the Conservative party. After his second wife died of cancer he introduced a private members bill in the House of Lords in 2012. The Medical Innovation Bill came back to the Lords for its second reading on 24 October 2014...

Read the rest at: DC's Improbable Science

Stop the Saatchi Bill

Friday, 24 October 2014

A decent trial of ear-acupuncture? (Don’t let this spoil your National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day!)

A reader of this blog recently sent me the following message: “Looks like this group followed you recent post about how to perform a CAM RCT!” A link directed me to a new trial of ear-acupuncture. Today is ‘national acupuncture and oriental medicine day’ in the US, a good occasion perhaps to have a critical look at it.
The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of ear acupressure and massage vs. control in the improvement of pain, anxiety and depression in persons diagnosed with dementia.

Read on: A decent trial of ear-acupuncture? (Don’t let this spoil your National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day!) by Edzard Ernst

Just in time for Halloween, an anti-vaccine “expert” rises like a zombie


I was looking through the blog’s stats the other day, and I found out that a ton of people were checking out the post about Peter Doshi, PhD. You know the one? The one where I explain to you that Peter Doshi, PhD is not an epidemiologist and how his attempt at epidemiology, at explaining to his audience that the flu is not that bad and that flu deaths were not really flu deaths, how all of that was pretty goddamn awful. Well, his screeds are back, and the anti-vaccine and conspiracy theory websites are plastering it all over the place. Lucky for humanity that people are skeptical about his claims, go and Google his name, and come to this blog...

Read more at: Just in time for Halloween, an anti-vaccine “expert” rises like a zombie by Reuben

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Lynne McTaggart attacks critics with blatant lies

Lynne McTaggart tweets: “Last year drug-company lobbyists tried to ban WDDTY – but we WON. Please vote us Health Website of the Year TODAY”. This is of course a malicious lie – if she had any evidence she would already have published it. The sole grounds for this mendacious claim appears to be that McTaggart’s only experience is with people whose writing is blatant shilling for their own commercial interests; as a result, she does not seem to be able to understand any motive other than naked profit.

Now read on….

The post Lynne McTaggart attacks critics with blatant lies by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Are they happily selling you bogus remedies? Respond like Mark Twain!

Some time ago, my wife and I had the visit of a French couple. They came from Britany by ferry, and when we picked them up in Plymouth we saw two very pale, sick individuals staggering from the boat. It had been a rough crossing, and they had been sea-sick for 7 hours – enough to lose the will to live! “Why did you not take something against it?” we asked. “But we did”, they replied, “we even went especially to a pharmacy at home to get professional advice. They sold us this medication, but it just did not work.” To my amazement they showed me a homeopathic remedy marketed against sea-sickness in France...

Read on: Are they happily selling you bogus remedies? Respond like Mark Twain! by Edzard Ernst

How to convince the world that vaccines are the ultimate evil. Step one: Buy yourself a Congressman

What do you do if you’re in desperate need of some sort of validation about your misguided, uninformed, fraud-driven beliefs about vaccines? Do you fund more research into vaccine technology and how to make it “safer”? Do you use your money to fund autism programs that look to make the lives of autistics better at all levels? Or do you find a Congressman who will believe your drivel and give you some sort of credibility and pour money into his coffer?

If you’re a reasonable person, and you have a lot of money, and you’re worried about autistics, you would be inclined to fund organizations and programs that look to advocate for autistics (and other people with developmental disabilities). You might contact your representatives in Congress, maybe even the President, but you would know better than to give them any money directly. After all, you’re always going to have an elected representative. There is always going to be someone to answer the phone when you call Congress. So why give money to them? Let them get their own money...

Read more at: How to convince the world that vaccines are the ultimate evil. Step one: Buy yourself a Congressman by Reuben

Welcome, minions!

Well, well, well. It seems that this old blog got some sort of an enormous boost over the last 48 hours. As a result, I want to take a moment and welcome all the new readers. Now, most of you are here because you are interested in my blog post about one Dr. Peter Doshi, PhD. However, if you look around the blog, you’ll see that I cover a whole range of other issues, 99% of them having to do with science denialism and its consequences. The other 1% is just me on a rant.

Read more at: Welcome, minions! by Reuben

Monday, 20 October 2014

Homeopathy works for animals – so it can’t be a placebo!

Whenever I give a public lecture about homeopathy, I explain what it is, briefly go in to its history, explain what its assumptions are, and what the evidence tells us about its efficacy and safety. When I am finished, there usually is a discussion with the audience. This is the part I like best; in fact, it is the main reason why I made the effort to do the lecture in the first place.

The questions vary, of course, but you can bet your last shirt that someone asks: “We know it works for animals; animals cannot experience a placebo-response, and therefore your claim that homeopathy relies on nothing but the placebo-effect must be wrong!” At this stage I often despair a little, I must admit. Not because the question is too daft, but because I did address it during my lecture. Thus I feel that I have failed to get the right message across – I despair with my obviously poor skills of giving an informative lecture!

Read on: Homeopathy works for animals – so it can’t be a placebo! by Edzard Ernst

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Autism ‘caused by MMR using human fetal cell lines’

Another month, another paper flogging the zombie meme of MMR-Autism. This time in a superficially decent journal, albeit one where the subject is likely to be outside the specialist knowledge of peer reviewers (public health specialists are not normally going to be geneticists).

Impact of environmental factors on the prevalence of autistic disorder after 1979,…

The post Autism ‘caused by MMR using human fetal cell lines’ by wwddtydty appeared first on WWDDTYDTY.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Fish oil might reduce the risk of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis

For this blog, I am constantly on the lookout for ‘positive news’ about alternative medicine. Admittedly, I rarely find any.

All the more delighted I was when I found this new study aimed to analyse the association between dietary long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and incidence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in middle-aged and older women.

Data on diet were collected in 1987 and 1997 via a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ)...

Read on: Fish oil might reduce the risk of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis by Edzard Ernst

We are all Batman, kind of

This is the tenth post not having anything to do with vaccines.

Thank. The. Lord.

I wanted to talk to you about something that has been on my radar the last few weeks as school has resumed and some of my students have been asking me for my background. They seem to want to know who this guy standing in front of them talking about epidemiology is and why they should listen to him. I wanted to point out my degrees, but that would have been too easy. After all, they have the syllabus. They know what my degrees are. Instead, I talked to them about my work...

Read more at: We are all Batman, kind of by Reuben

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Tory MP David Tredinnick: “perhaps the worst example of scientific illiteracy in government.” But is he also a liar?

I know, I have written about this guy before – and I am likely to do so again – he is just too outstanding to pass by!

A few days ago, he was in the headlines again: the Conservative health committee member David Tredinnick insisted that herbal medicine and even astrology should be given to patients in order to plug a growing hole in the NHS-budget: “I have referred to the fact that in some cultures astrology is part of healthcare because they need to have a voice and I’ve got up and said that,” he told Channel Four News. “But I also think we can reduce the bill by using a whole range of alternative medicine including herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy…We could probably save five per cent of the [NHS] budget.”

Unbelievably, a man with such views is a member of the science and technology committee! This really does instil trust in politics!!!

Read on: Tory MP David Tredinnick: “perhaps the worst example of scientific illiteracy in government.” But is he also a liar? by Edzard Ernst.

A crash course on Ebola you should be reading right now

This is the ninth blog post that has nothing to do with vaccines. I’m glad because I’m getting a rash from not writing about them.

With all the craziness going on about Ebola, a friend decided to give us his epidemiological perspective on Ebola. Here is the first lesson, and here is the second one. You should go read them.

Seriously, go. I won’t feel bad if you do...

Read more at: A crash course on Ebola you should be reading right now by Reuben

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Teething problems in homeopathy’s wonderland? | Edzard Ernst

I just came across this hilarious yet revealing article by Italian authors defending homeopathy. It is far too remarkable to keep it for myself, and I therefore decided to quote its abstract here in full:
Throughout its over 200-year history, homeopathy has been proven effective in treating diseases for which conventional medicine has little to offer. However, given its low cost, homeopathy has always represented a serious challenge and a constant threat to the profits of drug companies. Moreover, since drug companies represent the most relevant source of funding for biomedical research worldwide, they are in a privileged position to finance detractive campaigns against homeopathy by manipulating ...

Read the full story here: Teething problems in homeopathy’s wonderland?

An idiot’s guide to understanding NHS homeopathy prescription data

When writing Nightingale Collaboration newsletters, I presume readers have some basic science, search, maths and critical thinking skills. I’m sure this covers a good proportion of readers, but there seem to be some who are somewhat more challenged in these areas.

Some homeopathy supporters seem particularly inept when it comes to verifying evidence, data, facts and generally looking stuff up. Proper research seems well beyond their abilities.

In the newsletter The decline of homeopathy on the NHS, I gave links to the original Government sources for the data I used. This is certainly more than sufficient for any reasonably capable reader to use to verify the figures and charts I had created, but not, it seems for some.

So, to show how I arrived at the charts that shows the decline of homeopathy on the NHS, this is an appropriately named idiot’s guide to accessing and extracting the data from the original Government source and checking the charts.

Read more on Zeno's Blog at: An idiot’s guide to understanding NHS homeopathy prescription data

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Someone wasted their time in biostats class

There have been many times when I’m standing before master of public health (MPH) students, giving them a presentation on epidemiology, and I wonder how any of them can even put on their shoes in the morning. Don’t get me wrong; they’re bright students. Don’t get me wrong; they’re bright students. Many of them have graduated from college with impressive grades and great projects. They wouldn’t be in these top-notch universities if they were not bright. (Or if their benefactors didn’t see brightness in them.) Still, I’m not surprised when I see many of those kids getting an MPH in epidemiology and not become epidemiologist...

Read more at: Someone wasted their time in biostats class by Reuben

Monday, 13 October 2014

New evidence on the risks of acupuncture | Edzard Ernst

Here and elsewhere, I have repeatedly written about the many things that can go wrong with acupuncture. This invariably annoys acupuncture fans who usually counter by accusing me of being alarmist. Despite their opposition, I continue to think it is important to regularly point out that acupuncture – contrary to what many acupuncturists would tell us – can result in serious injury. I will therefore carry on reporting new evidence about the harm caused by acupuncture. Here is a very brief review of new (2014) articles on this important topic.

A recent study found that the incidence of any adverse events per patient was 42.4% with traditional acupuncture, 40.7% with minimal acupuncture and 16.7% with non-invasive sham acupuncture. These figures are much higher than those around 10% previously reported...

Read more: New evidence on the risks of acupuncture

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Beware of the ‘new-born holists’ | Edzard Ernst

There are few concepts in medicine which are more often abused than that of ‘holistic medicine’. Professor Baum and many other well-reasoned observers have pointed out that:
“true holism in medicine is an open-ended and exquisitely complex understanding of human biology that over time has led to spectacular improvements in the length and quality of life of patients with cancer and that this approach encourages us to consider the transcendental as much as the cell and molecular biology of the human organism. ‘Alternative’ versions of holism are arid and closed belief systems, locked in a time warp, incapable of making progress yet quick to deny it in the field of scientific medicine.”

Read on: Beware of the ‘new-born holists’

MMR mother lied over vaccine injury | Brian Deer

A British “mother warrior”, who claimed that the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is responsible for autism, fabricated accounts of injury to her son and persistently lied about his health, a London court has ruled.

The mother, “E”, who cannot be named so as to protect her son’s identity, concocted a story about how he reacted to an MMR shot in January 1991. She said that he became distressed with fever and then lost speech, eye contact and play immediately following his three-in-one at the age of 18 months.

She claimed that he screamed after immunization, and that this was followed by six hours of convulsions and vomiting, and then six months in a “persistent vegetative state”.

But in a landmark 45,000-word judgment, which entered the public domain from the Court of Protection last week, the mother was dismissed as a manipulative liar. It was found that she had made up the story so as to bring attention to herself and had plied her developmentally delayed son, "M", with a mass of sometimes bizarre "biomedical" interventions so as to gain "total control" over his life.

"The critical facts established in this case can be summarized as follows," said High Court judge Mr Justice Baker. "M has autistic spectrum disorder. There is no evidence that his autism was caused by the MMR vaccination. His parents' account of an adverse reaction to that vaccination is fabricated."

Read the full report here, with links to Court judgements, etc: MMR mother lied over vaccine injury

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Healing, hype or harm? | Edzard Ernst

Healing, hype or harm? A critical analysis of complementary or alternative medicine’ is the title of a book that I edited and that was published in 2008. Its publication date coincided with that of ‘Trick or Treatment?’ and therefore the former was almost completely over-shadowed by the latter. Consequently few people know about it. This is a shame, I think, and this post is dedicated to encouraging my readers to have a look at ‘Healing, hype or harm?

Read more: Healing, hype or harm?

Things Chiropractors Say

This is a blog containing 10 posts written in November 2013, covering the range of dangerous quackery touted by chiropractors.The author uses a nom de net, as he or she claims to have already been subject to bullying by quacks. Haven't we all? Ask S.L. Singh. Even at my far more modest level, I've seen desperate attempts by bullshit hucksters - whose names I can most likely guess - to find my legal identity and home address.

The link below is to the first post. I urge you to read the whole blog. It won't take long.

Things Chiropractors Say: Introduction, Including Conflict of Interest

Friday, 10 October 2014

Homeopathic medicines: another one hits the dust | Edzard Ernst

Most pharmacies worldwide sell any bogus treatment to their unsuspecting customers, it seems – as long as it makes a profit, anything goes! Not in New Zealand!

The New Zealand’s Pharmacy Council’s Safe Effective Pharmacy Practice Code of Ethics 2011 section 6.9 requires of pharmacists that:
“YOU MUST… Only purchase, supply or promote any medicine, complementary therapy, herbal remedy or other healthcare product where there is no reason to doubt its quality or safety and when there is credible evidence of efficacy.”
 Homeopathic medicines: another one hits the dust

Dietary supplements: often more than we bargained for | Edzard Ernst

Many experts have warned us that, when we opt for dietary supplements, we might get more than we bargained for. A recent article reminded us that:
the increased availability and use of botanical dietary supplements and herbal remedies among consumers has been accompanied by an increased frequency of adulteration of these products with synthetic pharmaceuticals. Unscrupulous producers may add drugs and analogues of various classes, such as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, weight loss, hypoglycemic, antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory agents, or anabolic steroids, to develop or intensify biological effects of dietary supplements or herbal remedies. The presence of such adulterated products in the marketplace is a worldwide problem and their consumption poses health risks to consumers.

Read the rest here: Dietary supplements: often more than we bargained for