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rampant

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Vote for 2015’s Douchebag of The Year

Thank you all for your nominations in the comments, Twitter, Facebook and via email. It’s time to vote. Voting will be open until January 1, 2016, at midnight Eastern Standard Time.

GO VOTE NOW. VOTE EARLY. VOTE OFTEN. Or you can use the form below:


Read more at: Vote for 2015’s Douchebag of The Year by Reuben

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

10 things that did NOT happen in 2015 [but should have happened] | Edzard Ernst

At this time of the year, journalists like to review what has happened during the previous year. I am not a journalist, just an alt med researcher, and I don’t want to review the 10 most important events but the non-events, that is 10 relevant things that should have happened in the realm of alt med […]
Read on: 10 things that did NOT happen in 2015 [but should have happened]

Saturday, 26 December 2015

2015 Pseudoscience Douchebag of The Year Nominations

It’s that time of the year again when we give the “Pseudoscience (formerly Quack) Douchebag of the Year” award to our favorite anti-science loon. Last year, the lucky winner was Dr. Robert “Bob” Sears, an anti-vaccine pediatrician. Who will it be this year? Because he holds the title, Dr. Bob is automatically nominated this year. […]



Read more at: 2015 Pseudoscience Douchebag of The Year Nominations by Reuben

Merry Christmas

There have not been many opportunities for me to post on the blog. I’m back in the nation’s capital for a special assignment, and it’s taking more of my time than I had originally planned. Still, I wanted to thank you (yes, you) for reading this year. Here’s hoping that 2016 brings with it new […]


Read more at: Merry Christmas by Reuben

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Medical emergencies over Christmas: yet again, homeopaths prevent the worst | Edzard Ernst

It is Christmas time – one cannot possibly fail to realise it, if only by listening to the perennial reports about our hospitals and GP surgeries being over-stretched to breaking point.

Will we cope?

Sure we will – after all, we can rely on our homeopaths! Yet again, they are at the ready to help out and […]
Read on: Medical emergencies over Christmas: yet again, homeopaths prevent the worst

Monday, 21 December 2015

The sickening story of an ‘alternative cancer test’ | Edzard Ernst

Researching and reporting shocking stories like this one can only make me more enemies, I know. Yet I do think they need to be told; if we cannot learn from history, what hope is there?

I first became aware of Sigmund Rascher‘s work when I was studying the effects of temperature on blood rheology at the University of […]

Read on: The sickening story of an ‘alternative cancer test’

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Breaking news: the critics of homeopathy are either ignorant or corrupt !!! | Edzard Ernst

The US homeopath Alan V Schmukler has been the subject of one post on this blog already. Here, to remind everyone, is his fascinating background again:
He attended Temple University, where he added humanistic psychology to his passions. After graduating Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa and President’s Scholar, he spent several years doing workshops in […]
Read on: Breaking news: the critics of homeopathy are either ignorant or corrupt !!!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

How to promote the notion that the earth is flat | Edzard Ernst

If the Flat Earth Society (FES) really exists at all, I must confess I know nothing about it. Here I use the term ‘FES’ merely as an analogy; you might replace FES with SoH or BHA or BAA or BCA or with most of the other acronyms used in my field of inquiry.

What I do know about is alternative medicine, particularly […]

Read on: How to promote the notion that the earth is flat

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Vertebral artery dissection after chiropractic manipulation: yet another case | Edzard Ernst

While some chiropractors now do admit that upper neck manipulations can cause severe problems, many of them simply continue to ignore this fact. It is therefore important, I think, to keep alerting both consumers and chiropractors to the risks of spinal manipulations. In this context, a new article seems relevant.

Danish doctors reported a critical case […]

Read on: Vertebral artery dissection after chiropractic manipulation: yet another case

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The prime assumption of homeopathy is based on… a misunderstanding | Edzard Ernst

In 1790, as Hahnemann was translating the Scottish physician’s, Cullen, ‘Treatise on Materia Medica’, he came across the passage where Cullen explains the actions of Peruvian (or China bark, [Cinchona officinalis]) which contains quinine, an effective treatment of malaria. Hahnemann disagreed with Cullen’s explanation that Cinchona worked through “a tonic effect on the stomach”. Therefore he decided to […]

Read on: The prime assumption of homeopathy is based on… a misunderstanding

Monday, 14 December 2015

Homeopathic remedies: some are highly effective, and some are very unsafe | Edzard Ernst

Some time ago, when we published our systematic review about the adverse effects associated with homeopathic remedies, there was an outcry of critics stating that it is not rational to claim, on the one hand, that homeopathic remedies are so dilute that they contain nothing and therefore do nothing and, on the other hand, that […]
Read on: Homeopathic remedies: some are highly effective, and some are very unsafe

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Medical Medium – junk medicine with psychic reading

Every time I think I’ve read it all, apparently I haven’t. I was pointed in the direction of someone – the Medical Medium – who pushes pseudoscience online. Worse yet, he mashes together alternative medicine and psychic readings.

Yes, you read that right. Using psychic readings, he then recommends alternative medicine.

Anthony Wiliam, who calls himself the Medical Medium, not because he’s right in the middle of medicine, but because he believes he’s a medium, that is, someone who can speak with spirits. I’m sure he has a Ouija Board...

Read on: The Medical Medium – junk medicine with psychic reading

Saturday, 12 December 2015

New evidence on chondroitin/glucosamine for osteoarthritis | Edzard Ernst

The two dietary supplements chondroitin and glucosamine have been around for some time. They are being promoted mostly for osteoarthritis; some claim that they reduce pain, others even believe that they restore the damaged cartilage and thus reverse the disease process. But neither for a symptomatic nor causal therapy has the evidence so far been truly […]
Read on: New evidence on chondroitin/glucosamine for osteoarthritis

Friday, 11 December 2015

Placebo effects are weak: regression to the mean is the main reason ineffective treatments appear to work

DC's Improbable Science: Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science

“Statistical regression to the mean predicts that patients selected for abnormalcy will, on the average, tend to improve. We argue that most improvements attributed to the placebo effect are actually instances of statistical regression.” “Thus, we urge caution in interpreting patient improvements as causal effects of our actions and should avoid the conceit of assuming that [...]


Read the rest at: Placebo effects are weak: regression to the mean is the main reason ineffective treatments appear to work

Thursday, 10 December 2015

‘Ernst’s Razor’ | Edzard Ernst

A ‘RAZOR’ is an argument for “shaving off” unlikely or implausible explanations or arguments. Who would, in this context, not think of alternative therapies and the explanations provided for them? And who could deny that homeopathy, in particular, is crying out for its very own razor?

I am, of course, inspired by 4 existing razors:
  • Occam’s Razor: Among competing hypotheses, […]

Read on: ‘Ernst’s Razor’

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

If you don’t want to get the flu…consult your chiropractor urgently! | Edzard Ernst

We have heard often, here and elsewhere, that chiropractic is neither effective nor safe. But now I found that it is not useless after all!!! It is an effective preventative measure against infections like the common cold and the flu.

You find this hard to believe? But it must be true!

It is the message given to chiropractors on this website: […]

Read on: If you don’t want to get the flu…consult your chiropractor urgently!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Six prominent proponents of homeopathy and 12 remarkable qualities | Edzard Ernst

Recently I have focussed several posts on well-known homeopaths and proponents of homeopathy; they include 6 prominent defenders of this therapy:
  • Dr Peter Fisher, the Queen’s homeopath, 
  • Dr Michael Dixon, GP, chair of the NHS Alliance, the College of Medicine and holder of many other posts, 
  • Prof Michael Frass, intensive care physician at the University […]

Read on: Six prominent proponents of homeopathy and 12 remarkable qualities

Monday, 7 December 2015

Spinal manipulation/mobilisation for neck pain: caution is warranted | Edzard Ernst

Chiropractors and osteopaths have long tried to convince us that spinal manipulation and mobilisation are the best we can do when suffering from neck pain. But is this claim based on good evidence?

This recent update of a Cochrane review was aimed at assessing the effects of manipulation or mobilisation alone compared with those of an inactive control […]
Read on: Spinal manipulation/mobilisation for neck pain: caution is warranted

Sunday, 6 December 2015

What is the value of this blog? | Edzard Ernst

Now, here is a surprise, at least for me it was one: I just came across a website claiming that the estimated value of this blog is $21,928.77.

How on earth do they calculate this?

What does it mean?

How can you put a monetary value on a blog like mine?

I have to admit, I fail to […]
Read on: What is the value of this blog?

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Reiki = evidently bogus; Self-Reiki = self-evidently bogus | Edzard Ernst

The authors of a recent paper inform us that
Reiki is a Japanese system of energy healing that has been used for over 2 500 years. It involves the transfer of energy from the practitioner to the receiver, which promotes healing, and can be done by either contact or non-contact methods. Both the receiver and the practitioner may feel the energy in various forms (warmth, cold, tingling, vibration, pulsations and/or floating sensations). Reiki can also be self-administered if one is a Reiki practitioner. Reiki is mainly used to address stress, anxiety, and pain reduction while also promoting a sense of well-being and improving quality of life.

Such statements should […]

Read on: Reiki = evidently bogus; Self-Reiki = self-evidently bogus

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

HIV-AIDS and the deadly denialists at WDDTY - Plague of Mice

A friend sent me a copy of the latest issue of that collection of outrageous and mercenary lies legally registered under the title of What Doctors Don’t Tell You. It looks like we can expect some especially deadly fuckwittery in the near future. This somewhat transparently fake “letter” (read: an obvious plant) appears in the “Have Your Say” letters page.

Keep up the fight—and now onto AIDS

Dear WDDTY After reading your excellent November 2013 issue, I felt I must write to you all to congratulate you on your achievements. It’s fabulous that this type of information is available in supermarkets...
Read on: HIV-AIDS and the deadly denialists at WDDTY - Plague of Mice

Originally posted on 1st December 2013. Happy World AIDS Day.

Monday, 30 November 2015

My BMJ interview: more material for ad hominem attacks? | Edzard Ernst

When the British Medical Journal (BMJ) asked me for an interview, I felt very honoured and obliged with great pleasure. The result was published in the BMJ earlier this year. I take the liberty of re-publishing it here on my blog because many of my readers do not see the BMJ, and I think it’s rather fun. Moreover, I hope it might provide my critics with more diverse material for ad hominem attacks – the constant allegations that I am in the pocket of ‘Big Pharma’, that I have never done any original research etc. etc. are getting just too boring.

HERE IT IS […]

Read on: My BMJ interview: more material for ad hominem attacks?

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Homeopathy in Liverpool: finally two homeopaths who don’t tell overt untruths | Edzard Ernst

A recent article in the LIVERPOOL ECHO caught my eye. It is about the possibility that the NHS in Liverpool might stop funding their homeopathy service . Maybe I should read the LIVERPOOL ECHO more often, because the short article is most revealing.

It first cites the chairman of the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Nadim Fazlani […]

Read on: Homeopathy in Liverpool: finally two homeopaths who don’t tell overt untruths

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Dana Ullman, the ‘spokesperson’ for homeopathy | Edzard Ernst

Anyone who has looked into the discussions around homeopathy for more than 10 minutes will have come across Dana Ullman (DU). Some 15 years ago, I had the pleasure to meet him in person during a conference in Boston. After the brief chat, I asked a UK homeopathy who this bizarre person was. “Oh Dana!” he replied “Dana is alright.”

But is he? Let’s have a […]
Read on: Dana Ullman, the ‘spokesperson’ for homeopathy

Thursday, 26 November 2015

WDDTY Bingo

Read the full post at: WDDTY Bingo

We are much indebted to @lennylaw for finding this little gem and for Chris at osric.com for programming it. Ladies an’ ginnelmin, we proudly present: Make your own WDDTY Bingo Cards. This game can be played wherever sane people foregather to read the latest edition of WDDTY (you seriously don’t expect everyone to buy their own, …

WWDDTYDTY scrutinises the claims made by the so-called health magazine What Doctors Don't Tell You

Multifactorial beats ‘pseudo-holistic’ by a mile | Edzard Ernst

One of the most common claims of alternative practitioners is that they take a holistic approach to health care. And it is this claim which attracts many consumers. It also makes conventional medicine look bad, reductionist and inhuman, as it implies that mainstream medicine is non-holistic.

The claim can be easily disclosed to be a straw man, […]

Read on: Multifactorial beats ‘pseudo-holistic’ by a mile

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Crying “wolf”

Remember all those tearful posts and editorials about WDDTY being bullied? Well, here’s a crystal clear explanation of what they consider to be bullying....

WWDDTYDTY scrutinises the claims made by the so-called health magazine What Doctors Don't Tell You

Dental fillings could be causing decay in other teeth

… scream WDDTY on their webshite in a brief post dated Thursday, October 29, 2015:

All very scary. For once, given WDDTY‘s tendency to muck up the references , the journal and abstract are easy to find: they’re here.

So, are dental fillings per se triggering decay in surrounding teeth? Well, in a word: …

Continue reading Dental fillings could be causing decay in other teeth

WWDDTYDTY scrutinises the claims made by the so-called health magazine What Doctors Don't Tell You

Prof Frass’ remarkable studies of homeopathy | Edzard Ernst

Homeopathy seems to attract some kind of miracle worker. Elsewhere I have, for instance, reported the curious case of Prof Claudia Witt who published more than anyone on homeopathy in recent years without hardly ever arriving at a negative conclusion. Recently, I came across a researcher with an even better track record: Prof Michael Frass.

Wikipedia describes […]

Read on: Prof Frass’ remarkable studies of homeopathy

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Ever heard about ‘Shujing Massage’? | Edzard Ernst

I had thought that I know most alternative therapies. However, Shujing massage was new to me. It seems to be a massage technique from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) along the Yin/Yang concept; a bit like Shiatsu perhaps.

Does it work? This study might easily be the first to address this question. It was aimed at comparing the […]

Read on: Ever heard about ‘Shujing Massage’?

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Finally a rational, considered defence of homeopathy !*** | Edzard Ernst

Homeopathy has its fair share of lunes who are unable to make a reasonable case for it without telling overt falsehoods; we have seen some of then on this blog, for sure. Therefore I was encouraged to finally find a well-argued, rational defence of homeopathy. It comes from an unlikely source – Christian Boiron (CB) is the General Manager of the world’s […]

Read on: Finally a rational, considered defence of homeopathy !***

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Chiropractic ineptitude camouflaged as research | Edzard Ernst

No, I kid you not!

This abstract was actually published in the leading chiro-journal. The authors include three professors from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Research, Toronto, Canada. Its title is impressive but made my alarm bells ring a bit:

A Randomized Pragmatic Clinical Trial of Chiropractic Care for Headaches With and Without a Self-Acupressure Pillow.

And the actual texts does not disappoint those looking for of pure pseudo-science […]

Read on: Chiropractic ineptitude camouflaged as research

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Will Stanislaw Burzynski finally face real justice? – Respectful Insolence

The other day, I suddenly realized that it’s been a long time since I’ve written about the Polish expat doctor in Houston who treats patients with advanced brain cancer with a concoction that he dubbed antineoplastons (ANPs). I’m referring, of course, to Stanislaw Burzynski who, despite the fact that he has no training in medical oncology, has treated thousands of cancer patients with ANPs beginning back in the late 1970s. Somehow, despite the fact that he’s never even come close to showing that ANPs are effective and safe against the cancers for which he uses it, the FDA has, with a brief interruption, continued to let him do his clinical trials, and the Texas Medical Board, despite trying every several years to do so, has failed to strip Burzynski of his medical license. Indeed, when I did a search on this blog to see when the last time I wrote about Burzynski was, I was shocked to discover that it was over a year ago, when one of his patients died...

Read the full post: Will Stanislaw Burzynski finally face real justice? – Respectful Insolence

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A homeopath talks shite

... I freely confess that I didn’t know what meconium is. But Wikipedia (from where ‘DrPaul’ nicked the photo) soon enlightened me. Though as to what exactly he did with ‘The sample [he] derived from the drug free home birth of a friend of mine… ‘ (so why could he not take his own photograph?), I remained mystified. As such, I perhaps ought to qualify any statements I’m making by declaring my ignorance, thus leaving him retaliation room should he take the opportunity to lambast my admission that I do not wholly comprehend his ‘triturating’ and ‘proving’ of foetal faeces. Because he has not, I consider, made himself very clear...

Should homeopathy be blacklisted in general practice? Doctor Michael Dixon’s profoundly misleading comments | Edzard Ernst

We could have expected it, couldn’t we? With so much homeopathy in the press lately, Dr Dixon (we have seen him on this blog before, for instance here, here and here) had to comment. His article in yesterday’s NURSING IN PRACTICE is far too perfect to abbreviate it; I just have to cite it in full (only the […]
Read on: Should homeopathy be blacklisted in general practice? Doctor Michael Dixon’s profoundly misleading comments

Monday, 16 November 2015

Is the Queen’s homeopath telling the truth? | Edzard Ernst

Not long ago, Peter Fisher fired me from the editorial board of ‘his’ journal ‘HOMEOPATHY’. I thought that this was a surprisingly daft move, particularly as we used to have respect for each other and even published together as co-authors (for instance here). But perhaps I should not have been surprised because, already in 2007, he published an important, potentially libellous falsehood about me.

In this article which he published as Dr. Peter Fisher, Homeopath to Her Majesty, the Queen, he wrote […]

Read on: Is the Queen’s homeopath telling the truth?

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Electro-pollution sensitivity and computer mice | WWDDTYDTY

Now this is an interesting situation. We found two posts entitled “Electro-pollution sensitivity” on the WDDTY webshite that start with the same question. Even more curious: both posts are incomplete.

Notorious quackery promotion site Healthy.net to the rescue! We leave you to savour their presentation of the merits of WDDTY and the fuckwittery therein contained on a regular basis...

Full story: Electro-pollution sensitivity and computer mice | WWDDTYDTY

Friday, 13 November 2015

More very bad news for homeopathy | Edzard Ernst

A friend alerted me to this website: Hungarian Academy of Sciences statement proposing the same scientific standards for homeopathic drug registration as for normal drugs 

 Members of the Section of Medical Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) voted unanimously on 9 November 2015 for supporting the earlier proposal of the Royal Swedish Academy of […]

Read on: More very bad news for homeopathy

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Minimising the risks of quackery: A simple classification of charlatans | Edzard Ernst

Having just finished reading an ‘satirical esothriller’ entitled ‘VIER FRAUEN UND EIN SCHARLATAN’ (it’s a good book but it’s in German, I’m afraid), I have been thinking more than usual about charlatans. A charlatan is defined as a person who falsely pretends to know or be something in order to deceive people. In the book, the charlatan character […]
Read on: Minimising the risks of quackery: A simple classification of charlatans

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Nonspecific neck pain: Alexander technique or acupuncture? Probably neither! | Edzard Ernst

The aim of this study was to evaluate clinical effectiveness of Alexander Technique lessons or acupuncture versus usual care for persons with chronic, nonspecific neck pain.

Patients with neck pain lasting at least 3 months, a score of at least 28% on the Northwick Park Questionnaire (NPQ) for neck pain and associated disability, and no serious […]
Read on: Nonspecific neck pain: Alexander technique or acupuncture? Probably neither!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Alternative logic in alternative medicine: popular, fallacious and dangerously wrong | Edzard Ernst

Whenever I or anyone else conducts a debate about problems in alternative medicine with advocates of this type of health care, the following argument is bound to pop up in one form or another: NO NEED TO POINT OUT MINOR FLAWS WITH MY FAVOURITE THERAPY; LOOK AT THE ENORMOUS PROBLEMS IN CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE!

This type of ‘alternative logic’ has emerged after nearly […]

Read on: Alternative logic in alternative medicine: popular, fallacious and dangerously wrong

Sunday, 8 November 2015

An early critique of Osteopathy and Chiropractic | Edzard Ernst

This is a true gem which I found on Medline. The article was published 91 years ago by Holburt Jacob Waring (1866 – 1953) in the BMJ. I hope you enjoy it. This article does not need a comment, I think. Its author was one of the most prominent surgeons of his time. Apparently he was known and […]
Read on: An early critique of Osteopathy and Chiropractic

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Craniosacral therapy: wild assumptions, flimsy science and wrong conclusions | Edzard Ernst

Alternative medicine encompasses many bizarre treatments, but one of the weirdest must be craniosacral therapy (CST). The assumptions underlying CTS are: light manual touch of the head moves the joints of the cranium; this movement stimulates the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid; the enhanced flow has profound and positive effects on human health. None of […]

Read on: Craniosacral therapy: wild assumptions, flimsy science and wrong conclusions

Thursday, 5 November 2015

THE JOHN MADDOX PRIZE 2015: first reactions | Edzard Ernst

Yes, I got an award – and a very prestigious one at that! Thanks to everyone who supported me in often difficult times and made this possible. Here are some details from the website of Nature: Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor at Peninsula Medical School, and Susan Jebb, Professor of Diet and Population Health at the University […]Read on: THE JOHN MADDOX PRIZE 2015: first reactions

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

A Quack Miranda Warning Will Not Save Heather Dexter From The Consequences of Allowing Her Children To Suffer Through Pertussis

Ren wrote a blog post the other day that had my blood boiling. He told us the tale of a naturopath named Heather Dexter. Heather Dexter is a naturopath in Michigan, and she allowed her children to live through Whooping Cough (Pertussis) for more than six months. Any child with pertussis needs to immediately see a physician and be put on antibiotics. Why? Because pertussis coughing is so bad that it leaves the child blue in the face from anoxia […]

Read more at: A Quack Miranda Warning Will Not Save Heather Dexter From The Consequences of Allowing Her Children To Suffer Through Pertussis by Reuben

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Testing Homeopathy - Part 3: Research Evidence?





You want truth in advertising? Let's see how homeopaths score on this. The ASA goes through the Society of Homeopaths like the All Blacks going through a third-rate village scratch team.


The Delusional Mr. Lord

If you’ve been fighting anti-vaccine nonsense as long as I have, there are really few things that will impress you. (And I don’t mean “impress” in a good way.) There’s not a lie or conspiracy theory that anti-vaccine activists won’t adhere to. Their own delusions of grandeur come through when they call themselves “vaccine experts” and then display a woeful ignorance about basic biology. This is the case with one Mr. Joel Lord from Vancouver, Canada. He is the founder of the “Vaccine Resistance Movement,” a “grass roots” movement to try and bring down vaccine programs everywhere […]

Read more at: The Delusional Mr. Lord by Reuben

Monday, 2 November 2015

Testing Homeopathy - Part 2



(Mild profanity warning)

Zeno's too shy to put himself forward, but nevertheless we recommend his take on the infamous "Swiss Report" in addition to the excellent analysis in today's video: That ‘neutral’ Swiss homeopathy report

Standing up for science? Yes, but not at any cost! | Edzard Ernst

Anyone who has read ‘A SCIENTIST IN WONDERLAND’ will know that I stood up for science more than once in my life. In fact, I strongly believe that this is what scientists ought to do, and I frequently get irritated to see that some of my colleagues seem to disagree [if not even we scientists can stick our necks out for science, how can we expect others to do it?]. Being thus convinced, I surprised myself recently when […]

Read on: Standing up for science? Yes, but not at any cost!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Naturopath lets her kids suffer with Whooping cough, child abuse? - Naturopathic Diaries

I was not planning on writing today. But then I read a blog post about naturopathic “cures” for Whooping cough, and I got mad. There must have been significant backlash, as the post has been taken down from www.LikeMindedMamas.com and the group’s Facebook page, Like-Minded Mamas. I took a screenshot of the post though, which you should read before continuing. It is shocking...


Read on: Naturopath lets her kids suffer with Whooping cough, child abuse? - Naturopathic Diaries

Testing Homeopathy - Part 1: Plausibility




I'll be posting a series of videos by CoolHardLogic on the subject of homeopathy over the next few days. Free publicity for them and useful (I hope) educational tools for you.

Warning: language is mildly NSFW, depending on how uptight your colleagues are. If colloquial references to The Goon Show's ancient butler upset you, move along.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

The remarkable ‘Alternative Medicine Zone’: can I sue them for breaking my BS-meter? | Edzard Ernst

I am probably more used to nonsensical statements by promoters of alternative medicine than the average person. But the ‘ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE ZONE’ just broke my BS-meter. Here are a few samples from their most remarkable website, all relating to homeopathy: There has always been a debate whether allopathic treatment methods of the modern age are more beneficial or are the natural homeopathic treatment […]
Read on: The remarkable ‘Alternative Medicine Zone’: can I sue them for breaking my BS-meter?

Friday, 30 October 2015

Nut at the Museum - Armoured Skeptic



These ranting loons are all over Twitter, as @TakeThatDarwin can confirm. A fairly comprehensive round-up of the moronic claims that flow from the cherished ignorance of the typical creationist.

Armoured Skeptic's highly infotaining YouTube channel is here.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Stop backing ASA faulty judgements, alternative medicine bodies urged

WDDTY is apparently hell-bent on encouraging a mass suicide mission among quacks. The editors consistently urge quacks and charlatans to openly defy the Advertising Standards Authority:
Alternative health practitioners are being urged to lobby their associations to stop recognising the judgements of the Advertising Standards Association (ASA), which has consistently ruled against practitioners’ advertisements and websites. 
Why … Continue reading Stop backing ASA faulty judgements, alternative medicine bodies urged

Renita Herrmann, Homeopath

The post Renita Herrmann, Homeopath by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice.
Yes, I know. More fucking homeopathy. Look, it’s not my fault if it’s the most widespread and persistent form of fuckwittery outwith organised religion, ok? I’ve got a new one for you today: Renita Herrmann, aka @sfhomeopath on Twitter.

Renita Herrmann’s idea of making an honest living is telling the good people of San Francisco that she can cure “acid reflux, allergies, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, autism – CEASE Therapy, behavior problems, colds and flu, constipation, depression, diabetes, dietary issues (IBS, Crohn), eczema, headaches, indigestion, menopause, menstrual irregularity, mononucleosis, panic attacks, PMS, psoriasis, PTSD, rheumatism, sleep problems, weight problems.”

Mostly, you will note, self-limiting conditions or chronic diseases subject to flare-ups. However, at least one death has been attributed to treating eczema with homeopathy. Cease therapy, which I have so far been incapable of eviscerating without feeling the perfectly understandable urge to interrogate the local homeopaths with the aid of a … Continue reading

Homeopathy and the US Federal Trade Commission: double standards might soon be a thing of the past | Edzard Ernst

On this blog, we have already discussed the good news that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is considering whether advertisements for homeopathic products have any evidence to back the numerous claims that are being made for them. A meeting took place on 21 September, and now the first details are emerging.

Michelle Rusk, senior staff attorney in the FTC […]

Read on: Homeopathy and the US Federal Trade Commission: double standards might soon be a thing of the past

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Bach flower remedies – too good to be true? | Edzard Ernst

Bach flower remedies (BFR) are amazingly popular. They have been the subject of posts on this blog before (see here and here, for instance). They are as dilute as most homeopathic remedies and just as implausible. All the rigorous trials that have tested BFR have so far been squarely negative. Here is a truly surprising new study […]

Read on: Bach flower remedies – too good to be true?

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Silly Bobby Junior wants to get sued

Over the weekend, a group of anti-vaccine activists gathered outside CDC headquarters to protest the manufactured controversy of the “CDC Whistleblower.” They had all of the usual anti-vaccine tropes. “Vaccines cause autism.” “There are too many vaccines given too soon to too many babies in too many places.” “Andrew Wakefield was right.” And so on.

Some of the conspiracy nuts there went as far as to say that a maintenance man who was cleaning a nearby wall was “literally” spraying them with water. No, seriously […]

Read more at: Silly Bobby Junior wants to get sued by Reuben

Monday, 26 October 2015

And I thought homeopaths have no humour! | Edzard Ernst

Having been in contact with homeopaths most of my life, I had almost come to the conclusion that they tend to be more than a little short of a sense of humour. Well, I was wrong! I first realised my error when I came across this website. Under the heading ‘WHY USE HOMEOPATHICS?’, it lists 6 reasons which are undeniably full […]

Read on: And I thought homeopaths have no humour!

The dangerous game played by Hooker and Wakefield

When Brian S. Hooker and Andrew Jeremy Wakefield decided that they were going to play the “CDC Whistleblower” game, they and their minions decided to lie and misinform African Americans with the idea that the MMR vaccine was causing more autism in African American children than in other groups. They have gone so far so as to line themselves up with the Nation of Islam, and so we have these statements from NoI leaders saying that CDC “poisoned” Black and Hispanic children.

This is a very dangerous game that the anti-vaccine high priests are playing […]


Read more at: The dangerous game played by Hooker and Wakefield by Reuben

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The money behind the antivaccine movement

The post The money behind the antivaccine movement by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice.
This is good. Oh, this is good. A CNN journalist follows the money.

You are a killer because of your false information | Edzard Ernst

If you ever receive an email from ‘edzardernst@yahoo.com’, please be aware that it is not from me. It comes from some clown who seems to want to pretend to be me.

How do I know? I received a short email from that very person. Here is its full text in all its beauty:
“You are the most bullshit person i know who claim to be a good doctor […]

Read on: You are a killer because of your false information

Friday, 23 October 2015

Alternative therapies: do they really improve the quality of life of cancer patients? | Edzard Ernst

Alternative medicine (AM) use has become popular among patients with cancer. I find this very easy to understand: faced with such a grave diagnosis, who would not be tempted to try everything that is being promoted as being helpful. And, by Jove, promoted it is! But does it do any good?

The evidence clearly shows that […]

Read on: Alternative therapies: do they really improve the quality of life of cancer patients?

If this is Thursday, this must be somewhere

Okay, I have a serious question for you:

Did you? Did you miss me?

Life has gotten so complicated in the last few weeks that I really have had little time to write. When I do, I usually do it as a collaboration with someone and for publication in some journal. If you look hard […]



Read more at: If this is Thursday, this must be somewhere by Reuben

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Chiropractic: sincerity renders quacks not less but more dangerous | Edzard Ernst

The ‘INTERNATIONAL CHIROPRACTIC PEDIATRIC ASSOCIATION’ (ICPA) is, according to their website, ‘a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance chiropractic by establishing evidence informed practice, supporting excellence in professional skills and delivering educational resources to the public. It fulfills this mission by engaging and serving family chiropractors worldwide through research, training and public education.’

It fulfils its mission by, amongst other things, tweeting links to other pro-chiropractic activities. It is via such a tweet that I recently […]

Read on: Chiropractic: sincerity renders quacks not less but more dangerous

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Writing systematic reviews of TCM has just become a whole lot easier | Edzard Ernst

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against systematic reviews. Quite to the contrary, I am sure they are an important source of information for patients, doctors, scientists, policy makers and others – after all, I have published more than 300 of such papers!

Having said that, I do dislike a certain type of systematic review, […]

Read on: Writing systematic reviews of TCM has just become a whole lot easier

How To Disprove The Flat Earth

By @ScienceWasWrong

While retweeting flat earthers, as a Take That account, I was much struck with certain facts about the positions of the heavenly bodies, and in their relation to the geographic coordinates of the observer. These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the shape of the earth — that mystery of mysteries, as it has been […]


Read the rest at: How To Disprove The Flat Earth}

The "Take This" blog is written by a collective of skeptics hunting down misleading, uninformed and sometimes outright insane claims on social media.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Finally, a slimming aid that actually works? | Edzard Ernst

The search for an effective treatment of obesity is understandably intense. Many scientists are looking in the plant kingdom for a solution, but so far none has been forthcoming – as we have already discussed on this blog before (e. g. here, and here). One herbal slimming aid is currently becoming popular: Yerba Mate also called Ilex paraguariensis, a […]

Read on: Finally, a slimming aid that actually works?

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Homeopathy in Bristol: from bad to dismal | Edzard Ernst

On the website of the Bristol University Hospital, it was just revealed that UK homeopathy seems to have suffered another blow:
“Homeopathic medicine has been available in Bristol since 1852, when Dr Black first started dispensing from premises in the Triangle. During the next 69 years the service developed and expanded culminating in the commissioning […]

Read on: Homeopathy in Bristol: from bad to dismal

Friday, 16 October 2015

Fib, fib Hurairah, the Black Seed Scammer

The post Fib, fib Hurairah, the Black Seed Scammer by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice.

It’s often said that, if you’re going to tell a lie, make it a big ‘un. The logic behind this is: the more outrageous it seems, the more likely you are to be believed, or at least get away with it for long enough to make a getaway.

I’ve never bought into that. It certainly doesn’t wash on t’Internet, as it’s far too easy to check the facts. This is something people like “the Black Seed Expert aka Barbi or Barbara Trejo, aka Samantha Davis, aka Maria or Um Hurairah, aka Andrew Huff, and many many more” would do well to remember. Hurairah calls herself the Black Seed Expert and I got very angry over her vicious lies and bullying attitude here: Black seed oil: A Cure For All Disease Except Stupid. It is not a pretty read.

In fact, the situation is far worse. She’s not just a gibbering …

 Continue reading

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Homeopathy – where the truths are diluted even more than the remedies | Edzard Ernst

Recently an interesting article caught my eye. It was published in the official journal of the ‘Deutscher Zentralverein Homoeopathischer Aerzte’ (the professional body of German doctor homeopath which mostly acts as a lobby group). Unfortunately it is in German – but I will try to take you trough what I believe to be the most important issue. The article seems […]

Read on: Homeopathy – where the truths are diluted even more than the remedies

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

ACUPUNCTURE: poor evidence, poorer journalism | Edzard Ernst

Today the GUARDIAN published an article promoting acupuncture on the NHS. The article is offensively misleading, I think, and therefore deserves a comment. I write these comments with a heavy heart, I should add, because the GUARDIAN is by far my favourite UK daily. In the following, I will cite key passages from the article […]

Read on: ACUPUNCTURE: poor evidence, poorer journalism

Monday, 12 October 2015

Therapeutic Touch – time to stop taking such rubbish seriously! | Edzard Ernst

Therapeutic touch (TT) is a popular ‘energy therapy’ which is based on the use of hand movements and detection of ‘energy field congestion’ to correct alleged imbalances that, in turn, are postulated to stimulate self-healing. The effectiveness of TT during radiotherapy for breast cancer is unknown, and this study was aimed at shedding some light on it. Women undergoing […]

Read on: Therapeutic Touch – time to stop taking such rubbish seriously!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Chiropractic: beware the promotion masquerading as research | Edzard Ernst

If you start reading the literature on chiropractic, you are bound to have surprises. The paucity of rigorous and meaningful research is one of them. I am constantly on the look-out for such papers but am regularly frustrated. Over the years, I got the impression that chiropractors tend to view research as an exercise in promotion […]

Read on: Chiropractic: beware the promotion masquerading as research

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

A NOBEL PRIZE for TCM ??? | Edzard Ernst

The Nobel Prize committee has just awarded this year’s prize to a Chinese researcher from the Chinese Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Beijing. To be precise, the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was given jointly to three scientists from three different institutions, William C. Campbell, Satoshi Ōmura and Youyou Tu, for their work on new anti-malaria drugs. A small […]

Read on: A NOBEL PRIZE for TCM ???

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The perils of P values, in Chalkdust magazine

Chalkdust is a magazine published by students of maths from UCL Mathematics department. Judging by its first issue, it’s an excellent vehicle for popularisation of maths. I have a piece in the second issue

You can view the whole second issue on line, or download a pdf of the whole issue. Or a pdf of my [...]


Read the rest at: The perils of P values, in Chalkdust magazine
DC's Improbable Science: Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science 

Monday, 5 October 2015

Homeopathic chain opens 1st clinic in London … by publishing bogus claims | Edzard Ernst

An Indian chain of homeopathic clinics, Dr Batra’s, has just opened its first branch in London. The new website is impressive. It claims homeopathy is effective for the following conditions:
  • Hair Loss 
  • Acne (Pimples) 
  • Hay Fever (Flu) 
  • Eczema 
  • Psoriasis 
  • Vitiligo 
  • Depression 
Hair loss? Are they serious? Have they not seen pictures of Samuel Hahnemann? I decided to look into the psoriasis claim […]

Read on: Homeopathic chain opens 1st clinic in London … by publishing bogus claims

Saturday, 3 October 2015

TIME TO CELEBRATE – it’s national chiropractic health month! | Edzard Ernst

Hurray, I can hear the Champagne corks popping: this month is national chiropractic months in the US. A whole month! This has depleted my stock of the delicious fizz in three days.

Now that my bottles are all empty (is there a chiropractic cure for a hang-over?), I must find other ways to celebrate. How about a […]

Read on: TIME TO CELEBRATE – it’s national chiropractic health month!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Why patients choose homeopathy | Edzard Ernst

The question why patients turn to homeopathy – or indeed any other disproven treatment – has puzzled many people. There has been a flurry of research into these issues. Here is the abstract of a paper that I find very remarkable and truly fascinating:
Interviews with 100 homeopathic patients in the San Francisco Bay Area show that for the […]
Read on: Why patients choose homeopathy

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Alternative treatments of pain = mega business, huge waste | Edzard Ernst

Some people seem to believe that the field of alternative medicine resembles a quaint little cottage industry where money hardly matters. A new analysis shows how far from the truth this impression is.

In the 2007 US National Health Interview Survey, use of complementary health approaches, reasons for this use, and associated out of pocket (OOP) costs were captured in a […]

Read on: Alternative treatments of pain = mega business, huge waste

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The cost of homeopathy | Edzard Ernst

No, this post is not about the human cost of homeopathy. I have written about this subject already rather a lot, I think. This post is about the money we dish out for homeopathy. This should be a very straight forward issue – but unfortunately it isn’t, and I find it rather intriguing that there can be so much uncertainty […]

Read on: The cost of homeopathy

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Acupuncture for hypertension? I would be sceptical! | Edzard Ernst

This study created a media storm when it was first published. Several articles in the lay press seemed to advertise it as though a true breakthrough had been made in the treatment of hypertension. I would not be surprised, if many patients consequently threw their anti-hypertensives over board and queued up at their local acupuncturist.

Good for business, […]

Read on: Acupuncture for hypertension? I would be sceptical!

Friday, 25 September 2015

The regulation of alternative medicine – a good or a bad thing? | Edzard Ernst

All across the world we see initiatives to regulate alternative medicine. The most recent news in this sphere comes from Switzerland. The ‘Swissinfo’ website reported that the training of alternative medicine practitioners is to be regulated by creating a ‘COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE DIPLOMA’.

The decision was welcomed by the Organisation of Swiss Alternative Medicine Professionals (OdA KT), […]

Read on: The regulation of alternative medicine – a good or a bad thing?

Stefan Grimmm (1963 – 2014). A memorial to a victim of managerialism

Today, 25 September, is the first anniversary of the needless death of Stefan Grimm. This post is intended as a memorial.

He should be remembered, in the hope that some good can come from his death.

On 1 December 2014, I published the last email from Stefan Grimm, under the title “Publish and perish at Imperial [...]

DC's Improbable Science: Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science
Read the rest at: Stefan Grimmm (1963 – 2014). A memorial to a victim of managerialism

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Wet cupping: too good to be true? | Edzard Ernst

Wet cupping is a therapy traditionally used in several cultures. It involves superficial injuries to the skin and subsequently the application of a vacuum cup over the injured site. This procedure would draw a small amount of blood into the cup, and this visible effect was taken as a sign that the humors or life forces or whatever are […]

Read on: Wet cupping: too good to be true?

Monday, 21 September 2015

Homeopathy for babies: health journalism at its very best | Edzard Ernst

When it comes to alternative medicine, the public relies heavily on the writings of health journalists. We therefore have to count ourselves lucky to have some that are outstanding in their ability to inform the public honestly, objectively and responsibly. Here is an excerpt of what one particularly gifted and ethical heath journalist (and consultant!!!) just published regarding […]

Read on: Homeopathy for babies: health journalism at its very best

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Chris Heaton-Harris MP Resurrects Lord Saatchi’s Zombie Quacks’ Charter. | The Quackometer Blog

Lord Saatchi has been trying for a number of years now to introduce a law that would drive a coach and horses through well established medical negligence law. The effect of the law would be to seriously erode a patient’s right to sue a doctor if they were harmed through negligence. Under the Saatchi Law, a doctor who would currently be found acting without proper care would be free from fear of claims against them. Maverick doctors, quacks and profiteering doctors could recklessly practice without worry, treating their patients as guinea pigs, uncontrolled test subjects and sales opportunities for untested treatments. Drug companies could push unproven treatments to the dying without knowing about potential harmful effects. Quacks could exploit desperate patients with nonsense treatments...

Read the rest here: Chris Heaton-Harris MP Resurrects Lord Saatchi’s Zombie Quacks’ Charter. | The Quackometer Blog

Friday, 18 September 2015

Pharmacists must prevent the sale of homeopathic remedies in pharmacies | Edzard Ernst

An article in the Australian Journal of Pharmacy seems well worth mentioning on this blog. It throws some light on what is happening in Australia regarding an issue that I have repeatedly written about: the sale of homeopathic remedies by pharmacists.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia have apparently published a ‘Complementary Medicines Position Paper’ which states that complementary medicines may be used […]

Read on: Pharmacists must prevent the sale of homeopathic remedies in pharmacies

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

How much did ‘Big Pharma’ pay for my soul? | Edzard Ernst

This seems to be the question that occupies the minds of several homeopaths.

Amazed?

So was I!

Let me explain.

In 1997, Linde et al published their now famous meta-analysis of clinical trials of homeopathy which concluded that “The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo. However, we found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition. Further research on homeopathy is warranted provided it is rigorous and systematic.” […]

Read on: How much did ‘Big Pharma’ pay for my soul?

If you can’t sell your journalism, sell controversy

I’m in the nation’s capital, as I am from time to time when the rigorous requirements of my job demand it, and I picked up a copy of the Baltimore Sun. (I like to see what’s up in the city where my alma matter is located.) It was the usual bit of this and that, with the mayor resigning, a ton of people coming out of the woodwork to try and replace her, and more violence in the streets. Then I saw that someone had tweeted an article from the Baltimore Sun to a friend of mine… And then my blood boiled […]


Read more at: If you can’t sell your journalism, sell controversy by Reuben

Musings from the Mind of MetalOllie: Homeopathic Musings...

Many moons ago, when my anxiety disorder was at its peak, I had tried almost every anxiolytic and antidepressant known to mankind, each with varying degrees of success. I also tried homeopathic remedies, as my GP was a great believer in their efficacy. Initially, they did help, ever so slightly. Or so I thought...

Let's be blunt about this. Homeopathic "remedies" DO NOT WORK. Not in any meaningful way. They may help alleviate some symptoms, but this is almost always down to the placebo effect. This was certainly the case when I used them, and it was further compounded by the copious amounts of real medication I was prescribed...

Read the full post here: Musings from the Mind of MetalOllie: Homeopathic Musings...

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A homeopath doesn’t like being called out for promoting misinformation | drpaulmorgan

Long-time “friend” (they’re certainly well-acquainted with him) of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Steve Scrutton, a Homeopath from Corby, is a regular poster on Twitter and his own blog (ironically titled “Safe Medicine“) about his chosen means of earning a living and also about various other subjects such as anti-vaccination and other forms of quackery. It’s fair to say that he exhibits features that fall under the term of crank magnetism. His brushes with the ASA were based around him making claims of benefits for products he was selling via a website he ran. I don’t know the details, but he was ordered to remove the claims. Having failed to do so, he was then listed by the ASA as a “non-compliant advertiser”. I don’t know whether he did comply by changing that website or simply closed it down, but it seems he’s no longer on that list. Just as well, as repeated non-compliance can lead to prosecution by Trading Standards...

Read the full post here: A homeopath doesn’t like being called out for promoting misinformation | drpaulmorgan

Monday, 14 September 2015

INTEGRATED MEDICINE: a disservice to patients? | Edzard Ernst

We used to call it ‘alternative medicine’ (on this blog, I still do so, because I believe it is a term as good or bad as any other and it is the one that is easily recognised); later some opted for ‘complementary medicine’; since about 15 years a new term is en vogue: INTEGRATED MEDICINE (IM).

Supporters of IM are adamant that IM is not synonymous with the other terms. But how is IM actually defined? […]

Read on: INTEGRATED MEDICINE: a disservice to patients?

Sunday, 13 September 2015

This is why we will never get rid of tuberculosis and other diseases

After Ren had his information illegally (in my non-lawyer opinion) posted on the “Vaccine Resistance Movement” Facebook page, I decided to dive into that cesspool and see what other kinds of stupidity were there. One of the first posts I read in that sea of stupidity was this post from a woman’ we’ll call “HS” […]

Read more at: This is why we will never get rid of tuberculosis and other diseases by Reuben

Saturday, 12 September 2015

How anti-vaccine zealots act

Besides being enormous threats to public health, anti-vaccine zealots are also threats to people’s security. A couple of days ago, Ren published a blog post describing how a takeover and takedown of a Facebook anti-vaccine page happened. So many anti-vaccine activists were caught up in that takedown that they decided to lash out against anyone who mentioned the takedown. Because Ren had written about it, one anti-vaccine activist took exception and posted Ren’s home address and home telephone number […]

Read more at: How anti-vaccine zealots act by Reuben

Friday, 11 September 2015

Sepsis & Shamelessness with Sandra Hermann-Courtney

The post Sepsis & Shamelessness with Sandra Hermann-Courtney by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice.

This is  not a “ho-ho-ho, let’s have a good laugh at the expense of some starry-eyed idiots” post. It’s a “these bastards make me really fucking angry” post.

Sepsis is a nasty thing to get, and can very easily become a nasty way to die. A large number of sepsis deaths can be prevented if people know the signs to watch for. If you’ve been following the trends on social media recently, you may have spotted a huge flurry of activity, especially around the #sepsis hashtag on Twitter. Unfortunately, so did the resident homeopathy trolls, notably Sandra Hermann-Courtney. We’ve already encountered the despicable SHC in such gems as:
  • The homeopath who cried “Block and report” 
  • Fighting for Fuckwittery: Enemies of Homeopathy 
  • WTF Special: How to choose a homeopath 
  • Hermann-Courtney: Help! Help! We’re being oppressed by people asking for evidence! 

… to list but a few. Up to now, she had … Continue reading

The techniques of pseudoscience | Edzard Ernst

On a blog about alternative medicine, the issue of ‘pseudoscience’ can never be far. Several posts have already focussed specifically on this topic. Recently, I came across an excellent article on homeopathy (which is well worth reading in full). It concluded by listing the techniques commonly used in pseudoscience. I think this is important and relevant to much of the […]

Read on: The techniques of pseudoscience

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Will these homeopaths get the Nobel prize? | Edzard Ernst

The story is all over: at a symposium last weekend, 29 German homeopaths ended up in hospital after ingesting the powerful hallucinogenic drug, 2C-E, also known as Aqua Rust. You can read it here or here or here or here, for instance.

The events are a bit nebulous, and most newspapers got it at least partly […]

Read on: Will these homeopaths get the Nobel prize?

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Acupuncture risks: white-wash or denial? | Edzard Ernst

On this blog, we have repeatedly discussed the risks of acupuncture. Contrary to what we often hear, there clearly is potential for harm. Acupuncture is, of course most popular in China where it has been used for thousands of years. Therefore the Chinese literature, which is not easy to access for non-Chinese speakers and therefore often disregarded […]

Read on: Acupuncture risks: white-wash or denial?

Monday, 7 September 2015

WHO | Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus – Ukraine

In Ukraine, 2 cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1) have been confirmed, with dates of onset of paralysis on 30 June and 7 July 2015. Both are from the Zakarpatskaya oblast, in south-western Ukraine, bordering Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. One child was 4 years old and the other 10 months old at the time of onset of paralysis...

anarchic_teapot's insight:
This is not a reason to refuse vaccine. It's a terrfying reminder why why the entire family needs to be up to date on its vaccines. If polio doesn't scare you, you've never lived in a country where it was rife.



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Saturday, 5 September 2015

Australian mother plans to set up anti-vaccination day care centre - Mashable



An Australian mother has announced she is starting her own childcare centre for parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated.

anarchic_teapot's insight:
Not so much a day care centre as the ideal breeding ground for many potentially deadly diseases. The Australian anti-vax lobby is insane, even by "n ormal" antivax standards.

Of course, she may change her tune when she realises how much it costs, especially since she won't be eligible for subsidies or tax credits. If the whole shebang is legal, of course.



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What's behind the 'anti-vax' movement? - BBC News


Four experts share their thoughts on the anti-vaccination movement.




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The end of quackery…it’s amazingly easy!!! | Edzard Ernst

Who – apart from quacks – would not want to get rid of all quackery, once and for all? It would be a huge improvement to medicine, save thousands of lives, and reduce our expenditure for health care considerably. But how?

How can we possibly get rid of something that is as ancient as medicine itself?

Simple! […]

Read on: The end of quackery…it’s amazingly easy!!!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Submit a Story to the Podcast!

We want YOU to submit your own piece of original work on how Dr G.M.O. Monsanto became evil and decided to kill everybody. Your story has to be relevant, appropriate and kept PG. It also has to remain somewhat short. You can publish a novel if you don’t like that! Your piece is to be […]

Read the rest at: Submit a Story to the Podcast!

The "Take This" blog is written by a collective of skeptics hunting down misleading, uninformed and sometimes outright insane claims on social media.

The risk of (chiropractic) spinal manipulations: a new article | Edzard Ernst

Much has been written on this blog and elsewhere about the risks of spinal manipulation. It relates almost exclusively to the risks of manipulating patients’ necks. There is far less on the safety of thrust joint manipulation (TJM) when applied to the thoracic spine. A new paper focusses on this specific topic. The purpose of this review […]

Read on: The risk of (chiropractic) spinal manipulations: a new article

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Eurythmy: too weird for words | Edzard Ernst

No, this post is not about the pop duo ‘EURYTHMICS’*, it is about ‘EURYTHMY’ which pre-dates the pop duo by a few decades.

Eurythmy is a movement therapy of anthroposophic medicine which, according to its proponents, has positive effects on a person’s physical body, spirit, and soul. It is involves expressive movements developed by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with […]

Read on: Eurythmy: too weird for words

* Although Eurythmics did get their name from this - AT

Monday, 31 August 2015

Floppy Fascism | Losing In The Lucky Country

Since announcements that the Abbott government will from January 2016 introduce a “no jab, no pay” policy, noting the increasing misuse of particular terms became inescapable.

Fascism, Nazism, Nazi, Fascist, Mandatory, Forced, Freedom. These words are being used increasingly by anti-vaccine lobbyists to describe changes in public health policy. Changes planned to protect the wider community from the impact of increased vaccine preventable disease notification consonant with lower herd immunity.

The words are being used incorrectly due to error born of ignorance by some...

Read the full story: Floppy Fascism | Losing In The Lucky Country

Girl kidnapped by anti-vaccine mom is rescued

A little girl who was kidnapped by her anti-vaccine mother has been found in good health in Florida, according to CNN. The story of the kidnapping was shown on “The Hunt,” a show about cold cases hosted by John Walsh. The mother left behind a note for her boyfriend when she kidnapped the child:
“Dear […]


Read more at: Girl kidnapped by anti-vaccine mom is rescued by Reuben

Chelation therapy: should it be included in the list of ‘mind-numbingly stupid alternative therapies’? | Edzard Ernst

A recent article promised to provide details of the ’10 most mind-numbingly stupid alternative therapies’. Naturally I was interested what these might be. In descending order they are, according to the author of the most enjoyable piece:

10 VEGA TESTING
9 REIKI 8 CRYSTAL HEALING
7 URINE THERAPY
6 DETOXIFYING FOOT PADS
5  WHEAT-GRASS ENEMAS 4 […]

Read on: Chelation therapy: should it be included in the list of ‘mind-numbingly stupid alternative therapies’?

Sunday, 30 August 2015

AllTrials – Half of all clinical trials have never reported results

We’re sometimes asked if it’s still true that around half of clinical trials have never reported results. Yes, it is.

Some people point towards recent studies that found a higher rate of publication than that. Great! With all the campaigning, new laws, new regulations and emerging codes of conduct we and others have worked towards, it comes as no surprise that the situation is gradually improving. But these studies look at clinical trials conducted very recently, often on the newest drugs, and therefore represent a tiny fraction of all the clinical trials that have ever been conducted. There’s a massive backlog of unpublished trials reaching back decades. A large proportion of these past trials, or tens of thousands of new trials, would have to publish results for the percentage of unpublished trials to change significantly...

Read the full story and sign the petition here: AllTrials – Half of all clinical trials have never reported results

Another homeopathy fail | Zeno's Blog

Prof Ernst has covered the details of the Judicial Review brought by homeopathy user Honor Watt against NHS Lothian after their decision to withdraw funding for homeopathy referrals to the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital: Homeopathy: another day in court + another defeat. 

The judgement, published yesterday, names the three products she was prescribed and calls them ‘homeopathic […]

Read on: Another homeopathy fail

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Dialogue with a homeopath

... Emphasis of claimed homeopathy-fill-able niches was followed by a brief history lesson for the homeopathy-uninitiated, replete with some of the plethora of logical fallacies which tend to accompany these things, including links to material by one or two familiar homeopathy luminaries, and the ever handy argumenta ad populum, which all makes for ready marketing material...


[Read more... ]

Homeopathy: another day in court + another defeat | Edzard Ernst

A short report about a Scottish legal case is worth a mention, I think.

Honor Watt, 73 had sued Lothian Health Board after the authority stopped in June 2013 to provide homeopathic treatments to patients. Ms Watt, an arthritis sufferer, had previously received homeopathic medicine for this condition. There is, of course, no good evidence that homeopathic remedies are […]

Read on: Homeopathy: another day in court + another defeat

You never know who is listening or reading

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the anti-vaccine crowd is losing their collective minds over the so-called “CDC Whistleblower.” The CDC Whistleblower is a researcher by the name of William Thompson. Dr. Thompson made the mistake of confiding some of his anti-vaccine unease over some vaccine studies at CDC to BS Hooker, known anti-vaccine […]

Read more at: You never know who is listening or reading by Reuben

Friday, 28 August 2015

Anthroposophic medicine: an exercise in critical thinking | Edzard Ernst

Anthroposophic medicine is based on Rudolf Steiner’s mystical ideas. It is popular in Germany and is slowly also spreading to other countries.  Anthroposophic drugs are prepared according to ancient notions of alchemy and are fly in the face of modern pharmacology. Anthroposophic doctors treat all sorts of diseases, and their treatments  include anthroposophic medications, and a range of other […]

Read on: Anthroposophic medicine: an exercise in critical thinking

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Genital Cutting: It’s Not About Skin

Genital cutting – whether done to those designated female, intersex or male at birth – is not about skin. Yes – it’s skin that gets cut. But it’s not about skin. It’s about consent. In this video, Soraya Mire – a survivor of female genital mutilation and a leading activist for the right to bodily […]

Read the rest at: Genital Cutting: It’s Not About Skin}

The "Take This" blog is written by a collective of skeptics hunting down misleading, uninformed and sometimes outright insane claims on social media.

Four new papers on a promising ‘alternative’ therapy: massage | Edzard Ernst

Being constantly on the look-out for new, good quality articles on alternative therapy which suggest that a treatment might actually work, I was excited to find not just one or two but four recent publications on an old favourite of mine: massage therapy. The first paper described a study aimed to investigate the effect of whole body […]

Read on: Four new papers on a promising ‘alternative’ therapy: massage

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Vaccine Whistleblower: An antivaccine “exposé” full of sound and fury, signifying nothing | Science-Based Medicine

I don’t review books that often (...) Today, I’m making an exception for a book hot off the presses. The main reason is curiosity, because the book is about a topic that I’ve blogged about three times here and several times more for my not-so-super-secret other blog, and I really wanted to find out more about what was going on. I didn’t expect to find out what really happened, because I knew from the beginning that the book, Vaccine Whistleblower: Exposing Research Fraud at the CDC by an antivaccine lawyer named Kevin Barry, would be highly biased. However, as I found out a few weeks ago, the book promised four complete transcripts of telephone conversations between the “CDC whistleblower,” a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) psychologist named William W. Thompson who has been a co-investigator on important CDC studies since the late 1990s...

Read the rest here: Vaccine Whistleblower: An antivaccine “exposé” full of sound and fury, signifying nothing | Science-Based Medicine

Learning quackery for Continuing Medical Education credit � Science-Based Medicine

The Integrative Addiction Conference 2015 (“A New Era in Natural Treatment”) starts tomorrow in Myrtle Beach, SC. Medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, naturopaths and other health care providers will hear lectures on such subjects as “IV Therapies and Addiction Solutions,” given by Kenneth Proefrock, a naturopath whose Arizona Stem Cell Center specializes in autologous stem cell transplants derived from adipose tissue. Proefrock, who was disciplined for using prolotherapy in the cervical spine without proper credentialing in 2008, claims that stem cells treatments are an “incredibly versatile therapy” and uses them for variety of conditions, such as MS and viral diseases. At the same time, he admits that they are not FDA approved and he is not claiming they are effective for anything (and he’s right), which leads one to wonder why he employs them....

The rest of the exposé of this jaw-dropping WTF is here: Learning quackery for Continuing Medical Education credit � Science-Based Medicine

Truly horrendous

Monday, 24 August 2015

Chiropractic spinal manipulation = placebo! | Edzard Ernst

Regular readers of this blog will be aware of the many bogus claims made by chiropractors. One claim, however, namely the one postulating chiropractors can effectively treat low back pain with spinal manipulation, is rarely viewed as being bogus. Chiropractors are usually able to produce evidence that does suggest the claim to be true, and therefore even most critics of chiropractic back off on this particular issue.



But is the claim really true?


A recent trial might provide the answer […]

Read on: Chiropractic spinal manipulation = placebo!

Anti-GMO activists and climate change deniers – no science

There is an evolving feeling that anti-GMO activists and climate change deniers are nearly the same. They both rely upon denialism (also known as pseudoskepticism), which is the culture of denying the established scientific consensus despite overwhelming evidence.

Admittedly, some of the denialism is based on political expediency. Climate change denialism is a fundamental aspect of many politically conservative voters across the world, but especially in the United States, where Republican legislatures in the United States have passed anti-anthropogenic global warming legislation.

But not to be outdone, the left-wing parties across the world have their own particular brand of science denialism–GMOs...

Read the rest here: Anti-GMO activists and climate change deniers – no science

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Bringing My Dead Mother to their Disgusting Cause

Here's a glimpse into the bullying tactics used by the oh-so-caring anti-GMO lynch mob.

Just when you thought they could not get any lower. Now someone is posting truly evil information on the Gainesville, FL Craigslist page. Tomorrow would be my mother's birthday, she'd be 69 years old, if she was still alive. She died a few years ago, way too young, and we all still miss her tremendously. So imagine my joy when someone directed me to this on the local Craigslist...

Bringing My Dead Mother to their Disgusting Cause by Dr Kevin Folta

Saturday, 22 August 2015

The US ‘FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION’ is about to investigate homeopathy, comments are invited! | Edzard Ernst

I just came across an announcement which could be important. Here are what I consider the important passages:
The Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop on Monday, September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC, to examine advertising for over-the-counter (OTC) homeopathic products… 
Because of rapid growth in the marketing and consumer use of homeopathic products, the […]
Read on: The US ‘FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION’ is about to investigate homeopathy, comments are invited!

Breastfeeding advocate is anti-vaccine activist?

Of all the public health interventions the world has ever known, very few compare to breastfeeding… Wait, is breastfeeding a public health intervention? Yes and no. It isn’t because it’s something that is natural, and something that almost all women can do for their babies. Then again, it is because we have to remind women […]

Read more at: Breastfeeding advocate is anti-vaccine activist? by Reuben

Friday, 21 August 2015

The Charity Commission – from bad to worse | Majikthyse

It’s well over a year since I complained to the Commission about charities that promote homeopathy. The total lack of progress with that was documented recently. So far I have learned nothing about the Commission’s undertaking to review its policy on the public benefit obligation of such charities. To test whether anything has changed, on 30th July I sent in another complaint, this time against Homeopathy In Africa (charity number 1125981). Here is the complaint as I entered it on the Commission’s website (using their headings)...

Read the rest here: The Charity Commission – from bad to worse | Majikthyse

How much of alt med research is unethical? | Edzard Ernst

Medical ethics comprise a set of rules and principles which are essential for all aspects of medicine, including of course research. The main issues are: Respect for autonomy – patients must have the right to refuse or choose their treatments. Beneficence – researchers and clinicians must act in the best interest of the patient. Non-maleficence – the expected benefits of interventions must […]

Read on: How much of alt med research is unethical?

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Anti-vaccine activists are killing physicians left and right, maybe

I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but mostly in the context of a good novel of movie. In real life, multi-national conspiracies that reach down all the way to the everyday person are pretty much non-existent. Sure, big companies can and do get together from time to time to […]

Read more at: Anti-vaccine activists are killing physicians left and right, maybe by Reuben

Homeopathy: no sense, no science and no ethics | Edzard Ernst

Conventional cough syrups do not have the best of reputations – but the repute of homeopathic cough syrups is certainly not encouraging . So what should one do with such a preparation? Forget about it? No, one conducts a clinical trial, of course! Not just any old trial but one where science, ethics and common sense are absent. Here are […]
Read on: Homeopathy: no sense, no science and no ethics

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Sneak preview of the next issue of WDDTY!

Thanks to @Lennylaw we have obtained exclusive access to the tool used by the elite WDDTY editorial team to generate the spacefiller content of the magazine (the second largest segment after adverts). Earth your aura and head on over to the New Age Bullshit Generator. Warning: may contain nuts.

Just a quick update

Ah, the life of an epidemiologist. If I’m not responding to one thing, I’m responding to another. We always compare ourselves to firefighters because we sometimes sit around for hours or days and then spring into action when something goes down. Some of us are lucky enough to be thrown on a plane and flown […]


Read more at: Just a quick update by Reuben

Can we go back and change the past? asks Lynne McTaggart

The post Can we go back and change the past? asks Lynne McTaggart by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice.

The Egregious Lynne, Saint and Martyr, is at it again. There are times when you wonder if the woman isn’t knowingly pushing bullshit for profit, à la Food Babe, then she brainfarts out something as dumbfuck Stoopid as this:
Can we go back and change the past?
One of the most basic assumptions about intention is that it operates according to a generally accepted sense of cause and effect: if A causes B, then A must have happened first. This assumption reflects one of our deepest beliefs, that time is a one-way, forward-moving arrow. What we do today cannot affect what happened yesterday. 

However, a sizeable body of the scientific evidence about intention violates these basic assumptions about causation. Research has demonstrated clear instances of time-reversed effects, where effect precedes cause. Indeed, some of the largest effects occur when intention is sent out of strict time sequence… 

There’s loads more … Continue reading

Monday, 17 August 2015

For the anti-vaccinationists out there: The results of a real “vaxed versus unvaxed” study – Respectful Insolence

In many ways, the anti-vaccine movement is highly mutable. However, this mutability is firmly based around keeping one thing utterly constant, and that one thing is vaccines. No matter what the evidence, no matter what the science, no matter how much observational, scientific, and epidemiological evidence is arrayed against them, to the relentlessly self-confident members of the anti-vaccine movement, it’s always about the vaccines. Always. Vaccines are always the root many human health problems, be they asthma, autoimmune diseases, autism, and chronic diseases of all types. Everything else is negotiable. For instance, back when Andrew Wakefield ignited a scare about the MMR vaccine by publishing a fraudulent case series linking the MMR to a new syndrome consisting of regressive autism and enterocolitis, it was the measles vaccine that caused this syndrome. Here in the U.S., it was the mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be used in many childhood vaccines until 2001 that was the cause of all evil. However, as scientists did more and more studies, testing vaccines to see if they were associated with an increased risk of autism and found zero, nada, zip association with either vaccines or the thimerosal preservative in vaccines, the anti-vaccine movement was nothing if not mutable. Before long, Jenny McCarthy was declaring that it was the “toxins” in vaccines that were causing autism, and Generation Rescue was asserting that children were getting “too many too soon.” Of course, as far as the anti-vaccine movement was concerned, the beauty of these ideas was (and is) that they are much harder to falsify scientifically because they are so much more vague...

 For the anti-vaccinationists out there: The results of a real “vaxed versus unvaxed” study – Respectful Insolence

Good news for naturopathy? No, not really! | Edzard Ernst

While my last post was about the risk following some naturopaths’ advice, this one is about the effectiveness of naturopathic treatments. This is a complex subject, not least because naturopaths use a wide range of therapies (as the name implies, they pride themselves of employing all therapeutic means supplied by nature). Some of these interventions […]
Read on: Good news for naturopathy? No, not really!

Homeopathic A&E? They would if they could

The post Homeopathic A&E? They would if they could by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice.
In the outer reaches of the whackosphere, you can always be sure of finding a homeopath making insane claims for their little sugar pills, from curing imaginary ailments to treatments for very real ones. In spite of professing reverence for Hahnemann – it’s bad enough if you’re trying to claim scientific rigour if you treat texts written in the late 18th century as gospel – they nevertheless ignore his teachings that homeopathy should never be used as prophylaxis. Nor, as far as I can tell, did he advise using homeopathy to treat injuries. Nevertheless, like the fanatics who claim the right to refuse goods and services to beleaguered minorities in the name of Christianity, homeopathic “vaccines” and first aid kits are on sale everywhere. No links, the damn stuff is easy enough to find; just check out the usual suspects.

You’ll almost certainly remember a Mitchell and Webb sketch called … Continue reading

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Burzynski Patient Chelsea S.’s Story | The OTHER Burzynski Patient Group

In May 2012, 3 months after she gave birth to her second set of twins, 35-year old dancer Chelsea S. lost vision and experienced numbness in one half of her body. She was diagnosed with a brain cancer almost never seen in adults, a pilomyxoid astrocytoma (PMA). It was near the brain stem and could not be removed, though she received a diagnosis after a biopsy. It appears that she also had radiation. In August, after the radiation, she was told that palliative care was her best option...

Full story here: Burzynski Patient Chelsea S.’s Story | The OTHER Burzynski Patient Group

WDDTY: Sick or elderly person could be taking 30 drugs almost every day

This headline appeared recently on WDDTY’s appalling webshite: Sick or elderly person could be taking 30 drugs almost every day That’s an incredible amount, yet some people could be, although I doubt many young(ish) people fall into that category. Nevertheless, what’s surprising about the WDDTY headline is that it’s partly in the rough vicinity of … Continue reading WDDTY: Sick or elderly person could be taking 30 drugs almost every day

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Can we go back and change the past?

Can we go back and change the past? asks Lynne McTaggart in her latest blog post. And there we have a perfect example of Betteridge’s law of headlines.  The answer is, of course: no. One of the most basic assumptions about intention is that it operates according to a generally accepted sense of cause and … Continue reading Can we go back and change the past?

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Death of a child through naturopathy | Edzard Ernst

Proponents of alternative medicine regularly stress the notion that their treatments are either risk-free or much safer than conventional medicine. This assumption may be excellent for marketing bogus treatments, however, it neglects that even a relatively harmless therapy can become dangerous, if it is ineffective. Here is yet again a tragic reminder of this undeniable fact.

Japanese doctors reported the case of 2-year-old […]

Read on: Death of a child through naturopathy

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Aromatherapy: trick or treat or treatment? | Edzard Ernst

Of all alternative treatments, aromatherapy ( i. e. the application of essential oils to the body, usually by gentle massage or simply inhalation) seems to be the most popular. This is perhaps understandable because it certainly is an agreeable form of ‘pampering’ for someone in need of some TLC. But is aromatherapy more than that? Is it truly a […]

Read on: Aromatherapy: trick or treat or treatment?

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Hypocrisy and Lies in Kevin Folta’s Case

Posted by @TakeThatGMOs:
Note: The contents of this post were written originally by the kind folks at Fit Strategy on Facebook. They post solid science-based advice on fitness as well as a healthy dose of skepticism. Their post is hosted here with permission.  

By now everybody has heard about Kevin Folta and the recent news about him. A lot are frustrated at the anti-GMOs community due to their exaggerations and lies and many people are very confused and/or unaware of the degree of hypocrisy and lies presented by USRTK and the anti-GMOs activist community. They are nothing but a bunch of unscientific, fear and woo mongering, liars. The amount of hypocrisy and fraud involved in this case is unbelievable, and to demonstrate that, Fit Strategy made an excellent post by the full meaning of the word […]


Read the rest at: The Hypocrisy and Lies in Kevin Folta’s Case

The "Take This" blog is written by a collective of skeptics hunting down misleading, uninformed and sometimes outright insane claims on social media.

In my view, this piece of acupuncture ‘research’ constitutes scientific misconduct | Edzard Ernst

When I come across a study with the aim to “examine the effectiveness of acupuncture to relieve symptoms commonly observed in patients in a hospice program” my hopes are high. When I then see that its authors are from the ‘New England School of Acupuncture’, the ‘All Care Hospice and the ‘Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, […]

Read on: In my view, this piece of acupuncture ‘research’ constitutes scientific misconduct

Friday, 7 August 2015

And this is what homeopaths believe to be a good defence of homeopathy | Edzard Ernst

This article is hilarious, I think. It was written by Heike Bishop, a homeopath who works in Australia. Here she tries to advise colleagues how best to defend homeopathy and how to deal effectively with the increasingly outspoken criticism of homeopathy. Below is the decisive passage from her article; I have not changed or omitted a word, not even her grammatical or other mistakes [only the numbers in brackets […]

Read on: And this is what homeopaths believe to be a good defence of homeopathy

Thursday, 6 August 2015

‘What happened to your research unit at Exeter?’ | Edzard Ernst

One of the questions that I hear regularly is: ‘What happened to your research unit at Exeter?’ Therefore it might be a good idea to put the full, shameful story on this blog.

After the complaint by Prince Charles’ secretary to my Vice Chancellor alleging that I had breached confidentiality over the Smallwood report, my University […]

Read on: ‘What happened to your research unit at Exeter?’

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Another myth about homeopathy? | Edzard Ernst

Homeopathy is very popular in India – at least this is what we are being told over and over again. The notion goes as far as some sources assuming that homeopathy is quintessential Indian (see below). One Website, informs us that homeopathy is the third most popular method of treatment in India, after Allopathy and Ayurveda. It is estimated […]

Read on: Another myth about homeopathy?

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sanevax or insane anti-vax? | Edzard Ernst

Sanevax is a US organisation that claims to promote only Safe, Affordable, Necessary & Effective vaccines and vaccination practices through education and information. We believe in science-based medicine. Our primary goal is to provide the information necessary for you to make informed decisions regarding your health and well-being. We also provide referrals to helpful resources for […]

Read on: Sanevax or insane anti-vax?

Monday, 3 August 2015

University of Toronto adds homeopathy to health benefits, dilutes care | Dr. Jen Gunter

While universal health care in Canada covers doctors fees and hospital stays a lot of care is fee for service. Out of pocket costs can add up for dental care, prescriptions, mental health care, glasses/contacts, and in some provinces (like Ontario, home of the University of Toronto) physical therapy. Many places of employment offer supplemental health plans in their benefit packages to help defray these costs. The University of Toronto, like many employers, offers such a supplemental plan.

This year (2015-2016) they ADDED homeopathy...

Read more: University of Toronto adds homeopathy to health benefits, dilutes care | Dr. Jen Gunter

Is the media complicit in promoting quackery?

I despise articles like this: not just because they are (the celebrity/health-drecked online version of the) Daily Mail; not just because they are dumbly written/edited under the assumption that readers will be lost if they risk paragraphs containing more than one sentence. But because such sensationalist clickbait churnalism, though guaranteed to draw attention and instigate a good playground scrap, is not only irresponsible and misinformative; I would argue it is also, in its quackery-promoting complicity, potentially dangerous...

[Read more... ]

Homeopathy: from bad to worse to Dr Andrew Wakefield | Edzard Ernst

The notion that the use homeopathy instead of real medicine might save money (heavily promoted by homeopaths and their followers, often to influence health politics) has always struck me as being utterly bizarre: without effectiveness, it is hard to imagine cost-effectiveness. Yet the Smallwood report (in)famously claimed that the NHS would save lots of money, if GPs were to use more homeopathy. At the time, I thought this was such a serious and dangerous error that I decided to do something about it. My objection to the flawed report might have prevented it being taken seriously by anyone with half a brain, but sadly it also cost me my job (the full story can be read here) […]

Read on: Homeopathy: from bad to worse to Dr Andrew Wakefield

Understanding your enemy to the point that you love them

I watched the movie “Ender’s Game” the other night along with some friends. In it, a child named Ender is chosen to take on the task of confronting an alien threat. He is chosen because of his intelligence and his ability to confront a threat immediately and disable it (e.g. killing) so prevent future attacks. […]

Read more at: Understanding your enemy to the point that you love them by Reuben

Saturday, 1 August 2015

More bad news for homeopaths | Edzard Ernst

First it was the Australians who made life more difficult for homeopaths; then the FDA announced that they plan to have a critical look at homeopathy. Now the Canadians have joined in with the other regulators getting concerned about the most overt abuses of medical evidence and ethics by manufacturers of homeopathic products. Here is a statement […]

Read on: More bad news for homeopaths

Friday, 31 July 2015

Joe Gooding wants to smear you at all costs if you even hint at liking the idea of vaccination

UPDATED AT THE END, FOR THE LULZ

Don’t say I didn’t warn all of y’all. When you told me you wanted to defend science and look after the herd, I told you that people would come along and attack you personally, especially when they can’t put 2 brain cells together to come up with a coherent argument against vaccination. I also told you that they would come after your family, friends, and anyone else connected to you […]

Read more at: Joe Gooding wants to smear you at all costs if you even hint at liking the idea of vaccination by Reuben

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Some alternative medicine journals should be de-listed | Edzard Ernst

For ‘my’ journal FACT, I review all the new articles that have emerged on the subject of alternative medicine on a monthly basis. Here are a few impressions and concerns that this activity have generated:
  • The number of papers on alternative medicine has increased beyond belief: between the year 2000 and 2010, there was a slow, linear […]

Read on: Some alternative medicine journals should be de-listed

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A Lesson on Homeopathic “Medicine” and Why the Remedies Aren’t Harmless | The Scientific Parent

In the late 18th century, German physician Samuel Hahnemann faced a complex problem. He was dissatisfied with the conventional medicine of his day, which was reasonable considering that pre-scientific medicine was more likely to cause illness and injury than to cure it. He began a search for a better way to treat his patients and eventually had a great idea. That great idea was clear, simple, and also completely wrong. That idea was homeopathy.
What is homeopathy?

 Read  the rest here: A Lesson on Homeopathic “Medicine” and Why the Remedies Aren’t Harmless | The Scientific Parent

Calcium supplements for osteoporosis: more risks than benefits? | Edzard Ernst

Discussions about the dietary supplements are often far too general to be truly useful, in my view. For a meaningful debate, we need to define what supplement we are talking about and make clear what condition it is used for. A recent paper meets these criteria well and is therefore worth a mention.

The review was aimed […]

Read on: Calcium supplements for osteoporosis: more risks than benefits?

Monday, 27 July 2015

A new study of Reiki healing with a (false?) positive result | Edzard Ernst

A new RCT of Reiki healing has been published by US authors from the following institutions: Union Institute & University, Psychology Program, Brattleboro, VT, Coyote Institute, Augusta and Bangor, ME, Eastern Maine Medical Center and Acadia Hospital, Bangor, ME, University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Biddeford, ME, Coyote Institute, Orono, ME. The purpose of […]

Read on: A new study of Reiki healing with a (false?) positive result