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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