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rampant

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Alternative medicine 2016: what have we learnt?

With well over 800 articles, this blog has become somewhat of a reference library for subjects related to alternative medicine (I know that some journalists already employ it in this way [if you want to use it in this way, try the search box on the right top of the page]). To review the year 2016 in alternative medicine, I will now use it for exactly this purpose. In other words, I will highlight those posts from 2016 which, in my view, have taught us something potentially valuable or are otherwise remarkable...

This way for the news roundup: Alternative medicine 2016: what have we learnt?

Friday, 30 December 2016

Fish oil might prevent asthma

Perhaps I have a weak spot for fish oil; more likely, however, I just like positive news – and, in alternative medicine, there is not much of it. That’s why I have written about the potential benefits of fish-oil again and again and again and again.

Reduced intake of fish oil, i.e. n−3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), may be a contributing factor to the increasing prevalence of asthma and other wheezing disorders. Yet the evidence is neither clear nor strong. This study was aimed at shedding more light on the issue; specifically, it tested the effect of supplementation with n−3 LCPUFAs in pregnant women on the risk of persistent wheeze and asthma in their offspring...

Read on: Fish oil might prevent asthma

Thursday, 29 December 2016

America’s ‘leading integrative medicine specialists’: concerns about antibiotic resistance

I came across this website which contains an undated ‘open letter’ that I find most remarkable – so much so that I feel I have to blog about it. All I did below was to abbreviate its text slightly and to omit its references which can, of course, be looked up in the original. The footnotes in square brackets are mine and refer to my comments below.

START OF QUOTE
It is now estimated that antibiotic resistant infections may kill an estimated [1] 10 million people a year and cost the world’s economies some $100 trillion annually by the year 2050… As some of America’s leading integrative medicine specialists [2], we believe it is time to look anew at a modality called homeopathic medicine...
Read on: America’s ‘leading integrative medicine specialists’: concerns about antibiotic resistance

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Cheer up: your homeopath is just one phone call away!

In real medicine, most doctors view telephone consultations as highly problematic and would use them but in emergency situations or when there is no realistic other choice. Not so in homeopathy! Here telephone consultations are actively promoted my many – many who have a financial interest in it, that is.

Take this press-release, for instance; I have slightly abbreviated the text but abstained from correcting the many mistakes to give you a realistic impression of the high standard of the firm offering it...

Read on: Cheer up: your homeopath is just one phone call away!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

‘Chiropractors Without Scruples’

We had HOMEOPATHS WITHOUT BORDERS and now, I suggest, we acknowledge a similar organisation which could aptly be called CHIROPRACTORS WITHOUT SCRUPLES. This remarkable text from NATURAL NEWS explains it all, I think:

START OF QUOTE
The following chiropractors are speaking up to inform the public about the dangers of vaccines.

Dr. David Jockers, D.C.

Vaccines are one of medicine’s prized attempts to improve human performance. They use artificial laboratory derived medical technology to produce an immune response within the body in hopes it will lead to a long-term positive antibody response...
Read on: ‘Chiropractors Without Scruples’

Monday, 26 December 2016

Have yourself a merry little detox

Yes, the festive season is upon us and therefore it is high time to discuss detox (yet again). As many of us are filling their fridges to the brim, most of us prepare for some serious over-indulgence. Following alt med logic, this must prompt some counter-measures, called detox.

The range of treatments advocated by detox-fans is weird and wide (see also below)...

Read on: Have yourself a merry little detox

Saturday, 24 December 2016

A Christmas card to a homeopath

Yesterday I received an electronic Christmas card from two homeopathic institutions called ‘Homeopathic Associates and The Homeopathic College’. It read: WISHING YOU THE BEST OF HEALTH AND HAPPINESS FOR THE NEW YEAR!

Naturally I was puzzled, particularly since I had no recollection of ever having been in contact with them. The card was signed by Manfred Mueller, MA, DHM, RSHom(NA), CCH, and I decided to find out more about this man. It turns out that Manfred Mueller developed The Mueller Method or “Extra-Strength Homeopathy” to meet today’s complex chronic conditions, drug induced disorders, vaccine injuries, toxic overload, radiation-induced health problems, cancers, etc...

Read on: A Christmas card to a homeopath

Friday, 23 December 2016

If we needed proof that much of chiropractic is bogus, this would be it

The fact that much of chiropractic might be bogus has frequently been discussed on this blog. A recent press-release provided me with more evidence for this notion. It proudly announced a new book entitled “Beyond the Back: The Chiropractic Alternative For Conditions Beyond Back Pain”

The text claimed that shortly after the launch, the book hit #1 on the Amazon.com best seller list out of all Chiropractor books and also reached #1 for the category of Holistic Medicine.

Read on: If we needed proof that much of chiropractic is bogus, this would be it

Encyclopedia of American Loons: #1766: Jim Humble

Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS) a solution of 28% sodium chlorite (NaClO2), a toxic industrial chemical known to cause fatal renal failure, in distilled water and prepared in a citric acid solution (thus forming chlorine dioxide, an oxidising agent used in water treatment and bleaching), named and promoted by former scientologist Jim Humble...

Encyclopedia of American Loons: #1766: Jim Humble

Thursday, 22 December 2016

And again: no good evidence that homeopathy works in animals

HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES CANNOT POSSIBLY PLACEBOS BECAUSE THEY WORK IN ANIMALS!

How often have we heard this argument?

And how often have we pointed out that it is wrong on more than one level?

On this blog alone...

Read on: And again: no good evidence that homeopathy works in animals

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Aloe vera for diabetes: a meta-analysis. If implemented, its conclusions could kill millions!

This meta-analysis was performed “to ascertain the effectiveness of oral aloe vera consumption on the reduction of fasting blood glucose (FBG) and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c).”

PubMed, CINAHL, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, and Natural Standard databases were searched. The searches were limited to clinical trials or observational studies conducted in humans and published in English. Studies of aloe vera’s effect on FBG, HbA1c, homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), fasting serum insulin, fructosamine, and oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in prediabetic and diabetic populations were examined...

Read on: Aloe vera for diabetes: a meta-analysis. If implemented, its conclusions could kill millions!

More on bullying at Imperial College London. What’s being done?

The last email of Stephan Grimm has had more views than any other on this blog. “Publish and perish at Imperial College London: the death of Stefan Grimm“. Since then it’s been viewed more than 210,000 times. The day after it was posted, the server failed under the load.

Since than, I posted two follow-up pieces. On December [...]

Read the rest at: More on bullying at Imperial College London. What’s being done?

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

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The big lie by corrupt government officials on the payroll of Big Pharma

Actually, the exact quote was slightly different: “What we’re dealing with here is the big lie, being perpetrated by corrupt government officials on the payroll of Pharma” (the bold lettering is from the original). It comes from the pen of Alan V. Schmukler who has featured on this blog before (see also here).

Strong words indeed! But not as strong as those of the title of his new article: BRING THE CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE. What were they directed against? They were in protest against the recent rulings of the British Advertising Standards Authority and the American Federal Trade Commission  outlawing the advertising of bogus claims for homeopathy...

Read on: The big lie by corrupt government officials on the payroll of Big Pharma

Monday, 19 December 2016

(Canadian) quacks advertise lies

Yes, to a large extend, quacks make a living by advertising lies. A paper just published confirms our worst fears.

This survey was aimed at identifying the frequency and qualitative characteristics of marketing claims made by Canadian chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths and acupuncturists relating to the diagnosis and treatment of allergy and asthma.

A total of 392 chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic and acupuncture clinic...

Read on: (Canadian) quacks advertise lies

Friday, 16 December 2016

Homeopathy for the common cold: is this another case of scientific misconduct?

The common cold is one of the indications for which homeopathy is deemed to be effective… by homeopaths that is! Non-homeopaths are understandably critical about this claim, not least because there is no good evidence for it. But, hold on, there is a new study which might change all this.

This study was recently published in COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES IN MEDICINE which is supposed to be one of the better journals in this area. According to its authors, it was conducted “to determine if a homeopathic syrup was effective in treating cold symptoms in preschool children”...

Read on: Homeopathy for the common cold: is this another case of scientific misconduct?

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The mainstreaming of quackery: the role of the ‘NCCIH’

The boom of alternative medicine in the US – and consequently in the rest of the developed world – is intimately connected with a NHI centre now called NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health). It was founded in the early 1990s because some politicians were bent on promoting quackery. Initially the institution had modest funding but, after more political interference, it had ample cash to pursue all sorts of activities, including sponsoring research into alternative therapies at US universities. A most interesting video summarising the history of the NCCIH can be seen here...

Read on: The mainstreaming of quackery: the role of the ‘NCCIH’

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Chiropractic? Osteopathy? No, thanks!

Alternative medicine suffers from what might be called ‘survey overload’: there are far too much such investigations and most of them are of deplorably poor quality producing nothing of value except some promotion for alternative medicine. Yet, every now and then, one finds a paper that is worth reading, and I am happy to say that this survey (even though it has several methodological shortcomings) belongs in this category...

Read on: Chiropractic? Osteopathy? No, thanks!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

When sceptics (or skeptics) criticise homeopathy, they are often wrong

Yes, this post might come as a surprise to some.

And no, I am not changing sides in the debate in the debate about homeopathy.

But I have long felt that, when sceptics criticise homeopathy, they often wrong-foot themselves by using arguments which are not entirely correct.

Here I want to list seven of them (more details can be found here):

Homeopathy is one single, well-defined entity...

Read on: When sceptics (or skeptics) criticise homeopathy, they are often wrong

Friday, 9 December 2016

David Tredinnick: not again! Alternative medicine saves lives?!?

The Scotsman reported that David Tredinnick, the somewhat feeble-minded Tory MP for Bosworth, has been at it again. Apparently he said that many of his constituents are only alive today because they have been treated with alternative medicine.

Tredennick recently urged ministers to spend more NHS money on alternative therapies such as homeopathy and acupuncture to treat patients. It seems to me that, for him and other quackery promoters, evidence and science are issues beyond comprehension.

Read on: David Tredinnick: not again! Alternative medicine saves lives?!?

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Homeopathy: yet another case of scientific misconduct?

This randomized, double-blind study evaluated the efficacy of a homeopathic treatment in preventing excessive weight gain during pregnancy in overweight or obese women who were suspected of having a common mental disorder. For the homeopathic group (n=62), 9 homeopathic remedies were pre-selected: (1) Pulsatilla nigricans, (2) Sepia succus, (3) Lycopodium clavatum, (4) sulphur, (5) Lachesis trigonocephalus, (6) Nux vomica, (7) Calcarea carbonica, (8) phosphorus; and (9) Conium maculatum. From those 9 drugs, one was prioritized for administration for each participant. After the first appointment, a re-selection or selection of a new, more appropriate drug occurred, using the list of preselected drugs. The dosage was 6 drops orally 2 ×/day, in the morning and at night, on 4 consecutive days each week, with an interval of 3 d between doses, up until the next appointment medical appointment. The control group (n=72) took placebos. Both groups also received a diet orientation....

Read on: Homeopathy: yet another case of scientific misconduct?

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Is exercise better than surgery for meniscal tears?

Meniscus-injuries are common and there is no consensus as to how best treat them. Physiotherapists tend to advocate exercise, while surgeons tend to advise surgery.

Of course, exercise is not a typical alternative therapy but, as many alternative practitioners might disagree with this statement because they regularly recommend it to their patients, it makes sense to cover it on this blog. So, is exercise better than surgery for meniscus-problems?

The aim of this recent Norwegian study aimed to shed some light on this question...

Read on: Is exercise better than surgery for meniscal tears?

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

New advertising guidelines for UK osteopaths

Recently, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) together with the UK General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) have sent new guidance to over 4,800 UK osteopaths on the GOsC register. The guidance covers marketing claims for pregnant women, children and babies. It also provides examples of what kind of claims can, and can’t, be made for these patient groups.

Regulated by statute, osteopaths may offer advice on, diagnosis of and treatment for conditions only if they hold convincing evidence. Claims for treating conditions specific to pregnant women, children and babies are not supported by the evidence available to date...

Read on: New advertising guidelines for UK osteopaths

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF HOMEOPATHY just produced pure comedy gold

You probably remember: the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) has issued a statement announcing that unsupported claims for homeopathic remedies will be no longer allowed. Specifically, they said that, in future, homeopathic remedies have to be held to the same standard as other medicinal products. In other words, American companies must now have reliable scientific evidence for health-related claims that their products can treat specific conditions and illnesses.

Now the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF HOMEOPATHY (AIH) has published a rebuttal. It is hilarious and embarrassing in equal measure...

Read on: The AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF HOMEOPATHY just produced pure comedy gold

Friday, 2 December 2016

Slapping therapy? No thanks!

Not being a native English speaker, I was not entirely sure what precisely slapping means. A dictionary informed me that it stands for “hitting somebody/something with the flat part of your hand”. And ‘slapping therapy’? What on earth is that? It occurred to me that there might be several types of slapping therapy.

HITTING SOMEONE WHO DISAGREES

Yes, it might be therapeutic to do that! Imagine you discuss with someone and realize that you do not have very good arguments to defend an irrational position. Eventually, you are cornered and angry. All you can think of is to slap your opponent...

Read on: Slapping therapy? No thanks!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The mysterious energy field that underpins TCM – has any progress been made in this area of research?

“….the concept of circulation of energy is paramount in Chinese Medicine. The Chinese physicians have always said there’s more than just blood circulating in the body, there’s also energy, human energy of some sort circulating in the body. We don’t know how to measure that yet.”

This is a quote from a radio interview where the wonderful and mysterious world of TCM was explained to the unsuspecting Australian public – this interview took place about 16 years ago. You can find more details regarding this very interesting interview here. From the above quote, it is clear that the circulation of “energy” is paramount to TCM and that, at the time, it could not be measured nor could its existence be shown. The quote, however, ends with the word ‘yet’, indicating there is full support for the notion that this energy field do indeed exist and that it is only a matter of time before it will be detected...

Read on: The mysterious energy field that underpins TCM – has any progress been made in this area of research?

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

WDDTY on the anti-vaxx band-waggon

WHAT DOCTORS DON’T TELL YOU (WDDTY) is probably the most vile publication I know. It systematically misleads its readers by alarming news about this or that conventional treatment, while relentlessly promoting pseudoscientific non-sense. This article entitled “MMR can cause skin problems and ulcers if your immune system is compromised” is a good example (one of a multitude)...

Read on: WDDTY on the anti-vaxx band-waggon

Monday, 28 November 2016

Spiritual healers have devine powers to heal the diseases conventional doctors cannot cure

On this blog, we have repeatedly discussed the issues around para-normal or spiritual healing practices. In one of these posts I concluded that these treatments are:
  1. utterly implausible
  2. not supported by good clinical evidence.
What follows seems as simple as it is indisputable: energy healing is nonsense and does not merit further research.

Yet both research and – more importantly – the practice of spiritual healing continue, not only in the developed world but even more so in poor and under-developed countries...

Read on: Spiritual healers have devine powers to heal the diseases conventional doctors cannot cure

On the continuation of David Tredinnick’s ministering for quackery

Though of a reasonable, easy-going disposition, I do, like most, have my bugbears. Chief among which is people who lie for a living. Chief among whom are quacks. And those in public positions of influence who promote them and their snake-oil wares.

Re-enter David Tredinnick, Conservative MP for Bosworth in Leicestershire, whose continued dim-witted advocation of the expending of public money on disproven and unproven treatments has led me to label him the ‘Minister for Quackery’. (It is, I think, the nearest he will ever get to being an actual Minister for anything.)

[Read more... ]

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Mushrooms for the management of diabetes?

A press-release from a company based in Germany recently caught my attention. I here present only the most relevant sections from this document:
Natural remedies like medicinal mushrooms also called vitality mushrooms haven proven helpful in prevention and as a support in the therapy, of diabetes type 2. This could be shown by long-time observational studies in naturopathy, for example by MykoTroph – Institute for Medicinal Mushrooms. Medicinal mushroom Coprinus has regenerating effects on the pancreas; it also helps the sensitization of the receptors responsible for the absorption of insulin and claims to have a blood sugar lowering effect...
Read on: Mushrooms for the management of diabetes?

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Which illnesses can be treated with homeopathy?

Which illnesses can be treated with homeopathy?

The answer to this question could not be more simple: none!

This is not my opinion but the general consensus amongst critical thinkers and people who adhere to the principles of evidence-based medicine – a group that evidently does not include homeopaths. Take this website, for instance; it advocates homeopathy for almost every conceivable condition...

Read on: Which illnesses can be treated with homeopathy?

Monday, 21 November 2016

Interactions caused by dietary supplements ( a case of scientific misconduct?)

Dietary and herbal supplements (DHS) are currently popular. They are being promoted as being natural and therefore safe – an assumption that is clearly wrong: some DHS can contain toxic substances or they might cause interactions with drugs or other DHS.

This study explored whether adverse events were actually associated with such interactions and examined specific characteristics among inpatient DHS users prone to such adverse events. It was designed as a cross-sectional survey of 947 patients hospitalized in 12 departments of a tertiary academic medical centre in Haifa, Israel...

Read on: Interactions caused by dietary supplements ( a case of scientific misconduct?)

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The end of a free ride for homeopathy in the US

Homeopathic remedies are being marketed and sold as though they are medicines, yet highly diluted preparations contain nothing and do nothing. This means consumers are constantly mislead into believing that they are drugs. This situation seems to be changing dramatically in the US, and hopefully – led by the American example – elsewhere as well.

It has been reported that the US Federal Trade Commission issued a statement which said that, in future, homeopathic remedies have to be held to the same standard as other medicinal products...

Read on: The end of a free ride for homeopathy in the US

Encyclopedia of American Loons: #1748: Brian Hooker

...But who is Brian Hooker? Hooker has a degree in biochemistry, but has no formal training in statistics, epidemiology, or any field pertinent to the study of vaccines or autism. But he is a hardcore anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist. Hooker also has a son with autism and an open case claiming vaccine injury before the Vaccine Court. He is also a board member of an anti-vaccine organization called Focus Autism....

Full lunacy here: Encyclopedia of American Loons: #1748: Brian Hooker

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Acupuncture for treating hot flushes in breast cancer patients?

Acupuncture for hot flushes?

What next?

I know, to rational thinkers this sounds bizarre – but, actually, there are quite a few studies on the subject.

Enough evidence for me to have published not one but four different systematic reviews on the subject. The first (2009) concluded that “the evidence is not convincing to suggest acupuncture is an effective treatment of hot flash in patients with breast cancer. Further research is required to investigate whether there are specific effects of acupuncture for treating hot flash in patients with breast cancer.”

Read on: Acupuncture for treating hot flushes in breast cancer patients?

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

AN IDEAL HOMOEOPATHIC FIRST-AID BOX

The global Homeopathy Product Market has recently been projected to increase by 18.2% during the forecast period 2016-2024. Considering that highly diluted homeopathic remedies are pure placebos, this is remarkable, I think.

But why? Why are consumers spending their money on ineffective treatments?

The answer is probably complex, and there are many factors to explain this puzzling phenomenon. One of them is the constant and clever marketing of homeopathy. This website, for instance, claims that homeopathy can be used for first aid. Below I have copied the remedy in question, the potency best suited, and the conditions to be treated.

START OF QUOTE
  1. ARNICA MONT. 30 – bruises, contusions, injuries, shock.
  2. HYPERICUM 200 – injuries to parts rich in nerve-supply, laceration, also preventive for tetanus...
Put the axe down and read the rest here: AN IDEAL HOMOEOPATHIC FIRST-AID BOX

Monday, 14 November 2016

Happy 68th birthday YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS!

Prince Charles celebrates his 68th birthday today. Time to update the tribute which I dedicated to him on this occasion three years ago. Charles is, of course, one of the world’s most outspoken and influential proponent of alternative medicine and a notorious attacker of science. This is why he has featured on this blog with some regularity. His love affair with all things alternative started early in his life.

As a youngster, Charles went on a journey of ‘spiritual discovery’ into the wilderness of northern Kenya. His guru and guide was Laurens van der Post (later discovered to be a fraud and compulsive fantasist...

Read on: Happy 68th birthday YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Charlatans rush to jump on Donald Trump’s band-waggon

We live in interesting, if they were not so frightening, one could almost say amusing times!

Politicians who previously have criticised Trump for his unacceptable deeds, behaviour and statements can now be seen to bend over backwards to join his band-waggon. They don’t know where the waggon is heading but they don’t want to be left behind. A prime example is UK’s Boris Johnson who now even criticises other politicians for having more back-bone than himself and therefore being less enthusiastic about America’s future leader.

But this is not a political blog, and I will therefore try to focus on matters related to alternative medicine...

Read on: Charlatans rush to jump on Donald Trump’s band-waggon

Laugh it up, jerks. Laugh it up.

I used to have a boss who was well into his 70s when he decided to retire. He had worked at the health department where I was just a young number-cruncher longer than I had been alive. He joked about starting to work as a public health inspector in the Johnson Administration. Slowly and steadily, […]

Read more at: Laugh it up, jerks. Laugh it up. by Reuben

Friday, 11 November 2016

Alternative therapies: the emperor’s new clothes?

This is the title of a lecture I was asked to give yesterday to an audience of palliative cancer care professionals. During the last days, I have therefore thought about the Anderson-tale quite a bit. For those who don’t know the story (is there such a person?), it is a tale about two con-men who promise the emperor new clothes which, they claim, are invisible to anyone who is incompetent or stupid. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, no one dares to say that he is, in fact, naked. Finally, a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”...

Read on: Alternative therapies: the emperor’s new clothes?

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Unbelievable: ‘THE TRUMP WELLNESS-PLAN’

I did not think that I would be able to write a blog-post today; I was too shocked with the news from America – but now I find myself doing not one but two posts on this sad day. The reason is NATURAL NEWS*; they reported well over a year ago that “Donald Trump is more holistic and health oriented than Hillary Clinton.” Here is what they stated:
…What has catapulted Trump to the top of GOP polls? His frank, honest – and admittedly blunt – discussion about illegal immigrants, many of whom he correctly noted were criminals: Rapists, murderers and gang thugs…
Get your head back off the desk and read on: Unbelievable: ‘THE TRUMP WELLNESS-PLAN’

* A wretched hive of scams and fuckwittery - AT

Homeopathy – the undiluted facts

Yes, I have a new book out. It is on homeopathy, and the publisher thought it important enough to issue a press-release. I thought you might be interested in reading it – if nothing else, it could be a welcome distraction from the catastrophic news from America. Here it is:
As a junior doctor, Edzard Ernst worked in a homeopathic hospital, practised homeopathy, and was impressed with its results. As his career progressed and he became a research scientist, he investigated the reasons for this efficacy and began to publish the evidence. This new book Homeopathy – The Undiluted Facts presents what he has learned to a lay audience. As an authoritative guide, it is complemented by an 80-page lexicon on the subject... 
Read on -> Homeopathy – the undiluted facts

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Is this scientific misconduct or not?

On 25 and 26 May of this year I wrote two posts about an acupuncture trial that, in my view, was dodgy. To refresh your memory, here is the relevant part of the 2nd post:
This new study was designed as a randomized, sham-controlled trial of acupuncture for persistent allergic rhinitis in adults investigated possible modulation of mucosal immune responses. A total of 151 individuals were randomized into real and sham acupuncture groups (who received twice-weekly treatments for 8 weeks) and a no acupuncture group. Various cytokines, neurotrophins, proinflammatory neuropeptides, and immunoglobulins were measured in saliva or plasma from baseline to 4-week follow-up.
Read on: Is this scientific misconduct or not?

Monday, 7 November 2016

Details about a homeopathy-course at one of Germany’s leading medical schools | Edzard Ernst

I have been alerted to the fact that my former medical school in Munich at one of Germany’s highest-ranked universities is currently running an elective course in homeopathy. For those who do not read German (the original announcement [apparently posted all over Munich university hospitals] is copied below), it teaches the use of homeopathy in/for:
  • INTERNAL MEDICINE 
  • NEONATOLOGY 
  • SINUSITIS […]
Read on: Details about a homeopathy-course at one of Germany’s leading medical schools

Saturday, 5 November 2016

The risks of alternative therapies for cancer patients – time to tackle them systematically! | Edzard Ernst

I have published many articles on the risks of various alternative treatments (see for instance here, here, here, here, here and here) – not because I am alarmist but because I have always felt very strongly that, for a researcher into alternative medicine, the most important issue must be to make sure users of these therapies are as safe […]

Read on: The risks of alternative therapies for cancer patients – time to tackle them systematically!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Pennsylvania legislates naturopaths – is this the approval of quackery? | Edzard Ernst

This press-release just came to my attention:

Today, with the stroke of his pen, Governor Tom Wolf adds Pennsylvania to the list of states that acknowledge the value of alternative healthcare from a qualified professional. Pennsylvania becomes the 21st U.S. jurisdiction to regulate naturopathic medicine. The new law HB516 regulates naturopathic doctors; ensuring patients can […]

Read on: Pennsylvania legislates naturopaths – is this the approval of quackery?

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Homeopathy in the Czech Republic | Edzard Ernst

It would be wrong to call the Czech Republic the promised land for homeopathy. For instance, the only research paper by Czech authors related to the subject that I could locate was published in the Journal ‘Homeopathy‘ and, on even superficial reading, it has little to do with homeopathy. Here is the abstract:

We discovered a […]

Read on: Homeopathy in the Czech Republic

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

You don’t want no change

In my line of work, you have to be able to survive different levels and incarnations of bureaucracies. People at the top will come and go at the whim of the electorate, or the whims of those who fund elections. But people like us, people at the bottom, will always be around. We will always […]
Read more at: You don’t want no change by Reuben

No effect of CAM use on mortality of breast cancer patients | Edzard Ernst

Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is common among cancer patients, not least because all sorts of claims are being made for CAM. One of these claims is that it prolongs survival.  But does it improve survival? This new study from the US was aimed at finding out; specifically, the authors wanted to determine whether CAM use […]

Read on: No effect of CAM use on mortality of breast cancer patients

Monday, 31 October 2016

Dietary supplements are good for athletes – aren’t they? | Edzard Ernst

Athletes tend to adopt a healthy life-style, and today this seems to include the regular intake of a range of dietary supplements. Supplements specifically marketed for sports-people promote good health and performance, we are constantly told – but is this true?

A 2010 review found that “there is good evidence that caffeine can improve single-sprint performance, while […]

Read on: Dietary supplements are good for athletes – aren’t they?

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Prince Charles: may I humbly suggest a research project? | Edzard Ernst

Prince Charles’ views on health have repeatedly taken centre stage on this blog. And rightly so; they are often weird and wonderful. In 2013, for instance, I quoted them extensively:

Charles stands for…”the kind of care that integrates the best of new technology and current knowledge with ancient wisdom. More specifically, perhaps, it is an approach to […]

Read on: Prince Charles: may I humbly suggest a research project?

Friday, 28 October 2016

The 12 defences of charlatanry | Edzard Ernst

During the last two decades, I have had ample occasion to study the pseudo-arguments of charlatans when trying to defend the indefensible. Here I will try to disclose some of them in the hope that this might help others to identify charlatans more easily and to react accordingly.

Let’s say someone publishes a document showing evidence that homeopathy is […]

Read on: The 12 defences of charlatanry

Thursday, 27 October 2016

And this is what it takes to get evicted from this blog | Edzard Ernst

Being exposed to a lot of gibberish in the comments’ section, some of my readers are probably wondering how much it takes to get blocked from commenting here. The ‘rules’ for this blog have been set out quite clearly from the start: I do like clearly expressed views and intend to be as outspoken as politeness allows. […]

Read on: And this is what it takes to get evicted from this blog

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A new homeopathic remedy for migraine “providing effective relief quickly” | Edzard Ernst

This website tells us that ‘Stopain Migraine’ is the first topical product to effectively relieve migraine pain. It is a safe alternative to other migraine relief products that begins to work as soon as it’s applied. And the press release informs us that Troy Healthcare extended its Stopain line with a Stopain Migraine offering – […]

Read on: A new homeopathic remedy for migraine “providing effective relief quickly”

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Hotshot. A supplement scam with a difference?

Jump to follow-up The "supplement" industry is a scam that dwarfs all other forms of alternative medicine. Sales are worth over $100 billion a year, a staggering sum. But the claims they make are largely untrue: plain fraudulent. Although the industry’s advertisements like to claim "naturalness". in fact most of the synthetic vitamins are manufactured by [...]

Read the rest at: Hotshot. A supplement scam with a difference?
DC's Improbable Science: Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science

Only 50 % of chiropractors are aware of current radiographic guidelines | Edzard Ernst

Chiropractors have been shown to over-use X-rays (a worry about which I cautioned almost 20 years ago) and to refer for lumbar radiography inconsistent with the current clinical guidelines for low back pain. It is unknown whether this is due to lack of adherence with, or a lack of awareness of relevant guidelines. The aim of this study was […]

Read on: Only 50 % of chiropractors are aware of current radiographic guidelines

Monday, 24 October 2016

DIY-Homeopathy: how to kill your entire family | Edzard Ernst

Are you or a family member ill?

No need to call a doctor or other healthcare professional!

Homeopathy DIY is the answer. The website of the NATIONAL CENTER FOR HOMEOPATHY tells you how and gives you concrete advice for specific conditions – at closer inspection, it turns out to be an instruction for killing off your […]

Read on: DIY-Homeopathy: how to kill your entire family

Saturday, 22 October 2016

HAHNEMANN WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG: Homeopathy works! Like cures like! | Edzard Ernst

Yes, yes, yes – it’s true: I am the living proof for homeopathy’s incredible efficacy; Much more importantly: so is Samuel Hahnemann! In fact, his case is even more convincing.

This is our story, Sam’s and mine:

We both developed hair loss fairly relatively early in our lives. As dedicated homeopaths, we did not despair. We both knew the solution to […]

Read on: HAHNEMANN WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG: Homeopathy works! Like cures like!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Most (if not all) of the money spent on chiropractic is wasted | Edzard Ernst

Chiropractors (and other alternative practitioners) tend to treat their patients for unnecessarily long periods of time. This, of course, costs money, and even if the treatment in question ever was indicated (which, according to the best evidence, is more than doubtful), this phenomenon would significantly inflate healthcare expenditure.

This sounds perfectly logical to me, but is there any […]

Read on: Most (if not all) of the money spent on chiropractic is wasted

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Top model died ‘as a result of visiting a chiropractor’ | Edzard Ernst

The risks of consulting a chiropractor have regularly been the subject of this blog (see for instance here, here and here). My critics believe that I am alarmist and have a bee in my bonnet. I think they are mistaken and believe it is important to warn the public of the serious complications that are […]

Read on: Top model died ‘as a result of visiting a chiropractor’

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Two fascinating new studies of the placebo response | Edzard Ernst

The placebo response might be important in clinical practice, but it is certainly difficult to study and the findings of such investigations can be confusing. This seems to be exemplified by two new trials.

The first study examined the possibility of using theatrical performance tools, including stage directions and scripting, to reproducibly manipulate the style and […]

Read on: Two fascinating new studies of the placebo response

Monday, 17 October 2016

John Benneth received homeopathy’s highest award | Edzard Ernst

A few weeks ago, John Benneth – I am sure you know John, he is one of the few homeopathy-fans who make Dana Ullman look sane – published this note:
I am overwhelmed . . I am being shipped to Paris next week with bioengineer Bronson Ayala assisting to receive from the Conte Foundation homeopathy’s highest […]
Read on: John Benneth received homeopathy’s highest award

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Encyclopedia of American Loons: #1738: Jean Hoagland and Homeopaths Without Borders

Yes, it really exists (and we might even have covered them before, come to think of it). Homeopaths Without Borders is a non-profit organization that tries to capitalize on the reputation of Doctors Without Borders (no, HWB is not in anything but a homeopathic sense associated with Doctors Without Borders), with a result so hilariously sad that it is matched by little else I can think of. Their stated mission is “to provide humanitarian aid, homeopathic treatment and education by serving as partners with communities in need,” which essentially means that they go to areas with sub-standard healthcare to offer people nothing...

Full post here: Encyclopedia of American Loons: #1738: Jean Hoagland and Homeopaths Without Borders

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Acupuncture for stable angina pectoris… yes, if you aim at killing millions! | Edzard Ernst

Stable angina is a symptom of coronary heart disease which, in turn, is amongst the most frequent causes of death in developed countries. It is an alarm bell to any responsible clinician and requires causal, often life-saving treatments of which we today have several options. The last thing a patient needs in this condition is ACUPUNCTURE, I would […]

Read on: Acupuncture for stable angina pectoris… yes, if you aim at killing millions!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Four years and not a dull moment! | Edzard Ernst

Hard to believe, but today it is 4 years that I wrote the first post on this blog. Quite honestly, I never expected that this would turn out to be such a fascinating past-time. These 4 years have been busy, entertaining and informative in equal measure:

  • I wrote more than 800 articles, 
  • you published more than […]

Read on: Four years and not a dull moment!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Another flawed trial of homeopathy reports positive findings | Edzard Ernst

When sceptics claim that no positive trials of homeopathy exist, they are clearly mistaken. The truth is that there are plenty of them! But many, if not most are of such poor quality that it is safe to suspect they are false-positives. Here is a recent example of this type of scenario. This new study investigated the clinical […]

Read on: Another flawed trial of homeopathy reports positive findings

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

A traditional cancer remedy that shows some promise? | Edzard Ernst

Antrodia cinnamomea (AC) is a fungus which is used in Taiwan as a remedy for cancer, hypertension, hangover and other conditions. There are several commercial AC products and the annual market is worth over $100 million in Taiwan alone.

Several studies have suggested anti-cancer properties in vitro but few clinical trials have been reported. Now Taiwanese researchers published a double-blind, randomized […]

Read on: A traditional cancer remedy that shows some promise?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Chiropractic manipulation for migraine is a placebo therapy | Edzard Ernst

A new study tested the efficacy of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy (CSMT) for migraine. It was designed as a three-armed, single-blinded, placebo -controlled RCT of 17 months duration including 104 migraineurs with at least one migraine attack per month. Active treatment consisted of CSMT (group 1) and the placebo was a sham push manoeuvre of the lateral edge of the scapula and/or […]

Read on: Chiropractic manipulation for migraine is a placebo therapy

When your math doesn’t make sense

I’m just going to leave this here. It’s a comment published on The Kid’s blog. One of his friends posts a link to another anti-vaccine website and perpetuates a lie. Then he realizes that the math doesn’t work out. So then he pleads that his comment not be published. The Kid publishes it anyway.
But, what happened in Kenya, uncovered by 27 Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, is, to me, the signpost for “The Plan.” […]
Read more at: When your math doesn’t make sense by Reuben

Monday, 10 October 2016

Second Annual Homeoprophylaxis (Natural Immunity) Conference: a sumit of irresponsibility | Edzard Ernst

I am so sorry we all missed this conference on ‘HOMEOPROPHYLAXIS’ !

The three-day meeting has ended yesterday.

It could have been a real eye-opener.

This is how it has been advertised:
This is THE conference for medical professionals, parents, and natural-minded healthcare providers to learn more about the evidence supporting the 200 year old practice of Homeoprophylaxis (HP), an immune […]

Read on: Second Annual Homeoprophylaxis (Natural Immunity) Conference: a sumit of irresponsibility

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Homeopathy for otitis media: a new trial fails to show significant effects | Edzard Ernst

This new study is amazing in several respects. It was conducted in Spain by otolaryngologists, and one of its authors is an employee of Boiron, the world’s biggest manufacturer of homeopathic products. It was designed as a double blind, placebo-controlled RCT. Patients aged 2 months to 12 years suffering from otitis media with effusion (OME), as diagnosed by pneumatic otoscopy (PNO) […]
Read on: Homeopathy for otitis media: a new trial fails to show significant effects

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Seven amazing benefits of chiropractic care | Edzard Ernst

I found this on Twitter; fascinating isn’t it?

So much so, that I decided to run a quick ‘reality check’: are any of these claims based on anything resembling sound evidence?

Here we go:

IT HELPS BRING ABOUT RECOVERY
This is the sort of woolly language that quacks of any type seem to adore. Recovery […]

Read on: Seven amazing benefits of chiropractic care

Friday, 7 October 2016

St John’s Wort for depression: the biggest success story of alternative medicine | Edzard Ernst

I have blogged about the herbal antidepressant before; for instance about the fact that it can cause potentially dangerous herb-drug interactions. When taken alone, however, it seems to be both safe and efficacious in reducing the symptoms of depression. This notion has just been confirmed yet again.

A new systematic review evaluated St. John’s wort […]

Read on: St John’s Wort for depression: the biggest success story of alternative medicine

Thursday, 6 October 2016

CAM use is risk factor for the failure to immunise children | Edzard Ernst

A new nationally representative study from the US analysed ∼9000 children from the Child Complementary and Alternative Medicine File of the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. Adjusting for health services use factors, it examined influenza vaccination odds by ever using major CAM domains: (1) alternative medical systems (AMS; eg, acupuncture); (2) biologically-based therapies, excluding multivitamins/multiminerals […]

Read on: CAM use is risk factor for the failure to immunise children

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

FDA safety alert about homeopathic teething remedies | Edzard Ernst

Homeopathic products are safe! 

At least this is what the homeopathy-lobby tries to make us believe. On this blog, we have repeatedly questioned this notion, and recently it was reported by several sources, for instance this website, that the FDA has taken action against one specific homeopathic remedy over safety concerns:

Some homeopathic tablets and gels aimed […]

Read on: FDA safety alert about homeopathic teething remedies

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Data fabrication in China is an ‘open secret’ | Edzard Ernst

I have warned you before to be sceptical about Chinese studies. This is what I posted on this blog more than 2 years ago, for instance:
Imagine an area of therapeutics where 100% of all findings of hypothesis-testing research are positive, i.e. come to the conclusion that the treatment in question is effective. Theoretically, this could mean […]

Read on: Data fabrication in China is an ‘open secret’

Monday, 3 October 2016

Seven things you didn’t know about acupuncture | Edzard Ernst

A website I recently came across promised to teach me 7 things about acupuncture. This sort of thing is always of interest to me; so I read them with interest and found them so remarkable that I decided to reproduce them here:

1. Addiction recovery
Acupuncture calms and relaxes the mind making it easier for people to overcome addictions […]

Read on: Seven things you didn’t know about acupuncture

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Homeopaths ordered to stop claiming that homeopathy can treat medical conditions | Edzard Ernst

Bogus claims of alternative therapists are legion, particularly in homeopathy. But bogus claims are neither ethical nor legal. Homeopathy works for no human condition, and therefore any medical claim made for homeopathy is unethical, false, misleading and illegal.

This is not just my view (after studying the subject for more than two decades) but also that of the […]

Read on: Homeopaths ordered to stop claiming that homeopathy can treat medical conditions

Friday, 30 September 2016

Green Parties aren’t so Green

By @TakeThatGMOs

In this publishing, I will focus on Green parties and environmentalism, and how green parties get environmental protection wrong. What are Green parties? Wikipedia defines Green parties as a”Formally organized political party based on the principles of green…

Read the full post at: Green Parties aren’t so Green

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

Homeopathy and the ‘closeted gay’ ??? | Edzard Ernst

Over on ‘SPECTATOR HEALTH’, we have an interesting discussion (again) about homeopathy. The comments so far were not short of personal attacks but this one by someone who called himself (courageously) ‘Larry M’ took the biscuit. It is so characteristic of deluded homeopathy apologists that I simply have to share it with you:
Ernst grew up with homeopathy [1], saw how well it worked [2], and chose to become a so-called expert in alternative medicine [3]. To his surprise, he met with professional disapproval [4]. Being the weak ego-driven person that he is [5], he saw an opportunity to still come out on top. He sold his soul in exchange for the notoriety that he now receives for being the crotchety old homeopathy hater that he has become [6]. As with all homeopathy haters, his fundamentalist zeal [7] is evidence of his secret self-loathing [8] and fear that his true beliefs will be found out [9]. It’s no different than the evangelical preacher who rails against gays only to be eventually found out to be a closeted gay [10].
Read on: Homeopathy and the ‘closeted gay’ ???

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Only fools and horses… and a few chiropractors | Edzard Ernst

Chiropractic for animals?

Can’t be!

Yes, it can!!!

Animal Chiropractic “is a field of animal health care that focuses on the preservation and health of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. Why? Nerves control everything that happens in your animals. Anything adversely affecting the nervous system will have detrimental effects that will resonate throughout the entire body. The […]

Read on: Only fools and horses… and a few chiropractors

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

“The availability of homeopathic treatment is important” Oh, really? | Edzard Ernst

In a recent PJ article, Michael Marshall from the ‘Good Thinking Society’ asked “WHY ON EARTH IS THE NHS SPENDING EVEN A SINGLE PENNY ON HOMEOPATHY?”. A jolly good question, given the overwhelmingly negative evidence, I thought – but one that must be uncomfortable to homeopaths. Sure enough, a proponent of homeopathy, Jeanette Lindsay from Glasgow, has objected to Marshall’s arguments in a short comment which is a fairly typical defence of homeopathy; I therefore take the liberty of reproducing it here (the 12 references in her text were added by me and refer to my footnotes below) […]

Read on: “The availability of homeopathic treatment is important” Oh, really?

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Osteopathy for gynaecological and obstetric disorders? | Edzard Ernst

Some osteopaths – similar to their chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic, etc. colleagues – claim they can treat almost any condition under the sun. Even gynaecological ones? Sure! But is the claim true? Let’s find out.

The aim of this recent review was to evaluate the effects of the osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) on women with gynaecological and obstetric disorders. […]

Read on: Osteopathy for gynaecological and obstetric disorders?

Monday, 26 September 2016

Holistic dentistry? | Edzard Ernst

What? Holistic dentistry? Dentists drilling holes in our teeth? No, it is something quite different; this article tries to explain it in some detail: … holistic dentistry involves an awareness of dental care as it relates to the entire person, with the belief that patients should be provided with information to make choices to enhance their […]

Read on: Holistic dentistry?


The comments by real dentists on this post are pure joy. A must-read. - AT

Sunday, 25 September 2016

More on the situation of homeopathy in Switzerland | Edzard Ernst

According to Wikipedia, Swiss state insurance funding of homeopathy and four other alternative therapies had been withdrawn after a review in 2005, and a 2009 referendum vote called for state backed health insurance to once more pay for these therapies. In 2012 the Swiss government reinstated them for a trial period until 2017, pending an […]

Read on: More on the situation of homeopathy in Switzerland

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Homoeopathy for Ulcerative Colitis? Not if you want to survive the condition! | Edzard Ernst

We have become used to bogus claims made by homeopaths – far too much so, I would argue. Therefore, we let the vast majority of their bogus claims pass without serious objections. Yet exposing bogus claims would be an important task, particularly when they relate to serious conditions. Doing this might even save lives! […]

Read on: Homoeopathy for Ulcerative Colitis? Not if you want to survive the condition!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

A one-day course in quackery for just £300: an occasion too good to be missed! | Edzard Ernst

This is your occasion to meet some of the most influential and progressive people in health care today! An occasion too good to be missed! The future of medicine is integrated – we all know that, of course. Here you can learn some of the key messages and techniques from the horses’ mouths. Book now before […]

Read on: A one-day course in quackery for just £300: an occasion too good to be missed!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A deer, an Audi and a Prince … and some fantastic homeopathy? | Edzard Ernst

Prince Charles’s car has been involved in a collision with a deer in the area around Balmoral, THE GUARDIAN reported. Charles remained uninjured but shaken by the incident. The condition of the deer is unknown but might be much worse. The Prince’s Audi was damaged in the collision at the Queen’s Aberdeenshire estate and sent away for repairs. A spokesman for Clarence […]

Read on: A deer, an Audi and a Prince … and some fantastic homeopathy?

Monday, 19 September 2016

Delivery of Chiropractic Therapies to the Unborn Child | Edzard Ernst

This recent report is worth a mention, I think:

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) is aware that some chiropractors are advertising and attempting to turn breech babies in utero using the “Webster Technique”.

On 7 March 2016, the Chiropractic Board of Australia released the following statement in relation to chiropractic […]

Read on: Delivery of Chiropractic Therapies to the Unborn Child

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The False Hope of the Hufeland Klinik – The Quackometer Blog

Wales Online reports the tragic story of a two-year old girl with stage-four neuroblastoma. I cannot imagine the emotions the parents must be going through. I am sure if my children were ever in this position, I would consider anything to save them. Such desperation though provides rich pickings for those offering miracle cures and dubious treatments. As a society, we do a very poor job of protecting children and parents from such questionable practices...

Read full story: The False Hope of the Hufeland Klinik – The Quackometer Blog

Yikes! Going to the dogs.

So, the one who tweets under the handle, @HomeoReikiDogs; who variously ‘practices’/promotes/advocates/endorses (e.g.) Reiki, chakras, auras, prana, homeopathy, MMS, ‘energy methods’, ‘Moon healing’, Venkatesh, etc.; the one who claims to treat dogs and other animals with such guff. In fact, it seems any wackiness is welcome on asteroid ‘Yoda’...
[Read more... ]

Saturday, 17 September 2016

TWITTER = a promotional tool for chiros | Edzard Ernst

Chiropractors may not be good at treating diseases or symptoms, but they are certainly good at promoting their trade. As this trade hardly does more good than harm, one could argue that chiropractors are promoting bogus and potentially harmful treatments to fill their own pockets.

Does that sound too harsh? If you think so, please read what Canadian researchers have just published[…]

Read on: TWITTER = a promotional tool for chiros

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Deepak Chopra’s finest hour | Edzard Ernst

WARNING: THIS MIGHT MAKE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUDLY AND UNCONTROLLABLY.

Deepak Chopra rarely publishes in medical journals (I suppose, he has better things to do). I was therefore intrigued when I saw a recent article of which he is a co-author.

The ‘study‘ in question allegedly examined the effects of a comprehensive residential mind–body program on well-being. The authors describe […]

Read on: Deepak Chopra’s finest hour

The mental contortions of The Kid

Last time, I told you all about how The Kid wrote that Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia was the result of a failure of the pneumococcal vaccine. He wrote:
Despite her proclaiming that “#vaccineswork”, the pneumonia vaccine obviously did not work for her in that instance assuming she even followed the CDC’s advice as she wanted everybody […]
Read more at: The mental contortions of The Kid by Reuben

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A new systematic review of chiropractic for low back pain: far less encouraging than chiros make us believe | Edzard Ernst

Low back pain (LBP) is a ‘minor complaint’ in the sense that it does not cost patients’ lives. At the same time, LBP is amongst the leading causes of disability and one of the most common reasons for patients to seek primary care. Chiropractors, osteopaths, physical therapists and general practitioners are among those treating LBP patients, but there is only […]

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Does The Kid Have Inside Knowledge of Hillary Clinton’s Pneumonia?

Of course he doesn’t. He just seems to think that he does.

In yet another rambling post by The Kid, he seems to think that he knows what kind of pneumonia Hillary Clinton has:
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all adults over 65 receive a pneumococcal vaccine to prevent pneumonia. […]
Read more at: Does The Kid Have Inside Knowledge of Hillary Clinton’s Pneumonia? by Reuben

Monday, 12 September 2016

At last! The PROOF that homeopathy works… no, not really | Edzard Ernst

After > 200 years of existence, homeopathy still remains unproven – in fact, most rational thinkers would call it disproven. Today only homeopaths doubt this statement; they work hard to find a water-tight proof that might show the doubters to be wrong. 

What is better suited for this purpose than a few rigorous animal experiments? 

Saturday, 10 September 2016

What conditions do chiropractors really treat? | Edzard Ernst

At first, I thought this survey would be yet another of those useless and boring articles that currently seem to litter the literature of alternative medicine. It’s abstract seemed to confirm my suspicion: “Fifty-two chiropractors in Victoria, Australia, provided information for up to 100 consecutive encounters. If patients attended more than once during the 100 encounters, only […]

Medically unfit Hillary Clinton – the doctor behind the myth

Since I am a political geek as much as a biomedical geek, I love it when the two occasionally intersect. If you haven’t kept up, some right wing websites, like Breitbart, are pushing a trope that claims that a medically unfit Hillary Clinton is incapable of becoming President of the US.

I couldn’t resist commenting on this, because there’s really so much to say. Let’s start with the basics – Breitbart is a right wing website that seems to use the Natural News method of facts. You know, invent facts out of thin air...

Read the full post: Medically unfit Hillary Clinton – the doctor behind the myth


Jane Orient
(from Raw Story)

Orient and the AAPS have also been exposed by:
... and many others

Friday, 9 September 2016

Dr. Bob Sears, our Douchebag Emerit-ass, is in hot water

News came late to me that Dr. Bob Sears, 2014’s Douchebag of The Year, is now in hot water with the California Medical Board for what the legal filing states that he “was grossly negligent and departed from the standard of care in that he did not obtain the basic information necessary for decision making […]

Medical errors: is integrative medicine the solution? | Edzard Ernst

I have moaned about the JACM several times on this blog (for instance here). It is a very poor journal, in my view, but it nevertheless is important because it is the one with the highest impact factor in this field. Despite all this I missed something important that recently happened to the JACM: a few months […]

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Ear-candles, a TV-doctor, THE DAILY MAIL, and journalistic ‘balance’ | Edzard Ernst

This article in THE DAILY MAIL caught my eye. It’s about ear-candles, a subject we have discussed before on this blog. Apparently, the ‘TV doctor’ Dawn Harper was had to apologise after recommending ear candling for clearing ears of wax. This prompted various protests from listeners of her programme one of whom even called Dr Harper a ‘dangerous quack’. Dr […]

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Should chiropractors have the right to prescribe medicines? | Edzard Ernst

Since several years, there has been an increasingly vociferous movement within the chiropractic profession to obtain limited prescription rights, that is the right to prescribe drugs for musculoskeletal problems. A recent article by Canadian and Swiss chiropractors is an attempt to sum up the arguments for and against this notion. Here I have tried to distil the […]

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The need for anonymity when you speak out

I got an interesting message on Facebook a few days ago. It was from “Sherri Kane” a woman from Hawaii who is very involved in conspiracy theories: 
When the film ended, Sherri grabbed the microphone. Her face had turned into a grim, ugly mask, the corners of her mouth pulled downward as if by strings. […]

Research into alternative medicine: too little and too flimsy | Edzard Ernst

For some time now, the research activity in and around alternative medicine has been seemingly buoyant. In each of the last 4 years, Medline listed around 2 000 articles is the category of ‘complementary alternative medicine’. This will surely look impressive to many! 

Why then did I write ‘seemingly’? To comprehend this a little better, we should have […]

Monday, 5 September 2016

Unacceptable pseudo-science from the NIH | Edzard Ernst

In alternative medicine, good evidence is like gold dust and good evidence showing that alternative therapies are efficacious is even rarer. Therefore, I was delighted to come across a brand-new article from an institution that should stand for reliable information: the NHI, no less.

According to its authors, this new article “examines the clinical trial […]

Read on: Unacceptable pseudo-science from the NIH

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Another death by quackery | Edzard Ernst

Did you know that:

  • All diseases are really just psychological conflicts. 
  • Conventional medicine id a conspiracy of Jews to decimate the non-Jewish population. 
  • Microbes do not cause diseases. 
  • AIDS is just a normal allergy. 
  • Cancer is the result of a mental shock. 

These are just some of the theories of RG Hamer realized in his […]

Read on: Another death by quackery

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Let’s be blunt: homeopathy is bogus – but homeoprophylaxis is worse, much worse! | Edzard Ernst

Highly diluted homeopathic remedies are pure placebos; that statement is by no means new and has been discussed here so many times that it hardly needs repeating. It follows that those who, in the face of overwhelming evidence, claim that such remedies are efficacious for any condition or symptom are misleading the public. 

What, in the realm […]

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Monty Python and the homeopaths | Edzard Ernst

The ‘Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung’, a paper for German pharmacists, rarely is the most humorous of publications. However, recently they reported on a battle between the EU and the European producers of homeopathic remedies – a battle over mercury which has, I think, hints of Monty Python and the Flying Circus. 

The EU already has strict regulations on […]

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

An alternative method for resuscitation? | Edzard Ernst

For far too many proponents of alternative medicine, belief in alternative methods seems disappointingly half-hearted. Not so for this enthusiast who invented an alternative form of resuscitation – but sadly failed. 

This article explains: 
A Russian woman spent more than 4 months trying to bring her dead husband back to life. How? With the help of holy water and prayer! 

The retired therapist said she didn’t report the […]

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Does chiropractic have a future? | Edzard Ernst

As has been discussed on this blog many times before, the chiropractic profession seems to be in a bit of a crisis (my attempt at a British understatement). The Australian chiropractor, Bruce Walker, thinks that, with the adoption of his ten point plan, “the chiropractic profession has an opportunity to turn things around within a generation. Importantly, it has an […]

Monday, 29 August 2016

The European Congress for Homeopathy 2016 – it’s a must for sceptics! | Edzard Ernst

If you are free on 17 – 19 November, why not pop over to Vienna and attend the European Congress for Homeopathy? The programme looks exciting (and full of humour); here are eight of my favourite lectures: R G Hahn ‘Homeopathy from a scientific and sceptic point of view’ L Ellinger ‘Homeopathy as a replacement of […]

Sunday, 28 August 2016

The only accredited Integrative Medicine diploma currently available in the UK | Edzard Ernst

Would you like to see a much broader range of approaches such as nutrition, mindfulness, complementary therapies and connecting people to green spaces become part of mainstream healthcare? No? Well, let me tell you about this exciting new venture anyway! It is being promoted by Dr Dixon’s ‘College of Medicine’ and claims to be “the […]

Saturday, 27 August 2016

More on the German ‘Heilpraktiker’: are his days counted? | Edzard Ernst

The Subject of the German ‘Heilpraktiker’ has recently been the topic of one of my blog-posts. In Germany, it has been a taboo for decades, but now the ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ (FAZ) have courageously addressed the problem. In today’s article, the FAZ reports that, Josef Hecken, the chair of the an organisation called ‘Selbstverwaltung im Gesundheitswesen’ (self-administration in healthcare), demands […]

Friday, 26 August 2016

Middlesex University supports dangerous quackery | Edzard Ernst

On the website of THE CENTRE FOR HOMEOPATHIC EDUCATION (CHE), an organisation which claims to operate ‘in partnership with’ the MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY LONDON, we find the most amazing promotion of quackery. Under the title of ’10 Top Homeopathic Remedies for your First Aid Kit’ they state that “we wanted to give you some top tips to put […]

Thursday, 25 August 2016

THE 10 BEST ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES OF ALL TIMES | Edzard Ernst

It has been reported that the ‘American Society of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine’ (A SCAM) has published a list of the top 10 achievements in medical history. The spelling of ‘complimentary’ and the acronym might be hints suggesting that none of the below is meant too seriously – but it could be good fun. Here is the top 10 list unabbreviated and unaltered: […]

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Cranio-sacral therapy: misleading? dishonest? unethical? | Edzard Ernst

Cranio-sacral therapy has been a subject on this blog before, for instance here, here and here. The authors of this single-blind, randomized trial explain in the introduction of their paper that “cranio-sacral therapy is an alternative and complementary therapy based on the theory that restricted movement at the cranial sutures of the skull negatively affect rhythmic impulses […]

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Food the Forgotten Medicine: More bait and switch from the “College of Medicine”

‘We know little about the effect of diet on health. That’s why so much is written about it’. That is the title of a post in which I advocate the view put by John Ioannidis that remarkably little is known about the health effects if individual nutrients. That ignorance has given rise to a vast industry selling advice that has little evidence to support it [...]

Read the rest at: Food the Forgotten Medicine: More bait and switch from the “College of Medicine” DC's Improbable Science: Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science

Friday, 19 August 2016

The German ‘HEILPRAKTIKER’ is a relict from the Nazis that endangers public health | Edzard Ernst

Two of my recent posts directly related to the German ‘Heilpraktiker’ (here and here) and to the risks which this profession poses to public health in Germany. As this is a very German phenomenon, it might be time to provide some explanations to my non-German readers. 

The German ‘Heilpraktiker’ (literally translated: healing practitioner) is perhaps best […]

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Homeopathy = a dangerous and unethical branch of pseudo-medicine that is impervious to progress | Edzard Ernst

Dengue is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes; it is common in many parts of the world. The symptoms include fever, headache, muscle/joint pain and a red rash. The infection is usually mild and lasts about a week. In rare cases it can be more serious and even life threatening. There’s no specific treatment – except for […]

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The future of cupping: it’s bright, profitable and vacuous | Edzard Ernst

As predicted, thanks to its high visibility in Rio, to the journalists, editors, photographers, numerous ‘experts’ crawling out of the woodwork, and last but not least the gullible public, cupping has fast become fashionable, ‘cool’ and ‘en vogue’.

Yes! Literally ‘en vogue’! 

It has conquered the pages of ‘VOGUE’ (and any quackery that achieves this feast must have a bright […]
Read on: The future of cupping: it’s bright, profitable and vacuous

Monday, 15 August 2016

Encyclopedia of American Loons: #1705: Vani Hari

A.k.a. The Food Babe
A.k.a. The Jenny McCarthy of Food

Food Babe is the blog of Vani Hari, an internet troll and “consumer advocate” who specializes in advice on nutrition and health-related matters, topics on which she has no background, education (she has a degree in computer science and background as a management consultant) or even minimal understanding – trusting the Food Babe on food or health is much like trusting Donald Trump on vaccines or the random Deepak Chopra quote generator on life wisdom. She is, in other words, full of shit...

More shit here: Encyclopedia of American Loons: #1705: Vani Hari

Chinese herbal medicines for the symptoms of the menopause? Probably not! | Edzard Ernst

A new Cochrane review evaluated the effectiveness and safety of Chinese herbal medicines (CHM) in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Its authors conducted a thorough search for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the effectiveness of CHM with placebo, hormone therapy (HT), pharmaceutical drugs, acupuncture, or another CHM formula in women suffering from menopausal symptoms. 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Two compelling reasons for avoiding weight-loss supplements | Edzard Ernst

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to enjoy food and drink to one’s heart content and, once the pounds are piling up, simply swallow a pill and the weight goes down to normal? There are plenty of such pills on the market, but here I advise you to avoid them – mainly for two reasons. […]

The fact is: your ancestors would have vaccinated

The post The fact is: your ancestors would have vaccinated by Anarchic Teapot first appeared on Plague of Mice.

It’s Friday evening, and a Twitter moron has to go and post this:
fact-I vaccinated my kids. Fact-my son suffered an encephalopathy. Let’s talk facts…
Facts. Oh yes, facts are great. You can use them as bricks to construct whole edifices of knowledge. The trouble with buildings, though, is that they need rather more than bricks to be of use. You have to use the right bricks for the type of construction, where it’s situated, etc. There’s got to be some kind of mortar to bind them together, or your building of unrelated facts will just fall apart at the first puff of wolf’s breath. And you need a roof, and a door etc.

For example, I’ve had a great time this week trying to build up my family tree using an online genealogy database. You input what you know about your family, it goes and looks up records that … Continue reading

Friday, 12 August 2016

There is a sucker born every minute – more thoughts on the Olympic cupping craze | Edzard Ernst

“THERE IS A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE” – this quote is commonly attributed to P.T. Barnum. If he really coined the sentence, he certainly did not think of the little cups sucking in the skin of patients undergoing cupping therapy. Yet, the recent media coverage of cupping made me think of this quote. The suckers here are not […]

Read on: There is a sucker born every minute – more thoughts on the Olympic cupping craze

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Cupping: bruises for the gullible, and other myths in sport

This is my version of a post which I was asked to write for Indy Voices. It’s been published, though so many changes were made by the editor that I’m posting the original here.

So much has been said about cupping during the last week that it’s hard to say much that’s original. Yesterday I did [...]


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

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The current cupping craze | Edzard Ernst

No, I don’t want to put you off your breakfast… but you probably have seen so many pictures of attractive athletes with cupping marks and read articles about the virtues of this ancient therapy, that I feel I have to put this into perspective: I am sure you agree that this is slightly less attractive. […]

Read on: The current cupping craze

Monday, 8 August 2016

Homeopathy: ‘the days of fighting are over’ | Edzard Ernst

When a leading paper like the FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG (FAZ) publishes in its science pages (!!!) a long article on homeopathy, this is bound to raise some eyebrows, particularly when the article in question was written by the chair of the German Association of Homeopaths (Deutscher Zentralverein homöopathischer Ärzte) and turns out to be a completely one-sided […]

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Why are there so many reports of autism following vaccination? A mathematical assessment | The Logic of Science

The idea that vaccines cause autism is one of the most persistent myths that I have ever encountered, and it seems that no amount of evidence will ever cause it to disappear. Indeed, I recently wrote a lengthy post in which I thoroughly reviewed the scientific literature on this topic, and I showed that there are no high quality studies supporting this myth, but there are multiple very large studies that debunked it. Nevertheless, many people responded to the post by insisting that vaccines must cause autism because there are so many cases of parents reporting the onset of autism shortly after vaccinating. They were adamant that these anecdotes could not be chance results and must mean that vaccines cause autism. To quote one commenter:
“How can you sit there and say that observing an adverse reaction AFTER a vaccine is given doesn’t mean it was the vaccine? So, what…? It’s just a random coincidence? I think not...”
Read the full post, accessible even to the worst of mathematicians, right here: Why are there so many reports of autism following vaccination? A mathematical assessment | The Logic of Science

Fatalities in a German alternative medicine clinic caused by 3BP? | Edzard Ernst

According to an article in DER SPIEGEL, 4 patients of an alternative medicine centre died, while several other websites reported that the figure amounted to ‘just’ three. The centre in question is the Klaus Ross clinic in the German town of Bruggen-Bracht on the border with the Netherlands. In addition to these fatalities, several further patients are being treated in hospital […]

Friday, 5 August 2016

A new acupuncture review is a perfect example for the ‘rubbish in, rubbish out’ phenomenon | Edzard Ernst

The aim of a new meta-analysis was to estimate the clinical effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for amnestic mild cognitive impairment (AMCI), the transitional stage between the normal memory loss of aging and dementia. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of acupuncture versus medical treatment for AMCI were identified using six electronic databases.

Five RCTs involving a total of 568 subjects were included. The methodological […]

Read on: A new acupuncture review is a perfect example for the ‘rubbish in, rubbish out’ phenomenon

Thursday, 4 August 2016

ASA welcomes successful prosecution of alternative therapy provider Electronic Healing

Quacks beware: ignoring the ASA can cost you dear. Given the importance of the case, the full text is below.

ASA welcomes successful prosecution of alternative therapy provider following misleading advertising

4 August 2016

We have today welcomed the outcome of legal action taken against Electronic Healing – a provider of complementary and alternative therapies and devices – by trading standards officers from the London Borough of Camden on behalf of National Trading Standards.

We referred Electronic Healing to National Trading Standards, our legal backstop power, on account of the company’s refusal to comply with the rules in place to prevent consumers from being misled by irresponsible advertising.

Following guilty pleas by the owners of Electronic Healing, Steven and Susan Lee, to offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and Food Safety Act, the pair were today (Thursday 4 August) fined £1,000 each. They were also each ordered to pay £7,000 costs, as well as a £100 victim surcharge. Moreover, the defendants agreed to forfeit £7,000 cash seized on the day of the warrant.

Electronic Healing was subject to two formal investigations by the ASA, following which the company was found to be in breach of the rules against making misleading efficacy claims (specifically in respect of claims made on its website about products named ‘Bob Beck Protocol’ and ‘Liquid Oxygen Drops’). The ad claimed that Bob Beck Protocol “kills or disables microbes (virus, bacteria, and fungus) in the body” while Liquid Oxygen Drops were “credited with a multitude of significant health benefits from healthy energy to immunity and disease prevention”. A video on the company’s website also claimed that The Bob Beck Protocol could “amplify the immune system, remove the need for flu vaccinations, increase oxygen in the blood, reduce HIV infection levels and help fibromyalgia”.

The advertiser failed to provide adequate evidence to support its claims and was placed on a list of non-compliant online advertisers on our website. Despite the sanction, the company continued to make claims that had the potential to mislead consumers. Responding to these continued breaches, we referred the company to Trading Standards for prosecution – a process that culminated in today’s sentencing hearing.

Following changes in the law, in 2013 The London Borough of Camden contracted with National Trading Standards to provide the ASA’s legal backstop in relation to misleading, aggressive or otherwise unfair non-broadcast advertising.  Where an advertiser is unwilling or unable to stick to the rules and continues to mislead consumers or business we can refer to National Trading Standards who will consider statutory action, including warnings and seeking criminal prosecutions or civil enforcement orders.

ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker said:
“We welcome the robust enforcement action taken by National Trading Standards and the London Borough of Camden against Electronic Healing. It’s a significant and important outcome and underlines our commitment to protecting consumers from misleading advertising claims. Moreover, misleading health claims have a real potential to cause harm.  It also sends out a clear and strong message to advertisers that, where they are unwilling to cooperate and stick to the rules, there can be legal consequences.”

Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Trading Standards, said:
“These adverts deliberately misled consumers by making false claims around the products’ healing properties, which saw it promote one product as equipment that could help cure cancer. Such claims can be dangerous to consumers and I am delighted that our partnership working with colleagues at the ASA and the London Borough of Camden has led to these sentences.”

Original post: ASA welcomes successful prosecution of alternative therapy provider following misleading advertising - Advertising Standards Authority

Taking the piss again? The story of urine therapy in India | Edzard Ernst

We have discussed the subject of urine therapy before. And, as I did then, I again apologise for the vulgar title of my post – but it describes urine therapy just perfectly. My new post is based on what I recently found on a website that is entirely devoted to this strange form of treatment:
Around 4 am, […]
Read on: Taking the piss again? The story of urine therapy in India

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Questions About PrEP | PrEP

Until now, adopting safer behaviors—including condom use—has been the only option available for people who wished to protect themselves from becoming infected.

Are you PrEP skeptical?

Maybe you’re not completely sold on this new HIV prevention strategy. You think it’s a hard pill to swallow and not all it’s cracked up to be. Here are the most common questions we’ve heard so far about PrEP...
Read on: The Questions About PrEP | PrEP

The current state of research into homeopathy | Edzard Ernst

This is a post that I wanted to write for a while (I had done something similar on acupuncture moths ago); but I had to wait, and wait, and wait…until finally there were the awaited 100 Medline listed articles on homeopathy with a publication date of 2016. It took until the beginning of August to […]

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Use of alternative medicine is associated with absenteeism | Edzard Ernst

An analysis of the 2012 National Health Interview Survey Data examined the associations between self-reported use of various forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies (dietary supplements, mind-body practices) and the number of days missed from job or business in the past 12 months due to illness or injury. Multivariable Poisson regression was used to […]

Sunday, 31 July 2016

The vile vitriol of some alternative medicine promoters | Edzard Ernst

If you feel that, on this blog and elsewhere, some sceptics sometimes use harsh language, you haven’t recently read what ‘the other side’ of the debate regularly publish. A good example is ‘NATURAL NEWS’; slander and insult seem to be the daily fare of this publication. A good example is this recent article; it is so disgustingly vile that […]

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Vaxxed threatens Fiona O’Leary – Phillipe Diaz doubles down

In a previous post, I addressed the question whether there was any basis to the threat of a defamation suit by Phillipe Diaz, CEO of the Vaxxed distributor, Cinema Libre, against Irish autism advocate Fiona O’Leary, and concluded that most likely there isn’t. Since then, Ms. O’Leary has been interviewed and spoken on the issue in Irish newspapers (here and here), Jezebel, and an Irish radio show, and it’s clear the attempt to silence her failed, and probably backfired. This article is an update to what has happened after Vaxxed threatens Fiona O’Leary.

 Read the full post: Vaxxed threatens Fiona O’Leary – Phillipe Diaz doubles down

Promoting Rhino horn as medicine at an Australian university: Has this contributed to the exponential rise in Rhino poaching? | Edzard Ernst

Guest post by Frank Van der Kooy 

Something happened in 2008. Something, or a number of things, triggered an exponential rise in the number of rhinos being killed in South Africa. Poaching numbers remained quite low and was stable for a decade with only 13 being killed in 2007. But then suddenly it jumped to […]

Friday, 29 July 2016

Ansbach suicide-bomber had alternative treatments for severe psychological trauma | Edzard Ernst

Last Sunday evening, the Syrian, Mohammad D., tried to enter an open air festival in Ansbach, Germany. As he had no ticket, he was barred from entering. Later he exploded his bomb in front of one of the entrances of the festival. It killed him and injured 15 others, 4 seriously. 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Does the tolerance of extreme quackery makes acupuncturists quacks? | Edzard Ernst

Acupuncture Today is a much-read online publication for people interested in acupuncture. It informs us that:
... Chinese medicine is quite complex and can be difficult for some people to comprehend. This is because TCM is based, at least in part, on the Daoist belief that we live in a universe in which everything is interconnected. What […]
Read on: Does the tolerance of extreme quackery makes acupuncturists quacks?

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Is there something rotten in the state of Denmark? | Edzard Ernst

A survey published in 2011 showed that one-third of Danish hospitals offered alternative therapies. In total, 38 hospitals offered acupuncture and one Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Light Therapy.

The most commonly reported reason for offering CAM was “scientific evidence”. Many readers of this blog might be amazed with both the high level of alternative medicine presence in […]

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Chiropractic care increases costs to Medicare | Edzard Ernst

Several investigations have suggested that chiropractic care can be cost-effective. A recent review of 25 studies, for instance, concluded that:
... cost comparison studies suggest that health care costs were generally lower among patients whose spine pain was managed with chiropractic care. 
However, its authors cautioned that:
... the studies reviewed had many methodological limitations. Better research is […]

Monday, 25 July 2016

A revealing map of the world’s most and least ethnically diverse countries - The Washington Post

Ethnicity, like race, is a social construct, but it's still a construct with significant implications for the world. How people perceive ethnicity, both their own and that of others, can be tough to measure, particularly given that it's so subjective. So how do you study it?

When five economists and social scientists set out to measure ethnic diversity for a landmark 2002 paper for the Harvard Institute of Economic Research, they started by comparing data from an array of different sources: national censuses, Encyclopedia Britannica, the CIA, Minority Rights Group International and a 1998 study called "Ethnic Groups Worldwide." They looked for consistence and inconsistency in the reports to determine what data set would be most reliable and complete. Because data sources such as censuses or surveys are self-reported – in other words, people are classified how they ask to be classified – the ethnic group data reflects how people see themselves, not how they're categorized by outsiders. Those results measured 650 ethnic groups in 190 countries....

Read the full story: A revealing map of the world’s most and least ethnically diverse countries - The Washington Post

I was wrong about homeopaths! They do have sense of humour after all! | Edzard Ernst

Yes, I admit it: over the years, I had formed a vague impression that homeopaths lack humour. Certainly, many comments on this blog seemed to confirm the notion. But now I changed my mind: some homeopaths are intensely funny. 

Yesterday, I found a tweet which read: “NCH and homeopathy to be highlighted at the 2016 American Public […]

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Video campaign: "Vaccines do NOT cause Autism"

Acupuncture found to be pointless | Edzard Ernst

A thorough report by the Australian group ‘Friends of science in medicine’ has just been published. It casts considerable doubt about the therapeutic value of acupuncture. As I think it is a report well worth reading, I reproduce (with the permission of the authors) a large section below: 
What could be the mechanisms by which acupuncture […]
Read on: Acupuncture found to be pointless

Friday, 22 July 2016

Vaxxed anti-vaccine film distributor threatens autism rights advocate | reasonable hank

Cinema Libre Studio, the distributor of the dishonest, Andrew Wakefield anti-vaccination fiction-film, Vaxxed, has threatened an Irish, autism-rights advocate with defamation.

 Fiona O’Leary has posted the threats, from Cinema Libre Studio CEO Philippe Diaz, on her Facebook profile...

 Read full story: Vaxxed anti-vaccine film distributor threatens autism rights advocate | reasonable hank

Chinese officials admit that their TCM-exports are of dubious quality | Edzard Ernst

On this blog, I have discussed the lamentable quality of TCM products before (e. g. here, here and here). In a nutshell, far too high percentages of them are contaminated with toxic substances or adulterated with prescription drugs. It is no question: these deficits put many consumers at risk. Equally, there is no question that the problem has been known for decades.

For the Chinese exporters, such issues are a great embarrassment […]

Read on: Chinese officials admit that their TCM-exports are of dubious quality