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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

It’s official: Switzerland is going holistically round the bend | Edzard Ernst

The Swiss interior ministry has yesterday announced its intention to elevate quackery to the same level as conventional medicine. 

The 5 therapies were named as
  • homeopathy, 
  • holistic medicine, 
  • herbal medicine, 
  • acupuncture, 
  • traditional Chinese medicine 
No, this is not an early April fools joke! It might merely a sign that this country is in dire need of some critical […]

Read on: It’s official: Switzerland is going holistically round the bend

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Are mothers being taught by homeopaths to become anti-vaxers? | Edzard Ernst

I must have stated this a thousand times – but I will do it again: A HOMEOPATHIC REMEDY MIGHT BE HARMLESS, BUT MANY HOMEOPATHS AREN’T!

As to prove my point, US homeopaths are about to host a conference where it is made quite obvious. The National Center for Homeopathy (NHC) is a non-profit organization in the US […]

Read on: Are mothers being taught by homeopaths to become anti-vaxers?

Andrew Wakefield’s biggest mistake (this month)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably missed all the commotion over ex-Doctor Andrew Jeremy Wakefield’s anti-vaccine film being utterly rejected from the Tribeca Film Festival. Seriously, his 1998 case study of a handful of children which concluded that vaccines do not cause autism should have been rejected just as quickly. But beggars […]



Read more at: Andrew Wakefield’s biggest mistake (this month) by Reuben

Monday, 28 March 2016

NICE no longer recommends acupuncture, chiropractic or osteopathy for low back pain | Edzard Ernst

On this blog, I have repeatedly pleaded for a change of the 2010 NICE guidelines for low back pain (LBP). My reason was that it had become quite clear that their recommendation to use spinal manipulation and acupuncture for recurrent LBP was no longer supported by sound evidence.

Two years ago, a systematic review (authored by a chiropractor and published in […]

Read on: NICE no longer recommends acupuncture, chiropractic or osteopathy for low back pain

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Homeopathy cost another life … and homeopaths remain once again silent | Edzard Ernst

This sad story was reported across the world. It is tragic and, at the same time, it makes me VERY angry. A women lost her life after giving birth due to the incompetence of her midwife. On this website, we learn the following gruesome details:

Many question the culpability of Australian midwife Gaye Demanuele in the […]

Read on: Homeopathy cost another life … and homeopaths remain once again silent

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Mind over body? Or poor science over truth? | Edzard Ernst

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has not been rigorously evaluated as a treatment of chronic low back pain. According to its authors, this RCT was aimed at evaluating “the effectiveness for chronic low back pain of MBSR vs cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or usual care.”

The investigators randomly assigned patients to receive MBSR (n = 116), CBT (n = 113), or […]
Read on: Mind over body? Or poor science over truth?

NICE rejects acupuncture for low back pain

Of all types of alternative medicine, acupuncture is the one that has received the most approval from regular medicine. The benefit of that is that it’s been tested more thoroughly than most others. The result is now clear. It doesn’t work. See the evidence in Acupuncture is a theatrical placebo.

This blog has documented many cases [...]

DC's Improbable Science: Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science
Read the rest at: NICE rejects acupuncture for low back pain

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The making of a homeopath | Edzard Ernst

Lots of people are puzzled how healthcare professionals – some with sound medical training – can become convinced homeopaths. Having done part of this journey myself, I think I know one possible answer to this question. So, let me try to explain it to you in the form of a ‘story’ of a young doctor who goes […]

Read on: The making of a homeopath

Statistics and the law: the prosecutor’s fallacy

This post arose from a recent meeting at the Royal Society. It was organised by Julie Maxton to discuss the application of statistical methods to legal problems. I found myself sitting next to an Appeal Court Judge who wanted more explanation of the ideas. Here it is.

Some preliminaries 

The paper that I wrote recently was a [...]


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

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Is the ‘Society for Integrative Oncology’ guilty of fraud or scientific misconduct? | Edzard Ernst

Recently, I came across the ‘Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Use of Integrative Therapies as Supportive Care in Patients Treated for Breast Cancer’ published by the ‘Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) Guidelines Working Group’. The mission of the SIO is to “advance evidence-based, comprehensive, integrative healthcare to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. The […]

Read on: Is the ‘Society for Integrative Oncology’ guilty of fraud or scientific misconduct?

Saturday, 19 March 2016

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT POSSIBLE? I agree with the Queen’s homeopath! | Edzard Ernst

I do not seem to agree on much these days with doctor Perter Fisher, the Queen’s homeopath (see for instance here, here and here), but I might share his view on vaccinations. This became clear to me through reading a recent comment made by a homeopath, and not just any old homeopath. The author is Rudi Verspoor, the Dean and […]

Read on: WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT POSSIBLE? I agree with the Queen’s homeopath!

Friday, 18 March 2016

Anxiety about an arguably unethical ‘pilot project’ conducted by a British charity | Edzard Ernst

In recent blogs, I have written much about acupuncture and particularly about the unscientific notions of traditional acupuncturists. I was therefore surprised to see that a UK charity is teaming up with traditional acupuncturists in an exercise that looks as though it is designed to mislead the public.

The website of ‘Anxiety UK’ informs us that this […]

Read on: Anxiety about an arguably unethical ‘pilot project’ conducted by a British charity

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

A popular argument in defence of homeopathy | Edzard Ernst

As we all know, homeopathy was invented in Germany, and the Germans have always been very fond of it. Perhaps this is the explanation why there has been so little criticism of homeopathy in this country.

But this situation seems to be changing as we speak. Our initiative ‘INFORMATIONS NETZWERK HOMOEOPATHIE’ had an unprecedented response, […]

Read on: A popular argument in defence of homeopathy

Monday, 14 March 2016

About my ‘controversial’ qualifications | Edzard Ernst

Whenever I write something critical about an alternative therapy, chances are that I get hate mail, sometimes lots of it (and much of it is hilarious). It usually centres around themes such as:
  • Ernst is bought by ‘Big Pharma’. 
  • Ernst is incompetent. 
  • Ernst is a lousy scientist. Ernst is a liar. 
  • Ernst has an axe […]

Read on: About my ‘controversial’ qualifications

Sunday, 13 March 2016

HOLISTIC DOPING: an idea that could make quacks rich | Edzard Ernst

You have to admit, quacks had a difficult time recently:
  • homeopathy has been disclosed as humbug, 
  • chiropractic is not much better,
  • ‘acupuncture awareness week’ left acupuncturists bruised… 
Need I go on?
One has to pity these guys; their income is dwindling; they have no pensions, no unions to protect them etc., they know nothing other […]

Read on: HOLISTIC DOPING: an idea that could make quacks rich

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Homeopathy – could be some trip

And now, with homeopathy’s terrestrial effectiveness taken as a given, why shouldn’t preparations for its extra-terrestrial application commence?

My god, it’s full of pills!

[Read more... ]

Friday, 11 March 2016

Acupuncture: what are the main fallacies? | Edzard Ernst

As if to celebrate the end of ‘Acupuncture Awareness Week’, I am off today to give a few lectures in Oslo. One title is most fitting: ACUPUNCTURE: FACTS AND FALLACIES. Here are some of the fallacies I intend to discuss:
  • Appeal to popularity 
  • Appeal to tradition 
  • Science can explain how it works 
  • Acupuncture is a ‘cure-all’ 
  • It worked for me […]

Read on: Acupuncture: what are the main fallacies?

Thursday, 10 March 2016

‘Acupuncture Awareness Week’: let’s not forget our horses! | Edzard Ernst

The current ‘Acupuncture Awareness Week’ is perhaps a good occasion to look beyond acupuncture for humans. The ‘Chi Institute’ is an organisation that teaches TCM for animals. There you can specialise in all sorts of intriguing things that a critical mind would have never thought about. Take acupuncture for horses, for instance; on their website, […]

Read on: ‘Acupuncture Awareness Week’: let’s not forget our horses!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

More on ‘acupuncture for menopausal hot flushes’ | Edzard Ernst

Yes, we discussed this study on a previous blog post. But, as it is ‘ACUPUNCTURE AWARENESS WEEK’ in the UK, and because of another reason (which will become clear in a minute) I decided to revisit the trial.

In case you have forgotten, here is its abstract once again:
Background: Hot flashes (HFs) affect up to 75% of menopausal women […]

Read on: More on ‘acupuncture for menopausal hot flushes’

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Acupuncture: the current state of the scientific literature | Edzard Ernst

As it is ‘ACUPUNCTURE AWARENESS WEEK’, I thought I make a constructive contribution to this field by assessing what is currently being published on the subject. For this purpose, I looked at the first 100 Medline-listed articles of 2016. This has the advantage, of course, that all the numbers thus generated can be seen as absolute and as […]

Read on: Acupuncture: the current state of the scientific literature

Monday, 7 March 2016

This week is ‘ACUPUNCTURE AWARENESS WEEK’. So, be aware!!! | Edzard Ernst

It’s acupuncture awareness week in the UK, and therefore, I will focus on this treatment for a few days.

Yesterday, the ‘HALE CLINIC’, London happened to be in the papers for making unsubstantiated claims. It seems to be THE place where the super-rich take their money when they feel a little off colour.

This institution has for […]

Read on: This week is ‘ACUPUNCTURE AWARENESS WEEK’. So, be aware!!!

Friday, 4 March 2016

Homeopathy masters degree to close because of lack of scientific basis | Edzard Ernst

THE LOCAL, SPAIN’S NEWS IN ENGLISH just reported that a master’s degree in homeopathic medicine at one of Spain’s top universities has been scrapped, because of its “lack of scientific basis”. A university spokesman confirmed the course was being scrapped and gave three main reasons: “Firstly, the university’s Faculty of Medicine recommended scrapping the master’s because […]

Read on: Homeopathy masters degree to close because of lack of scientific basis

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Really? A WAR on homeopathy? No! It’s a struggle against misinformation | Edzard Ernst

Sometimes it is helpful when journalists tackle complex medical issues – and sometimes it is not.
The recent article in THE SPECTATOR entitled “The war on homeopathy isn’t working. We need to call a truce” is a good example for the latter scenario. Here are a few crucial excerpts from it [my comments are in […]

Read on: Really? A WAR on homeopathy? No! It’s a struggle against misinformation

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

‘Wellness Chiropractor’ = a disseminator of bovine excrement | Edzard Ernst

Recently, I came across this website. I think it is worth having a good look because it is just too funny for words. Amongst other things, it offers 5 tips for finding a ‘wellness chiropractor’. I could not resist the temptation of reproducing these 5 tips here – and for good measure, I added some footnotes […]

Read on: ‘Wellness Chiropractor’ = a disseminator of bovine excrement