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rampant

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