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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

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?