All reblogged posts are © the original authors. Please consult their blogs for the full story and to comment.


Monday, 26 June 2017

Vaccines: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

The benefits of vaccines far outweigh the minuscule risks, but some parents still question their safety. John Oliver discusses why some people may still feel uncertainty about childhood vaccinations.

Promotion masquarading as science: the example of chiropractic pseudo-research

Systematic reviews are aimed at summarising and critically evaluating the evidence on a specific research question. They are the highest level of evidence and are more reliable than anything else we have. Therefore, they represent a most useful tool for both clinicians and researchers. But there are, of course, exceptions. Take, for instance, this recent systematic review […]
Read the rest here: Promotion masquarading as science: the example of chiropractic pseudo-research

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Terminal stupidity about ADHD and Bach Flower Remedies

After almost a life-time of exposure to seriously compact BS about alternative medicine, you would expect me to be used to it. And it’s true, I usually don’t bat an eyelash when someone writes nonsense about this or that therapy. But every once in a while, I come across an exception, some statement that is […]
Read the rest here: Terminal stupidity about ADHD and Bach Flower Remedies

Friday, 23 June 2017

Scientology detox? No thanks!!!

I was surprised to receive this email yesterday: “Hello Edzard Ernst, You may remember I got in touch last week regarding losing a loved one to the ravages of drugs or alcohol. I just wanted to remind you that Narconon is here to help. For over fifty years Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres have been successfully reversing the […]
Read the rest here: Scientology detox? No thanks!!!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Cannabis for cancer?

The claim that Cannabis can cure cancer is all over the Internet. Such promotion is regularly enhanced by announcements of VIPs that they intend to try Cannabis when affected by cancer. 

As her back pain turned out to be caused by metastases from her earlier breast cancer, Olivia Newton-John now intends to complete a course […]

How realistic is the assumption that Cannabis does anything for cancer patients? Read the rest here: Cannabis for cancer?

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Trying to understand a doctor homeopath: “homeopathy is helpful for any condition”!?!?

Dr Gabriella Day is a GP in England who describes herself and her beliefs as follows: “I began training in homeopathy as it is clear that for many conditions conventional treatment options are not effective and can have unwanted side effects. It seemed to me that there must be another way to help people suffering from […]

Monday, 19 June 2017

Pharmacists’ responsibilities vis a vis alternative medicine: the violation of healthcare ethics continues.

Alternative medicine differs from conventional medicine in numerous ways. One important difference is that patients often opt to try this or that product without consulting any healthcare professional at all. In such cases, the pharmacist might be the ONLY professional who can advise the patient who is about to purchase such a product. 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

I watched Alex Jones give his viewers health advice. Here’s what I learned. - Vox

There's a "fungus epidemic." And Infowars’ Jones has just the supplements to stop it.

... If you know anything about the HPV vaccine or vaccine safety, it’s easy to dismiss this video as fringe lunacy. But Infowars is no longer a peripheral media player. The website now reaches more than 6 million unique US users each month. The YouTube channel has more than 2 million followers — about as many as Vox ... Read full article here: I watched Alex Jones give his viewers health advice. Here’s what I learned. - Vox

Is homeopathy ‘nano-medicine’?

“Highly diluted homeopathic remedies cannot possibly work beyond a placebo effect because there is nothing in them”. This is the argument, we often hear. It is, I think correct. But homeopaths have always disagreed. Hahnemann claimed that the healing power of his remedies was due to a ‘vital force’, and for a long time his […]

Friday, 16 June 2017

Refreshingly honest words from a pharmacist: ‘Homeopathy could be pharmacy’s saviour’

David Needleman, a pharmacist at Wilkinson Chemist in Barnet, UK, has published a brilliant article explaining that complementary medicine such as homeopathy, nutrition and aromatherapy could make smaller pharmacies “more viable and competitive”, as they look to “survive” the funding cuts across England. In doing so, he made it clear that retail pharmacists are shop-keepers, not healthcare professionals, as previously assumed. […]

The Wonderful World of Tong Ren Therapy - Plague of Mice

Tong Ren therapy, or the art of hitting dolls with hammers to magically cure all sorts of Stuff because of the Fundamental Interconnectedness of All Things. This started out as a bit of light relief for a hot and muggy day enlivened by a splitting ophthalmic headache. I should have stuck with the headache.

I’ve covered this lunatic therapy before. For those who missed the previous episode and can’t be arsed to go back and read it, here’s a fresh presentation of this most egregious fuckwittery..

Read the full post: The Wonderful World of Tong Ren Therapy - Plague of Mice

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Recklessly stupid TCM-promotion by the ‘Daily Mail’

The ‘Daily Mail’ is not a paper famed for its objective reporting. In politics, this can influence elections; in medicine, it can endanger public health. A recent article is a case in point, I think. 

Traditional Chinese medicines could help prevent heart disease and the progression of pre-diabetes, according to research. Some herbal […]

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Quackademia down under

Quackademia is an apt term for the teaching or promotion of quackery in universities. Sadly, this is a serious problem, and we have therefore discussed it already several times (see here, here and here). If you have read my memoir, you know that I had my fair share of quackademia ‘hands-on’, so to speak. This article from Australia has more on the subject […]

Read the rest here: Quackademia down under

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Shamefully misleading drivel about homeopathy by the German BPI

According to Wikipedia, “the Bundesverband der Pharmazeutischen Industrie (BPI) with headquarters in Berlin is an Eingetragener Verein and the German industry association/trade group for the pharmaceutical industry. It represents 240 German pharmaceutical and Biotech companies in with altogether approximately 70,000 employees. BPI has an office in Brussels. The focus of the BPI is on political […]

Read the rest here: Shamefully misleading drivel about homeopathy by the German BPI

Monday, 12 June 2017

Post number 1000 !!!

Yes, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true: this is the 1000th post on this blog. Form the outset, I intended to critically comment on as many alternative modalities (treatments and diagnostic methods) as I can. This is the (probably not totally complete) list of what we covered:
  • Acupressure
  • Acupuncture
  • Agrohomeopathy
  • Anthroposophic medicine
  • Alexander technique […]
Read the rest here: Post number 1000 !!!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

How to protect yourself from bogus claims about so-called alternative medicine

Currently, over 50 000 000 websites promote alternative medicine, and consumers are bombarded with information not just via the Internet, but also via newspapers, magazines and other sources. This has the potential of needlessly separating them from their cash or even seriously harming their health. As there is little that protects us from greedy entrepreneurs and over-enthusiastic therapists, we should think about protecting ourselves. Here I will provide five simple tips that may fortify you against fake news in the realm of alternative medicine […]

Read the rest here: How to protect yourself from bogus claims about so-called alternative medicine>

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Six reasons to AVOID a wheatgrass colonic

The title of the article actually was ‘SIX REASONS TO TRY A WHEATGRASS COLONIC’. I will only repeat parts of the introduction, but please do take the time to read the full text, particularly if you feel sad or depressed – it is hilarious!

START OF QUOTE If you’ve ever had a colonoscopy, then you […]

Read the rest here: Six reasons to AVOID a wheatgrass colonic

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The “other medicine” … how shall we call it?

In their now famous 1998 NEJM editorial about alternative medicine, Angell and Kassirer concluded that “It is time for the scientific community to stop giving alternative medicine a free ride. There cannot be two kinds of medicine — conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, […]

Monday, 5 June 2017

Are alternative practitioners fear-mongers?

Since more than 20 years, I have been writing about the risks of alternative therapies. One of my first papers on this issue was published in 1995 and focused on acupuncture. Here is its abstract: 
The use of acupuncture is widespread. The procedure is often claimed to be totally, or at least reasonably, safe. The […]

Friday, 2 June 2017

Fifteen Children in South Sudan Die During Vaccine Campaign

The Associated Press is reporting that 15 children have died as a result of a vaccination campaign in South Sudan. According to the report:
“Fifteen young children have died in a botched measles vaccination campaign that saw people as young as 12 years old administering the vaccines, South Sudan’s government announced Friday. The United Nations […]

Read more at: Fifteen Children in South Sudan Die During Vaccine Campaign by Reuben

INFORMED CONSENT IN ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ethical imperative + practical impossibility

Before starting to treat a patient, all health care professionals – including of course alternative practitioners – have to obtain informed consent. This is not optional but an ethical and legal imperative. Informed consent must usually include full information on: 
  • the diagnosis 
  • its natural history 
  • the most effective treatment options available 
  • the proposed therapy 
  • its effectiveness […]

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Peter Doshi is at it again with (anti?) vaccine article

Remember Peter Doshi? The researcher whose shocking (it isn’t) opinion pieces are used by anti-vaccine zealots almost on a yearly basis? The researcher who presented at an anti-vaccine conference hosted by the notoriously misnamed National Vaccine Information Center? Yeah, you remember. Well, he’s back.

This time, he is apparently outraged that there is a glitch in how certain browsers handle the web address for the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System […]

Read more at: Peter Doshi is at it again with (anti?) vaccine article by Reuben

Olivia Newton-John, cancer and alternative medicine

Olivia Newton-John is postponing her June U.S. and Canadian concert tour dates, as the back pain that initially caused her to postpone the first half of her concert tour, has been diagnosed as bone metastases form her earlier breast cancer. She now intends to complete a short course of photon radiation therapy along with alternative […]

Read the rest here: Olivia Newton-John, cancer and alternative medicine

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Governments take action to prevent vaccination-rates from falling

In 2006, the World Health Organization and UNICEF created the ‘Global Immunization Vision and Strategy’, a 10-year strategy with 4 main goals:
  1. to immunize more people against more diseases,
  2. to introduce a range of newly available vaccines and technologies,
  3. to integrate other critical health interventions with immunization,
  4. to manage vaccination programmes within the context of global interdependence.
Read the full post: Governments take action to prevent vaccination-rates from falling

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

30 May = World Bedwetting Day

Today is ‘World Bedwetting Day’!

No, don’t laugh; the event is initiated and supported by the World Bedwetting Day Steering Committee, which consists of the International Children’s Continence Society (ICCS) and the European Society for Paediatric Urology (ESPU) along with professional groups across the globe (see website for details).

A good day to remember that […]

Read the rest here: 30 May = World Bedwetting Day

Monday, 29 May 2017

Gems in homeopathy, part 2: pre-clinical research

In my previous post, I mentioned the current volume of the ‘Allgemeinen Homöopathischen Zeitung’ which contains the abstracts of the ‘Homeopathic World Congress 2017’ (btw: the remarkable opening speech for the WORLD CONFERENCE ON HOMEOPATHY 1937, in Berlin might also be of interest; excerpts from it can be found here). Amongst these abstracts, the collector […]

Sunday, 28 May 2017

HOMEOPATHY: the NHMRC report revisited

The NHMRC report on homeopathy is the most thorough, independent and reliable investigation into the value of homeopathy ever. As its conclusions are devastatingly negative about the value of homeopathy, it is hardly surprising that homeopaths tried everything and anything to undermine it. This new article gives what I believe to be a fair account […]

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Gems in homeopathy, part 1: clinical research

The current volume of the ‘Allgemeinen Homöopathischen Zeitung’ contains all the abstracts of the ‘Homeopathic World Congress 2017’ which will be hosted in Leipzig, 14-17 July this year by the ‘Deutschen Zentralvereins Homöopathischer Ärzte’ under the patronage of the German Health Secretary, Annette Widmann-Mauz. As not many readers of this blog are likely to be regular […]

Friday, 26 May 2017

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: some dietary supplements do work! (Chondroitin for OA)

This study tested chondroitin sulfate 800 mg/day (CS) pharmaceutical-grade in the management of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. It was designed as a prospective, randomised, 6-month, 3-arm, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo and celecoxib (200 mg/day)-controlled trial. The primary endpoints were changes in pain on a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and in the Lequesne Index (LI). Minimal-Clinically Important Improvement (MCII), Patient-Acceptable […]
Read the rest here: SURPRISE, SURPRISE: some dietary supplements do work! (Chondroitin for OA)

Thursday, 25 May 2017

A “self-perpetuating motor control problem”: more from the subluxation cult of chiropractic

The Rubicon Group (TRG) is a collaboration of chiropractic educational institutions, emerging educational efforts and interested parties. The seven institutional members include Barcelona College of Chiropractic (Barcelona, Spain); the Chiropraktik Akademie (Dresden, Germany); Life Chiropractic College West (San Francisco, California, USA); Life University (Atlanta, Georgia, USA); McTimoney College of Chiropractic (Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK); New […]

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

“Apricot Seeds for Cancer Treatment” … or how to confuse vulnerable cancer patients

In my view, the website of ‘FOODS 4 BETTER HEALTH’ should be more aptly called FOOD FOR QUICKER DEATH. At least this is the conclusion that came to my mind after reading their post on ‘Apricot Seeds: Nutrition, Health Benefits, and Their Role in Cancer Treatment’. 

Under the heading ‘Apricot Seeds for Cancer Treatment’, we […]

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

How to kill patients with (‘risk-free’) homeopathic remedies

The website of ‘HOMEOPATHY 360’ has just published a new post offering a handy instruction for killing patients suffering from acute appendicitis. If you do not believe me – I don’t blame you, I too found it hard to believe – read this short excerpt advocating homeopathy for this life-threatening condition (for readers without a medical […]

Monday, 22 May 2017

HAPPILY PROMOTING BOGUS TREATMENTS: the story of animal chiropractic

I am sure you always wanted to know what animal chiropractic is all about! 

This website explains it quite well: 

…Animal chiropractic (veterinary spinal manipulative therapy) focuses on the preservation and health/wellness of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. Chiropractic is the science that is centered around the relationship between the spine and the nervous system. […]

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Enforcement Policy Statement on Marketing Claims for OTC Homeopathic Drugs

The US ‘FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION’ has issued an important statement about homeopathic products. The full text with references can be found here; below are a few quotes which I thought were crucial: 

“…Homeopathy, which dates back to the late-eighteenth century, is based on the view that disease symptoms can be treated by minute doses of substances […]

Saturday, 20 May 2017

‘DETOX’ = a danerous and counter-productive illusion

Alternative medicine is deeply rooted in the notion of ‘detox’. This website is one of thousands and displays some of the issues in an exemplary fashion: 

…There are more than 80,000 chemicals used in the industrialized world. Accumulate enough of these toxins and you might suffer, at the very least, fatigue, headaches, muscle […]

Friday, 19 May 2017

Use of alternative medicine is associated with low vaccination rates

The fact that some alternative medicine (the authors use the abbreviation ‘CAM’) practitioners recommend against vaccination is well-known and often-documented. Specifically implicated are:
  • Physicians practising integrative medicine 
  • Doctors of anthroposophical medicine 
  • Naturopaths 
  • Homeopaths 
  • Chiropractors 
As a result, children consulting homeopaths, naturopaths or chiropractors are less likely to receive vaccines and more likely to get vaccine-preventable diseases. These effects […]

'First Ever' Study Comparing Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Children Shows Harm from Vaccines?

In April 2017, anti-vaccine groups seemed to have finally gotten what amounted to the Holy Grail for their cause: an allegedly large-scale, peer-reviewed study showing the links between vaccines and autism among a large population of children. Vaccine skeptic groups, who reject the wide body of scientific literature refuting that link between vaccines and autism, have long sought such a study, but they’ve been hampered by practical concerns, most notably the ethical implications of withholding vaccines from a large group of children...

Read on: 'First Ever' Study Comparing Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Children Shows Harm from Vaccines? -

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Adverse events of (chiropractic) spinal manipulations: the unethical behaviour persists

How often have I pointed out that most studies of chiropractic (and other alternative therapies) are overtly unethical because they fail to report adverse events? And if you think this is merely my opinion, you are mistaken. This new analysis by a team of chiropractors aimed to describe the extent of adverse events reporting in published RCTs of […]

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

More BS from the BMJ

A recent post discussed a ‘STATE OF THE ART REVIEW’ from the BMJ. When I wrote it, I did not know that there was more to come. It seems that the BMJ is planning an entire series on the state of the art of BS! The new paper certainly looks like it:
Headaches, including primary headaches […]

Read the rest here: More BS from the BMJ

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Alan Schmukler's Homeopathy Handbook - Plague of Mice

... Anyway, back to Homeopathy: An A-Z Home Handbook, to give it its full title. There is a webshite misnamed healgently-dot-com that punts it to all and sundry, and yes: it makes all the usual false claims for the sugar pills it promotes. I may use up another post to go further into Schmukko’s site, as it’s small, but rich in WTF. Let’s start with the book. As a precautionary measure, please place a pillow in front of you to reduce the risk of concussion from repeated headdesking. You may also need something eminently punchable, like an inflatable Andrew Wakefield doll...

Full post here: Alan Schmukler's Homeopathy Handbook - Plague of Mice

Insisting on evidence in alternative medicine is hypocritical, isn’t it?

The website of BMJ Clinical Evidence seems to be popular with fans of alternative medicine (FAMs). That sounds like good news: it’s an excellent source, and one can learn a lot about EBM when studying it. But there is a problem: FAMs don’t seem to really study it (alternatively they do not have the power of comprehension to […]
Read the rest here: Insisting on evidence in alternative medicine is hypocritical, isn’t it?

Monday, 15 May 2017

EU Launching New Health Award for NGOs Working on Vaccination

Vytenis Andriukaitis, aka Facepalm Man and Seat 123, has a lot to say about the harm anti-vaccination activists do:

UniMed Cult Cartel – Naming Names | Universal Medicine SCAM Exposed

Universal Medicine Affiliated Medical Professionals, Allied Health Professionals, Complementary Health Practitioners, Unqualified ‘Healers’, Meditation groups & businesses referring to UM practitioners

Practitioners and groups listed are recruiters for the Universal Medicine Cult. Unqualified ‘healers’ listed believe themselves to be accredited ‘Esoteric Healing’ practitioners through Universal Medicine’s bogus accreditation body, the Esoteric Practitioners’ Association...

Read onUniMed Cult Cartel – Naming Names | Universal Medicine SCAM Exposed

Harms of Nonpharmacologic Therapies

The new guidelines by the American College of Physicians entitled ‘Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians’ have already been the subject of the previous post. Today, I want to have a closer look at a small section of these guidelines which, I think, […]

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Acupuncture for back pain: an open letter by a Canadian therapist

Concerned about the new ACP guidelines on ‘Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians’, Andrea MacGregor asked me to publish her ‘open letter’:
I am a student about to graduate and register as a massage therapist in Canada, and I am writing to […]
Read the rest here: Acupuncture for back pain: an open letter by a Canadian therapist

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The harm and hypocrisy of Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP distilled to 1 image | Dr. Jen Gunter

GOOP is obviously oblivious to the fact that alcohol is carcinogenic. Don’t know or don’t care? Probably don’t care to know as talking about the health risks of alcohol interferes with their brand of wasted worried wellness. GOOP needs you afraid of fake toxins, not real ones. Unlike facts alcohol has a prominent position on GOOP...

 Read the full post: The harm and hypocrisy of Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP distilled to 1 image | Dr. Jen Gunter

After “knocking the hell out of alternative medicine”, let me offer you some real solutions

I recently got this comment which might seem reasonable to some readers: 

“What is most humorous about the author and this website is how he knocks the hell out of alternative medicine and therapies yet never provides readers with any alternatives, despite claiming to be an expert. For example: it’s like needing new tyres for […]

Friday, 12 May 2017

UK Homeopathy Regulation: Homeopathy and Autism - Part Three

The potential implications of the accreditation of the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) as a voluntary register by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) were discussed in a previous post. As discussed in the last post, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) did rule against Teddington Homeopathy's promotion of CEASE Therapy. Teddington Homeopathy chose not to comply.

This ruling does set a precedent and one that the SoH would do well to take notice of...

Read more: UK Homeopathy Regulation: Homeopathy and Autism - Part Three

Thursday, 11 May 2017

A method of ending discussions with belligerent twits

It has been pointed out that many of the discussions we have on this blog are like pigeon chess. The term comes from a comment made by Scott D. Weitzenhoffer about Evolution vs. Creationism: An introduction: “Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the […]

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

UK Homeopathy Regulation: Homeopathy and Autism - Part Two

The previous post outlined (probably with some errors) the basics of the diagnosis and causation of Austistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It also touched on the prognosis for those diagnosed. It raised questions about the competence of lay homeopaths in terms of their ability to diagnose ASD, whether their ideas about causation bear any relationship to reality and hinted at the ethics of offering treatment.

This post will examine the nature of homeopathic treatment of autism, in particular CEASE therapy...

Read more: UK Homeopathy Regulation: Homeopathy and Autism - Part Two

Is the Royal College of Nursing promoting quackery?

You might think that the question asked in the title of this post is a bit impertinent. Let’s see whether you change your mind after reading on.

“Come along for a ten minute taster sessions and experience the Bowen Technique. It is appropriate for a wide range of acute and chronic conditions, including back pain, sciatica, neck, shoulder and knee […]

Read the rest here: Is the Royal College of Nursing promoting quackery?

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Alternative medicine for chronic pain: ‘State of the Art’ review in the BMJ

The BMJ has always been my favourite Medical journal. (Need any proof for this statement? A quick Medline search tells me that I have over 60 publications in the BMJ.) But occasionally, the BMJ also disappoints me a great deal. 

One of the most significant disappointments was recently published under the heading of STATE OF THE […]

Monday, 8 May 2017

Inside the brain of a homeopath

The website of the HOMEOPATHY HUB gives us intriguing access to the brain of a homeopath. It tells us that “protecting patient choice is at the heart of everything we do. Homeopathy, which is the second largest system of medicine in the world, is a form of treatment which plays a vital role in the lives of hundreds […]Read the rest here: Inside the brain of a homeopath

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Brain Dust and other surprises

I know, many of you think that proponents of alternative therapies are a bit daft, intellectually challenges or naïve. This may be true for some of them, but others are very much on the ball and manage things that seemed almost impossible. Who, for instance, would have thought it possible to combine all of the following features, concepts and […]

Read the rest here: Brain Dust and other surprises

Saturday, 6 May 2017

"UK Homeopathy Regulation": Qualified to judge?

After this morning's traditional Edzard Ernst reblog, this happened:
So it seemed like an ideal time to reblog that excellent post as well. It begins thusly:

Qualified to judge?

One of the claims that is frequently made by some homeopaths is that the ASA has used expert witnesses who are not in a position to draw conclusions about homeopathy because they have no qualifications in homeopathy. It is often an accusation made of anyone who criticises homeopathy.

Not Occult
Occult can be defined as "knowledge of the hidden". It seems apt in this context as some have accused homeopathy of being "occult" in the common sense of the word.
The idea put forward that homeopathy can only be judged by those "qualified" in homeopathy is strange. There is a vast amount of "information" (some of which is wildly contradictory) on homeopathy in the public domain...

Read the full, informative and comprehensive post here: UK Homeopathy Regulation: Qualified to judge?

Who is an EXPERT in homeopathy?

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed: when homeopathy-fans run out of arguments, they tend to conduct an ‘ad hominem’ attack. They like to do this in several different ways, but one of the most popular version is to shout with indignation: YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED!!! 

The aim of this claim is to brand the opponent as someone who […]

Read the rest here: Who is an EXPERT in homeopathy?

Friday, 5 May 2017

Is homeopathy effective for allergic rhinitis? Mathie et al think so; I disagree

As the data suggesting that homeopathy is effective for improving health is – to put it mildly – less than convincing, a frantic search is currently on amongst homeopaths and their followers to identify a specific condition for which the evidence is stronger than for all conditions pooled into one big analysis. If they could show that it works for just […]

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Acupressure works … oh no, it doesn’t !!!

This double-blind RCT aimed to test the efficacy of self-administered acupressure for pain and physical function in adults with knee osteoarthritis (KOA). 

150 patients with symptomatic KOA participated and were randomized to 
  • verum acupressure, 
  • sham acupressure, 
  • or usual care. 
Verum and sham, but not usual care, participants were taught to self-apply acupressure once daily, five days/week for […]

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

CAM-use delays cancer diagnosis

The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the use of CAM among newly diagnosed breast cancer patients was associated with delays in presentation, diagnosis or treatment of breast cancer. A multi-centre cross-sectional design was used and the time points of the individual breast cancer patients’ journey from first visit, resolution of diagnosis and treatments were evaluated in […]

Read the rest here: CAM-use delays cancer diagnosis

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

UK Homeopathy Regulation: Homeopathy and Autism - Part One

Questions about the competence of lay homeopaths are often raised even by other homeopaths. Although Codes of Ethics and Practice often state that a practitioner must practice within their limits, there seems to little understanding of what these limits might be...

Read full post: UK Homeopathy Regulation: Homeopathy and Autism - Part One

The cracking sound during spinal manipulation: much to do about nothing

Belgian researchers (if I remember correctly, I was the external examiner of the PhD of one of them) conducted a survey aimed at examining the beliefs about the cracking sounds often heard during high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) thrusts in individuals with and without personal experience of this technique. 

The researchers included 100 individuals. Among them, 60 had no history of […]

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Anti-vaccine nurses and midwives 42 | reasonable hank

On October 11 2016, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia responded to a number of complaints regarding anti-vaccination material and advice being disseminated by registered nurses, enrolled nurses, and registered midwives, by publishing a new position statement on anti-vaccination misinformation..

Read full post & comment here: Anti-vaccine nurses and midwives 42 | reasonable hank

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Shiatsu: fatally flawed research is an unethical waste of resources

Shiatsu is one of those alternative therapies where there is almost no research. Therefore, every new study is of interest, and I was delighted to find this new trial.

Italian researchers tested the efficacy and safety of combining shiatsu and amitriptyline to treat refractory primary headaches in a single-blind, randomized, pilot study. Subjects with a […]

Read the rest here: Shiatsu: fatally flawed research is an unethical waste of resources

Friday, 28 April 2017

Charity Commission consultation on CAM charities | Good Thinking Society

Last year, after prompting by Good Thinking, the Charity Commission promised to hold a consultation regarding their policies on accepting the registration of charities which exist for the promotion of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). That consultation is now open, and the public are invited to submit their thoughts on the Charity Commission’s approach to CAM charities.

UK charity law states that for an organisation to qualify as a charity, its purposes must be for the benefit of the public. Where those organisations are health-based, it would seem obvious that the interventions they promote must have a demonstrable benefit to the public. Given that some UK charities exist specifically to promote homeopathic remedies to AIDS patients in Botswana, to offer pseudoscientific treatments to cancer patients, and to promote several other unproven and disproven therapies, this consultation is a great opportunity to clarify the position of the Charity Commission and allow them to take appropriate action in the future...

 Read full post and act: Charity Commission consultation on CAM charities - Good Thinking Society

Is the promotion of dubious therapies a charitable activity? The Charity Commission wants to know

We have discussed this notorious problem before: numerous charities (such as one that treats HIV and malaria with homeopathy in Botswana, or the one claiming that homeopathy can reverse cancer) are a clear danger to public health. I have previously chosen the example of ‘YES TO LIFE’ and explained that they promote unproven and disproven alternative therapies as cures for cancer (and if you want to get really sickened, look who act as their supporters and advisors). It is clear to me that such behaviour can hasten the death of many vulnerable patients.

Yet, many such charities get tax and reputational benefits by being registered charities in the UK. The question is CAN THIS SITUATION BE JUSTIFIED?

Currently, the UK Charity commission want to answer it. Specifically, they are asking you the following questions […]

Read the rest here: Is the promotion of dubious therapies a charitable activity? The Charity Commission wants to know

Thursday, 27 April 2017

A chat with a homeopath

On this blog, we have had (mostly unproductive) discussions with homeopath so often that sometimes they sound like a broken disk. I don’t want to add to this kerfuffle; what I hope to do today is to summarise  a certain line of argument which, from the homeopaths’ point of view, seems entirely logical. I do this in the form of a fictitious conversation between a scientist (S) and a classical homeopath (H). My aim is to make the reader understand homeopaths better so that, future debates might be better informed.


S: I have studied the evidence from studies of homeopathy in some detail, and I have to tell you, it fails to show that homeopathy works.

H: This is not true! We have plenty of evidence to prove that patients get better after seeing a homeopath […]

Read the rest here: A chat with a homeopath

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Canada’s love affair with alternative medicine

A new survey from the Frazer Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank, suggests that more and more Canadians are using alternative therapies. In 2016, massage was the most common type of therapy that Canadians used over their lifetime with 44 percent having tried it, followed by chiropractic care (42%), yoga (27%), relaxation techniques (25%), and acupuncture (22%). Nationally, the most rapidly expanding therapies over the past two decades or so (rate of change between 1997 and 2016) were massage, yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic care, osteopathy, and naturopathy. High dose/mega vitamins, herbal therapies, and folk remedies appear to be […]

Read the rest here: Canada’s love affair with alternative medicine

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Spinal manipulation for acute low back pain, a new meta-analysis is “damning it with faint praise”

The question whether spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is effective for acute low back pain is still discussed controversially. Chiropractors (they use SMT more regularly than other professionals) try everything to make us believe it does work, while the evidence is far less certain. Therefore, it is worth considering the best and most up-to-date data.

The aim of this […]

Read the rest here: Spinal manipulation for acute low back pain, a new meta-analysis is “damning it with faint praise”

Monday, 24 April 2017

The UNpopularity of homeopathy worldwide

The aim of this paper was to systematically review surveys of 12-month prevalence of homeopathy use by the general population worldwide. Studies were identified via database searches to October 2015. Study quality was assessed using a six-item tool. All estimates were in the context of a survey which also reported prevalence of any complementary and alternative medicine use. A total of 36 surveys were included. Of these, 67% met four of six quality criteria.

Twelve-month prevalence of treatment by a homeopath was reported in 24 surveys of adults […]

Read the rest here: The UNpopularity of homeopathy worldwide

Sunday, 23 April 2017

If researchers commit scientific misconduct, acupuncture may appear effective

The aim of this pragmatic study was “to investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture in addition to routine care in patients with allergic asthma compared to treatment with routine care alone.” 

Patients with allergic asthma were included in a controlled trial and randomized to receive up to 15 acupuncture sessions over 3 months plus routine care, or to a control group receiving routine care alone. Patients who did not consent to randomization received acupuncture treatment for the first 3 months and were followed as a cohort […]

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Charity Commission’s Failure to Stop Quack Charities – The Quackometer Blog

The regulator of charities in the UK, the Charity Commission, is undertaking a consultation into how it should approach registering charities that promote so-called Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). The Commission have an obligation to ensure that only organisations that provide a benefit to the public gain the benefit of charitable status. CAM, by definition, is the set of medical beliefs and practices that are based on pseudoscientific and superstitious belief systems that lack scientific rationale and robust evidence. Promoting such practices, therefore, calls into direct question the ability of the charity to actually provide a public benefit. Furthermore, such beliefs may actually harm...

Full post here: The Charity Commission’s Failure to Stop Quack Charities – The Quackometer Blog

Gunpowder 30C – works like a bomb for any infection! But also blows a Vice Chancellor’s smokescreen, of standing up for science, to bits.

The BlueBoxTM homeopathic remedy kit, produced by Pegasus Homeopathics, contains 28 easy-to-use remedies for the treatment of just about everything, and therefore; “The BlueBox™ is a must have for every home”. Their marketing strategy is focussed on children and on the ease-of-mind of their parents, with Pegasus telling us that it: “Treats the whole family […]

Friday, 21 April 2017

Want to kill your employment chances?

Imagine that you’re not a wealthy, privileged “kid.” Imagine you’re just a regular Joe, or Jane. Imagine that you are going into a job interview and the people interviewing you have looked you up online to see what you’ve been up to. Are you at all concerned with what they’ll find?

I mean, yeah, they’ll […]

Read more at: Want to kill your employment chances? by Reuben

Foul play by chiropractors?

CBS news (Canada) reported yesterday that, more than a decade ago, the Manitoba Chiropractic Health Care Commission had been tasked to review the cost effectiveness of chiropractic services. It therefore prepared a report in 2004 for the Manitoba province and the Manitoba Chiropractors Association. Since then, this report has been kept secret. The report makes 37 recommendations, including:
  • Manitoba Health should limit its funding to […]
Read the rest here: Foul play by chiropractors?

Thursday, 20 April 2017

How should we deal with the risks of chiropractic neck manipulations?

Charlotte Leboeuf-Yde, DC,MPH,PhD, is professor in Clinical Biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark and works at the French-European Institute of Chiropractic in Paris. She is a chiropractor with extensive research experience, for example, she was one of the first chiropractors to have studied adverse reactions of spinal manipulation.

Charlotte certainly knows a thing or two […]

Read the rest here: How should we deal with the risks of chiropractic neck manipulations?

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Is the BBC biased against homeopathy?

The ‘SOCIETY OF HOMEOPATHS’ (SoH) have published an official complaint they recently filed with the BBC. As it gives an intriguing insight into their mind-set, I could not resist reproducing it here (warts and all):

“Prompted by the interview with Simon Stevens of NHS England on the Today Programme, on 31st March, the Society of Homeopaths deplores the lack of balance in the BBC’s coverage of Homeopathy and urges you to review your approach to coverage of the subject. […]

Read the full story: Is the BBC biased against homeopathy?

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Even the 3 ‘best’ studies of homeopathy are far from convincing

The recent meta-analysis by Mathie et al for non-individualised homeopathy (recently discussed here) identified just 3 RCTs that were rated as  ‘reliable evidence’. But just how rigorous are these ‘best’ studies? Let’s find out!


The objective of the first trial was “to evaluate the efficacy of the non-hormonal treatment BRN-01 in reducing hot flashes in menopausal women.” Its design was that of a multicentre (35 centres in France), randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled. One hundred and eight menopausal women, ≥50 years of age, were enrolled in the study. The eligibility criteria included menopause for <24 months and ≥5 hot flashes per day with a significant negative effect on the women’s professional and/or personal life. Treatment was either BRN-01 tablets, a registered homeopathic medicine […]

Read the full story

Monday, 17 April 2017

Is the BCA a cover organisation of BIG PHARMA for giving chiropractic a bad name?

D D Palmer was born on March 7, 1845; so, why do chiros celebrate the ‘CHIROPRACTIC AWARENESS WEEK’ from 10 – 16 of April? Perhaps out of sympathy with the homeopaths (many US chiros also use homeopathy) who had their ‘big week’ during the same period? Please tell me, I want to know!

Anyway, the HAW almost ‘drowned’ the CAW – but only almost.

The British Chiropractic Association did its best to make sure we don’t forget the CAW. On their website, we find an article that alerts us to their newest bit of research. Here are some excerpts […]

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Ombudsman investigates ‘flawed’ homeopathic study

‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’ (WDDTY) have been shown to be strangely economical with the truth many times before (for instance here, here and here). Now they have published an article entitled ‘Ombudsman investigates ‘flawed’ homeopathic study that claimed it doesn’t work’ It attacks in no uncertain terms the ‘NHMRC Statement on Homeopathy and NHMRC Information Paper – Evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions’ which I believe to be a sound evaluation of homeopathy and therefore have mentioned repeatedly on this blog. Here is what WDDTY stated […]

Read the full post here

Friday, 14 April 2017

New meta-analysis confirms that the clinical effects of homeopathic remedies do not differ from placebos

This new systematic review by proponents of homeopathy (and supported by a grant from the Manchester Homeopathic Clinic) tested the null hypothesis that “the main outcome of treatment using a non-individualised (standardised) homeopathic medicine is indistinguishable from that of placebo“. An additional aim was to quantify any condition-specific effects of non-individualised homeopathic treatment. In reporting this paper, I will stay very close to the published text hoping that this avoids both misunderstandings and accusations of bias on my side […]

Read on

Thursday, 13 April 2017

‘Official’ verdicts on homeopathy

As many of you know, my own verdict on homeopathy has changed over time. As a young clinician straight out of medical school, I was taken by homeopathy. Years later, as a researcher, I had to realize that the scientific evidence spoke quite clearly against it (those who are interested should read the full account here). Since then, I have expressed this in several ways. Perhaps the most scientific (based on a sound assessment of the totality of the data) way was here: “…the best clinical evidence for homeopathy available to date does not warrant positive recommendations for its use in clinical practice.” This was 15 years ago, and meanwhile the evidence has become – if anything – more definitively negative. […]

Read on

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


Homeopathic remedies work for animals and therefore they cannot be placebos!!!

This argument is the standard reply of believers in homeopathy (not least of Prince Charles). It shows, I think, two things:

  • Believers in homeopathy fail to understand the placebo effect.
  • They are ill-informed or lying about the evidence regarding homeopathy in animals.

As we have explained on this blog over and over again: the evidence for homeopathy in animals is very much like that in humans: it fails to show that highly diluted homeopathic remedies are more than placebos (see, for instance here, here and here). Now a further study confirms this fact.

The objective of this triple-blind  […]

Read more

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Influenzinum: the homeopathic flu prevention that does not prevent flu

To honour Hahnemann’s birthday, a National Convention was held yesterday on ‘World Homeopathy Day’ in New Delhi. The theme of the convention is “Enhancing Quality Research in Homeopathy through scientific evidence and rich clinical experiences”. They could have done with this new study of Influenzinum 9C, it seems to me. This is a homeopathic remedy made from the current influenza vaccine. Influenzinum 9C, also known as homeopathic flu nosode. It is claimed to […]

Read on

Monday, 10 April 2017

10 April 1755: the birth of Samuel Hahnemann – 10 previous posts in his honour

Today is Hahnemann’s birthday! And today is the beginning of HOMEOPATHY AWARENESS WEEK! To celebrate these events, I thought it would be nice to publish a very short post with a list 10 recent posts which, in my opinion, are most relevant or remarkable […]

Read on

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Acupuncture: an interesting new study with negative results and odd conclusions

Acupuncture is little more than a theatrical placebo! If we confront an acupuncture fan with this statement, he/she is bound to argue that there are some indications for which the evidence is soundly positive. One of these conditions, they would claim, is nausea and vomiting. But how strong are these data? A new study sheds some light on this question […]

Read more

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Homeopathy: JUST ONE DROP… and quite possibly the last drop

Millions of people have adverse drug reactions to prescribed medicine; it is ranked as the third leading causes of death. In the US, health-care spending reached $1.6 trillion in 2003. Considering this enormous expenditure, we should have the best medicine in the world. But we don’t. Bottom line, people are suffering. The public is calling out for a reform in mainstream medicine.” These seem to be the conclusions of a new film about homeopathy entitled JUST ONE DROP. It was shown recently for the first time in London, and we already have a fascinating comment about it. […]

Full critique here

Friday, 7 April 2017

Tui Na for radiculopathy: another systematic review bordering on scientific misconduct

Tui Na is a massage technique that is based on the Taoist principles of TCM. It involves a range of manipulations usually performed by an operator’s finger, hand, elbow, knee, or foot applied to muscle or soft tissue at specific parts of the body. According to one website of TCM-proponents “Tui Na makes use of various hand techniques in combination with acupuncture and other manipulation techniques. To enhance the healing process, the practitioner may recommend the use of Chinese herbs. Many of the techniques used in this massage resemble that of a western massage like gliding, kneading, vibration, tapping, friction, pulling, rolling, pressing and shaking. In Tui Na massage, the muscles and tendons are massaged with the help of hands, and an acupressure technique is applied to directly affect the flow of Qi at different acupressure points of the body, thus facilitating the healing process. It removes the blockages and keeps the energy moving through the meridians as well as the muscles. A typical session of Tui Na massage may vary from thirty minutes to an hour. The session timings may vary depending on the patient’s needs and condition. The best part of the therapy is that it relaxes as well as energizes the person […]

Read more

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Acupuncture for alcohol dependence? An attempt to look behind the smokescreen put up by acupuncture-fans

Drug and alcohol dependencies are notoriously difficult to treat effectively. Patients and their families are often desperate and willing to try anything. This seems like an ideal ground for acupuncturists who are, in my experience, experts in putting up smokescreens hiding the true value of their treatment.

The best way to determine the value of any intervention is probably conducting a systematic review of the evidence from rigorous clinical trials. Today we are in the fortunate position to have not just one of those articles; but do they really tell us the truth? […]

Read more

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

MY SPECIAL OFFER TO HOMEOPATHS: a free lecture to professional organisations of homeopathy

The world of homeopathy is getting very excited: HOMEOPATHY AWARENESS WEEK is approaching (it’s starting 10 April). An ideal occasion, I think, for making a celebratory offer to all homeopaths:

I am suggesting to give a free lecture on any homeopathy-related subject of your choosing. This, I hope, might increase homeopaths’ awareness of the science, research and evidence for or against homeopathy.

Which professional organisation could possibly say no to such a generous offer?[…]

Read more

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Jackfruit: an effective anti-cancer remedy? [How bogus information can cost lives]

How Jackfruit Kills Cancer… This title hardly left any doubt that jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam) is effective in curing cancer. The website continued in this vein:

“Jackfruit contains phytonutrients like lignans, saponins, and isoflavones, which have anticancer, antihypertensive, anti-ulcer, antioxidant, and anti-aging properties […]

Read more

Monday, 3 April 2017

The risks associated with spinal manipulation are likely to be real and serious

Is spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) dangerous? This question has kept us on this blog busy for quite some time now. To me, there is little doubt that SMT can cause adverse effects some of which are serious. But many chiropractors seem totally unconvinced. Perhaps this new overview of reviews might help to clarify the issue. Its aim was to elucidate and quantify the risk of serious adverse events (SAEs) associated with SMT.

The authors searched five electronic databases from inception to December 8, 2015 and included reviews on any type of studies, patients, and SMT technique. The primary outcome was SAEs. The quality of the included reviews was assessed using a measurement tool to assess systematic reviews (AMSTAR) […]

Read more

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Gibraltar will stay British!!! … thanks to the innovative work of homeopaths

Several months ago, the Gibraltar Homeopathic Council (GHC) had called for an emergency meeting to discuss the future of Gibraltar. At that meeting, members voiced grave concern over Brexit; the main problem, they predicted, would be that Spain might use the general confusion during the early days of the negotiations to claim back their homeland. It was then that they decided to meet with their patron, Prince Charles. A secret meeting was thus held at High Grove in the presence of leading UK homeopaths, and a cunning plan was devised […]

Rock on to the full post

Friday, 31 March 2017

Chiropractors behaving badly

THE CHRONICLE OF CHIROPRACTIC is not a publication I usually read, I have to admit. But perhaps I should, because this article from its latest edition is truly fascinating. Here are the crucial excerpts:

“A so called “debate” on vertebral subluxation was held at the recent chiropractic educational conference held by the controlling factions of the Chiropractic Cartel: The World Federation of Chiropractic, the Association of Chiropractic Colleges and the American Chiropractic Association. Every few years this faction of the profession makes an attempt to disparage vertebral subluxation and those who practice in a subluxation model by trotting out its long list of Subluxation Deniers.

This year was no different […]

Read on

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Why should homeopathic medicines escape the NHS prescribing ban? 10 possible answers

THE TELEGRAPH reported that “homeopathic medicines will escape an NHS prescribing ban even though the Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies has dismissed the treatments as ‘rubbish’ and a waste of taxpayers money.”

But why?

This sounds insane!

Sorry, I do not know the answer either, but below I offer 10 possible options – so bear with me, please.

The NHS spends around £4 million a year on homeopathic remedies, the article claimed. Sandra Gidley, chairwoman of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “We are surprised that homeopathy, which has no scientific evidence of effectiveness, is not on the list for review. We are in agreement with NHS England that products with low or no clinical evidence of effectiveness should be reviewed with urgency.”[…]

Read the full story

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Therapeutic Touch: a dubious therapy backed by dubious research

Therapeutic Touch is a therapy mostly popular with nurses. We have discussed it before, for instance here, here, here and here. To call it implausible would be an understatement. But what does the clinical evidence tell us? Does it work?

This literature review by Iranian authors was aimed at critically evaluating the data from clinical trials examining the clinical efficacy of therapeutic touch as a supportive care modality in adult patients with cancer.

Four electronic databases were searched from the year 1990 to 2015 to locate potentially relevant peer-reviewed articles using the key words therapeutic touch, touch therapy, neoplasm, cancer, and CAM. Additionally, relevant journals and references of all the located articles were manually searched for other potentially relevant studies […]

Read the full post here

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Lead and arsenic intoxications due to ‘natural health products’

Traditional and folk remedies have been repeatedly been reported to contain toxic amounts of lead. I discussed this problem before; see here, here, and here. Recently, two further papers were published which are relevant in this context.

In the first article, Indian researchers presented a large series of patients with lead poisoning due to intake of Ayurvedic medicines, all of whom presented with unexplained abdominal pain.

In a retrospective, observational case series from a tertiary care center in India, the charts of patients who underwent blood lead level (BLL) testing as a part of workup for unexplained abdominal pain between 2005 and 2013 were reviewed. The patients with lead intoxication (BLLs >25 μg/dl) were identified and demographics, history, possible risk factors, clinical presentation and investigations were reviewed […] Read on

Monday, 27 March 2017

Bioresonance cures addictions to alcohol, cocaine, crack, nicotine, heroin, opiates, cannabis, spice, legal highs and other medications? No, it doesn’t!

It was a BBC journalist who alerted me to this website (and later did an interview to be broadcast today, I think). Castle Treatments seem to have been going already for 12 years; they specialise in treating drug and alcohol dependency. And they are very proud of what they have achieved:

“We are the U.K.’s leading experts in advanced treatments to help clients to stop drinking, stop cocaine use and stop drug use. Over the last 12 years we have helped over 9,000 private clients stop using: alcohol, cocaine, crack, nicotine, heroin, opiates, cannabis, spice, legal highs and other medications…

The rest of the post is here

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Coming sooner or later – alternative therapies for premature ejaculation

The aim of this paper was to systematically review effectiveness, safety, and robustness of evidence for complementary and alternative medicine in managing premature ejaculation (PE). Nine databases were searched through September 2015. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating complementary and alternative medicine for PE were included. Studies were included if they reported on intravaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT) and/or another validated PE measurement. Adverse effects were summarized […]

Full post here 

Friday, 24 March 2017

Yoga for depression? Unimpressive science from impressive institutions

The title of the press-release was impressive: ‘Columbia and Harvard Researchers Find Yoga and Controlled Breathing Reduce Depressive Symptoms’. It certainly awoke my interest and I looked up the original article. Sadly, it also awoke the interest of many journalists, and the study was reported widely – and, as we shall see, mostly wrongly.

According to its authors, the aims of this study were “to assess the effects of an intervention of Iyengar yoga and coherent breathing at five breaths per minute on depressive symptoms and to determine optimal intervention yoga dosing for future studies in individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD)”[…]

Read the full story

Thursday, 23 March 2017

George Lewith (1950-2017)

George Lewith has died on 17 March, aged 67. He was one of the most productive researchers of alternative medicine in the UK; specifically he was interested in acupuncture. If you search this blog, you find several posts that mention him or are entirely dedicated to his work. Undeniably, my own views and research were often very much at odds with those of Lewith.

Wikipedia informs us that Lewith graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in medicine and biochemistry.  He then went on to Westminster Medical School to complete his clinical studies and began working clinically in 1974. […]

Full post here 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Complementary therapies as a way to enhance nursing practice?

The love-affair of many nurses with complementary medicine is well-known. We have discussed it many times on this blog – see for instance here, here and here. Yet the reasons for it remain somewhat mysterious, I find. Therefore I was interested to see a new paper on the subject.

The aim of this ‘meta-synthesis‘ was to review, critically, appraise and synthesize the existing qualitative research to develop a new, more substantial interpretation of nurses’ attitudes regarding the, use of complementary therapies by patients. Fifteen articles were included in the review.

Five themes emerged from the data relating to nurses’ attitude towards complementary therapies […]

Read full story

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Chiropractors are undermining public health

On their website, ‘CBC News’ just published an article that is relevant to much what we have been discussing here. I therefore take the liberty of showing you a few excerpts:


…A CBC News analysis of company websites and Facebook pages of every registered chiropractor in Manitoba found several dozen examples of statements, claims and social media content at odds with many public health policies or medical research.

Examples include:

  • Offers of treatments for autism, Tourette’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, colic, infections and cancer.
  • Anti-vaccination literature and recently published letters to the editor from chiropractors that discourage vaccination.
  • An article claiming vaccines have caused a 200 to 600 per cent increase in autism rates.
  • A statement that claims the education and training of a chiropractor is “virtually identical” to that of a medical doctor.
  • Discouraging people from getting diagnostic tests such as CT scans, colonoscopies and mammograms.
  • An informational video discouraging the use of sunscreen. […]
Read the full post here

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Call for MP David Tredinnick to step down over latest homeopathy comments

THE HINKLEY TIMES is quickly becoming my favourite newspaper. Yesterday they published an article about my old friend Tredinnick. I cannot resist showing you a few excerpts from it:


Alternative therapy advocate, David Tredinnick has called for greater self reliance as a way of reducing pressures on the NHS. Speaking on the BBC’s regional Sunday Politics Show he suggested people should take more responsibility for their own health, rather than relying on struggling services. He highlighted homeopathy as a way of treating ailments at home and said self-help could cut unnecessary trips to the GP. He also said people could avoid illness by not being overweight and taking exercise…During debate on the show about the current ‘crisis’ in health and social care he said: “There are systems such as homeopathic remedies. Try it yourself before going to the doctor.” […]

Read all about it here!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Surprise, surprise! Lesbianism is not ‘cured’ by homeopathy (warning: includes some very rude language)

Homeopaths have, as I reported previously, claimed to be able to ‘cure’ homosexuality. This is why I was less amazed than you might be when I came across a comment about a woman who tried a homeopathic solution called Dr. Reckeweg R20 Glandular Drops for Women. Nonetheless, the story is so remarkable that I cannot resist sharing it with you.

The solution promises to fix pituitary dysfunction, goiters, obesity, Grave’s diseases, Addison’s disease, and “lesbian tendencies.” The product also brags that it is “derived and potentised from fetal tissues.”

A much more detailed description of the remedy in question can be found here:. […]

Read the full post: here

Friday, 17 March 2017

Aromatherapy for depression? I would not bet on it

Aromatherapy is popular and pleasant – but does it have real health effects? The last time I tried to find an answer to this question was in 2012. At that time, our systematic review concluded that “the evidence is not sufficiently convincing that aromatherapy is an effective therapy for any condition.” But 5 years can be a long time in research, and more up-to-date information would perhaps be helpful. […]

Read the full post here

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The BCA: still happily promoting bogus notions

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has lost all credibility after suing Simon Singh for drawing the public’s attention to the fact that they were ‘happily promoting bogus treatments’. Now, it seems, they are trying to re-establish themselves with regular, often bogus or dubious pronouncements about back pain. It looks as though they have learnt nothing. A recent article in THE INDEPENDENT is a good example of this ambition, I think:


Skinny jeans and coats with big fluffy hoods can contribute to painful back problems, chiropractors have warned. […]

Read it all here

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Are organisations promoting alternative medicine charities?

On 13 March, the UK Charity Commission published the following announcement:
This consultation is about the Commission’s approach to deciding whether an organisation which uses or promotes CAM therapies is a charity. For an organisation to be charitable, its purposes must be exclusively charitable. Some purposes relate to health and to relieve the needs of the elderly and disabled.
We are seeking views on:
  • the level and nature of evidence to support CAM
  • conflicting and inconsistent evidence
  • alternative therapies and the risk of harm
  • palliative alternative therapy
Last year, lawyers wrote to the Charity Commission on behalf of the Good Thinking Society suggesting that, if the commission refused to revoke the charitable status of organisations that promote homeopathy, it could be subject to a judicial review. The commission responded by announcing their review which will be completed by 1 July 2017. […]

Read all about it here: Organisations promoting alternative medicine – can they have charitable status?

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

It is “disappointing that some pharmacists are still stocking homeopathy products”

The notorious tendency of pharmacists to behave like shop-keepers when it comes to the sale of bogus remedies has been the subject of this blog many times before. In my view, this is an important subject, and I will therefore continue to report about it.

On the website of the AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY (AJP), we find interesting new data on Australian pharmacists’ love affair with bogus alternative medicine. The AJP recently ran a poll asking readers: “Do you stock Complementary Medicines (CMs) in your pharmacy?” The results of this little survey so far show that 54% of all participating pharmacists say they stock CMs, including homeopathic products. About a quarter (28%) of respondents stock CMs but not homeopathic products. […]

Read the full post here

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Homeopathic estrogen for endometriosis? Let’s wait for an independent replication!

A recently published study was aimed at evaluating the efficacy and safety of potentized estrogen compared to placebo in homeopathic treatment of endometriosis-associated pelvic pain (EAPP). This 24-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included 50 women aged 18-45 years old with diagnosis of deeply infiltrating endometriosis based on magnetic resonance imaging or transvaginal ultrasound after bowel preparation, and score≥5 on a visual analogue scale (VAS: range 0 to 10) for endometriosis-associated pelvic pain. Potentized estrogen (12cH, 18cH and 24cH) or placebo was administered twice daily. The primary outcome measure was change in the severity of EAPP global and partial scores (VAS) from baseline to week 24, determined as the difference in the mean score of five modalities of chronic pelvic pain (dysmenorrhea, deep dyspareunia, non-cyclic pelvic pain, cyclic bowel pain and/or cyclic urinary pain). The secondary outcome measures were mean score difference for quality of life assessed with SF-36 Health Survey Questionnaire, depression symptoms on Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and anxiety symptoms on Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). […]

Full post here

Thursday, 9 March 2017


One phenomenon that can be noted more frequently than any other in alternative medicine research is that studies arrive at wrong or misleading conclusions. This is more than a little disappointing, not least because it is the conclusion of a trial that is often picked up by health writers and others who in turn mislead the public. On this blog, we must have seen hundreds of examples of this irritating phenomenon. Here is yet another one. This study, a randomized, parallel, open-label exploratory trial, evaluated and compared the effects of systemic manual acupuncture, periauricular electroacupuncture and distal electroacupuncture for treating patients with tinnitus. It included patients who suffered from idiopathic tinnitus for more than two weeks were recruited. They were divided into three groups: […]

Read all about it here

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

‘Foods that will naturally cleanse your arteries’

In the realm of alternative medicine, the Internet is a double-edged sword. It can be most useful to many, particularly to those who are able to think critically. To those who do not have this ability, it can be outright dangerous. We have researched this area in several way and always arrived at this very conclusion. For instance, we evaluated websites providing advice for cancer patients and concluded that “the most popular websites on complementary and alternative medicine for cancer offer information of extremely variable quality. Many endorse unproven therapies and some are outright dangerous.”

This makes it abundantly clear that, for some, the Internet can become a danger to their health and life. Recently I was reminded of this fact when I saw this website entitled ‘Foods that will naturally cleanse your arteries’. Its message is instantly clear, particularly as it provides this impressive drawing […]

View the incredibly convincing artwork and read the rest here

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Burzynski ruling is in (Update: Pathetic punitive actions imposed) | Doubtful News

As regular readers know, we have chronicled the operations of Stanislaw Burzynski, a medical doctor who runs his own cancer treatment clinic using some alternative methods unsupported by evidence, who was the subject of propaganda movies and campaigns and who has violated research standards according to FDA inspectors while running a never-ending trial without solid results. He was accused of charging patients exorbitant case management fees and selling them drugs at high costs from his own pharmacy.

Read full post -> Burzynski ruling is in (Update: Pathetic punitive actions imposed) | Doubtful News

Prince Charles’ passion for quackery is a hindrance to progress

‘Country News’ just published an article about our heir to the throne. Here is an excerpt:

The Prince of Wales has revealed he uses homeopathic treatments for animals on his organic farm at Highgrove to help reduce reliance on antibiotics, the article stated. He said his methods of farming tried wherever possible to ‘‘go with the grain of nature’’ to avoid dependency on antibiotics, pesticides and other forms of chemical intervention.

The prince made these comments to experts at a summit at the Royal Society in London as part of a global battle against the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. ‘‘In fact, it was one of the reasons I converted my farming operation to an organic, or agro-ecological, system over 30 years ago, and why incidentally we have been successfully using homeopathic — yes, homeopathic — treatments for my cattle and sheep as part of a program to reduce the use of antibiotics,’’ Prince Charles said. Calling for ‘‘urgent and coherent’’ global action, he said antibiotics were being overused. ‘‘It must be incredibly frustrating to witness the fact that, as has been pointed out by many authorities, antibiotics have too often simply acted as a substitute for basic hygiene, or as it would seem, as a way of placating a patient who has a viral infection or who actually needs little more than patience to allow a minor bacterial infection to resolve itself.’’ […]

Read the rest here

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Come the revolution...

It's not that we aren't deeply sceptical of politicians and their claims, especially when they attract the anti-health cranks and frauds that prey on the vulnerable. It's just that there's so much of this far-right hate speech and pseudo-religious extremism (the two frequently going hand-in-hand) that the fight against quackery was in dangerous of being swamped.

Therefore I have set up a separate blog for fighting the frauds, the morally corrupt, the vicious brutal morons and anything else that crawls its hate-filled way into our lives.

This new blog is here: Come the Revolution, the Moderate Centre Will Rise!

Happy reading.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Integrative medicine physicians tend to harbour anti-vaccination views

The anti-vaccination attitudes of alternative practitioners such as chiropractors, homeopaths and naturopaths are well documented and have been commented upon repeatedly here. But most of these clinicians are non-doctors; they have not been anywhere near a medical school, and one might therefore almost excuse them for their ignorance and uneducated stance towards immunisations. As many real physicians have recently taken to practicing alternative therapies under the banner of ‘integrated medicine’, one may well ask: what do these doctors think about vaccinations?

Read the rest here

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Dana Ullman, the ‘MASS MURDERERS’ and death by homeopathy

Yes, I am afraid it is Dana Ullman again!

On the last post, he commented: “If you actually think that homeopathic medicines will KILL people, then, we all must assume that you think that conventional medicines create MASS MURDERS.

In my view, this is a sad comment indeed. It reveals that a homeopath who has, […]

Read the rest here

Monday, 27 February 2017

Lies, damned lies, and Dana Ullman

Dana Ullman is an indefatigable promotor of bogus claims and an unwitting contributor of hilarity. Therefore he has become a regular feature of this blog (see for instance here, here and here). His latest laughable assertion is that lead and other poisonings can be successfully treated with homeopathy.

Just to make sure: lead poisoning is no joke. The greatest risk is to brain development in babies, where irreversible damage can occur. Higher levels can damage the kidneys and nervous system in both children and adults. Very high lead levels may cause seizures, unconsciousness and death.

In view of this, Ullman’s claim is surprising, to say the least […]

Read the rest here

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Acupuncture for migraine prevention? Perhaps, but…

A new study published in JAMA investigated the long-term effects of acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture and being placed in a waiting-list control group for migraine prophylaxis. The trial was a 24-week randomized clinical trial (4 weeks of treatment followed by 20 weeks of follow-up). Participants were randomly assigned to 1) true acupuncture, 2) sham acupuncture, or […]

Read the rest here

Thursday, 23 February 2017

NATURAL NEWS demonstrate that natural remedies are useless to treat their paranoia

‘Natural News’ are not my favourite source of information. In fact, they consistently misinform the public about vaccines, alternative therapies and many other things. In other words, they have proven themselves to be vile mis-informers and a danger to public health. Yet recently they have provided a valuable service to all of us: they have shown […]

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The future of homeopathy (in the words of Prof Walach)

Prof Walach has featured on this blog before, for instance here, and here. He is a psychologist by training and a vocal and prominent advocate of several bogus treatments, including homeopathy. He also is the editor in chief of the journal ‘Complementary Medicine Research’ and regularly uses this position to sing the praise of homeopathy. There is a degree of mystery about his affiliation: he informed me about 10 months ago that he has left his post at the Europa Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder (“Dass ich als “ehemaliger Professor” geführt werde liegt daran, dass ich Ende Januar aufgehört habe. Meine Stelle ist ausgelaufen und ich habe sie nicht mehr verlängert.”). Yet all, even his recent papers still carry this address. […]

Read on: The future of homeopathy (in the words of Prof Walach)

Monday, 20 February 2017

Six hilariously funny ‘facts’ about homeopathy

The objective of the ‘Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine’ in Bristol, UK is to “offer an Integrative Medicine (IM) approach to healthcare that seeks to deliver the best complementary care and lifestyle approaches”. Specifically, they “Aim to maximise individual choice and care to improve health, wellbeing and quality of life Support a whole person care approach through […]

Read the rest here.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Emotional Freedom Techniques: More ‘alternative facts’ from ‘The Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine’

You may recall, we have dealt with the JCAM many times before; for instance here, here, here and here. Now they have come out with another remarkable paper. This study – no, the authors called it a ‘pilot study’ – was to compare the efficacy of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) with that of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in reducing adolescent anxiety. Sixty-three American high-ability students in grades 6–12, ages 10–18 years, who scored in the moderate to high ranges for anxiety on the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale-2 (RCMAS-2) were randomly assigned to one of three groups...

Read on: Emotional Freedom Techniques: More ‘alternative facts’ from ‘The Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine’

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Upper neck manipulations (by chiropractors) regularly cause serious harm. Why are they still used?

We have discussed the risks of (chiropractic) spinal manipulation more often than I care to remember. The reason for this is simple: it is an important subject; making sure that as many consumers know about it will save lives, I am sure. Therefore, any new paper on the subject is likely to be reported on this blog.

Objective of this review was to identify characteristics of 1) patients, 2) practitioners, 3) treatment process and 4) adverse events (AE) occurring after cervical spinal manipulation (CSM) or cervical mobilization. Systematic searches were performed in 6 electronic databases. Of the initial 1043 studies, 144 studies were included...

read more: Upper neck manipulations (by chiropractors) regularly cause serious harm. Why are they still used?

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Profits before ethics: pharmacist continue to recommend and sell bogus treatments

A recent article in the Guardian revealed that about one third of Australian pharmacists are recommending alternative medicines with little-to-no evidence for their efficacy, including useless homeopathic products and potentially harmful herbal products.

For this survey of 240 Australian pharmacies, mystery shoppers were sent in to speak to a pharmacist at the prescription dispensing counter and ask for advice about feeling stressed. The results show that three per cent of the pharmacists recommended homeopathic products, despite a comprehensive review of all existing studies on homeopathy finding that there is no evidence they work in treating any condition and that ‘people who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments’. Twenty-six percent of all pharmacists recommended Bach flower remedies to relieve stress. A comprehensive review of all existing studies on Bach flower remedies found no difference between the remedies and placebos. Fifty-nine per cent of people were just told the complementary and alternative product recommended to them worked, and 24% were told the product was scientifically proven, without any evidence being provided to them...

Read the rest here: Profits before ethics: pharmacist continue to recommend and sell bogus treatments

Monday, 13 February 2017

Shoulder problems? Don’t see a chiro!

Although many conservative management options are being promoted for shoulder conditions, there is little evidence of their effectiveness. This review investigated one manual therapy approach, thrust manipulation, as a treatment option.

A systematic search was conducted of the electronic databases from inception to March 2016: PubMed, PEDro, ICL, CINAHL, and AMED. Two independent reviewers conducted the screening process to determine article eligibility. Inclusion criteria were manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals with human participants of any age. The intervention included was thrust, or high-velocity low-amplitude, manipulative therapy directed to the shoulder and/or the regions of the cervical or thoracic spine. Studies investigating secondary shoulder pain or lacking diagnostic confirmation procedures were excluded. Methodological quality was assessed using the PEDro scale and the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool...

Read more: Shoulder problems? Don’t see a chiro!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

The ‘growing body’ of positive evidence for homeopathy… IN YOUR DREAMS !!!

The British Homeopathic Association (BHA) is a registered charity founded in 1902. Their objectives are “to promote and develop the study and practice of homeopathy and to advance education and research in the theory and practice of homeopathy…” and their priority is “to ensure that homeopathy is available to all…” The BHA believes that “homeopathy should be fully integrated into the healthcare system and available as a treatment choice for everyone…”

This does not bode well, in my view. Specifically, it does not seem as though we can expect unbiased information from the BHA. Yet, from a charity we certainly do not expect a packet of outright lies – so, let’s have a look...

Read the rest here: The ‘growing body’ of positive evidence for homeopathy… IN YOUR DREAMS !!!

Friday, 10 February 2017

If you are unable to make your patient feel better without resorting to quackery, become a pathologist

‘The use of a harmless alternative therapy is not necessarily wrong. Even if the treatment itself is just a placebo, it can help many patients. Some patients feel better with it, and it would be arrogant, high-handed and less than compassionate to reject such therapies simply because they are not supported by sufficient scientific evidence’.

How often have I heard this notion in one or another form?

I hear such words almost every day.

Arguments along these lines are difficult to counter. Any attempt to do so is likely to make us look blinkered, high-handed and less than compassionate...

Read more: If you are unable to make your patient feel better without resorting to quackery, become a pathologist

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The ‘pernicious practice of homeopathy in Australia’: ‘tolerated by authorities to avoid an inconvenient confrontation’

Homeopathy is never far from my mind, it seems. and this is reflected by the many posts on the subject that I continue to publish. Homeopaths get more than a little irritated by what they see as my ‘obsession’ with their beloved therapy. They thus try anything – yes, I mean anything – to undermine my credibility. One very popular way of doing this is to claim that I am sitting in the ‘ivory tower’ of academia and have no real inkling of the life on the ‘coal face’ of healthcare.

Because this is an argument that I find difficult to counter – I have indeed not routinely seen patients for over 20 years! – I was immensely pleased to read this article by an Australian GP. I take the liberty of quoting a section from it below...

Read more here: The ‘pernicious practice of homeopathy in Australia’: ‘tolerated by authorities to avoid an inconvenient confrontation’

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Opioid over-use, chiropractic megalomania, and six probing questions

We use too many opioids; some experts even speak of an epidemic of opioid over-use. This is a serious problem not least because opioids are addictive and have other serious adverse-effects. But what can be done about it? Currently many experts are trying to answer this very questions.

It must be clear to any observer of the ‘alternative medicine scene’ that charlatans of all types would sooner or later try to jump on the ‘opioid band-waggon’.  And indeed exactly this has already happened!
In particular, chiropractors have been busy in this respect...

Read more: Opioid over-use, chiropractic megalomania, and six probing questions

Monday, 6 February 2017

Russian Academy of Sciences speaks out against homeopathy

According to our friend Dana Ullman, “homeopathy has had a long tradition within Russia. Even though it was not officially recognized during the Communist regime, it was tolerated. And perhaps in part because it did not receive governmental sanction, the Russian people developed a trust in homeopathy. Due to the fact that homeopathic physicians worked outside of governmental medicine, homeopathy was a part of Russia’s “new economy”. People had to pay for homeopathic care, rather than receive it for free.

Homeopathy is still the minority practice. I was told that there are approximately one million medical doctors in Russia and its surrounding republics, with 15,000 medical doctors who use homeopathic medicines regularly, and about 3,000 medical doctors who specialize in classical homeopathy”...

Read on: Russian Academy of Sciences speaks out against homeopathy

Sunday, 5 February 2017

HOMEOPATHS LOVE IT: the epidemiological evidence suggesting that homeopathy works

Yes, homeopaths are incredibly fond of the notion that homeopathy has been proven to work in numerous population studies of outbreaks of infectious diseases. The argument is bound to come up in any discussion with a ‘well-informed’ homeopathy fan. Therefore, it might be worth addressing it once and for all.

This website offers a fairly good summary of what homeopaths consider to be convincing evidence. It also provides links to the original articles which is valuable for all who want to study them in full detail. I will therefore present the crucial passage here unchanged...

Read on: HOMEOPATHS LOVE IT: the epidemiological evidence suggesting that homeopathy works

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Yoga improves quality of life, fatigue and sleep of breast cancer patients


Yesterday I prepared you for this event by alerting you to a disgusting cancer scam, and today I want to contrast this with more encouraging news from the strange world of alternative medicine. So I searched Medline for a fitting, recent publication showing at least some value of an alternative therapy. Believe me, such papers are few and far between.

But here is one:

The aim of this Cochrane review was to assess effects of yoga on health-related quality of life...

Read more: Yoga improves quality of life, fatigue and sleep of breast cancer patients

Friday, 3 February 2017

This must be the most sickening cancer scam I have seen for a while

Tomorrow is WORLD CANCER DAY. To mark this important occasion, I intend to publish not just one but two posts. Today’s post discloses one of the more sickening alternative cancer scams I have seen for a long time (tomorrow’s post will be a lot more encouraging): baking soda as a cancer cure. Here is what some charlatans tell the most vulnerable of our patients.

Even the most aggressive cancers which have metastasized have been reversed with baking soda cancer treatments… Doctors and pharmaceutical companies make money from it. That’s the only reason chemotherapy is still used. Not because it’s effective, decreases morbidity, mortality or diminishes any specific cancer rates. In fact, it does the opposite. Chemotherapy boosts cancer growth and long-term mortality rates and oncologists know it…
Read on: This must be the most sickening cancer scam I have seen for a while

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Nutraceuticals for the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia?

A new joint position statement of the Italian Society of Diabetology (SID) and of the Italian Society for the Study of Arteriosclerosis (SISA) has recently been published. In the context of this blog, it seems relevant enough for its summary to be reproduced here:

Evidence showed that LDL-cholesterol lowering is associated with a significant cardiovascular risk reduction. The initial therapeutic approach to hypercholesterolaemia includes dietary modifications but the compliance to recommendations is often inadequate. Some dietary components with potential cholesterol-lowering activity are present in small amounts in food. Therefore, in recent years the use of “nutraceuticals” ...

Read on: Nutraceuticals for the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia?