All excerpted posts are © the original author. Please consult their blog for the full story and to comment.

rampant

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.

HERE WE GO:

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 FIRST STUDY

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

Homeopathy for bovine mastitis? HOW MUCH MORE EVIDENCE IS NEEDED BEFORE HOMEOPATH ABANDON THEIR BOGUS CLAIM?

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

Dlisted | Gwyneth Paltrow Continues To Be A Ridiculous Person

Do you ever get the feeling that asshole expert (takes one to know one) Gwyneth Paltrow is just super-bored and actually just engaged in a trolling long game? Maybe all of her foolishness is an effort to combat the ennui that stems from being a rich white lady with very little adversity in her life? No, she’s not bright enough for that and is probably really this annoying. It was bad enough that she’s fancied herself “Gwyneth Paltrow, Cooch Counselor” for the past couple of years.

Now US Magazine reports that she’s lecturing depressed people on how to deal with their illness...

Read more: Dlisted | Gwyneth Paltrow Continues To Be A Ridiculous Person

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