Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category

Quack Chiropractic: Addendum

August 18, 2009

Ugh.  This one is painful.  In the comments to yesterday’s post about chiropractic, drlisamarie was kind enough to provide me with a link to an article (the abstract for the original paper can be found here) discussing the apparent benefits of chiropractic adjustment for sufferers of dyslexia and other learning disorders.  While it appears this article was meant as an ‘in your face’ to yours truly, it is little more than another sad example of what passes for evidence in chiropractic.  With apologies to Orac: The stupid.  It burns.

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Quack Chiropractic

August 17, 2009

Can chiropractic really get rid of with [sic] earaches and ear infections?  That was the title to an article posted on an alternative medicine blog last week.  The answer is, of course an emphatic  NO! Unfortunately, the author of the article didn’t consult me (or any credible scientific evidence) prior to submission and went on to answer the question in the affirmative, providing evidence that the title to this post may be redundant.  Oh boy.

I understand that this is just one junk article on one alternative medicine blog.  I don’t even know if it’s a well known alternative medicine blog.  This is more a situation of just one ridiculous claim too many that finally sent me to the keyboard.  Claims like this are, unfortunately, not sparse in the chiropractic community, and I feel like I’ve been coming across them way too often recently.  It is depressingly easy to find a practitioner that will claim to treat ear infections, colic, and asthma.  Look a little harder, and it’s not much more difficult to find individuals who will treat autism, infertility, ADHD, Parkinson’s, etc.  There was a chiropractor in my hometown (population: a paltry 25,000) that publicly asserted he could treat pancreatic cancer.  As you might have guessed, there is absolutely zero credible scientific evidence to back up these claims.

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Simon Singh Libel Case Update

August 11, 2009

For my original post on Simon Singh and the BCA, click here.

Lifted from Science-Based Medicine

Legal Update BCA v Singh

Simon Singh announced today that he will continue the fight in his libel case with the British Chiropractic Association after his application to appeal the preliminary ruling was rejected last week. He has now has the option to try and overturn that decision at an oral appeal. If this fails his case will be tried on a meaning of a phrase he did not intend and is indefensible. This highlights the problem of narrow defences that, along with high costs and wide jurisdiction, make the English libel laws so restrictive to free speech.

Simon said today: “I can confirm today that I have applied for a hearing to ask the Court of Appeal to reconsider its recent denial of permission.  A great deal has happened since my original article was published back in April 2008 and I suspect that the libel case will continue for many more months (or maybe years). While my case is ongoing, it continues to raise a whole series of arguably more important issues, particularly the appalling state of English libel laws. I am pleased that the Culture Secretary has agreed to meet with signatories of the Keep Libel Laws out of Science campaign statement to hear how the laws affect writers. We are also pursuing a meeting at the Ministry of Justice and with front benchers in other departments to lobby for a change in the law.”

Read Simon’s full statement and more about his next steps here: http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/freedebate

Antivaxxers Under Fire

August 7, 2009

I’m leaving for the weekend, but wanted to share some good news on the anti-vaccination front before I took off.  As you may or may not have heard, the Australian Vaccination Network (an utterly misleading name) is going to be investigated by the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission for its dissemination of misinformation and outright lies about vaccination.  I don’t have time to write a nice long piece about the suffering this group has caused, but I will link to one particularly disturbing case.  Do some searching about the aftermath to get a real look into the AVN’s agenda.

In addition to word of the impending investigation, the Australian Skeptics ran a scathing ad in The Australian on Thursday.

Australian Skeptics Ad

Here’s a link to a story on the story behind the ad, and a link to Phil Plait’s thoughts on the subject.  Okay, I gotta run.  Have a good weekend.

Homeopathy Explained

August 5, 2009

There’s a great video featuring Ben Goldacre giving a brief breakdown of homeopathy and its (complete lack of) efficacy.  Unfortunately, I’ve only seen it hosted on Vimeo, so I can’t embed it.  While I haven’t yet touched on homeopathy in any great length in this blog, I imagine I will sometime in the future.  It is the most ridiculous of the alternative medicine modalities; pseudoscientific quackery to the extreme.  As Goldacre explains in the video, an average homeopathic ‘medicine’ is diluted to such an extreme, it is equivalent to one molecule of the original substance in the middle of a sphere of water that’s roughly the size of the distance from the Earth to the sun.  Anyway, click the link, watch the video.  It’s a good one.

Beware The Spinal Trap

August 3, 2009

Sense About ScienceI’m behind the times once again.  Last week, science blogs across the web reproduced Simon Singh’s column on chiropractic.  In it, In Singh criticizes chiropractors for claiming to be able to treat conditions such as colic, asthma, and ear infections, despite lacking a shred of credible scientific evidence.  When the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) complained to The Guardian, the newspaper that had printed the article, they were given the opportunity to write a 500 word response to rebut Sing’s claims and present their evidence for the efficacy of chiropractic.  Instead, the BCA sued Simon Singh for libel.

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Wisconsin Helps Country Take A Step In The Right Direction

August 2, 2009

Some people just suck at being parents.  It’s an unfortunate fact.  In most of these situations, there are mechanisms in place to protect the child and punish the parents.  They may be imperfect, but they exist to help those who can’t yet help themselves.  Laws in the United States (and most civilized societies) state that parents are responsible for providing the basic necessities of life for the child.  One of these would be basic medical care.  Failure to do so often results in removal of the child and prosecution of the parents.  At least that’s what happens as long as the parents are just garden-variety assholes.  If they’re neglecting or abusing their child as part of a religious belief (the term ‘religious belief’ casts a wide net in this instance), they are protected by law in many situations.

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A Successful sCAM: Americans Spent $33.9 Billion On Alternative Medicine Last Year

July 30, 2009

Yes, I’m back on complimentary and alternative medicine (colloquially referred to as sCAM) again. I may be in danger of becoming a one trick pony. I need to find a wider variety of topics to get angry about. There’s always tomorrow.

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