Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Homeopathy: Modern Day Snake Oil

August 27, 2009

08-27-09 imageThis blog has been up for nearly a month and I have yet to weigh in on homeopathy (minus a couple of linked videos).  The homeopaths have been quiet as of late.  Or at least they had been at the time I started writing this.  I didn’t finish the post (it’s quite difficult to fit the amount of stupid inherent in homeopathy into one little article) and left town for a few days.  By the time I got back, homeopathy was very much in the public eye.  The World Health Organization came out against the use of homeopathy for treating HIV, TB, and other diseases.  I’ve come across multiple articles and blog posts advocating the efficacy of homeopathy in preventing and treating swine flu.  Oh, and this nutbag was on TV in Australia.  Sadly, the video has been taken down (here’s a transcript of the interview).  I suspect the backlash against the television station that aired the interview led them to file the copyright claim to try and save themselves future embarrassment.  But I’m going to tackle homeopathy anyway.  We’ll briefly explore its history and why its practice is complete and utter idiocy.

In the late 18th century, conventional medical treatment was unquestionably dicey.  Common treatments of the time included bloodletting and purging.  Unsurprisingly in this age of medical ignorance, the treatment was often worse than the disease.  Enter Samuel Hahnemann.


August Is National Immunization Awareness Month

August 19, 2009

Yeah, I didn’t know either. I wish there’d been a bit more of a PR campaign. Anyway, there was an open letter published today signed by a long list of institutions, doctors, nurses, and other individuals. Give it a read and sign it for yourself.  I’ve reproduced the letter after the jump.


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.


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.


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.

Profile Of A Quack: Matthias Rath

August 7, 2009

Matthias Rath is a German physician.  At least he used to be.  As far as I’m concerned, he lost the privilege to call himself a doctor long ago.  He is, instead, a snake oil salesman, ignoring any and all scientific evidence that invalidates his claims and would hurt his bottom line.

Rath made his fortune as a vitamin entrepreneur.  Through his website, he claims to have discovered the cause to a myriad of chronic and incurable diseases, ranging from atherosclerosis and hypertension to metastatic cancer.  And, lucky us, the very vitamin pills he sells will cure you of that nasty lymphoma.  Rath’s claims (lies) have led many people to abandon genuine medical treatment in exchange for his magic pills.  Many have died.  These actions are enough to earn Rath a lifetime of contempt, but it is his claims and actions concerning the treatment of AIDS that have been the most damaging.


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.


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.