Posts Tagged ‘alternative medicine’

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.

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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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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.

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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More Woo From Harkin

July 25, 2009

Over the last several months I’ve found myself more excited and enthusiastic about science than at any other point in my life. In parallel, I’ve become more and more frustrated and angry at the amount of nonsense that gets peddled to the public as genuine and plausible science. I wanted to do something, but I was missing that crystallizing moment that would whip me into a state of righteous indignation. Then along came Iowa’s own Tom Harkin.

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