Health Intelligence Magazine “dead”

Posted 24 December 2015

Health Intelligence Magazine (HI), a publication of Solal, then CAVI Brands, now Ascendis Health – and often mentioned in CamCheck – will no longer be published. See the “farewell” in the picture below.

HealthIntellFarewell2015-12One of the CamCheck postings was by Kevin Charleston, who wrote: “The irony is that the magazine Health Intelligence is itself a disguised marketing programme for Solal Technologies, a company that actively promotes pseudoscience and aggressively attempts to shut out valid criticism of its advertising.” For this, Solal instituted a High Court action in 2012 against Mr Charleston suing him for R350,000, as reported by GroundUp. Solal has not backed away from this action and it remains on the roll of the High Court despite it being clear that the magazine was at that time, a disguised marketing program for Solal.

Health Intelligence which has the subtitle “the science of healthRead the rest

Review of 17 “alternative” therapies finds no evidence of effectiveness

Posted 22 November 2015

The Australian government recently undertook a review of natural products covered by private health insurance. It did this for two main reasons: The first was to ensure that private insurance plans were paying for “clinically proven” treatment. The second was based on concerns about tax dollars being used to subsidize ineffective treatments. The government provides a rebate on private insurance, and questions were raised about the extent to which the government was effectively subsidizing “natural” therapies that were not supported by good evidence yet were still being paid for through insurance. So in 2012 the government announced a review of natural treatments to determine if these therapies were effective, safe, and provided good value for money.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the report has concluded:

The Private Health Insurance Rebate will be paid for insurance products that cover natural therapy services only where the Chief Medical Officer

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Should regulators treat the supplement industry like the tobacco industry?

Posted 21 December 2015

Scott Gavura, a pharmacist, has posted an excellent article on his blog ‘Science-Based Pharmacy’, in prompted by an article titled “Should states and local governments regulate dietary supplements?” published in the journal, Drug Testing and Analysis. (abstract reproduced below)

He writes:

“The idea that “natural” products are safe and effective has been so effectively marketed to us that many don’t recognize it as a fallacy. Much of the supplement industry is built around an appeal to nature. Supplements are described as natural, gentle, and “holistic”. Medicine, especially prescription drugs, is the opposite. They’re “chemicals”. They’re risky and dangerous – just look at that list of side effects!”.

He states: “Supplement regulation: A travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham” and points out this cautionary tale:

“Claims made about the efficacy Read the rest

Freeze yourself into good health: SA’s first ‘cryosauna’ open for business

Posted 20 December 2015

The Sunday Times published a story on CryoLiving in Cape Town, the first company in South Africa to offer cryotherapy. The owner, Eugene Pienaar claims “[T]he cold is said to stimulate the release of “happy hormones”, cortisone and natural morphine, creating an anti-inflammatory and pain-killing response.” The cost is R495 for up to three minutes of “whole-body cryotherapy”. The article also points out that a Forbes article, titled What Are The Cold, Hard Facts On Cryotherapy?“, noted: “Without nearly enough scientific evidence, the US Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved whole body cryotherapy as a medical treatment.”

Forbes Magazine continues: “A closer look shows that many of these claims are not yet grounded in credible scientific evidence. For example, there is no real scientific support that WBC [whole body cryotherapy] is effective as a weight loss or obesity prevention measure”, and Read the rest

Book of Bad Arguments

Posted 17 December 2015

An illustrated Book of Bad Arguments, by Ali Almossawi, is a beautiful book published online, and freely available at https://bookofbadarguments.com, that states that the “. . . book is aimed at newcomers to the field of logical reasoning, particularly those who, to borrow a phrase from Pascal, are so made that they understand best through visuals. I have selected a small set of common errors in reasoning and visualized them using memorable illustrations that are supplemented with lots of examples. The hope is that the reader will learn from these pages some of the most common pitfalls in arguments and be able to identify and avoid them in practice”.

bookofbadarugments

The author continues “The literature on logic and logical fallacies is wide and exhaustive. This work’s novelty is in its use of illustrations to describe a small set of common errors in reasoning that plague Read the rest

Side effects from dietary supplements send 23,000 people a year to ER

Posted 14 December 2015

Although side effects occur more commonly with ‘orthodox’ medicines, CAM manufacturers argue that dietary supplements are safe. This article highlights a study that warns that dietary supplements are not without risk.

Side effects from dietary supplements send 23,000 people a year to ER

Link between low intelligence and acceptance of ‘pseudo-profound bullshit?

Posted 08 December 2015

This article titled, ‘Scientists find a link between low intelligence and acceptance of ‘pseudo-profound bulls***'” published in the The Independent, is a commentary on a study published in the journal, Judgment and Decision Making.

The article states: A new scientific study has found that those who are receptive to pseudo-profound, intellectual-sounding ‘bulls***’ are less intelligent, less reflective, and more likely to be believe in conspiracy theories, the paranormal and alternative medicine.”

We post the links to both the article and the study for both are thought provoking, and will likely result in a deal of controversy and debate. The journalist’s interpretation may not necessarily be correct. We explicitly make the point that we are posting it here for you, the reader, to make up your own mind on the findings and interpretation.

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British MMS prescriber suspended

Posted 07 December 2015

The British General Medical Council has suspended the registration of Dr. Finbar Magee. [Houston L. Alternative medicine row doctor is suspended by GMC. Belfast Telegraph, Nov 26, 2015]

MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution), an industrial-strength bleach derivative that has been marketed for many health problems, has been subjected to enforcement actions in several countries because it is ineffective and dangerous.

Last May, an RTE Prime Time television documentary focused on Magee’s prescription of MMS for the treatment of an autistic child. His interim suspension follows a panel ruling last December which restricted his practice to closely supervised practice at his clinic. Magee has operated Synergy Healthcare in Belfast, Ireland, for many years, which offers a wide range of offbeat treatments. The GMC’s concerns about him have not yet been disclosed but are likely to be related to his advocacy of MMS. Interim suspension is usually followed … Read the rest

Free “Science Based Medicine” vs “CAM” course available

Posted 04 December 2015

The James Randi Educational Foundation has produced a superb 10-part video lecture series in which Harriet Hall, M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods.

The lectures range from 32 to 45 minutes. A companion course guide is also available.

This course consists of 10 lectures:
1. Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine
2. What Is CAM?
3. Chiropractic
4. Acupuncture
5. Homeopathy
6. Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine
7. Energy Medicine
8. Miscellaneous “Alternatives”
9. Pitfalls in Research
10.Science-Based Medicine in the Media and Politics

From: Consumer Health Digest #15-47, November 29, 2015

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Dis-Chem pulls fitness supplement Jack3d from shelves

Posted 03 December 2015

Health24 investigates why the pre-workout supplement Jack3d, manufactured by USPlabs, is still being sold in SA after being indicted in the US for using false certificates of analysis and false labeling.

South African consumers are in the dark after Dis-Chem promptly removed the pre-workout fitness supplement Jack3d from their shelves on 26 November.

This just days after Health24 initiated an investigation into whether the version of Jack3d on sale online from a number of SA vendors, as well as the Dis-Chem group of pharmacies, contained the illegal ingredient 1-3-Dimethylamylamine – DMAA or Methylexaneamine, also known as Geranium extract (see below for other namings).

Continue reading at Health24

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