Categories

Archives

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

There’s a sucker born every minute – particularly in the realm of so-called alternative medicine

Posted 23 March 2022

An post from the blog of Prof Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd, and a previous Professor of Complementary Medicine.

“There’s a sucker born every minute”. This phrase was allegedly coined by P. T. Barnum, an American showman of the mid-19th century pictured below. It describes the tendency of the gullible of us to believe all too readily and therefore to be easily deceived.

Gullibility can be described as a failure of social intelligence in which a person is easily tricked or manipulated into a course of action for which there is no plausible evidence. To express it positively, gullible people are naively trusting and thus fall for nonsensical propositions. This renders them easy prey for exploiters.

On this blog, we see our fair share of this phenomenon, e.g.:

  • people who are easily persuaded by anecdotes,
Read the rest

Comprehensive resource on dietary supplements updated

Posted 23 February 2022

Thomas J. Wheeler, PhD, a retired associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has updated the Dietary Supplements section of “A Scientific Look at Alternative Medicine.” Part 1 addresses general aspects including an overview, regulation and labeling, adverse effects, scientific critique, conventional nutrition, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and reviews and major trials of multiple supplements. Part 2 discusses 175 individual products, arranged in alphabetical order, that are marketed as supplements. The original compendium was part of a handout for an elective course that taught medical students to carefully consider the evidence regarding claims for “alternative” products and services.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #22-08, February 20, 2022

Read the rest

Health supplements, complementary medicines will soon no longer be regulated

Posted 29 October 2020

The headline of this IOL piece is somewhat misleading.

By Zelda Venter

IOL

Pretoria – Health supplements and complementary medicines – which are not scheduled medicines as defined by the Medicine’s Act – will soon no longer be regulated by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, which regulates all medicines, including scheduled medicines.

But, while the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, did strike down the current regulations over these substances, it made it clear that alternative medicines still had to be regulated.

Judge Elizabeth Kubushi gave the minister of health and the regulatory authority 12 months to determine how best to regulate these alternative medicines.

“I am loath to leave the regulation of complementary medicines without a time frame.”

She said 12 months should give the health authorities ample time to decide how best to regulate this popular industry.

The order was sparked by the Alliance Read the rest

“Brain boosting” supplements found to be adulterated

Posted 30 September 2020

Researchers who tested ten products marketed online for cognitive enhancement found that all contained significant doses of unapproved drugs, some of which were listed on their label and others were not. Eight were claimed to enhance mental function, one product was marketed to “outlast, endure, overcome,” and one was described as “workout explosives.”
Reference: Cohen P. and others. Five unapproved drugs found in cognitive enhancement supplements. Neurology Clinical Practice, Sept 23, 2020

The researchers concluded:

Use of these cognitive enhancement supplements poses potentially serious health risks given the unpredictable dosing and lack of clinician supervision. The risks of using specific products is not known, although these drugs have been associated with adverse effects including increased and decreased blood pressure, insomnia, agitation, dependence, sedation, hospitalization and intubation.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #20-38, September 27, 2020

Read the rest

Why do some registered medical practitioners promote CAM interventions?

Posted 27 June 2020

An opinion, published in the Friends of Science in Medicine newsletter.

Why do some doctors, equipped with a science-based degree offering so many opportunities for a satisfying  professional  career,  join  the  ranks  of  raggle-taggle  quacks and  self-proclaimed experts?  These  range  from  outright  shonks  (eg  Gwyneth  Paltrow)  to  the  sincere,  but  befuddled, followers of rigid, ancient, pre-scientific belief systems.

I offer some thoughts on what might or might not answer this question.

  1. Science is hard work
    Learning can be described as ‘shallow’, ‘deep’ or ‘strategic’. Some students manage to scrape through  their  medical  degree  without  a  genuine  understanding  of  biomedical  science.  How  else could one explain their willingness to embrace pseudo-science?
  1. ‘Transactional’ medicine is unsatisfying
    Rather  than  simply  expanding  their  concept  of  good  medical  care,  some  make  a  ‘mind-body’  connection  through pseudo-science. They don’t realise that psychological medicine is as heavily reliant on science as is
Read the rest

Why SECTION27 and TAC are involved in a court case about complementary medicines

Posted 01 June 2020

28th May 2020 Tendai Mafuma and Julia Chaskalson

Those who manufacture or sell complementary medicines often make claims about what these medicines contain and all the diseases they prevent or cure. As the public, we might assume that the claims must be true since some authority would stop the sale of these products if the claims were untrue. Unfortunately that is not something we can take for granted.

A set of regulations published in 2017 tasked the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) with regulating complementary medicines – essentially so that the public can have confidence that these products contain what they are claimed to contain and that they do what they are claimed to do. This was an important step forward for the public’s right to know and right not to be misled by quacks.

But yesterday (27 May 2020) the Pretoria High Court Read the rest

It’s time to stop giving snake oil salesmen the benefit of the doubt.

Posted 20 May 2020

Centre for Enquiry April 13, 2020

[CamCheck does not focus on homeopathy. However, the points made in the article are appropriate for CamCheck by substituting ‘alternative medicine’ for homeopathy. Editor]

The makers of homeopathic medicine want it both ways.

  • They want their “drugs” to be treated like real medicine, to be able claim they can treat all kinds of ailments, and sell them right alongside evidence-based medicines on pharmacy shelves.
  • They also don’t want their products to be held to the same rigorous standards of safety and efficacy as real medicine. They don’t want to have to prove their stuff actually works, because, of course, they know it doesn’t.

Homeopathy is perhaps the most obviously phony form of alternative medicine, and we simply can’t assume that those who manufacture and market it are acting in good faith, any more than we assume positive intent from Read the rest

Death toll fears amid claims patients choose ‘natural remedies’ over conventional medicine

Posted 28 January 2019

By Linda Hall -22 January 2019 @ 14:301

EuroWeeklyNews

THOUSANDS of people could be dying each year in Spain because they trust alternative medicine.

Between 1,210 and 1,460 deaths can be attributed to complementary and “natural remedies” according to Spain’s Association for Protection against Pseudo-Scientific Therapies (APETP).

Homeopathic products are available in most Spanish pharmacies and although universities are gradually withdrawing tuition, many still offer alternative medicine courses.

The situation is particularly serious in Madrid and Valencia, non-profitmaking APETP maintains, where at least 60 members of the Official Colleges of Physicians offer “dangerous pseudo-therapies,”

APETP members include patients affected by the effects of pseudo-medicine as well as doctors and medical researchers who welcomed the national government’s “war” on alternative therapies.

Last November Health and Science ministries presented ambitious plans which, if approved, will prevent both public and private health centres from offering treatments not backed by Read the rest

‘Natural’ does not mean best, better or even good

Ivo Vegter • 7 January 2019

Daily Maverick

A pervasive myth has arisen around the word ‘natural’. When applied to food, medicine, cosmetics or cleaning products by marketing experts, it invariably implies not just a derivation from nature but also that it is better than manufactured alternatives. In fact, it often is significantly worse.

Marketers know very well that the label “natural” is a winner. “Natural goodness,” they’ll declare on an item of food. “Pure and natural,” they’ll gush, on face cream or body scrub. “100% natural, chemical-free,” they state on a hair conditioner. Millions of products and tens of thousands of books extol the virtues of everything from natural foods to natural remedies to natural health for dogs and cats.

Marketers, of course, have only one job. They get paid to make you buy more stuff. If their slogans, labels and taglines do not make a company more profitable, they are replaced. … Read the rest

Keeping therapies “complementary”, not “alternative”

Posted 2 August 2018

Medical Journal Australia 30 July 2018

IN 2013, a 21-year-old Spanish physics student, Mario Rodríguez, died of leukaemia after refusing a second round of chemotherapy in favour of “natural” remedies recommended by his homeopath.

In the wake of his son’s death, Mario’s grieving father, Julián Rodríguez, launched a legal action against the homeopath for reckless homicide and “professional intrusion” (essentially, falsely pretending to have medical knowledge).

The homeopath had prescribed 4000 euros worth of alternative medicines to Mario, including vitamins, fungi and alcohol, according to a report in the Independent.

He denied allegations he had claimed to be able to cure cancer, saying: “we train the body to enhance recovery and if cancer is cured, then perfect”.

Read the rest