Bogus “alternative medicine” diagnoses described

Posted 27 May 2024

Professor Edzard Ernst, who was the world’s first department chairperson in complementary medicine, has posted on his blog a four-part series on the fake diagnoses of so-called alternative medicine.

  • Part 1 addresses adrenal fatigue, candidiasis hypersensitivity, and alleged chronic intoxications eliminated by so-called “detox” treatments.
  • Part 2 addresses chronic Lyme disease, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and homosexuality.
  • Part 3 addresses leaky gut syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity, and neurasthenia.
  • Part 4 covers vaccine overload, vertebral subluxation, and yin/yang imbalance.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #24-21. May 26, 2024

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Skin reactions linked to traditional medicines

Posted 27 July 2023

Researchers in India analyzed individual case reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) database (VigiBase) from between January 2016 and June 2021 describing adverse skin reactions linked to plant-based and animal-based products in natural form (described as traditional medicine).
Reference: Barvaliya MJ, and others. Suspected cutaneous adverse drug reactions reported with traditional medicines: Analysis of data for United Nations Asia region from WHO VigiBase. Frontiers in Pharmacology 14, May 2023

A total of 5,686 reports (19.9% of all adverse reaction reports) involved 8,588 skin-related reactions. Out of those reports, 3,523 involving 5,761 suspected skin-related reactions had sufficient information to be considered in the final analysis. The analysis revealed:

  • the most common skin reactions were itching (29.6%), rash (20.3%), and hives (18.9%)
  • the most common traditional medicines implicated in skin reactions were:
    (a) Artemisia argyi Lév. and Vaniot. with 856 reports, (14.9% of reactions),
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“Complementary and alternative” medicine research criticized

Posted 25 May 2023

Dr. Edzard Ernst has written a commentary about research into so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) conducted since he became the world’s first professor of complementary medicine nearly 30 years ago.

Reference: Ernst E. Applying science to SCAM: A brief summary of the past thirty years. Skeptical Inquirer, 47(1):11-12, 2023

He concludes:

So, in the past thirty years of SCAM research, we have gone from the rejection of science to accepting that it would be good for promotion, to insisting on an “alternative” version of science, to misleading the public with false-positive findings. It has been a long and tedious journey without actually advancing all that far.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #23-02, January 8, 2023

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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,
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