Se Habla “woo-woo”

So, America is changing. We have an African American president. The Latino population continues to grow. How can the alternative medicine community adjust to this demographic shift? What are they to do?

I’m glad you asked! It turns out that immigrants are palomas ripe for the plucking. Now, we’ve talked about the ethics of alternative medicine, and how “meaning well” is not exculpatory. If you promote quackery, it’s wrong, even if you believe your own drivel.

One of the worst types of drivel is naturopathy. This “specialty” advertises itself as “medicine-plus”, but really it’s “healing-minus”: minus the evidence, minus the training, minus intelligent thought.

It should be no surprise that recent immigrants, who may have low educational levels, especially in English, and have less access to the health care system financially, culturally, and linguistically should be ripe targets.

And targeting these vulnerable individuals is a naturopathic “doctor” in Connecticut.


This doc sounds like she really cares. But that doesn’t mitigate the fact that she is diverting people from real medical care. For example, Latinos have a much higher rate of diabetes than Anglos (6.6% of non-Hispanic whites have diabetes, 10.4% of Hispanics have diabetes). Naturopaths don’t have much to offer these folks. Let me explain.

We’ve talked before about the complications of diabetes, and how they are divided into macro- and micro-vascular. We’ve also talked about how we prevent these complications. Certain medications prevent blindness, strokes, and heart attacks in diabetics. These effects are separate from diet and exercise. As part of taking care of diabetics, I must educate them about their disease and track several different parameters, such as weight, blood pressure, kidney function, urine protein, foot exams, eye exams, cholesterol, etc. What does our naturopath have to offer? Is it all of that “plus”? Her website gives all sorts of generalities about prevention, lifestyle change, and helping the body heal itself, but there is no evidence that she knows anything about the science of disease and health.

First, like all fake doctors, this place has lots of testimonials in place of real evidence. I don’t list testimonials at my office. It’s tacky, and it doesn’t give a measure of success in keeping people healthy. All it measures is how much someone liked a doctor as a person.

And what are these folks testifying about? Probably how nice the doctor is. They certainly aren’t giving us a measure of how well she prevents and treats disease. How do I know?

Here’s what she says about herself:

She has worked with children and teenagers with various conditions such as ADHD, and food allergies. Likewise she treats women’s related issues including menopause, PMS, breast cancer and hormone related issues. Dr. Robinson is very knowledgeable in diet and exercise related issues including weight gain/loss, detox-cleansing diets, and obsessive compulsive disorders. She also does guided imagery, coupled with counseling techniques. Her philosophy is to meet the patient where they are and work with them based on their needs. She acts as a coach-motivater-cheerleader and most importantly educator. She has a vested interest in seeing her patients achieve and sustain better health. Dr. Robinson will combine whatever conventional regime currently in place with Naturopathic medicines for a safe, effective way to maximum health.

I’m a general internist. I claim an expertise in the prevention, evaluation, and management of adult diseases. That’s it. I’m not a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, gynecologist, or surgeon.

What qualifies this “doctor” to treat adults and children, and a variety of conditions such as ADHD, food allergies, breast cancer, guided imagery, and OCD? And the fact that she admits to being “very knowledgeable” about “detox-cleansing diets” is not a mark in her favor. How does a detox diet prevent stroke? Will guided imagery prevent kidney failure?

She is apparently popular in the Hispanic community where she practices. Of course, science isn’t a democratic process, and since her popularity cannot be due to her ability to implement science-based medicine, it must be based on something else.

According to a news article:

Robinson, one of many doctors in the small but growing field of naturopathic medicine, has helped build her private practice in Stamford by offering her services to the Hispanic community at affordable rates.

Early in her practice, Robinson discovered Hispanic patients were drawn to the type of natural medicine she offered. Now most of her business comes from Hispanics, she said.

[…]

She went through the routines of a primary doctor – taking blood pressure, listening to Shutte’s heartbeat, taking his weight. But instead of writing a prescription for blood pressure medication, which S. once took and disliked because of side effects, Robinson recommended he supplement his diet with fish peptides, flax, pumpkin seeds and cucumber.

I’m sure the patient felt cared-for, but hypertension is a killer, and Hispanics have high rates of strokes and other complications of hypertension than non-Hispanic whites. Additionally, Hispanics are statistically more likely to have poorly-controlled blood pressure.

Look, I’m willing to accept that this naturopath may mean well, and I certainly believe that her patients like her. But she is doing a double-disservice. Not only is she practicing incorrect medicine, but she has singled out a particularly vulnerable group and preyed on them. The fact that she means well or that they like her is less important that the fact that this represents a type of altmed racism. It takes trusting, at-risk folks, abuses their trust, takes their money, and diverts them from care they desperately need.

This is shameful.

Comments

  1. #1 Dianne
    November 19, 2008

    But instead of writing a prescription for blood pressure medication, which S. once took and disliked because of side effects,

    This is a strange statement. It seems to imply that the author (or maybe the patient or even the doctor) thinks that there is only one blood pressure medication in the world or that an allopathic doctor would never change BP medications if a patient reported side effects.

    Which is, of course, completely wrong. There are hundreds of BP meds and dozens of different classes of meds. If one isn’t working or is producing intolerable or even annoying side effects, move on to the next. Flax and pumpkin seeds are not the answer. (Bizarrely, there are even better “natural” alternatives. Garlic is marginally beneficial in hypertension–not that it’s even theoretically useful in anything except very borderline blood pressures. But pumpkin seeds and cucumber? Huh? Is there any data at all, even anecdotal to support that?)

  2. #2 N.B.
    November 19, 2008

    I had to explain once to a woman who spoke fairly limited English that Medicaid would not cover shark cartilage, even if she had a prescription. Yes, I see the prescription. Medicaid does not pay for shark cartilage. End of line.

    One of the supposed benefits of alternative medicine is cost. Ignoring the fact that most patients likely pay out of pocket since insurance companies usually don’t cover woo, I imagine many altmed practitioners have to set up pricing models that are affordable for uninsured patients–not that they’re necessarily “cheap,” per se, but they just have to be slightly cheaper than your traditional docs, enough so that price becomes a determining factor for the patient. At that point, altmed is preying on the poor–which is what we’re seeing here–by presenting itself as a cheaper (but equally good) alternative.

    Of course, we know that altmed practitioners regularly fleece patients for huge sums of money, so they’re obviously an issue at all income levels. But the disenfranchised are the easiest to convince that the current “establishment” doesn’t care about their needs, so I imagine it’s relatively easy to lure them away.

  3. #3 phisrow
    November 19, 2008

    I’d be particularly worried in this instance because Hispanic populations have some pretty disconcerting folk medicines floating around. Azarcon is a notable one. Powdered lead tetroxide, at high concentrations. Just the thing to treat pediatric gastrointestinal upsets. Greta is similarly unpleasant stuff. I just can’t imagine that, plus a broadminded “what’s the harm?” school altie, going well.

  4. #4 Denice Walter
    November 19, 2008

    FYI: the ND described is in Stamford,which is incredibly diverse, both economically and ethnically, and sandwiched between two of the “most exclusive” communities on the East Coast(Greenwich and New Canaan),so I imagine she is also targetting African Americans and the rich girls next door.Equal opportunity… to be treated poorly.

  5. #5 RK
    November 20, 2008

    Many people pursue an education in naturopathic medicine and other alternative medical models after witnessing the slow deterioration and demise of loved ones under the conventional medical model. You are projecting the shadow side of your medicine onto this doctor. Here’s an idea. Turn the bright light of your intellect on your own system, and challenge the scientific basis of it! Naturopaths aren’t responsible for 1 out 3 deaths in American, MDs are, at least according to JAMA. 225,000 deaths per year, caused by MDs. That doesn’t even mention the injuries and damage to quality of life for patients under their care. Pharmaceutical products, properly prescribed, are the fourth leading cause of death, because the drug companies you are so enamored of dictate to the FDA what gets the green light and MDs are their marketing arm. This isn’t science you advocate for, it’s a deadly system that you are learning to be a part of. Yet you won’t to point out what you perceive as the weakness of this ND in CT? Why? What’s your agenda? It can’t be human health, or honesty, since you aren’t turning your spotlight on the weaknesses in your own system of medicine. The naturopathic docs such as Robinson spend 7 years getting their education, they take standard pre-med courses, they are not trained in dogma, they are trained in diagnosis and science. They do use medicines from nature that at least have some empirical support (a thousand years of folk history, while you may dismiss it, had a little something to do with the human race lasting as long as it has, long enough for the low brows and cynics to disparage it) If you applied the same standard to yourself and your house that you apply to this doc, you’d be hard pressed to measure up to it. It’s a double standard and mixed message, and it comes from you, not her. Lastly, testimonials can put a person’s mind at ease when seeking medical help. Thankfully, those who are internet savvy can seek out this kind of information to find out how many states an MD has lost his license in (a common situation, dare you address it?)

    I’m all for science, as I attribute human progress to our willingness to test our pet theories by trying to disprove them. Why don’t you try that? Your pet theory here is that nothing she offers has validity or value. Try to disprove that instead of looking for proof so you can be right. That would actually be of service to anyone who stumbles across your self righteous blog.

  6. #6 Nicolas Martin
    November 20, 2008

    The American Iatrogenic Association is devoted to the study and reporting of medical errors that lead to disease and death.

    In 2000, a presidential task force labelled medical errors a “national problem of epidemic proportions.” Members estimated that the “cost associated with these errors in lost income, disability, and health care costs is as much as $29 billion annually.” That same year the Institute of Medicine released an historic report, “To err is human: building a safer health system.” The report’s authors concluded that 44,000 to 98,000 people die each year as a result of errors during hospitalization. They noted that “even when using the lower estimate, deaths due to medical errors exceed the number attributable to the 8th-leading cause of death.” The addition of non-hospital errors may drive the numbers of errors and deaths much higher. As the authors note, the hospital data “offer only a very modest estimate of the magnitude of the problem since hospital patients represent only a small proportion of the total population at risk, and direct hospital costs are only a fraction of total costs.”

    Medical errors are the not only way that consumers are harmed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2 million people annually acquire infections while hospitalized and 90,000 people die from those infections. More than 70 percent of hospital-acquired infections have become resistant to at least one of the drugs commonly used to treat them, largely due to the overprescribing of antibiotics by physicians. Staph, the leading cause of hospital infections, is now resistant to 95 percent of first-choice antibiotics and 30 percent of second-choice antibiotics. Poor staff hygiene is considered the leading source for infections acquired during hospitalizations. But efforts to get medical workers to improve safety through things as simple as better and more frequent hand washing have met with little success.

    There is much disagreement as to what constitutes iatrogenic illness. For decades, peptic ulcers were said to be caused by an emotional disorder which prevented afflicted people from managing “stress.” Physicians instructed many people with ulcers to change their lifestyles and, in some cases, to take anti-anxiety medications. In recent years researchers determined that most peptic ulcers were caused by a bacteria treatable with antibiotics. Were the adverse emotional and treatment consequences of misdiagnosing ulcers as a psychiatric illness iatrogenic? Similarly, for many years epilepsy was said by medical experts to be evidence of pathological criminality. Epileptics were imprisoned in “colonies,” to isolate them from the general population. Were the obviously damaging effects of this “treatment” iatrogenic? Are the present large-scale drugging of children (mostly boys) diagnosed with “Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder,” and the former “treatment” of homosexuals with electroconvulsive therapy (shock treatment), insulin coma, and lobotomy examples of iatrogenic disease? Most physicians would say they are not, yet the harm resulting from these erroneous diagnoses and severe “treatments” are no less damaging for the people who suffered them.

  7. #7 I am so wise
    November 20, 2008

    Nicolas, you do realize even if everything about modern medicine as currently understood is wrong, that doesn’t make the woomasters correct, right?

    Jesus, it’s like arguing with small children or creationists around here.

  8. #8 The Chemist
    November 20, 2008

    “The naturopathic docs such as Robinson spend 7 years getting their education, they take standard pre-med courses, they are not trained in dogma, they are trained in diagnosis and science.”

    Pre-med courses? I’ve seen the MCAT, and could probably pass it without studying if you set it in front of me right now. I wouldn’t do great, but what the hell do you think pre-med courses are? Three or four semesters of science and math (just check the requirements for Johns Hopkins) and IMO not particularly challenging science of math. There are music majors who get into med school! Not that these people don’t wind up competent or even superior doctors (not to mention melodic), but their pre-med education alone does not necessarily equip them with an acute or intuitive knowledge of the scientific method. That’s what med-school is for. (Real med-school, not woo-ey med-school)

    Meanwhile, PalMD and the Hoofnagles have been explaining time and time again why naturopathy and most “natural” “cures” (the double quotations are deliberate) are hooey. At this point asking them to examine the claims and the evidence to make a criticism is like asking them to reinvent the wheel every post. How about you go through the trouble of looking into it yourself? This blog has a search feature. Go for it.

  9. #9 Skemono
    November 21, 2008

    225,000 deaths per year, caused by MDs.

    And guess how many deaths are prevented each year by real medicine and science.

  10. #10 Skemono
    November 21, 2008

    I’m guessing that they’re not going to bother looking it up, so I’ll help them out. In 2000, there were 341,745 fewer deaths due to coronary disease alone–almost half of which were due to medical treatment.

  11. #11 Mikey
    November 21, 2008

    So the risk is worth taking (with the patient’s life) because the end justifies the means if you’re an MD? But the risk is never worth taking and the means are never justified if you are an alt med practitioner? Is that the idea here? What a lovely certainty you must have, to defend and justify yourself while assuming the worst about others. I don’t know why our healthcare system could possibly be in such dire straits. It must be those darned naturopaths and their dangerous ilk.

  12. #12 Adam C.
    November 21, 2008

    Ah, the woos invade, with their tu quoque and other logical fallacies.

    In short: Conventional medicine has evidence. Alternative medicine doesn’t. Saying “conventional medicine isn’t perfect” does not justify a leap to “so let’s use alternative medicine, which has far more problems”. End of story, goodbye, you fail at life.

  13. #13 LanceR, JSG
    November 21, 2008

    I don’t know why our healthcare system could possibly be in such dire straits.

    I don’t know, perhaps the millions of dollars in executive pay the insurance company executives drain from the system?

  14. #14 Dianne
    November 21, 2008

    So the risk is worth taking (with the patient’s life) because the end justifies the means if you’re an MD? But the risk is never worth taking and the means are never justified if you are an alt med practitioner?

    No, the risk is worth taking because you’re more likely to be helped than harmed by care from a conventional doctor whereas you’re virtually never going to be really helped and may be harmed by an alt med practitioner, so that risk is not worth taking.

  15. #15 Dianne
    November 21, 2008

    I should also note that most hospitals have medical error committees and systems in place to attempt to reduce the chances of a medical error occurring. Alt med practitioners seek to reduce the chances that they will harm their patients by…what?

  16. #16 David Marjanovi?
    November 21, 2008

    lead tetroxide

    I assume you mean lead dioxide = lead(IV) oxide, right? Lead tetroxide is impossible.

  17. #17 Daniel Rutter
    November 21, 2008

    If lead tetroxide had one lead atom and four oxygens per molecule then yes, it’d be impossible. But it’s actually PB3O4, a quite common compound colloquially known as “red lead”:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_tetroxide

    And yes, there are folk remedies that consist of pretty much nothing but red lead.

  18. #18 chancelikely
    November 21, 2008

    Just curious, is there any way we could get creationists and alties mad at each other instead of them both being mad at reality?

    Or could we somehow sic them both on Holocaust deniers or something?

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    November 21, 2008

    @ chancelikely: actually, what I’m hoping is that factionalization occurs within some of these *health* movements as the various woo-meisters jostle for position as “Big Kahuna” of the anti-vaxers or live foodies or vibrational medecinists,etc.I believe that there has always been quite a bit of animosity between the vegans and the macrobiotic folks. Since there are so many woo-doo-ish theories ( and so much megalomania) out there,I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

  20. #20 Mikey
    November 21, 2008

    >In short: Conventional medicine has evidence. Alternative medicine doesn’t.

    LOL! What bs. Actually, alt med has plenty of evidence. It’s just coming out slower than it would if it was patentable.

    >Saying “conventional medicine isn’t perfect” does not justify a leap to “so let’s use alternative medicine, which has far more problems”. End of story, goodbye, you fail at life

    Then its your failure, since that’s what you did with my comment, not what I said. But regardless, no point in wrestling with a pig. You like it, i get dirty. I’ll just leave it at this. Conventional medicine is an imperfect system. It has a lot of problems. Science does not drive many treatments. The number of patients harmed by it is dramatic. That’s not to say that it doesn’t help people because it does. I for one am grateful for it for personal reasons. But to dismiss alt med is making a religion of conventional medicine. That’s foolish, unjustified, and loaded with its own logical fallacies. I’d say you’re failing at life if you fail to see that you’ve been blinded by your own limiting assumptions. And, goodbye. goodluck. May your future be as completely dependent on conventional medical care as you wish it for others. Arrogance and dismissal do not make your case, but at least you can believe they do. I suppose that smugness goes with the territory.

    P.S. I’m an MD, my health was safed with alt med therapies once I weaned myself from the conventional meds that were KILLING me. You take your test, you don’t give mine. I pass life with flying colors.

  21. #21 Skemono
    November 21, 2008

    Actually, alt med has plenty of evidence.

    Okay. So provide it. We’ll wait.

    But until then, all the rest of your comments amount to nothing.

  22. #22 wolfbite
    November 22, 2008

    You sound threatened…!! We just lost our 9 year old to cancer at Seattle childrens…what an education! after his death our Harvard educated doctor and others told us they knew he would die!! and that “they wanted us to have hope from the chemo and other treatment they provided”. well that was a change from what they were saying during treatment…treatment that was essentially anything that came from a pharmaceutical company.

    This selling us hope at a very high price is what the establishment is going after homeopathic and natural cure companies for!! shouldnt I be able to choose the type of hope..false or real that I want.

    untill you wake up and and open up to alternatives and integrate progressive approaches in your practice, you are only doing your patients and yourself harm. Yes, the problem is systemic and there are no easy answers…but clearly bashing as you say “well intentioned professionals” only discredits you!

  23. #23 I am so wise
    November 22, 2008

    “alt med has plenty of evidence. It’s just coming out slower than it would if it was patentable. ”

    Actually most alt. meds are patentable. Either directly or using genetic engineering to create better quality cures.

  24. #24 Marcus
    November 23, 2008

    This blog is like the McCain/Palin campaign. You have nothing but fake negatives to promote, and you are offering healthcare consumers more of the same – and the same is a failed overpriced system that kills people with treatments in the name of saving them from disease, and you are blind to it. If this object of your devotion, the conventional medical system, is so great, why are so many doctors fleeing it? If the system is so effective, why are disease rates outpacing it? If it is so humane, why does it not provide for those who lack the ability to pay? You can attack the naturopathic doctors and chiros and anyone else you care to place in the ‘they aren’t us’ category, but ‘they’ are drawing on centuries of human trial and error for those natural medicines, (whose constituents are the reason that pharmaceutical products work, when they work) whereas your system, the one you are so ready to defend with slurs against someone helping under-served communities where hardly any of you want to go, your system is an aberration in medical history, an astonishingly expensive aberration. You are the barber surgeons of the modern age. You are ready to pour mercury into children, to use dangerous medicines on those who trust you without any introspection or doubt, while casting stones at those who invest the time and energy in learning to put health and care into their healthcare. You do all this in the name of science, while failing to apply science to what you yourselves do. You actually believe in your medical religion with way more dogmatic certainty than any naturopath I’ve ever met or read about believes in theirs. You stand in the way of the integration of healthcare because you are threatened economically and threatened in your religious devotion to your dysfunction. Yours is the oil economy of medicine, polluting our water because of the toxic by products of your medical industry, while actually undermining human health by turning our nation into a country of drug addicts. Got a problem? Take a pill. Pill doesn’t work, we’ll cut the problem off. Cutting it off doesn’t work? We’ll poison your entire system. This is science? This is somehow superior? OMG! It would be laughable if it wasn’t so damaging.

    “Whenever he spoke of his honor, I started counting my spoons.” The good news is, people eventually figure out when they are being snookered, and usually it’s the ones yelling “Crook!” who are crooked, yelling ‘Fake’ who are fake,’ and yelling ‘Unscientific’ who fail to use science. Anyone who reads your attacks on ‘fake’ doctors can easily see what your real problem is with them. (and by fake, you refer to people who got their pre-medical educations using the same texts as you, people who applied their intelligence and devotion to earning a degree recognized by the Department of Education BECAUSE of their care for their fellow human beings- people who chose a different way than your failing system, those ‘fake’ doctors that get your own energy to spike through your own drug induced haze) anyone who reads this and doesn’t share your bias can see that all you have is bias, insults and lies. You’re trying the Rovian approach, the McCain/Palin/Bush approach, and actually believing that people are going to fall for it. Well, some will. More won’t.

    I have great respect for honest doctors seeking to help their patients, whether they are CAM docs or conventional docs. There is much in conventional medicine that is helpful, that relieves suffering, that helps people recover from difficult conditions. But your system is full of problems, and I have zero tolerance for your bigotry and narrow mindedness. You are fooling fewer people with your protests about natural medicine. Just as conventional medicine dismissed the role of diet in health until the evidence became overwhelming, just as conventional doctors advertised cigarettes until the evidence became overwhelming, and just as conventional medicine has a track record of using countless drugs and surgical procedures to harm many until they were eventually outlawed when the evidence became public, so you persist. Your system is the McCain Palin Ticket. More of the same. People increasingly have had enough. I say turn away from attacking people for trying to help, and focus on your house, get your own house in order, challenge yourselves to be better. Or, may your health receive all the benefits of all the procedures that you wish to foist on all the rest of us. Either way, your agenda is not about the underserved community or the credibility of the naturopath that triggered the blog post. It’s economics, it’s based in fear, maintained through lies, and eventually people are figuring you out.

    of it that you would foist on everyone else. ,

  25. #25 LanceR, JSG
    November 23, 2008

    Shorter Marcus:

    “Wah! You’re being mean! Just ‘cuz we don’t have facts and evidence, you won’t let us play! Wah!”

    Maroon.

  26. #26 The Chemist
    November 23, 2008

    @Marcus,

    Are you so thick that you don’t understand all anyone has ever asked for is EVIDENCE? Present it, let us validate it, and voila! Suddenly it becomes conventional. Until you do this- it makes no damn difference how you feel or how the system works or whether butterflies go extinct. Just show me the damn evidence.

    Don’t have any? Then stop wasting everyone’s time and money. It’s just that simple.

  27. #27 Marcus again
    November 24, 2008

    Are you so thick that you don’t understand that asking for evidence is one thing, acknowledging it is something else entirely? Your problem is you are blinded by your own bias, so you can only see what you’ve pre-ordained. Don’t feel bad, that makes you normal. The world if filled with conflict and dogma BECAUSE of this very pattern. Perhaps a person less thick than you could question his own dogma first.

    Oh, and show yourself the damn evidence. It’s not my job! And if you’re promoting our broken healthcare system as some kind of evidence-based system, then it is YOU wasting everyone’s time and money. It really is just that simple.

  28. #28 LanceR, JSG
    November 24, 2008

    Shorter Marcus:

    “Wah! Just ‘cuz I can’t show you evidence, you big meanies won’t let me play! Wah!”

    Show us the evidence or go away. Put up or shut up.

  29. #29 GregMD
    November 26, 2008

    After 3 attempts to refute the claim and post links to ‘evidence’ of alt med being more effective than conventional med on this blog, either there is no desire to have any such evidence presented here and thus those posts are blocked, or including a list of links in a blog post is rejected by the blog server as spam. (probably the latter. These guys can’t be that evil can they? ) In any case, there is plenty of evidence for the person wishing to find it. But the self appointed charlatan-busters prefer their own set of blinders, so it makes no diff.

    Hey Lance, buddy, here’s for you. “Wah! Just cuz I refuse to see the evidence, you alt med meanies won’t let me dominate the playground anymore and keep my monopoly! Wah!”

    Here’s a fun idea for you. Take your childish biases and blinkered ignorance and go home to mommy. She’ll hold you and put a nice drug on your owie.

  30. #30 PalMD
    November 26, 2008

    The spam filter does indeed file away comments with ungodly numbers of links in them, so if you have refs, either post fewer at a time, or “de-link” them (i.e. “htt p://link.com)

  31. #31 PalMD
    November 26, 2008

    That being said, since you seem to be simply whining that reality is too picky, you probably don’t have anything interesting to add.

  32. #32 LanceR, JSG
    November 26, 2008

    Again, dumbass, there is no evidence. Claiming to have tried to send it, but “wah! the spam filter ate it!” doesn’t count. Either put up, or shut up. Fish or cut bait.

  33. #33 minimalist
    November 26, 2008

    Who wants to bet that it was a bunch of Youtube videos?

  34. #34 LanceR, JSG
    November 26, 2008

    Who wants to bet that it was a bunch of Youtube videos?

    YouTube is too high quality a source… whale.to is more likely…

  35. #35 Yer a hoot
    November 26, 2008

    You cynical defenders of the status quo are almost always on the losing side of history. Blinded by self-deception and addiction to habitual thought, you accuse others of your own failings, and fail to see the coming change until it is upon you. By then, it is too late for you. You leave a bitter legacy for those foolish enough to believe you. Foam and sputter, it changes nothing. You dismiss all evidence, then claim it does not exist. http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/

    Pharm and surgery are finding their natural level in a more integrated system. Count the days before you are revealed as the charlatans, for you cannot draw attention away from your lies and ignorance by pointing at others. Your ability to dominate, intimidate or manipulate the system to favor your own view is leaving you with nothing but your fear which you express as anger, and a feeble hatred for that which undoes you. Spew your venom, you strain at the gnat and swallow the camel. You change nothing.

    Do you not know that we see you for who you are? You live in a house of mirrors inside a house of cards. You are undone by your own blindness. The old paradigm fights until its dying breath. A few smarter than you offer words to guide you in this trying time for a dying system.

    �All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as being self-evident.� – Arthur Shopenhauer

    �The most exciting phrase
 to hear in science,
 the one that heralds 
the most discoveries,
 is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) 
but ‘That’s funny�� -Isaac Asimov

    �If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.� Albert Einstein

    “I used to think the people who were weird were weird. I suddenly realized the people who were weird weren�t weird at all. It was the people saying they were weird that were weird.” – Paul McCartney

    So ridicule away. It shows everyone what you’re all about. You cynical defenders of the status quo are once again on the losing side of history.

  36. #36 minimalist
    November 26, 2008

    Uh huh. You’re the one pining for the sort of “medicine” people used way back when they were lucky to see age 30 and barely knew enough anatomy to tell their asses from their elbows (but boy howdy did they know their stuff about “invisible energy fields” and acupuncture points!).

    And yet we’re the ones on the side of the “status quo” and “on the losing side of history”. Tee hee.

    PS, Did you put on your wizard robe and hat to write that pompous bit of amateur dramatics because ahahahaha

  37. #37 LanceR, JSG
    November 27, 2008

    Alas, dear “Yer”, in order to claim the mantle of Gallileo, it is not it is not enough to be persecuted: you must also be right. (-Robert Parks)

    You can rant and rave about being on the wrong side of history. Check your calendar again… we’re in 2008, not 1008. Again, a single piece of evidence better than placebo. A single shred of efficacy, and “alternative” medicine would be adopted so fast it would make your head spin. There are people who make a darn good living testing out herbal products and folk cures to see if there is any truth to the matter. Stuff that works becomes the next wonder drug, and stuff that doesn’t goes back to the rubbish heap.

    Why do these twits people always point to “Big Pharma” and never discuss the multi-*BILLION* dollar supplement industry? The multi-*BILLION* dollar chiropractic industry? Hmm…

  38. #38 Hank Aaron
    November 29, 2008

    Look at you, still thinking you make sense. “we’re in 2008, not 1008.” Really? Duh. Maybe you should take yer’s advice, wake up and smell your own history lesson. The difference between big pharma and the supplement industry? One has a track record of death and destruction, the other does not. 1966, the AMA and big pharma said nutrition had nothing to do with health. 1967, the US Congress released a report, Oh yes it does. 1968, AMA and big pharma, well, it obviously plays a role. YOu guys deny deny deny until the evidence is all in, then claim you knew it all along and find something else to deny until it too is mainstreamed. You are so obvious in your blindness. Again, plenty of evidence. Here’s where you are right (and it’ s not easy to find because you are such a nasty little person) : Stuff that works becomes the next wonder drug. That’s been going on for a long time. But do you ever acknowledge that it’s stuff that works, other than in your sweeping generalizations? No, not a chance. It would defile the purity of your blind and biased view. Little little minds thinking they are right when they are lost in the cesspool of their own condemnation. I’m guessing you either too young to have any personal experience with disease and aging – and thus believing you are immune, or to drugged up to notice the loss of your health and your growing dependence. You are the Sarah Palin of medicine. Self righteous, filled with certainty, and lacking in perspective and knowledge. You betcha.

  39. #39 Skemono
    November 29, 2008

    The difference between big pharma and the supplement industry? One has a track record of death and destruction, the other does not.

    You’re right. Guess which is which.

    YOu guys deny deny deny until the evidence is all in

    Um. That’s a good thing, you imbecile. Waiting until evidence is in that determines the efficacy of something is a good thing. Apparently you would rather us accept that anything and everything is acceptable, without any evidence for it? Maybe stuff like smearing honey on your foot to cure gangrene?

    Again, plenty of evidence.

    And again, you fail to provide any of it. If there’s so much evidence, as you insist, why is it so hard for you to give us any?

    Stuff that works becomes the next wonder drug. That’s been going on for a long time. But do you ever acknowledge that it’s stuff that works, other than in your sweeping generalizations? No, not a chance.

    What the hell? You manage to contradict yourself in just two sentences. You recognize that stuff that works becomes mainstream, with all the knowledge and acceptance that it works, and then try and accuse us of denying that it works? Are you just not paying attention to anything you write?

    You are the Sarah Palin of medicine. Self righteous, filled with certainty, and lacking in perspective and knowledge. You betcha.

    Are you talking to a mirror now?

  40. #40 Bronze Dog
    November 29, 2008

    Real medicine: The patient is dangerously sick. If we do nothing, he’ll either die or be miserable for the rest of his life. Let’s find something with proven benefits and carefully weigh the risks between different benefits.

    Alties: Real medicine isn’t 100% perfectly, absolutely, completely safe, therefore it’s completely and utterly worthless. So let’s perform some largely unregulated human experimentation on some people willing to pay us money to give them a treatment that has no record of efficacy. Test directly on the open marketplace, never keep records except when you can cherrypick good testimonials, and never followup on patients. Let’s also petition the government to tear down consumer protection agencies that look at us funny.

  41. #41 Hank Aaron
    November 29, 2008

    Real Medicine: Let’s make sure people don’t do anything until they are dangerously sick, then conduct experiments on them using untested medicines and surgical procedures approved through rigged systems. Let’s use the hippocritic oath, above all, don’t worry about harm, because in our “we know it all” model, the end justifies the means. Let’s cherry pick data to accuse those who would cost us our monopoly, and hide our failures with the force of our ugliness and nasty accusations. Let’s also petition the government to protect our monopoly by insisting that the ‘alties’ look and act funny.

    Alties: Let’s try to keep people from getting sick, and when they are sick, try to help them get their health back instead of managing their illness until it kills them. Let’s work in tandem with competent medical professionals who share the goals of disease prevention and health restoration, let’s honor the Hippocratic Oath, “Above all, do no harm” and reserve the most extreme measures for the most extreme circumstances. Let’s use medicines and natural therapies with a traditional background of effective use for perhaps hundreds to thousands of years.

  42. #42 LanceR, JSG
    November 29, 2008

    Well, Hank Aaron/Yer a Hoot/MarkMD/Marcus/Mr. Sockpuppet, what you’ve done there is called “ad hominem”. You were asked for evidence. You are unable to provide any. So you attack the people telling you that you are wrong rather than the substance of their arguments.

    As we’ve stated, if there is any efficacy to any “altie” treatment, it will come out in studies, and will become mainstream. If it really works, we’ll embrace it.

    Unfortunately, most alternative remedies have failed to work in controlled conditions every single time. You do not get to claim on the one hand that alternative treatments are “centuries old! They’ve been used for years!” and on the other hand that they are “new! You’re just afraid to change!”.

    Sockpuppetry is also one of the more common forms of altie argument. “See! Six other people agree with me! In the same language, word choice and tone!”

    Evidence. Look it up. Provide some.

  43. #43 hank Aaron
    November 29, 2008

    You know, if you guys are such brilliant scientists in your analysis, why are you relying on outdated data, like a 2003 case in Texas, without providing the outcome of that case? Or using Quackwatch as a source, when the principles in Quackwatch have a track record that undermines any authority they might have? Why point to a person who uses ‘inner guidance’ to not see a doctor as an indictment of CAM? (Yes I followed your links…what a joke…you’re a circle of jerks massaging each others egos with the same bogus info to support your point of view…truth is not something you’re interested in, persisting in your personal attacks in your only gameplan.)

    Your lack of discernment in the links you provide and claims you make proves the point. You’re the fanatics, not the ‘alties’ as you like to call them, and that’s why you see fanatics at the end of your finger. It’s classic projection, and it is your own mental illness that you struggle with. This blog is not concerned with an honest exploration of the strengths and weaknesses of CAM vs Conventional medicine. What we have here is a screwed up handful of drug addicts and conventional medicine fanatics spewing predictable venom because it’s all you’ve got to support a point for which NO evidence will ever be sufficient to counter it. You have a fore-ordained conclusion, now you just look for proof. Otherwise, you’d avail yourself of the research into CAM, of which there is a growing body.

    Demanding proof so you can refute it in order to avoid the places where you so terribly wrong is your gameplan. You are completely transparent, except to the Sarah Palins of the world who share your world view that might is right.

    Want to prove me wrong? Do the research yourself, try to disprove your point of view. Quit seeking out people in your circle of fanatics who agree with you. Otherwise, you are some seriously fragged up folks.

    Site visitors to your blog are invited to investigate for themselves. These drug pushers want you to believe that their accusations are based on evidence. They are not. Their accusations are based on opinion, and the evidence is sufficient that the World Health Organization, the British government and the United States Government are now investigating natural and alternative therapies specifically because they have recognized their moral obligation to do so. And credible CAM practitioners are keeping records, publishing their data, and working with credible authorities to discover the working alternatives to drugs and surgery for the good of people everywhere. It is in all our interest, for the sake of ourselves, our children, our parents, and our society, to find out everything we can about how to restore and maintain health. It is in no one’s interest that we become a nation of drug addicts (we’re just about there, already.) They want your kids on ritalin, they want you and your neighbors on prozac, they want you to believe that they are indispensable and incapable of error, and that CAM doctors are trying to deceive you. Test this. Google medical drug errors, iatrogenic disease, or investigate how many wives of gynecologists have had hysterectomies. These guys are lost in their paradigm, don’t let them punish you for their blindness. Yes, there are natural treatments and CAM approaches that don’t work. Credible CAM practitioners are as interested in uncovering the facts as they can be.

  44. #44 maroon
    November 29, 2008

    Injuries from Medical Drugs
    Every day, Americans put their health and well�being in the hands of the pharmaceutical industry and the medical profession. Sometimes, however, a drug manufacturer knows that a drug could endanger consumers, but fails to warn physicians or the public of the serious health risks associated with its use. Although the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the drug manufacturing process, the agency�s approval of a specific drug does not always guarantee that it is safe. In fact, the FDA may pull a harmful drug off the market after it has already caused significant damage to patients.

    FOSAMAX� and Jaw Damage
    FOSAMAX� (alendronate sodium) is mainly used to prevent and reverse bone loss, called osteoporosis. However, the drug may cause severe decay of the jaw bone or jaw osteonecrosis. This disorder causes loose teeth and jaw pain. At present, there is no cure for jaw osteonecrosis. For more details, please see FOSAMAX�: A Bone�Building Drug that Can Damage the Jaw.

    Celebrex� May Increase Heart Attack Risk
    The arthritis drug Celebrex�(celecoxib) may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes (see Celebrex� Gets Black Box Warning). Taking the drug is particularly dangerous for patients who have already undergone heart bypass surgery. Celebrex� is closely related to Vioxx� and Bextra�, which were withdrawn from the market for safety reasons.

    Ortho Evra� Birth Control Patch
    Compared with women who use birth control pills, Ortho Evra� patch users have twice the risk of developing blood clots, according to some studies. These blood clots can cause heart attacks or strokes. See Ortho Evra� Birth Control Patch May Increase Blood Clot Risk for details.

    RhoGAM� May Harm Newborns
    Newborns whose mothers received RhoGAM� injections during pregnancy to decrease birth complications may have been exposed to mercury. Mercury has been linked to autism and nervous disorders.

    Until 2001, RhoGAM� included the preservative thimerosal, which contains mercury. Although the RhoGAM� package insert mentioned thimerosal, it did not provide any warnings about the effects of mercury on mothers or their babies. Thimerosal has also been used in various vaccines. See Vaccine Safety Issues: Thimerosal.

    Tequin�
    The antibiotic Tequin� has caused severe blood glucose changes in some patients, leading to hospitalizations and deaths. One Canadian study found that Tequin� users were almost 17 times more likely to have a high blood sugar (hyperglycemic) episode than were patients taking other antibiotics such as erythromycin. They had four times the odds of having a low blood sugar (hypoglycemic) episode.

    Tequin� is prescribed for bronchitis, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and lung, skin, kidney and urinary tract infections. Its manufacturer, Bristol�Myers had $150 million in sales for the drug in 2005. However, the company stopped manufacturing Tequin� in May, 2006, citing business reasons. See Antibiotic Tequin� To Be Taken Off the Market.

    IBS Drug Zelnorm Recalled
    Zelnorm was prescribed to treat irritable bowel syndrome or IBS in women with the form of the disorder that causes constipation. The medication was also used to treat severe chronic constipation. Zelnorm was recalled in March 2007 because of its link to heart attacks and strokes as well as its tendency to cause extreme diarrhea and colitis.

  45. #45 si habla woowoo
    November 29, 2008

    Other Prescription Drugs; OvertheCounter Drugs
    These are some other prescription drugs and overthecounter medications that may have caused health problems:

    Accutane (isotretinoin)

    A treatment for the most severe form of acne, Accutane may cause birth defects and should not be used by pregnant women. Accutane has also been linked to mental disorders. See Accutane Users and Their Doctors Must Enroll in Federal Registry.
    Adderall (dextroamphetamine and amphetamine)

    Adderall is a medication used to increase attention and decrease the restlessness caused by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. The drug is an amphetamine, which is an addictive substance. Adderall has been linked to sudden deaths, heartrelated deaths, and strokes in children and adults. Canada withdrew the drug from the market in February 2005, then reinstated it along with new warning labels. Adderall remains on the market in the United States, but includes warnings that the drug should not be used by those with heart abnormalities.
    CHANTIX (varenicline)

    CHANTIX (varenicline) helps patients quit smoking by blocking the uptake of nicotine within the brain. The FDA has received numerous reports of serious side effects including visual disturbances, transient forms of blindness, movement disorders, seizures, loss of consciousness, suicidal thoughts, suicidal behavior, psychosis, hostility, aggression, paranoia and depression. Read more about CHANTIX side effects.
    Cytotec (misoprostol)

    Cytotec decreases the chances of getting stomach ulcers caused by taking certain arthritis or pain medicines. Although the FDA has only approved Cytotec to treat ulcers, Cytotec has often been used to induce labor or to decrease blood loss after delivery of a baby. A woman who uses Cytotec during labor or after delivery may tear her uterus or womb, resulting in severe bleeding, miscarriage or death.
    Ephedra (Ma Huang or Chinese Ephedra)

    Marketed overthecounter as a dietary supplement for weight loss, energy, and bodybuilding, ephedra is a botanical source of ephedrine. The drugs side effects range from dizziness, headache, and stomachache to heart attack, stroke, and seizures. See Ephedra Ban Goes Into Effect This Week.
    Femara (letrozole)

    The FDA approved Femara for the treatment of breast cancer in women who have gone through menopause. However, some doctors have used the drug off-label as a fertility treatment. If a woman uses Femara and becomes pregnant, she may deliver a baby who has birth defects.
    Ketek (telithromycin)

    The antibiotic Ketek is used to treat sinus infections, bronchitis and pneumonia when these illnesses are caused by bacteria. The drug may cause severe liver damage.
    Meridia (sibutamine, Reductil, and Reduxade)

    The prescription diet drug Meridia increases blood pressure and heart rate. The drug has been banned in Italy, but is still sold in the United States. See Meridia Diet Drug Remains Available, Despite Safety Concerns.
    OxyContin (oxycodone)

    OxyContin is a powerful opioid used to treat severe pain. It is highly addictive. A patient who suddenly stops taking OxyContin may experience withdrawal symptoms. See OxyContin Manufacturer Deceived Public; Ordered to Pay $60 Million.
    Prempro

    The hormone replacement therapy drug Prempro consists of the hormones estrogen and progestin. Doctors may prescribe it to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and to decrease the discomforts of menopause such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. However, Prempro use has been linked to breast cancer.
    Remicade (infleximab)

    Remicade treats the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and Crohns disease, which is a disorder that causes inflammation and fistulas (tunnellike structures) in the intestine. Remicade is also approved to treat a type of spinal arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis. Remicade side effects include severe liver problems, pneumonia and an increased risk for developing the blood cancer lymphoma. See Remicade Linked to Liver Damage and Pneumonia and Arthritis Drug, Remicade, May Increase Lymphoma Risk.
    Strattera (atomoxetine)

    Strattera can cause liver damage and liver failure that results in death or the need for a liver transplant. The drug is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD in children or adults.
    Trasylol (aprotinin)

    Trasylol is used to stem blood loss during heart bypass surgery. However, the medication increases the risk of kidney problems, heart attacks and strokes. Some patients may develop a severe allergic reaction to the drug, especially if they have used it before.
    Viagra (sildenafil)

    Some users of Viagra and other impotence drugs have suffered from sudden blindness. The labels for these drugs now include warnings about NAION (non arteritic ischemic optic neuropathy), a condition in which blood flow is blocked to the optic nerve, often resulting in permanent, severe vision loss.

  46. #46 LanceR, JSG
    November 29, 2008

    See, that’s what I’m talking about. Three different names, one person. One very wrong person.

    Instead of calling us names, provide evidence. You have claimed to have evidence, show it.

    Otherwise we must mock you severely.

  47. #47 Hank Aaron
    November 29, 2008

    Pot
    Kettle
    Evidence
    Look it up

    A scientist seeks evidence to contradict an hypothesis. You haven’t done that. You’re just opinionated. And we all know that no evidence has value to the narrow minded opinionated person who has made up their mind ahead of time. Really, you don’t even try. You just keep making the same accusations over and over, and tossing in some name calling on top of it Let’s see, you’ve said maroon, moron, dumbass, twits, etc. etc. etc. I’m no debater, and clearly you are the master debater, so I’m sure you can label anything you don’t like so as to dismiss it.

    Here, tell you what. Where’s your evidence? I challenge you to test your assumptions and try to disprove them, you’ll find plenty of evidence. I’ve done it, I have a list of links. I’ve tried posting them and my post was rejected. Your turn. If all you want is proof that you’re right, you prove only that you’re as superstitious as the people who you accuse of being superstitious. If all you have is quackwatch to support your view, or a handful of real cases of harm committed by unqualified unlicensable people who used fake degrees to play doc, you’re guilty of wanting to be right at all costs, of generalizing deleting and distorting the data to match your preconceived notions.

    You can label what I say any way you want, you’re the lawyer with an axe to grind and it’s your blog. But I challenge you to be a scientist about this. Look for evidence of you being wrong about ‘alties.’ Then you have the moral highground. Until them, it’s just you making straw man arguments, and name calling, because it’s all you’ve got.

    You might find that we have more in common that you have considered. I hate woo woo. I despise bogus. I am all for a thorough vetting of the entire spectrum of healthcare for what works and what doesn’t work. BUt it doesn’t break down into the us and them model you are using. And by promoting it, you are deceiving others, the very thing you take issue with in your original post. And if you keep defending that choice, well, you reveal to all who read this what your agenda is. I say, be better than that. Go ahead and test your assumptions. Let us see that report. That would be a real service, instead of accusing the doctor who serves a community that is underserved by the conventional system, and maligning her practice based only on your assumptions about it. Did you even dig in before posting your opinion? Find out? Demonstrate a little intellectual curiosity about what you read before using it to promote your own agenda? (I’m asking. It appears you did not, but if you did, tell me, I’ll respect you for it.)

    Yeah, I know, you’re going to call me some names. It’s cool. Verbal misbehavior doesn’t hurt anyone else, just makes you look bad.

  48. #48 Bronze Dog
    November 29, 2008

    1. Malpractice is an infrastructural problem, not a scientific one.

    2. Real medicine isn’t perfect. Some things just don’t work out because we don’t know everything, which is why we have organizations for pulling things off the market when bad things happen. Alties scream bloody murder and conspiracy any time we try to do the same to their sacred cows.

    3. There are calculated risks. A bunch of cherrypicked anecdotes to match What’s The Harm?’s lists misses the point. There’s risk and benefit in medicine. Alties are willing to put up with much more enormous risks and aren’t interested in proving there’s any benefit at all. That’s why they scream bloody murder whenever we try to force them to go up to the standards we try to consistently enforce on “Big Pharma.” Big Altie’s got the sweeter deal and they don’t want to lose it.

  49. #49 LanceR, JSG
    November 29, 2008

    As has been explained to you before, the evidence has been studied. I personally have spent many hours looking at new studies for alternative therapies. There just is nothing there. You can scream at us all you like, but it won’t change the facts.

    Again, if you have this fabled evidence, bring it. One link. Anything. But be prepared for us to act like scientists and actually examine the evidence.

    Scream some more if you like… it seems to make you feel better.

  50. #50 Marcus again
    November 30, 2008

    Every exception you make for yourselves applies to the nebulous group you call ‘Alties,’ every excuse you make applies to them, and every generalization you apply to them applies to you. You are the pot calling the kettle black. As to screaming, THIS IS SCREAMING and I’m not aware of doing it here. Ah, but it fits in with the general pattern of hyperbole you so enjoy. “I personally have spent many hours…” Really? How many is many? “There just is nothing there.” Really? Nothing? Not one little thing? Hyperbole. “”They” you say. “scream bloody murder” you accuse. You have a gift for it, I’ll give you that. Hypergeneralization, delete inconvenient truths, ignore inconsistencies in your generalizations, and call yourself a scientist. LOL! Again, your site visitors are encouraged to research for themselves. (I’m guessing that with one or two exceptions, that is unlikely to happen since this blog seems to be a gathering place for medical fanatics of like mind to yourself.)

    Your exaggerations about ‘alties’ and ‘alternative medicine’ don’t hold up to scrutiny. And what you call alternative medicine holds up to scientific scrutiny and inquiry at least as well as conventional medicine. I think better, but then, it’s a matter of perspective and opinion, and I’m willing to admit to my being opinionated. The difference between us is, I think I have an informed opinion, whereas your opinion is predetermined, not open to testing, and therefore a matter of self fulfllling prophecy. “There’s nothing there,” until there is, and then, ‘Well, that’s the exception to the rule. Still nothing there.” Until there is, and then, “Well, that’s just another exception. Still nothing.”

    Lastly, you are so cavalier with the ‘calculated’ risks of conventional medicine, yet somehow completely intolerant of the so-called risks of CAM (for which you’ve provided no evidence of any danger other than specious links to stories of unlicensed crackpots and religious fanatics, provided by like minded medical fanatics whose transparent agenda is ever so obviously preserving your monopoly status.

    I give credit to you for one thing. YOU haven’t blocked the discourse from your blog. Considerate of you in light of the way you throw your generalizations around. Happy trails!

  51. #51 Bronze Dog
    November 30, 2008

    Every exception you make for yourselves applies to the nebulous group you call ‘Alties,’ every excuse you make applies to them, and every generalization you apply to them applies to you.

    You’re new to us skeptics, aren’t you? Skeptics favor maintaining or raising standards every time I read from them. Alties favor lowering standards and scream for me to do so whenever I ask for good evidence. They demand faith in their infallibility when they give personal anecdotes, or the infallibility of others.

    I’d like to see some pro-quackery guy push for raising testing standards. Instead, most I meet end up arguing that they’re beyond scientific tests, so they should be able to market their products and services directly to the public right away, instead of going through extensive testing, like “Big Pharma” has to.

    And what you call alternative medicine holds up to scientific scrutiny and inquiry at least as well as conventional medicine.

    Got any double-blind studies?

    The difference between us is, I think I have an informed opinion, whereas your opinion is predetermined, not open to testing, and therefore a matter of self fulfllling prophecy. “There’s nothing there,” until there is, and then, ‘Well, that’s the exception to the rule. Still nothing there.” Until there is, and then, “Well, that’s just another exception. Still nothing.”

    What the hell are you talking about? Do you or do you not have a study that shows a statistically significant (i.e. just big enough to be confident it exists) benefit to an alternative medicine?

    Lastly, you are so cavalier with the ‘calculated’ risks of conventional medicine, yet somehow completely intolerant of the so-called risks of CAM (for which you’ve provided no evidence of any danger other than specious links to stories of unlicensed crackpots and religious fanatics, provided by like minded medical fanatics whose transparent agenda is ever so obviously preserving your monopoly status.

    Wow, you missed that point. Real medicine has known benefits that we learn about in testing and scientific plausibility. Quackery has no provable benefits, and any non-zero risk is therefore an unnecessary risk. Try to imagine a doctor who only performs unnecessary procedures. And note, some of those entries at What’s the Harm didn’t involve overt crackpots: Some people ended up dead just because of some allegedly benign herbal supplements.

    Also, how can someone know the difference between a full-on crackpot and a “real” alternative medicine guru? I certainly can’t. Some are just more dangerous than others, though not always for obvious reasons. Here’s a simple idea: Test all alternative medicine before you allow any practitioners to use it on the public. That’s what I demand of pharmaceutical companies. Why should alties be exempt?

  52. #52 Noah B
    December 1, 2008

    “You’re new to us skeptics, aren’t you?”

    Grin. Not really. Considering my own skepticism of your blog, your motives, and your incredible double standard, where you explain away that which is unfavorable to your opinion, and hold the opinion you skewer to a standard you cannot yourself meet. But whatever.

    “Skeptics favor maintaining or raising standards every time I read from them. ”

    Huh?

    “Alties favor lowering standards and scream for me to do so whenever I ask for good evidence.”

    Who specifically favors this? You are painting with a broad brush, and leaving out any ‘alties’ who wish to raise the standard, or who do not scream. You seem to like the word scream, particularly when it comes to ‘alties.’ Methinks thou doest protest too much. It’s you that I suspect is screaming.

    ” They demand faith in their infallibility when they give personal anecdotes, or the infallibility of others.”

    Again, who is this straw man of ‘they’ that you continue to so unskeptically believe in? I don’t know them. You do. Who are they? Who specifically are you talking about? I don’t know of a single practitioner of alt med who demands such faith. You demand it in conventional medicine, however, and dismiss any examples where conventional medicine is not backed by science and causes harm. But again, whatever.

    “I’d like to see some pro-quackery guy push for raising testing standards. Instead, most I meet end up arguing that they’re beyond scientific tests, so they should be able to market their products and services directly to the public right away, instead of going through extensive testing, like “Big Pharma” has to.”

    Where do you live, Alabama? Louisiana? In what backwater do people behave as you describe them? Here now, be specific. How many ‘alties’ have you met, actually? What was their specific background? Really! Clearly, you have very limited experience with alt med. Ever read the Integrator Blog? Consider the research done at Bastyr by ND med students, or at National Institutes of Health by all manner of ‘alties’?

    “What the hell are you talking about? Do you or do you not have a study that shows a statistically significant (i.e. just big enough to be confident it exists) benefit to an alternative medicine?”

    Nice. Coarse language is the refuge for the person unable to sustain discourse. Perhaps this is you doing the shouting you accuse the ‘alties’ of?

    “Wow, you missed that point.”

    It happens. My wife said the same thing to me just an hour ago.

    ” Real medicine has known benefits that we learn about in testing and scientific plausibility. ”

    And what of the ‘real medicine’ with its known benefits that are learned about through testing and scientific plausability that turn out to cause tremendous harm and are ventually removed from the marketplace because of it? Oh, right, that doesn’t coutn as real medicine. And I thought that snails and such had 2 dimensional views. Wow.

    “Quackery has no provable benefits,”

    Fair enough, let’s use this as our definition of Quackery.

    “and any non-zero risk is therefore an unnecessary risk.”

    So unless something puts a person at risk, it is dangerous? You don’t see how crazy you sound?

    “Try to imagine a doctor who only performs unnecessary procedures.”

    Not that hard. Several of the links provided in answers to your claims on this page point out many MDs doing that very thing, and the consequence.

    ” And note, some of those entries at What’s the Harm didn’t involve overt crackpots: Some people ended up dead just because of some allegedly benign herbal supplements.”

    No, that’s not true. Every entry that I looked at involved a crackpot. Your failure to make distinctions between licensed and licensable NDs and diploma mill degree holders tells me you must certainly live in an unlicensed state where anything goes. And why is there no licensing in these unlicensed states? Because two groups oppose alt med licensing. The crackpots, who don’t want to be regulated, and the MDs, who don’t want the competition.

    “I’d like to see some pro-quackery guy push for raising testing standards.”

    Well, that would be a contradiction in terms, wouldn’t it? (Rhetorical question. Answer is yes it would.)

    ” Instead, most I meet ”

    Again, how many is that? I’d like to know a bit more about who is actually encompassed in your generalizing.

    “end up arguing that they’re beyond scientific tests, so they should be able to market their products and services directly to the public right away, instead of going through extensive testing, like “Big Pharma” has to.”

    You’ve so conveniently mis-stated the case. I have fallen into the wrestling with a pig dilemma. The pig likes it, and I’m getting dirty.

    Here’s your no-risk because of the risk system at work, neatly described by someone inside your castle who sees that indeed you are the problem, and the people you call alties are not the problem but part of the solution.

    We spend between one fifth and one third of our health care dollars between five hundred billion and seven hundred billion dollars (and thats a billion, with a b), on care that does nothing to improve our health. And while overhead and high prices hurt our pocketbooks, the vast amount of unnecessary care in the system also makes our health care worse than it ought to be.

    The book is Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer. The book was not written by some alternative medicine or integrative care advocate. The author, Shannon Brownlee, practiced her craft in such mainstream publications as US News & World Reports, New York Times Magazine and the Atlantic Monthly. Brownlees core informants are sources like Jack Wennberg, MD, who headed a two-decade examination of cost-related issues at Dartmouth (www. http://www.dartmouthatlas.org/) and Donald Berwick, MD, the reforming taking on hospital-caused deaths at the Institute for Health Improvement at Harvard (http://www.ihi.org/ihi), and the US Institute of Medicine which published the landmark To Err is Human in 2000 (http://www.iom.edu/?id=12735).

    Brownlee summarizes these evidence-based analyses. The resulting story is well-known inside the employer, health care analyst and policy maker world. Somewhere between $500,000,000,000 and $700,000,000,000 spent unnecessarily each year is not only hurting us economically. The excessive treatment is also likely, as Brownlee states, to be causing harm. Estimates place medical treatment at between the 3rd and 5th leading cause of death in the United States with an estimate published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association placing the number at 225,000 from iatrogenic causes (1-4) Stated bluntly: We are not only given far more treatment than is necessary. We are likely to be harmed by the additional care.

  53. #54 Noah B
    December 1, 2008

    http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/3/2/283

    I keep trying to post links to CAM research, and the error messages range from ‘trying to post too often’ to being blocked as a spammer for too many links in a single message. Not worth it. The evidence you demand is not hard to find. Get off your lazy keister and test your assumptions. Otherwise, you’re just an opinionated …. fill in the blank, or not. “nuff said.

  54. #55 Noah B
    December 1, 2008

    http://www.rosenthal.hs.columbia.edu/CAM.html

    Last thing: Find a better bunch of ‘alties.’ Because based on what you say, I’m guessing that the only people you know who fit in your generalization really are nut cases. In which case, you should have a strong opinion about them. But there is more going on that you’ve allowed for. Look beyond your opinion, that’s all I am saying. Good luck.

  55. #56 LanceR, JSG
    December 1, 2008

    Okay. This sockpuppet is just a liar. This is just the “I Know You Are, But What Am I?” defense writ large.

    Simply put, anyone who pushes alternative medicine is asking for special dispensation from testing. Period. Because it doesn’t fucking work. It never has, and it never will. Give us proof or shut the fuck up.

    By the way, have you stopped beating your wife yet?

  56. #57 minimalist
    December 2, 2008

    1. Predicted response: “Wah wah wah, LanceR used the F word, now I don’t have to provide evidence”

    2. Can you stick with one handle? It probably wouldn’t be fair to ban you for sockpuppetry since you’re making it so painfully apparent, but on the other hand, what’s the freaking point?

    3. You toss a bunch of links willy-nilly (some broken; way to fact-check, Cranky von Crankenstein), and some other half-assed references to research that you haven’t actually looked at, you don’t know if it’s any good, but by golly, it has to be valid because it validates your preconceptions!

    Case in point: Your mention of NCCAM. Why, there’s CAM research going on at the NIH! That must mean there’s something to it, right? Uhhhhhh, NO. That’s a really dumb thing to pull around here. Then again, if you were even vaguely informed, you might think twice about trying.

    P.S., I didn’t know Sen. Harkin’s favorite crackpots, the bee-pollen peddlers — the entire reason he founded NCCAM — got fined by the FTC for making false claims. That’s too, too rich. Oh, but of course there’s a difference between the cranks and the “real” CAM practitioners as exemplified by NCCAM.

    Snicker.

  57. #58 minimalist
    December 2, 2008

    “Simply put, anyone who pushes alternative medicine is asking for special dispensation from testing. Period. Because it doesn’t fucking work. It never has, and it never will. Give us proof or shut the fuck up.”

    Hard to understand how anyone could not be moved by your rapier wit and coherent ideas.

    “By the way, have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

    Besides browbeating those you disagree with, are you beating your wife, Lance? Or do you verbally beat up on her the way you do here with others? Or perhaps you are the browbeaten one, and need a safe place to act out before the next time she smacks you down? (Special dispensation…hmmm, could be the nuns beat you up?)

    I hope your drugs kick in soon. I hope your addiction soothes you. I’m an American. I don’t sit down and shut up. Maybe you do, because you seem to have a few personality problems. Two words for you.

    Anger
    Management

    Oh, all the links provided are good. Anyone with more patience than a twitch will find that they work.

  58. #59 LanceR, JSG
    December 2, 2008

    Or, he could sockpuppet another person here…

    I’m getting tired of this. You are a classic denialist. IKYABWAI is your only response, and you have so far refused to show any evidence. “Wah! You’re mean!” is all you’ve got, other than extreme morphing and sockpuppetry.

    Do you understand what special pleading means? Do you understand what evidence is? Do you understand science at all?

    I guess not.

  59. #60 minimalist
    December 2, 2008

    Okay, time to ban him. I don’t particularly care if he uses my name since it’s plain to see the difference between us, but it shows an obvious intention to annoy. Trolls are not welcome.

    The UMIM link didn’t work last night, oddly enough.

    Do you understand what special pleading means? Do you understand what evidence is? Do you understand science at all?

    I guess not.

    Nope. It’s good enough to know that Somewhere, Someone is doing Some sort of research. Positive results? Negative results? Well done? Poorly conducted? He doesn’t care! He is validated simply to know that it exists, Somewhere beyond the bounds of his limited comprehension. And people say CAM is faith-based!

    Snicker.

  60. #62 Noah B
    December 2, 2008

    You are the classic denialist! Try reading something other than this blog if you want to see what research is going on and how it is turning out.

    About CAM on PubMed
    NCCAM and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) have partnered to create CAM on PubMed, a subset of NLM’s PubMed. PubMed provides access to citations from the MEDLINE database and additional life science journals. It also includes links to many full-text articles at journal Web sites and other related Web resources.

    Sample Searches
    Background Information

    PubMed Help–detailed search instructions
    PubMed Disclaimer and Copyright Notice

  61. #63 noah B
    December 2, 2008

    What specifically are you after here? You say there is no evidence, when links to said evidence are provided, you dismiss them. You say there is all this evidence against alties, yet the only links you provide are to cranks and quacks, rather than bad behavior on the part of licensed professionals.

    So just what qualifies as acceptable research to you? Lay out your criteria, remove all wiggle room and weasel clauses, and I’ll do what you refuse to do, pick out and post a single counter example here for you so you don’t have to actually read the research you claim is so meaningful to you (though I’m guessing you don’t actually read research papers, because you have such a bias to NOT SEE EVIDENCE).

    Go on, stop master baiting and state your conditions. No more of your dumb and foul generalizations. let us all see the specifics of what you claim not to exist. Meanwhile, anyone reading this blog can see that you have impulse control problems, that your view is hyper-generalized, not the least scientific, and that whatever you say is in service to your prejudice and bias. Come on, you angry and accusing men, let’s have it. What are your criteria that would allow you to acknowledge e specific counter example to your generalizations about alties?

    It appears there are two, maybe three people reading this who share this extremely prejudiced and biased viewpoint about alt med and CAM being unscientific, while embracing the absurd generalization that conventional medicine is scientific in all its particulars. Let’s have it. Name your criteria for a counter example. (You do know what criteria are, right?) Let’s see if what you require is anywhere near the realm of reason (unlike the blather, frustration and polarized views) or if you simply prefer to continue being unreasonable. Then I’ll do my best to provide what you yourselves are too prejudiced or lazy to read for yourself, post it right here for all the world (or all 9 people that read this page) to see.

  62. #64 noah B
    December 2, 2008

    The tagline for this blog says: Dont mistake denialism for debate. Yet thats exactly what you find on this page, and not from the alties ( The favored pejorative term employed here to demonize practitioners of CAM) but from those who attack them. According to the standards set by your own blog, that puts defenders of conventional medicine in the camp of denialists.

    Here are the cards from your own denialist deck that youve played in this discussion. Pretty sad, but says a lot about your real agenda. I am disappointed, in that I like the idea of accountability and a science based approach to what does and does not work when it comes to something as fundamental as healthcare.

    2 of Hearts: Bad Apples
    To the extent that something bad may have happened, blame it on “bad apples.”
    Dianne wrote: I should also note that most hospitals have medical error committees and systems in place to attempt to reduce the chances of a medical error occurring
    Bronze Dog wrote: 1. Malpractice is an infrastructural problem, not a scientific one.
    2. Real medicine isn’t perfect. Some things just don’t work out because we don’t know everything, which is why we have organizations for pulling things off the market when bad things happen. 3. There are calculated risks. There’s risk and benefit in medicine.

    3 of Hearts: No Harm
    No harm. The problem that doesn’t exist doesn’t cause harm, so there’s no problem.
    Denalists’ definition of harm typically is elusive. They won’t acknowledge harm until blood is spilled, but when that happens, it can always be blamed on a “bad apple.”

    7 of Diamonds: Responsibilitys Good, Except for Us
    LanceR wrote: Why do these twits people always point to “Big Pharma” and never discuss the multi-*BILLION* dollar supplement industry? The multi-*BILLION* dollar chiropractic industry? Hmm…

    8 of Clubs: Spread Confusion
    The “red herring” argument is a frequently-employed and efficacious tool to confuse everyone. A red herring is a specious argument–one that sounds cogent, but isn’t really responsive to the issue at hand. Just make something up that sounds good.

    8 of Spades: Duh!
    The denalist deliberately misunderstands, misinterprets, or plays dumb when presented with others’ questions or proposals.

    9 of Clubs: Nit Pick and Muddy the Waters
    With nit picking, the denialist finds one problem with a fact asserted or the proposal for reform, and then harps on the problem incessantly.
    chancelikely wrote: Just curious, is there any way we could get creationists and alties mad at each other instead of them both being mad at reality? Or could we somehow sic them both on Holocaust deniers or something?
    9 of Diamonds: Poison the Well
    Provide derogatory information about your opponent to undermine her arguments.
    Minimalist wrote: Who wants to bet that it was a bunch of Youtube videos?
    LanceR, not to be outdone in childishness, wrote: YouTube is too high quality a source… whale.to is more likely…
    But minimalist wins for cleverness with: You’re the one pining for the sort of “medicine” people used way back when they were lucky to see age 30 and barely knew enough anatomy to tell their asses from their elbows (but boy howdy did they know their stuff about “invisible energy fields” and acupuncture points!). PS, Did you put on your wizard robe and hat to write that pompous bit of amateur dramatics because ahahahaha

    9 of Spades: Exploit Others Ignorance
    The denialist simply does not offer information, or allows others to hold misconceptions if it benefits the denialist. In technology and consumer protection, this usually occurs where an industry can fix a problem, but does not want to, and so its advocates don’t mention their capabilities or practices.
    Bronze Dog pipes in with: Real medicine: The patient is dangerously sick. If we do nothing, he’ll either die or be miserable for the rest of his life. Let’s find something with proven benefits and carefully weigh the risks between different benefits.
    Alties: Real medicine isn’t 100% perfectly, absolutely, completely safe, therefore it’s completely and utterly worthless. So let’s perform some largely unregulated human experimentation on some people willing to pay us money to give them a treatment that has no record of efficacy. Test directly on the open marketplace, never keep records except when you can cherrypick good testimonials, and never followup on patients. Let’s also petition the government to tear down consumer protection agencies that look at us funny.
    and
    Alties favor lowering standards and scream for me to do so whenever I ask for good evidence. They demand faith in their infallibility when they give personal anecdotes, or the infallibility of others.
    I’d like to see some pro-quackery guy push for raising testing standards. Instead, most I meet end up arguing that they’re beyond scientific tests, so they should be able to market their products and services directly to the public right away, instead of going through extensive testing, like “Big Pharma” has to.

    The Joker: Temper Tantrum
    The denialist throws a temper tantrum. This may sound distasteful, but it actually works.
    There is a certain tone that an industry lobbyist can generate when truly pressed. It sounds porcine, and if you hear it, you’ll know that the Joker has been played.

    10 of Clubs: Growing Petulance
    The denialist is in serious trouble at this point.
    Read the page, its obvious.

    Jack of Clubs: Youre a Ninny
    It’s time to go on the offensive. Call your opponent a ninny!
    LanceR excels at this. No point in digging it up, but heres my favorite:”Wah! Just ‘cuz I can’t show you evidence, you big meanies won’t let me play! Wah!”
    and
    Again, dumbass, there is no evidence. Claiming to have tried to send it, but “wah! the spam filter ate it!” doesn’t count. Either put up, or shut up. Fish or cut bait.

    Jack of Hearts: Weve Always Done This
    Like a teenager, say “we’ll we’ve always done this,” and therefore we should be able to continue to do so.
    The tone of the original post is clear on this. Might makes right and everyone else out to be wrong.

    King of Spades: Danger
    This is a very powerful argument in the post-9/11 environment. And if you’re a denialist worth your salt, you can figure out a way to claim it

    The original post uses this as the undertone of the case made. DANGER!

    May I refer you to your own posted cartoon? This cartoon describes beautifully the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry, the conventional medical community, and the government regulatory agencies. its a cozy deal, and to maintain it, they try to divert attention away from it by claiming the alties are dangerous rather than admitting that the danger lies with the lack of science in their own thinking and accountability.
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/10/02/it_pays.gif

    When you consider how many MDs prescribe antibiotics and mood altering drugs and cholesterol lowering drugs, etc. etc. willy nilly, (i.e., when not called for) and how easily they overlook the evidence for efficacy in natural treatments, the double standard is obvious and the agenda of this blog and these foul mouthed critics obvious. They should take their own medicine.

  63. #65 Noah B
    December 2, 2008

    Two double blind studies. C’mon, really, these are so easy to find now. Admit you are blinded by your biases, and have the very scientific shortcomings you complain about in your enemy, the ‘alties’

    h ttp://www.annals.org/cgi/content/abstract/141/12/901

    h ttp://www.medpagetoday.com/Rheumatology/Arthritis/4685

  64. #66 LanceR, JSG
    December 2, 2008

    Can you say “unclear on the concept”? I knew you could!

  65. #67 noah B
    December 2, 2008

    Not exactly relevant, but based on the abusive and arrogant tone that appears here, may be highly relevant.

    h ttp://www.nytimes.com/glogin?URI=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/health/02etiq.html&OQ=_rQ3D1Q26eiQ3D5070Q26emcQ3Deta1&OP=45df3a96Q2FQ3B.zJQ3B_Q7Chr-Q7CQ7CQ25,Q3B,ppQ22Q3BC,Q3Bp,Q3BQ51zfQ5DQ25Q51Q3Bp,zQ25bkvQ51Q25Q7EQ5D

  66. #68 noah B
    December 2, 2008

    oops. here,

    Article is titled 6 Habits of Highly Respectful Physicians

    It’s the little things. LanceR, I hope you are not a doctor, because if you are, I pity your patients. But if you are, do yourself and your patients a favor and learn a little about how to engage with other people with just a tiny bit of respect. Then you won’t wind up alone and full of yourself and your double standards and mixed messages at the end of a sorry and miserable self-righteous life. Good luck!

    h ttp://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/health/02etiq.html?ei=5070&emc=eta1

  67. #69 Anonymous
    December 2, 2008

    Who’s doing the woo woo now? According to an article in todays New York Times, the pharaceutical industry attacked and discredited the findings from a study done in 2002 that generic diuretics for hbp, in use since the 1950s, and costing only pennies a day, worked better than newer drugs that cost up to 20 times as much.

    The findings, from one of the biggest clinical trials ever organized by the federal government, promised to save the nation billions of dollars in treating the tens of millions of Americans with hypertension even if the conclusions did seem to threaten pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer that were making big money on blockbuster hypertension drugs.
    The aftereffects of the study show how hard it is to change medical practice, even after a government-sanctioned trial costing $130 million produced what appeared to be solid evidence.
    A confluence of factors blunted Allhats impact. One was the simple difficulty of persuading doctors to change their habits. Another was scientific disagreement, as many academic medical experts criticized the trials design and the governments interpretation of the results.
    Moreover, pharmaceutical companies responded by heavily marketing their own expensive hypertension drugs and, in some cases, paying speakers to publicly interpret the Allhat results in ways that made their products look better.
    The pharmaceutical industry ganged up and attacked, discredited the findings, Dr. Furberg said. He eventually resigned in frustration as chairman of the studys steering committee, the expert group that continues to oversee analysis of data from the trial. One member of that committee received more than $200,000 from Pfizer, largely in speaking fees, the year after the Allhat results were released.
    There was another factor: medicine moves on. Even before Allhat was finished, and certainly since then, new drugs appeared. Others, meanwhile, became available as generics, reducing the cost advantage of the diuretics. And many doctors have shifted to using two or more drugs together, helped by pharmaceutical companies that offer combination pills containing two medicines.
    So Allhats main query which drug to use first became an outdated question that doesnt have huge relevance to the majority of peoples clinical practices, said Dr. John M. Flack, the chairman of medicine at Wayne State University, who was not involved in the study and has consulted for some drug makers.
    Dr. Sean Tunis, a former chief medical officer for Medicare, remains an advocate for comparative-effectiveness studies. But, as Allhat showed, they are hard to do, expensive to do and provoke a lot of political pushback, said Dr. Tunis, who now runs the nonprofit Center for Medical Technology Policy, which tries to arrange such trials.
    Theres a lot of magical thinking, he said, that it will all be science and wont be politics.
    Expensive Pills
    Promising better ways to treat high blood pressure, drug companies in the 1980s introduced a variety of medications, including ones known as calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors.
    Although there was no real evidence the newer pills were better, diuretics fell to 27 percent of hypertension prescriptions in 1992, from 56 percent in 1982. Use of the more expensive pills added an estimated $3.1 billion to the nations medical bill over that period.
    So the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the federal National Institutes of Health, decided to compare the various drugs ability to prevent heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems. This was a big-bucks issue, said Dr. Jeffrey Cutler, the Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes project director for the study.
    Allhat short for the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial began enrolling patients with high blood pressure, age 55 and older, in 1994, with more than 42,000 people eventually participating. Patients were randomly assigned one of four drugs: a diuretic called chlorthalidone; an ACE inhibitor called lisinopril, which AstraZeneca sold as Zestril; a calcium channel blocker, amlodipine, sold by Pfizer as Norvasc; and an alpha blocker, doxazosin, which Pfizer sold as Cardura.
    Cardura was added only after Pfizer, which had already agreed to contribute $20 million to the trials costs, increased that to $40 million, Dr. Cutler said.

    As the Allhat data came in, patients taking Cardura were nearly twice as likely as those receiving the diuretic to require hospitalization for heart failure, a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood adequately. Concerned, the Heart, Lung and Blood Institute announced in March 2000 that it had stopped the Cardura part of the trial.

    Read the whole article here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/28/business/28govtest.html?em

    By the way, this is an excellent series about evidence based medicine, which should be of interest to concerned physicians and allied healthcare professionals everywhere. That probably means it will be dissed and dismissed by several of the posters here, like Bronze Dog, minimalist and LanceR, who have an axe to grind and could care less about the facts. But for everyone else, excellent series.

  68. #70 LanceR, JSG
    December 2, 2008

    And in other news, obsessive-compulsive disorder still rampant among certain blog posters! Back to you, Bob!

  69. #71 Noah B
    December 12, 2008

    It sucks being you. Pot>Kettle

    Wyeth paid a company to ghostwrite medical journal articles about its hormone therapy products and seek academic scientists to sign them as authors, a U.S. senator said.

    Documents from lawsuits suggest the drugmaker hired DesignWrite Inc. of Princeton, New Jersey, to draft manuscripts related to the Wyeth products and breast cancer risks, according to letters released today from Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa to the companies. Wyeth makes the hormone replacement drugs Prempro and Premarin.

    Oh, and in our ‘Better Late Than Never’ category of science based medicine,

    ROCKVILLE, Md., Dec 11 (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) widely prescribed drug Advair is safe enough for treating asthma but two lesser-used medicines are too risky, a U.S. advisory panel ruled on Thursday.

    Evidence of asthma-related deaths and serious complications led the panel of experts to warn against continued use of Glaxo’s Serevent and Novartis AG’s (NOVN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Foradil for adults, adolescents and children with asthma.

  70. #72 LanceR, JSG
    December 13, 2008

    Apparently, Bobby only gets computer access at the home once a week.

    What’s the matter, Bob? Accidentally deflate your girlfriend?

  71. #73 Noah B
    December 13, 2008

    Lance, are you playing with blowup dolls? Where’s the science in that? Meantime, here’s more of your science based medicine. I think people have far less to fear from your naturopath boogey(wo)man than from your cavalier attitude towards the corruption in your own house. And your insults don’t hide the facts.

    Speedy Drug Approvals Put Patients at Risk
    Date Published: Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

    A prominent researcher has charged that pressure to quickly bring new drugs to market may be endangering patients. To often, quick approval means a drugs dangerous side effects are missed, and only discovered years after a medication has been on the market.

    In an article he wrote for The British Medical Journal, Dr. David Kao of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center points out that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) had instituted new procedures over the last decade or so aimed at speeding up drug approvals. As an example, Kao points to the 1992 Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA. This act allows the agency to impose user fees on drug companies to help speed drug approvals. The act is credited with reducing the average time to approve a drug from 33.6 months during 1979-86 to 16 months by the 1997-2002 period.

    But Koa writes that the focus on approving new drugs quickly takes the focus off of dangerous side effects. Under the current system, Koa said new drugs are only tested on a few thousand people at most. The FDA and drug makers then use post-approval surveillance to watch for side effects that didnt become apparent during pre-approval clinical trials.

    Koa points out that previous research has shown that drugs approved in the U.S. close to a mandated deadline are more likely to need additional safety warnings later, or even be withdrawn for safety reasons. This can lead to public health disasters, such as what happened with Vioxx. According to Koa, 20 million patients had taken the dangerous drug before it was withdrawn in 2004 – five years after its approval – because of its link to heart attack and strokes.

  72. #74 minimalist
    December 13, 2008

    Yeah, we can all rest easy knowing that woo-woo therapies don’t have any sort of approval regime to feel pressured to speed through.

    That way, we can all be sure that Minimalist’s Magical Thwacking-Stick Therapy For Teh Cancer is safe, effective… and fun! Because I say so. Line up for your treatment, kids!

  73. #75 noah B
    December 14, 2008

    Yeah, because clearly your system works quite well, if you just forget that M.D. caused death is the 3rd leading cause of death in the US! Not the woowoos. You youse. Talk about magical thwacking stick therapy…you’ve been hit in the head with your magic stick so many times you think your sarcasm constitutes an intelligent response to a reality you wish to deny and distract from. It must really pain you that so many people are no longer quite as eager to line up for your treatment, even though you talk down to them like kids.

    See previous entry on Hoofnmouth’s deck of cards. That’s your only deck to deal with reality buddy. YOu are the denialist he created his deck to describe, and yet lack the thoughtfulness to notice it. But hey, love the sarcasm. I suspect you are one angry SOB, and the thought of your elevated B.P. and the medication you take to deal with it fills me with a mixture of compassion and happiness on an otherwise grey day. Careful! Don’t have a conniption. Cya, hate to be ya!

  74. #76 LanceR, JSG
    December 14, 2008

    M.D. caused death is the 3rd leading cause of death in the US!

    BUZZ! wrong again! The top five:

    Heart disease: 652,091
    Cancer: 559,312
    Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 143,579
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 130,933
    Accidents (unintentional injuries): 117,809

    Perhaps you’re referring to the high(ish) rate of people dying in hospitals. Wow, go figure, sick people who require hospitalization may die while they are there. Big surprise.

    And woo-meisters have such a great track record. Do absolutely nothing worthwile, and occasionally injure or kill somebody. Zero benefit, small risk = infinite ratio.

    Buy a clue. They sell them all over the country in these places we call “schools”.

  75. #77 Noah B
    December 16, 2008

    Wow. If you weren’t so arrogant and nasty, I’d let it go, anyone with half a mind can see it, you are exactly what this blog supposedly is against, thus revealing the hypocrisy of it, but thanks to your over-compensating for shortcomings in yourself which you deny, I think you deserve as many opportunities to face facts as possible. Oh, and in one of these places we call “schools,” I learned what you somehow managed not to learn. How to think, how to reason, how to engage in honest debate, and how to have a good laugh when someone insists on making a fool of himself. So, BUZZ, it’s you, again, who is wrong. Big surprise is right. Maybe you left ‘school’ too soon?

    h ttp://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/11856.php
    2004, An average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a study of 37 million patient records that was released by HealthGrades, the healthcare quality company

    h ttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VBF-4TN2FGB-3&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=c38f3547aea431e7b8b821af6dba2b72

    Mortality Goes Down When Doctors Go On Strike
    “A paradoxical pattern has been suggested in the literature on doctors’ strikes: when health workers go on strike, mortality stays level or decreases. We performed a review of the literature during the past forty years to assess this paradox. We used PubMed, EconLit and Jstor to locate all peer-reviewed English-language articles presenting data analysis on mortality associated with doctors’ strikes. We identified 156 articles, seven of which met our search criteria. The articles analyzed five strikes around the world, all between 1976 and 2003. The strikes lasted between nine days and seventeen weeks. All reported that mortality either stayed the same or decreased during, and in some cases, after the strike. None found that mortality increased during the weeks of the strikes compared to other time periods. The paradoxical finding that physician strikes are associated with reduced mortality may be explained by several factors. Most importantly, elective surgeries are curtailed during strikes. Further, hospitals often re-assign scarce staff and emergency care was available during all of the strikes. Finally, none of the strikes may have lasted long enough to assess the effects of long-term reduced access to a physician. Nonetheless, the literature suggests that reductions in mortality may result from these strikes.”

    “Based on the findings of one major study, medical errors kill some 44,000 people in U.S. hospitals each year. Another study puts the number much higher, at 98,000. Even using the lower estimate, more people die from medical mistakes each year than from highway accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS.

    “Moreover, while errors may be more easily detected in hospitals, they afflict every health care setting: day-surgery and outpatient clinics, retail pharmacies, nursing homes, as well as home care. Deaths from medication errors that take place both in and out of hospitals more than 7,000 annually exceed those from workplace injuries.”

    The only one peddling woo here is you. You believe in your conventional model as if it is your religion. YOu are as bigoted and blinded by your religious fervor as can be. And because you lack facts, you use insults and denial. I find the entertainment value of your denialism on a blog about denialism to be delicious. Keep it up. Thanks for helping me get the word out about your medical fundamentalism. Can’t wait to see which denialist card you try to use on me next. You’re a hoot!

    Here are references for anyone capable of thinking past your ignorance, arrogance and insults. And by the way, the treatments which you claim do nothing at all? More and more people are choosing them. I guess you should just start calling everyone other than you and your medical co-religionists nasty names. It’s your gift.

    National Patient Safety Foundation at the AMA: Public Opinion of Patient Safety Issues, Louis Harris & Associates, September 1997.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (National Center for Health Statistics), Deaths: Final Data for 1997. National Vital Statistics Reports: Deaths: Leading Causes for 1999. Volume 49, Number 11, October 12, 2001
    Institute of Medicine (IOM), “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System”, 2000, online.
    Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, Is US Health Really the Best in the World?, JAMA, Volume 284, No. 4, July 26, 2000, html, PDF
    Lazarou J, Pomeranz BH, Corey PN. Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. JAMA 1998 Apr 15;279(15):1200-5, html, PDF
    JAMA / volume:279 (page: 1216) Drugs and Adverse Drug Reactions: How Worried Should We Be? David W. Bates, MD, MSc April 15, 1998 html, PDF
    EILEEN G. HOLLAND, PHARM.D., and FRANK V. DEGRUY, M.D. Drug-Induced Disorders, Volume 15, No. 7, November 1, 1997, html
    Phillips DP, Christenfeld N, Glynn LM. Lancet 1998 Feb 28;351(9103):643-4 Increase in US medication-error deaths between 1983 and 1993. medline
    National Academies, “Preventing Death and Injury From Medical Errors Requires Dramatic, System-Wide Changes” November 29, 1999, (press release)
    Richard J. Bonnie, Carolyn E. Fulco, Catharyn T. Liverman, Editors; Committee on Injury Prevention and Control, Institute of Medicine, Reducing the Burden of Injury: Advancing Prevention and Treatment, online
    Schuster M, McGlynn E, Brook R. How good is the quality of health care in the United States? Milbank Q. 1998;76:517-563. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&Dopt=r&uid=9879302

  76. #78 noah B
    December 16, 2008

    While we’re at it:
    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/279/15/1216?lookupType=volpage&vol=279&fp=1216&view=short

    oh, and these are fun.
    http://www.furiousseasons.com/zyprexadocs.html

    Have a nice day. Oh wait, you can’t. You don’t know how!

  77. #79 noah B
    December 16, 2008

    While we’re at it:
    h ttp://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/279/15/1216?lookupType=volpage&vol=279&fp=1216&view=short

    oh, and these are fun.
    h ttp://www.furiousseasons.com/zyprexadocs.html

    Have a nice day. Oh wait, you can’t. You don’t know how!

  78. #80 noah B
    December 16, 2008

    A last item, then on to my vacation, and the arrogant voices that reside here can once again mislead, lie and dominate the conversation by ridiculing those with whom they disagree.

    Unlike LanceR and minimalist and the owner of the blog (who may very well be LanceR and/or minimalist) I am not a religionist about medicine or healthcare. I’m proud to be a physician in good standing in my community, and I’m grateful to the conventional medical community for saving the lives of people I care about on many occasions. I have great respect for the skill, knowledge and ability of countless physicians in the conventional system with whom I have had the good fortune of working with and learning from. They are , with rare exception, intelligent and trustworthy people who seek to save lives and advance their art.

    LanceR and minimalist, with their sarcasm and need to attack those who practice differently, give a bad impression that reinforces the worst stereotypes about out-of-touch physicians lacking the most basic bedside manners and clinical skills. My posts about the pot calling the kettle black are simply intended to point out that any system devised by men is bound to be constrained by the weaknesses to which human beings are prone. There is no perfect system. The double standard applied in the article at the top of this page is odious to me. The naturopath accused by the blog of doing harm is, I’m certain, providing a much needed service to an underserved community. Based on what I can ascertain of her education, she is trained to make good use of referrals to conventional doctors when needed, has good diagnostic training, and is using therapeutic approaches that have an empirical track record of effectiveness, though the double blinded studies is a problem that is now being remedied in research venues across the country.

    But a lack of double blinded studies doesn’t justify the double standard tone of this blog, or disqualify the validity of her approach. I learned that there is more to medicine than what I learned in med school by dealing with real people outside the walls of the hospitals who are suffering from real problems and who, I can assure you, found real help in an integrated approach.

    I know that is anathema to the intolerant, angry and sarcastic voices of this blog author and his coreligionists, yet it is true nonetheless. And no amount of insults to me or others who disagree with their blind fanaticism will change that. Here’s to a happy holiday season filled with health and family for all good souls practicing medicine everywhere.

  79. #81 PalMD
    December 16, 2008

    Does anyone know what this guy is talking about?

  80. #82 LanceR, JSG
    December 16, 2008

    Does anyone know what this guy is talking about?

    tl;dr
    <grin>
    The usual lies, innuendo and special pleading I would guess. Catch him in a false answer, and he goes a little beserk.

  81. #83 PalMD
    December 16, 2008

    Unlike LanceR and minimalist and the owner of the blog (who may very well be LanceR and/or minimalist)

    Maybe he can’t view the sidebar

  82. #84 LanceR, JSG
    December 16, 2008

    Maybe he can’t view the sidebar

    Or read past a third grade level. It’s very easy to *claim* to be a “physician in good standing” on a blog. “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

  83. #85 minimalist
    December 16, 2008

    It’s like the creationists who claim to be “biologists” and then go on to spout the usual kindergarten-level crap like “why are there still monkeys!?!”

    His latest infodumps demonstrate that he doesn’t even understand the grounds of this debate. They become less and less relevant as he desperately scavenges for links that (he thinks) validate his poorly-thought-out, fuzzy-headed notions that western medicine is baaaaaaad.

  84. #86 Reductil
    May 25, 2009

    Reductil is a diet pill that helps obese people in attaining weight loss. Abbott Laboratories manufacture Reductil pills. Its former name was Knoll Pharmaceuticals. European Union (EU) has approved these pills for sale in many European nations.

  85. #87 kristen
    October 15, 2009

    Wow. This blog is a horrible depiction of drastic sides aiming at each others jugulars. Reminds me of our current political standings. I would hate to pull the “can’t we all just get along” card out, but we should come to a uniformity that good can come of both sides. We all know that there is a good and direct place for allopathic medicine, but as far as a means of prevention, a lifestyle change this country needs, I believe that nautropathy can provide that. And as far as denialism goes, it’s interesting that your entire blog essentially is about that, according to each and every authors “about me” snipit, and yet you deny that there are actual scientifically based facts on the validity of alternative health care.

    Let me jog your memories. These are all from PubMed, which most if not all of the scientific community respects as clinical and scientific information. You, however, may still be in denial.

    “Are Positive Alternative Medical Therapy Trials Credible? Evidence From Four High-Impact Medical Journals.” Bausell RB. Eval Health Prof. 2009 Oct 8.

    “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Chronic Liver Disease Patients.” Ferrucci LM, Bell BP, Dhotre KB, Manos MM, Terrault NA, Zaman A, Murphy RC, Vanness GR, Thomas AR, Bialek SR, Desai MM, Sofair AN. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2009 Sep 23.

    “Advances in herbal volatile oil and aromatic herbs” Huang L, Gu Y, Li H. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2009 Jun;34(12):1605-11. Review. Chinese.

    “Effects of consumption of pomegranate juice on carotid intima-media thickness in men and women at moderate risk for coronary heart disease.” Davidson MH, Maki KC, Dicklin MR, Feinstein SB, Witchger M, Bell M, McGuire DK, Provost JC, Liker H, Aviram M. Am J Cardiol. 2009 Oct 1;104(7):936-42.

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