Respectful Insolence

It figures.

I don’t know if it’s confirmation bias or not, but it seems that every time I go away on a trip, some juicy bit of blog fodder pops up. So, right here, right now, while I’m at the AACR meeting soaking up the latest and greatest in cancer science, inevitably someone posts something that normally would provoke–nay, demand–an Orac-ian deconstruction full of the usual Insolence. So what is it this time?

Dana Ullman.

Yes, everybody’s favorite homeopath for whom no science is too settled to twist and homeopathy and homeopathic “thinking” are in fact responsible for much of medical science, including vaccines, is at it again, and he’s at it at–where else?–that wretched hive of scum and quackery, The Huffington Post. He’s doing better this time at being topical, though. The last time around, when he tried to capitalize on Oscar nomination and then victory for Best Picture of The King’s Speech, he was months late. This time around, he’s a bit more topical in Homeopathy For Radiation Poisoning, in which he (among other inanities) tries to convince you that the entire basis of radiation therapy for cancer is homeopathic. I kid you not. Behold:

A homeopath by the name of Emil Grubbe, M.D. (1875-1960) was the first person to use radiation to treat a person with cancer (Dearborn, 2005).

In January 1896, Grubbe was a student at the Hahnemann Medical College (of Chicago, a famous homeopathic medical school). He gave radiation treatment to Mrs. Rose Lee, a woman with breast cancer.

Grubbe got the idea of using radiation as a treatment for Lee’s breast cancer from Reuben Ludlam, M.D., a professor at the homeopathic medical school. Ludlam knew that Grubbe had previously experimented with X-ray as a diagnostic procedure so much that he developed blisters and tumors on his hand and neck as a result of overexposure to this new technology.

Because one of the basic premises of homeopathic medicine is that small doses of a treatment can help to heal those symptoms that large doses are known to cause, Ludlam suggested to Grubbe that radiation may be a treatment for conditions such as tumors because it also causes them.

This incident is but one more example from history in which an insight from a homeopathic perspective has provided an important breakthrough in medical treatment.

First off, even if this were true, it would be more of an example of the proverbial stopped watch having the right time twice a day, except for homeopathy it would be more like being right twice a century. Even if it were right about something like this, it would also be a massive case of being right for the wrong reason. The reason radiation therapy works for cancer is because it damages DNA, and rapidly proliferating cells (like cancer cells) are in generally more sensitive to DNA damage than quiescent, non-proliferating cells. Consequently, cancer tends to be more sensitive to radiation than surrounding normal tissue. Second, back in 1896 scientists didn’t know any of this. All they knew is that radiation burned. Hypotheses popular around that time for the cause of cancer were chronic irritation (Rudolph Virchow) and trauma.

But what about the rest of Ullman’s claims about Grubbe? Here’s a more sober history of the man:

It was not uncommon for youngsters of 15 or 16 years of age to enter medical school in those days, but Grubbe’s formal education was so limited that he could not obtain admission to any of the not overly selective 15 or more medical schools then existing in Chicago. He enrolled, therefore, in Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso and by hard work as a night watchman he was able to complete his formal premedical education and entered Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago in 1895. His talent for scientific study and teaching led to his appointment as an instructor in physics and chemistry at the medical college while he was also an undergraduate student. At that time, Roentgen’s discovery in November of 1895 so impressed young Grubbe that he obtained a vacuum discharge tube and began his mutilation and disfigurement.

He conducted an investigation of the fluoroscopic capabilities of the “‘new ray” and, along with Edison and many other pioneers, some of the original investigations into the applications of the roentgen ray. It was at this time that he began to suffer from radiation-dermatitis of the hands and neck. The relationship of these lesions to radiation was clear to him, and at the suggestion of one of his colleagues he began to experiment with the use of this apparatus in the treatment of carcinoma. Success was almost instantaneous. In February of 1896, he founded the first radiation therapy facility in Chicago, at South Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago.

All of this was accomplished before he graduated from medical school in 1898. He remained a member of the faculty and occupied the professorial chair in electrotherapeutics and radiography until 1919.

So, basically, Grubbe was a curious, brilliant man who practiced according to the standards of the time. As for Hahnemann Medical College, it wasn’t so outside the mainstream as homeopathy is today:

In addition to these “regular” medical colleges, several institutions trained practitioners in alternative medical practices. The most popular alternative, especially among well-educated segments of society, was homeopathy. Homeopathic theory held that drugs should be tested to determine their effects, that a drug which causes specific symptoms in a well person is the drug which should be used to cure those same symptoms in an unwell person (like cures like), and that a drug’s potency is enhanced by a series of dilutions (the law of infinitesimals). The Hahnemann Medical College opened in 1860 and became coeducational in 1871. Except for the emphasis upon homeopathic therapeutics, instruction resembled that in Chicago’s “regular” medical schools.

Oddly enough, Grubbe had to have his hand amputated due to complications and burns suffered from radiation, which hardly sounds homeopathic to me. Of course, any time any conventional medicine can cause the problem it treats, Ullman is quick to jump on it as evidence that the homeopathic principle of “like cures like” is generally true and that homeopathy informed how modern science-based medicine is practiced.

I don’t have time to undertake the rest of Ullman’s article; so I’m going to do something that (I hope) is better than another lame open thread. I’m going to leave the deconstruction of the rest of Ullman’s paean to homeopathy as a treatment for radiation poisoning to you, the reader. Do me proud. Analyze his claims and the “evidence” that Ullman presents. And don’t cheat. Try to do it without consulting the work of other skeptical bloggers who very well might, fired up by Ullman’s nonsense, have had a go at his latest HuffPo excretion. Above all, have fun, as I hope to. I’m off to spend a day learning about some real science about cancer. It’ll cleanse the palate after a dose of Dana Ullman’s homeopathic blather.

Comments

  1. #1 superdave
    April 4, 2011

    Ok so one of the central tenet’s of homeopathy is somewhat correct in a broad metaphorical sense some of the time. That proves all of homeopathy how?

  2. #2 MikeMa
    April 4, 2011

    So Ullman is shifting focus from the ludicrous, disproven homeopathic dilution bullshit to what might amount to a hundred year old lucky guess? I think Ulmann’s brain needs some serious succussion.

  3. #3 One Queer Fish
    April 4, 2011

    Can you provide any links to when homeopathic remedies did this to a child in great health at the time??wankers ??

    http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/parents-launch-flu-shot-damages-claim/story-e6frg153-1226032663603

  4. #4 Lawrence
    April 4, 2011

    Well, considering that homeopathic remedies to nothing at all anyway……

  5. #5 Mu
    April 4, 2011

    Nice press release by the trial lawyer you’re quoting there queer, any connection to the topic on hand?
    Even taking everything in the link at face value, all it states is “the kid got a flu shot, the kid got seizures, the flu shot was withdrawn”, ergo, the flu shot was at fault. Surprisingly they don’t even state the flu shot definitely caused the seizures, it’s all just correlation shows causation.

  6. #6 One Queer Fish
    April 4, 2011

    All the name calling concerning a practioner who has hurt nobody ,who`s medicine hurts nobody,has never hurt anyone is held up to be satin and so is his medecine.

    WTF does that make you killers on here??

    Diversion wont work links please!!

  7. #7 JohnV
    April 4, 2011

    Frigging satin, I’m more of cotton man myself.

  8. #8 One Queer Fish
    April 4, 2011

    John V..obviously cotton for brains ..for sure

  9. #9 Lawrence
    April 4, 2011

    Who’s “medicine” is nothing but water?

  10. #10 Mu
    April 4, 2011

    Gotta love Dana:
    A potentized homeopathic remedy made from arsenic (Arsenicum album 30C) was administered in a double-blind, placebo-control study to a group of groundwater arsenic affected people … (Belon, Banerjee, Karmakar, et al, 2007)
    From the abstract:
    Out of some 130 “verum”-fed volunteers of pilot study, 96 continued to take the remedy till 6months, 65 till 1 year and 15 among themcontinued till 2 years. They provided samples of their urine and blood at 6 months, 1 year and finally at 2 years. None out of 17 who received “placebo” turned up for providing blood or urine at these longer intervals.
    Someone should explain to him that if your control group doesn’t show up, you don’t have a control group, and without a control group you don’t have a controlled test. I would also doubt your blinding protocol if your whole control group is lost after only 6 months while 50% of the “active” group is still available.

  11. #11 lilady
    April 4, 2011

    Too late Orac, on dull evenings I slum over at the Huffington Post and saw the article last night.

    I also keyed in “chelation for radiation poisoning” because everyone knows chelation therapy which eliminates thimerisol mercury is easily adaptable for radiation poisoning. Not to be outdone, the colloidal silver gang have also recommended it for “radiation poisoning”.

    It’s soooo confusing for the public to chose; homeopathic potions, chelation, colloidal silver, additional radiation because Ann Coulter says “it’s good for you” or potassium Iodide available at nutrition stores or on the internet.

  12. #12 Denice Walter
    April 4, 2011

    So many opportunities for derision, so little time….

    “radiation may be a treatment for such conditions as tumours because it also causes them.” (And “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? How I hate that quote!) How can a treatment be based on what causes it, unless of course you take Hahneman as Holy Writ. Proof? When in doubt, refer to self or pet theory! Wanker.

    Also argument ad Nobelium via *mariage*: Pierre Curie liked it so it must be good, he was married to Marie Curie, who got the Nobel; extra points for mentioning son and grand-son of Curie.

  13. #13 One Queer Fish
    April 4, 2011

    Mu

    Diversion wont do .Where are the deaths, where are the brain damage children ,where are the same as the thalidomide victims in homeopathy, where are the 10`s of thousands of parents who have been turned away from the courts pursuing homeopathy damage, where are the whistleblowers on homeopathy, where are the parent groups of damaged children on the internet from homeopathy …where are the corruption cases in the CDC concerning homeopathy??I could fill the page..

    Lick my shiny ..slurp!!

  14. #14 Beamup
    April 4, 2011

    See whatstheharm.net. Also observe that these scam artists are taking money from people for their purportedly magic water.

    By OQF’s standards, Bernie Madoff should be set free because he didn’t cause direct physical harm.

  15. #15 Andrew
    April 4, 2011

    Being either water or sugar (except in cases of inadequate dilution), homeopathy doesn’t kill directly, but by being used instead of medicine. People have died (of treatable illnesses) as a result of using homeopathy instead of medicine.

    http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

  16. #16 Lawrence
    April 4, 2011

    Well, when your so-called “medicine” isn’t anything but water….the people you kill are the ones who should have gone to conventional treatment & end up dying because your “magic water” does nothing for them.

  17. #17 JayK
    April 4, 2011

    Water poisoning:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_intoxication

    Kills a number of people per year. Do you know what else isn’t paralyzing children anymore? Polio.

    What was the effect of homeopathy on Polio? It made things worse.

  18. #18 Mojo
    April 4, 2011

    @One Queer Fish:

    Diversion wont do .

    Then why are you trying to divert us from the uselessness of homoeopathy with all your whataboutery? Nothing that you have posted is evidence for homoeopathy.

  19. #19 Adam_Y
    April 4, 2011

    Diversion wont do .Where are the deaths, where are the brain damage children ,where are the same as the thalidomide victims in homeopathy, where are the 10`s of thousands of parents who have been turned away from the courts pursuing homeopathy damage, where are the whistleblowers on homeopathy, where are the parent groups of damaged children on the internet from homeopathy …where are the corruption cases in the CDC concerning homeopathy??I could fill the page..

    Lick my shiny ..slurp!!

    Every couple of years you get a story where people have literally poisoned themselves with homeopathic remedies. The last case being a rash of belladona poisonings of babies.

  20. #20 Yojimbo
    April 4, 2011

    Um! I don’t think the fish is listening. Maybe it is applying homeopathy to meaning – the less its comments have to do with the topic, the more relevant it thinks they are.

  21. #21 Poodle Stomper
    April 4, 2011

    OQF,

    All the name calling concerning a practioner who has hurt nobody ,who`s medicine hurts nobody,has never hurt anyone is held up to be satin and so is his medecine. WTF does that make you killers on here?? Diversion wont work links please!!

    If I start up a business doing faith healing, should I be held responsible for fooling sick people into forgoing effective medical treatment simply because I’m not directly causing their death by hovering by hands over them and chanting? Just because giving people a drop of water on a sugar cube will not kill them directly doesn’t mean that it cannot indirectly lead to problems (see the What’s The Harm website for examples). They have over 400 examples of people hurt or killed by the use of homeopathy.

    Enjoy!

  22. #22 Ted
    April 4, 2011

    Orac:
    While you’re at the AACR, say hi to Drs. Jim and Jimmie Holland. Their daughter is the whacko anti-vaxxer Mary Holland.

  23. #23 T. Bruce McNeely
    April 4, 2011

    There’s a quote by WC Fields that might explain OQF’s love of Homeopathy:

    “I never drink water, fish f*** in it.”

  24. #24 Rohan G
    April 4, 2011

    “Dr. Oz explained that you buy the homeopathic medicine, and you put the little tablets under your tongue and let them dissolve… Be sure not to touch the tablets, as in some cases that can deactivate them.”

    Oh please.

    http://www.current-movie-reviews.com/tv/2011/03/31/dr-oz-alternative-pain-treatments-homeopathy-and-biopuncture/

  25. #25 Ken
    April 4, 2011

    “radiation may be a treatment for such conditions as tumours because it also causes them.”

    For some reason this reminds me of the old joke where a person who is shot is described as dying of lead poisoning.

  26. #26 Marion Delgado
    April 4, 2011

    Why not try a win-win solution? Give homeopathic experts jobs in the fantasy gaming industry, designing magical healing systems!

  27. #27 Vasha
    April 4, 2011

    Chelation is a legitimate medical treatment for ingestion of radioisotopes, but I’m sure that woo-proponents of chelation don’t make a distinction between internal and external exposure, nor the removal of the radioactive elements (all that chelation can do) and treatment of the effects of exposure.

  28. #28 One Queer Fish
    April 4, 2011

    No links to direct death from homeopathic adverse reactions not a post ,and the “What’s the Harm” site 400 deaths not directly linked to homeopathic remedies from pharma illness such as cancer ,asthma, etc(vaccine damage Hillieman ) that’s a daily under estimate for pharma poison.

    How long do you lot go without contacting a strip of happy psychotic tablets for clarity of thinking ,going by the postings its about time you all got some, keep taking them guys you’re a sad bunch.

  29. #29 Vasha
    April 4, 2011

    Google books won’t go directly to the book page I quoted, so just remove “&f=false” from the URL they give you.

  30. #30 Chris
    April 4, 2011

    OQF, work on your reading comprehension. Some people died of treatable conditions, and when they failed to get real treatment they died. Some of those conditions are epilepsy, diabetes and eczema.

  31. #31 Beamup
    April 4, 2011

    So unless it directly kills people, it’s fine and dandy. OQF, you really ought to be on Madoff’s defense team.

    Those of us who have a basic understanding of morality and risk/benefit analysis will just ignore your foolishness.

  32. #32 Prometheus
    April 4, 2011

    OQF asks:

    “Where are the deaths, where are the brain damage [sic] children ,where are the same as the thalidomide victims in homeopathy, where are the 10`s of thousands of parents who have been turned away from the courts pursuing homeopathy damage, where are the whistleblowers on homeopathy, where are the parent groups of damaged children on the internet from homeopathy …where are the corruption cases in the CDC concerning homeopathy??I could fill the page…”

    Well, if we only look at people directly harmed by homeopathy, he/she/it may have a point – a very small point. Since homeopathic remedies are inert (i.e. they have no physiological effects), they aren’t likely to hurt someone unless they are inadvertently inhaled (see: drowning).

    However, just because something doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean that it helps. Maybe that’s the distraction OQF was referring to? Homeopathic remedies have been shown, on every occasion where they have been adequately studied, to be indistinguishable from placebo (except for cost – placebos are typically much cheaper). That means they don’t work.

    If they don’t hurt but also don’t work, does that somehow make homeopathic remedies better than real medicine?

    In addition, using homeopathic remedies can result in serious indirect harm by preventing or delaying treatment with real therapies that, because they have actual physiological effects, also can have adverse effects (sometimes called “side-effects”).

    And let’s not even examine the financial harm done of spending money for useless “therapies” or the emotional harm when someone realises that they have been duped.

    So, the whole “don’t hurt” part of the story is true only if you limit your view to just the consumption of the magic water or sugar pill and not the “whole person”. Not a very “holistic” approach, OQF.

    Prometheus

  33. #33 Beamup
    April 4, 2011

    Also keep in mind that homeopathic remedies HAVE caused direct harm (e.g. anosmia from Zicam). Supposedly the ones that are least effective according to homeopaths, because they’re not diluted into oblivion. So surely they should stop using such dilutions, right? Being more effective and less side effects would be considered worthy in any other field.

    But no, they’re so blind to anything resembling a fact that they can’t even admit that.

  34. #34 Yojimbo
    April 4, 2011

    Well, OQF appears to be one who thinks that real medicine is harmful, so naturally, imaginary medicine must be okay.

  35. #35 One Queer Fish
    April 4, 2011

    Heres a few web sites for you just for one I could site 20 = thousands of deaths by vaccines. and you lot cant give one direct linke to homeopathic death

    http://deathbyvaccination.com/

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/vaccine-deaths-and-injuries-skyrocket-as-cover-up-implodes.html

    http://www.whale.to/vaccines/deaths.html

    http://www.rense.com/general57/ddee.htm

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/218398.php

    keep taking the pills we will get rid of you lot sooner rather than later.

  36. #36 One Queer Fish
    April 4, 2011

    Heres a few web sites for you just for one I could site 20 = thousands of deaths by vaccines. and you lot cant give one direct linke to homeopathic death

    http://deathbyvaccination.com/

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/vaccine-deaths-and-injuries-skyrocket-as-cover-up-implodes.html

    http://www.whale.to/vaccines/deaths.html

    http://www.rense.com/general57/ddee.htm

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/218398.php

    keep taking the pills we will get rid of you lot sooner rather than later.

  37. #37 JayK
    April 4, 2011

    Efficacy has dangers, OQF. Since homeopathy is nothing more than sugar and water, it is difficult for it to cause death. However when something is effective and complex, issues arise. Would you rather that 6 million children be crippled or paralyzed from polio, that millions of infants cough until they’re too weak to breathe from whooping cough or blind from smallpox?

    I’ll admit that vaccines are more dangerous than homeopathy if you’ll tell me one disease that homeopathy has eradicated from 1st world nations.

  38. #38 Gray Falcon
    April 4, 2011

    OQF: Stay on topic. Claiming mainstream medicine is dangerous does not suggest homeopathy works in any manner. And modern medicine has saved far more than it killed. Wouldn’t everyone notice if the opposite were true? Or do you just think you’re vastly smarter, more honest, and more brave than the rest of the human population?

    The last time you referenced whale.to, it was an article that suggested that vaccination caused, against all established medical knowledge, instantaneous scurvy, that somehow also managed to avoid all symptoms except fragile bones. Which, by no small coincidence, would explain the broken bones in a child allegedly killed by vaccines when the hard evidence suggested Shaken Baby Syndrome.

  39. #39 Poodle Stomper
    April 4, 2011

    I think OQF may in fact be living proof of vaccine damage. Hell, anyone that can seriously cite both whale.to AND deathbyvaccine.com on this blog and hope to be taken seriously must have severe brain damage.

  40. #40 Steelclaws
    April 4, 2011

    Nice job, OQF, that’s a Scopie: “In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately …and gets you laughed out of the room.”

  41. #41 Prometheus
    April 4, 2011

    OQF retorts instead of replying to comments above:

    “..you lot cant [sic] give one direct linke [sic] to homeopathic death”

    As I mentioned just above OQF’s retort, even if it is true that homeopathy hasn’t killed or injured anyone directly, that isn’t a reason to use it. The same “argument” could be made about any number of things. As I mentioned about, just because something harmless (directly, at any rate) doesn’t make it effective.

    Nobody has been directly harmed by reading inspirational books, but those books aren’t effective treatments for real illness. Intercessory prayer hasn’t hurt anyone directly, but it also hasn’t cured cancer or prevented infectious disease. I don’t recall anyone ever directly harmed by unicorn posters or stuffed animals (I may have missed some cases), but those aren’t effective treatments for any real disease, either.

    So, given the wide range of harmless but ineffective actions a person can take in connection with an illness, what make homeopathy so special? If the stuffed-animal lobby were to make “plush therapy” a recognised specialty, with licensed “practitioners” and a special “formulary” of plushy treatments (“Cuddle a stuffed giraffe and call me in the morning.”), how would that be materially different from homeopathy?

    At least with “plush therapy”, you’d have a real stuffed animal instead of a sugar pill or vial of water with no active ingredient.

    Prometheus

  42. #42 Poodle Stomper
    April 4, 2011

    Although I hear that Plush Therapy may be a gateway behaviour to becoming a “Furry”.

  43. #43 Scott Cunningham
    April 4, 2011

    Wow. References to whale.to, rense.com and Prison Planet! Nothing says “trustworthy” like using internet conspiracy theory websites to defend your position on science questions!

    OQF, running to certan internet “authorities” to defend highly implausible claims earns only giggles and chortles here.

  44. #44 lilady
    April 4, 2011

    Great site for information about Radiation exposure:

    REMM (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Radiation Emergency Medical Management)

    The site provides easy to read explanations and treatments for external, internal and inhalation of radionuclides. Treatments include oral chelating and IV chelating agents.

    During my years in public health, I only saw young patients who had elevated blood lead levels, from exposure/ingestion of lead based paint chips and (very rarely) elevated heavy metal blood levels due to use of cosmetics, utensils and pottery imported from foreign countries.

    And, the specialists who chelated these patients, were not store-front alternative/complementary medicine “practitioners”.

  45. #45 herr doktor bimler
    April 4, 2011

    I tried to read the comments from OQF, but Google Translate does not offer a “Word Salad -> English” feature.

  46. #46 herr doktor bimler
    April 4, 2011

    everyone knows chelation therapy which eliminates thimerisol mercury is easily adaptable for radiation poisoning. Not to be outdone, the colloidal silver gang have also recommended it for “radiation poisoning”.

    Am I allowed to call them “unscrupulous opportunistic low-lifes” on RI, or are stronger terms preferred?

  47. #47 lilady
    April 4, 2011

    Go for it Herr Doktor Bimler! Much, much stronger terms are preferred.

  48. #48 Gray Falcon
    April 4, 2011

    I’d call them vultures, but that’s an insult to the noble scavenging birds.

  49. #49 One Queer Fish
    April 4, 2011

    Blow blow blow..no links not one death from homeopathy ,nothing. Your agenda is ,you down OQF I’ll back it up !that’s fuck poor not one constructive post. You all wonder why I don’t argue with you about your direct mis-quotes…just keep wondering..

    Give me a link guys just one please. .like Arnica encephalitis, or belladonna autism, or , Ferrum Phosphoricum,SIDS, or Nux Vomica,induced diabetis, or Pulsatilla narcolepsy,or YOU CANT HUH!!! YOU NEVER WILL

  50. #50 Chris
    April 4, 2011

    True, Gray Falcon. Vultures are actually quite graceful gliders, and do perform a very useful function.

  51. #51 Prometheus
    April 4, 2011

    Gray Falson,

    A better comparison would be to live flukes – pure parasite.

    However, liver flukes aren’t conscious of what they are doing (except in a very dim, ganglia-for-a-brain sort of way), so DUllman and Co. are far, far worse.

    Prometheus

  52. #52 Luna_the_cat
    April 4, 2011

    The harm of homeopathy:

    http://qako.me/dHq14Y

    Makes horrifying reading.

  53. #53 lilady
    April 4, 2011

    Vultures are noble creatures, liver fluke maybe; I was thinking about the dung beetle. They roll the animal dung into large balls and consume the dung for its nutrient value and use the large dung balls as brooding chambers. (F)ugly primitive looking and feisty as well…they fight each other for the dung prize.

  54. #54 One Queer Fish
    April 4, 2011

    Blow blow blow..no links not one death from homeopathy ,nothing. Your agenda is ,you down OQF I’ll back it up !that’s poor not one constructive post. You all wonder why I don’t argue with you about your direct mis-quotes…just keep wondering..

    Give me a link guys just one please. .like Arnica encephalitis, or belladonna autism, or , Ferrum Phosphoricum,SIDS, or Nux Vomica,induced diabetis, or Pulsatilla narcolepsy,or YOU CANT HUH!!!

  55. #55 Gray Falcon
    April 4, 2011

    One Queer Fish, do you understand basic ethics? That there are such things as crimes of negligence and sins of omission?

  56. #56 One Queer Fish
    April 4, 2011

    Gray Falcon
    Have you ever comprehended that pharma is killing people all around you with cancer? your cousins, your brothers, your sisters, huh?

    And your friends on here assisted and are guilty by association and facilitating Pharma to carry out the deaths in your family

  57. #57 Chris
    April 4, 2011

    OQF would probably think neglect never harmed a child because despited being starved, it doesn’t count.

  58. #58 One Queer Fish
    April 4, 2011

    Chris a link to Arnica encephalitis, or belladonna autism, or , Ferrum Phosphoricum,SIDS, or Nux Vomica,induced diabetis, or Pulsatilla narcolepsy,or YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT!

  59. #59 Narad
    April 4, 2011

    Blow blow blow..no links not one death from homeopathy ,nothing.

    I take it that you mean aside from what’s already been provided.

    Blow, blow, blow, indeed.

  60. #60 Jolly
    April 4, 2011

    I just had a local naturapath email about how to deal with all the radiation from Japan (I live in Pacific NW). Put a jar of water on your counter and write something on the jar (I think it was 10MG or something) and wait overnight and drink from that. Well, that will work. She figured this out with muscle testing dream therapy or some such. I wonder what she is drinking.

  61. #61 Chris
    April 4, 2011

    OQF is not just trolling. Time to ignore.

  62. #62 AnthonyK
    April 4, 2011

    Blow blow blow

    Our criticism of you in three short words. Homeopathy is unlikely to kill anyone for the same reason it doesn’t cure anyone – it’s a placebo and nothing else. Aside from neglecting a medical condition because of belief in it, it’s a neutral intervention; and also when some idiot goes to the Congo with no anti-malarial pills or vaccines and dies as a result, the cause of death is unlikely to be listed as “homeopathic stupidity.”

    However, herewith, a short list of people who were killed by homeopathy: Samuel Hahnemann, Melanie Hahnemann, Henry C Allen, Dr John Franklin Grey…….etc etc – it is extenisive and will, eventually, include Dana Ullman (homeopathy advocate).
    Who says I never provide facts?

  63. #63 Krebiozen
    April 4, 2011

    Troll or POE, I really can’t tell any more.

    Of course homeopathy has never DIRECTLY killed anyone. How could tiny lactose tablets kill anyone, unless by choking?

    Effective, science-based treatments have effects, mostly positive, some negative. Effective treatments save millions of lives every year, and kill very few. Insulin (just one of many examples) kills hundreds of people every year, but saves the lives of hundreds of thousands. Should we ban insulin and let all those insulin-dependent diabetics die?

    Homeopathy has never directly killed anyone, but has never saved a single life either, and a misplaced faith in homeopathy has undoubtedly led to deaths. I really don’t think that’s anything to crow about.

    I do wonder how Dana Ullman got the HuffPo gig, as he seems absolutely barking mad to me. Entertaining perhaps, but a terrible source of accurate information.

  64. #64 Sastra
    April 4, 2011

    If the pharmaceutical companies had come up with homeopathy, they would be making money by selling worthless remedies to people dazzled by their ad campaigns and empty promises. But nobody is technically made sick from the homeopathy itself — which leads to further savings for Big Pharm.

    Does this now change the ethics, so that what was good is now bad? To me, it’s bad either way. Not so sure about OQF.

  65. #65 Chris
    April 4, 2011

    I’m a bit sleep deprived and we just did our taxes, I meant to say: OQF is now just trolling. Please ignore.

  66. #66 muteKi
    April 4, 2011

    You know, the idea of radiation therapy as homeopathic makes no sense to me.

    Where does the dilution and succussion occur? Isn’t that’s what’s “supposed” to make it work? Something about nanocrystalloids in water or hydric clath– you know what? I give up. I just don’t get it.

  67. #67 Someone Or Other
    April 4, 2011

    All the name calling concerning a practioner who has hurt nobody ,who`s medicine hurts nobody,has never hurt anyone is held up to be satin and so is his medecine.

    Yes, Dana Ullman is a knight in white satin, never reaching the end (of his inanity, that is). But then, if his “medecine” (or medicine, for that matter), is also satin, how is it administered (or “practioned”)? Surely not orally, since I don’t think the human digestive system can handle satin very effectively.

  68. #68 Someone Or Other
    April 4, 2011

    and you lot cant give one direct linke to homeopathic death

    Since homeopatheticopathy is nothing more than water, anytime anyone drowns it is by definition a “homeopathic death”.

    Next.

  69. #69 Narad
    April 4, 2011

    Yes, Dana Ullman is a knight in white satin, never reaching the end

    No, no, no, no, he’s outside looking in.

  70. #70 LW
    April 4, 2011

    Orac asked us to deconstruct Ullman’s drivel, not argue with trolls, so here’s my deconstruction of the initial section of Ullman’s post:

    A homeopath by the name of Emil Grubbe, M.D. (1875-1960) was the first person to use radiation to treat a person with cancer (Dearborn, 2005). … this incident is but one more example from history in which an insight from a homeopathic perspective has provided an important breakthrough in medical treatment.

    Implying without any sort of proof that there are numerous other such examples.

    he ultimately lived a long and full life of 85 years, in part due to the homeopathic treatment he received throughout his life.

    No proof that homeopathy did him any good at all. People did sometimes live long lives without modern medicine. It was just a lot less common. 

    The point of this introduction is to confirm that homeopaths have a long history of using homeopathic medicines in the treatment of people who have been exposed to radiation

    Except that his anecdote doesn’t prove anything of the kind. He describes using radiation to treat cancer, but radiation in no way resembles what homeopathy otherwise includes (how do you work succussion magic on radiation?). He has not given any proof that homeopathy works to cure the deleterious effects of radiation overdoses, and indeed the fact that Grubbe’s hand had to be amputated sort of suggests that he didn’t have an effective treatment.  

    Ullman then brags that the grandfather of Pierre Curie, Paul Francois Curie, M.D., was a homeopath and “Dr. Paul Curie was the first homeopath to use and experiment with safer homeopathic doses of radium.”  (Which is a bit odd since radium was not isolated until 45 years after is death.)  Still, if I were going to consume radium, I’d definitely want to consume homeopathic doses, the more dilute, the better!  But you’ll note that he didn’t *treat* radiation poisoning, he just (apparently) reduced the amount of poison he was feeding to his unfortunate “patients”. If he had a homeopathic treatment for radiation poisoning, it’s odd that his treatments didn’t save his granddaughter-in-law, Marie Curie, who died of aplastic anemia caused by exposure to radiation.

  71. #71 T. Bruce McNeely
    April 4, 2011

    I do wonder how Dana Ullman got the HuffPo gig, as he seems absolutely barking mad to me

    Isn’t that a prerequisite for a PuffHo health columnist?

  72. #72 Michael5MacKay
    April 4, 2011

    Re. OQF’s ravings. He doesn’t want the evidence he’s asking for. Luna the Cat provided it in her link @49 to the coroner’s report on the death of Penelope Dingle. Guess what happens when you try to use homeopathy to treat cancer.

    Let’s ignore him from now on. If we don’t he’s effectively hijacked the thread with what we all know is a fallacious tu quoque argument.

  73. #73 Narad
    April 4, 2011

    how do you work succussion magic on radiation?

    C’mon, everybody knows this.

  74. #74 ChrisKid
    April 4, 2011

    So, OQF, if modern medicine is killing people off at those incredible rates, how do you explain the steady increase in life span as medical intervention (especially vaccination) becomes more commonly used?

  75. #75 LW
    April 4, 2011

    Ah, thank you, Narad my favorite line from that drivel is “The trituration process began with lots of giggling and silliness” — yeah, that would be my reaction, too, if asked to grind up stuff that had been exposed to the magic rays of Saturn so as to make a magic potion.

  76. #76 DW
    April 4, 2011

    @ mine, 12:
    In my haste, I reversed the order of *argumentum ad Nobelium* via *mariage* ( @2 degrees removed):

    It should read- *Paul* liked it, as did his son,
    grandson *Pierre* married Marie, etc.
    *Pardonez moi*

  77. #77 ChrisKid
    April 4, 2011

    @69Sorry, Michael, you’re right about not feeding the troll. I left this up while I went out for a while and then commented without refreshing.

  78. #78 The Analyst
    April 4, 2011

    Since homeopatheticopathy is nothing more than water, anytime anyone drowns it is by definition a “homeopathic death”.

    Next.

    I challenge you to get out of your box and try Traumeel for an ache or sprain.

    In fact, I dare you.

  79. #79 Dave Ruddell
    April 4, 2011

    Uh oh, watch out, he might double dog dare you next…

  80. #80 herr doktor bimler
    April 4, 2011

    Would the acidosis-disease alkalise-your-diet fraudulent scumbags see the public fear about radiation and avoid the temptation to exploit it for additional profit?

    I didn’t think so.

  81. #81 LW
    April 4, 2011

    Luna_the_cat, that is truly horrifying. I read the whole report. I have never been able to understand how a quack can deliberately torture a human being — induce a human being to torture *herself*, in fact — for months on end like that. Even when the poor victim was at death’s door, the homeopath was *still* trying to keep her hooks in her. Utterly ghastly.

  82. #82 herr doktor bimler
    April 4, 2011

    I had hoped that the acidosis-disease alkalise-your-diet frauds would see the public fear about reactor radiation and resist the temptation to exploit it for additional profit.
    I was disappointed.
    http://www.phmiracleliving.com/p-566-radiation-emergency-pack.aspx

  83. #83 Narad
    April 4, 2011

    yeah, that would be my reaction, too, if asked to grind up stuff that had been exposed to the magic rays of Saturn so as to make a magic potion.

    The most serious complaint I have is that the 3C “proving,” which I understand should be representative of the effect of the original substance, flies in the face of the best scholarship on the true nature of Saturn on the sensorium. (This is only two paragraphs in the original.)

  84. #84 LW
    April 4, 2011

    Come on, guys, aren’t you going to deconstruct Ullman? Picking up where I left off, he went on,

    With the media-promoted concerns about radiation drift from Japan and the real and exaggerated fears that many people are experiencing now, the first homeopathic medicine that people today may consider taking is Arsenicum album 30C. Arsenicum album is a leading homeopathic medicine for anxiety and fear, especially around health issues and about being poisoned.

    I’d certainly worry about poisoning if I were taking a homeopathic nostrum of any kind, especially one billed as containing arsenic. I wouldn’t trust a homeopath to have diluted it properly. But note this is supposedly a treatment for anxiety (and a placebo may well work in some cases), not for radiation poisoning.

    Ullman then has a section called “Conventional Thinking as a Reasonable First Step” which seems fairly reasonable to me: if there’s a release of radioactive iodine, then potassium iodide would help, but so far there hasn’t been.  Of course, he goes on to say that there might be other forms of radiation exposure, with the apparent implication that “conventional thinking” has no answers in that case, which is untrue.

    In the next section, Ullman says, “Before discussing the history of use of homeopathic medicines for exposure to radioactivity”, acknowledging, I guess that his stories about Emil Grubbe and Paul Curie did not in fact describe the use of homeopathic medicines for exposure to radioactivity, even though he said they did.

  85. #85 Narad
    April 4, 2011

    I challenge you to get out of your box and try Traumeel for an ache or sprain.

    There is the small issue of its being insufficiently diluted to do anything.

  86. #86 LW
    April 4, 2011

    Also, your fingers make the magic go away, so how are you supposed to apply it?

  87. #87 Phoenix Woman
    April 4, 2011

    “I challenge you to get out of your box and try Traumeel for an ache or sprain.

    In fact, I dare you.”

    Except that Traumeel, like Nelsons Acne Gel, isn’t actually homeopathic. In both cases, the “inactive” ingredients are where the action is.

    If you look at the ingredients for Nelsons Acne Gel, you see a list of succussed and diluted ‘ingredients’ under the ‘active ingredients’ section — and then, under the “inactive ingredients” (which unlike the succussed stuff aren’t broken out separately by percentage weight, but which together make up 91% of the total product), we see alcohol (scientifically proven to fight acne), tea tree oil (see alcohol), trolamine (analgesic and sunscreen — the analgesic keeps your zits from hurting and you from picking at them, the sun screen protects them from the sun), carbomer (gelling agent) limonene (the solvent terpene chemical that gives orange peels their smell; used in small amounts as a skin cleanser, can be toxic in large amounts) and linalool (yet another terpene, this one with a floral scent; used in many soaps and detergents).

    In other words, the Nelsons people are cheating: The “active” ingredients are mostly water, whereas most of the “inactive” ingredients are things known to be beneficial to skin in one way or another, and the rest don’t do it any harm.

    A similar story exists with Traumeel. As shown here, the “active” ingredients are too dilute to do much of anything (a good thing, as two of them are belladonna and aconite, which happen to be poisonous in non-homeopathic oral doses), but the chief “inactive” (or this case “other”) ingredient is alcohol, to the tune of 13.8% — enough to cause a cooling, tingly, soothing effect when rubbed on a swollen spot. (Can you say “Lydia Pinkham”? I knew you could.)

    So once again, the makers of Traumeel are cheating: The “active” ingredients don’t do diddly, whereas the chief “other” ingredient, alcohol, is what’s causing the pleasant tingly effect.

  88. #88 W. Kevin Vicklund
    April 5, 2011

    I challenge you to get out of your box and try Traumeel for an ache or sprain.

    In fact, I dare you.

    Tried it. It was useless.

    Later, I discovered it was a homeopathic remedy.

  89. #89 lilady
    April 5, 2011

    At Luna The Cat: I also read the Coroner’s report and it is truly a sad, sad case. I was aghast how the husband betrayed the woman’s trust and was complicit with the naturapathy practitioner, because of his preconceived notions about traditional cancer treatment. The husband had some (very) minor celebrity with a book that he self-published slamming traditional medicine and advancing his “diet”…prior to her diagnosis. He and the naturapathy practitioner schemed with another party to try alt/cam medicine and then publish their successful case.

    Well it wasn’t a successful case and they played mind games with the wife and even denied her any pain relief; sadistic and sick, sick, sick.

  90. #90 Donna B.
    April 5, 2011

    Since my husband and I both have been treated for tumors either “most likely” or “presumed” to have been caused by radiation, I am quite amused by the idea that radiation TREATMENT of any of them would be “homeopathic”.

    Me first: I was one of those children treated for tinea capitis by radiation when I was 7 or 8 years old. I remember this vividly because of my mother’s horror that there was a bald spot on my head about the size of a dime and that bald spot has been a reminder for the last, um… number of years.

    A little over 4 years ago, I thought I was having a stroke, but the CT scan done in the ER showed a meningioma. After consulting with several internists and neurosurgeons, I opted for radiation “surgery” over “Black & Decker” surgery. The main reason for this was that an overwhelming plurality of the doctors I consulted said that radiation would be necessary because the tumor was located where it could not “safely” be completely removed.

    I figured… let’s kill it first and then remove the dead tissue if necessary. While I still have occasional symptoms, none of them are bad enough to warrant the anesthesia risks much less the risks of a craniotomy.

    So, one might be tempted to say I had the homeopathic treatment. But that would be misleading at best. While I don’t know the dose I got in the tinea capitis treatment, I do know the dose I got in its treatment: 45 Gy. According to medscape, that’s twice what would have been considered a very large dose in the treatment of tinea capitis.

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/574705_2

    That’s completely contrary to the homeopathic idea that an indescribably minute amount of what ails one can cure one.

    While I might agree that in certain cases, like can cure like (surgery to repair “side effect injuries” from surgery anyone???) there is no way that a reasonable person can believe that is always the case. And that’s without having to believe in the dilution nonsense (directly refuted by the doses in my case).

    My husband: He’s one of the atomic veterans. He was a Marine on Christmas Island in the ’60s during Operation Dominic — above ground nuclear weapons testing.

    The VA “presumes” that colon and bladder cancers in veterans exposed in that way are caused by the ionizing radiation. He has had both, but neither of them were or are being treated with radiation therapy.

    (Here is where I insert praise for military health care — all his cancers and other diseases “presumably” caused by either the radiation or agent orange exposure were caught early and treatment provided in a timely manner. He’s gonna survive these 5 diseases and die of old age or something else unrelated.

    But I also condemn the 1960s military (which is far removed from today’s) for not caring enough for enlisted personnel. Officers wore dosimeter badges, but enlisted didn’t. That’s not to be forgiven, but it’s also an attitude that’s been abandoned.)

    The first time my husband was issued a dosimeter badge was after his military career when he worked as a pipefitter during nuclear power plant maintenance shutdowns. Now… shouldn’t all his radiation induced diseases been cured when he was exposed to such minuscule (not enough to register on the badges) doses of radiation during this work?

    Wouldn’t THAT be proof of homeopathic principles rather than my radiation treatment for radiation harm?

    OR… short version: Ullman is a moron.

  91. #91 lilady
    April 5, 2011

    @ Donna B: I read the entire article on Medscape and was able to view it because I am a registered user.

    What a terrible legacy for treatment of tinea capitis. I hope you and your hubby have great recoveries and thanks for sharing your story.

  92. #92 herr doktor bimler
    April 5, 2011

    Come on, guys, aren’t you going to deconstruct Ullman?

    (1) The putative radiotherapist’s name was spelled “Grubbé”. Getting it wrong suggests that Ullman is regurgitating 2nd- and 3rd-hand accounts, repeating their errors and adding his own.

    (2) There is no evidence, anywhere outside of Ullman’s imagination, that Ludlam suggested the idea of radiotherapy. In Grubbé’s own account [1], when he presented his own experience of radiation burns to a number of professors at the Hahnemann Medical College, one Dr Gilman suggested the use of X-rays for “cancer, lupus, and indolent ulcer”. Ludlam’s role was to refer Mrs Rose Lee, two days later. A day after that, yet another physician, Dr Halphide, referred a Mr A. Carr for treatment of lupus vulgaris.

    (3) Grubbé’s claims to priority are seriously in doubt, partly because he did not get around to making them until 1933. In the intervening decades he had written articles on the therapeutic use of X-rays without mentioning himself as a pioneer or even as a practitioner. When he did get around to claiming priority he presented no evidence except his word. That claim seems to be taken seriously among American sources because, well, he was American.

    However, one review of the history of radiotherapy credits one Vector Despeignes in France as the originator, while another prefers Freund of Austria. Both left actual records of their experiments.

    But quite apart from Ullman’s fractal wrongness… We should take homeopathy seriously because a homeopath allegedly suggested a form of treatment that is unlike homeopathy in every respect, including the fact that it works?
    His argument is invalid.

    [1] Grubbé, E.H. (1933). Priority in the therapeutic use of X-rays. Radiology, 21, 156-162.
    [2] Leszczynski, K. & Boyko, S. (1997). On the controversies surrounding the origins of radiation therapy. Radiotherapy & Oncology, 42, 213-217.
    [3]. Kogelnik, H. D. (1997). Inauguration of radiotherapy as a new scientific speciality by Leopold Freund 100 years ago. Radiotherapy & Oncology, 42, 203-212.

  93. #93 The Analyst
    April 5, 2011

    Tried it. It was useless.
    Later, I discovered it was a homeopathic remedy.

    I don’t believe you.

    That being said, the same drug doesn’t work for everyone. Ibuprofen just rips my stomach apart, and Tordol just makes me feel sick and generally worse (IM, IV, or otherwise).

    Opiates (e.g. morphine) seem to work, but of course that’s not exactly an anti-inflammatory.

    If you truly took it, and knew it was a homeopathic, your bias could have led you to believe that it wouldn’t work, especially if the effects are subtle.

    I’m not looking into getting into a homeopathic debate as I couldn’t explain why or how they work, but the product has helped myself, my family, and my friends. These are people that don’t even know what homeopathic means, and they can care less what the back of the box says.

  94. #94 herr doktor bimler
    April 5, 2011

    From Kogelnik’s description of the origins of radiotherapy:

    …in the definitive biography of Emil H. Grubbé [...] Grubbé is described as a publicity hunter who was ‘vain, boastful, incompletely truthful’, his use of X-rays was of ‘accidental, non-scientific and ill-advised nature’, and that he was an unreliable witness concerning his own accomplishments. Finally, [in an authoritative history of radiology] it is concluded that ‘Grubbé’s story is so implausible, so lacking of contemporary corroboration, and in such irreconcilable conflict with readily provable facts, and Grubbé’s untruthfulness in other respects is so readily demonstrable, as to warrant the inclusion of his claims in this postscript, rather in the body of a history of American radiology.’

    Ouch.

  95. #95 Pareidolius
    April 5, 2011

    “The Analyst” sounds an awful lot like John Benneth. Come on Analyst, throw down that triple dog dare and be done with it. And I’m wondering if OQF is hoping to wrest the Troll of the Deacde Award away from Sean Michael. Those are some big (and FABulous) shoes to fill.

  96. #96 lilady
    April 5, 2011

    Fishy and Sean Michael are pikers with over-inflated egos and arrested development.

    Fishy, note how we write in sentences and put several sentences together in a coherent paragraph. Also notice that we use the basic rules of grammar and simple sentence construction to put forth cogent ideas. Disjointed rants and your hieroglyphic gibberish pidgen English leave us totally in the dark.

    You just repeat what you read on other sites that are the antithesis of science and hotbeds of every conspiracy theory advanced by the lunatic fringe. Your hero worship of the defrocked doctor are disturbing, to say the least and show your lack of knowledge of the basis of scientific research.

  97. #97 Matthew Cline
    April 5, 2011

    I also keyed in “chelation for radiation poisoning” because everyone knows chelation therapy which eliminates thimerisol mercury is easily adaptable for radiation poisoning. Not to be outdone, the colloidal silver gang have also recommended it for “radiation poisoning”.

    *headdesk*

  98. #98 Nate W.
    April 5, 2011

    Re: #75

    A 50g tube of Traumeel has non-negligible amounts of the following poisonous plants:
    Monks Hood–.5 mg
    Arnica montana–.75 mg
    Belladonna–.5 mg

    And the following astringent and topical anti-inflammatory:
    Witch Hazel– 75 mg

    Because of this, Traumeel cannot be called homeopathic in the usual sense of the word.

  99. #99 One Queer Fish
    April 5, 2011

    Blowing diversion my way guys I nearly fell for it that time ,cough!!? Well one death not just because they had cancer and in the last throws of desperation when allopathy destruction medicine had failed and the cancer caused by allopathy medicine in the first place ,they turned to homeopathy and they died duh”!”doh?!>>

    Wa !wa!wa! I wan`t a link to Arnica encephalitis, or belladonna autism, or , Ferrum Phosphoricum,SIDS, or Nux Vomica,induced diabetis, or Pulsatilla narcolepsy,or YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT! YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT!
    YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT! YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT! YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT! YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT!

  100. #100 Narad
    April 5, 2011

    Wa !wa!wa! I wan`t a link to Arnica encephalitis, or belladonna autism, or , Ferrum Phosphoricum,SIDS, or Nux Vomica,induced diabetis, or Pulsatilla narcolepsy,or YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT! YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT!
    YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT! YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT! YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT! YOU CANT HUH!!!YOU JUST CANT!

    Yah. So are you going to speak to the deaths caused by homeopaths that have been drawn to your putative attention, or is it time for competent insults?

  101. #101 Narad
    April 5, 2011

    I don’t believe you.

    Well, that helps. Would you also disbelieve that the Bach “Rescue Remedy” that a friend laid on me had no effect, either? (Nice dropper, though, this I saved.)

  102. #102 Militant Agnostic
    April 5, 2011

    lilady @84

    denied her any pain relief; sadistic and sick, sick, sick.

    Denying people pain relief worked very well for Mother Theresa. In fact it looks like she will become a “satin”.

    I have a strong suspicion that the professor and the homeopath will soon become more than just friends. If not, it still shows how that they had their interests first and didn’t give a damn about the suffering of their “subject”.

  103. #103 Militant Agnostic
    April 5, 2011

    I challenge you to get out of your box and try Traumeel for an ache or sprain.

    That would be the box known as reality that we are “challenged” to get out of. I’ll decline.

  104. #104 NZ Sceptic
    April 5, 2011

    This poor baby was so ill her skin split apart, she became blind and her hair turned grey. Then she died. At nine month old. Her homeopath father and his wife are now – rightly – in jail. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/parents-jailed-for-baby-fatal-neglect/story-e6frg97x-1225780651088

  105. #105 MI Dawn
    April 5, 2011

    @NZ Sceptic: I was just about to post about that baby when I refreshed and saw your posting.

    So, OQF: 2 very nasty deaths from homeopathic treatment. While Ms Dingle might have died from her cancer anyway, no matter what treatment, she would not have died in the agony that she did. There was NO reason for that baby to die except for her parents’ mistaken beliefs that homeopathy would cure her.

  106. #106 Luna_the_cat
    April 5, 2011

    @LW, lilady — I couldn’t personally read all that without wanting to go kick some of them, hard, repeatedly, where it counts. And then NZ Sceptic’s story, which I had somehow managed to erase from my memory….Oh.

    Ugh. WTF is with Australia here?

    Anyway, I don’t think it is actually kind to keep engaging OQF. This individual does not strike me as being sane, and I have a moral objection to either mocking or taking advantage of genuine mental illness.

  107. #107 herr doktor bimler
    April 5, 2011

    The prefect homeopathic remedy for radiation exposure would be a neutrino beam.

  108. #108 LW
    April 5, 2011

    I looked at one of Ullman’s references: Comparative Efficacy of Two Microdoses of a Potentized Homeopathic Drug, Arsenicum Album, to Ameliorate Toxicity Induced by Repeated Sublethal Injections of Arsenic Trioxide in Mice.. I do not pretend to have a statistics background, so I can’t comment on the statistical work, but I noticed certain things:

    1) They state that each group of thirty mice is divided into five groups of six mice. I have a problem with this.  Their graphs show six groups: normal, alcohol only, arsenic, arsenic and alcohol, arsenic and treatment 6C, and arsenic and treatment 30C. There were four intervals, being 30, 60, 90, and 120 days.  I don’t see where the five groups are at all. 

    2) The controls and experimental animals were not treated alike. The experimental animals were force fed either alcohol or the treatment, but alcohol and 6C were force fed twice a day and 30C thrice. The added stress may have made a difference; who knows?

    3) I was struck by the fact that the alcohol group was consistently worse on every measure than the untreated group.

    4) There was no mention of blinding in the evaluation of samples, or, for that matter, in the handling of the animals.  Since only one group was force fed three times a day, it wouldn’t be hard to identify those animals as being the 30C group. 

    Perhaps someone with experience designing and reviewing experiments could weigh in on this.   

  109. #109 LW
    April 5, 2011

    Oh, and also:

    It seems to me that there should have been two more groups, treatment 6C and treatment 30C, with no arsenic.

    Five mice per group seems suitably sparing of mice, but why so many groups? Why not just say, 30C works and we’ll demonstrate it. Once we’ve clearly shown its effectiveness, we can try to refine it (would 29C be better? Would 31C be too much?)

    Shouldn’t there have been a huge difference between 6C and 30C?

  110. #110 LW
    April 5, 2011

    I looked at the next reference,  Potentized Homeopathic Drug, Arsenicum Album 200, Can Ameliorate Genotoxicity Induced by Repeated Injections of Arsenic Trioxide in Mice.

    The first thing I notice is that this one (in 2007) had treatment 200 instead of 6C and 30C (in 2008). Therefore it had only five groups: normal, alcohol, arsenic, arsenic and alcohol, arsenic and treatment.  And it contains precisely the same language as the 2008 paper: thirty mice divided into five groups of six mice each.  So the text was simply copied from one study to the next. It makes us wonder, indeed it does…

    Again, there’s a missing group; what about treatment with no arsenic?  I should also add that in both of these studies, six mice per group seems awfully small. If the effect is enough to be noticeable in such tiny groups, wouldn’t it be obvious in large groups?  Maybe a statistician could tell me how large the effect would have to be for such a tiny study to reveal it.  

    They state that the observer was blinded during biochemical estimation and haematological studies but not, I notice, during cytogenetical studies, which seem to this layman much more subjective and qualitative, and thus more likely to be swayed by expectation and unconscious bias.  

  111. #111 Dangerous Bacon
    April 5, 2011

    Anecdotally, it seems that an undiluted dose of Homeopathic Troll is moderately effective in spurring comments.

    If he’d posted just a single line of goofiness we’d probably be up to several thousand comments by now, to say nothing of the vast potential for converts to homeopathy.

    Remember, a 30C dilution of toxic stupidity (shaken, not stirred) works best.

  112. #112 Snoof
    April 5, 2011

    If I promise to fix the brakes on your car, and instead wave a rubber chicken and sprinkle some holy crankcase oil on them, when the car wraps itself around a tree it’s not my fault.

    Is that what you’re saying about deaths due to homeopathic treatment, OQF?

  113. #113 Denice Walter
    April 5, 2011

    Back to Ullman:

    His smarmy tone reeks of grandiloquence as , speaking *ex cathedra*, he _informs_ us, that “Thus is *indeed* so”:

    “This incident is but one more example from history in which insight from a homeopathic perspective proved an important breakthrough in medical treatment”. Really?

    “Homeopathy and homeopaths also deeply connect to the origins of x-rays and radiation treatment.” Do they?

    Sez who? Declaring something doesn’t equate to its being so**.
    Here, he seems much alligned to the style of woo-meisters I follow: trumped up expertise ( sometimes in fields that truly don’t exist outside the realm of imagination), shameless name-dropping of respected scientists, and overwhelmingly inappropriate confidence in his own capacities. It ain’t gonna convince me. Anyone can do the same: it doesn’t make it true.

    ** here we go again into the anthropological discussion of magical thought. Where’s my Frazer?

  114. #114 Scott Cunningham
    April 5, 2011

    LW hit on a really great quote from Dana Ullman a while back.

    Arsenicum album is a leading homeopathic medicine for anxiety and fear, especially around health issues and about being poisoned.

    Oh yes, I’d say that sums up what homeopathy can treat. Unwarranted anxiety and fear of vague health complaints and poisoning, preferrably imaginary.

  115. #115 Denice Walter
    April 5, 2011

    @ Scott Cunningham: for “unwarranted anxiety and fear of vague health complaints”?
    Must sell amongst the woo-faithful, since their leaders are forever ramping of fear of toxins,chemicals, vaccines,MDs, Pharma, GMO’s, contamination,pesticides,mercury,radiation,EMR, not to mention, social, political, and economic chaos.

  116. #116 LW
    April 5, 2011

    I didn’t pick up on this earlier, but Arsenicum album is both what Ullman suggests for baseless anxiety and what was used in the mouse studies with arsenic. All the more reason that there should have been experimental groups that received the treatment but no arsenic. Who knows what harm might be done if you used the drug when there was no arsenic for it to combat!

  117. #117 Pablo
    April 5, 2011

    Arsenicum album is a leading homeopathic medicine for anxiety and fear, especially around health issues and about being poisoned.

    Scott – It’s great marketing, that is for sure.

    1) Create a false sense of a problem
    2) Sell everyone the cure

  118. #118 Lynxreign
    April 5, 2011

    OQF Troll:

    Harm from homeopathy? How about the recent belladonna poisonings from teething tablets?

    http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/GeneralPediatrics/22959

  119. #119 The Analyst
    April 5, 2011

    I can say while I am not familiar with homeopathy at all, Traumeel is the only homeopathic product that worked for myself, family, and friends. Ok, Zicam nasal spray works as well, but I don’t know if I could give the homeopathic part of it any credit.

    I found it very interesting that French virologist Luc Montaginer (nobel prize winner who discovered HIV) came out with publications that seem to support some homeopathic principles. If his publications are correct, they cannot be explained by modern science.

    My point is that there is a lot we don’t understand, whether Montaginer is right or wrong. Since I do understand that there are things that can’t be explained by modern science, I can only keep an open mind. I personally find energy medicine (such as Low Level Laser Therapy and LED therapy) highly fascinating. While these therapies are accepted by NASA and the FDA, I think it’s fair to say modern science has a very limited understanding on how these treatments work, and I don’t think we have even begun to understand everything these treatments can be used for.

  120. #120 Vicki
    April 5, 2011

    Analyst:

    If you aren’t going to believe other commenters who say that a medicine didn’t work for them, why should we believe you when you say it worked for you? Especially since you know (and have said) that many medications don’t work for everyone. But somehow when Kevin says he tried Traumeel and it didn’t work for him, that’s inherently implausible. And when he say he tried it, it didn’t work, and he later discovered it was homeopathic, you conclude that it didn’t work because he knew it was homeopathic.

    Are homeopathic medications now capable of sending information back in time?

  121. #121 LW
    April 5, 2011

    Zicam “works” if you don’t mind risking loss of your sense of smell. I know someone with complete anosmia secondary to a head injury. It’s a definite reduction in quality of life. With a head injury, you can say, at least it’s no worse — you’re not blind or dead. But secondary to use of a *cold remedy*?

  122. #122 colmcq
    April 5, 2011

    SHOW ME ONE DEATH THRU HOMEOPATHY!!! You CanT1!!1 There HAVNT Been ANY!!!

    oh yeah?

    http://www.safetyandquality.health.wa.gov.au/docs/mortality_review/inquest_finding/Dingle_Finding.pdf

  123. #123 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 5, 2011

    The Analyst,
    I have no idea whether Traumeel works or does not work, though I’m willing to accept data. I did look up its ingredients, and question the use of the term “homeopathic” for it. Homeopathy, as I understand it, relies on the “principle” that a minute dose of a substance that causes a symptom will relieve that same symptom. Typical concentrations of active substance (such as those listed in the study LW examined) range from 1 part in 10^12 to one part in 10^60. At some the higher dilutions, it is unlikely that a does contains any actual active ingredient – most doses contain nothing but solvent and/or binder, and one in a great while will contain a molecule of active ingredient.

    The salve you mention, however, seems to contain a mixture of plant extracts (like Monkshood and deadly nightshade) and other chemicals (like mercury, oyster shells, and sulfur) at relatively high concentrations, up to one part in a hundred. It is not shocking that it could have some effect. Compare this to Oscillococcinum, a duck liver diluted with water to one part in 10^200.

    What’s not clear to me, though, is a) whether the ingredients cause the symptoms they’re supposed to cure and b) why it isn’t more dilute. As such, I don’t know how they get away with calling it homeopathic.

  124. #124 W. Kevin Vicklund
    April 5, 2011

    More detail on my Traumeel experiences:

    I have a friend who has trouble swallowing pills. When I needed some painkillers, she had Traumeel in the tablet form, which dissolves in the mouth. While I knew she used certain types of naturopathy (though as she likes to say “Arsenic and Deadly Nightshade are also natural), I was unaware at the time that she also used some homeopathy. Also, at that time, all I knew about homeopathy was “like cures like” – I didn’t know about the serial dilutions. There being several treatments I could think of that followed “like cures like” to a certain extent (e.g., allergy shots, antivenin, radiation treatment), I thought of it as medieval medicine. That is, occasionally effective, but usually for a different reason than given.

    But again, I didn’t know it was homeopathic.

    I decided to dig into Traumeel a little bit over lunch. It’s interesting what Analyst said @113:

    I can say while I am not familiar with homeopathy at all, Traumeel is the only homeopathic product that worked for myself, family, and friends. Ok, Zicam nasal spray works as well, but I don’t know if I could give the homeopathic part of it any credit.

    As it turns out, Traumeel, like Zicam, actually hasn’t been diluted very much. The alleged active ingredients range from 2X to 4X dilutions. This means that the ingredients are still present in microgram amounts (single to double digits) per dose, which is a therapeutic dose for many conventional drugs. And several of the ingredients are known to have pharmacological activity at doses not much larger than present in Traumeel.

    Traumeel may be subtly marketed as homeopathic, but as Analyst said, “I don’t know if I could give the homeopathic part of it any credit.”

  125. #125 The Analyst
    April 5, 2011

    If you aren’t going to believe other commenters who say that a medicine didn’t work for them, why should we believe you when you say it worked for you?

    I would believe someone if they say it didn’t work for them. What I didn’t believe is that the poster actually tried it. I apologize if the poster was truthful.

    And to be clear, I am referring to the cream version of traumeel. I have tried the tablet version of traumeel, but I can’t say if it had any good or bad effects. But then again, in my case, ibuprofen and Toradol (opiate like? Ya right) are ineffective for me, so that doesn’t say much.

  126. #126 W. Kevin Vicklund
    April 5, 2011

    I don’t know how they get away with calling it homeopathic.

    As I understand it, legally anything diluted 2X or more (the number represents the number of dilution steps, the roman numeral representing the amount of dilution per step) is homeopathic. Though it might be even less than that. I think the cut-off came up in the Zicam discussions.

  127. #127 The Analyst
    April 5, 2011

    I am on my mobile, so I missed Kevin’s post. Thanks for clarifying your experience. I do believe that you actually used it now.

  128. #128 Narad
    April 5, 2011

    I found it very interesting that French virologist Luc Montaginer (nobel prize winner who discovered HIV) came out with publications that seem to support some homeopathic principles. If his publications are correct, they cannot be explained by modern science.

    Oy gevalt.

  129. #129 The Analyst
    April 5, 2011

    I have no idea whether Traumeel works or does not work, though I’m willing to accept data.

    There is data out there, but it is full of conflicts of interest. Because of this reason, I think it’s necessary to take most of the available data with extreme skepticism (hence why I haven’t provided it).

    I honestly feel that my personal experience has more value over data with apparent conflicts of interest anyway.

  130. #130 LW
    April 5, 2011

    “If his publications are correct, they cannot be explained by modern science.”

    would that be teleporting DNA?

  131. #131 The Analyst
    April 5, 2011

    “If his publications are correct, they cannot be explained by modern science.”

    would that be teleporting DNA?

    More like exchanging information?

    I obviously wasn’t around when television was invented, but I did hear stories of people being creeped out with the idea that picture was traveling through the air.

    Are people teleporting into my TV? ;)

  132. #132 lilady
    April 5, 2011

    @ Militant Agnostic: I don’t know if the homeopathy practitioner and the widower Dr. Dingle had/have a close personal relationship…but what was revealed in the Coroner’s Report was the scheme to treat Penelope exclusively with homeopathy, write up the “successful” cure of rectal cancer and for Dr. Dingle to write a best selling book.

    The Coroner’s Report documented at least $ 30,000 dollars in payments to the charlatan practitioner for the years Penelope was under Francine Scrayen’s care. Penelope had originally sought out Scrayen due to infertility problems…she wanted to have a child with her “partner” Dr. Dingle. As the inquest developed Scrayen and Dingle admitted that Penelope had rectal bleeding…intermittently for many years before a tumor was discovered in the rectum. She had never gone to a “traditional” doctor with that complaint, which I assume was originally a bleeding pre-cancerous polyp that developed into a small cancer. When she did finally undergo a colonoscopy, the recommendation was to undergo excision of the cancer and re-routing (colostomy) along with irradiation and chemotherapy which would have precluded her plan to become pregnant. Still holding on to the hope of a pregnancy at age 43, and with the “advice” of boyfriend Dingle and Mrs. Scayen, she refused to undergo any treatment.

    Penelope’s four sisters also used homeopathy (“Homeopathic Remedies Under the Spotlight” ABC Perth Network News-June 16, 2010), so there may have been some hesitancy to strongly intervene during Penelope’s lifetime and they didn’t seek an investigation about her “treatment” until two years after Penelope’s death.

    Dingle finally married Penelope a few months before her death, thus getting any of the assets in her estate.

    BTW, Francine Scrayen is still “practicing” and the widower Dr. Dingle keeps publishing his alternative natural medicine books and has a thriving “public speaking” career.

  133. #133 Beamup
    April 5, 2011

    Yeah, and if 1+1=giraffe, that can’t be explained by modern mathematics either.

    Fortunately, his “publications” aren’t correct or anything vaguely approaching it. As college freshman lab reports they’d get an F due to the sheer incompetence they display.

    Faraday screen the detection apparatus and the EM signal goes away. OBVIOUSLY this proves that the signal is real, but stimulated by an exterior source. Couldn’t possibly be that it’s just external noise. And naturally this point doesn’t actually need to be discussed or explained – simply asserted.

  134. #134 Beamup
    April 5, 2011

    More like exchanging information?

    Way, way, way beyond that:

    Physicists in Montagnier’s team suggest that DNA emits low-frequency electromagnetic waves which imprint the structure of the molecule onto the water. This structure, they claim, is preserved and amplified through quantum coherence effects, and because it mimics the shape of the original DNA, the enzymes in the PCR process mistake it for DNA itself, and somehow use it as a template to make DNA matching that which “sent” the signal

    Yes, he really is that much of a lunatic these days.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/01/the_nobel_disease_meets_dna_teleportatio.php

  135. #135 Heliantus
    April 5, 2011

    @ The Analyst

    I found it very interesting that French virologist Luc Montaginer (nobel prize winner who discovered HIV) came out with publications that seem to support some homeopathic principles.

    We know who Montagnier is, thank you. Already discussed here and here.

    Short summary: he should have retired. He is trying to have another go at making a big discovery, which is very well, but his current approach is full of shortcuts. His DNA teleportation study was awful: PCR on human DNA without negative controls?
    Oh, and you are going for the fallacy of argument from authority. Montagnier is a virologist, I don’t think he knows much about pharmacology. Or physics.

    If his publications are correct,

    Well, that’s the crux of the issue, isn’t it? “If”
    If his results are confirmed, I will have no trouble applauding his work. If they aren’t, well, too bad.

    In the meantime, I won’t give homeopathy a free ride.

    they cannot be explained by modern science.

    Homeopathy isn’t about “not explained by modern science”. It’s about “runs contrary to all we can prove about physics, chemistry, and pathology”.
    Also, modern science explains homeopathy very well: placebo effect and confirmation bias.

  136. #136 Beamup
    April 5, 2011

    If his results are confirmed, I will have no trouble applauding his work.

    I will. His work is so shoddy that “gross incompetence” is extremely kind. Even if, by some mind-boggling coincidence, he happened to hit on a right answer, that would NOT make his work correct or worthy of applause. It would be an example of a stopped clock being right twice a day.

  137. #137 lilady
    April 5, 2011

    @ NZ Sceptic: I read the link you provided. I “noticed” while the infant was being starved to death, the couple went to India. In India, the mother received “traditional” treatment for gallstones; some “mother” she is.

    It’s not just happening in Australia and New Zealand; in America it happens all too frequently, as well. Published in (of all places) People Magazine-May 28, 2007 “Did this baby die from a vegan diet?”

    The short article details the craziness of two “parents” who “experimented” on their infant with a vegan diet. the parents opted out of prenatal care and delivered the infant in their bathtub. The child when finally brought to the hospital was only 3.5 lbs and totally emaciated. In spite of intensive interventions, the infant succumbed. The parents were tried and convicted of murder.

    Just key in “Infant Deaths Vegan Diet” to see how many children die due to the wacky beliefs of their parents. Sometimes a child will survive, but is left with lasting developmental disabilities, due to lack of calories, proteins and essential-to-brain-growth vitamins and minerals.

  138. #138 lilady
    April 5, 2011

    Correction to my posting # 136 above, last sentence should read:

    Sometimes a child who receives medical intervention will survive, but is left with lasting developmental disabilities, due to lack of essential-to-brain-growth carbohydrates, proteins, dietary animal and vegetable fats, vitamins and minerals.

  139. #139 Matthew Cline
    April 5, 2011

    Faraday screen the detection apparatus and the EM signal goes away. OBVIOUSLY this proves that the signal is real, but stimulated by an exterior source.

    What, really? The mind boggles.

  140. #140 Beamup
    April 5, 2011

    Yep. That was a different experiment than the teleporting DNA, by the way. Harriet Hall posted about it on SBM:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=2081

    I posted a comment with a detailed deconstruction on 20 Oct 2009 at 10:24 am.

  141. #141 One Queer Fish
    April 5, 2011

    Thats about right talk about anything but the proof and the argument that you have lost days go past and all the smart ass comments provide not a link to Arnica encephalitis, or belladonna autism, or , Ferrum Phosphoricum,SIDS, or Nux Vomica,induced diabetis, or Pulsatilla narcolepsy, but if you care to look at all the harm caused by PHARMA in the past 120 years of abomination that PHARMA has been around.Yet nothing bad about homeopathic medicine zero,zilch,nil,none

  142. #142 Narad
    April 5, 2011

    zero,zilch,nil,none

    I can see why it would appeal to a personality of your sort.

  143. #143 Gray Falcon
    April 5, 2011

    Take note, OQF hasn’t actually shown that modern medicine is responsible for the laundry list of maladies he’s provided, he simply assumes we’ll take his word for it. Or accept the word of sites that have no idea how the human body works. For example, anyone who’s read anything about pirates knows that scurvy can take weeks to months to develop.

    I’ll admit that instant scurvy is not the best example of whale.to’s medical incompetence or moral vacuity, but it is a very memorable example of the intersection of the two.

  144. #144 Composer99
    April 5, 2011

    Personally speaking, I think the other regular & one-off trolls at Respectful Insolence have a lot of work to do to up their game to match OQF.

    The archaic sense of the word ‘queer’ definitely applies.

  145. #145 Beamup
    April 5, 2011

    Take note of the level of the burden OQF is demanding. Unless homeopathic belladonna causes autism specifically, homeopathy is just fine.

    Truly, it is a black hole of burning stupid (if I might gank Orac’s line).

  146. #146 herr doktor bimler
    April 5, 2011

    I’ll admit that instant scurvy is not the best example of whale.to’s medical incompetence or moral vacuity, but it is a very memorable example of the intersection of the two.

    Particularly since the novel syndrome of “instant scurvy” was dreamed up specifically to provide child-beaters with an excuse for the broken bones of the dead children — “It was the fault of the vaccine!!”.

  147. #147 One Queer Fish
    April 5, 2011

    zzzzz yawn!!! oh!! fell from my chair..nothing yet superb and you all hold the moral high ground accusing homeopathy the cure, of the disease and death your sick medicine`s cause.
    Dr. Maurice Hilleman, explains why Merck’s vaccines have spread AIDS & other plagues worldwide

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W2MJbcgn1g

    Give me one to match or beat that with homeopathy,JUST MATCH WILL DO

    YOU CAN`T YOU CAN`T

  148. #148 W. Kevin Vicklund
    April 5, 2011

    Can you provide any links to when homeopathic remedies did this to a child in great health at the time??wankers ??

    I predict One Queer Fish will continue to deny that this has been reported:

    Tablets sold as a homeopathic remedy for teething pain in babies have been recalled following reports of “serious adverse events” including seizure, difficulty breathing, and muscle weakness.

    By the way, One Queer Fish is no longer allowed to use Band-Aids. My mother is very allergic to the adhesive, you see.

  149. #149 LW
    April 5, 2011

    Continuing to deconstruct Ullman: he then goes on and on and on citing studies by homeopaths (apparently a rather small group, actually, considering how many authors’ names are repeated) that show that homeopathy might have some effect on arsenic poisoning* and concludes, “Based on this research, it is reasonable to ask if homeopathic doses of radioactive elements and other substances with apparently similar effects are useful.”

    Well, no, not really. Arsenic and plutonium are, you know, different. That’s like saying, “antibiotics work on bacteria, so it’s reasonable to ask if they work on arsenic poisoning.” This is a common argument by homeopaths, though: “my magic seemed to work for this one condition, therefore it works for all conditions!” Well, no.  If you could prove to me that you really did have extrasensory perception (I can think of tests that would prove to my complete satisfaction that you did), you’d still have to separately prove to me that you also have the power of telekinesis.  And, of course, the argument works the other way, too.  ”Allopathic medicine” is demonstrably effective in many cases. Therefore it is effective in all cases.  Q.E.D.     

    But anyway,

    There is not a significant body of studies evaluating the use of homeopathic medicines in the treatment of radiation exposure, but there are a couple of experiments about which people may benefit knowing. 

    A couple. Well, three, actually. Not replicated. Great, that’s what I’m going to base my medical decisions on.

    Derived from the homeopathic literature and clinical experience over the past many decades, some other potential homeopathic remedies for radiation exposure are listed below

    My favorite of these is “X-ray”. Homeopathic X-ray.  I suppose this is obtained the same way as homeopathic Saturn.  But anyway, how can he know any of these are effective, given that he just acknowledged the paucity of research?  (Okay, he claims one study on one nostrum.). And *why* is there such a paucity of research after many decades of experience?  Didn’t it occur to *anyone* in those many decades to make notes? 

    And finally he concludes piously,

    It should be noted that homeopaths tend to think of themselves as a part of a health care team. As such, they work with other health and medical professionals as well as public health officials to provide options for people and communities so that safe and effective health care can be available.

    Oh, yeah, like Francine Scrayen worked with Penelope Dingle’s health care team. 

    * Unfortunately I would not be able to evaluate the rigor of these studies.  But Mu@10 described the deep problems with one of them, and I’ve at least looked at a couple of others and am not terribly impressed.  I’m hoping someone like Prometheus will come clobber them.

  150. #150 lilady
    April 5, 2011

    @ LW: Well done!! I worked with private physicians, hospital-based staff and in public health…and homeopaths/other alt medicine practitioners were NOT part of any “health teams”. In fact, when we received calls from the public about alternative practitioners and their “treatments” and their “prescribed” supplements and nostrums, I would provide reliable websites to download science-based information. I would also download and print information from the web, and mail it to any caller who didn’t have computer access.

    In addition to licensed physicians and nurses at my Public Health Department, we had health care educators with masters-level specialties in health education. We all participated in off-site educational seminars in schools, in public libraries, in “senior centers” and at every “health fair” in our large county.

    All of these “practitioners” are “health team wannabes”

  151. #151 One Queer Fish
    April 6, 2011

    diversion wont work prove what I ask for ..the relevance is to science. and how science has gotten it wrong…since time immemorial…some 2000 years fr Eratosthenes to Copernicus…

    more bad examples how science got it wrong: bettelheims theory; a 9 ft seawall will stop tsunami flooding; a blow out preventer will prevent oil spills, etc, etc…

    the rhetoric relavence: “there is no hard evidence cigs cause cancer” is similar to VAX rhetoric: “there is no hard evidence VAXs cause autism”…actually it’s not a bad example of how the tobacco companies denied the effects/deaths with their promotional science…and tobacco is to cancer as VAXes are to autism.

    Dr. Maurice Hilleman, explains why Merck’s vaccines have spread AIDS & other plagues worldwide

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W2MJbcgn1g

    and you all slag homeopathy ..your all guilt for all your own families illness`s, by association ,by supporting thick sciences based on testing on animals duh doh ki!

    Arnica encephalitis, or belladonna autism, or , Ferrum Phosphoricum,SIDS, or Nux Vomica,induced diabetis, or Pulsatilla narcolepsy,???can`t hear you??where is the link??

    Google vaccine sids Result 1 to 10 of 13100 for sids vaccines(0.111 seconds)

  152. #152 NZ Sceptic
    April 6, 2011

    Is there not an effective homeopathic remedy for psychosis? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an individual quie so much in need of it!

  153. #153 Beamup
    April 6, 2011

    Ullman misses the fact that this effect is precisely the OPPOSITE of what homeopathy would predict:

    Because one of the basic premises of homeopathic medicine is that small doses of a treatment can help to heal those symptoms that large doses are known to cause

    Small doses of radiation increase the risk of cancer. Large doses of radiation can treat cancer. Grossly inconsistent.

  154. #154 LW
    April 6, 2011

    You’re assuming Ullman actually knows how radiation is used to treat cancer.

  155. #155 One Queer Fish
    April 6, 2011

    Can`anser guys beaten well and good you see dont make statements you all cant back up just makes you look ,well stupid stupid..
    No links to Arnica encephalitis, or belladonna autism, or , Ferrum Phosphoricum,SIDS, or Nux Vomica,induced diabetis, or Pulsatilla narcolepsy,???can`t hear you??where is the link??

  156. #156 Gray Falcon
    April 6, 2011

    I get the impression Ullman doesn’t think of anything except on the most superficial levels. Homeopathy’s effectiveness is based on largely on it’s ability to relieve symptoms and some vague but correlations that have not been reproduced. Actual science requires one to dig deeper and to understand.

    One Queer Fish: If you’re going to complain about how dumb science is, please do so using illuminated manuscripts or clay tablets or such.

  157. #157 LW
    April 6, 2011

    You’re assuming Ullman actually knows how radiation is used to treat cancer.

  158. #158 LW
    April 6, 2011

    Sorry for duplicate comment — my phone seems to have hiccupped.

    I agree; I think Ullman’s understanding of both radiation and cancer is approximately equal to my understanding of slithy toves.

  159. #159 Chris
    April 6, 2011

    LW, Dana Ullman’s use of studies can be summed up in one phrase: cherry picking. For example he often cites earlier Jennifer Jacobs study on using homeopathy for diarrhea for children in Central America, but always leaves out the latest one where it only works as well as placebo.

  160. #160 Calli Arcale
    April 6, 2011

    OQF:

    diversion wont work prove what I ask for ..the relevance is to science. and how science has gotten it wrong…since time immemorial…some 2000 years fr Eratosthenes to Copernicus…

    What are those references supposed to mean? Eratosthenes is perhaps most famous for measuring the circumference of the Earth. He was actually pretty close. (BTW, he did not prove the Earth was round. That was already common knowledge, at least among philosophers and sailors.) Copernicus is most famous for bucking the establishment by saying that the Sun was the center of the universe. People mostly blew him off as a crank, largely because although he later turned out to be mostly right, he was wrong on some crucial details and so Tycho’s work with epicycles was still doing a better job of predicting the motion of the planets than Copernicus could do.

    Which, of course, is completely irrelevant to whether or not homeopathy works. Your body’s inner workings do not depend on the diameter of the Earth, nor on the position of Saturn. Perhaps you believe in astrology?

    more bad examples how science got it wrong: bettelheims theory; a 9 ft seawall will stop tsunami flooding; a blow out preventer will prevent oil spills, etc, etc…

    Bettleheim, as noted in another thread, was a crank, not a scientist. Lots of people have come up with wacky claims (c.f. Dana Ullman); that doesn’t mean they’re an example of science “being wrong”. Science never said a nine-foot seawall would stop a tsunami exceeding nine feet (and common sense ought to make that abundantly clear even to you). Science never said a broken blowout preventer would stop a leak; it was businessmen who decided to accept shoddy work and inadequate testing and then *assume* the blowout preventer would work.

    You have not given an example of science being wrong. You have given an example of people being wrong, but people are wrong all the time. That’s sort of the point of science — to help people test their ideas and winnow out the right ones from the wrong ones. I am not surprised this is unclear to you. You seem to have a world view that expects there to be some entity (science, alt met, God, whatever) that exists to tell you exactly what is right and wrong so you don’t have to do any thinking for yourself. So of course, you judge science on that model — if it cannot reliably tell you everything without your having to think about it, it is worthless to you.

    That’s a common opinion, and, honestly, a large part of why our nation is failing to succeed right now. People are insufficiently curious, and would rather just pick someone to believe all the time.

  161. #161 Chris
    April 6, 2011

    Yes, Calli Arcale, he is using the “science was wrong before fallacy.” I saw him use in a recent thread, and I encountered it earlier this week on another thread.

    One common theme is that the ones using it are often wrong on how they use it, which includes the “everyone thought the world was flat and the sun moved” gambit. Another one that is is common is claims that medicine thought tobacco was safe, when in fact the science pointing to the cancer risks started in the late 19th century for mouth cancer, and by the 1950s for lung cancer. What they are remembering are the tobacco company lying advertisements.

    But it does not matter if people had science wrong before, because real scientist correct their views with data. It is the close minded like OQF, the Age of Autism folks, Ullman and others who cannot seem to accept new evidence. Which is why they are still going on about thimerosal even though all pediatric vaccines have been available without it for ten years, and Wakefield’s MMR “study” was not even significant in 1998.

  162. #162 LW
    April 6, 2011

    How, I wonder, does OQF know that tobacco has anything to do with lung cancer? Divine revelation?

  163. #163 Mojo
    April 6, 2011

    @OQF:

    Can`anser guys beaten well and good you see dont make statements you all cant back up just makes you look ,well stupid stupid..
    No links to Arnica encephalitis, or belladonna autism, or , Ferrum Phosphoricum,SIDS, or Nux Vomica,induced diabetis, or Pulsatilla narcolepsy,???can`t hear you??where is the link??

    Asking people to back up statements they haven’t made makes you look (at best) stupid.

  164. #164 novalox
    April 6, 2011

    Is it wrong to say that I get a laugh every time oqf posts one of his diatribes?

  165. #165 augustine
    April 6, 2011

    Chris

    But it does not matter if people had science wrong before, because real scientist correct their views with data.

    Like Thomas Kuhn said, they DON’T change their views. They die out and their view’s die out with them.

    The scientists you speak about don’t exist. Sure, some may change their opinion on some technology (like ORAC saying “see I change my mind on some cancer screening policies” therefore I have the quality of a great open minded scientist) but not in a meaningful way that changes paradigms. Those paradigms are dogmatically clinged to until death.

    ALL we have to do is look at the past to know that what we call medical science today will be tomorrow’s quackery. Useless and dangerous. Medical science operates in a vaccum of ignorance. Only the dogmatic ones call it science in the context of certainty and truth. It’s ALL debatable including cardiac bypass, mastectomies, and vaccines.

    Spare me your “I don’t say it with certainty, that’s a strawman argument” crapola. It’s what you do. Not what you say. Your lips move but I can’t here what your saying. I see what you do.

  166. #166 madder
    April 6, 2011

    Every augie post ever:

    Your lips move but I can’t here what your saying.

  167. #167 Mojo
    April 6, 2011

    ALL we have to do is look at the past to know that what we call medical science today will be tomorrow’s quackery.

    What we also see is that the quackery of the past has tended to remain quackery. There is no sign of mesmerism or Perkins tractors becoming science.

    Only the dogmatic ones call it science in the context of certainty and truth.

    You mean the way homoeopaths are so proud that their dogma hasn’t changed in 200 years?

  168. #168 Gray Falcon
    April 6, 2011

    Augustine:

    The scientists you speak about don’t exist. Sure, some may change their opinion on some technology (like ORAC saying “see I change my mind on some cancer screening policies” therefore I have the quality of a great open minded scientist) but not in a meaningful way that changes paradigms. Those paradigms are dogmatically clinged to until death.

    What paradigms are those? Why are they wrong?

    ALL we have to do is look at the past to know that what we call medical science today will be tomorrow’s quackery. Useless and dangerous. Medical science operates in a vaccum of ignorance. Only the dogmatic ones call it science in the context of certainty and truth. It’s ALL debatable including cardiac bypass, mastectomies, and vaccines.

    Why is that people are living longer and better now than they were before? Why is it so many vaccine-preventable diseases are no longer killing people like they used to?

    Spare me your “I don’t say it with certainty, that’s a strawman argument” crapola. It’s what you do. Not what you say. Your lips move but I can’t here what your saying. I see what you do.

    What are we doing? What evidence are we ignoring?

  169. #169 novalox
    April 6, 2011

    @augie

    Are we having fun yet?

  170. #170 Composer99
    April 6, 2011

    ugh troll:

    OQF has you hogtied and beat down for supreme troll-dom.

    Try harder next time.

    The difference between acknowledging all scientific findings are provisional pending superior evidence and your idiotic statements is the ‘evidence’ part.

    Since you and your quack & crank bedfellows are, for all your efforts, incapable of providing the required evidence, your claims will continue to be taken as seriously as they deserve – not at all.

  171. #171 LDStein
    April 6, 2011

    If you dont ‘hear’ augustine, it is because you are afraid to hear!

    Sorry Chris, I think you mean well, but you are a misguided fool.

  172. #172 Chris
    April 6, 2011

    LDStein = new troll or sock puppet?

  173. #173 Prometheus
    April 6, 2011

    Using the “science has been wrong before” (or, in the case of OQF, the “people who aren’t scientists have been wrong before”) argument to support homeopathy is either galactically stupid or bitter irony.

    You see, while “science” has been wrong – and corrected itself (otherwise, how would we know it was wrong?) – homeopathy has never been right.

    We now know (as the result of scientific research) that:

    – Homepathic dilutions above 12C are unlikely to contain a single molecule of the “active” ingredient.

    – Water does not maintain any long-range or long-term structure or “memory” unless it is frozen.

    – Homeopathic remedies are indistinguishable from placebo in their chemical composition and physiological effect.

    And, as has been stated numerous times, the fact that nobody has been directly harmed or killed by homeopathy doesn’t mean that homeopathy is effective. If you want to “do something” that is just as safe and effective as homeopathy (but much, much cheaper), I’d suggest buying a stuffed animal and cuddling it.

    There, I’ve admitted it: I’m a plushopathist. I think that there are few dis-eases in this world that can’t be helped by a soft, plushy toy (certain allergies being notable exceptions).

    The scary thing is that plushopathy is 100 times more rational than homeopathy, even though I just made it up this week.

    Prometheus

  174. #174 Prometheus
    April 6, 2011

    Using the “science has been wrong before” (or, in the case of OQF, the “people who aren’t scientists have been wrong before”) argument to support homeopathy is either galactically stupid or bitter irony.

    You see, while “science” has been wrong – and corrected itself (otherwise, how would we know it was wrong?) – homeopathy has never been right.

    We now know (as the result of scientific research) that:

    – Homepathic dilutions above 12C are unlikely to contain a single molecule of the “active” ingredient.

    – Water does not maintain any long-range or long-term structure or “memory” unless it is frozen.

    – Homeopathic remedies are indistinguishable from placebo in their chemical composition and physiological effect.

    And, as has been stated numerous times, the fact that nobody has been directly harmed or killed by homeopathy doesn’t mean that homeopathy is effective. If you want to “do something” that is just as safe and effective as homeopathy (but much, much cheaper), I’d suggest buying a stuffed animal and cuddling it.

    There, I’ve admitted it: I’m a plushopathist. I think that there are few dis-eases in this world that can’t be helped by a soft, plushy toy (certain allergies being notable exceptions).

    The scary thing is that plushopathy is 100 times more rational than homeopathy, even though I just made it up this week.

    Prometheus

  175. #175 Vicki, Chief Assistant to the Assistant Chief
    April 6, 2011

    I thought I had just invented plushopathy!

    Though on further consideration, I was mistaken in saying that green teddy bears are particularly effective: if the patient wants a green plush toy, I recommend a turtle or frog.

  176. #176 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 6, 2011

    Augustine,
    Just to be clear – you’re calling cardiac bypass surgery “tomorrow’s quackery”? Is this because:
    a) it doesn’t actually extend lives and improve quality of life?
    b) better techniques have already been found that are currently being ignored?
    c) better techniques will be found some day that will make the procedure obsolete?
    d) other?
    Answer “c” above is certainly possible, though that certainly doesn’t make it quackery today. Answer “b” would be kind of cool, and if you’re aware of what that is (including studies and status of FDA approval) please share. Answer “a” would definitely make it quackery today if true, but seems contrary to all evidence.

  177. #177 Anonymous
    April 6, 2011

    Ok, I give up. Looking at this headline multiple times just left this song stuck in my head, so now I have to give it back. Maybe Orac will remember it. Consider this OT an interlude.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEwwc1Vovkk

  178. #178 Calli Arcale
    April 6, 2011

    Mephistopheles: auggie has doubtless noticed the headlines going around the mainstream press about how the risks and benefits of bypass aren’t as clearcut as previously expected (in part probably because of advances in pharmaceutical approaches — everybody in the study was on drugs for their condition), and how some forms of angioplasty are better than others. Naturally, this research got a headline like this: “Studies question heart bypass, angioplasty method”.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110404/ap_on_he_me/us_med_heart_disease

    Since science is being used to clarify the data, naturally some regard this as “science being wrong”.

  179. #179 augustine
    April 6, 2011

    http://discovermagazine.com/2005/jun/discover-dialogue

    For three decades Nortin Hadler, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been rigorously examining statistics generated by his medical colleagues’ practices and arriving at startling conclusions about their effectiveness.

    “None. I think bypass surgery belongs in the medical archives. There are only two reasons you’d ever want to do it: one, to save lives, the other to improve symptoms. But there’s only one subset of the population that’s been proved to derive a meaningful benefit from the surgery, and that’s people with a critical defect of the left main coronary artery who also have angina. If you take 100 60-year-old men with angina, only 3 of them will have that defect, and there’s no way to know without a coronary arteriogram. So you give that test to 100 people to find 3 solid candidates—but that procedure is not without complications. Chances are you’re going to do harm to at least one in that sample of 100. So you have to say, “I’m going to do this procedure with a 1 percent risk of catastrophe to find the 3 percent I know I can help a little.” That’s a very interesting trade-off.”

    Now if SBMers hold true to form then an ad hominem on Dr. Hadler will take place.

  180. #180 Gray Falcon
    April 6, 2011

    If there is evidence that bypass surgery is overdone, and there may very well be, what would that mean for vaccination? Or homeopathy? It might suggest that some mainstream opinion is incorrect, but that would hardly overturn everything. And if your argument is “This shows science can be wrong”, does that make this statement true: “Open-heart surgery is overused, therefore heavier-than-air flight and electronic signal transmission are impossible.”

  181. #181 evilDoug
    April 6, 2011

    results of Google search for
    bugs bunny cucamonga
    202,000 results (0.17 seconds)
    ~~~
    If I wasn’t previously convinced that homeopathy doesn’t work, I certainly am now.
    Based on the concecpt of “like cures like”, OQF should have totally banished stupidity from the entire planet. Alas, it still exists.

  182. #182 Lawrence
    April 6, 2011

    Yet another boring post – geesh, he/she/it isn’t even trying anymore…..

  183. #183 Mojo
    April 6, 2011

    To get back to Dana’s article, I notice that he cites research that “has found excellent results in using Calendula ointment on people who experienced radiotherapy-induced dermatitis”.

    The source he cites for this is a Cochrane review of homeopathy for side-effects of cancer treatments (Kassab S, Cummings M, Berkovitz S, van Haselen R, Fisher P. Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2.) which included the Calendula ointment study, rather than the Calendula ointment study itself (P. Pommier, F. Gomez, M.P. Sunyach, A. D’Hombres, C. Carrie, X. Montbarbon: Phase III Randomized Trial of Calendula Officinalis Compared With Trolamine for the Prevention of Acute Dermatitis During Irradiation for Breast Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 22, No 8 (April 15), 2004: pp. 1447-1453).

    That’s a link to the full text of the paper; check it out. The ointment contains a herbal extract, there is no indication that it was prepared using serial dilution and succussion, there is no mention of “like cures like” as a rationale for its use. There is no mention of homeopathy at all.

    Incidentally, here’s the Cancer Research UK Science Update blog’s take on the Cochrane review Dana cites: No convincing evidence that homeopathy can help with cancer treatment side effects.

  184. #184 evilDoug
    April 6, 2011

    Phooey! spelled “concept” wrong.
    ~~~
    Google search
    +Ferrum +Phosphoricum +earthquake
    About 1,040 results (0.14 seconds)

  185. #185 Composer99
    April 6, 2011

    ugh troll:

    First, congratulations on discovering scientific journals.

    Second, the dialogue is all well and good, but if Dr Hadler has statistically analysed coronary bypass surgeries, where is the link to the peer-reviewed paper?

    Third, if Dr Hadler’s hypothesis is correct, then you are in the unenviable position of trying to demonize science while supporting your position with properly-conducted science. In short, you are depending on the very thing you appear to despise to make your argument.

    It may be worth taking Dr Hadler seriously, but there’s still no reason to take you seriously.

  186. #186 Beamup
    April 6, 2011

    A Pubmed search for Nortin Hadler turns up 21 articles, almost all about back pain or fibromyalgia. Nothing at all about cardiology, much less anything supportive of his claims.

    Publishing such purported results in books and magazines instead of journals is a sure sign of a crank who deserves no credence.

  187. #187 herr doktor bimler
    April 6, 2011

    Like Thomas Kuhn said, they DON’T change their views. They die out and their view’s die out with them.

    Citation, please.

  188. #188 altın çilek
    April 6, 2011

    Looking at this headline multiple times just left this song stuck in my head, so now I have to give it back. Maybe Orac will remember it. Consider this OT an interlude.

  189. #189 augustine
    April 6, 2011

    Beamup

    Publishing such purported results in books and magazines instead of journals is a sure sign of a crank who deserves no credence.

    Like clockwork. A true SBMer who knows his roots.

  190. #190 herr doktor bimler
    April 6, 2011

    Bettleheim, as noted in another thread, was a crank, not a scientist.

    Bruno Bettelheim is interesting because he seems to have lied about everything. Not content with making up the refrigerator-mother theory, he lied about his qualifications; he lied about his early experiences in Germany; he published a book on fairy tales that he had plagiarised. He lied about his treatment methods (preferring not to mention his propensity to violence), and he lied about his diagnoses, claiming that children were autistic when they weren’t so he could take them into his clinic for a while and then claim to have cured them. And journalists lapped it all up, not questioning a thing (possibly because the refrigerator-mother crap dovetailed nicely with popular anxieties at the time about the dangers of professional women).

    There’s a lot of similarity with media complicity in the Wakefield scandal.

  191. #191 T. Bruce McNeely
    April 6, 2011

    For three decades Nortin Hadler, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been rigorously examining statistics generated by his medical colleagues’ practices and arriving at startling conclusions about their effectiveness.

    You know, that kind of reminds me of the way that the effectiveness and safety of vaccination programs are measured – by rigorous statistical examinations, as opposed to anecdote, rumor, logical fallacies and just plain lies.

  192. #192 Beamup
    April 6, 2011

    Like clockwork. A true SBMer who knows his roots.

    I see you have no substantive response, or reason why Hadler SHOULD be given credence. Certainly he’s never published the work, so essentially you’re demanding that we trust his unsubstantiated assertion over the work of the many people who have subjected THEIR results to the rigor of peer review. Which is not a rational thing to do.

    But I guess you don’t care; his conclusion agrees with your prejudices which proves he’s right?

  193. #193 One Queer Fish
    April 6, 2011

    Credence ha ha ha!!

    When you realise that every vaccine,drug,that has ever been withdrawn have ALL been passed as SAFE..

    Coercian is what Pharma`s motto is right down the line

    Wheres my links guys? never mind the diversion talk links ..

    links to Arnica encephalitis, or belladonna autism, or , Ferrum Phosphoricum,SIDS, or Nux Vomica,induced diabetis, or Pulsatilla narcolepsy,???can`t hear you??where is the link??

  194. #194 Gray Falcon
    April 6, 2011

    What neither augustine or Fish will acknowledge is this: Nothing they are saying is relevant. Even if heart surgery is overdone, that does not change whether vaccines work. Even if homeopathic remedies do not cause SIDS, that does not change the fact that they are useless for treating radiation.

  195. #195 BraselC5048
    April 6, 2011

    @ One Queer Fish:

    Approate name. You’re certainly queer (read: strange), and you seem to have the thinking ability of a fish. You’re pretty entertaining, though. Unlike Auggie and thingy (see: nailing Jello to a wall). Also, your fish-sized thinking ability seems to be entirily wrapped up in just about every conspiricy theory ever invented. Interistingly, I’m pretty sure I’ve met a cat that’s a lot smarter then you are (that’s another story), making your username even more interesting. Your lack of writing ability is halarious.

    Here’s a hint: repeating same 6 words 15 times, using about 50 exclimation points in the process, and writing in ALL CAPS makes you look crazy.

    Yes, this is an Ad Hamminum. But it was fun.

  196. #196 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 6, 2011

    Augustine,
    If (and I repeat, IF) Dr Hadler has done his work and interpreted it correctly, I would have to agree that cardiac bypass surgery is at the very least over-used, and perhaps entirely worthless – and thus pure quackery. Has anyone replicated his findings and published them?

  197. #197 Phoenix Woman
    April 6, 2011

    Notice that The Analyst ran away once a number of us actually looked up what was in Traumeel? ;-)

  198. #198 augustine
    April 6, 2011

    Gray Falcon

    If there is evidence that bypass surgery is overdone, and there may very well be, what would that mean for vaccination?

    That vaccination is overdone!

  199. #199 Gray Falcon
    April 6, 2011

    augustine:

    That vaccination is overdone!

    So, is all medicine overdone? If your arm got cut off, would you mind if doctors didn’t fix you up because since heart surgeries were overdone, so must wound closure?

  200. #200 The Analyst
    April 6, 2011

    Notice that The Analyst ran away once a number of us actually looked up what was in Traumeel? ;-)

    Umm.. No?

    I haven’t been reading comments, but even after scanning through them, I don’t get your point.

    Traumeel is homeopathic (even if you think it’s not diluted enough), and if you say homeopathics don’t work, then I guess it’s all the placebo effect. Right? ;)

  201. #201 augustine
    April 6, 2011

    But I guess you don’t care; his conclusion agrees with your prejudices which proves he’s right?

    I guess you don’t agree with Gilbert Welch, either, do you champ.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/22/AR2005102200042.html

    “Flu Death Risk Often Exaggerated; So Is Benefit of Vaccine”

    Someone hellbent on ideology would. Psuedo skeptics take note.

    “The Outcomes Group is a small, close-knit group of physician researchers and fellows from a variety of clinical disciplines. Although we were each trained in the conventional clinical culture, we share a common concern about the excesses of American medicine. We question the assumption that patients always stand to gain from having more health care. We are concerned about advertising and other messages that exaggerate the benefit of health care and minimize the harm (or ignore it entirely). And we are troubled by the increasing enthusiasm for seeking diagnoses in the well and initiating interventions for those identified as “sick”.”

  202. #202 augustine
    April 6, 2011

    So, is all medicine overdone? If your arm got cut off, would you mind if doctors didn’t fix you up because since heart surgeries were overdone, so must wound closure?

    It’s the ol’ dangling carrot gambit! If you disagree with one part of medicine then we’ll withold all parts from you until you accept all of it! Just get the damn vaccine, folks!

    It has it’s common dogmatic themes. Sometimes the author will invoke something about being a luddite and eschewing anything technological because one questions modern medicine.

  203. #203 Gray Falcon
    April 6, 2011

    It’s the ol’ dangling carrot gambit! If you disagree with one part of medicine then we’ll withold all parts from you until you accept all of it! Just get the damn vaccine, folks!

    Why not? If you’re going to argue that one piece of medicine is bad based on a statement about a completely unrelated item, then why can’t you extend the argument to all medicine? Or all science?

  204. #204 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 6, 2011

    The Analyst,
    I think you point out an interesting subtlety in the discussion. In reality, every treatment needs to be evaluated in the context of what it claims to treat. The notion that a particular treatment works (or does not work) does not necessarily prove (or disprove) an entire system and vice versa.

    Statements that a particular substance does (or does not) work because it’s naturopathic/homeopathic/herbal doesn’t really mean much. The substance either can be proved to treat a condition or not; if it does, it works. Now, if that substance follows the rules of a particular system of medicine, it might give credence to that system. However, if someone were to declare aspirin as a homeopathic remedy, I would not expect it to suddenly stop working on headaches.

    Often in the case of homeopathy it’s pretty obvious it shouldn’t work – at dilutions of around “12C” and higher it becomes increasingly unlikely that there is any active ingredient in any dose that someone might reasonably consume. Thus by what’s known of chemistry, physics, biology, etc. anytime someone claims that 200C duck liver is any kind of treatment for influenza, then the claim is absurd and needs substantial evidence if it is to be proved. So often people use a shortcut, tarring other substances that claim to be homeopathic with a rather broad brush.

  205. #205 augustine
    April 6, 2011

    gary falcon

    Why not? If you’re going to argue that one piece of medicine is bad based on a statement about a completely unrelated item, then why can’t you extend the argument to all medicine? Or all science?

    Yeh, why not?

    So you think All parts of conventional status quo medicine are hands off? It’s all correct based on principle?

    Do you even understand the principle that medicine is base on?

  206. #206 Gray Falcon
    April 6, 2011

    So you think All parts of conventional status quo medicine are hands off? It’s all correct based on principle?

    No, I’m just pointing out how blatantly stupid it is to paint medicine with such a broad brush. You quite literally argued that since cardiac surgery is overused, so must vaccination.

    Do you even understand the principle that medicine is base on?

    Which principles are you talking about? Please explain in simple terms.

  207. #207 adelady
    April 7, 2011

    analyst. The problem with Traumeel (which I’ve never before heard of) is not that it is a homeopathic preparation that seems to work for some people.

    The problem is that the ‘homeopathic’ constituents are far outweighed by traditional herbal substances – and I include alcohol there because a lot of traditional and/ or herbal preparations were effective mostly, or entirely, because of the alcohol content.

    If you want to talk about homeopathy, stick to homeopathy. If you want to talk herbal as against preparations derived by isolating active ingredients from traditional herbs, do that. But you can’t conflate the homeopathy and herbal treatments.

    Rubbing a traditional preparation of willow bark onto a sore joint is different both from taking a refined aspirin tablet *and* from drops of some homeopathic dilution or other of willow bark.

  208. #208 Narad
    April 7, 2011

    It’s the ol’ dangling carrot gambit! If you disagree with one part of medicine then we’ll withold all parts from you until you accept all of it!

    Again with the psychosexual tells.

  209. #209 Composer99
    April 7, 2011

    ugh troll:

    You are not going to make your off-topic case with off-topic references to non-refereed articles in magazines or newspapers.

    Kindly use the search function to find recent on-topic blog posts and then cite peer-reviewed sources to support your position(s).

  210. #210 One Queer Fish
    April 7, 2011

    EH!!LINKS PLEASE??
    ANYONE??

  211. #211 Chris
    April 7, 2011

    OQF, here is an appropriate link for you. Put it to good use.

  212. #212 T. Bruce McNeely
    April 7, 2011

    One huge omission from the Washington Post article (@201) – flu vaccination in the younger population may not save many lives in that population, but it will reduce the risk of spread to the unvaccinated vulnerable population. That’s why immunization programs for health care workers are an essential part of any infection prevention program in hospitals.
    This article is a piece of slanted writing.

  213. #213 augustine
    April 7, 2011

    Brucy

    That’s why immunization programs for health care workers are an essential part of any infection prevention program in hospitals.

    http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab005187.html

    “There are no accurate data on rates of laboratory-proven influenza in healthcare workers.”

    “We conclude that there is no evidence that only vaccinating healthcare workers prevents laboratory-proven influenza, pneumonia, and death from pneumonia in elderly residents in long-term care facilities.”

  214. #214 augustine
    April 7, 2011

    Brucy Pucy

    One huge omission from the Washington Post article (@201) – flu vaccination in the younger population may not save many lives in that population, but it will reduce the risk of spread to the unvaccinated vulnerable population.

    This will burn you up too, Pucy. You’re living in science based medicine world where you fabricate things in your mind the way you think they should work out.

    http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab001269.html

    “Authors of this review assessed all trials that compared vaccinated people with unvaccinated people. The combined results of these trials showed that under ideal conditions Vaccine use did not affect the number of people hospitalised or working days lost but caused one case of Guillian-Barré syndrome (a major neurological condition leading to paralysis) for every one million vaccinations. Fifteen of the 36 trials were funded by vaccine companies and four had no funding declaration. Our results may be an optimistic estimate because company-sponsored influenza vaccines trials tend to produce results favorable to their products and some of the evidence comes from trials carried out in ideal viral circulation and matching conditions and because the harms evidence base is limited..”

  215. #215 LW
    April 7, 2011

    “We conclude that there is no evidence that only vaccinating healthcare workers prevents laboratory-proven influenza, pneumonia, and death from pneumonia in elderly residents in long-term care facilities.” (Emphasis added)

    True, there are other vectors that can bring it in. You’d need to vaccinate them too to really protect the vulnerable. Thank you for bringing that to our attention.

  216. #216 augustine
    April 7, 2011

    LW

    True, there are other vectors that can bring it in. You’d need to vaccinate them too to really protect the vulnerable.

    I like how you refer to people as “vectors”. Just another number in the scheme of microbe eradication. In public health people are just numbers and threats. They’re not human in Technology Based Medicine (formerly called “science” based medicine).

  217. #217 Gray Falcon
    April 7, 2011

    I like how you refer to people as “vectors”. Just another number in the scheme of microbe eradication. In public health people are just numbers and threats. They’re not human in Technology Based Medicine (formerly called “science” based medicine).

    Typical augustine. Rather than respond to the legitimate argument, he chose to take self-righteously pick at a minor detail. Also, I wonder if he’s familiar with the expression “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Here’s one thread where you chose to back up allegations of playing “mind games” with people with a fictional scenario:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/04/the_annals_of_im_not_anti-vaccine_part_6.php#comment-3588379

  218. #218 lilady
    April 7, 2011

    Augie is cherry-picking again from the Cochrane Article. The Cochrane article concludes with the statement:

    “Other Interventions such as hand washing, masks, early detection of influenza with nasal swabs, antivirals, quarantine, restricting visitors and asking health care workers not to attend work might protect individuals over 60 in long term care facilities and high quality randomized trials testing combinations of these interventions are needed”

    Um, Augie, these interventions have proven to be effective to contain outbreaks of seasonal and pandemic influenza in long term care facilities. See MMWR January 29, 2010:

    “Outbreaks of 2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) Among Long Term Care Facility Residents.”

    Busted, again.

  219. #219 Lawrence
    April 7, 2011

    Once again, boring troll is boring – seriously, got to up the crazy around here & you’re not it.

  220. #220 herr doktor bimler
    April 7, 2011

    Like Thomas Kuhn said, they DON’T change their views. They die out and their view’s die out with them.

    Again, a citation would be nice; this sounds made up.

  221. #221 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    April 8, 2011

    “OQF, work on your reading comprehension.”

    Need work on expressive writing but that’ll never happen either. OQF/AWOL is resistant to learning. Self-imflicted stupidity has no cure … no legal one, anyways.

    “I tried to read the comments from OQF, but Google Translate does not offer a “Word Salad -> English” feature.”

    That’s because it needs to be Bollocks -> English. I’m not sure that facility’s there yet, either.

    Phoenix woman…. you’re brilliant! Five internetses to you.

  222. #222 Krebiozen
    April 8, 2011

    I believe that Augustine is referring to (“mangling” might be a more accurate term) Thomas Kuhn’s book, ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’, which was published nearly 50 years ago.

    I have read this book, and in essence it argues that science develops in jumps, and when there is a major change in scientific understanding (Kuhn coined the term “paradigm shift” to refer to such a change), older scientists who have been worked with the old paradigm all their lives are often unable to get their heads around the new understanding, whereas younger scientists take to the new ideas like a duck to water. Kuhn also pointed out that we tend to see what we believe, which may bias our observations as well as our conclusions.

    This is about major shifts in understanding, like germ theory, Mendelian genetics, evolution and General Relativity. Even if Kuhn was right (and there are those who argue that he was not), I don’t see how this has any relevance to whether homeopathy works or not. Clinical trials are designed to eliminate as far as possible the sort of biases Kuhn pointed out.

    Kuhn’s work on paradigm shifts has been horribly abused by those who have either not read his books, or who have failed to understand them.

  223. #223 herr doktor bimler
    April 8, 2011

    Oh yes, I know Kuhn, but I don’t remember him saying much about old scientists being hidebound and inflexible and unable to change their minds. It was in fact Max Planck:

    An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is familiarized with the idea from the beginning.

    I’m keen on correct attributions.

  224. #224 lilady
    April 9, 2011

    @ Herr Doktor Bimler: Don’t expect a reply from Little Augie. I love how you kept asking him for citation and correct attribution.

    Busted, again!

  225. #225 Krebiozen
    April 11, 2011

    Herr Doktor Bimler – I was so sure that quote was from ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ that I had to get hold of a copy to check. That is indeed where I read it, but it was Kuhn quoting Planck, and disagreeing with him.

    Kuhn thought that most scientists do accept new paradigms, “though some scientists, particularly the older and more experienced ones, may resist indefinitely, most of them can be reached in one way or another”.

    It’s strange how the memory plays tricks – thanks for the correction!

  226. #226 herr doktor bimler
    April 11, 2011

    Thanks, Krebiozen.
    It’s not just random pedantry to insist on the correct source. I have a theory that before arguing with someone on a big issue, it’s worth checking that both sides are able to admit errors and willing to correct them on small issues.

  227. #227 Gray Falcon
    April 11, 2011

    Closer to topic: Homeopathy was a new paradigm a hundred-ish years ago, and managed to lose mainstream acceptance between then and now. Why is that, I wonder?

  228. #228 Radiation Herbs
    April 17, 2011

    Homeopathy “lost interest” because the pharmaceuticals knew it was a threat (it is safe, it does not harm healthy tissue, it is inexpensive, and it works), exactly what would really hurt their bottom line. Always remember to “try it for yourself” and see if it works for you before you judge anything.

  229. #229 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 17, 2011

    Radiation Herbs,
    Can you point to evidence that homeopathy works? What’s the quality of that evidence? Would it be sufficient to prove effectiveness for non-homeopathic remedies?

  230. #230 Chris
    April 17, 2011

    The stupidity that is evident in “Radiation Herbs” spamming caused great laughter as it was discussed in the SGU live podcast from NECSS 2011. Enjoy.

  231. #231 tresmal
    April 17, 2011

    it is safe,…

    True.

    …it does not harm healthy tissue,…

    Also true.

    …it is inexpensive,

    It has the highest markup of any medicine out there.

    …and it works

    Exactly as well as any other inert substance pushed with conviction on a trusting patient.

  232. #232 Narad
    April 17, 2011

    Always remember to “try it for yourself” and see if it works for you before you judge anything.

    I seem to recall that Dick Alpert broke his leg using just this advice to see if he could fly, from a second-story window.