One of the most frequent claims of supporters of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), which goes by the Orwellian name “integrative medicine,” is that it represents “integrating” alternative medicine with science-based medicine to produce the “best of both worlds.” Of course, when I think of the best of both worlds, I usually think of The Best of Both Worlds, which might well be appropriate, except that, unlike the case when the Borg assimilate a species, when science-based medicine is forced to assimilate quackery, the quackery changes it, making it weaker, not stronger, and degrading its scientific basis. As I like to say, “integrative medicine” involves “integrating” pseudoscience and quackery with real medicine, to the detriment of the latter. When integrative medicine isn’t incorporating outright quackery like naturopathy, homeopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine into medicine, it’s busy rebranding certain science-based modalities like exercise and diet as somehow being “alternative” or “integrative,” usually while adding just enough pseudoscience make them less science-based.

Unfortunately, unlike the old days when doctors were willing to call quackery quackery, the whole concept of “integrative medicine” has been wildly successful over the last 20 years in breaking down resistance to incorporating pseudoscience like naturopathy into medicine. This has led to the rise of what I like to refer to as “quackademic medicine,” in which quackery has infiltrated the walls of academic medicine, where integrative medicine programs have popped up like so much kudzu, and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), which was formerly known as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), center in the NIH dedicated to funding studies of pseudoscience. Politically, this drip, drip, drip of legitimization of quackery has, not surprisingly, led to efforts to legitimize it completely. Indeed, Jann Bellamy just described how a new bill introduced by the supplement industry’s lapdog Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) could lead to taxpayer subsidization of health savings accounts that can be used to purchase homeopathy. Meanwhile, a provision was slipped into the Affordable Care Act that mandates insurance coverage for the services of any state-licensed health care professional, which means that in states where chiropractic is licensed, insurance policies sold through ACA exchanges have to cover chiropractic. Ditto naturopathy.

What I was disturbed to learn is that apparently (at least if John Weeks is to be believed), on the Democratic side both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are sympathetic to CAM:

A colleague recently sent me a photo of presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders at a 2010 integrative medicine conference. His right ear is full of acupuncture needles. They looked like the five needle NADA protocol that, given its value in stress reduction, should likely be a regular treatment of any candidate on the campaign trail.

The picture didn’t surprise me. In 1996, I was invited to speak on insurance issues associated with what was then called “complementary and alternative medicine” at an unusual conference in Vermont. Then Congressman Sanders had convened a statewide gathering of all healthcare stakeholders to examine the potential in these new approaches and practitioners. Massage therapists rubbed shoulders with insurance executives, acupuncturists with hospital administrators. Relationship building began.

And Hillary:

I was working in Seattle with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians in early 1993 when a call came through from the Clinton White House. Say what? I was even more stunned than you likely are on reading this.

This was early in the movement for integration. News had just broken that a third of adults in the United States were using some kind of “unconventional medicine.” Billions were being spent. Stakeholders of all kinds, such as those Sanders would soon be organizing, were awakening.

The call came smack in the middle of the healthcare reform effort Hillary led. Everyone was wondering how to get into a process that was haunted and ultimately undone by a chosen strategy of exclusion and secrecy. Who’s in? Who’s out? The caller, from Hillary Clinton’s personal staff, said the meeting in the West Wing would include only a couple dozen people. Clinton would share a process for how alternative medicine could give input to the reform team. Could we send someone?

Whoa. None of this is good. Of course, when it comes to Hillary Clinton, it’s not exactly a surprise. Readers who’ve been around more than a couple of years will remember my reaction when I discovered just how close the Clintons had become to Dr. Mark Hyman, the king of “functional medicine” quackery, who’s so prominent that the Cleveland Clinic basically built him a functional medicine center to run. Functional medicine, as you will recall, is a form of highly dubious medicine that involves measuring all sorts of lab values and trying to correct them, whether it makes a difference or not. There’s actually a lot more to it than that, although maybe it’s more correct to say that there’s a lot less to it from a scientific standpoint. It’s beyond the scope of this post to do a detailed deconstruction of functional medicine, but I have done it before. The point is that Clinton has shown herself to be susceptible to woo.

And apparently so has Bernie Sanders. Get a load of this speech he gave in 2010 to the Vermont conference mentioned in Weeks’ article:

To me, the increasing integration of CAM and conventional care just makes sense. Research shows that more people are demanding and turning to integrative care because it parallels their personal values and desire to be treated as a whole person. For a wide variety of reasons, more and more people are not simply content to go to a doctor’s office, get a diagnosis and take a pill. They want to know what the cause of their medical problem is and how, when possible, it can be best alleviated through natural, non-invasive or non-pharmaceutical means.

And a little later in his remarks:

I believe integrative health care offers an excellent opportunity to address these and many other issues and improve our too-expensive and not always-effective “sick-care” system. Clearly, we need to put much more emphasis on disease prevention and wellness, and on care that links physical and mental well-being.

Oh, dear. No.

Sure, it’s possible that Sanders was just being polite to his hosts, but I doubt it was just that. You don’t say stuff like this if you don’t believe it to some extent. It sounds as though Sanders buys into the false dichotomy between “natural” and pharmaceutical and the CAM propaganda that paints medicine as not promoting prevention.

Ah, you say. That was nearly six years ago. Maybe Sanders has wised up. Sadly, if this story from November is any indication, he hasn’t:

Sen. Bernie Sanders praised holistic and alternative health care Monday as he introduced a Veterans Health Administration official to doctors and nurses in Burlington.

Sanders described the increasing integration of Chinese medicine and yoga, for example, as bright spots in a largely dysfunctional American health care system.

Apparently Sanders has a different definition of “bright spot” than those who think medicine should be science-based do. While you’d be hard-pressed to find any of us who are opposed to yoga (stripped of its mystical mumbo-jumbo, it is, after all, nothing more than a form of exercise), but traditional Chines medicine is a prescientific medical system rooted in primitive vitalism that has no place in scientific medicine. That such mystical unscientific quackery is rapidly being “integrated” into medicine is hardly what I would call a “bright spot.” He’s also the one who is credited (if you can call it that) with inserting the provision requiring licensed CAM professions to be included as part of the health care workforce into the ACA.

Worse, Sanders appears to be pushing to “integrate” this quackery with the medical care being provided in the VA system. Isn’t auricular acupuncture bad enough? Don’t our vets deserve nothing but the very best medical care, science-based medicine? Why would we subject our vets to prescientific quackery. Apparently Sanders supports doing just this. He also co-sponsored a bill, the Veterans’ Health Promotion Act of 2013, to set up pilot programs in CAM in the VA, with the intent of introducing CAM more widely in the VA system. Fortunately, it failed to pass.

Basically, Sanders has a long history of supporting quackery that can be documented through sources other than John Weeks. Hillary Clinton also has dodgy history; obviously being close to Mark Hyman, who, besides his functional medicine quackery, has published an antivaccine book with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. There’s even a report that she got Hyman face time with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. It’s from Breitbart.com, though; so I take the report with a grain of salt the size of the salt mines under Detroit. Still, there’s no doubt that on the Democratic side, both major candidates have a problem when it comes to supporting science-based medicine. It’s part of the reason why I’m not particularly enthusiastic about either of them.

Obviously, though, I’m even less enthusiastic about the Republican field, for reasons that go beyond medicine. After all, of the remaining Republican contenders, Donald Trump, besides truly scary with his other ridiculous ideas, is rabidly antivaccine and has been at least a decade, having on many occasions repeated the myth that vaccines cause autism, while Ben Carson panders to antivaccinationists and has a decade-long history of shilling for the supplement company Mannatech with his very own dubious cancer cure testimonial. Ted Cruz doesn’t appear to embrace medical pseudoscience, at least not that I can find, but he embraces plenty of other pseudoscience and hangs out with his own objectionable doctors.

Sadly, this looks to be another election that will be a choice between the lesser of two evils, which will force those of us who support science-based medicine to weigh just how important that is to us compared to other policy positions. If, for instance, Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, the choice will be easy, because in addition to his antivaccine views his other views are noxious beyond belief, which would make it easier to hold my nose and support the Democratic nominee. If Ted Cruz is the nominee, his views are sufficiently noxious and his support for anthropogenic global warming denialism so flagrant that, again, it will be easy for me to hold my nose and vote for the Democrat. If the nominee is an establishment candidate like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or John Kasich is nominated, it will be a bit harder to hold my nose and vote for the Democrat, but other issues might win the day.

The bottom line is that, from the standpoint of science, this current crop of Presidential candidates leaves much to be desired, and that’s an understatement.

Comments

  1. #1 Bob
    February 19, 2016

    I look forward to seeing how political partisans who are also skeptics rationalize this, or maybe a dose of political reality will suggest that the candidates are really just feeding people what they think they want to hear. And yes it means your candidate too. Probably especially.

  2. #2 A Frequent Lurker
    February 19, 2016

    American politics have always been about a “lesser of two evils.” Socially, I’m already in whoever the Dem’s bag is. But if it came down to this, both Sanders and Clinton have come out on the right side of requiring vaccinations in the absence of a LEGIT medical reason. Sanders–being from Vermont–was vocal about GMO labeling for awhile but seems to have backed down, Clinton thinks its useless and wasteful (rightly) based on the science. Both support climate change.

    Every one of the Repub candidates, even the “sane” ones have denied climate change, advocate for “parents’ rights,” and want to destroy the healthcare plan that I wish I had when I was struggling in school.

    The Dems aren’t perfect, but I’ll take the overall acceptance of science with a side of yoga and worthless acupuncture if I have to. FAR lesser of two evils.

  3. #3 palindrom
    February 19, 2016

    Well, Bob @1, I rationalize my support of these candidates by the simple fact that you’ll never find a candidate who agrees with you on every single issue, and that these candidates are vastly more respectful of scientific findings — and indeed, empirical reality in general — than their Republican counterparts, who are basically troglodytes, or pretending to be.

    I actually don’t care that much who the Democrats nominate. I just them to win it.

  4. #4 phantasm
    earth
    February 19, 2016

    Before OBAMA took Office he campaigned and said he would label GMO foods.When he was elected president he handed over the FDA and USDA to Monsanto because he believed the BS that they fed him that GMO’s are safe. There is plenty of scientific evidence showing that GMO”s cause disease.

    OBAMA and HRC LOVES MONSANTO;
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXzMz-ti6g4

    THE GMO-LYME DISEASE CONNECTION;
    http://www.lyme-morgellons.com/gmo-connection-.html

  5. #5 machintelligence
    February 19, 2016

    You don’t improve apple pie by integrating it with cow pie.

  6. #6 Gray Squirrel
    February 19, 2016

    Frequent Lurker@ 2 , nice summary: “The Dems aren’t perfect, but I’ll take the overall acceptance of science with a side of yoga and worthless acupuncture if I have to. FAR lesser of two evils.”

    Trump’s rabid anti-vax disqualifies him, Cruz is a Dominionist (religious right extremist) and his Galileo Gambit is also a disqualifier. Kasich is the most reasonable Republican but unlikely to get the nomination.

    Climate change trumps everything, because it’s the biggest existential threat in human history, so on that basis alone I’ll happily vote for Bernie or Hillary.

    Democrats’ respect for science in policy can be used as leverage for “Dear Mr./Madame President” email campaigns if they ever stray off into Wooville. But whoever takes office next year is going to have their hands full as it is, so I doubt they’ll have time for not-medicine.

    Campaign poster or similar media idea if anyone wants to use it:

    Trump’s for Mumps. And Measles and Whooping Cough too!” (followed by a couple of his most egregious antivax quotes, and using a picture of Trump with red measles spots on his face).

  7. #7 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 19, 2016

    Another strike against Shillary. Imagine my non-surprise.

    Sad to hear about Bernie though.

    #4 – Do a simple Google search for “Norman Borlaug” AKA “The Man Who Saved One Billion Lives” with his GMO crops. GMOs sure are the devil!

  8. #8 mikeb
    February 19, 2016

    Nice quacky website, phantasm.

  9. #9 DLC
    February 19, 2016

    I am disappointed but not surprised to find that both candidates appear to support some kind of Supplements Complementary ad Alternative Medicine, aka SCAM. They should know better, but I suppose some level of fuzzy logic is only to be expected, especially from people whose primary function at this moment is winning the popularity contest.
    Oh, and I’d note : Dr Oz has already come out to tell everyone what “Big Ang” (some reality star?) said and wanted before dying of cancer, so I suppose Mikey A. will be blaming her for her death next.

  10. #10 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 19, 2016

    #9 – Oh man, I just did a quick google search for Big Ang. Always horrifies me to see a person utterly destroy their faces with plastic surgery like that…

  11. #11 Chris Hickie
    February 19, 2016

    Here’s my $0.02 on presidential elections (from Arthur C. Clarke’s book “Imperial Earth”:

    “For the last century, almost all top political appointments [on the planet Earth] had been made by random computer selection from the pool of individuals who had the necessary qualifications. It had taken the human race several thousand years to realize that there were some jobs that should never be given to the people who volunteered for them, especially if they showed too much enthusiasm. As one shrewed political commentator had remarked: “We want a President who has to be carried screaming and kicking into the White House — but will then do the best job he possibly can, so that he’ll get time off for good behavior.”

  12. #12 Dangerous Bacon
    February 19, 2016

    It’s pretty basic.

    Potential votes from woo-friendly people/woo users are likely to greatly outnumber potential votes from science-based practitioners and skeptics. Politicians go where the votes are.

    Wooists would love to have mandates for insurance to cover acupuncture, colon cleanses, ear candling and their medicine cabinet full of supplement pills. Candidates who are already promising the moon on other issues could clean up by adding more blatant woo pitches.

    Of course, Bernie and HRC are already in the antivax doghouse for supporting immunization, so that particular segment of the woo crowd is desperately hoping for Trump or a similar loon (they are sad that Rand Paul has dropped out).

  13. #13 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 19, 2016

    Part of me really, really want to see Trump as president. No, no not because I support any of his views but – as they say on the Internet – “for the lulz”. Could you just imagine how crazy it would be with Trump at the reins?! The very notion of deporting Mexicans and, as they leave, have them build a Wall of China-esque structure behind them – proposterous! Yet the very idea of someone actually trying to get it to work is hilariously stupid. I also want to see him appoint his hairpiece as vice president.

    If only we had the Professor’s “What-If?-Machine” from Futurama 🙂

  14. #14 Eric Lund
    February 19, 2016

    Amethyst@13: No, no, hell no! If Trump were campaigning for dogcatcher, that would be one thing. For a position with actual power, let alone something at the level of Presidency of the US, this isn’t something you do “for the lulz”.

    I agree with other posters who say that either Clinton or Sanders, while not perfect, would be better than any of the Republican candidates. I live in the real world, and as noted political philosopher Stephen Colbert pointed out, reality has a well-known liberal bias. I want my President to at least acknowledge that we live in the real world.

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    February 19, 2016

    @ Amethyst:

    I agree with you about the lulz
    BUT since I follow international business markets – which have acted like mad things of late- I imagine that the Donald – for all of his business-y acumen- would create even more chaos with his outlandish pronouncements and dodgy quotes.

  16. #16 Renate
    February 19, 2016

    @ Amethyst
    I’m not sure I want to see Trump’s ‘solution’ for IS in action.

  17. #17 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 19, 2016

    #14 – Awww come on guy, Trump as president is going be huge. Huge!

    Seriously though, I am not serious. The part of me that wants to see him elected is a very tiny part of me – the part that chuckles at lolcats and various other memes: the internet part of me.

  18. #18 Denice Walter
    February 19, 2016

    Amethyst, I really wonder how Trump functions on the day-to-day basis in his businesses because he seems to not be running on all cylinders- if you catch my drift-
    HOWEVER he has enough money that he probably has his people do all of the real work, negotiation, dealing with reality

  19. #19 darwinslapdog
    The Beagle
    February 19, 2016

    I think we need to get off our high horses and realize that average people who do not have a science background tend to respond to the kind of thinking Bernie expresses in the quoted comment. Having said that, he is too far gone on the subject to be easily redeemed, but HRC only flirts with woo and is pretty firmly grounded in reality (Chelsea might be another matter, but I’ll bet Charlotte is vaccinated).

    I’m enthusiasticaly in support of HRC and tire of the endless criticism that reduces her tremendous accomplishments to the basically sexist idea that she’s just a frivolous ditz.

  20. #20 Delphine
    Canuckistan
    February 19, 2016

    Wow, are you guys having an election?

  21. #21 Eric Lund
    February 19, 2016

    I really wonder how Trump functions on the day-to-day basis in his businesses because he seems to not be running on all cylinders

    Trump’s businesses have been at least four bankruptcy proceedings. Including his businesses in Atlantic City, where the business model is that your customers willingly give you money when they know (or should know) that on average you will take a certain percentage of the wager (depending on which game you play, it runs from about 0.5% to as much as 20%). Though admittedly Trump himself never suffers in these proceedings–it’s always his investors who take it in the shorts.

    TBF, at least Trump understands the importance of having competent underlings. This is one of several points in favor of the argument that he’s the least bad of the Republican presidential candidates. Though I can understand, given his rhetoric, why some people (especially those of non-European ancestry) would dispute that.

  22. #22 Eric Lund
    February 19, 2016

    Wow, are you guys having an election?

    See your doctor if you have an election that lasts more than four months. 😛

  23. #23 Gilbert
    February 19, 2016

    Armour Thyroid is a brand name for natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) — a prescription thyroid hormone replacement medication made from the dried thyroid gland of pigs.

    NDT includes the thyroid hormones T4 and T3 and other cofactors, and has been used to treat hypothyroidism for more than a century.

    It is, however, not popular with most conventional and mainstream physicians, who abandoned use of NDT in favor of levothyroxine, a synthetic form of the T4 hormone, back in the 1950s.

    Mrs. Clinton’s physician, Dr. Bardack, is an internist who graduated from medical school in 1990, and does not appear to have a holistic or integrative practice. Yet her patient, Mrs. Clinton, is being treated for her hypothyroidism using a medication that is not considered the “standard of care”

    http://thyroid.about.com/od/hypothyroidismhashimotos/fl/The-Surprising-Way-Hillary-Clinton-Treats-Her-Thyroid-Condition.htm

    I mean, if Mrs. Clinton want’s to nom on natural dessicated ‘pig’ thyroid, that’s her buisness, isn’t it? A woman of her stature would never get caught plying Planned Parenthood for some of their excess, more holistically T3/T4 balanced human ‘stock’… Or could she?

  24. #24 Takiar
    Sherbrooke, "Canuckistan"
    February 19, 2016

    @22 Indeed. We had a two-month election last fall that broke long-standing records. I can’t imagine 18-month election campaigns for 48 month-mandates is very healthy (and you seem to be forbidden to do your job for the last 18 months of that mandate (ie Scalia’s resplacement).

  25. #25 Takiar
    February 19, 2016

    It’s not that surprising from Sanders, who is quite angry at the pharma industry (mostly for political and economic reasons), with very fair points to make against them (like the fact Medicare can’t negotiate prices thanks to the Bush Jr pharma law…). It’s easy to find that he naturally (pun intended) goes to non-pharma ways of healing. He doesn’t have to right way to go at it regarding CAM, but that is hardly surprising as it goes along with his socio-economic views regarding pharmaceuticals.

  26. #26 Politicalguineapig
    February 19, 2016

    Chris Hickie: I’m more familiar with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s idea, but that sounds good too. Basically, the President of the Galaxy was a position where the President had no power, based on the idea that anyone who WANTED the position absolutely shouldn’t get the job. I kinda see Adam’s and Clarke’s point. At this point, I’m rapidly seeing the point of constitutional monarchies. Up until Thatcher, the Brits were doing pretty well on that front.

    Machintelligence: Some people like their pies poo-flavored. Ask anyone at Age of Autism.

  27. #27 Dan Welch
    February 19, 2016

    I’m pretty sure that Sander’s thought process on covering “integrative” medicine went something like this:

    Will covering this lead to an expansion of government involvement/spending in the field of medicine? Yes? Then I’m all for it!

    Of course, you could change “medicine” to basically any other applicable noun, and it still works.

  28. #28 Delphine
    February 19, 2016

    @22 Indeed. We had a two-month election last fall that broke long-standing records. I can’t imagine 18-month election campaigns for 48 month-mandates is very healthy (and you seem to be forbidden to do your job for the last 18 months of that mandate (ie Scalia’s resplacement)

    Our election made me look skyward and scream, “WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE JACK WHY WHY” but it was comparatively painless. Comparatively…

  29. #29 palindrom
    February 19, 2016

    Eric @22 — You win the internetz!

    Dan @27 — Ah, yes, government is the problem!

    That single quote from Ronald Reagan has done more long-term damage to our nation than anything I can think of recently. The Soviet Union showed us how catastrophic it is for the state to control essentially all economic functions, but America as presently constituted shows us the miseries of unfettered capitalism. We need FDR back, and Bernie will do.

  30. #30 sadmar
    February 19, 2016

    When I think of the best of both worlds, I think of Eddie and Alex integrating Sammy Hagar into Van Halen:
    https://youtu.be/FDStPKHUbqw?t=1m37s

    I’d say Orac’s posts on ‘Integrative Medicine’ fail to consider that this “rebranding” is not without cost to various CAM interests. Implicit in the ‘best of both worlds’ label is that those worlds will be vetted and that which is NOT ‘best’ cast aside. Exactly what that might entail is ‘contested terrain’.

    The questions of A) what CAM ‘modalities’ will be ‘integrated’, B) for what purposes, and C) under what terms are far from settled. I assume at present they vary from one implementation of IM to the next, but under any federal regulation likely to be supported by a Democratic President and/or Congress, you’d expect some standardization and guidelines. If, say, the ABCs at the VA were making acupuncture available as a placebo treatment for chronic pain under the approval and supervision of an MD/PA/APRN, that would hardly be the end of the world.

    My impression is that most of the folks with political capital pushing IM – including NCCIH and the CAM-friendly forces in the WHO – are perfectly willing to throw a good number of woo modalities and uses under the bus to get some legitimacy for a limited acceptance of their pet practices. TCM seems to have the most backing, but I’m not aware of anyone pushing for, say, reflexology or wheat grass enemas to be included in the integrative pie.

    Sbm advocates, by definition, will be opposed to integrating any and all CAM into legitimated health care, especially any form of insurance coverage. However, anyone concerned about the actual material state of public health must also address the pragmatic politics of the moment and seek the best outcomes among those inevitably compromised ‘real world’ options. ‘Integration’ is happening, and it’s in the public health interest to work for that to occur on the least noxious and most innocuous terms, and in ways that delegitimize as much of the actual harm of CAM as possible on all fronts – government policy, insurance carrier policy, policy at ‘quakademic’ institutions… wherever. Every type and use of CAM that is left OUT of any implementation of IM is a victory.

    Some CAM does more harm than others, and the growth potential for harms varies among them as well. I submit these ought to be priorities, both in policy efforts and in the bully pulpit of sbm public discourse. Too often, IMHO the latter is focused on the scientific wrongness of relatively rare or relatively trivial practices, e.g. prescribing homeopaths and OTC homeopathic remedies, respectively. I remain convinced that naturopathy offers the most troublesome mixture of chances for harm with realistic chances for legitimation, and keeping it in check in any way possible ought to be a very high priority for addressing CAM from a public health perspective.

    One of the scariest things I’ve encountered via RI is the collection of posts from the Yahoo! Naturopathic Chat Group that were posted to reddit and discussed by Orac in his “Sh*t naturopaths say” posts in late 2014. The thought that the medical yahoos in that group could gain prescription privileges, reimbursement under Medicare or the ACA, or (gulp!) PCP status is truly disturbing.

    I’ll try to apply the general perspective above to the current poltical situation, including Clinton and Sanders, in a subsequent comment, when/if I get the time/energy/focus…

  31. #31 Old Rockin' Dave
    Hiding in my tax shelter...
    February 19, 2016

    In the words of Howard Zinn:
    “If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.”

  32. #32 Orac
    February 19, 2016

    @sadmar: You do realize, do you not, that naturopathy is almost always among the modalities to be legally legitimized? That is, of course, because naturopaths are organized and relentless at pushing for licensure in any state in which they are not a licensed health care profession. And you do realize, do you not, that you can’t have naturopathy without homeopathy, as homeopathy is one of the “core” disciplines of naturopathy? All naturopaths train in homeopathy, and the NPLEX examination, which is used as the licensing exam in states that license naturopaths, includes a section on homeopathy.

  33. #33 Eric Lund
    February 19, 2016

    When I think of the best of both worlds, I think of Eddie and Alex integrating Sammy Hagar into Van Halen

    You are aware that there are a great many Van Halen fans who consider the Sammy Hagar era to be anathema, right? I don’t necessarily agree with that viewpoint, but I know it exists.

    The problem is, your Van Halen analogy (even taking the controversy into account) is close to a best-case scenario for integrating stuff. You’re more likely to get something like the attempted reboot of the Pink Panther franchise with Steve Martin. Martin is a talented comic, yes, but he was the wrong choice to play Inspector Clouseau.

    Most so-called “integrated medicine” ends up being even worse than casting Martin as Clouseau. As Orac correctly points out, you get stuff like homeopathy and touch therapy that even a high school student should know are bogus. You also get things like acupuncture that have been repeatedly shown to have no theraputic value beyond the placebo effect, as well as, e.g., certain forms of cancer woo that have been shown to be worse than useless. That’s because there is an organized and politically active movement to force these things into the mainstream of medical treatment despite the contrary data.

  34. #34 Denice Walter
    February 19, 2016

    @ Eric Lund:
    re # 22.

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in quite a while and as you know, I read and listen to alt media BS.
    ( altho’ they don’t INTEND to be funny).

  35. #35 Robert L Bell
    February 19, 2016

    In an idle moment at my lawyer’s office this afternoon I happened upon a local environmentalist magazine which featured articles on traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathy for your pets. “That’s industrial grade woo they got there,” thinks I. Proof’s in the pudding, as they say, and the evidence indicates that enough people are willing to pay enough money to keep these folks in business – which is more than I can say for our local hospital and ER, the recent closure of which forces us to drive fifteen miles over the mountain to the regional medical center for any treatment of anything of any seriousness.

  36. #36 Dal
    February 19, 2016

    If any of these two clowns end up supporting this crap, I’m not voting in this year’s primaries.

  37. #37 Daniel Corcos
    France
    February 20, 2016

    It is irrational to think people are rational. And politicians know people better than you. And they want to be elected.

  38. #38 Aaron Witherel
    Denver
    February 20, 2016

    Yes, because “science” is without “woo”. There are documented anomalies for just about every physical “law” you can name. They are routinely ignored, but you can look for yourself.

    The fact is that the “placebo effect” is real, and it undermines every argument a strict material realist can make regarding modern healthcare methodology. Until you can explain how people can heal themselves when you give them a sugar pill and tell them its medicine, you can’t really argue that your version of healthcare is any more than functionally superior.

    In other words your idea of woo is itself woo.

  39. #39 herr doktor bimler
    February 20, 2016

    Trump’s businesses have been at least four bankruptcy proceedings. Including his businesses in Atlantic City,

    Trump may not be a competent businessman but he has played one on TV, which seems to be what matters.
    AFAICT he appeals to his supporters on two main counts:

    1. He is willing to promise them anything, which he will accomplish by the power of the will.
    2. He has made a lot of money by breaking every promise and reneging on deals, leaving someone else stuck with the bill.

    At some level they must know he’s lying to them… but these people are authoritarians, and the contempt that Trump shows for his fans is just one more reason for them to admire Big Daddy’s strength.

  40. #40 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 20, 2016

    #38 – You realize that placebo doesn’t actually cure anything, right? It is mostly about making the patient feel better – at best it can “trick” the patient with a headache into feeling some relief after some acupuncture (which is brought on by the patient calming down and relaxing rather than your Qi being restored).

    If we could cure stuff with sugar pills, don’t you think we’d be doing that? Imagine the savings in medical research! Or if “Big Pharma” is so greedy they would have replaced all our medicine with them – because sugar pills are much cheaper than actual medicine. Just tell the people they are getting medicine X or Y and placebo makes the body heal itself still! Right?

  41. #41 herr doktor bimler
    February 20, 2016

    There are documented anomalies for just about every physical “law” you can name.

    The documentation for violations of Gravity are going to have to be pretty damned strong before I start stepping out of windows.

    They are routinely ignored, but you can look for yourself.

    DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH SHEEPLE

  42. #42 andy hall
    Arizona
    February 20, 2016

    Science can’t decide if coffee is good, or bad for you. They lie about the benefits of alcohol – the single biggest natural defense against heart disease and stroke, and deny individuals freedom to ingest whatever the bleep they want, as any truly free person should be able to – in order to support government’s control on our lives. They hate natural remedies for the same reason – a threat to their monopoly.

  43. #43 Narad
    February 20, 2016

    There are documented anomalies for just about every physical “law” you can name.

    How’s that CPT invariance working out for you?

    P.S. I reject ontology wholesale. TIA.

  44. #44 Daniel Corcos
    February 20, 2016

    “How’s that CPT invariance working out for you?”
    It’s Lorentz violation. It may happen if an election lasts more than four months.

  45. #45 Jack Everett
    United States
    February 20, 2016

    Since when is supporting the citizens of a country quackery? Sanders wants to help our struggling people while Clinton wants to practice the same old failed cureall.

  46. […] repubblicani a POTUS credono nei benefici economici dell'inquinamento; quelli democratici nei benefici terapeutici delle ciarlatanerie. L'Economist analizza gli affari di Trump  trova che non sia stato granché […]

  47. #47 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 20, 2016

    Since when is supporting the citizens of a country quackery?

    It’s not. Supporting things purported to be “medical” that aren’t backed up with good science showing they work is quackery.

  48. #48 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 20, 2016

    Science can’t decide if coffee is good, or bad for you.That’s because the concepts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are relative terms and it all depends on what outcomes you look for. The effects of coffee on overall health also tend to be small and require years to show, which makes confounders a serious concern when evaluating the role of coffee in health.

    They lie about the benefits of alcohol

    Who is “they” in this context?

    – the single biggest natural defense against heart disease and stroke,

    Citation needed.

    and deny individuals freedom to ingest whatever the bleep they want, as any truly free person should be able to

    This has nothing to do with either medicine or science, but poltics.

    – in order to support government’s control on our lives.

    I’m sure there are other ways that governments control our lives; they don’t need to keep you from drugging yourself for that purpose.

    They hate natural remedies for the same reason – a threat to their monopoly.

    Who hates natural remedies that are proven (via good science and strong evidence) to be safe and effective?

  49. #49 Gilbert
    February 20, 2016

    Hillary Clinton on NDT:

    It’s almost to delicious to believe, my friend.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyANUmhOjFA

    Don’t eat me, Hillary Clinton!

  50. #50 herr doktor bimler
    February 20, 2016

    They lie about the benefits of alcohol
    They hate natural remedies for the same reason – a threat to their monopoly.

    It is not clear who are the scary plenipotentiary THEY in andy hall’s comment, but he left out “They get to fly around in the cool black helicopters”.

  51. #51 Larry Kueneman
    Idyllwild, CA
    February 20, 2016

    I am reminded of the ancient craft guild protectionism in this article. Firstly, note the article is unsigned. Secondly, both western and eastern medicine began as “try something and see if it works”. Thirdly, western medicine today is almost totally owned by the pharmaceutical industry who wants nothing introduced that limits their profits. And fourthly, I am surprised Real Clear Science, if the name is accurate, even printed this trash.

  52. #52 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    February 20, 2016

    @11 Chris Hickie

    I always thought Clarke had the right idea.

    I, also, loved his “star mangled spanner” . It must be one of the worst/best puns ever composed.

  53. #53 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    February 20, 2016

    @28 Denice Waltrers
    As did a lot of us. J. Trudeau is not doing too badly at all, and, overall I like Mulcar but neither is Jack.

  54. #54 Robert L Bell
    February 21, 2016

    @andy hall #42

    You wouldn’t happen to be one of the lunatics presently gumming up the Letters to Editor pages of Salt Lake Tribune, would you? A loose alliance between the stoners and the Dope Cures Cancer fanatics has turned that place into a three ring circus, a total freak show, which I for one find amusing and relaxing just to sit and watch. Who knew that pharmacists could inject such venom into their writing?

  55. #55 herr doktor bimler
    February 21, 2016

    And fourthly, I am surprised Real Clear Science, if the name is accurate, even printed this trash.

    Could someone translate Larry Kueneman into vaguely meaningful terms? He appears to be cutting-&-pasting spam from an alternative universe.

  56. #56 Orac
    February 21, 2016

    I am reminded of the ancient craft guild protectionism in this article. Firstly, note the article is unsigned. Secondly, both western and eastern medicine began as “try something and see if it works”. Thirdly, western medicine today is almost totally owned by the pharmaceutical industry who wants nothing introduced that limits their profits. And fourthly, I am surprised Real Clear Science, if the name is accurate, even printed this trash.

    First, this post is not unsigned. It’s signed with my nom de blog, Orac, which easily leads one to my real identity unless one is either lazy or totally clueless.

    Secondly, “Western” medicine systematized the “try it and see if it works” methodology, a methodology that is highly unreliable. That’s science.

    Thirdly, the pharma shill gambit is really lame.

    Fourthly, this blog is not called Real Clear Science. Are you sure you’re commenting on the right blog?

  57. #57 Daniel Corcos
    February 21, 2016

    http://www.realclearscience.com
    They might be also blamed for the syphilitic penis pictures.

  58. #58 Larry Esser
    Baltimore
    February 21, 2016

    Thank you so much for bringing attention to Bernie Sanders’ advocacy of bringing CAM to the VA. I heard him lambasting VA officials in a committee hearing a year or two ago (via C-Span) for not providing chiropractic and other pseudoscientific “treatments” to VA patients. I was horrified and simply cannot understand how government officials, who should know better, would go along with this so mindlessly. I cannot vote for Sanders and I hope Clinton is a bit more knowledgeable about this now than she was in 1993.

  59. #59 Militant Agnostic
    February 21, 2016

    hdb

    He appears to be cutting-&-pasting spam from an alternative universe.

    They never should have turned on the Large Hadron Collider. Thanks scientists – maybe next time you will listen to wisdom i receive from the leprechauns in my trousers.

  60. #60 Sterling Ericsson
    February 21, 2016

    I don’t mind if people do this BS in their personal life, so long as they don’t use their political positions to push the crap. Hillary, as far as I am aware, has not.

    Bernie Sanders though…no, he is known as the king of pseudoscience in scientific circles for a reason.

    Sanders is almost singlehandedly responsible for alt med quackery becoming mainstream in the US, including his involvement in the creation of the sham organization NCCAM and pushing alt-med practitioners into being considered legal practitioners by the government. See the following:

    http://www.theintegratorblog.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=574&Itemid=93

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566452/

    And i’ve enumerated more such sources here: https://www.reddit.com/r/SandersForPresident/comments/3yfodb/sanders_and_alternative_medicine/

  61. #61 Orac
    February 21, 2016

    Um, yes and no. Sanders has done some damage, but he was not the prime mover of NCCAM. That was Senator Tom Harkin, who has retired from the Senate. Moreover, his effort to insert more CAM into the VA system did not pass Congress, as far as I’ve been able to ascertain.

  62. #62 Sterling Ericsson
    February 21, 2016

    @Orac: Per the second (and first, honestly) source I linked,

    “The other significant loss will be on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The current chair is Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who is credited with inserting the licensed complementary and alternative medicine professions into the workforce Section 5101 of the Affordable Care Act.”

    So, he was specifically involved with getting CAM practitioners labeled as legitimate and he aims to, with his healthcare plan, have them be permanent options for insurance and doctor services.

    Chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, and more will be considered legitimate doctors upheld by the government.

    Also, you yourself wrote in an article in 2012, “Rosemary also revealed to me something I didn’t know before, namely that there’s another woo-friendly Senator that I didn’t really know about: Bernie Sanders, who, according to her, helped naturopaths become players in the medical marketplace.”

    https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/legislative-alchemy-revisited-naturopathy-in-vermont-and-colloidal-silver/

  63. #63 Orac
    February 21, 2016

    I was referring to NCCAM; Sanders had very little to do with NCCAM, which is now the NCCIH. Tom Harkin was the main force behind creating NCCAM. He was also, BTW, a major force in pushing the CAM workforce provision in the ACA, along with Sanders.

  64. #64 Ivar Ivarson
    Two Eggs, Florida
    February 21, 2016

    I’ve sent this link to my internist doctor friend whose most cogent argument for voting Hillary, as best as I can discern, is revenge fantasy to punish the United States. Hope he enjoys.

  65. #65 Sterling Ericsson
    February 21, 2016

    Sounds like it was the two of them together then in general. For the past 30 years, having been pushing pseudoscience into politics. Ignoring the GOP, of course, and the travesty of the Committee on Science, but we’re already aware of all that and already fighting against it.

    I’m just appalled that so much pseudoscience has been pushed as well by perceived liberal progressives and there has been very little material apparently written in mainstream news about it. If it wasn’t for you, Campbell, and Novella, there’d be practically nothing.

  66. #66 Sandy
    United States
    February 21, 2016

    I am so disappointed to learn about Sanders and Clinton embracing unscientific drivel. I don’t care if people want to waste their money on this crap but I don’t want to see it in government institutions or paid for by the government or insurance. I would hate to see quacks given prescription rights.

  67. #67 sadmar
    Everybody Wants Some
    February 22, 2016

    @ Eric:
    Maybe I should have put snark tags on the Van Halen reference. My main intent was silly off-tangent/absurd humor based on the song title, and to what small degree there was also an analogy, Hagar is more cow pie than apple. I’m basically a DLR purist, but Van Hagar did have a couple good tunes, including, as it happens “Best of Both Worlds”.

    But, now that you’ve led me to think about analogies – and still in not-all-that-serious mode – I’ll observe that Roth was not just on the outs personally with the Van Halen brothers at that time, but pretty much out-of-commission as a competent lead vocalist. So the Van Hagar records were better than nothing, and probably better than anything they could have gotten working with David Lee. And, mercifully, by keeping the Red Rocker busy, we were probably spared Hagar solo albums that otherwise would have been released. I.e. less cow pie and more apple than other outcomes that could have occured under the circumstances of the moment.
    🙂

  68. #68 sadmar
    February 22, 2016

    @Orac;
    Why yes, I surely do know what naturpaths are up to. I gauge naturopathy as a key danger exactly because it has had some success in gaining licensing, and is positioned to make further advances. If I was worried about homeopathy, that would add to my concern, as naturopaths have a far better chance of being taken seriously by institutions that would consider ‘pure’ homeopaths a joke. That said, prescribing benign alleged-dilutions is about the least disturbing practice revealed in the Naturopathic Chat files.

    My point, again, is that IM is ‘contested terrain’. We might want it to go away entirely, but that seems unlikely to happen, and if we’re stuck with it, we have an interest in contesting what it will be. So if naturopaths are being ‘integrated’, that becomes a key target for activism. I do recall one story – I think it might have been related to the naturopath licensing hearings in Delaware (?) – in which a naturopath was complaining about the fact the clinic where she was employed limited her practice to… well, the stuff it should be limited to: diet and lifestyle counseling, etc. There’s the ‘site of struggle’ right there: a legit medical institution that aims to ‘integrate’ a naturopath on limited terms, defined by MDs and dependent on MD referral, against Alties who want to define their own rules and set their own terms.

    So, no, it’s not the case that we “can’t have naturopathy without homeopathy”. Whoever is running the IM show can tell their NDs, “I could care less about what was on your exam, no homeopathy, or you don’t work here.” And if enough big-name quackademic institutions did that under their ‘naturopathy’ rubric, the could essentially redefine what the term means in practice, deleting the dilutions. This kind of thing happens all the time – practices almost always get transformed in the process of being institutionalized…

    But, as I said, the homeopathy doesn’t scare me as much as stuff like ‘natural immunity’ and some of the bizarre ‘natural’ plant concoctions or other ‘prescriptions’ that are substituted for standard-of-care treatment. It’s what they don’t do that matters most, but some of what they may substitute is sketchier than water or sugar pills.

    (BTW, I admit some of my previous comments have conflated homeopathic remedies per se with other ‘natural’ nostrums used by NDs. Mea culpa. I do still stand by the thesis that more accuracy is better for science blogging, and posts on homeopathy should acknoledgr that the most commonly purchased and widely available OTC homeopathics – 1X zinc lozenges – have some actual ingredients and aren’t “just water”. Not that this makes Zicam or ColdEeze any better than Oscillococcinum (which isn’t just water, but just sugar). But I did some more homework, and think I understand what subordinate parts of those comments raised your pique. My bad… )

  69. #69 Kiiri
    February 22, 2016

    @Dr. Chris #11 – YES! A thousand times yes. I really think the people who would sell their own grandmother for power (in the race see Ted Cruz) shouldn’t be let within a hundred yards of it. Plus, if the political establishment were suddenly a bunch of people who had actually worked for a living and just want to get home to their families a lot of shit would get worked out rather quickly, pardon my French. Most of Congress (House and Senate) are now made up of millionaires who spend all their time raising more money to run for office again. This is not representative of any sort of real life. Plus, without being either independently wealthy (Trump) or having sold you soul to the latest billionaire and/or super PAC (everyone else with the possibly exception of Bernie) a real normal person is never going to get elected. We’ve got our own personal elite political class and are officially an oligarchy.

  70. #70 Rebecca Gavin
    United States
    February 22, 2016

    I am sorry, I read your article and I just do not see how that phone call from Clinton’s staff means a damn thing. They were reaching out to try to be inclusive. That doesn’t mean that Hillary wanted coverage for that, all she asked for was input. How do you make that into an endorsement?

  71. #72 Mary M (mem_somerville)
    February 22, 2016

    You don’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils. https://twitter.com/DivineNoodles/status/697272483049820160

    Vote @cthulhu4america .

  72. #73 justthestats
    February 22, 2016

    @Mary M:
    Wait, is Cthulhu a natural-born citizen?

  73. #74 brandy
    United States
    February 22, 2016

    Yes, it has been a concern of mine for a while. Also it bugs me a lot that both talk about how expensive health costs are but fail to see how insurances covering quackery contribute. And how both are attempting to help disability rights but totally ignore how SCAM quackery hurts and even kills disabled/neurodiverse people. (I am a Sanders supporter but I have written to his campaign to express my concerns before)

  74. #75 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    February 22, 2016

    Cthulhu is a natural-born citizen of everywhere, Mary M & justthestats.

  75. #76 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 22, 2016

    Cthulhu was not born naturally by anyone’s standards.

  76. #77 Don Pelton
    United States
    February 22, 2016

    After prescribing blood pressure medication to me some years ago at Stanford, my doctor referred me to Stanford’s Complimentary Medicine Clinic, where I learned a breathing technique to slow my heart rate and lower my blood pressure. Nothing mystical about it. Entirely science-based and very effective. This has been my experience with “complimentary medicine.”

    I continue to read your blog and wholeheartedly agree with most of what you say, particularly with respect to vaccine science and the anti-vaxxers.

  77. #78 Don Pelton
    February 22, 2016

    Whoops, multiple typos: I meant to say “Complementary Medicine … ” etc, not “complimentary”. Duh. 🙂

  78. #79 JustaTech
    February 22, 2016

    Don Pelton @76: Ah, but do you know the technique to raise your blood pressure?
    Small forced coughs about 30 seconds apart.
    My mom learned that at the Red Cross.

  79. #80 RK
    Phoenix, AZ
    February 22, 2016

    It is the people’s choice. Given that you guys don’t know all that much more than laymen, it is not surprising that people go to other kinds of medicine. I am not making that statement facetiously – the state of the art is quite far away from making any credible predictions about whether a medicine will work for a specific individual. Come back when you have educated yourselves sufficiently to make such demands on politicians or your patients.

  80. #81 Narad
    February 22, 2016

    Come back when you have educated yourselves sufficiently to make such demands on politicians or your patients.

    “Come back”? You came here.

  81. #82 TBruce
    February 22, 2016

    Given that you guys don’t know all that much more than laymen, it is not surprising that people go to other kinds of medicine. I am not making that statement facetiously

    It is still ridiculous, though.

  82. #83 grndzro
    Reno
    February 22, 2016

    So all the spices and vitamins/minerals I am using to reverse my T2D, and keep cancer from killing me is quackery?

    Bring on the quackery. My health is 10x better now than it was before I started all these things that supposedly don’t work.

    Modern medicine is a broken joke.

  83. #84 herr doktor bimler
    February 23, 2016

    Ah, but do you know the technique to raise your blood pressure?

    Reading Youtube comment threads.

  84. #85 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 23, 2016

    @grndzro

    So all the spices and vitamins/minerals I am using to reverse my T2D, and keep cancer from killing me is quackery?

    Quite possibly, yes. You’d need to supply a lot more data to be sure. That would be data such as:
    – What studies show the particular combination of spices, vitamins, and minerals have a significant clinical benefit for your diseases?
    – What else have you been doing besides ingesting spices, vitamins, and minerals?
    – What has been the course of your diseases and how does that compare to a) untreated disease, b) diseases treated with everything you’re doing but without the spices, vitamins, and minerals, and c) treatment at the current medical standard of care?

    Thanks.

  85. #86 Chris
    February 23, 2016

    grndzro: “So all the spices and vitamins/minerals I am using to reverse my T2D, and keep cancer from killing me is quackery?”

    Yes, especially if you ignore the regular modern medicine advice to exercise and eat a balanced diet. A handful of pills from a supplement store will not provide you fiber or other small things that are contained in fruit and veg.

    Also the bottles of pills from the supplement store or internet will not change your genome, nor help prevent certain infectious disease or other environmental insults that contribute to cancer (like extensive exposure to the sun).

  86. #87 Dangerous Bacon
    February 23, 2016

    “So all the spices and vitamins/minerals I am using”

    In medicine, it’s well known that drugs can interact with each other in additive and negative ways, endangering patient health.

    Interesting how supplement junkies assume the pills they’re gobbling won’t ever interact with each other in negative fashion (not to mention affecting the metabolism of prescription drugs they’re also taking).

  87. #88 squirrelelite
    Land of Enchantment and lots of chile
    February 23, 2016

    Also, what were your A1C and BMI when you were diagnosed and what are they now?

    Type 2 diabetes can be successfully managed and even reversed or partially reversed with diet and exercise. Watch out for those starchy vegetables.

    Spices can make your food taste better and you may not eat as much sugar or calories in general.

  88. #89 JustaTech
    February 23, 2016

    herr doktor bimler @84: I thought reading YouTube comments was how to get a headache and a forehead-shaped mark on your desk.

    Reading comments from he-who-shall-not-be-named (any of them) is how I raise my blood pressure around here.

  89. #90 Krebiozen
    February 23, 2016

    JustaTech,

    Ah, but do you know the technique to raise your blood pressure?
    Small forced coughs about 30 seconds apart.

    That may come in very useful the next time I have an episode of postural hypotension. A couple of months ago I passed out cold in the bathroom when I got up in the middle of the night, and mildly injured myself in the process. Coffee is supposed to help but I don’t notice any effects.

    Oddly, I believe (correct me if I’m mistaken) that if I lived in France, for example, my hypotension would be regarded as an illness that requires treatment, but in the UK my doctor just tells me it’s better than the opposite. It’s one of those cultural medical differences I find fascinating (like ECT in Scandinavia).

  90. #91 shay simmons
    February 23, 2016

    I thought reading YouTube comments was how to get a headache and a forehead-shaped mark on your desk.

    Disqus comments are even more effective.

  91. #92 JustaTech
    February 23, 2016

    Krebiozen @90: I am not a doctor, nor have I personally used this technique, consult experts, etc. My mom learned it when she was giving blood at the Red Cross (something she used to do all the time) and almost fainted. The staff told her to cough to bring her blood pressure up (while lying on a couch just in case), because they couldn’t release her to catch the train until she was stable.

    As for the bathroom in the middle of the night, the EMT who taught my last First Aid class said “Just sit. No one will see, you’re less likely to pass out and if you do, you’re less likely to hurt yourself.”

  92. #93 sadmar
    February 23, 2016

    Sanders is almost singlehandedly responsible for alt med quackery becoming mainstream in the US…
    …or so says the new commenter with a grad degree from Google U.

    I honestly have to wonder if some pharma-shilling is at the root of Sterling Ericsson’s specifically targeted scare-mongering of Sanders. Bernie has made objection to predatory pricing practices in the pharmaceutical biz a clear part of his agenda, and he does represent a threat to their bottom line that Clinton does not. If their PR firms aren’t trying to plant untraceable over-the-top smears on Sanders, they’re not doing their jobs. In contrast, Clinton’s just-as-disturbing-if-not-more relationships with Mark Hyman and Claire Dwoskin aren’t threatening anybody’s profit margins…

    If the nominee is an establishment candidate like Marco Rubio or John Kasich, it will be a bit harder to hold my nose and vote for the Democrat…

    Gaack! It shouldn’t be. Kasich’s out of the Gingrich ‘contract with America’ crowd, and Rubio’s out of the Tea Party. Friends of science they’re not, and even less fans of public health, what with ‘Free Enterprize!!’ laissez-faire lines drawn in the sand that would limit health care to those who can pay for it in an unregulated market. But regardless of the views of the individual nominee, party politics matter. A GOP President will provide no impediment to a GOP House, and as a whole that body is full of anti-science ideologues of every stripe, not just AGW denial, but Creationists… and they get appointments to the Science Committee.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure its true that “on the Democratic side, both major candidates have a problem when it comes to supporting science-based medicine.” That is, AFAIK, even the much maligned Tom Harkin had a good record in supporting funding for real science and medicine, he just also liked him some quacks. I’d guess either Clinton or Sanders would also support the apple pie, however much the smattering of cow pie they’d abide down the hall. The GOP? “No pie for you!”

  93. #94 Narad
    February 23, 2016

    As for the bathroom in the middle of the night

    I used to have a hilariously odd cartoon depiction of micturition syncope from some booklet that I picked up along the years, but the only chance that it hasn’t been lost would be my having clipped it out for a collage label on a “mix tape” cassette. </coolstorybro>

  94. #95 herr doktor bimler
    February 24, 2016

    micturition syncope
    Wasn’t that the name of a Can bootleg album from 1982?

  95. […] we did, naturopathy would not be licensed in any state, much less seventeen! There would not be a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires that any health care professional licensed in any state, naturopaths included, be […]

  96. #97 SIW
    95975
    February 26, 2016

    I am in favor of “original medicine”. CAM is still putting poisonous chemicals in the body and further suppressing the immune system. Mexico has a high degree of success. Why take the risk just to make Western Medicine MD’s richers. They need to go back to school and study the Holistic approach to non-toxic solutions. And, they need to learn how to super boost the immune system…..instead of suppressing. Western Chemical Medicine is failed medicine. They need to admit it. Medical student need to study Health, Nutrition, the daily use of organic wholes and supplement to reverse disease.

  97. #98 SIW
    95795
    February 26, 2016

    Most people do not know how to do CAM to save their lives. Dumping synthetic chemical poisons in the body is failed medicine. Chemo kills all the cells except adult cancer stem cells. Cancerous cells regrow and cancer comes back. Western Medicine students need to study Health, Nutrition, and the use of daily and long term use of organic whole foods and supplements to reverse cancer. Western medicine is killing more patients than healing them. Poisons added to the body is sure death. The body’s immune system needs to be boosted…..not suppressed.

  98. #99 Chris
    February 26, 2016

    SiW: “Western Medicine students need to study Health, Nutrition, and the use of daily and long term use of organic whole foods and supplements to reverse cancer. ”

    Citation needed to show what you eat affects cancer in anyway.

    Plus, where is the meridian that defines “Western”? Does this mean colonoscopies are okay dokay because they were developed in Japan? Or are you pulling the rather racist “Asia good” and “Europe bad” notion… with the Americas stuck in the middle? I ask because I live equidistant between Germany (where homeopathy was thunk up) and Japan (where the DTaP and varicella vaccines were developed).

    By the way, a simple suggestion: click on the blue letters of the author’s name. Learn something.

  99. #100 John
    L.A.
    February 26, 2016

    What a load of crap this the whole article is– and in fact this entire pseudo-“scientific website.

    Who finances these jokers? The Rockefellers? Monsanto?

  100. #101 LW
    February 26, 2016

    And, they need to learn how to super boost the immune system…..instead of suppressing.

    That works especially well for people with autoimmune disorders.

  101. #102 Chris
    February 26, 2016

    LW: “That works especially well for people with autoimmune disorders.”

    My allergy to mold once tried to kill me. Perhaps it was “my fault” for staying at my step-sister’s house for my sister’s wedding when they decided to turn on the swamp cooler because it was starting to get warm/hot (it was a freaking hundred degrees in April!). I was dutifully calling the on-call doctor 1300 miles away but when I could not breathe or speak anymore the doctor told me “Hang up, call 911 now!.”

    That was fun. /sarcasm

  102. #103 SIW
    Sierra Mountains of CA
    February 27, 2016

    Western Allopathic Medicine based on synthetic chemical science and side effects of drugs and on the suppression of the immune system has not successfully reversed any chronic or life threatening disease, especially Cancer.
    CAM puts nutrition and cleanses the toxins out of the body. Western MD students do not study Health, Nutrition. or the daily and long term use of organic whole food supplements to reverse any disease of health condition. I prefer, “original medicine” that also includes herbs and botanical that has been around for thousands of years. A recent poll show that 84% of American’s want MD’s to go back to school to learn natural science and medicine and to apply the Holistic approach to medicine. Pushing piss and surgery is very limited medicine.

  103. #104 Delphine
    making spaghetti sauce
    February 27, 2016

    A recent poll show (sic) that 84% of American’s (sic) want MD’s (sic) to go back to school to learn natural science and medicine and to apply the Holistic approach to medicine. Pushing piss and surgery is very limited medicine.

    A recent poll shows that 100% of people in my living room want you to learn grammar and syntax.

  104. #105 LW
    February 27, 2016

    Western Allopathic Medicine based on synthetic chemical science and side effects of drugs and on the suppression of the immune system has not successfully reversed any chronic or life threatening disease, especially Cancer.

    Nothing heals like surgical steel …

    My friend who is now a decade out from breast cancer diagnosis would beg to differ with you. So would my friend who survived lymphoma thanks to chemotherapy.

    What proof do you have that CAM has any better record on “any chronic or life threatening disease”?

  105. #106 LW
    February 27, 2016

    I prefer, “original medicine” that also includes herbs and botanical that has been around for thousands of years.

    You know, the one great thing about being of “a certain age” is that I have actually talked to people who remembered the good old days of “original medicine”.

    My grandmother, for instance, told me that when my mother was a child, just before antibiotics became available for civilians, my mother suffered sinus infections. *Suffered* is the right term. But there were no antibiotics, and “original medicine” like herbs and alternating hot and cold compresses, didn’t work. So they tried the travel cure of going to the desert Southwest.

    As they were changing trains along the way, they met a couple going the other way. The husband was asthmatic and they had tried the travel cure as well, but it hadn’t worked so he was going back to New England to die at home.

    Yeah, “original medicine” was great. Can’t imagine why anyone would prefer to use antibiotics, antihistamines, and anti-inflammatories.

  106. #107 LW
    February 27, 2016

    And then there was the lady I talked to, who was in her nineties, who told me that when she was a little girl around the turn of the century, babies frequently died when weaned. Ye olde “original medicine” didn’t do them much good did it?

    And for that matter, my grandmother herself had two older brothers that she never knew because they both died before the age of five. Ye olde “original medicine” didn’t do them much good either.

  107. #108 Ellie
    On the green side of the grass
    February 27, 2016

    @103

    Which toxins? Please be specific. Thank you.

  108. #109 Chris
    February 27, 2016

    Where are the citations I asked for? How good is this “original” medicine for Type 1 Diabetes? How well does it work for seizures or obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? I am really curious which diet prevents those genetic conditions.

    Also, you have failed to tell us which specific meridian separates “Western” from “Eastern.” Is this because you are racist or just geographically challenged?

  109. #110 Dangerous Bacon
    February 27, 2016

    “Western Allopathic Medicine” (this is a misnomer and insulting to boot, as physicians around the world are trained in similar ways and embrace evidence-based medicine) obviously can eliminate dangerous chronic diseases (for example, ever heard of hepatitis C and new drug cures?). Same story for a number of cancers.

    “Many cancers can be cured these days. More than 7 out of 10 children are cured of cancer. Testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and many cases of leukaemia can all be cured in adults with current treatments. Most skin cancers are cured with surgery. And many cases of thyroid cancer and cancer of the larynx (voice box) are cured with radiotherapy.

    Many other types of cancer are also cured if they are found early enough – for example, three quarters (75%) of breast cancers found at an early stage.

  110. #111 Dangerous Bacon
    February 27, 2016

    Link for last post:

    http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancers-in-general/cancer-questions/can-cancer-be-cured

    There is, alas, still no cure for the sort of venomous, stubborn ignorance that insists such cures do not exist, or for those that prattle on about how medical students don’t study health and nutrition. We lack the surgical skills to remove impactions resulting from cranio-rectal inversion.

  111. #112 Dangerous Bacon
    February 27, 2016

    Link for previous post:

    http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancers-in-general/cancer-questions/can-cancer-be-cured

    There is, alas, still no cure for the sort of venomous, stubborn ignorance that insists such cures do not exist, or for those that prattle on about how medical students don’t study health and nutrition. We lack the surgical skills to remove impactions resulting from cranio-rectal inversion.

  112. #113 Dangerous Bacon
    February 27, 2016

    And unfortunately there is no cure for the Toshiba Laptop Disease.

    Buy one at your own risk.

  113. #114 Krebiozen
    February 28, 2016

    SIW,

    Mexico has a high degree of success.

    Like it did with Steve McQueen? If you really believe that paying $7000 a week for, “blood transfusions from guinea pigs, colon cleansings, and the zapping of cancer cells with electrical current” can cure cancer you are remarkably gullible. Sadly that is also true of many sick people desperate to treat cancers that sadly neither conventional nor alternative medicine can cure. The difference is the conventional doctors are honest about their patients’ prognoses:

    “Were patients to return from Mexico cured and doctors saw the unbelievable, positive results, we would pursue it, but we just don’t see it,” said Dr. Jack Lewin, chief executive of the California Medical Association. “We don’t have patients coming back with miraculous cures.”

  114. #115 Michael Bailey
    Phoenix Arizona
    February 29, 2016

    This is the kind of thing that’s going on at the VA now. I went down there with constant pain and fatigue, something I’ve been trying to get them to look at since 1993 after returning from Desert Storm. First it was all in my head. Then it was PTSD… and it was all in my head.

    Then somewhere around 2005 they began scheduling me for appointments that they would then cancel repeatedly. After finally getting into the system and getting a doctor to look at these issues, which are now just about crippling, they try to tell me they don’t know what it is. Then they said it’s Desert Storm Syndrome. Then they said they don’t call it that anymore so now it’s Fibromyalgia. Bullshit, my wife’s doctor said that only women get that.

    They gave me a machine called an “Alpha Stim” that’s supposed to do something to my brain by clipping things onto my earlobes. Yeah, right. Does nothing. They gave me a machine called a “Therma Zone” that has these braces filled with water and they get cold and hot, with braces for my back, shoulder, knee, torso. Does nothing.

    Making me do Tai Chi because I can’t hold position well enough to do yoga. Got me doing exercises in a pool, none of this does a damn thing. Forget all this mystical worshipping religious shit, how about some god damn drugs? Where are the doctors at?

    How about some of these pills I see on TV all the time? Half the ads I see are for fibromyalgia, why not give me some of that stuff? Jesus Christ I tried smoking dope and that worked pretty well, but of course that’s just a way to end up getting shot by the cops, and my doctor told me she wouldn’t treat me if I used it, so that one’s out.

    All this alternative crap is a waste of my time, how about you just give me some kind of a painkiller and some caffeine or something and send me on my way. Tried to tell me I can’t work anymore, but after two years there’s been not a squeak about a disability claim I filed.

    How the hell am I supposed to pay the rent, meditate the money over to the landlord? Medicine has become a waste of time, I could put hot and cold things on myself and meditate and do exercises all on my own, why bother seeing a doctor?

  115. #116 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    February 29, 2016

    Oh, that royally sucks, Michael Bailey. *huggles* I know my husband’s uncle has been having a hell of a time with the VA as well, though his PTSD from Vietnam (he was special forces) is so bad he’s actually needed inpatient care for extended periods several times. He’s a great guy, and my heart bleeds for him that they can’t do anything more for him.

    Meanwhile, my grandpa was able to get his hearing loss listed as a service-related disability (he was in WWII) even though he didn’t even go to the VA for it until he was in his 70s. Previously, he’d just been using his employer-provided insurance.

    My father-in-law’s got nothing but praise for how the VA has treated him. But my husband’s cousin is caught in an endless round of runaround that sounds an awful lot like what you’re going through. It really should not be so hit-or-miss, with some people getting fantastic care and others getting totally shafted. And yet it is. And the mass of bureaucracy is staggering. Which is probably most of the problem. :-/

    I wish I had a solution. I don’t think anybody in political office, or running for office has a solution either.

  116. #117 O-B
    March 3, 2016

    Re-emergence of “holistic” medicine may be partly a reaction to the rise of managed (industrialized) health care. Patients want more contact time with doctors and nurses. They want patient-focused care. They try all sorts of crazy placebos to get the “hands on” care that used to be a major tool in the arsenal of good physicians/nurses. Ironic that two politicians pushing to expand the government-industrial healthcare gesellschaft further via more over-crowded wards and clinics would be nostalgic for “traditional” medicine!

  117. […] And thanks to the mysterious Orac, who pointed to a speech Sanders gave in 2010 to a Vermont conference: […]

  118. #119 Jeroen
    March 16, 2016

    Great to hear that both candidates are open to more than the dramatically failing mainstream medicine which kills more than 100,000 people a year in the US alone (correctly prescribed prescription drugs).

    And good they are open to real evidence instead of being stuck in blind beliefs in mainstream medicine despite the questionable track record. (look at cancer and countless other diseases: getting more and more frequent. No surprise with the toxic effects of traditional medicine and overprescription).

    The US is spending more than any nation on prescription drugs. And what is the result: one of the most unhealthy populations in the developing world.

    A visionary president should see that something needs to change.

  119. #120 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 16, 2016

    Jeroen,

    While something may certainly need to change, please provide some sort of evidence for any of your assertions. Thanks.

  120. #121 We are all Gay today.
    Rockson Mountains
    April 19, 2016

    Let us hope that more and more politicians are embracing “alternative medicine.” We must be grateful for any modality which truly works—and not merely what the drug companies are selling at the moment.

  121. […] le insinuazioni che questo ha provocato, non ha forti legami con Monsanto. Clinton però ha una forte simpatia verso le cosiddette medicine alternative, che molto spesso medicine non sono, in particolare verso la cosiddetta (e pseudoscientifica) […]

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