Alternative medicine

Terra Sigillata

Category archives for Alternative medicine

Regular readers know that I hold equivocal views of the broad area of dietary supplements, particularly botanical supplements. On one hand, I have seen some great new compounds come from the systematic investigation of herbal and fungal concoctions to the point that 25% of prescription drugs are derived from natural products. On the other hand,…

Orac needs a movie deal. . .

. . .or a spread in Playgirl. Huh? Orac has a nice essay today for your Christmas Eve reading about a USA Today article yesterday by Liz Szabo that called out celebrities for their pseudoscientific proclamations and advice entitled, “Are celebrities crossing the line on medical advice?” So that’s where I came up with this…

Two weeks ago, Canadian Skeptics United published on their Skeptic North site a piece by an Ontario pharmacist criticizing a proposal by the province to grant limited prescribing rights to naturopaths. The essay, which was reprinted in the National Post on Tuesday, outlines the intellectual and practical conundrum presented by allowing those with education that…

Yesterday, the real-life mailbox brought the Pharmboy household the Fall 2009 issue of DukeMedicine connect, a biannual publication on current news from the Duke University Health System. Produced by DUHS Marketing and Creative Services, it “strives to offer current news about health topics of interest” to its readers. This issue is not yet online but…

Artemisinin is a natural product isolated from the leaves of the annual wormwood, Artemisia annua. Used originally in Chinese herbal medicine, the pure compound is employed in Africa as an inexpensive antimalarial drug. In April, 2009, the multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis received FDA approval for a combination drug called Coartem®, comprised of the semi-synthetic artemisinin…

In the United States, herbal and non-herbal dietary supplements can be sold without any assurance of safety or efficacy as a result of a hastily-passed, late-night, final-session piece of legislation put forth by Sen Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). (Aside: Utah has several large dietary supplement manufacturers.) This piece of legislation is named the Dietary Supplement Health…

Judging from the press inquiries I’ve had since 5 am EDT today, expect today’s focus in the Michael Jackson case to be on the anesthetic drug, propofol (Diprivan®). Last evening, California nutritionist and registered nurse Ms Cherilyn Lee gave an interview to Campbell Brown on CNN (and this AP exclusive report) describing Michael Jackson’s repeated…

While I lack the intestinal fortitude of my colleague, Orac, who actively seeks out the most impressive examples of pseudoscience and quackery, examples come to me without even looking for them. This week’s case is in the form of a book announcement press release from a Denver-based “practitioner” who specializes in cosmetic acupuncture. Yes, the…

As tipped off by Brother Orac this morning: from “60 pct of cancer patients try nontraditional med”: Some people who try unproven remedies risk only money. But people with cancer can lose their only chance of beating the disease by skipping conventional treatment or by mixing in other therapies. Even harmless-sounding vitamins and “natural” supplements…

Yet another hat tip this morning to anjou, a regular reader, commenter, and human RSS feed on all things cancer and alternative medicine (not to mention turning me on to Vanessa Hidary, the “Hebrew Mamita” spoken-word artist). Last night anjou brought to me a superb AP Impact article, Alternative medicine goes mainstream, from medical writer…