MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Yet another celebration!

Precisely one year ago today, I posted the first article on this blog. At the time, I had little inkling of what it might mean to have my own blog. It was a friend who put me up to it and very kindly helped me setting it all up. I had my doubts that I would enjoy doing this – but life is full of surprises; as it turned out, I do enjoy it tremendously.

Within one year, I have posted over 160 articles – that is almost one every second day – which generated in excess of 4000 comments. The blog now attracts about 600-1000 visitors per day and is regularly mentioned elsewhere. I don’t know how to measure the success of a blog but, I guess, these figures do not exactly indicate failure.

Am I perhaps a bit of a masochist to do all this? I certainly got challenged, attacked and insulted left, right and centre by some of my readers. But that’s part of the fun and it also makes an important point: fanatics will regularly resort to ad hominem attacks when they lack rational arguments (which they often do). But I do not think that I am a masochist; I hope I have other reasons for writing this blog; and I have tried to put them into words in one of my posts.

This first anniversary is, I think, foremost an occasion for a big THANK YOU. First of all, thanks to the friend who helped me setting up the blog and who guided me through all the difficulties and worries that followed. I also want to thank all the commentators; I know you are not all in agreement with me, but debate and differences of views are the engine that drives progress; so please keep your critical comments coming. I furthermore thank my guest-bloggers for their excellent contributions and hope we will see more of them.

And finally, perhaps even foremost, I need to thank those in the field of alternative medicine who provide me with more than enough bogus claims, implausible notions, fanatic beliefs, weird concepts etc.; this enables me to find ample material to continue writing critical analyses for a life-time.

THANK YOU ALL.

12 Responses to Time for a big THANK YOU

  • You should start your own glossy magazine: What Quacks Don’t Tell You. You can promise to expose doctors as well, you’ve got at least 24 years before anyone calls you on it 🙂

  • No, thank you Sir. Not only has your blog become an invaluable go to point for investigating these modalities it is interesting to watch the Anti-medicines purple up and explode when referenced to you.

  • It’s been a year already????

    Happy anniversary. I am not a frequent commenter, but I enjoy very much reading your posts.

  • Congratulations. Looking forward to the next years of excellent blogs!

  • I can assure you most sincerely that it is you, Professor Ernst, who deserves a huge THANK YOU from all of us.

    Your tireless work over the years saved me from falling totally into the abyss that Carl Sagan so eloquently described as The Demon-Haunted World. You have enabled me to keep firmly on the right side of sanity, despite the fact that my comments on this website probably indicate otherwise 🙂

    It was your book Trick or Treatment that gave me the wake-up call to stop being a jackass and start learning critical thinking skills, which is by far the most treasured gift that many of us could ever receive.

    Each one of your articles on this site has enabled me to learn something new. This article has taught me to value, rather than sometimes despise, the comments from advocates of, and apologist for, of alt-med: without such comments I would not be able to progress very far.

    Congratulations on this anniversary. My very best wishes to you,
    Pete

    PS I hope you find this amusing… While performing a tiresome statistical analysis, my mind wandered off course and produced the following nonsense:

    I’m 55 years old and the universe is 13.7 billion years old: my significance to the universe is 4.0E-9.

    There are 7 billion people on earth: my significance to any other person is 1.4E-10.

    Therefore, my existence is 28 times more significant to the universe as a whole than to any individual on this planet.

    Conclusion drawn: as Ronnie Barker said “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

  • “…the field of alternative medicine who provide me with more than enough bogus claims, implausible notions, fanatic beliefs, weird concepts etc.; this enables me to find ample material to continue writing critical analyses for a life-time.”

    That’s a bit unfortunate, regardless of how much I enjoy the effort.

    Happy Blogiversary!

    @Pete

    Our paths are very similar! The Demon Haunted World was my first foray into skepticism, followed closely by T or T. What ARE the odds? 🙂

    • @Irene
      The CAM answer would be that the correlation of our paths must mean causation, via some mysterious universal energy. My mother indoctrinated me with all this nonsense during my childhood. Thanks to Edzard and Sagan I managed to erase it. I could write a book about the devastation that can result from this type of indoctrination and totally screwed-up thinking.

  • Hello Prof. Ernst,
    sooner or later you should address blood-letting, phlebotomies:
    — worthless? (“does not work”…)
    — even dangerous?

    Quote E.Ernst: “… When I decided to become a doctor I, like most medical students, did so mainly to help suffering individuals. When I became a researcher, I felt more removed from this original ideal. Yet I told myself that, by conducting research, I might eventually contribute to a better health care of tomorrow. Helping suffering patients was still firmly on the agenda. … ”

    So we’re NOT talking about blood-letting in former centuries and very early clinical studies, but MODERN medicine, right?
    Serial therapeutic phlebotomies are the standard therapy for genetic / heritable hemochromatosis, up to 2 x 500 ml per week, which may remove up to 1,5 – 2 g of iron per months from the body. Since 20, 30, even more grams of iron can be stored (serum ferritin above 10.000 ng/ml), this therapy can take well over a year.
    Since it has been standard for several decades by now it cannot be dangerous – what is dangerous is the stored iron in the body, which has to be depleted efficiently and as quickly as possible, because stored iron will damage the liver (NAFLD, fibrosis, cirrhosis, HCH) and many other organs. Patients have died under this therapy: not from it, but form failure of damaged organs etc.

    There are other indications like PV = polycythaemia vera (rubra), possibly amaurosis fugax (I once was told by a neurologist). In my early days in medicine, half a century ago, I saw twice the successful (life-saving) therapy of cardiac lung edema: the doctor got a large bore canula, punctured the cubital vein, let the blood pour into a glass at hand – and watched the patient getting better within minutes! IT WORKED! So Prof. E. Ernst ?disclaims a method I have seen to work: imagine what that does to your reputation…

    But “research … might eventually contribute to a better health care of tomorrow ” – RIGHT! Starting with the “iron hypothesis” of Jerome L. Sullivan (LANCET 1981, almost 1/3 century ago) a second revolution of medicie / prevention seems to be possible from what has been discovered, in part (e.g. just confirmation of millenial old knowledge) rediscovered, in the meantime – but there is Prof. Ernst in full agreemnt with S. Hahnemann and voices from Big Pharma and several media warning: 1. it does NOT work, and 2. it’s dangerous!

    Why don’t you answer my questions: is blood donation (500ml) dangerous? Will it shorten life expectancy? EVIDENCE?!?!

  • I really can’t thank you enough for this blog. It has been a relief to find someone to call out the charlatans and quacks. As you probably know, here in the United States, we are drowning in alternative cure promotion, even by the large pharma companies. It is a relief to find that there are still a few people out there willing to take a stand “like a mighty oak” against this nonsense and I count you as one of those mighty oaks. Keep up the good work.

  • Sterling work so far keep at em!

  • I keep recommending this site to friends, so keep at it for many more years.

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