MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Today, Prince Charles celebrates his 65th birthday. He is one of the world’s most tenacious, outspoken and influential proponent of alternative medicine and attacker of science – sufficient reason, I think, to join the birthday-celebrations by outlining a chronology of his love affair with quackery. The following post highlights just a few events (there are so many more!) which I happen to find interesting. As I was personally involved in several of them, I have tried to stay as close as possible to the text published by journalists at the time (with links to the originals); this, I thought, was fairer than providing my own, possibly biased interpretations.

The origins Charles’ passion for all things alternative are not difficult to trace. The Royal family is famous for using homeopathy and other doubtful treatments while they are healthy, and for employing the very best conventional medicine has to offer as soon as they are ill. This pattern also applied to Charles’ childhood, and it is more than likely that this is how his weakness for alternative medicine and charlatans first started.

The young Prince Charles went on a journey of ‘spiritual discovery’ into the wilderness of northern Kenya. His guru and guide was Laurens van der Post (who was later discovered to be a fraud and compulsive fantasist and to have fathered a child with a 14-year old girl entrusted to him during a sea voyage). Van der Post wanted to awake Charles’ young intuitive mind and attune it to the ideas of Carl Jung’s ‘collective unconscious’ which allegedly unites us all through a common vital force. It is this belief in vitalism (long obsolete in medicine and science) that provides the crucial link to alternative medicine: virtually every form of the otherwise highly diverse range of alternative therapies is based on the assumption that some sort of vital force or energy exists. Charles was so taken by van der Post that, after his death, he established an annual lecture in his honour.

Throughout the 1980s, Charles seems to have lobbied for the statutory regulation of chiropractors and osteopaths in the UK. In 1993, it finally became reality.

Osteopathy has strong Royal links: Prince Charles is the President of the GOsC; Princess Diana was the President of the GCRO; and Princess Anne is the patron of the British School of Osteopathy (statement dated 2011).

In 1982, Prince Charles was elected as President of the British Medical Association (BMA) and promptly challenged the medical orthodoxy by advocating alternative medicine. In a speech at his inaugural dinner as President, the Prince lectured the medics: ‘Through the centuries healing has been practised by folk healers who are guided by traditional wisdom which sees illness as a disorder of the whole person, involving not only the patient’s body, but his mind, his self-image, his dependence on the physical and social environment, as well as his relation to the cosmos.’ The BMA-officials were impressed – so much so that they ordered a full report on alternative medicine which promptly condemned this area as utter nonsense.

In 1993, Charles founded his often re-named lobby group that ended up being called the ‘Foundation for Integrated Health’ (FIH). It was closed down in 2010 amidst allegations of money laundering and fraud. Its chief executive, George Gray, was later convicted and went to jail. The FIH had repeatedly been economical with the truth. For instance, when it published a DoH-sponsored ‘patient guide’ that was entirely devoid of evidence, arguably the most important feature of such a document. They claimed evidence was never meant to be included. But I had seen a draft where it had been part of it, and friends have seen the contract with the DoH where “evidence” was an important element.

In 2000, Charles wrote an open letter to The Times (citing my work twice!!!) stating that…It makes good sense to evaluate complementary and alternative therapies. For one thing, since an estimated £1.6 billion is spent each year on them, then we want value for our money. The very popularity of the non-conventional approaches suggests that people are either dissatisfied with their orthodox treatment, or they find genuine relief in such therapies. Whatever the case, if they are proved to work, they should be made more widely available on the NHS…But there remains the cry from the medical establishment of “where’s the proof?” — and clinical trials of the calibre that science demands cost money…The truth is that funding in the UK for research into complementary medicine is pitiful…So where can funding come from?…Figures from the department of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter show that less than 8p out of every £100 of NHS funds for medical research was spent on complementary medicine. In 1998-99 the Medical Research Council spent no money on it at all, and in 1999 only 0.05 per cent of the total research budget of UK medical charities went to this area…

In 2001, Charles was working on plans to help build a model hospital that would tap into the power of alternative therapy. It was to train doctors to combine conventional medicine and alternative treatments, such as homeopathy, Ayurvedic medicine and acupuncture, and was to have have up to 100 beds. The prince’s intervention marked the culmination of years of campaigning by him for the NHS to assign a greater role to alternative medicine. In a speech he had urged the NHS not to dismiss it as a “woolly cul-de-sac”. Groups interested in alternative medicine were delighted at the news. Teresa Hale, founder of the Hale Clinic in London, said: “Twenty-five years ago people said we were quacks. Now several branches, including homeopathy, acupuncture and osteopathy, have gained official recognition.” The proposed hospital, which was due to open in London in 2003 or early 2004, was to be overseen by Mosaraf Ali, who runs the Integrated Medical Centre (IMC) in London. He was also responsible for raising finance for its construction.

To the best of my knowledge, this hospital never materialised. This might be due to Mosaraf Ali falling in disrepute: Raj Bathija, 69 and from India, went for a massage at the clinic of Dr Mosaraf Ali and his brother Imran in 2005 after suffering from two strokes. However, he claims that shortly after the treatment, his legs became pale and discoloured. Four days afterwards, Mr Bathija was admitted to hospital, where he had to have both legs amputated below the knee due to a shortage of blood. According to Mr Bathija, Dr Ali and his brother were negligent in that they failed to diagnose his condition and neglected to advise him to go to hospital.

His daughter Shibani said: “My father was in a wheelchair but was making progress with his walking. He hoped he might become a bit more independent. With the amputations, that’s all gone.”

In 2003, Prince Charles’ Prince of Wales’ FIH has launched a five-year plan which outlined how to improve access to therapies.

In 2004, Charles publicly supported the Gerson diet as a treatment for cancer and Prof Baum, one of the UK’s most eminent oncologists, was invited to respond in an open letter to the British Medical Journal: …Over the past 20 years I have treated thousands of patients with cancer and lost some dear friends and relatives to this dreaded disease…The power of my authority comes with knowledge built on 40 years of study and 25 years of active involvement in cancer research. Your power and authority rest on an accident of birth. I don’t begrudge you that authority but I do beg you to exercise your power with extreme caution when advising patients with life-threatening diseases to embrace unproven therapies.

In 2005, the ‘Smallwood-Report’ was published, commissioned by Charles and paid for by Dame Shirley Porter, specifically to inform health ministers. It stated that up to 480 million pounds could be saved if one in 10 family doctors offered homeopathy as an alternative to standard drugs. Savings of up to 3.5 billion pounds could be achieved by offering spinal manipulation rather than drugs to people with back pain. Because I had commented on this report, Prince Charles’ first private secretary asked my vice chancellor to investigate my activities; even though I was found to be not guilty of any wrong-doing, specifically of violating confidentiality, all local support stopped which led to my early retirement. ITV later used this incident in a film entitled THE MEDDLING PRINCE.

In a 2006 speech Prince Charles told the World Health Organisation in Geneva that alternative medicine should have a more prominent place in health care. The Prince urged every country to come up with a plan to integrate conventional and alternative medicine into the mainstream. But British science struck back. Anticipating Prince Charles’s sermon in Geneva, thirteen of Britain’s most eminent physicians and scientists issued a widely quoted “Open Letter: Use of ‘Alternative’ Medicine in the NHS”. The letter expressed concern over “ways in which unproven or disproved treatments are being encouraged for general use in Britain’s National Health Service.” The signatories, who included three Fellows of the Royal Society, one Nobel Laureate (Sir James Black, FRS) and the son of another (Professor Gustav Born, FRS), cited the overt promotion of homeopathy by the NHS, including its official website. The Open Letter warned that “it would be highly irresponsible to embrace any medicine as though it were a matter of principle.”

In 2008The Times published my letter asking the FIH to recall two guides promoting “alternative medicine”, saying: “the majority of alternative therapies appear to be clinically ineffective, and many are downright dangerous.” A speaker for the FIH countered the criticism by stating: “We entirely reject the accusation that our online publication Complementary Healthcare: A Guide contains any misleading or inaccurate claims about the benefits of complementary therapies. On the contrary, it treats people as adults and takes a responsible approach by encouraging people to look at reliable sources of information… so that they can make informed decisions. The foundation does not promote complementary therapies.”

In 2009, the Prince held talks with the health Secretary to persuade him to introduce safeguards amid a crackdown by the EU that could prevent anyone who is not a registered health practitioner from selling remedies. This, it seems, was yet another example of Charles’ disregard of his constitutional role. In the same year, Charles urged government to protect alternative medicine medicine because “we fear that we will see a black market in herbal products”, as Dr Michael Dixon, medical director of Charles’ FIH, put it.

In 2009, Charles seemed to have promised that his London-based ‘College of Integrated Medicine’ (the name was only later changed to ‘College of Medicine’, see below) was to have a second base in India. An Indian spokesman commented: “The second campus of the Royal College will be in Bangalore. We have already proposed the setting up of an All India Institute of Integrated Medicine to the Union health ministry. At a meeting in London last week with Prince Charles, we finalized the project which will kick off in July 2010”.

In 2010, Charles publicly stated that he was proud to be perceived as ‘an enemy of the enlightenment’.

In 2010, ‘Republic’ filed an official complaint about FIH alleging that its trustees allowed the foundation’s staff to pursue a public “vendetta” against a prominent critic of the prince’s support for complementary medicines, Edzard Ernst. It also suggests the imminent closure of Ernst’s department may be partly down to the charity’s official complaint about him after he publicly attacked its draft guide to complementary medicines as “outrageous and deeply flawed”.

In 2010, former fellows of Charles’ disgraced FIH launched a new organisation, The College of Medicine’ supporting the use of integrated treatments in the NHS. One director of the college is Michael Dixon, a GP in Cullompton, Devon, who was formerly medical director of the Foundation for Integrated Health. The others are George Lewith, who runs a complementary medicine unit at Southampton University; David Peters, the chairman of the British Holistic Medical Association; and Christine Glover, a holistic health consultant. All are former fellows of the prince’s charity. My own analysis of the activities of the new college leaves little doubt that it is promoting quackery.

In 2010, Charles published his book HARMONY which is full of praise for even the most absurd forms of quackery.

In 2011, after the launch of his very own range of herbal tinctures Charles was harshly criticised. Consequently, a public row was re-ignited with Clarence House by branding the Prince of Wales a “snake oil salesman”. I had the audacity to criticise the heir to the throne for lending his support to homeopathic remedies and for selling the Duchy Herbals detox tincture.

In 2011, Charles forged a link between ‘The College of Medicine’ and an Indian holistic health centre. The collaboration has been reported to include clinical training to European and Western doctors in ayurveda and homoeopathy and traditional forms of medicine to integrate them in their practice. The foundation stone for the extended campus of the Royal College known as the International Institution for Holistic and Integrated Medicine was laid by Dr Michael Dixon in collaboration with the Royal College of Medicine.

In 2012, Charles was nominated for ‘THE GOLDEN DUCK AWARD’ for his achievements in promoting quackery; Andrew Wakefield beat him to it, but Charles was a well-deserved runner-up.

In 2013, Charles called for society to embrace a broader and more complex concept of health. In his article he described a vision of health that includes the physical and social environment, education, agriculture and architecture. Emphasising that his point is not to confront accepted medical wisdom, HRH suggests reasons for encouraging a wider perspective on health. Rather than simply treating the symptoms of disease, The Prince advocates a health service that puts patients at the heart of the process by incorporating the core human elements of mind, body and spirit. Explaining that symptoms may often be a metaphor for underlying disease and unhappiness, he calls for a scientific and therapeutic approach that understands, values and uses patient perspective and belief rather than seeking to exclude them.

In 2013, Charles’ Highgrove enterprise offered ‘baby-hampers’ for sale at £195 a piece and made a range of medicinal claims for the products it contained. As these claims were not supported by evidence, there is no way to classify them other than quackery.

By 2013, the ‘Association of Osteomyologists’ are seeking to become regulated in statute, with the help of Prince Charles as their patron. An Osteomyologist will treat both the symptoms and the root cause of a condition with the aim of alleviating symptoms and preventing reoccurrence whenever possible. Osteomyology encourages the skilled use of techniques including Cranial and Cranio-Sacral therapy.

In November 2013, Charles invited alternative medicine proponents from across the world, including Dean Michael Ornish, Sausalito, California, Michael Dixon, chair of College of Medicine, UK and Issac Mathai of Soukya Foundation, Bangalore, to India for a ‘brain storm’ and a subsequent conference on alternative medicine. The prince wanted the experts to collaborate and explore the possibilities of integrating different systems of medicines and to better the healthcare delivery globally, one of the organisers said.

I am sure that, in the future, we will hear much more about Charles’ indulgence in quackery; and, of course, we will hear more criticism of it. But I doubt that anyone can put it better that the late Christopher Hitchens who repeatedly wrote about Charles’ passion for anti-science:

“Once the hard-won principles of reason and science have been discredited, the world will not pass into the hands of credulous herbivores who keep crystals by their sides and swoon over the poems of Khalil Gibran. The “vacuum” will be invaded instead by determined fundamentalists of every stripe who already know the truth by means of revelation and who actually seek real and serious power in the here and now. One thinks of the painstaking, cloud-dispelling labour of British scientists from Isaac Newton to Joseph Priestley to Charles Darwin to Ernest Rutherford to Alan Turing and Francis Crick, much of it built upon the shoulders of Galileo and Copernicus, only to see it causally slandered by a moral and intellectual weakling from the usurping House of Hanover.”

And perhaps even better here:

We have known for a long time that Prince Charles’ empty sails are so rigged as to be swelled by any passing waft or breeze of crankiness and cant. He fell for the fake anthropologist Laurens van der Post. He was bowled over by the charms of homeopathic medicine. He has been believably reported as saying that plants do better if you talk to them in a soothing and encouraging way. But this latest departure promotes him from an advocate of harmless nonsense to positively sinister nonsense….The heir to the throne seems to possess the ability to surround himself—perhaps by some mysterious ultramagnetic force?—with every moon-faced spoon-bender, shrub-flatterer, and water-diviner within range.

43 Responses to A tribute to Prince Charles, champion of anti-science, on his 65th birthday

  • Long live prince Charles! Understand Edzard – she is just jealous.

  • A very entertaining read–or would be if the potential consequences of HRH’s proposals weren’t so serious. A better icon of the worried well could not be had at any price.

  • This little gem popped up a couple days ago; it seems like it belongs with your post: http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2010/08/02/homeopathy-could-have-saved-princess-di-charles/

    ‘Homeopathy could have saved Princess Di’ – Charles

    Princess Diana would be alive today if she had received homeopathic treatment following the car crash that killed her in August 1997, Prince Charles has told a London conference on homeopathy.

    As a result of the accident, the Princess’s heart was displaced from the left to the right side of the chest, which tore the pulmonary vein and the pericardium. She died in a Paris hospital. But yesterday the Heir to the Throne said: ‘Diana would be with us today if only someone had had the knowledge to administer St John’s Wort, which is a proven cure for heart problems.’

    The Prince, who as well as advocating homeopathic remedies, also believes that plants flourish if engaged in conversation with gardeners, and that marrows know if someone is having non-consensual sex with them, said he also believed that homeopathy could have saved Diana even after she had been pronounced dead.

    ‘A portion of Nux Vomica and Apis Mellifica would have restored her to life,’ the Prince told the conference.

    Prince Charles also believes that homeopathy has helped the Duchess of Cornwall retain her youthful looks and saved him from total baldness.

  • THERE WAS A NICE COMMENT BY DR DIXON REGARDING THE LAST ITEM OF MY POST; HE WAS IN INDIA WITH HRH AND MADE THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS IN AN INTERVIEW http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Healing-the-world-the-alternative-way/articleshow/25780194.cms :

    BANGALORE: Michael Dixon, chair of the College of Medicine, UK, became a strong advocate of alternative medicine after practising conventional medicine for over 10 years. He shares with TOI the reasons for his belief and how he came under fire for it. Excerpts:

    How did you take to alternative medicine?

    I started trying out alternative medicine after 10 years of practising as a general physician. During this period, I found that conventional medicine was not helping too many patients. There were some (patients) with prolonged headaches, backaches and frequent infections whom I had to turn away without offering a solution. That burnt me out. I started looking for alternative solutions.

    But alternative medicine has come under sharp criticism. It was even argued that it has a placebo effect?

    I don’t mind what people call it as long as it is making patients better. If the help is more psychological than physiological, as they argue, all the better. There are less side-effects, less expenses and help is in your own hands.

    Why are people unconvinced about alternative medicine?

    One, there are vested interests – professional and organizational impact on it. Two, even practitioners in conventional medicine do not know much about it. And most importantly, we need to develop a scientific database for it. In conventional medicine, pharmaceutical companies have the advantage of having funds for research. Alternative medicine lacks that. Have people who say alternative medicine is rubbish ever done research on it to figure out whether it is rubbish? The best way to convince them is through the age-old saying: Seeing is believing.

    Will alternative medicine be taught in UK universities?

    US already has 16 universities teaching it. The College of Medicine, UK, is fighting hard for it. We are historically drenched in conventional medicine and to think out of the box will take time. But we are at it and hope to have it soon.

    What more should India do to promote integrated medicine?

    India needs to be prouder of its institutions and more critical of the West. The West has made massive mistakes. It has done very little about long-term diseases and in preventing them. India needs to be more cautious as it will lead the world in some diseases like the diabetes. It should not depend on conventional medicine for everything, but take the best for the worst.

    BY JOVE! HE IS GOOD AT USING FALLACIES!!!

    • These comments made by Dr Michael Dixon…

      Quote
      “I found that conventional medicine was not helping too many patients. There were some (patients) with prolonged headaches, backaches and frequent infections whom I had to turn away without offering a solution. That burnt me out. I started looking for alternative solutions…I don’t mind what people call it as long as it is making patients better. If the help is more psychological than physiological, as they argue, all the better.”

      …remind me of a comment made in a paper co-authored by Dr Peter Fisher, Her Majesty’s homeopath, and friend of Prince Charles:

      Quote
      “It seems more important to define if homeopathists can genuinely control patients’ symptoms and less relevant to have concerns about whether this is due to a ‘genuine’ effect or to influencing the placebo response.”

      Ref: http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/40/9/1052.full

      I’m wondering what makes Drs Dixon and Fisher resort to pushing quackery on ‘heartsink’ patients when most doctors don’t. I suspect that the answers could be found here:
      http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/quackpro.html

      • could it be that some of them find it hard to cope with the complexities of real medicine? it is so much easier to use spiritual healing (Dixon) or homeopathy (Fisher) than to understand the condition/disease and find a specific therapy.

    • Look at it this way. The human race needs to purge itself of stupid ideas. Giving people a way to spend their health budgets pursuing those ideas will accomplish just that through evolution.

  • I know most people think HRH’s medical views are just a joke, but the real problem is that he uses his influence to get them taken seriously.

    It is clear that without the influence of the Royal family, homeopathy would not be available on the NHS (and indeed many realistic health authorities in the country do not pay for it anyway). I don’t understand why the people of Cullompton – a pleasant and generally rational place I have known for many years – have to be tainted by association with HRH’s ideas by way of his association with their local GP.

    It never ceases to amaze me that some GPs can get away with both practising scientific medicine and being memvers of the relevant professional association/s, and at the same time practise homeopathy. Why is this allowed? Is it simply that there is such a shortage of GPs that nobody dares do anything about it? It would do the medical establishment credit if they gave practitioners who can’t make up their minds an ultimatum – practise scientific medicine or homeopathy, but not both. Homeopaths really have no place in the BMA in my opinion.

    If we weren’t forced to pay for the cost of homeopathic hospitals we wouldn’t be so short of money for proper medicine.

    I note HRH chose to spend his special birthday in India; not suggesting anything sinister.

  • I like what Dara Ó Briain had to say on the subject.

    “Oh, herbal medicine’s been around for thousands of years!” Indeed it has, and then we tested it all, and the stuff that worked became ‘medicine’. And the rest of it is just a nice bowl of soup and some potpourri”. Dara Ó Briain

  • “the complexities of real medicine”??

    If by “real”, Edzard, you mean that which promotes the drugs and profits of companies that care nothing for individuals in pain but much much more for the ‘bottom line’, then you are promoting something as dangerous and unscientific as that which you accuse Prince Charles of advocating.

    Get ‘real’ and recognise that the spine is a visible masterpiece of engineering but sometimes needs to be straightened out after an accident. Peddling drugs for spinal pain is like filling the dents and painting over a damaged car while failing to deal with the bent steering rods that cause it to drift off the road!

    Get ‘real’ also and read the vast research that shows that one of the underlying problems with western bones is the bad nutrition given on the advice of doctors even today that milk is good for us. That’s also promoted by industry for their own ends – the dairy industry which has been paying for doctors to keep giving the same advice like a mantra. I suggest you start with an expert scientist who has stepped out of conventioal western medical line – Professor T Colin Campbell whose conclusions are only contraversial because they threaten the profits of both the pharmaceutical, dairy and meat industries.

    People who live in China, where acupuncture comes from, in poor villages where they can’t afford meat and milk, don’t get osteoporosis. Nor do they get most of the other diseases that kill in the rich west. And especially they don’t get the third largest killer (at least in America today) which is MEDICAL ERROR!

    • 1 – It is not ‘unscientific’ to advocate for medicines and treatments which have been proven *scientifically* to work above those which have not. It is also demonstrably less ‘dangerous’.

      2 – If your spine is visible you probably need more than just straightening out.

      3 – I don’t know where you hail from but here in the UK scientifically verified forms of physiotherapy are available in NHS and private hospitals.

      4 – Poor nutrition is certainly a problem in most countries, though I haven’t seen any evidence that drinking too much milk is the cause. It’s far more likely the preponderance of convenience processed foods, which practically all doctors advise against eating in any significant quantities. Speak to *any* medical professional and they will say “eat plenty of fruit and veg, not too much fat (which includes dairy, of course).

      5 – Of course people who live in China suffer from osteoporosis; it’s just that in rural villages it’s woefully under-diagnosed. The International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that of 200 million women affected worldwide, 70 million are in China (http://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics). If anything, that is a *higher* proportion than you would expect if the disease were spread evenly around the world.

      6 – You would expect the causes of death in China to be somewhat different to those in the ‘rich West’ due to different life expectancies – alzheimers and, to a lesser extent, cancers, heart disease, etc are far more prevalent in older people. China has a life expectancy around 5 years lower than the US, and quite possibly considerably less in rural areas.

      7 – People who live in China are very clearly going to be at risk of medical error too – unless you think, inexplicably, that Chinese doctors are infallible super-humans?

      8 – Ignoring medical error, the top four causes of death in China are strokes, respiratory disease, heart disease and cancer. In America the top four are heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and strokes. So guess what: you’re wrong about that too. Congratulations on being 100% wrong about everything.

  • Some of HRH’s actions seem quite sensible. For instance, statutory regulation of chiropractors and osteopaths potentially benefits society, not only those professions. Also, he seems to have repeatedly suggested that medical training include a biopsychosocial perspective, looking at the health and illness of patient’s in a wider context–something most US schools already include in their training and which adds an important means of seeing disease in a wider, “public health” context. Regulating “osteomyologists” is a reasonable idea, although I do think cranial is nonsense and am sorry to see Prince Charles act as patron for a group including such in their practices. As an American DO (hence trained in medicine with a smattering of osteopathy) I’m mildly pleased to see him patronize the osteopathic societies, although also a bit distressed, since since I know British osteopathy is restricted to the historically frozen beliefs of the earliest of traditional osteopathy. Over all I am sorry he is not a stronger supporter of The Royal Society of Medicine and of evidence-based medicine in general.

    • Robert Kiser said:

      statutory regulation of chiropractors and osteopaths potentially benefits society

      What do you believe are these potential benefits?

      Regulating “osteomyologists” is a reasonable idea

      Why?

      I do think cranial is nonsense

      Why do you believe it’s nonsense?

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  • Well, Charles was born on the 14th November. He’s a Scorpio; “Excessively driven by idealistic passion, but often blind to facts”. Obvious, isn’t it?

  • Materialist Pseudo Skeptic alert lol

  • An excellent article that shows how quackery and a politically ‘tory-green’ sensibility have been conflated. The official ‘left-green’ Green Party must distance itself more forcefully from those influences if it is to thrive. The significant social construct that needs to be shattered is that personal opinion and rhetoric is somehow ‘gentle and caring’ while science and evidence based policy is ‘cold and uncaring’; in fact the two opposed methodologies do not in any way reflect the characters of their practitioners except to say that administering medicine known not to work is hardly ‘caring’ and certainly not ‘healing’. For far too long the ‘alternative-green’ movement has assumed a moral authority in which almost any decision made rationally is thought to be suspect and those scientists who worked tirelessly to expose the environmental problems of the modern world are now unwelcome in the very milieu they helped to establish. Likewise, people working hard to expose the problems within both alternative quackery and Big Pharma are finding they are often outvoted or professionally ostracized by both sides.

  • there would be many additions to this post by now. just one perhaps: DR MICHAEL DIXON is now ‘medical officer’ to Charles and Camilla and as such was appointed ‘Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order’, last June.
    I am sure all readers of this blog want to join me in my belated congratulations. [there are more posts on Dixon on this blog, for those who are interested in this fabulously successful GP from Devon]

  • I have to admit I haven’t read the full post yet.
    Just wanted to say that it always baffles me why someone with as unique a position to be in like a member of the royal Family to be able to get a proper education would still not be better informed.
    I suspect he means well, just isn’t informed enough to tell right from wrong.

  • While I agree with the author of the above post – that most of the alternative approaches to healthcare are of no benefit and some are harmful – the same thing can be said of conventional medicine. (See Starfield Report). Medical science is just that – Medical Science – but that doesn’t mean it’s real science in the real world. Basing one’s conclusions upon symptom palliation after administering any treatment is not a reliable measurement of treatment efficacy; in fact, it’s quite unreliable. Therefore, the very quackery this author mentions would also apply to all that he’s learned from the entrenched schools of drugging. The exceptions would be for accidents, injuries, emergencies, birth defects and some corrective surgeries. This is where medical training is mostly correct. For all other anomalous health events, the causes are mal nutrition, i.e., physiologically incorrect habits of living. Physician heal thyself!

    • in case you are trying to say that conventional medicines are supported by no better evidence than alternative treatments, you are VERY WRONG.

    • “mal nutrition”? Is s/he related to mike nutrition? 😆

    • …most of the alternative approaches to healthcare are of no benefit and some are harmful – the same thing can be said of conventional medicine. (See Starfield Report)

      Yet another pathetic mis-reference to the commentary[sic] by Dr. Starfield by someone who obviously does not have any (normal?) insight into medicine or healthcare.
      Dr. Starfields commentary in JAMA is probably the most misread, misinterpreted and misquoted article in all of modern medicine. It is not a research paper, it is not a report as “Jack” calls it! The numbers in it are mostly based on inaccurate guesswork and assumptions. It is written to be a flaming Molotov cocktail thrown into a dialog about the exceedingly poor state of US healthcare compared to the rest of the civilised world. The figures are frivolous estimates and are regularly misquoted by those who want to make a point that modern medicine is no good.
      Read it for yourselves.

      • Bjorn,
        You have far more patience than me for trolls like the obvious chiropractor, “not real doctor jack”.

        Only an idiot or chiro would post such nonsense, and only an idiot or chiro could write so badly but with such, misplaced, surety of their competency.

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