MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

In the early 1920s, a French physician thought he had discovered the virus that caused the Spanish flu. It oscillated under his microscope, and he thus called it oscillococcus. Not only did it cause the flu, in the opinion of his discoverer, but it was also responsible for a whole host of other diseases, including cancer. In fact, the virus does not exist, or at least nobody ever confirmed it existed, but that fact did not stop our good doctor to make a homeopathic remedy from it which he thought would cure all these diseases. His remedy, Oscillococcinum, is made from the liver and heart of a duck because the imaginative inventor believed that the fictitious virus was present in these organs of this animal.

To understand all this fully, one needs to know that the duck organs are so highly diluted that no molecule of the duck is present in the remedy. It is sold in the C200 potency. This means that one part of organ extract is diluted 1: 10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 (a note to Boiron’s legal team: I had a hell of a time getting all these zeros right; in case, I got it wrong after all, it is an honest error – please do not sue me for it!). The dilution is so extreme that it amounts to a single molecule per a multitude of universes.

Given these facts it seems unlikely that the remedy has any effects on human health which go beyond those of a placebo. Let’s see what the current Cochrane review says about its effectiveness: There is insufficient good evidence to enable robust conclusions to be made about Oscillococcinum(®) in the prevention or treatment of influenza and influenza-like illness. Our findings do not rule out the possibility that Oscillococcinum(®) could have a clinically useful treatment effect but, given the low quality of the eligible studies, the evidence is not compelling. There was no evidence of clinically important harms due to Oscillococcinum(®).

Considering that the first author of this review works for the British Homeopathic Association and the senior author is the homeopath of the Queen, this seems a pretty clear statement, don’t you think?

Regardless of the scientific evidence, Oscillococcinum made of ‘Anas Barbariae Hepatis et Cordis Extractum‘, as it is officially called, became a homeopathic best-seller. In the US alone Boiron, the manufacturer, is said to sell US$ 15 m per year of this product. Not only that, in France, where the remedy is a popular medicine sold in virtually all pharmacies and often recommended as soon as you walk into a pharmacy, it is hard to find anyone who does not swear by the ‘potentized‘ duck or is willing to discuss its merits critically.

The amazing duck, it seems, has turned into a ‘holy cow’.

57 Responses to How the amazing duck turned into a holy cow

  • Perhaps ‘holy cash cow’ would be more appropriate. Here in the US the dilution is 200CK which makes it hard to be sure of your zeros. It would be difficult to be sure of concentration on the walls of the container when it is dumped out and refilled. I suspect that there will be no molecules in the dilution much sooner. This would risk making this “medication” super strong. We should demand a danger warning for all CK dilutions.

  • It is a little hard to fathom how or why the British Queen has her own homeopath! Is the monarchy there so easily duped? Do they not check into these things? It doesn’t take much time or research to get a clear picture of what nonsense all that is. She needs to have a good chat with Ben Goldacre and Dr. Ernst!

    • Why would the Queen be any less susceptible to idiocy and scientific literacy than anyone else? Indeed, the opposite is more likely: those living lives isolated from many of the daily realities of most people, who are generally in a position to make reality fit to their desires rather than the other way around, are surely more likely to lean towards magic-make-it-all-better potions. The Queen, Steve Jobs, Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna etc – it’s hardly a challenge to find fruit loops and woo worshipers amongst the ranks of the rich and famous.

    • One of the more profitable medical specialisms is the treatment of imaginary diseases of the wealthy.

  • I recently covered oscillococcinium in my own blog. I find it hard to believe that ANYONE could believe in a “remedy” based on a flawed premise (like cures like) that was based on flawed research (oscillococcinium doesn’t even exist). Even if oscillococcinium existed, which it does not, there is no plausible mechanism by which giving a 200C dilution of it would have any therapeutic effect whatsoever.

    This sort of thing may have flown in 1890 when the best medicine was bloodletting, trephination, and leeches. But it is truly mind boggling that people can still be enticed to believe this nonsense in 2014.

  • Gentlemen, gentlemen! Order, order!

    I am certain that the rich, with all of their resources, with access to the finest medical care, die just as quick or sooner than non-drug approaches since medical care kills 440,000 Americans each year just from errors, as I have said once or twice before.

    But here is a question that I have wondered about:
    If a substance in a solution becomes so small and diluted as to become impossibly too tiny to detect, then how can a shark detect a few drops of blood in a vast expanse of ocean from miles away and come sniffing around to investigate?

    Any thoughts?

    • Ghosh, I am so pleased that you are CERTAIN!

    • SkepdicProf said:

      If a substance in a solution becomes so small and diluted as to become impossibly too tiny to detect, then how can a shark detect a few drops of blood in a vast expanse of ocean from miles away and come sniffing around to investigate?

      Good grief.

      • “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” – Bertrand Russell

      • Alan Henness wrote: “Good grief.”

        Thank you for that, Al. But I am sure the answer lies deeper than your emotional reactions.

        • SkepdicProf said:

          Alan Henness wrote: “Good grief.”

          Thank you for that, Al. But I am sure the answer lies deeper than your emotional reactions.

          It does. And I provided it. Perhaps you missed the link.

          And please use my full first name in future.

          • Sorry, Allan. Didn’t realize you were sensitive.

            I hadn’t realized that you posted how sharks can sense a few drops of blood from miles away in, what would seem to be, a dilution that is infinitesimally small. Where can I find it?

            Thanks

          • SkepdocProf said:

            Sorry, Allan.

            Are you being deliberately obtuse?

            Didn’t realize you were sensitive.

            It’s not about being ‘sensitive’.

            I hadn’t realized that you posted how sharks can sense a few drops of blood from miles away in, what would seem to be, a dilution that is infinitesimally small.

            I hadn’t. I had posted a link to what would appear to be a highly authoritative source – the American Museum of Natural History – that debunk’s that myth and corrects your misunderstanding.

            Where can I find it?

            Where I left it for you. Have you tried looking for it in my reply to you? It is rather easy to find – I only posted two words.

    • Here are my thoughts…
      Step 1: Fully understand the meaning of the word molecule.
      Step 2: Gain the humility to openly admit to being wrong.
      Step 3: Acquire a good set of critical thinking skills.
      Step 4: Obtain a solid grasp of biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics (i.e. reality).

    • …medical care kills 440,000 Americans each year…

      Well-well…
      A few days ago SDP was reminded that it was better to read the sources he himself googled to support his own false propaganda.
      It appears SDP has followed the advice and now (s)he has halved the mythomaniac figure to ‘only’ 440.000. Where this figure comes from, what it means and how it is used to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about real medicine, you can learn by having a look at the discussion here

      I wonder if this halved-lie means that SDP now gets only half of his previous remuneration for constantly parroting this disinformation.

      • Well, Bjorn, based on the public records and put into the paper, Death by Medicine, I still believe the figure is 800,000/year killed every year by the allopaths preventable errors. These are MDs and PhDs who figured it out. All of the references are there. So I have no reason or self-interests to believe otherwise. Just going by the facts, research, references, etc., that they present. Looks like good research to me. I haven’t seen anything to the contrary.

        http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2004/mar2004_awsi_death_01.htm

        There was even an award-winning documentary made that you can download and watch. I would welcome your opinion on it after you watch it.

        https://www.google.com/search?q=death+by+medicine&rlz=1C1RNNN_enUS387&oq=death+by+medicine&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.4186j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=death+by+medicine+documentary+download

        But, if you like 440,000 Americans killed each year, well, that’s fine by me.

        • @SDP
          You are still wrong on all points and so are the altmed sources you quote over and over like a TV-salesman.
          It is starting to look like you are a programmed zombie who cannot think for himself.
          To repeat myself: the figures you are quoting are exaggerated beyond any sense and do not mean what you are repeatedly implying.
          Try clearing your FUD-muddled mind and think for yourself. Try reading something from educated and analytical people instead of lapping up snake-oil selling platitudes for Gary Null and Joe Mercola.

          Try this for a change. There you can find a good take-down of the muck you are propagating.

  • Interesting question. Do sharks really detect a few drops of blood in the water from miles away?

    It would take some consideral time for the blood to drift several miles if flowing with the current, and it would never get there against the current. The shark notion sounds like an old fisherman’s tale to me, at least when a large distance is involved.

  • The theatrics of homeopathy relies on a misdirection that its clientele are unable to detect. The word ratio means: the quantitative relation between two amounts showing the number of times one value contains or is contained within the other. The essential keywords to remember are “quantitative” and “contain”.

    E.g. I have a bowl containing 9 oranges and there are 10 people in the room therefore one person must go without an orange. Claiming that each person receives one tenth of the contents of the bowl would demonstrate a complete failure to understand ratios and fractions. The final ratios are: nine people received 1:9 and one person received 0:9.

    Rewording my example using the nomenclature of homeopathy, we get: The one person who did not receive an orange received instead a circa 1X dilution of the original contents of the bowl, which is much more potent than the original. WTF?

    In other words, manufactures of highly diluted remedies retain 100% of the original substance and sell the remainder to their customers, which is nothing, zilch, nada.

    Obviously, my original oranges diluted in the ratio 0:9 is indistinguishable from any other substance diluted in the ratio 0:any_number, such as oscillococcus C200.

    Invoking metaphysics in an attempt to justify marketing nothingness is derisory. I assume homeopathy will remain legal until we have lawyers who more or less understood their primary school arithmetic and basic mathematics lessons.

    While we await, a little humour may help to pass the time.

    The term “Homeopathy manufacturers” applies to the whole industry. Synonym: Homeopathy fabricators.

    The term “manufacturing tolerances” brought to mind an apt slogan: Manufacturing Intolerances since 1796.

  • My only experience with homeopathy: many years ago a homeopathic vet solved an ear issue in our cat, after many attempts by ‘conventional’ vets. Everything worked exactly like the vet said it would. We figured it was a mystery that we didn’t really care to solve – it worked, and we moved on.

    The whole homeopathic theory has never really made much sense to me, and I’ve never really been interested in understanding it better. But the evidence seems to suggest there might be something to it…

    • Many of the “anti-homeopathic” (for lack of a better term) commenters also post on eastern medicine topics.

    • The comments on the eastern medicine posts are quite bizzare, and equally bizzare conclusions are reached (and pretty firmly held) without even a basic understanding of the system.

    So I have to wonder – why it would be any different with homeopathy? Or chiropractic, for that matter? Based on the evidence, I would have to conclude that the most vocal commenters have as much understanding about these topics as they do of the eastern systems. So maybe there IS something to homeopathy…

    • There might be something to homeopathy because its critics don’t understand “eastern medicine”? Ok. By the way, I know you said you’re not really interested in understanding homeopathy better, but I do recommend educating yourself about such things, then you can have a more informed opinion on the evidence (or lack of) and can also perhaps form better arguments against those who “have as much understanding about these topics as they do of the eastern systems”.

      • Indeed. I see this level of sloppy thinking from many quacks and their supporters. Many can barely form a coherent argument, never mind take part in a rational discussion.

      • “There might be something to homeopathy because its critics don’t understand “eastern medicine”?”

        Nope, not even close to what I meant. I used eastern med as an example. Wow – I didn’t think I was being that cryptic.

        • Apologies, jm. I’ve read your post more closely and had another go …

          The critics of homeopathy don’t understand ‘eastern medicine’, ergo they must not understand homeopathy, ergo there must be something to the efficacy of homeopathy.

          • Closer, but still no. You still seem to be hung up on particular modalities or methods. I’m more concerned about the evaluation process.

  • The comments are only bizarre if you change the definition of everything and then say; you don’t understand because you dont know the system that Im using to describe what we are experiencing. If you did it would all become clear. Which is pretty much what i understand from the constant cry of you never try to understand from my point of view.

    Its genius because if they dont experience what you experience, they will never truly understand in your eyes. Its similar to people who have children and say to those that don’t ” you’ll understand when you have your own”, as if having a child makes us immediately able to see things more clearly.It maybe makes us have a clearer understanding of what we feel we have to do, but, I would suggest that these extra connections create bias in our judgement and make us less open to understanding that what we see is not all there is.

    Maybe there is something to it! ( I say this without believing it) but more than likely there isn’t and there are explanations reproducible and demonstrable to explain most phenomena in the body. If we are prepared to understand that what we experience is not necessarily the truth of the matter and not let our psychological illusions lead us into the arrogance of thinking we understand more than we do.

    There is a book by Daniel Kahneman called thinking fast and slow. It enlightened me to see some my own mistakes in thinking and may allow you to do the same.

    • Neil – changing definitions is a great example, and it’s the commenters I’m referring to that are changing definitions and coming to bizarre conclusions based on the changed definition. Many on the gua sha thread, for instance aren’t talking about ‘gua’ when describing how the therapy is performed. And if you don’t understand ‘gua’, you’re not really talking about that particular therapy.

      Gua means scrape, shave, or smear. It’s describing a particular action. Go back and read the comments on the gua sha thread that are talking about the mechanics of how gua sha is performed and imagine shaving your beard (which would be performing ‘gua”) in the way they describe gua sha.

      You would come to the conclusion that shaving your beard results in severe injury – not some minor nicks and cuts, but emergency room trauma. And you would come to that conclusion because you didn’t take the time to understand what was meant by “shave”. I would consider that a bizarre conclusion, since you didn’t understand “shave” in the first place. Wouldn’t you?

      So yes, technical definitions can be important. And I wonder if the same scenario is playing out on the homeopathic (or chiropractic, naturopathic, etc) threads.

  • @jm:
    How does Santa “work”? Here are the four main steps:
    1. We tell children the Santa story.
    2. On Christmas Day, children find presents labelled “from Santa”.
    3. The children are convinced that Santa exists and the story is true.

    4. Not all children receive presents therefore the story we tell them must include a reasonable explanation. Without this explanation, some children may conclude that the Santa story is not quite true then start asking in-depth questions about it.

    So far, I’ve explained the processes involved, but not how it actually works. This is how it works (using the same step numbers as above):

    1. The story primes the children to expect a good outcome/result.
    2. The children who receive a good outcome/result have their expectation fulfilled.
    3. These children use the two fallacies, “correlation equals causation” and “confirmation bias”, to convince themselves that the story is true. The story then becomes one of their beliefs about how the real world actually works.

    4. The children who did not receive a good outcome/result cannot prove that the story is false. More importantly, they have insufficient evidence to change the minds of the children who firmly believe that the story is true.

    This is also how most of Alt Med “works” — your one experience with a homeopathic vet is a good example. However, unlike Alt Med, all adults know that: Santa does not actually exist; the story is a false myth; there is a rational explanation for the positive outcomes/results they experienced.

    If you, jm, were to become the world’s top expert in the Santa story, the story will remain a false myth because Santa does not exist.

    I am not an expert in the Santa myth, but I am qualified to fully question the myth and demonstrate how it “works”.

    Finally, jm, I invite you to think long and hard about your conclusion regarding “the most vocal commenters”. The following may help you to understand the errors that you keep making…

    “You don’t need to be a critical thinker to provide a persuasive argument for intelligent design, a young earth, or homeopathy; you need an audience that is ignorant of science and medicine.” — Robert T. Carroll.

    jm, find an audience that is ignorant of science and medicine, rather than criticising the commentators here who do understand science and medicine.

    “Before we try to explain something, we should be sure it actually happened.” — Ray Hyman.

    jm, before you try to explain an Alt Med treatment, make sure that it actually cures an illness. Otherwise, all you are doing is describing a business that is selling an elaborate myth. As above, find an audience that is ignorant of science and medicine.

    • You know, Pete, as I was reading your post, I thought immediately of psychiatry. Just sayin’.

      • you mean to say that you realised that this is where you ought to be???
        please omit those poor taste, stupid and childish remarks – you cannot be that daft?!?

        • Well, EE, psychiatry is considered by many to be the gold-standard of pseudo-science. Psychiatry is only considered “legitimate” because it falls under medicine’s umbrella. Psychiatrists have shown to do more harm than good with their drug-based care to “fix” emotional problems for so-callled “chemical imbalances” in the brain for which there are no tests to prove that this, in fact, is what is taking place. I know you will disagree, but it is nothing but a big scam.

          Drugging school kids and babies is now a major problem/industry, which is particularly disturbing because it is mostly in the United States. The U.S. consumes 60% of the world’s psychiatric drugs, yet it only accounts for less than 5% of the world’s population. Why doesn’t the rest of the world have this problem? Why doesn’t the United Kingdom have this epidemic of psychiatric problems like the U.S.?

          Answer: In the U.S., the pharma companies can charge anything they want for the medications, unlike the U.K. or the rest of the world where drug prices are regulated. A prescription in the U.K. may be $39 while in the U.S. it costs $280. So naturally, they sell them in the U.S. where they can charge what they like. Just good business sense. They advertise directly to consumers on television. The U.S. also consumes 60% of all of the world’s medications and 80% of all of the world’s painkillers.

          Corporate health before public health. It is all just a big health fraud. You know what I mean.

          • what has this to do with homeopathy?
            are you saying that, because not everything is as it should be in mainstream medicine, it is acceptable that alternative medicine is fraudulent rubbish?

          • Yet another zombie argument.

          • As usual, SkepdocProf, you demonstrate only your ignorance and arrogance. The reason that you are aware of problems in the field of psychiatry is because it is psychiatrists, not armchair critics, who identify the problems and devote a great deal of personal time and effort into making improvements. How many times do we need to remind you of the fundamental difference between medicine and quackery: medicine (and the whole of science) is self-correcting because it harshly criticises itself; quackery rejects any and all criticism, which is why it remains quackery.

          • Pete 628 says:

            “The reason that you are aware of problems in the field of psychiatry is because it is psychiatrists, not armchair critics, who identify the problems and devote a great deal of personal time and effort into making improvements.”

            Hey, that’s pretty funny stuff, Pete! Glad to see that I am not the only one with a sense of humor around here.

            Yes, psychiatrists are always telling the public about how their pharma therapy is messing up the population, prescribing drugs that have known side effects of violent behaviour and suicide to kids who then shoot up schools and kill themselves.

            You always hear the psychiatrists apologize for pathologizing every human behaviour from the age of infant to nursing homes so they can be reimbursed by the insurance company for the 15 minutes they took to figure out whats going on in the person’s mind.

            Good one, Pete! You are funny! LOL!

    • Pete – “I invite you to think long and hard about your conclusion regarding “the most vocal commenters”.”

      Tell me where I went wrong:

      Gua sha – scrape the superficial layers of the body (that’s what gua sha is)
      Commenter understanding of gua sha – push deep into the body (the opposite of what gua sha is, by definition)
      Commenter conclusion – gua sha doesn’t do what it claims to do

      My conclusion – commenter came to a faulty conclusion.

      My question – is this same methodology used in evaluating homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropratics, etc.? Perhaps I should have used a different example – apparently eastern med triggers some sort of defensive reaction…strong enough to invoke the “Santa Claus Response”.

      • Quod erat demonstrandum.

      • jm, the method used to evaluate homeopathy is the same used to evaluate any proposed medical treatment – the randomised controlled trial. Read around this site and you will get an idea.

        All the rigorous trials of homeopathy – and there have been many – have produced the same result: homeopathy doesn’t have any effect apart from placebo. So although it is fairly clear that homeopathy shouldn’t work because it contains no active ingredient and has no scientific basis, the reason why homeopathy is rejected by medical science is that it can be tested and shown to be useless, repeatedly and predictably.

        • Thanks Julian – this site has been quite the eye opener as to how things are evaluated. I had been under the impression that studies, clinical trials, etc were evaluating treatments, which doesn’t seem to be the case. I’m starting to see that what is being evaluated are the parameters of various treatment tools. I think I owe apologies to some homeopaths…

          • jm I don’t understand “parameters of various treatment tools” or how you could conclude that clinical trials are not designed to evaluate treatments.

          • Julian – I’ve only really looked at a handful of studies, mainly dealing with acupuncture & massage. The ones dealing with acupuncture seem to focus on prescribed point protocols. An actual treatment would involve not just acupuncture, but diet, exercise, massage, herbs, and myriad other factors…so I never really put much value on the results.

            But, it does seem like the results could be quite useful – in that one could start honing in on how much of a role different parts of a treatment play in the overall treatment. One tool would be needling particular points (acupuncture) – and studying just the acupuncture aspect hones in on the parameters of that tool. Hopefully that made some sense (it’s quite late here).

            I’m getting the sense that it’s the homeopathic ‘substances’ (medicines? I’m not sure of the vocabulary in this realm) that are being studied, and not actual treatments with homeopathic physicians. Which is why I’m thinking I owe apologies to some homeopaths…

  • My Chinese dictionary (published by the Chinese Foreign Languages Press, and required of me when an undergraduate studying Chinese) translates gua sha (both first tone) as “a popular treatment for sunstroke by scraping the patient’s neck, chest or back”. A rather limited use of the therapy? See also http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/10/traditional_chinese_medicine_origins_mao_invented_it_but_didn_t_believe.html, by an assistant professor of Chinese philosophy and religion …

    • Ben – Thanks for the link. It’s even more interesting to actually talk to folks who lived through that time period and hear them describe how Mao destroyed their traditional medical system and replaced it with TCM.

      As far as your dictionary goes, yes, sunstroke would be one of the conditions where gua sha would be a good first choice for treatment. Your dictionary probably also defines ‘gua’ as scrape or shave – which would have a different effect on the body than deep compression.

      So it would take quite the quack to confuse the results of deep compression with those of scraping. Don’t you think?

      • It is interesting to see how our nameless friend “jm” is completely blinded by her/his faith. (S)he is (figuratively speaking) hit in the head with a very detailed and referenced take-down of the origins and credibility of the fantasy system (s)he is so infatuated with, written by an expert. But instead of discussing its contents (s)he simply ignores the evidence and spins a story about how it must be the other way around without the support of any citations or evidence at all.
        They don’t come any more delusionally deranged.

        For those interested in the real origins of what is commonly called “Traditional Chinese Medicine” there is quite a lot to be found that corroborates Alan Levinovitz’s very interesting article referenced by Ben Harris above. Try for example to search for Ben Kavoussi on http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org and take it from there.
        At least you should read this article: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/astrology-with-needles/

        • Oh, I almost forgot.

          “jm” says it is interesting to “…actually talk to folks who lived through that time period. ” Maybe (s)he can prove her/his point but I doubt it.

          Here you can read a very graphic and detailed, one hundred year old account of “traditional chinese medicine” from the time period before it was “reinvented” to suit modern times: https://archive.org/details/thirtyyearsinman01chri (the whole book is easily downloaded as PDF or other e-book formats) I deeply recommend reading this enlightening book by the Scottish missionary surgeon Dugald Christie. Our friend, in another dialog on this blog, tried fervently to discredit Mr. Christies book but never came up with any evidence despite encouragement to do so.

          • “…tried fervently to discredit Mr. Christies book…”

            Nope. It’s actually on my reading list. I like reading anecdotal accounts of things like that – and since his travels were apparently focused in a pretty particular area of China, it will be interesting how the practices relate to the Neijing. (The link I sent you describes how different therapies in Chinese medicine relate to different areas of the country, and why.)

            And then you had go getting all racist…to your credit, you held back the blatantly racist stuff until about ¾ of the way down the page.

          • So jm reveals that he hasn’t even read Dugald Christie’s book yet. That is most revealing.
            Her/his immature ad hominem allegation about racism is not worth comment other than it has annihilated any need for mutual respect. It was interesting while it lasted.

          • No allegation about racism, Bjorn. You speak for yourself here:
            http://edzardernst.com/2014/05/the-top-three-untruths-about-acupuncture/#comment-59313

            You said:

            “As an afterthought: It seems like this book about health and healing by(?) the jaundiced emperor, and for all I know adapted to the fantasies of modern meridian-prickers, contains the “science” that you base your practice on- right?Has it never occurred to your meridian-muddled mind that even if the chinamen were first with gunpowder and paper and whatnot, that they failed miserably in medicine until “western” science came to their aid?”

            I’m surprised and disappointed that Bob Dobbs was the only one that called you out on it.

  • What really is Integrative Medicine? According to Wikipedia:

    “Integrative medicine combines alternative medicine with evidence-based medicine. Proponents claim that it treats the ‘whole person’, focuses on wellness and health rather than on treating disease, and emphasizes the patient-physician relationship.”

    Many of its proponents claim that this is what Integrative Medicine is all about. How do the proponents of Integrative Medicine react when challenged to provide solid evidence of efficacy for the plethora of alternative treatments? Invariably with anger and hostility; even to the point of claiming racial and/or religious intolerance to be the cause of their treatments failing when subjected to systematic reviews of RCTs.

    Is it just me, or are others frightened by the prospect of one day ending up in an “Integrative Medicine Care Home” that bullies all patients who dare to challenge the efficacy of Alt Med? E.g.:

    Our Reiki treatments failed because you refuse to accept the principle of universal energy.
    Our Acupuncture treatments failed because you refuse to accept the principles of Qi.
    Our Gua Sha treatments failed due to your racial prejudice.
    Our Homeopathy treatments failed because you refuse to accept bullshit.
    Our Applied Kinesiology treatments are blocked by your critical thinking skills.
    Our Faith Healing is blocked by your totally wrong choice of religion.

    This isn’t some surreal fantasy, this is currently happening when one dares to challenge the holy cash cow of Integrative Medicine (previously known as sCAM).

    Integrative medicine treats the “whole person”. Indeed it does, it treats the whole patient as a cash cow.

    Integrative medicine “focuses on wellness and health rather than on treating disease, and emphasizes the patient-physician relationship.” Indeed, this is undeniably true because it neatly avoids mentioning whether it is the physician or their patient who receives the “wellness and health” from their relationship.

    I give my sincerest thanks to the amazing ducks who involuntarily donated their organs to the debunking of quackery.

    • Our Homeopathy treatments failed because you refuse to accept bullshit.

      I believe it is called “excrementum vaccinium” in homeospeak.

      Next time I travel abroad I will be wearing a Med-Alert badge saying: “No alternative, integrative or non-evidence/science based medicine!”

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