MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Would you believe it? This is the 500th post on this blog!

When I started this blog less than three years ago, I would have never thought that I would have fun doing this; and I would not have expected to get hooked on it. In fact, it needed even a bit of arm twisting to try it, and I have to thank Alan for doing it and everything else. Without him, this blog would surely not exist.

With my very first post, I promised that my blog is not going to provide just another critique of alternative medicine; it is going to be different, I hope. The reasons for this are fairly obvious: I have researched alternative medicine for two decades. My team and I have conducted about 40 clinical trials and published more than 100 systematic reviews of alternative medicine. We were by far the most productive research unit in this area. For 14 years, we hosted an annual international conference for researchers in this field. I know many of the leading investigators personally, and I understand their way of thinking. I have rehearsed every possible argument for or against alternative medicine dozens of times.

In a nutshell, I am not someone who judges alternative medicine from the outside; I come from within the field. Arguably, I am the only researcher in this area who is willing [or capable?] to state publicly what is wrong with alternative medicine. This is perhaps one of the advantages of being an emeritus professor!

I am not sure whether I lived up to this promise – but I did try. And one thing is for sure, it was an eventful exercise. The blog now has ~ 20 000 readers every week; we had something like 15 000 comments; and some posts were re-tweeted several hundred times.

This seems to indicate that there is a need for a forum of this nature. Alternative medicine continues to be popular but critical thinking is not something that this field is blessed with. On the contrary, the misinformation on this subject is simply monstrous and seems to be growing every day. Factual and reliable information is very hard to come by, and therefore I feel that I am doing an important educational job here.

It’s a job which I certainly could not do alone. I therefore like to take this occasion to thank everyone who made my blog what it is today. Alan has already been mentioned but the many commentators deserve a big THANKS too – regardless of whether I agree or disagree with you, your comments make it all worth my while.

11 Responses to Blog post number 500

  • Thank you for you efforts. Where I live in the South Central US thinking critically about the world seems rare sometimes. Many of the people who are reasonable in most areas of their lives are batshit crazy when it comes to nutrition and alt-med. This is largely due to effective marketing reinforced by constant contact with “like minded” people. Because of people like you, I now speak out when I hear nonsense being promoted. It’s not much but my life is better for doing so. Thank you again.

    • I echo David’s sentiments. Likewise, I have gained the confidence to speak out when I hear nonsense being promoted.

      My sincerest thanks and best wishes to you Professor Ernst.

  • What you’re doing is totally needed. I will echo David Tyler’s post, I live in the midwest U.S. and evermore people are dabbling into the woo and crazy diets. Heck, that was me for about a decade. I didn’t realize how much I was complicating my life and making myself less healthy in the process. IMO, the internet is a huge factor in the popularity of woo. If you can google it, it must be healthy, right?

    Thank you! Writing a blog is a huge commitment of time and effort. You are needed to counter all the “magic” pills and diets that are found at Google University.

  • Congratulations and many thanks for a fine blog. It’s a rare pleasure to participate in a blog where the comments are reasonably civilized and free of foul-mouthed abuse.

  • Thank you and keep up the good work!

    Here’s something that ought to be part of the core curriculum:
    https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/informed-health-consumer?utm_source=FL_DB&utm_medium=crm&utm_campaign=16_06_2015_FL_newsletter

  • For people who have ended up working in alternative medicine by mistake the critical thinking in this blog is a godsend.

    When you are surrounded by true believers it is easy to start to think that alt med is science rather than pseudoscience. Thanks for providing the bigger picture.

  • Congratulations on 500 and hoping for many more. This blog is needed for many reasons, not the least of which is to combat nonsense creeping into healthcare. Reading the posts is also an education in statistics, critical thinking, and analysis when we really need it.

    I always thought the world would become more rational, logical, and less inclined to faulty thinking. Clearly, I am wrong.

  • Congratulation and thank you, Edzard. Your books & blog have been instrumental in helping me decide to give up my acupuncture practice. It is still financially challenging, but I am excited about my career change. I look back on the alternative medicine theories I tried, books I read, and teachings I paid for, and marvel at my gullibility. I suppose I thought that if those ideas were wrong, there was some sort of Cosmic Consumer Protection Agency which would swoop down with justice and refunds.

    Not.

    It doesn’t give babies back their lives when their parents rely on ‘spiritual’ healing, either…

  • Bravo!

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