MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Yesterday, I had the honour and pleasure to present to the UK press my new book entitled ‘ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE, A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF 150 MODALITIES’ (see also my previous post). The SCIENCE MEDIA CENTRE had invited me to do a ‘media briefing’ on the occasion of its publication. I did this by outlining the background around so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) and explaining the concept of the new book which essentially is – as its title indicates – to provide concise and critical assessments of 150 modalities.

In the course of my short presentation, I mentioned the following exotic modalities in order to show that my book goes beyond the ‘usual suspects’ of acupuncture, chiropractic, etc.:

  • BERLIN WALL
  • COLLOIDAL SILVER
  • PALEO DIET
  • PLACENTOPHAGY
  • URINE THERAPY
  • CUPPING
  • GUA SHA
  • LYMPH DRAINAGE
  • SLAPPING THERAPY
  • VISCERAL OSTEOPATHY
  • JOHREI HEALING
  • LEECH THERAPY
  • NEURAL THERAPY
  • ZERO BALANCE
  • APPLIED KINESIOLOGY
  • IRIDOLOGY
  • LIVE BLOOD ANALYSIS
  • PULSE DIAGNOSIS
  • RADIONICS

As it turned out, the journalists present found the BERLIN WALL remedy the most fascinating aspect of my talk. And this is clearly reflected in today’s articles covering the event:

Image

The DAILY TELEGRAPH published an article much in the same vein, and so did THE SUN and the EXPRESS (not available on line). The only UK newspaper I have seen so far going beyond the Berlin Wall topic is THE DAILY MAIL. The paper mentions several other so-called alternative medicines (SCAMs) that consumers need to be protected from, in my view.

Interestingly, none of the articles mentioned that my new book is not an exercise in debunking. During my presentation, I made the point that several of my assessments of 150 modalities do arrive at positive conclusions for therapies that demonstrably generate more good than harm.

I also tried to point out to the journalists that SCAM includes a range of diagnostic techniques. None of them are valid which means that they present a real danger to consumers through false-positive and false-negative diagnoses. In particular the latter scenario can cost lives.

All in all, I did enjoy yesterday’s press briefing very much. I am aware of the fact that, in the realm of SCAM, the press have a most important role to play. Consumers rarely consult their doctor when deciding to use SCAM; frequently they go by what they read in the papers.

In this context, I find it noteworthy that, during the last years, the UK press have become considerably more sceptical. Not so long ago, most UK journalists used to praise SCAM like the best thing since sliced bread; today this attitude has laudably shifted towards a more rational stance. I am sure that the excellent work of the SCIENCE MEDIA CENTRE has played a crucial part in this positive development.

46 Responses to The UK media report about my new book … and the Berlin wall

  • An excellent piece of work (and book!)

    I see the Telegraph reports that Ainsworths accuses you of “ignorance.”

    This is libellous. Can you write and ask them of what you are ignorant?
    Best wishes.

    • I have today sent this email to Ainsworth:
      Sir,
      in today’s Daily Telegraph, I read that ‘A spokesman for the firm accused Professor Ernst of ignorance.’ You probably know that such a statement might be seen as libellous. May I ask you to either explain or retract the allegation?
      Best regards
      Edzard Ernst

  • I have written to The Times:

    Dear Sir,

    I am concerned that homeopathic remedies are promoted by the Prince of Wales who has granted a Royal Warrant to Ainsworths pharmacy (The Times, 21st August 2019).

    Royal Warrant holders must satisfy certain standards – I have written to HRH and asked for sight of the standards set by the Prince and met by Ainsworths, and for any evidence the Prince has of the beneficial effect of such remedies. His secretary replied by return that “The Prince of Wales does not enter into correspondence on this subject.”

    So here we have a Fellow of the Royal Society withholding evidence of the benefit of remedies which might be of value to us all. Is this an ethical response from a fellow of a society whose motto in English is “Take nobody’s word for it”?

    • HRH is going on the correct path when he believes what Homeopathy is capable of achieving. Let him do his good work.

      • I am not stopping Charles from doing anything.
        Though I am not sure there is anything ‘good’ about it, nor how the ‘correct path’ has been determined.

        Given he is actively promoting the interests of a commercial company, in the public domain, I expect him to provide any and all evidence he has which has led him to believe homeopathic remedies offer any benefit.

        The fact that he declines to provide such evidence is to be deprecated, as those of us who might benefit from remedies, yet await evidence to inform our choice, are denied the information we need to make an wise choice. Withholding such advice is unethical.

        Pamela, would you not benefit from the Prince’s advice and knowledge of the standards his Warrant has merited?

  • You have made a comment Edzard that ‘producers believe the tablets convey a “spiritual force” capable of bringing people together.’ This comment has appeared in the Telegraph article stating Ainsworths as a producer of the Berlin Wall remedy.

    Please show any evidence that supports this comment . ie that Ainsworths believe that the tablets convey a “spiritual force” capable of bringing people together.

    Please also show any evidence of ‘vulnerable patients’ purchasing large bottles of tablets and getting exploited.

  • Below is a response to the writer of this article by the Pharmacist at Ainsworths:

    Dear Rosie,

    Its clearly a very slow summer as this is a very old story being peddled by an arch skeptic of homoeopathy who is little more than a charlatan himself.

    The well respected researcher Professor Robert Hahn recently stated, at a research conference in London, that, in order to agree with Ernst’s castigation of homoeopathy you would literally have to ignore over 90% of the high quality research material already published.

    Ernst has made a name for himself by criticising homoeopathy and attacking HRH The Prince of Wales for his life long support of the therapy. Meanwhile this upstart, with an unhealthy interest in Nazi medicine, has risen to prominence by taking a position as the first professor of complementary medicine in a chair supported wholly by a British philanthropist who provided the money based on his beneficial experiences of homoeopathy.

    To comment on a single remedy without context or appreciation of the wider principles of the subject would be akin to understanding how your car works by examining the tread of the near side tyre. As such I refuse to lend currency to his idiocy and your paper’s promotion of it as science. He has no understanding of the principles and continues to demonstrate his ignorance with ludicrous remarks. This is scientism not science.

    Under his misguidance of a bunch of ignorant sceptics, a large number or poor and aged patients have been deprived of the benefits of homoeopathy on the NHS, hitherto available since the inception of the system in 1948. Five private hospitals dedicated to homoeopathic practice, that were built by private donations from wealthy benefactors were ceded to the NHS have been lost as a result.

    In a crucial time when antibiotics are failing and we need more natural solutions people like Ernst are masquerading as heroes when in fact they are villains.

    Kind regards

    Tony Pinkus
    Director
    Ainsworths

    • Dana delivers… as usual 😀

      I guess that if you are a believer in homeopathy, this drivel sounds credible. The minority congregtion of water shakers and sugar-pill munchers will extol anything that seems to satisfy their fetish for fake medicine.

      But to the rational rest of the world this letter constitutes nothing more than simpleminded and belligerent bunkum that can be disregarded without further argument.

      I would understand if the professor chooses to litigate but this lowly piece of self-trashing by a pitiful peddler of fake potions is harldy worth the effort and cost.

    • Awww… bless.

      It would be expected that any attempt at a rebuttal of criticism of homeopathy by a homeopath would start off with a personal attack, just like so many comments from quacks here – and we were not disappointed!

      But Pinkus excels and shows true leadership by simply continuing the abuse for the remainder of the letter his lackey passed on.

      Perhaps we could have a competition to see who can expose the largest number of fallacious arguments in those six short paragraphs?

    • Dana

      Presumably you endorse these libellous and asinine comments.

      Explain, please, how water and alcohol shaken about with bits of concrete in it can be described as “natural”.

      Explain, please, with robust evidence, how homeopathy is able to replace antibiotics.

      Edzard is not understanding how cars work by examining the tread on one tyre. The analogy is one I would expect from such a fool. Cars are things. They work. Edzard is holding up a few threads from what idiots claim to be a flying carpet. Which only flies when nobody else can see it.

      The homeopaths are being laughed at, Dana. Again. As ever.

      • C’mon… please show some empathy with Mr. Ullman!
        Let´s not forget: he lives in a world where anecdotes from homeopathy-believers and robust scientific evidence are of equal value.
        Therefore, I assume that he thinks to have proven an important point by citing this statement.

        Btw, the objective mind-set of Tony “No-conflict-of-interest-possible” Pinkus, was mentioned before:
        https://edzardernst.com/2015/04/ainsworth-homeopathic-pharmacy-defamation-or-libel/

      • Nanomedicines will play a major role in medicine of the future, and homeopathy is the “original nanomedicine.”

        Here’s some evidence about nanomedicines:
        https://www.usnews.com/news/healthcare-of-tomorrow/articles/2019-08-16/commentary-how-nanomedicine-can-treat-melanoma

        The United States’ nano.gov website well describes how and why nanoscale materials play a much larger role in material properties and interaction that normally assumed, “Nanoscale materials have far larger surface areas than similar masses of larger-scale materials. As surface area per mass of a material increases, a greater amount of the material can come into contact with surrounding materials, thus affecting reactivity.”
        …. “Nanotechnology is not simply working at ever smaller dimensions; rather, working at the nanoscale enables scientists to utilize the unique physical, chemical, mechanical, and optical properties of materials that naturally occur at that scale.”
        …“Over millennia, nature has perfected the art of biology at the nanoscale. Many of the inner workings of cells naturally occur at the nanoscale. For example, hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen through the body, is 5.5 nanometers in diameter. A strand of DNA, one of the building blocks of human life, is only about 2 nanometers in diameter.”

        Wake up and smell the coffee…OR continue to use your rotary phones and typewriters and conventional drugs (that last a decade or two and are then never prescribed again).

          • Ernie Ernie Ernie…you’ve posted another placebo response.

            You didn’t address ANYTHING that the NANO.GOV website highlighted…or perhaps you didn’t read it. The surface area on a nanoparticle is substantially different.

            Then again, perhaps that NANO.GOV webiste is really a homeopathic website…yeah, sure, the U.S government is a secret advocate for homeopathy!

          • Perhaps Dana is right after all?

            The domain nano.gov does not work so in that way it is a “homeopathic” website 😀

        • Dana

          For once I agree with you. Nanomedicine will be extremely important and the article you link to is very interesting.

          But let’s be absolutely clear. The parameters of nanomedicine are defined. Homeopathy is not nanomedicine. This has been explained to you many times but, as ever, you ignore this. This is empirical fact, Dana. You are once again demonstrating your foolishness in an attempt to legitimise your pet quackery. That other homeopaths suffer similar delusions of significance is of no consequence. Keep flapping and yammering, Dana. We’ll keep pointing and laughing.

        • Hi Dana!

          Perhaps you should see someone for your cognitive impairment? We have taught you this before. Let’s try once more.

          Now read the folliowing very slowly and carefully, this may be somewhat technical so repeat the reading if you don’t understand:

          Nanomedicine = Using something to treat disease.
          Homeopathy = Using nothing to pretend to treat disease.

          Nanomedicine ≠ homeopathy

          (= means “is equal to”, ≠ means “is not equal to”)

        • @ DUllman

          You wrote

          Nanomedicines will play a major role in medicine of the future, and homeopathy is the “original nanomedicine.”

          That’s a fascinating statement, Dana, but what is its source, please? The link you provide is about the potential for nanomedicine to be used as an (orthodox) cure for melanoma. Nowhere does it mention homeopathy.

          Slipping in a totally inappropriate reference as if it supports your, frankly, dumb-assed belief that nanomedicine = homeopathy (or vice versa) will convince no-one other than those who leave their minds so far open their brains are at risk of falling out.

        • @ Dana,

          A strand of D(a)NA – Interesting article you have posted.

        • Just because foolish people say I’m “wrong” doesn’t mean squat.

          And did ANYONE notice that NO ONE here has yet to respond to the nano.gov website? It is so OBVIOUS why you are avoiding referencing it. You cannot attack the content, and you cannot attack the source. So, instead, you pretend to be ignorant…and you’re really good at that!

          As for homeopathy being the “original nanomedicine,” good research published in high-impact conventional scientific journals have verified that nanoparticles of the original medicine persists in water…and explanations for how and why that happens is described. And yet, you folks insist that homeopathic medicines are “contaminated” with nanoparticles of the medicine (HA…what spin!). So much spin that I’m dizzy!

          • Oh dear, Dana.
            My attempt at explaining to you the difference between nano… and homeo…was too complicated for you, even if it was below K12 level.

            How about this:

            Nanomedicine is not at all the same as homeopathy

            Capiche?

          • And did ANYONE notice that NO ONE here has yet to respond to the nano.gov website?

            The problem is not the website. The problem is your repeated misrepresentation of it and your pretence that nano-medicine includes homeopathy.

            Clue:
            In nanomedicine, the particles of active ingredients are tiny, but their concentrations are not; they are present in assayable quantities.
            In homeopathy, the original substances are (in common potencies) present in concentrations that range from one molecule per sphere the size of Earth’s orbit around the Sun to less than one molecule per known Universe. Not assayable.

            As for homeopathy being the “original nanomedicine,” good research published in high-impact conventional scientific journals have verified that nanoparticles of the original medicine persists in water…and explanations for how and why that happens is described.

            If that is true, please cite one (yes, just one) independently replicated piece of robustly conducted research that supports your assertion.

            Just because foolish people say I’m “wrong” doesn’t mean squat.

            Oh dear! The only thing in this subthread that “doesn’t mean squat” is your repetition of untruths: no matter how often you repeat a falsehood, it will remain a falsehood.

          • Oh dear…I refer to research published in high-impact scientific journals, and you folks reference NO research other than the rambling theories in your own head. The LANGMUIR and other studies STAND.

            Further, and once again, NO ONE here has responded to my link above at the NANO.GOV website.

            Your handwaving and misdirection is so typical of con artists…and President Trump. How embarrassing.

          • Dana

            Read the responses. Read. The. Responses.

            Not what you think you want them to say.. What they actually say. You are just making yourself look stupid. Again.

            And Langmuir? Again?

            That memory of yours is becoming a real problem, Dana. I’d see a neurologist if I were you.

    • I believe Mr. Pinkus is referring to the Swedish anesthesiologist Dr. Hahn who believes scizophrenia is caused by negative vibrations from another dimension and cannot be cured unless one accept the spiritualworld as a fact. The same Dr Hahn who has written books about spirits and reincarnation and who believes he himself is reincarnated from a 20 year old German soldier who was killed at the Somme in 1916?

      https://www.vof.se/folkvett/ar-2004/nr-4/spiritistprofessorn-pa-karolinska-institutet/ (source in Swedish)

  • You people are hilarious!

    Seriously, you are missing a golden opportunity here. I’s speaking to Dana, DC, and especially Pamela. You should charge for your comments. They are priceless. Often silly, but priceless!

  • If EE asserts that he is not “ignorant” about homeopathy, perhaps he can finally provide us all with evidence that he has ever been certified in the subject. We’ve been waiting a long time for this evidence and instead we get handwaving and ad hom attacks. Perhaps he can offer us something more than a placebo response.

    And it is classic that some of his ilk are going after me here when my initial response was simply quote verbatim a letter to the editor that Tony Pinkus wrote. Shooting the messenger is always an effective strategy (NOT!).

    • Why do you need “evidence” that Edzard has ever been “certified” in homeopathy, Dana? Is this your continuing delusion that, in order to criticise something you have to to be formally qualified in that subject? We’ve been over this so many times. Your continuing memory problems really are becoming troublesome, Dana.

      I am not a geologist. I have no qualifications in the earth sciences. I am not a Christian. But I can tell you with confidence that the Earth is not flat, that it was not created in seven days around 8,000 years ago and that there was no flood and no Noah’s Ark. Lots of people believe otherwise, though, and cling to their beliefs despite science telling them that they are wrong.

      Just like homeopathy and its believers.

  • @Dana
    You will be relieved to hear that the NANO.GOV site is up and running again. Just for you I did a search for “homeopathy” and some related terms on there..
    You may want to let them know that they have completely forgot to mention anything about your pet subject on the site. Please let us know what their response is.

    • Surely some mistake… Incompetence by their IT department in not fully restoring from a backup? Interference by Big Pharma? Someone was clearly paid to omit the stunning information on homeopathy…

  • Yes Dana, clear their (Björn Geir / Alan) doubts.

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