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

As though the UK does not have plenty of organisations promoting so-called alternative medicine (SCAM)! Obviously not – because a new one is about to emerge.

In mid-January, THE COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND INTEGRATED HEALTH (COMIH) will launch the Integrated Medicine Alliance bringing together the leaders of many complementary health organisations to provide patients, clinicians and policy makers with information on the various complementary modalities, which will be needed in a post COVID-19 world, where:

  1. patient choice is better respected,
  2. requirements for evidence of efficacy are more proportionate to the seriousness of the disease and the safety of the intervention,
  3. and where benefit versus risk are better balanced.

We already saw this in 2020 with the College advocating from the very beginning of the year that people should think about taking Vitamin D, while the National Institute for Clinical Excellence continued to say the evidence was insufficient, but the Secretary of State has now supported it being given to the vulnerable on the basis of the balance between cost, benefit and safety.

Elsewhere we learn more about the Integrated Medicine Alliance (IMA):

The IMA is a group of organisations and individuals that have been brought together for the purpose of encouraging and optimising the best use of complementary therapies alongside conventional healthcare for the benefit of all.

The idea for this group was conceived by Dr Michael Dixon in discussion with colleagues associated with the College of Medicine, and the initial meeting to convene the group was held in February 2019.

The group transitioned through a number of titles before settling on the ‘Integrated Medicine Alliance’ and began work on developing a patient leaflet and a series of information sheets on the key complementary therapies.

It was agreed that in the first instance the IMA should exist under the wing of the College of Medicine, but that in the future it may develop into a formal organisation in its own right, but inevitably maintaining a close relationship with the College of Medicine.

The IMA also offers ‘INFORMATION SHEETS’ on the following modalities:

I find those leaflets revealing. They tell us, for example that the Reiki practitioner channels universal energy through their hands to help rebalance each of the body’s energy centres, known as chakras. About homeopathy, we learn that a large corpus of evidence has accumulated which stands the most robust tests of modern science. And about naturopathy, we learn that it includes ozone therapy but is perfectly safe.

Just for the fun of it – and free of charge – let me try to place a few corrections here:

  • Reiki healers use their hands to perform what is little more than a party trick.
  • The universal energy they claim to direct does not exist.
  • The body does not have energy centres.
  • Chakras are a figment of imagination.
  • The corpus of evidence on homeopathy is by no means large.
  • The evidence is flimsy.
  • The most robust tests of modern science fail to show that homeopathy is effective beyond placebo.
  • Naturopathy is a hotchpotch of treatments most of which are neither natural nor perfectly safe.

One does wonder who writes such drivel for the COMIH, and one shudders to think what else the IMA might be up to.

35 Responses to The Integrated Medicine Alliance: “a large corpus of evidence (for homeopathy) has accumulated which stands the most robust tests of modern science”… OH, REALLY?

  • All the IMA lacks, for the present, is royal patronage.

    I too am founding an alliance – to encourage the integration of all remedies, treatments and healthcare procedures for which there is good, plausible, reproducible evidence of benefit beyond the placebo.

    I am titling it the Real Integrated Medicine Alliance.

    Members are expected to be base their practices in reality, to be honest, act with integrity, and gain fully informed consent from patients.

    Membership is free and open to all who are in touch with reality.

  • “College of Medicine”

    Sees what they did there. SCAMers have no shame.

  • The Meta-analysis Shang, et al published in Lancet relied on 8 studies to draw its conclusions, ignoring all the positive studies for homeopathy.

    The Australian NHMRC study relied on 5 studies to draw its conclusions, ignoring all the positive studies for homeopathy.

    The NHMRC homeopathy study that was published was the second version of that study.

    In August 2019 NHMRC finally released the draft 2012 report in which the author concluded that there is “encouraging evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy” in five medical conditions. NHMRC say they rejected the first report because it was poor quality despite it being undertaken by a reputable scientist and author of NHMRC’s own guidelines on how to conduct evidence reviews.

    On no basis, the second version arbitrarily excluded studies that had less than 150 patients. An analysis of that study found:

    Use of an inappropriate scientific method
    Failure to use standardized, accepted methods
    Failure to obtain sufficiently accurate data to perform a meaningful review
    Failure to conduct an effective preliminary and public consultation
    Significant post-hoc changes to the research protocol
    Impact of NHMRC’s unusual method on the review results
    Further evidence of bias and misreporting
    Poor reporting – lack of clarity, inconsistencies and errors
    Evidence that this was a case of deliberate bias, not scientific error.

    https://www.hri-research.org/resources/homeopathy-the-debate/the-australian-report-on-homeopathy/

    • You are a truly pitiful victim of the Dunning Kruger effect

      • You must be a victim of D-K about D-K because as the Wiki article says:

        “But in spite of the inherent appeal of Dunning and Kruger’s claimed results, which align with many people’s just world theories, their conclusions are strongly challenged when subjected to mathematical analysis and comparisons across cultures.”

    • Roger

      The Meta-analysis Shang, et al published in Lancet relied on 8 studies to draw its conclusions, ignoring all the positive studies for homeopathy.

      The Shang meta-analysis looked only at the highest-quality evidence. The inclusion criteria were established beforehand. Piss-poor studies which used dodgy methodology were not considered.

      How curious, Roger, that it was the poor studies studies which showed positive results for homeopathy. Why do you think this might be?

      And the NHMRC study?

      An analysis of that study found:

      Use of an inappropriate scientific method
      Failure to use standardized, accepted methods
      Failure to obtain sufficiently accurate data to perform a meaningful review
      Failure to conduct an effective preliminary and public consultation
      Significant post-hoc changes to the research protocol
      Impact of NHMRC’s unusual method on the review results
      Further evidence of bias and misreporting
      Poor reporting – lack of clarity, inconsistencies and errors
      Evidence that this was a case of deliberate bias, not scientific error.

      No, Roger. A bunch of whingeing homeopaths made these allegations. They didn’t “find” anything. Proper scientists had no problem with the report. The only place where bias exists here is in the minds of those who believe in magic shaken water.

      I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the HRI’s complaint to the ombudsman. Which either was never actually made and the HRI was lying or was made and has been either ignored or rejected as the load of pathetic special pleading that it is.

      The HMRC report, and its conclusions, still stands.

      Based on the assessment of the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathy, NHMRC concludes
      that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy
      is effective.

      Suck it up, Rog.

      • Lenny, You and other So-called Skeptics (SCS) just dont want to acknowledge the good well conducted studies that support homeopathy. It doesnt fit your paradigm so you ignore counter evidence. So the SCS find every possible way to eliminate counter evidence from consideration. Thus the second NHMRC study group decides for no valid reason to ignore studies with less than 150 patients, which just so happens to rule out a good studies that had 144 patients and 88 patients.

        I just contacted HRI. Their complaint is still being adjudicated. So suck it, Lenny.

        • I have corrected your abbreviation ‘SS’ to SS. I am sure you do not want to connect sceptics with the infamous Schutzstaffel of the Nazis.
          In any case, thanks for confirming that you are still far from grasping the concept of a systematic review – something you have in common with Prof R Hahn.

          • @Prof Ernst: “I am sure you do not want to connect sceptics with the infamous Schutzstaffel of the Nazis.”

            Oof.

        • Lenny, You and other So-called Skeptics (SCS) just dont want to acknowledge the good well conducted studies that support homeopathy

          Show ’em, Rog. Surprise us.

          Thus the second NHMRC study group decides for no valid reason to ignore studies with less than 150 patients,

          Statistical validity isn’t something that homeopathy freaks are too keen on because it demonstrates the nonsense of their claims. The bigger the sample, the clearer the result, particularly in noisy data for ineffective treatments. As ever with the quacks, harsh reality and objective facts are no respecters of meaningless cant and ideology. Of course, Roger, you could explain how smaller sample sizes give better results. Homeopaths are happy to ignore the rules of science so why not mathematics and statistics as well?

        • You and other So-called Skeptics (SCS) just dont want to acknowledge the good well conducted studies that support homeopathy

          Roger. We know what you mean by a “good well-conducted study”. In your mind, a study is good and well-conducted if it returns a positive response for homeopathy. Meanwhile, in the real world, “good and well conducted” applies to the design and method of the trial. That well-conducted trials tend to return negative results for homeopathy causes significant cognitive dissonance for fools like you is your problem, not one of statistics, science or empirical fact.

          “Their complaint is still being adjudicated”

          Reckon.

          It was either never made, has been ignored or has been rejected out of hand.

          Adjudication doesn’t take four years, Roger.

          I might have to contact the NHMRC and see what they say.

    • “On no basis, the second version arbitrarily excluded studies that had less than 150 patients.”

      That’s not arbitrary; that’s because small sample sizes are subject to high noise ratios, so unless you’re testing something with extremely strong signal—e.g. treatments for tenanus or rabies or other diseases that are universally lethal—then all you’re measuring is crap. Large sample sizes, well randomized, smooth out the irregularities due to natural variations between individual people, so you’re less likely to see dramatic peaks and troughs and what’s left is the difference (if any) between the treatments themselves.

      You would know this if you knew anything about science at all, and how and why it’s conducted the way that it is. But you don’t, because all you care about is selling your religion and whining like a self-centered toddler when he doesn’t get his own way on that. How on Earth you think that behavior is going to impress anyone I have no idea; though it clearly impresses you so what do I know.

      “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

      • Diarrhea is one of the major killers of children in the developing world. The study published in the journal Pediatrics showed an average 28% reduction in the length of episodes of diarrhea in children. The study had 88 patients.

        You’re selling your religion of the mechanistic paradigm of life and unwilling to accept counter evidence. Fool.

        • J Jacobs did not just one study of homeopathy for childhood diarrhea; the totality of the evidence is not positive:
          https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17285788/

        • “selling your religion of the mechanistic paradigm of life”

          Aww, so cute!

          • Also, Roger mistakes “reduced duration”, which could have many possible causes, for “died of it” (which generally has one). Saying “lots of kids die of diarrhea” is technically correct but also 100% irrelevant unless that mortality was the endpoint being measured in the trial.

            Furthermore, if death was the endpoint being measured, then subsequently saying “but it shows reduced duration” is a humiliating confession of defeat. Because if it had succeeded in reducing death rates they’d be crowing about that; so it clearly did not and now they’re just desperately p-hacking in order to save some face.

            Sorry, Boo, but I’ve way more experience at lying to myself than you do, and if I refuse to be fooled by me then I’m certainly not going to get suckered by you. So take your amateur misdirection, woefully willful misunderstanding, and the besotted babbling of your own infantile brainfarts and go play elsewhere already as the grownups here are talking now.

        • Those studies were done many years ago, Roger. Others have replicated their results and homeopathy is now part of the front-line treatment for diarrhea.

          Except the results haven’t been replicated, the studies were shown to be of risible quality and homeopathy remains inconsequential nonsense.

          Sorry, Rog. You’ll have to try a bit harder.

        • @Roger

          Diarrhea is one of the major killers of children in the developing world

          Yes. And there is a very good, extremely simple treatment available: an oral rehydration solution, which is simply glucose and salt in water. An authoritative review of no less than 157 papers on the subject concludes that

          ORS may prevent 93% of diarrhoea deaths

          So those children and their parents are far better off without quacks and SCAM artists, thank you very much.

          • @RR: “And there is a very good, extremely simple treatment available: an oral rehydration solution, which is simply glucose and salt in water.”

            Roger would far rather turn that water and sugar into criminally overpriced bottles and pills. Although attempting† to use dead developing-world kids to justify such outrageous behavior is low, even for him.

            † And failing here, since no homeopath has (AFAIK) dared conduct a randomized double-blind study to measure its effect on the mortality of critically ill kids. Though the scum have certainly come close.

          • Am I correct that S.C.U.M. stands for “So-called Universal Medicine”?
            An extension of IM.

          • @RR: Sorry, no. “Scum” stands for Jeremy Sherr, from London’s College of Homeopathy—Great Britain’s vilest export to Africa since Empire.

            (I know our gracious host is not a fan of such language, but I’m all out of euphemisms where AltMed’s worst and most predatory abusers are concerned. Some people just need to be eaten by lions.)

    • The Meta-analysis Shang, et al published in Lancet relied on 8 studies to draw its conclusions, ignoring all the positive studies for homeopathy.

      The Australian NHMRC study relied on 5 studies to draw its conclusions, ignoring all the positive studies for homeopathy.

      I think what you meant to say here is that after examining a *lot* of studies very few were found to be, well… “good”. These made it through to the final analysis.

      Why is it that supporters of pseudoscience insist on including really poor quality research in order to make their points? Don’t they understand that demanding the bar be lowered like this just demonstrates that their invested interests are dodgy as at best and bordering on morally and ethically bereft as well?

    • I suspect you don’t know much about Shang et al. but what reason do you think anyone might have for not including poor and biased trials and only including the more robust ones?

      Is any analysis that rejects poor trials to be shunned?

      • @Alan Henness: “what reason do you think anyone might have for not including poor and biased trials and only including the more robust ones?”

        “Good Trials” = confirms Roger’s beliefs.

        “Poor Trials” = confounds Roger’s beliefs.

        You’re not wrong per-se; you’re just applying the wrong standard of measurement is all.

  • In any case, a “large corpus”, even if it existed, wouldn’t cut it.

    For homeopathy to be true, would require so comprehensive a re-write of all known science, that the corpus of good evidence would need to be, not “large”, but absolutely enormously, phenomenally gigantic.

  • Why cannot homeopaths accept there is not, and can never be, any plausible, reproducible, scientifically acceptable evidence to support their contentions that homeopathic remedies have any effect whatsoever on any condition beyond the placebo?
    Why do they persist in futile attempts to apply scientific methods to un-scientific concepts?
    Why cannot they accept, as Hahnemann did, that they exercise a belief system grounded in faith about a ‘vital force’?

    Fair enough.

    We don’t get Justin Welby, acolytes of Joseph Smith, of L. Ron Hubbard etc. on this blog banging on about how a man rose from the dead, how angels revealed scriptures on gold plates, how aliens arrived on Earth in space planes etc.
    We accept, with due respect, that these folks have a faith, albeit misplaced to the more sceptically minded of us.

    Can we move on from attempting to demonstrate homeopathy has any basis in reality?
    Please.

    Incidentally, we are not “so-called sceptics” as Roger suggested on 8th January – we on this blog are mostly real sceptics.

    We do not accept any premise without a rational, plausible reason for doing so.

    This is to be distinguised from SCAM artists, camists, whose claim to offer ‘complementary medicine’ is false – there is no eveidence of effects beyond the placebo and therefore no complementary effect, and whose claim their modalities are ‘alternative medicine’ are likewise false. If it works, its not an alternative, and if it doesn’t work, it’s not medicine.
    OK?
    Any chance of moving on?

    • @RR: “Any chance of moving on?”

      Rhetorical question is rhetorical. You might as well ask it of crack addicts. In the end, their need is all that is left—so what are they going to move on to?

      • The sunlit uplands of Enlightenment and scientific endeavour, peace, harmony and eternal satisfaction.

        • “The sunlit uplands of Enlightenment”

          A pleasant thought. But since the first step to Enlightenment is accepting how small and insignificant you really are, and how incredibly long and hard you will need to work to become even the tiniest bit less small and significant than that, I fear you are rolling coprolite up Sisyphus’ hill. For it is infinitely easier and more rewarding for them to bask in the blinding sunlight that already shines from their ass; and all they have to do to enjoy it is accept no responsibility nor consequence for the harms to others that they might cause.

          I really hate liars.

      • That is right has. No chance of us moving on to the ‘critical thinking’ as established by some on here. I have a theory that some versions of Critical thinking as shown on here are not objective analysis and evaluation. They are the complete opposite and result in a Dumbing Cruder effect.

  • I leave all the real humour to you has.

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