Few of us are aware of the fact that there are such things as alternative diagnoses, i.e. diagnoses used by practitioners of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) that have no basis in science. They are nonetheless popular with some SCAM practitioners and usually cause a wide range of non-specific symptoms.

In part 1 of this series of posts, I dealt with:

  • adrenal fatigue,
  • candidiasis hypersensitivity,
  • chronic intoxications.

Today I will briefly discuss three further alternative diagnoses.

Chronic Lyme Disease

Lyme disease exists, of course; it is a bacterial infection attained via the bite of a tick. By contrast chronic lyme disease is pure fantasy. It is often used to explain persistent pain, fatigue, and neurocognitive symptoms in patients without any evidence of previous acute lyme disease.

Once this diagnosis is given, prolonged treatment with multiple antimicrobial agents as well as a multitude of SCAMs are advocated. The range includes intravenous infusions of hydrogen peroxide, electromagnetic frequency treatments, garlic supplements, even stem cell transplants.

Unsurprisingly, none of them has been shown to work for chronic lyme disease.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity 

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is a condition where individuals report symptoms attributed to exposure to electromagnetic fields. It is not a recognized medical diagnosis.

Symptoms of EHS include headache, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, skin prickling, burning sensations and rashes, pain, psychological distress and many other health problems. The true case seems psychosomatic and unrelated to electromagnetic fields.

Practitioners nevertheless recommend all sorts of SCAMs including chelation, detox, diets, tocopherols , carotenoids, vitamin C, curcumin, resveratrol, flavonoids, sauna, blue light therapy none of which have been shown to be effective.


Yes, it’s true: some SCAM practitioners offer treatments for homosexuality which must mean that they consider it to be a disease.

As reported in a previous blog post, the German ‘Association of Catholic Doctors’, Bund Katholischer Ärzte, claims that homeopathic remedies can cure homosexuality. On their website, they advise that ‘…the working group HOMEOPATHY of the Association notes homeopathic therapy options for homosexual tendencies…repertories contain special rubrics pointing to characteristic signs of homosexual behaviour, including sexual peculiarities such as anal intercourse.

Say no more!


3 Responses to The fake diagnoses of so-called alternative medicine – PART 2

  • This has reminded me of the 1970s/1980s case of Shiela Rossall, former singer with the group New Pickettywitch. She supposedly had “Total Allergy Syndrome” and was sometimes featured in the press as “the girl who’s allergic to the 20th Century”. But apparently she didn’t have antibodies for things she was supposedly ‘allergic’ to. It seems that the unfortunate lady died in 2006 aged 57. It seems impossible to find that any definite conclusion was reached about what medical condition she might have had.

    As for SCAM approaches to altering the direction of the sex drive, US writer and polemicist Wayne Besen has pointed out that the setting in which such attempts are framed depends on economics. Comfortably-off people buy “therapy” from persons with varying degrees – or none – of medical qualification, while the poor opt for the religious route, which Besen calles “Pray the gay away”. It is impossible to find any credible evidence that any person anywhere at any time has ever experienced a change in the direction of the sex drive by any kind of intervention, whether ‘clinical’ or ‘spiritual’.

  • If there’s SCAM for sexual orientation, then there must be SCAM for religious orientation. Wonder if it removes the orientation or causes conversion to another.

    • @JimR
      Please note that sexual orientation is almost certainly innate, whereas a religious orientation is always acquired through indoctrination. Which I think is rather an important difference in almost every respect.

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