Fraud in US chiropractic care is on the rise. A shocking 82 percent of the chiropractic services billed to Medicare is unallowable, according to a recent audit by the Office of Inspector General. The audit found a lack of effective controls allowed an estimated $358.8 million in taxpayer funds to be improperly billed to Medicare.
Chiropractors engage in fraudulent billing practices in a variety of ways. Sometimes they target environments like nursing homes or substance abuse rehabilitation centers, looking for new patients who may – or may not – require their services.
In one case, a St. Louis-based chiropractor bribed police officers to get access to personal information about individuals who had been in car accidents. The chiropractor then contacted the accident victims and claimed to be from an insurance company or the state to arrange appointments at his practice.
In another case, a Houston-based chiropractor and his medical group settled with the federal government for $2.6 million and were also banned from billing federal programs for 10 years due to their involvement with a fraudulent billing scheme.
Lastly, in 2021, a chiropractor was found guilty of federal criminal charges, including five counts of healthcare fraud. The chiropractor was accused of defrauding health insurers by submitting $2.2 million in billings for chiropractic services that were never provided, office visits that never occurred, false diagnoses, and falsely prescribed medical devices.
Although other medical specialties also have bad actors, certain specific reasons can be identified as to why fraudulent billing and abuse have been increasing among chiropractors. These practitioners have fewer lower-cost codes to bill for, which means they need more patients to boost their earnings. For example, a service may only be billed at $25 or $50, but if this is billed to every patient on every visit, it quickly adds up. Because employers often have limited resources, it’s easy for minor charges to go unnoticed.
According to a 2018 report, the inspector general has conducted numerous evaluations and audits of chiropractic services since 2005 and has identified hundreds of millions of dollars in overpayments for services that did not meet Medicare requirements. The report also noted that the OIG’s investigations and legal actions involving chiropractors have demonstrated that chiropractic services are susceptible to healthcare fraud.
Personally, I am not surprised by such reports. Sure, not all chiropractors committ financial fraud. But arguably ALL chiropractors are dishonest when they tell their patients that their spinal manipulations are effective and safe for a wide range of conditions. To put it bluntly: chiropractic was founded by a crook on a bunch of lies and unethical behavior, therefore, it is hardly surprising that today the profession has a problem with honesty and fraudulent behavior.
The BBC has a popular program entitled JUST ONE THING presented by Dr, Michael Mosely. In each of these short broadcasts, Mosely presents JUST ONE THING that will make your life more healthy. Whenever I listen to them, I get slightly irritated. Mosely is clearly a very skilled presenter and makes complicated things easy to understand; but for my taste his approach is totally devoid of critical thinking. This is obviously the point of the series and probably one reason for its success. So, maybe it needs to be tolerated – perhaps, but surely not if it seriously misleads the public on important health issues.
The most recent broadcast was entitled EMBRACE THE RAIN and, in my view, it did cross this crucial line. Mosely explained that after it has rained, the air is full of negative ions and these ions are effective against depression. The center piece was his interview with Prof Michael Terman who explained some of his research on the subject, in particular a clinical trial which showed that intensely ionized air was effective against depression. Terman explained that this was more than a placebo effect, that it worked even for serious chronic depressed patients, and that the effect was better than standard treatments.
At no stage was there an even mildly critical question from Mosely. Consequently many depressed patients might now abandon their standard treatments and opt for air ionizers in their homes or walks in the rain which was deemed to be just as effective. In view of the fact that chronic depression, through its suicide risk, can be a life-threatening condition, I find this rather concerning.
My concerns were not exactly alleviated when I did a quick search for the evidence. The most recent review on the subject states that there has been considerable interest in the potential effects of negative air ions (NAIs) on human health and well-being, but the conclusions have been inconsistent and the mechanisms remain unclear. So, why does Terman promote NAIs as though they are the best thing since sliced bread? It took me less than a minute to find a possible answer: he holds a patent for a NEGATIVE ION GENERATOR!
It is laudable of the BBC and Michael Mosely to present aspects of healthcare in a simple, understandable way. Yet, it would be even more laudable, if they did their homework a bit better and, crucially, tried to also educate the public in critical thinking. After all ’embracing the rain’ will not change lives but critical thinking most certainly does!
If you assumed that the best management of a child by chiropractors is not to treat this patient and refer to a proper doctor, think again. This paper was aimed at building upon existing recommendations on best practices for chiropractic management of children by conducting a formal consensus process and best evidence synthesis. Its authors composed a best practice guide based on recommendations from current best available evidence and formal consensus of a panel of experienced practitioners, consumers, and experts for chiropractic management of pediatric patients. They thus syntheized results of a literature search to inform the development of recommendations from a multidisciplinary steering committee, including experts in pediatrics, followed by a formal Delphi panel consensus process.
The consensus process was conducted June to August 2022. All 60 panelists completed the process and reached at least 80% consensus on all recommendations after three Delphi rounds. Recommendations for best practices for chiropractic care for children addressed the following aspects of the clinical encounter:
- patient communication, including informed consent;
- appropriate clinical history, including health habits;
- appropriate physical examination procedures;
- red flags/contraindications to chiropractic care and/or spinal manipulation;
- aspects of chiropractic management of pediatric patients, including infants;
- modifications of spinal manipulation and other manual procedures for pediatric patients;
- appropriate referral and comanagement;
- appropriate health promotion and disease prevention practices.
The authors concluded that this set of recommendations represents a general framework for an evidence-informed and reasonable approach to the management of pediatric patients by chiropractors.
Whenever I read the term ‘evidence-informed’ I need to giggle. Why not evidence-based? Evidence-informed might mean that chiros are informed that their treatments are useless or even dangerous for children … but, on reflection and taking their own need for earning a living, they subsequently ignore these facts. And sure enough, the authors of the present paper do mention that a Cochrane review concluded that spinal manipulation is not recommended for children under 12, for a number of conditions, or for general wellness … only to then go on and ignore the very fact.
In doing so, the authors issue a string of self-evident platitudes which occasionally border on the irresponsible. For instance, under the heading of ‘primary prevention’, vaccinations are mentioned as the very last item with the following words:
If parents ask for advice or information about childhood vaccinations, explain that they have the right to make their own health decisions. They should be adequately informed about the benefits and risks to both their child and the broader community associated with these decisions. Consider referral to a health professional whose scope of practice includes vaccinations to address patient questions or concerns.
What that really means in practice, I fear, might be summarized like this: If parents ask for advice or information about childhood vaccinations, explain that they are dangerous, and that even D. D. Palmer recognized as early as 1894 that vaccination is ‘…the monstrous delusion … fastened on us by the medical profession, enforced by the state boards, and supported by the mass of unthinking people …’
Altogether, the ‘Clinical Practice Guideline for Best Practice Management of Pediatric Patients by Chiropractors’ is a thoroughly disreputable document. It was constructed in the way all charlatans tend to construct their consensus documents:
- convene a few people who are all in favour of a certain motion,
- discuss the motion,
- agree with it,
- write up the process
- publish your paper in a third class journal,
- boast that there is a consensus,
- stress that the motion must thereefore be ethical, correct and valuable.
Do chiropractors know that, using this methodology, the ‘flat earth society’ can easily pass a consensus that the earth is indeed flat?
I am sure they do!
‘The Cult of Chiropractic’ is the title of a video that has just been released. I think it is very good and, if you are interested in the subject at all, I recommend you have a look. You can watch it here:
The video is not just well-done, it also is fun and informative. I learned a few things from it that I did not yet know. It also brings Simon Singh and myself together after we had not met for several years; and that is always a pleasure!
But back to ‘The Cult of Chiropractic’ and the question whether this assumption is true. Some time ago, I published a post about so-called alternative medicine and cultism. I listed a few questions we should ask ourselves to determine whether chiropractic is a cult. Let me adapt them slightly:
- Is chiropractic based on dogma? The answer is yes – think, for instance, of the assumptions that subluxations exist.
- Does chiropractic demand acceptance of its dogma or doctrine as truth? For straight chiropractors, the answer is yes.
- Is the dogma set forth by a single guru or promulgator? Yes, DD Palmer.
- Is chiropractic supposed to cure all ills? For many chiros, the answer is yes.
- Is belief used by chiropractors as a substitute for evidence? Yes.
- Do chiropractors determine their patients’ lifestyle? Yes.
- Do chiros exploit their patients financially? Yes.
- Does chiropractors impose rigid rules and regulations? Yes.
- Do chiros practice deception? Yes.
- Do chiropractors have their own sources of information/propaganda? Yes.
- Do chiros cultivate their own lingo? Yes.
- Do chiros discourage or inhibit critical thinking? Yes.
- Are questions about the values of chiropractic discouraged or forbidden? Yes.
- Do the proponents of chiropractic reduce complexities into platitudinous buzz words? Yes
- Do chiros assume that health problems are the result of not adhering to the dogma? Yes.
- Do chiros instill fear into members who consider leaving? Yes.
- Do chiros depict conventional medicine as ineffective or harmful? Yes.
- Do chiros ask others to recruit new members to their cult? Yes.
Based on these 18 questions, I conclude that chiropractic is indeed a cult. What about you? Even if you disagree, please have a look at the excellent video, ‘THE CULT OF CHIROPRACTIC’.
Robert Jütte, a German medical historian, has long been a defender of homeopathy and other forms of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). His latest paper refers to the situation in Switzerland where the public was given the chance to vote for or against the reimbursement of several SCAMs, including homeopathy. I reported previously about this unusual situation, e.g.:
- More about homeopathy in Switzerland: “Globuli only cause unnecessary healthcare costs”
- More on the situation of homeopathy in Switzerland
- SCAM in Switzerland: paediatricians couldn’t care less
- It’s official: Switzerland is going holistically round the bend
Unsurprisingly, Prof Jütte’s views are quite different from mine. Here is the abstract of his recent paper:
Behind the principle of involving users and voters directly in decision-making about the health care system are ideas relating to empowerment. This implies a challenge to the traditional view that scientific knowledge is generally believed to be of higher value than tried and tested experience, as it is the case with CAM. The aim of this review is to show how a perspective of the history of medicine and science as well as direct democracy mechanisms such as stipulated in the Swiss constitution can be used to achieve the acceptance of CAM in a modern medical health care system. A public health care system financed by levies from the population should also reflect the widely documented desire in the population for medical pluralism (provided that therapeutical alternatives are not risky). Otherwise, the problem of social inequality arises because only people with a good financial background can afford this medicine.
I think that Jütte’s statement that “a public health care system financed by levies from the population should also reflect the widely documented desire in the population for medical pluralism provided that therapeutical alternatives are not risky. Otherwise, the problem of social inequality arises because only people with a good financial background can afford this medicine” is untenable. Here are my reasons:
- Lay people are not normally sufficiently informed to decide which treatments are effective and which are not. If we leave these decisions to the public, we will end up with all manner of nonsense diluting the effectiveness of our health services and wasting our scarce public funds.
- Jütte seems to assume that SCAMs that are not risky do no harm. He fails to consider that ineffective treatments inevitably do harm by not adequately treating symptoms and diseases. In serious conditions this will even hasten the death of patients!
- Jütte seems concerned about inequity, yet I think this concern is misplaced. Not paying from the public purse for nonsensical therapies is hardly a disadvantage. Arguably, those who cannot affort ineffective SCAMs are even likely to benefit in terms of their health.
I do realize that there might be conflicting ethical principles at play here. I am, however, convinced that the ethical concern of doing more good than harm to as many consumers as possible is best realized by implementing the principles of evidence-based medicine. Or – to put it bluntly – a healthcare system is not a supermarket where consumers can pick and chose any rubbish they fancy.
I wonder who you think is correct, Jütte or I?
Guest post by Ken McLeod
Readers will recall that Barbara O’Neill is an Australian health crank, completely unqualified in anything, who is subject of a Permanent Prohibition Order issued by the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission, (HCCC), preventing her from engaging in any health-related activity, including ‘health education,’ in Australia. The NSW Public Health Act 2010 provides that it is an offence for a person to provide ‘health education’ in contravention of a prohibition order, with a fine of $60,500 AUD ($38,151 USD, 36251 Euros) for an individual or imprisonment for 3 years, or both, or $121,000 AUD for a corporation.
For jurisdictional reasons that Order does not apply outside Australia and for several years she been touring the world giving health education lectures. The latest was a lecture tour of Ireland. Despite the thorough debunking of her fruitloop beliefs by the HCCC, she has maintained them and continues to give the ‘health education’ that was so dangerous that it led to the Prohibition Order in Australia.
Her Irish ‘health education’ lectures were live-streamed to people in Australia who paid the 20 Euro fee, and one was recorded by us.
A transcript was made and is available online. Her statements were analysed and some comments are made as follows. Alas, we didn’t have time to take a deep dive of her lecture to find the best references, but the following shows that an amateur with limited time and resources can prove that she does not know what she is talking about and that her advice is dangerous, even life-threatening.
It is up to the health regulators and immigration authorities in each country to act on her activities there, but so far none outside Australia have done so.
So a quick analysis of her ‘lecture’ in Dublin on 27 September 2023 shows that O’Neill has learned nothing from her experience with the HCCC. Some comments:
1. O’Neill and her husband, after the Prohibition Order was issued, changed the name of their facility from ‘Misty Mountain Health Retreat’ to ‘Misty Mountain Lifestyle Retreat’ to avoid the jurisdiction of the HCCC. However on four occasions in her lecture O’Neill referred to it as a ‘health retreat.’ 00:07:23 , 00:15:48, 01:30:04, 01:40:16.
2. At 00:12:53 O’Neill claims that the Amish don’t get autism. That is false, as explained by AP Factcheck. 
3. At 00:12:54 O’Neill claims that the Amish, ‘They don’t vaccinate their Children. Did you know that they don’t vaccinate their Children and yet they don’t get autism Very rare. Maybe 1%. And often that’s because of chemical exposure. There is always a reason. So why are vaccinations causing autism? Well, it’s neurotoxins, the neurotoxins. ‘
False; Amish do vaccinate their children.  However, studies have documented cases of autism, diabetes and cancer among the Amish, albeit at lower rates in some cases than the broader population and for reasons that are unrelated to their vaccination status. These reasons include the cultural norms and customs that may be playing a role in the reporting style of caregivers.  O’Neill is engaging in cherry-picking on a grand scale here.
4. At 00:13:37 O’Neill claims that ‘there are still two more neurotoxins’ (In vaccines.) Because children are still autistic. There’s formaldehyde, and there is aluminium, both neurotoxins.’
This is scaremongering disinformation. The CDC says ‘Formaldehyde is diluted during the vaccine manufacturing process, but residual quantities of formaldehyde may be found in some current vaccines. The amount of formaldehyde present in some vaccines is so small compared to the concentration that occurs naturally in the body that it does not pose a safety concern.’ As for aluminium, the CDC says ‘Ingredients like aluminum salt help boost the body’s response to the vaccine.’ The CDC says that both are safe. 
5. At 00:15:01 O’Neill claims ‘did you know that the milk in the supermarket if you give that to a newborn baby cow, that cow will die?’
I can find no reference supporting that and I suggest that it is pure fantasy.
6. At 00:18:29 O’Neill claims that ‘parents discover that they put their trust in the princes and vaccinated their child. Now their child has epilepsy. Now their child has autism.’
This is misleading panic-mongering that is a misrepresentation of the science. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners says ‘Seizures and status epilepticus can occur within 14 days following administration of inactivated and live-attenuated vaccines. These vaccine-proximate seizures can undermine parental confidence in vaccine safety and affect further vaccination decisions. Vaccine-proximate status epilepticus (VP-SE) is uncommon but may be the first manifestation of genetic developmental epileptic encephalopathies, including Dravet syndrome.’ So ‘epilepsy’ may be first encountered  following vaccination but the root cause is genetic.
7. At 00:20:27 O’Neill says that she would like to suggest that no child would be vaccinated, because the fact is, our body was designed to heal itself.
This is pure crazy antivax propaganda, unsupported by the facts.
8. At 00:22:01 O’Neill claims ‘skin cancer has only been around in about the last 80 years, and you know what they’re finding today? That vitamin D deficiency is a big contributing back factor to skin cancer’.
The first claim is false; the science shows that skin cancers have been around ‘since the beginning of time.’ 
As for the second claim, the research published at the US National Library of Medicine shows that O’Neill’s advice is dangerous. ‘It is, therefore, preferable and safer to obtain adequate levels of vitamin D through diet than through sun exposure. In fact, it is currently accepted that dietary and supplemental vitamin D is functionally identical to that produced after UV exposure, being more reliable and quantifiable (the risks of keeping high levels of vitamin D have not been extensively studied) source of this vitamin.’ And ‘Neither natural nor artificial sun exposure should be encouraged as the main source of vitamin D.’ 
9. At 00:23:18 O’Neill disputes claims that ‘cholesterol causes heart disease. Well, it’s been going for 40 years now, and it still hasn’t proven that. But you know what? It has proven that people with high cholesterol levels don’t get Alzheimer’s.’
O’Neill’s first claim points to the conflicting research as revealed by the Cochrane Collaboration.  As for her second claim, the research does not justify her claim that it is ’proven.’ The evidence is conflicting and as the Alzheimer’s Society of the UK say, ‘More research is needed to better understand this relationship and what it can tell us.’  O’Neill’s conviction is not based on evidence.
10. At 00:34:41 O’Neill said that at Dublin airport ‘about 10 days ago,’ she was approached by a man who asked ‘Are you the Australian doctor? And I smiled.’
O’Neill did not correct him and allowed him to be duped into believing she is a real doctor. Despite having no qualifications in anything O’Neill has used the honorific title ‘Dr’ many times in social media, so it is no surprise that he assumed she was a doctor. I can’t help but be confused by her use of the ‘Dr.’ Throughout her lectures she denigrates real doctors, and then tries to boost her credibility by adopting the title.
11. At 00:35:21 she claimed that with ‘epigenetics, you can actually turn your genes on or off.’…. ‘So Michael effectively turned those genes off with castor oil. Castor is very effective for for cataracts. Put it in your eye, one lady said. Is it safe? Does anyone ever ask that of the doctor? Is that drug safe? Then the people have been putting cholesterol in their eyes for centuries. It’s safe.’
Bollocks! As Consumer Lab says ‘Although eye drops containing castor oil may help improve symptoms of dry eye and blepharitis, there is currently no compelling evidence that applying castor oil to the eye can diminish cataracts.’  And there is no evidence that Michael turned the genes off.
12. At 00:40:08 she refers to a woman who recently had a stroke. She says
‘… because she had a stroke, she was put on the protocol she was on put on statins. Cholesterol lowering medication with clear arteries. How much sense does that make? You don’t have. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work this out. Trust in your gut feeling trust in this incredible body that God has given you. Her blood was no longer thick. Her arteries are open now. And so she came to our retreat and I said, Well, I can’t tell you what to do. And I have no authority over your medication. Only you, and go. You and your doctor do. But this is what I would do. I would stop the blood thinning medication immediately because that aspirin causes brain bleeds, eye bleeds and stomach bleeds. Got that? And I would stop the statin drugs because that the side effect of statin drugs is Alzheimer’s dementia, uh, memory loss, muscle wasting. And they’ve just added another one, which is breast cancer, because all our sex hormones are made from cholesterols.’
O’Neill told a woman who had suffered a stroke to stop taking her life-saving medication! These medications are prescribed by highly qualified medical specialists based on the research. As the UK Stroke Association says, ‘Blood-thinning medications reduce your risk of stroke by helping to prevent blood clots from forming. You might be prescribed them after a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or a stroke caused by a blockage (an ischaemic stroke, or clot).’ It is clear that O’Neill, who has no qualifications in anything, does not know what she is talking about.
As for her claim that the side effects of statins is breast cancer, the research shows the opposite. ‘While statins do not affect the incidence of most cancers, they do exert significant benefits on recurrence and survival in many cancer types, including breast cancer.’ 
13. At 42:48 O’Neill claims ‘If you are on cholesterol lowering medication and many have been deceived….’ As above, it is O’Neill who is doing the deceiving.
14. At 45:09 O’Neill claims that ‘If you stop your cholesterol lowering medication, there will be a side effect. Your memory will return. Your muscles will get stronger. Any little appearances of Alzheimer’s will start to ease.’
As above, the available research does not show that.
15. At 48:57 O’Neill claims ‘Why did they put fluoride in water? The claim was to harden the teeth. Has it hardened the teeth? Not at all. Has it reduced tooth decay? Not at all.’ And ‘But that fluoride is very hard on the kidneys, very hard on the liver.’
The research here is overwhelming; as the CDC says: ‘The CDC named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
‘Many research studies have proven the safety and benefits of fluoridated water. For 75 years people in the United States have been drinking water with added fluoride and enjoying the benefits of better dental health.
‘Drinking fluoridated water keeps teeth strong and reduces cavities (also called tooth decay) by about 25% in children and adults.’
As for O’Neill’s claim that fluoride is very hard on the kidneys, very hard on the liver,’ the research is inconclusive, and in fact the reverse may be true. Research shows ‘Fluoride exposure may contribute to complex changes in kidney and liver related parameters among U.S. adolescents. As the study is cross-sectional, reverse causality cannot be ruled out; therefore, altered kidney and/or liver function may impact bodily fluoride absorption and metabolic processes.’ So the science does not support O’Neill’s certainty.
16. At 48:57 O’Neill claims that ‘all body symptoms and body diseases and shows how dehydrating has a huge factor.’ O’Neill gives no evidence to support that huge claim.
17. At 01:00:20 O’Neill claims that a woman told her ‘I had the vaccine. Now I’ve got clots. Barbara, I had the vaccine. I can’t. I cannot even remember all the diseases that are arising. Have you noticed? And so many people were blackmailed into that vaccine.’ And ‘Is that (COVID19) a crisis? it’s not a crisis at all. And yet we’re seeing so many problems arising.’
O’Neill is dreadfully wrong here. COVID 19 was a crisis. How else would we describe a pandemic that is known to have killed at least 6,961,014 deaths, as reported to the WHO?  And what are the problems that we are seeing arising? Outside her imagination, that is.
18. At 01:00:20 O’Neill claims that ‘one man said, Show me the safety studies. They gave him three pages of blank paper. No safety studies, no safety studies at all.’ (On vaccines). And ‘drugs never cure disease.’ And a few lines later, again, ‘Drugs never cure disease.’
The allegation that ‘They (doctors) gave him three pages of blank paper’, is just so deranged. No doctor would do that because there are thousands of studies of vaccine safety.
O’Neill’s claim that there are no safety studies on vaccines is hopelessly wrong and dishonest. It’s one of the many anti-vax lies circulating on the internet, so beloved by the gullible. As the Australian Dept of Health and Aged Care say, ‘Research and testing is an essential part of developing safe and effective vaccines. In Australia, every vaccine must pass strict safety testing before the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will register it for use. Before vaccines become available to the public, they are tested on thousands of people who take part in large clinical trials.’  It took me a few seconds on the internet to find an interesting research paper on HPV vaccines, including a section on safety.  O’Neill could do that so the inevitable conclusion is that she set out to deceive. As for ‘drugs never cure disease,’ that is so bizarre, so whacky, so deluded, that it almost not worth challenging. But I will anyway; medical professionals have seen drugs work billions of times, and I can testify that I was saved from a life-threatening illness due to cephalexin.
19. At 01:10:49 O’Neill claims ‘some (medications) can be stopped immediately, like your statin drugs and your blood thinners. Yeah, what do you take instead of statin drugs? Well, there’s no need, because cholesterol is not a problem.’
O’Neill’s advice here is life-threatening rubbish. As the Mayo Clinic says ‘Abruptly stopping an anticoagulant can increase your risk of a stroke.’  As for her advice on cholesterol, see above.
20. At 01:15:39 O’Neill claims that there was ‘No diabetes on the planet til sugar was well established.’ And lack of nose-breathing causes ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome. There’s one cause; it’s lack of oxygen at the cellular level.’
Humans have gathered sugar since we first became homo sapiens and diabetes has always been a problem for us and other animals.
As for her claim that lack of nose-breathing causes ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome;’ the Mayo Clinic says ‘The cause of ME/CFS is unknown, although there are many theories. Experts believe it might be triggered by a combination of factors.’ They go on to list many possible causes but lack of nose-breathing is not one of them.
21. At 01:26:08 O’Neill claims that a researcher ‘…. could turn cancer cells on and off by the amount of animal, pro and animal protein that he was giving’ and liver cancer could be prevented by ‘a simple diet and cancer weights were very low low compared to the city again, with that high meat diet….’ There is some truth in this, but it does not justify O’Neill’s other advice to avoid prescribed medications.
22. At 01:49:26 O’Neill claims ‘if someone has a rash and they put cortisone on it, what happens to the rash? It’s gone, but But it comes back in about another week. Is that right? Twice as bad.’ And ‘No drug can heal cancer. The body and the body alone when it’s given the right conditions can cause cancer to be conquered in the body.’ And ‘A fever is nothing to fear.’
O’Neill’s claim that ‘No drug can heal cancer’ is demonstrably wrong. Life expectancy following cancer treatment has improved vastly over the decades, largely due to better detection and prescribed medications. As the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates, ‘due to improved detection and treatment, deaths have dropped 41 percent from 1989 to 2018, according to the ACS.’ 
As for O’Neill’s claim that ‘a fever is nothing to fear,’ the Victorian Dept of Health says ‘High fever (about 41.5°C or more) is extremely dangerous and could trigger convulsions.’ 
23. At 01:53:47 O’Neill claims that drug therapy is not working.
What does O’Neill mean by that? Does she mean that prescribed medication does not work? If she is repeating her earlier claim that ‘drugs never cure disease?’ I repeat my earlier rebuttal. That is so bizarre, so whacky, so deluded, that it almost not worth challenging. But I will anyway; medical professionals have seen drugs work billions of times, and I can testify that I was saved from a life-threatening illness due to cephalexin.
I’ll finish the analysis here because you have suffered enough.
Readers everywhere now have rock-solid evidence that should be presented to their national health regulators, showing that O’Neill, as the HCCC put it, ‘poses a risk to the health and safety of members of the public’ and therefore ‘should be permanently prohibited from providing any health services, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity.’ And you have rock-solid evidence that should be presented to venue managers who have allowed O’Neill to present life-threatening ‘education’ to the public on their premises, asking them to cancel the booking. It’s not hard; it was done in Ireland by members of the public. That led to cancellation of the booking, and a rush by O’Neill’s supporters to find a new venue.
4 The video is available at https://rumble.com/v3lt611-barbara-oneill-positive-life-event-27th-september.html and a backup is available at https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/vqe9plhgjijunvl22kvb6/Barbara-ONeill-Positive-Life-Event-27th-September.mp4?rlkey=1kjyi9jdl8kfdp8kcdf1p4xba&dl=0
Since 1997, several meta-analyses (MAs) of placebo-controlled randomised efficacy trials of homoeopathy for any indication (PRETHAIs) have been published with different methods, results and conclusions. To date, a formal assessment of these MAs has not been performed. The main objective of this systematic review of MAs of PRETHAIs was to evaluate the efficacy of homoeopathic treatment.
The inclusion criteria were as follows: MAs of PRETHAIs in humans; all ages, countries, settings, publication languages; and MAs published from 1 Jan. 1990 to 30 Apr. 2023. The exclusion criteria were as follows: systematic reviews without MAs; MAs restricted to age or gender groups, specific indications, or specific homoeopathic treatments; and MAs that did not assess efficacy. We searched 8 electronic databases up to 14 Dec. 2020, with an update search in 6 databases up to 30 April 2023.
The primary outcome was the effect estimate for all included trials in each MA and after restricting the sample to trials with high methodological quality, according to predefined criteria. The risk of bias for each MA was assessed by the ROBIS (Risk Of Bias In Systematic reviews) tool. The quality of evidence was assessed by the GRADE framework. Statistical analyses were performed to determine the proportion of MAs showing a significant positive effect of homoeopathy vs. no significant difference.
Six MAs were included, covering individualised homoeopathy (I-HOM, n = 2), nonindividualised homoeopathy (NI-HOM, n = 1) and all homoeopathy types (ALL-HOM = I-HOM + NI-HOM, n = 3). The MAs comprised between 16 and 110 trials, and the included trials were published from 1943–2014. The median trial sample size ranged from 45 to 97 patients. The risk of bias (low/unclear/high) was rated as low for three MAs and high for three MAs.
Effect estimates for all trials in each MA showed a significant positive effect of homoeopathy compared to placebo (5 of 5 MAs, no data in 1 MA). Sensitivity analyses with sample restriction to high-quality trials were available from 4 MAs; the effect remained significant in 3 of the MAs (2 MAs assessed ALL-HOM, 1 MA assessed I-HOM) and was no longer significant in 1 MA (which assessed NI-HOM).
The authors concluded that the quality of evidence for positive effects of homoeopathy beyond placebo (high/moderate/low/very low) was high for I-HOM and moderate for ALL-HOM and NI-HOM. There was no support for the alternative hypothesis of no outcome difference between homoeopathy and placebo. The available MAs of PRETHAIs reveal significant positive effects of homoeopathy beyond placebo. This is in accordance with laboratory experiments showing partially replicable effects of homoeopathically potentised preparations in physico-chemical, in vitro, plant-based and animal-based test systems.
Reading this SR, I got the impression that it was designed to generate a positive result. The 6 included MAs are marginally positive (mainly due to publication bias and other artefacts) and thus very well known to fans of homeopathy. The authors of this paper must therefore have expected that combining them in a review would generate an overall positive finding.
The first question I asked myself while studying this paper was: who would want to do an SR of MAs (a most peculiar exercise); why not at least an SR of SRs which is already an unusual project but would make at least some sense. (An SR is a review that includes all studies that match a set of pre-definied criteria. A MA is a special form of SR where statistical pooling was possible.) The answer is, I fear, simple: this would not have generated a positive result: here are now dozens of SRs of homeopathy and most are not positive (as discussed regularly on this blog)
The authors themselves provide no real justification for their bizarre approach. All they tell us about it is this:
One approach is to focus on a specifc indication (e.g., depression , acute respiratory tract infections in children ) while often including open-label trials and observational studies. In this approach, data synthesis is grouped by design, thus yielding information about homoeopathy in patient care. Te opposite approach is to include all indications while restricting study designs to placebo-controlled trials and aggregating results in an MAs, thus yielding information about the specifc efects of homoeopathy beyond those of placebo. A major reason for using this approach has been the claim that ‘homoeopathy violates natural laws and thus any efect must be a placebo efect’ .
Since 1997, at least six MAs of placebo-controlled homoeopathy trials for any condition have been published [6–11]. These MAs have difered in their methods for trial inclusion, data synthesis and assessment of risk of bias; furthermore, their results and conclusions have been inconsistent. During this period, there have been substantial advancements in methodology and quality standards for MAs and other SRs [12–15], including SRs of SRs (also called overviews or umbrella reviews) [16–18]. To our knowledge, a formal SR of MAs of randomised placebo-controlled homoeopathy trials for any condition has not been performed. Herein, we report such an SR.
What the authors actually did is this: they knew of the 6 MA; they also knew that they arrived at cautiously positive conclusions; finally they also were aware of the fact that, obviously, the 6 MA included more or less almost the same primary studies. So, by pooling the MAs, they generated a positive result which was no longer marginally positive but strongly. Anyone looking through this strategy (which in effect multiplies the results of many primary studies by factor 6) must realize that this methods creates a false-positive impression.
My suspicion that this paper is a deliberate attempt at misleading us about the ‘efficacy’ (actually it should be effectiveness) is strengthened by further facts:
- One of the two MAs by Mathie et al excluded primary studies that reported positive findings (i.e. mine and the one by Walach et al)
- Funding: Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL. Funding specifcally for this SR was provided by Christophorus-Stiftung (No. 393 CST), Stiftung Marion Meyenburg (Date 24.09.2020), Dr. Hauschka Stiftung (Date 16.11.2020) and Gesellschaft für Pluralität im Gesundheitswesen (Dates 11.06.2021, 22.06.2021). General funding for IFAEMM was provided by the Software-AG Stiftung (SE-P 13544). The funders had no infuence on the writing of the protocol or on the planning, conduct and publication of this SR.
- Competing interests: In the past 3 years, HJH has received research grants from two manufacturers of anthroposophic medicinal products (Wala Heilmittel GmbH, Bad Boll/ Eckwälden, Germany; Weleda AG, Arlesheim Switzerland). Anthroposophic medicine is not based on the homoeopathic simile principle or on drug provings, but some anthroposophic medicinal products are potentized. The two manufacturers had no involvement with the present SR. Anthroposophic medicinal products were not part of the intervention in any of the trials evaluated in the MAs of this SR (Suppl. Table 15). DSR has received a development grant from Heel GmbH (manufacturer of homoeopathic products) for online training in case report writing. AG, KvA and HK declare that they have no competing interests.
- Author details: 1) Institute for Applied Epistemology and Medical Methodology at Witten/ Herdecke University (IFAEMM), Freiburg, Germany. 2) Faculty of Health, Department of Medicine, Chair of Medical Theory, Integrative and Anthroposophic Medicine, Witten/Herdecke University, Witten, Germany. 3) Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH), Laurel, MD, USA. 4) Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States (HPCUS), Southeastern, PA, USA.
Personally, I do not find it surprising that these authors bend over backwards to publish something positive about homeopathy (such things happen in homeopathy all the time). However, I do find it astonishing that an allegedly decent journal passes such pseudoscience for publication as though it is serious science.
Guest post by Richard Rawlins,
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and member of the Magic Circle.
Aka Professor Riccardo, Consultant Charlatan and Specialist in the Care of the Gullible.
Many readers of this blog will be delighted that in September 2024, the University of Exeter will offer a degree in ‘magic’. An MA in ‘Magic and Occult Science’ has been created following a “recent surge in interest in magic”, the course leader said. Exeter University officials advise the course will offer “an opportunity to study the history and impact of witchcraft and magic around the world on society and science”. And they should know.
Exeter was the first (and so far, only) university to establish a department to conduct coherent research into ‘complementary and alternative medicine’. No plausible evidence was found to support any of the many ‘therapies’ investigated in Exeter, but publication of this research was particularly disagreeable to the Fellow of the Royal Society who was patron of the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health. The department was closed, with the dismissal of the eminent professor who wrote to the Times “the majority of alternative therapies appear to be clinically ineffective, and many are downright dangerous.”
Today, the university says its planned course is “one of the only postgraduate courses of its kind in the UK to combine the study of the history of magic with such a wide range of subjects taught by academics with expertise in history, literature, philosophy, archaeology, sociology, psychology, drama, and religion.” It is expected “to show the role of magic on the West and the East.”
The course leader Prof Emily Selove, claimed “A recent surge in interest in magic and the occult inside and outside of academia lies at the heart of the most urgent questions of our society.” Here the professor is using hyperbole which is also common amongst the camists who promote so-called ‘complementary and alternative medicine’.
‘Modern magic’ is found in two dimensions: the skills of deceit, deception and delusion created by such as Paul Daniels, Tommy Cooper, Luke Jermay, and Derren Brown, and used for entertainment; and the esoteric philosophical domain which this course will consider – and which is often spelt ‘Magick’. This spelling was introduced by Aleister Crowley to afford some differentiation, though context usually makes it clear whether a double lift and Elmsley count is being discussed, or metaphysics. Crowley was largely associated with other founders of ‘religions’ such as Wicca’s Gerald Gardner and Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard. A six-letter word has special significance for many occultists.
The study of religions and the sociology of the occult are worthy objectives of an academic department, but Emily Selove (an aptronym surely), not only uses hyperbole, but personal predilection to establish that “decolonisation, the exploration of alternative epistemologies, feminism and anti-racism are at the core of this programme.” She ventures even further off piste when declaring “this MA will allow people to re-examine the assumption that the West is the place of rationalism and science, while the rest of the world is a place of magic and superstition.”
Assumptions indeed, which Prof Selove has conjured for herself. Speculative opinion with no evidence whatsoever, and seemingly oblivious of the fact that all reputable Western scholars throughout history have been aware of science’s development in the ‘rest of the world’, albeit slowly. Astronomy, gunpowder, papermaking, the use of zero as a number, Musa al-Khwarizmi’s Al-jabr, every branch of science imaginable. There is no ‘Western science’, just ‘science’. (Latin: scientia, knowledge, understanding.)
Interestingly, the course on Magic will be offered in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. The university said the course “could prepare students for careers in teaching, counselling, mentoring, heritage and museum work, work in libraries, tourism, arts organisations or the publishing industry, among other areas of work.” Given students will be able to choose modules on ‘Dragons in western literature and art’, ‘the legend of King Arthur’, and the ‘depiction of women in the Middle Ages’, they should have satisfying careers ahead.
Good luck, and may the Wu be with them all (Chinese, wu: nothingness.)
The ‘University College of Osteopathy’ announced a proposal to merge with the AECC University College (AECC UC). Both institutions will seek to bring together the two specialist providers to offer a “unique inter-disciplinary environment for education, clinical practice and research in osteopathy, chiropractic, and across a wide range of allied health and related disciplines”.
The partnership is allegedly set to unlock significant opportunities for growth and development by bringing together the two specialist institutions’ expertise and resources across two locations – in Dorset and central London.
As a joint statement, Chair of the Board of Governors at AECC UC, Jeni Bremner and Chair of the Board of Governors at UCO, Professor Jo Price commented:
“We believe the proposed merger would further the institutional ambitions for both of our organisations and the related professional groups, by allowing us to expand our educational offering, grow student numbers and provide a unique inter-disciplinary training environment, providing students the opportunity to be immersed in multi-professional practice and research, with exposure to and participation in multi-disciplinary teams.
“There is also an exciting and compelling opportunity to expedite the development of a nationally unique, and internationally-leading MSK Centre of Excellence for Education and Research, developed and delivered across our two sites.”
The announcement is accompanied by further uncritical and promotional language:
Established as the first chiropractic training provider in Europe, AECC UC has been at the forefront of evidence-based chiropractic education, practice and research for more than 50 years. The institution is on an exciting journey of growth and development, having expanded and diversified its academic portfolio and activity beyond its traditional core offering of chiropractic across a broad range of allied health courses and apprenticeships, working closely with NHS, local authority and other system partners across Dorset and the south-west. The proposed merger with UCO would allow AECC UC to enhance the breadth and depth of its offer to support the expansion and development of the health and care workforce across a wider range of partners.
Now in its 106th year, UCO is one of the UK’s leading providers of osteopathic education and research with an established reputation for creating highly-skilled, evidence-informed graduates. UCO research is recognised as world-leading, delivering value to the osteopathic and wider health care community.
Sharon Potter, Acting Vice-Chancellor of UCO, said:
“As an institution that has long been at the forefront of osteopathic education and research, we are committed to ensuring further growth and development of the osteopathic profession.
“UCO has been proactively considering options to future-proof the institution. Following a review of strategic options, UCO is delighted by the proposed merger, working closely with AECC UC to ensure that UCO and osteopathy thrives as part of the inter-professional health sciences landscape, both academically and clinically. There is significant congruence between UCO and AECC UC in our strong aligned values, commitment to and delivery of excellent osteopathic education, clinical care and research, and opinion leadership.
“AECC UC has a strong track record of respecting the differences in professions, evidenced by the autonomy across the 10 different professional groups supported by the institution. The merger will not only mean we are protecting UCO through preserving its osteopathic heritage and creating a sustainable future, but that our staff and students can collaborate with other professional groups such as physiotherapy, chiropractic, sport rehabilitation, podiatry and diagnostic imaging, in a multidisciplinary MSK and rehabilitation environment unlike anywhere else in the UK.”
Professor Lesley Haig, Vice-Chancellor of AECC UC, commented:
“Preserving the heritage of UCO and safeguarding its future status as the flagship osteopathy training provider in the UK will be critical, just as it has been to protect the chiropractic heritage of the AECC brand. UCO is seen as synonymous with, and reflective of, the success of the osteopathy profession and we fully recognise and respect the important role that UCO plays not only as a sector-leading provider of osteopathic education, research and clinical care, but as the UK’s flagship osteopathy educational provider.
“Overall it is clear that UCO and AECC UC already have a common values base, similar understanding of approaches to academic and clinical delivery, and positive relationships upon which a future organisational structure and opportunities can be developed. It’s an exciting time for both institutions as we move forward in partnership to create something unique and become recognised nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence.”
The proposed merger would continue the already founded positive relations between the institutions, where regular visits, sharing of good practice, and collaborative research work are already taking place. Heads of terms for the potential merger have now been agreed and both institutions are entering into the next phase of discussions, which will include wide consultation with staff, students and other stakeholders to produce a comprehensive implementation plan.
In case this bonanza of platitudes and half-truths has not yet overwhelmed you, I might be so bold as to ask 10 critical questions:
- What is an “evidence-based chiropractic education”? Does it include the messages that 1) subluxation is nonsense, 2) chiropractic manipulations can cause harm, 3) there is little evidence that they do more good than harm?
- How an an “expansion and development of the health and care workforce” be anticipated on the basis of the 3 points I just made?
- What does the term “evidence-informed graduates” mean? Does it mean they are informed that you teach them nonsense but instruct them to practice this nonsense anyway?
- Do “options to future-proof the institution” include the continuation of misleading the public about the value of chiropractic/osteopathy?
- Does the”delivery of excellent osteopathic education, clinical care and research, and opinion leadership” account for the fact that the evidence for osteopathy is weak at best and for most conditions negative?
- By “preserving its osteopathic heritage”, do you intend to preserve also the reputation of your founding father, Andrew Taylor Still, who did many dubious things. In 1874, for instance, he was excommunicated by the Methodist Church because of his “laying on of hands”; specifically, he was accused of trying to emulate Jesus Christ, labelled an agent of the Devil, and condemned as practicing voodoo. Or do you prefer to white-wash the osteopathic heritage?
- You also want “to protect the chiropractic heritage”; does that mean you aim at white-washing the juicy biography of the charlatan who created chiropractic, DD Palmer, as well?
- “UCO and AECC UC already have a common values base” – what are they? As far as I can see, they mainly consist in hiding the truth about the uselessness of your activities from the public.
- How do you want to “recognised nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence”? Might it be a good idea to begin by critically assessing your interventions and ask whether they do more good than harm?
- Crucially, what is really behing the merger that you are trying to sell us with such concentrated BS?
The ‘Miami Herald’ reported that a father and his three sons were convicted of selling a toxic bleach solution as a “miracle” cure through a fake online Florida church.
” The sentencing hearing in Miami federal court took an unusual turn when the father, Mark Grenon, told the judge that he was actually the victim. He argued that his 1,152 days in custody amounted to “kidnapping” and the U.S. government should compensate him $5.76 million for being “held unlawfully.” “Yes or no?” Grenon, 66, asked U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga. “That’s a nonsensical question,” Altonaga told Grenon. “I won’t answer that.”
In short order, Altonaga sentenced the father to five years in prison, fined him $5,000 and ordered him to pay $1,948 in restitution to victims of the Bradenton family’s scheme of selling “Mineral Miracle Solution” to thousands of consumers across the country. The judge also sentenced one of his sons, Joseph Grenon, 36, to five years, with no fine, but imposed the same restitution order.
When the four family members were charged in 2020, the father and Joseph Grenon were hiding in Colombia, according to federal authorities. The U.S. government sought their extradition. The Bogota government turned them over on the condition that they would only be charged with a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, which limited their punishment to a maximum of five years. Separate contempt of court charges were dismissed against them before trial.
The father’s other two sons were not as lucky to catch that break. The judge sentenced Jonathan Grenon, 37, and Jordan Grenon, 29, to more than 12 years in prison because they were convicted of the main conspiracy charge and a pair of contempt charges stemming from their violation of court orders to stop selling the dangerous mineral solution to the public. Jonathan was not fined, but his brother Jordan was ordered to pay $2,500. Both were also ordered to pay the same restitution as the other family members.
The Grenons represented themselves at their trial and sentencing hearing, though court-appointed defense attorneys were on standby if required. At Friday’s hearing, the Grenons did not allow those lawyers to speak on their behalf. At trial and during sentencing, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office portrayed the four defendants as con men who used a phony religious front on a website, the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, to sell $1 million worth of their “Miracle Mineral Solution” in video pitches as a cure for 95% of the world’s known diseases, from AIDS to the coronavirus. They called it a “scam for money.” “The defendants preyed on many vulnerable populations,” including children with autism, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Homer said Friday. He told the judge that the Grenon family members have never shown any remorse for their crime.
At the sentencing hearing, the four defendants invoked their faith in God and Jesus repeatedly, saying they did not “consent” to the judicial proceedings and should be released after spending about three years in custody in both the United States and Colombia.
In public warnings, the FDA said it received several reports of hospitalizations and life-threatening conditions as people drank the dangerous substance. MMS is a chemical solution containing sodium chlorite that, when mixed with water and a citric acid “activator,” turns into chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleach typically used for industrial water treatment or bleaching textiles, pulp and paper.
We have discussed MMS, bleach, the fraudsters who sell this stuff, the organizations behind them, and their victims repeatedly. e.g.:
- Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) = potentially lethal
- A well-known opponent of vaccination has died of COVID after self-treatment with MMS
- MMS-salesman Andreas Kalcker has been arrested in Argentina
- Selling bleach solution as ‘miracle’ cure? No, it’s a dangerous ‘snake oil’!
- The death of a 14-year old cancer patient treated with SCAM
- Beware of the ‘Bleach Boys’ – hydrogen peroxide and chlorine dioxide
I feel that the world is a safer place, now that these charlatans are finally behind bars.