In (some parts of) India, lay-homeopaths, i.e. homeopaths who have not been to medical school, are now allowed to administer conventional medicines. It stands to reason that this law must create problems.
It has been reported on 22/1/2022 that a ‘doctor of homeopathy’ has been arrested for allegedly administering the wrong injection to a man, which led to his death, in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa district, India.
Deepak Vishwakarma, who runs a clinic in Sindhi Colony, was arrested on Friday under the relevant provisions of the IPC and MP Ayurvigyan Parishad Adhiniyam, the city superintendent of police, Lalit Gathre said.
The doctor’s clinic was sealed after a complaint was lodged against him for administering a wrong injection to a trader, who died two days after taking the jab, the official stated.
During the probe, the police found that Vishwakarma, a practitioner of homeopathy, had given allopathy medicines to his patient Deepak Aartani, according to Ishwar Singh Chouhan of Moghat Road police station.
Another source reported that the patient had an infection and died two days after he was allegedly administered a wrong injection by the doctor. The paper added: This is really tragic and the fact that a doctor’s mistake cost a human life is something that just cannot be acceptable. One hopes proper steps are taken the guilty are punished. It remains to be seen what action is taken as the investigation is still underway.
A third source has this additional information: A cop Ishwar Singh Chauhan told that during the investigation it came to the fore that Deepak Vishwakarma holds a homeopathy degree and had given allopathy medicines to his patient Deepak Artani, due to which the patient contracted an infection and died.
So, the details of this tragedy are scant, too scant to be conclusive. What nevertheless seems to be clear to me is that it is a thoroughly bad idea to allow people who are not medically trained to administer medicines that they do not understand.
Guest post by Tobias Katz
What do we know?
Taken from the BMJ (Ref 1): ICNARC latest report 31/12/21 showed that the proportion of patients admitted to critical care in December 2021 with confirmed covid-19 who were unvaccinated was 61%.
Prevention of infection
The government’s week 45 Covid surveillance report (Ref 3) is clear that vaccination prevention of infection (positive PCR, for Delta) effectiveness is estimated at 65% for Oxford-AstraZeneca and 80% for Pfizer.
Prevention of transmission
The Lancet’s (Ref 4) paper, suggests once infected, initial viral load is similar for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, suggesting likely equal chance of transmitting on the virus.
Protection of the individual
Ref 3, is clear cut that vaccination protects individuals from hospitalisation and severe infection (for Delta).
(Omicron) “Among those who had received 2 doses of AstraZeneca, there was no effect against Omicron from 20 weeks after the second dose. Among those who had received 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna effectiveness dropped from around 65-70% down to around 10% by 20 weeks after the 2nd dose. 2 to 4 weeks after a booster dose vaccine effectiveness ranged from around 65 to 75%, dropping to 55 to 70% at 5 to 9 weeks and 40-50% from 10+ weeks after the booster.” (Ref 2)
Effectiveness here is measured by admission to hospital and shows the necessity for booster jabs when fighting Omicron.
Who are Dr James and Dr Malhotra?
Steven James, consultant anaesthetist, has recently been in the news for confronting Sajid Javid RE mandatory vaccinations for hospital and nursing staff. “The science isn’t strong enough” to support the policy he stated and “I’ve got antibodies”, suggesting that he’s as protected as he would be if he had a vaccine.
Aseem Malhotra, who goes by the name of ‘lifestylemedicinedoctor’ on Instagram is an extremely controversial cardiology consultant who seems to be Djokovic’s biggest fan and whose tweets are passionately quoted and forwarded by anti-vaxxers.
With tweets such as “Mark my words, with everything we know and don’t know about the current vaccine Novak Djokovic will ultimately be proven to be on the right side of history #BadPharma #truth #transparency #InformedConsent”:
Mark my words, with everything we know and don’t know about the current vaccine Novak Djokovic will ultimately be proven to be on the right side of history #BadPharma #truth #transparency #InformedConsent
— Dr Aseem Malhotra (@DrAseemMalhotra) January 9, 2022
And a retweet: “Dr Jordan Peterson Oh well. It’s just fertility. Women’s Periods May Be Late After Coronavirus Vaccination, Study Suggests”; he stirs the cooking pot of anti-establishment rhetoric and only deepens an already fractured relationship between doctors and their patients caused by the pandemic.
Oh well. It's just fertility. Women’s Periods May Be Late After Coronavirus Vaccination, Study Suggests https://t.co/ndQC9QgwMH
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) January 8, 2022
You’d think a mature, well-researched doctor would be able to tell the difference between the menstrual cycle and becoming fertile. You’d also hope he would not be short-sighted enough to support one of the most anti-science/anti-conventional medicine public figures in the world (see here)… Alas, no.
I feel as though both of these figures need to be reminded of their ethical duty of candour as doctors and reminded that their public actions have consequences. I may not completely disagree with Dr James (RE mandatory vaccinations) but the way in which he conducted himself during this nationally broadcasted video left many shaking with rage as it undermines many of his health professional colleagues. Me, included.
When a doctor appears on national news, opposing [mandatory] vaccination and offering incorrect explanations of why this is so, it should be obvious to them that their opinion will inevitably act as anti-vaccine propaganda, whether meant for this or not.
Malhotra’s ideas (cutting back on statins, healthy diet etc.) are often worth consideration/evaluation and as a new-age medical ‘influencer’ with 130k+ followers on Twitter, with ample publications behind him, he deserves to be listened to. Not necessarily agreed with, but listened to. But he also has a duty as a doctor to guard against complacency. Similar to James’ public actions, Malhotra’s tweets that are so one-sided give a biased, inaccurate and frankly dangerous view on the efficacy and safety profile of COVID vaccinations that have been safely and effectively used in millions of people to prevent hospitalisations. Is he doing it for the views? The hits? The likes? The retweets? To have people recognise him for his Pioppi diet?
What should we do?
Doctors, including James and Malhotra have an ethical responsibility not to spread imperfect information to a wide-receiving audience where their actions can be misconstrued and misrepresented so easily. Doing so may bolster anti-vaccine views, cause less ‘on-the-fence’ people to get the jabs and essentially lead to more preventable deaths.
More and more we are seeing social media take over and often act as the public’s primary source of news. More doctors than ever are now in the [social] media limelight. Some, such as Dr Alex George (mental health advocate) are promoting health responsibly. Others, seek to undermine it. In an era when Joe Rogan has more daily views than Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, to ignore and not rebut [health] social media giants like Malhotra would just worsen the situation. Malhotra and James need to be challenged by the scientific community, as the BBC so brilliantly did here.
If doctors want to become socialite Instagram influencers, they must do this without complacency. I think this means being responsible when offering controversial and potentially public health implicating opinions where evidence isn’t clear cut.
Using all the possible information above, as the vaccines are not 100% without risk, transmission is not completely cut post-vaccine and as we have a decent-ish way of monitoring infection (lateral flows and PCRs), I feel as though mandating vaccines for all NHS staff is currently unjust. I see Steve’s point. But I’d be extremely careful in how I’d make this point. And certainly not on live Sky News when the nation is watching, where it will inevitably be seized upon by the anti-vax community.
Saying this, the data is pretty clear that there is evidence that the vaccines offer protection against infection, reducing viral load quicker once infected and against hospitalisation and so if you’re a rational doctor who thinks that at least one time your lateral flow test may give a false negative, it makes complete sense to get your vaccine to protect your patients…
For my last post of the year 2021, I take the liberty to borrow parts of a BMJ editorial entitled A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION OF HEALTH WORKERS:
The prospect of a return to normality seems within reach. But what will that normality look like? We believe that health workers, who have been at the frontline of the pandemic, must offer a vision of a healthier future. We must not let the terrible events of this year recast the pre-pandemic world in a glowing light. The normality we departed from at the onset of the pandemic was unjust, unsustainable, and shaped the evolution of, and responses to, the pandemic with devastating consequences, particularly for the most deprived and vulnerable.
The start of a new year offers an opportunity to question old ways of working and to ask how we can create a better future for everyone. It is a cliché to say that you should never waste a crisis. Just as in wartime and in the global financial crisis, many have profited greatly from the pandemic, whether as providers of online services or by taking advantage of the rush to procure essential goods such as personal protective equipment.
But many were far less fortunate, living in circumstances that rendered them vulnerable to an infection that spread especially rapidly through communities where successive generations had been living ever more precarious lives. As the recovery begins, the powerful groups who benefited from the social and economic systems that created those conditions will, once again, seek to shape the world to their advantage. Health workers cannot remain silent. They must offer a compelling vision of how we should reconfigure the world so that it produces and sustains health for all, resilient in the face of future threats…
A country navigating the pandemic is like a ship navigating treacherous and unpredictable waters in a storm. If the ship, its crew, and its passengers are to come through the experience unscathed it needs three things. First, it needs an experienced captain who understands the ship and commands the trust of the crew. Unfortunately, in some of the countries worst affected, captains were either away from the bridge, denied there was a storm, or had lost the trust of those on whom they depended.
Second, it needs a crew that is adequate for the size of the ship, that is well trained, and that is working as a team to achieve the same goal. Yet in too many countries, skeleton crews were working in health systems that were highly fragmented. Dissenting voices who raise the alarm about the integrity of the ship, the working of the team, or its leadership must not be silenced or lives can be lost. It also needs passengers who are as seaworthy as possible so that they can withstand the storm. One of the sentinel challenges of covid-19 was finding large segments of the population weighted by a disproportionate burden of preventable disease that predisposed them to severe covid-19 once infected.
Third, we need a ship that is securely constructed. Yet in many of the countries that have fared worst, we have been working in vessels that are full of holes. Social safety nets have been ripped asunder, allowing too many people to fall through the holes. We have made many demands on our people—to stay at home, to face loss of income—and we have added greater uncertainty to what were already difficult situations, particularly for certain racially and economically marginalised groups. The disproportionate exposure to covid-19 of many in these groups—a consequence of precarious jobs and social circumstances that denied them the luxury of social distancing—drove, in large part, the high burden of covid-19 among minority and marginalised groups worldwide.
As we look to the prospect of a covid-19 secure future, with effective vaccines, new treatments, and continued countermeasures as necessary, we must ask how we can strengthen the foundations of our societies, coming together to repair the torn safety nets. We must never be afraid to challenge our political leaders when they are going in the wrong direction, and we must insist that they really are guided by the science, and not just those bits that support their beliefs. And we must ensure that our fellow citizens are as healthy as possible so they can withstand the inevitable storms that lie ahead. We must insist that our health systems and other public systems are adequately staffed, with the tools needed to do the job, with teams that are working together, pulling in the same direction. If we do all this, then we, and the populations we serve, can be confident that we can weather any future storms.
The editorial was written by 4 authors:
- Martin McKee, professor of European public health
- May C I van Schalkwyk, NIHR doctoral research fellow
- Nason Maani, assistant professor in public health evaluation
- Sandro Galea, dean
I think it is most sensible and thought-provoking and I suspect many of us agree with its sentiments. If it did not make you think, perhaps this information will do so:
Yes, 2021 has disappointed many of our hopes and turned out to be a difficult year.
I wish us all that 2022 will be better, much better.
DNP (2,4-dinitrophenol) is highly toxic. In the UK, it is illegal to sell DNP for human consumption. DNP causes serious harm to health. Its consumption has resulted in a significant number of deaths in the UK. Other side effects of DNP include:
- flushed skin
- rapid breathing
- an irregular heartbeat.
All this does not seem to deter entrepreneurs in so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). One of them has just been jailed. Jack Finney, 25, of Northwich in Cheshire, sold the highly toxic chemical 2.4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) between June 2017 and July 2020 on the dark web. Finney was sentenced at Chester Crown Court and was handed a 28-month prison sentence.
Several deaths have involved people in the bodybuilding world or those trying to lose weight. Bodybuilder Sean Cleathero, a 28-year-old, died at a hospital in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in October 2012 after taking DNP. In another high-profile case, 23-year-old Sarah Houston tragically died after the medical student consumed a fatal dose of DNP while studying at Leeds University in 2013. In 2007, 26-year-old Selena Walrond, died after having taken DNP in a bid to lose weight. She too bought the deadly pills over the Internet.
In 2018, 31-year-old businessman Bernard Rebelo, from east London, was the first person to be convicted of manslaughter in relation to the sale of DNP pills. Mr Rebelo became a millionaire after selling the ‘weight-loss capsules’ to clients, but he was jailed for seven years after selling them to bulimic student Eloise Parry, who later died.
Reginald Bevan, Deputy Head of the National Food Crime Unit, said: ‘We welcome today’s sentencing as it sends a strong message to anyone seeking to profit from the illegal sale of this life-threatening substance. We continue to be relentless in pursuing and bringing to justice those who are endangering the public and breaking the law. This operation continues to demonstrate how seriously the NFCU takes the illegal sale of DNP for human consumption in the UK and through our close working partnership with local authorities and other law enforcement agencies in the UK and abroad that we are able to tackle offenders, close websites and work to disrupt possible supply routes within and into the UK.’
The Corona Committee (Corona Ausschuss) was founded in Berlin in July 2020 by the lawyers Viviane Fischer, Antonia Fischer, Dr. Reiner Füllmich, and Dr. Justus Hoffmann. Its aim is to provide a “factual analysis” of the coronavirus events and the consequences of the measures taken against them. In live sessions lasting several hours, the committee hears experts from all COVID-affected fields.
In an interview, Dr. Fuellmich said: “The decision to set up a Corona Inquiry Committee came about in the first telephone conversation Viviane Fischer and I ever had. After I had spoken out in the USA via various videos since April 2020 about the fact that the principle ‘audiatur et altera pars’ (hear the other side as well) had been blatantly violated here on the part of the government, I had come back to Germany from the USA because I felt that this was now my place and that I had to stand up here to ensure that our democracy and our constitutional state did not go completely to the dogs. I wanted to organize a symposium on the legal issues surrounding Corona, but I didn’t know any critical lawyers in Germany. I called my old friend Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, whom I knew from the Justice Working Group at Transparency International, and he then referred me to Viviane Fischer.”
The ‘Speerspitze‘, an “anonymous collective of contrarians, Corona deniers, Nazi witches and conspiracy heretics” considers the work of the Corona Committee to be “one of the most important pillars of the fight against the madness to which we have been subjected for the last year and a half and [has] great respect for all the activists, actors, and interviewees of the Committee who publicly denounce with their name and face what is happening.” Numerous further websites have joined in the promotion of the Corona Committee.
However, if you look at the information that the Corona Committee is disseminating, and if you are able to think critically, you are likely to come to very different conclusions:
– There is the expert who warns that the unvaccinated could soon be picked up and put into concentration camps. There is the threat of a “manhunt”, and loving parents might then have to hide their children under the boards of the floor at home to prevent them from being sprayed to death.
– There is the man who claims that Israel’s government is currently carrying out a holocaust on its own population (“You can see that by how many people are dying from the vaccinations”). A guest declares that there are “something like living octopuses” in the vaccine against Corona.
Anyone who takes a look at the many tediously long videos will quickly realize that every Corona denier, vaccination opponent, conspiracy theorist, mask opponent, and lateral thinker, no matter how paranoid, have their say here and spreads their pipe dreams under the guise of evidence-based information with the nodding approval of the lawyers present. Opposition is never raised and there is no trace of ‘audiatur et altera pars’; everyone agrees: worldwide, all governments are hell-bound at smashing everything there is to govern.
For those who are still not fed up, the website of the Corona Committee offers written answers to 31 very specific questions. Here is just one.
QUESTION: IS THE COVID-19 DISEASE SEVERE AND WIDESPREAD?
ANSWER: No, most people have no or only mild flu symptoms. Children and adolescents are extremely rarely affected. Post-mortem examinations by a Hamburg forensic pathologist on over 100 elderly people who died with a positive corona test revealed at least one other serious cause of death in all cases. Other published figures are mostly based on non-transparent attributions and assumptions without excluding other causes. Often, no attention was even paid to other pathogens or previous medication.
For a long time, I have been wondering where the penetratingly vociferous opposition to COVID vaccinations in Germany might come from. After studying the dangerous nonsense that the Corona Committee has been spreading for many months, I wonder a little less.
(texts in German were translated by me)
Yesterday, it was reported that one of Austria’s best-known opponents of vaccination has died as a result of coronavirus infection. He vehemently refused treatment in hospital. Instead, he insisted on treating himself – and tragically, he is not an isolated case.
“Miracle Mineral Solution” (MMS) is being promoted as a treatment for all kinds of diseases – including, of course, the coronavirus. But MMS is nothing more than the bleach and disinfectant chlorine dioxide, or CDL for short. It made headlines when Donald Trump suggested it as a remedy against Covid-19. Subsequently, CDL became highly popular amongst the anti-vax brigade.
Johann Biacsics was one of the leading figures of the anti-vaccination scene in Austria. On 11 November, he was seen in a Vienna hospital with an acute corona infection. At this stage, he had already taken chlorine dioxide because of fever complaints. Biacsics was, of course, not vaccinated and refused treatment. He was firmly convinced that he had already overcome the infection thanks to his treatment with chlorine dioxide.
The senior physician at the Vienna hospital saw things differently. His condition was “life-threatening”, she said. But instead of accepting treatment in hospital, Biacsics discharged himself and said he would rather treat himself. Once home, Biacsics put in an IV line with chlorine dioxide and sodium chloride. Two days later he was dead.
Only two weeks before his death, Biacsics had demonstrated in Vienna against the Austrian Corona measures. In a television interview from September, he can be seen in front of the parliament. “There are mainly vaccinated people in the intensive care units. 67 percent of them are vaccinated,” he said on camera at the time. When the reporter corrected him, he only replied that he had “inside information”.
His followers are now suggesting that he was poisoned. And for once they are, of course, correct. He basically poisoned himself with MMS. His family, meanwhile, blames the hospital and claim that he did not die of COVID, nor that Biacsics’ death is the result of treatment with chlorine dioxide.
Biacsics is not the first Austrian Covid patient who has refused treatment or used “alternative remedies”. And he is not the first who has died as a result. Self-treatment is booming among vaccination opponents and Corona deniers. It was even propagated in the Austrian parliament. For weeks, FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl (who also is COVID-positive) and his party colleagues have been promoting the deworming drug ivermectin – despite warnings from doctors, scientists, and the manufacturer.
All too often, the consequences are fatal: In Styria, two patients died from poisoning with ivermectin, in the district of Rohrbach in Upper Austria, a Corona patient left the intensive care unit in critical condition and died. He had also relied on ivermectin and refused other treatments.
I have said it often before, and I will say it again:
Homeopathy and other ineffective so-called alternative medicines (SCAMs) are dangerous mostly because they might replace effective treatments.
The tragic death of an Austrian boy is a stark reminder of this fact. Even though this happened a decade ago, I only just came across this case. It was, to the best of my knowledge, never published in English. Allow me, therefore, to summarize it here:
In 2011, a judge sentenced a couple from East Tyrol to a one-year suspended sentence. Their son, who suffered from a rare congenital immune system disorder (SCID*), had been treated only with homeopathy until he died. The doctor who treated the boy in this way received the same sentence.** The verdicts took into account that the parents and the family doctor did not act out of sheer ignorance, but had been informed about the nature of the disease and its consequences.
The parents told the court that they had previously had extremely negative experiences with conventional medicine when their first two children, who suffered from the same condition, had died. When their third child fell ill, the parents took him to a clinic where a bone marrow transplant was to be carried out, which, according to an expert witness, would have had a 95 % chance of curing the boy. Because the parents were put off by the sight of other children in the hospital, they took their son home again and withheld all further conventional treatments or appropriate examinations. Instead, they instructed their family doctor to cure the boy with homeopathy. The doctor refrained from administering antibiotics when the illness worsened due to an infection and failed to admit the boy to a hospital when he became severely ill.
The child then died of sepsis. The autopsy revealed that he was malnourished and one of his ear canals as well as his lungs were necrotic with inflammation.
It is hard not to be repulsed and nauseated by such stories. They show how dangerously unreasonable some homeopaths and their followers are. And they remind us that even a seemingly harmless SCAM will cost lives in the hands of such fanatics.
* Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is a group of rare disorders caused by mutations in different genes involved in the development and function of infection-fighting immune cells. Infants with SCID appear healthy at birth but are highly susceptible to severe infections. The condition is fatal, usually within the first year or two of life, unless infants receive immune-restoring treatments, such as transplants of blood-forming stem cells, gene therapy, or enzyme therapy.
**Personally, I find the sentence for the doctor far too lenient. One could argue that the parents had been punished by the loss of their child and thus deserve merci, but the doctor?
This post has no direct relation to so-called alternative medicine (SCAM), except that many fans of SCAM and most anti-vaxxers claim that COVID-19 is ‘just a flu’ and therefore should not be taken all that seriously. A little bit of this or that SCAM is surely enough for protecting us, they claim. To all who are of this opinion, I recommend reading this new BMJ paper very carefully.
This analysis aimed at estimating the changes in life expectancy and years of life lost in 2020 associated with the covid-19 pandemic. A time-series analysis was undertaken with the data from 37 upper-middle and high-income countries or regions with reliable and complete mortality data. The annual all-cause mortality data from the Human Mortality Database for 2005-20 were used, harmonized, and disaggregated by age and sex.
The reduction in life expectancy was estimated as the difference between observed and expected life expectancy in 2020 using the Lee-Carter model. Excess years of life lost were estimated as the difference between the observed and expected years of life lost in 2020 using the World Health Organization standard life table.
A reduction in life expectancy in men and women was observed in all the countries studied except New Zealand, Taiwan, and Norway, where there was a gain in life expectancy in 2020. No evidence was found of a change in life expectancy in Denmark, Iceland, and South Korea. The highest reduction in life expectancy was observed in
- Russia (men: −2.33, 95% confidence interval −2.50 to −2.17; women: −2.14, −2.25 to −2.03),
- the United States (men: −2.27, −2.39 to −2.15; women: −1.61, −1.70 to −1.51),
- Bulgaria (men: −1.96, −2.11 to −1.81; women: −1.37, −1.74 to −1.01),
- Lithuania (men: −1.83, −2.07 to −1.59; women: −1.21, −1.36 to −1.05),
- Chile (men: −1.64, −1.97 to −1.32; women: −0.88, −1.28 to −0.50),
- Spain (men: −1.35, −1.53 to −1.18; women: −1.13, −1.37 to −0.90).
Years of life lost in 2020 were higher than expected in all countries except Taiwan, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and South Korea. In the remaining 31 countries, more than 222 million years of life were lost in 2020, which is 28.1 million (95% confidence interval 26.8m to 29.5m) years of life lost more than expected (17.3 million (16.8m to 17.8m) in men and 10.8 million (10.4m to 11.3m) in women). The highest excess years of life lost per 100 000 population were observed in
- Bulgaria (men: 7260, 95% confidence interval 6820 to 7710; women: 3730, 2740 to 4730),
- Russia (men: 7020, 6550 to 7480; women: 4760, 4530 to 4990),
- Lithuania (men: 5430, 4750 to 6070; women: 2640, 2310 to 2980),
- the US (men: 4350, 4170 to 4530; women: 2430, 2320 to 2550),
- Poland (men: 3830, 3540 to 4120; women: 1830, 1630 to 2040),
- Hungary (men: 2770, 2490 to 3040; women: 1920, 1590 to 2240).
The excess years of life lost were relatively low in people younger than 65 years, except in Russia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and the US where the excess years of life lost was >2000 per 100 000.
The authors concluded that more than 28 million excess years of life were lost in 2020 in 31 countries, with a higher rate in men than women. Excess years of life lost associated with the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 were more than five times higher than those associated with the seasonal influenza epidemic in 2015.
I hope (yet, sadly, I am not sure) that this will silence all those who like to claim:
it’s just a flu!
Remember the 10:23 Campaign? It was an awareness and protest campaign against homoeopathy organised by the Merseyside Skeptics Society, a non-profit organisation, to oppose the sale of homoeopathic products in the UK. It consisted of volunteers publicly taking overdoses of homeopathic remedies. With their actions, they wanted to demonstrate that homeopathic remedies are devoid of active ingredients and physiological effects. Suicide by homeopathy, they showed us, was impossible.
But they were mistaken – it is possible after all!
A few days ago, it was reported that an Italian doctor has died of a COVID-19 infection. This is tragic, no doubt, but in itself, it is not all that newsworthy in the context of this blog. What makes it remarkable is the fact that the doctor was a convinced homeopath who had refused to get vaccinated and was adamant that homeopathy would protect him.
Domenico Giannola, a doctor homeopath from Cinisi, died of complications due to Covid-19 at Palermo’s Cervello hospital. Dr. Giannola had not been vaccinated and after he got infected with COVID-19, he had tried to treat himself with homeopathic remedies.
Domenico Giannola was a well-known advocate of anthroposophical and homeopathic medicine. In a Youtube video from last year, he described his ‘methods of treatment. As he had a preexisting heart condition, he was a high-risk patient.
After he fell ill, he had been in home isolation for several days and was followed by the special continuity care unit (Usca) of the Palermo hospital. He had always insisted that he had no intention of becoming infected and would treat himself at home with lactoferrin and homeopathic remedies. Lactoferrin is one of the components of the immune system of the body; it has antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi.
As his condition worsened, Domenico Giannola was eventually transported to the emergency room of the Cervello hospital in Palermo by a 118 ambulance. He died an hour after his arrival at the hospital.
I find such reports tragic beyond words. At the same time, they are deeply worrying. A question that one needs to ask is this: if some homeopaths do this to themselves, what are they capable of inflicting on their patients?
Muscular dystrophies are a rare, severe, and genetically inherited disorders characterized by progressive loss of muscle fibers, leading to muscle weakness. The current treatment includes the use of steroids to slow muscle deterioration by dampening the inflammatory response. Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has been offered as adjunctive therapy in Taiwan’s medical healthcare plan, making it possible to track CHM usage in patients with muscular dystrophies. This investigation explored the long-term effects of CHM use on the overall mortality of patients with muscular dystrophies.
A total of 581 patients with muscular dystrophies were identified from the database of Registry for Catastrophic Illness Patients in Taiwan. Among them, 80 and 201 patients were CHM users and non-CHM users, respectively. Compared to non-CHM users, there were more female patients, more comorbidities, including chronic pulmonary disease and peptic ulcer disease in the CHM user group. After adjusting for age, sex, use of CHM, and comorbidities, patients with prednisolone usage exhibited a lower risk of overall mortality than those who did not use prednisolone. CHM users showed a lower risk of overall mortality after adjusting for age, sex, prednisolone use, and comorbidities. The cumulative incidence of the overall survival was significantly higher in CHM users. One main CHM cluster was commonly used to treat patients with muscular dystrophies; it included Yin-Qiao-San, Ban-Xia-Bai-Zhu-Tian-Ma-Tang, Zhi-Ke (Citrus aurantium L.), Yu-Xing-Cao (Houttuynia cordata Thunb.), Che-Qian-Zi (Plantago asiatica L.), and Da-Huang (Rheum palmatum L.).
The authors concluded that the data suggest that adjunctive therapy with CHM may help to reduce the overall mortality among patients with muscular dystrophies. The identification of the CHM cluster allows us to narrow down the key active compounds and may enable future therapeutic developments and clinical trial designs to improve overall survival in these patients.
What the authors have shown is a CORRELATION, and from that, they draw conclusions implying CAUSATION. This is such a fundamental error that one has to wonder why a respected journal let it go past.
A likely causative explanation of the findings is that the CHM group of patients differed in respect to features that the statistical evaluations could not control for. Statisticians can never control for factors that have not been measured and are thus unknown. A possibility in the present case is that these patients had adopted a different lifestyle together with employing CHM which, in turn, resulted in a longer survival.