We have discussed the currently fashionable herbal remedy, ‘kratom‘, before:
A quick recap:
Kratom is made of the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa, a tree endogenous to parts of Southeast Asia. It has been used traditionally for its stimulant, mood-elevating, and analgesic effects. The plant’s active constituents, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, have been shown to modulate opioid receptors, acting as partial agonists at mu-opioid receptors and competitive antagonists at kappa- and delta-opioid receptors. Both alkaloids are G protein-biased agonists of the mu-opioid receptor and therefore, may induce less respiratory depression than classical opioid agonists. The Mitragyna alkaloids also appear to exert diverse activities at other brain receptors (including adrenergic, serotonergic, and dopaminergic receptors), which may explain the complex pharmacological profile of raw kratom extracts. By the early 2000s, kratom was increasingly used in the US as a substitute for prescription and illicit opioids for managing pain and opioid withdrawal by people seeking abstinence from opioids. There are numerous assessments where people have been unable to stop using kratom and withdrawal signs and symptoms are problematic. Kratom does not appear in normal drug screens and, when taken with other substances of abuse, may not be recognized.
Now it has been reported that the family of a Florida woman who died in 2021 after ingesting kratom has been awarded more than $11m from a distributor of the herbal extract. “There is of course no amount of money that will make up for the pain and suffering that Ms Talavera’s children are enduring because of their mother’s death,” Middlebrooks wrote in court records addressing the sanction against Kratom Distro. “The law nonetheless recognizes that the defendant must pay something, however inadequate.”
The US Drug Enforcement Agency in 2016 had imposed its strictest restrictions on kratom, which is made from the leaves of an evergreen tree and is often used by people to self-treat pain, anxiety, depression, and opioid addiction as well as withdrawal. There was an intense, immediate public backlash to that approach, however, and it prompted the DEA to rescind its prohibition of kratom, which is sold in stores and online.
The US Food and Drug Administration nonetheless has warned consumers over possible safety and addiction risks associated with kratom, and it has spoken in favor of more research aimed at gaining a better understanding of “the substance and its components”.
Friends of Talavera, a resident of the Florida community of Boynton Beach, introduced her to kratom years before her death. Her family said she regarded it as a safe, natural supplement and had taken some after buying it online from the Kratom Distro when her partner and the father of her youngest child – Biagio Vultaggio – found her unconscious in the living room on 20 June 2021. The 39-year-old Talavera was face down on the ground next to an open bag of a kratom derivative marketed as a “space dust”, her family has said. Vultaggio called paramedics, and they took Talavera to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy later listed Talavera’s cause of death as acute intoxication from mitragynine, the main kratom component. The local coroner wrote in a report that “at high concentrations, mitragynine produces opioid-like effects, such as respiratory failure”.
Kratom Disro claims that
- Our kratom powder is sourced directly from Indonesia monthly. Your order was literally on a farm in Indonesia two months ago. No old powder.
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Get It When You Want It
- Many orders shipped same day.
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Back to the above lawsuit:
One of the attorneys for Talavera’s family, Tamara Williams, said in a statement that the judgment won by her clients “should be a wakeup call to the kratom industry”. Williams’s law firm had also recently won a $2.5m jury verdict against a kratom manufacturer in Washington state after a separate lawsuit alleging wrongful death. A colleague of Williams called on government officials to take steps “to protect other families from having to deal with unnecessary kratom overdose deaths”.
As the organizer of several demos in the area of Linz, Austria, a ‘corona activist’ and ‘Holocaust denier’ had repeatedly made headlines over the past two years. Now the 39-year-old Austrian man is in the headlines yet again.
It has been reported that, on the evening of July 23, he was stopped by the police for a routine traffic control. His three children, aged 15, 11, and 5, were also in the car. “I know I’m wanted. I don’t have a driver’s license and I have a dead body in the trunk,” he said as he got out of the car. As the officers soon realized, he was only partly joking. A legal case for Holocaust denial was pending against the man who had not appeared at his main hearing last August, so a search was underway for him.
When police officers checked the car, they made the horrifying discovery. In the trunk was a woman’s body, wrapped in sheets. The dead woman turned out to be the wife, aged 38, of the driver. According to preliminary findings, she had died 4 hours earlier. Apparently, she had suffered from incurable cancer, and the police suspect that the illness had not been treated – her husband did not just not believe in vaccinations but disliked all drugs.
The husband, who already had several previous convictions, claimed that he was on his way to bury his wife somewhere “in nature”. The 39-year-old man was arrested and is now in pre-trial detention – though not for the incident with his wife’s body, but for Holocaust denial. He is said to have compared the Corona measures to the Holocaust, and the arrest order was issued because he failed to appear for his trial.
One does not need to be a clairvoyant to predict that this remarkable man will come up with more surprises. I wonder what he might think of next.
I don’t usually find reading medical papers scary. An article in the prestigious journal ‘Nature’ is the exception. Here is its abstract:
Long COVID is the patient-coined term for the disease entity whereby persistent symptoms ensue in a significant proportion of those who have had COVID-19, whether asymptomatic, mild or severe. Estimated numbers vary but the assumption is that, of all those who had COVID-19 globally, at least 10% have long COVID. The disease burden spans from mild symptoms to profound disability, the scale making this a huge, new health-care challenge. Long COVID will likely be stratified into several more or less discrete entities with potentially distinct pathogenic pathways. The evolving symptom list is extensive, multi-organ, multisystem and relapsing–remitting, including fatigue, breathlessness, neurocognitive effects and dysautonomia. A range of radiological abnormalities in the olfactory bulb, brain, heart, lung and other sites have been observed in individuals with long COVID. Some body sites indicate the presence of microclots; these and other blood markers of hypercoagulation implicate a likely role of endothelial activation and clotting abnormalities. Diverse auto-antibody (AAB) specificities have been found, as yet without a clear consensus or correlation with symptom clusters. There is support for a role of persistent SARS-CoV-2 reservoirs and/or an effect of Epstein–Barr virus reactivation, and evidence from immune subset changes for broad immune perturbation. Thus, the current picture is one of convergence towards a map of an immunopathogenic aetiology of long COVID, though as yet with insufficient data for a mechanistic synthesis or to fully inform therapeutic pathways.
The paper ends with this gloomy statement: “The oncoming burden of long COVID faced by patients, health-care providers, governments and economies is so large as to be unfathomable, which is possibly why minimal high-level planning is currently allocated to it. If 10% of acute infections lead to persistent symptoms, it could be predicted that ~400 million individuals globally are in need of support for long COVID. The biggest unknowns remain the joined-up scheme of its pathogenesis and thus the best candidate therapeutics to be trialled in randomized controlled trials, along with a better understanding of the kinetics of recovery and the factors influencing this. Some countries have invested in first-round funding for the pilot investigations. From the above, far more will be needed.”
In the context of this blog, we must, of course, ask: HAS SO-CALLED ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE (SCAM) SOMETHING TO OFFER?
I’m afraid that the short answer to this question is No!
However, one does not need to be a clairvoyant to predict that lots of therapeutic claims followed by plenty of methodologically weak (to put it politely) research will emerge from SCAM. Already some time ago, this homeopath indicated, that SCAM providers should see COVID as an opportunity: For homeopathy, shunned during its 200 years of existence by conventional medicine, this outbreak is a key opportunity to show potentially the contribution it can make in treating COVID-19 patients.
We should not hold our breath to see the emergence of convincing evidence, but we must be prepared to warn the public from getting exploited by charlatans.
It been reported that the German HEILPRAKTIKER, Holger G. has been sentenced to serve a total of 4 years and three months behind bars. He made himself a pair of glasses out of aluminum foil and appeared at the start of his trial wearing a Corona protective mask. The accusations against him were fierce: He was accused of having issued false Corona vaccination certificates en masse in Munich and of having given medication to patients. A woman, who had contracted Corona and had been treated by Holger G. with vitamin solutions, had died last year.
According to the verdict, Holger G. had violated the German Medicines Act. The court announced he was also convicted of 96 counts of dangerous bodily harm and 102 counts of unauthorized trading in prescription drugs. In addition, the court ordered the HEILPRAKTIKER to be placed in a rehab facility.
The 71-year-old MAN had issued Corona vaccination cards since April 2021, without actually vaccinating the people concerned. For the forged vaccination cards, he charged several tens of thousands of Euros. In addition, the former HEILPRAKTIKER illegally sold prescription drugs. The judgment is so severe because Holger G. has form. He also ordered to bear the costs of the proceedings.
– Today, no one can provide reliable data on the number of HEILPRAKTIKER in Germany.
– The training of HEILPRAKTIKER is woefully inadequate.
– The far-reaching rights of the HEILPRAKTIKER are out of proportion to their overt lack of competence.
– This disproportion poses a serious danger to patients.
– This danger is further increased by the fact that there is no effective control of the activity of the HEILPRAKTIKER does not take place.
– Existing laws are almost never applied to the HEILPRAKTIKER.
– Most HEILPRAKTIKER mislead the public unhindered with untenable therapeutic claims.
– The federal government seems to put off over and over again any serious discussion of the HEILPRAKTIKER.
Cases like the one above show that it is high time for reform – or, should that prove impossible, the discontinuation of this utterly obsolete and highly dangerous profession.
An impressive article by John Mac Ghlionn caught my attention. Allow me to quote a few passages from it:
The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate recently reintroduced legislation to increase access to Medicare-covered services provided by chiropractors. Last year, the US chiropractic market size was worth $13.13 Billion. By the end of the decade, it will be worth over $18 billion. Each year, a whopping 35 million Americans seek chiropractic care.
But why? It’s a questionable science full of questionable characters.
Last year, a Georgia woman was left paralyzed and unable to speak after receiving a neck adjustment from a chiropractor. She’s not the first person to have had her life utterly ruined by a chiropractor, and chances are she won’t be the last. Many patients who visit chiropractors suffer severe side effects; some lose their lives…
As Dr. Steven Novella has noted, what used to be fraud is now known as holistic medicine. Dr. Edzard Ernst, a retired British-German physician and researcher, has expertly demonstrated the many ways in which chiropractic treatments are rooted not in science, but in mystical concepts…
Spinal adjustments, also known as “subluxations,” are also common. A dangerous practice that has been heavily criticized, spinal manipulations are associated with a number of adverse effects, including the risk of stroke. As Dr. Ernst has noted, the cost-effectiveness of this particular treatment “has not been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt.”
Not content with spinal and neck manipulations, some chiropractors offer to treat other conditions — like diabetes, for example. They are not trained to treat diabetes. Other chiropractors appear to take joy in torturing infants. In August of 2018, a chiropractor made headlines for all the wrong reasons when a video emerged showing him hanging a two-week-old newborn upside down by the ankles…
Finally, as I alluded to earlier, the chiropractic community is full of fraudsters. In 2019, in the US, 15 chiropractors were charged in an insurance fraud and illegal kickback operation. More recently, in February of this year, a New York federal judge sentenced Patrick Khaziran to 30 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to being part of a widespread scheme that defrauded the NBA out of at least $5 million. In recent times, the chiropractic community has come under scrutiny for abusive care and illegal billing practices. When it comes to instances of healthcare fraud, chiropractic medicine is unrivaled.
None of this should come as a surprise. After all, the entire chiropractic community was constructed on a foundation of lies. As the aforementioned Dr. Ernst told me, we should be skeptical of what chiropractors are offering, largely because the whole practice was founded “by a deluded charlatan, who insisted that all human diseases are due to subluxations of the spine. Today, we know that chiropractic subluxations are mere figments of Palmer’s imagination. Yet, the chiropractic profession is unable to separate itself from the myth. It is easy to see why: without it, they would at best become poorly trained physiotherapists without any raison d’etre.”
… Dr. William T. Jarvis famously referred to chiropractic as “the most significant nonscientific health-care delivery system in the United States.” Comparing the chiropractic community to a cult, Dr. Jarvis wondered, somewhat incredulously, why chiropractors are licensed to practice in all 50 US states. The entire profession, he warned, “should be viewed as a societal problem, not simply as a competitor of regular health-care.”
In my view, this is an impressive article, not least because it is refreshingly devoid of the phenomenon known as ‘false balance, e.g. a chiropractor being invited to add his self-interested views at the end of the paper claiming, for instance, “we have years of experience and cause far less harm than real doctors”.
A German paper reported the following horrific story about a Heilpraktiker, an alternative practitioner without a medical degree:
Starting July 7, Torben K. (46) from Solingen will have to answer to the Wuppertal Regional Court. The Heilpraktiker is said to have injected silicone oil into the penis and testicles of a man († 32) at his request. Shortly thereafter, the patient developed health problems and later died.
The prosecution accuses the Heilpraktiker from Solingen of bodily injury resulting in death and violation of the Heilpraktikergesetz.
According to the report, the victim had traveled to Solingen in June 2019, where the defendant had given him the injection in his apartment.
Back home, the 32-year-old patient suddenly developed shortness of breath, had to be hospitalized, then transferred to the university hospital in Giessen. Seven months after the injection, he is dead. According to the indictment, the patient suffered multiple organ failure as a result of blood poisoning.
Three days of trial are scheduled. The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison.
I had never heard of intra-testicular injections. So, I did a Medline search and found just two papers of the procedure in human patients:
Blunt trauma is the most common mechanism of injury to the scrotum and testicle. Surgical exploration with primary repair, hematoma evacuation, and de-torsion are common surgical interventions. A 20-year-old male with no previous medical history presented after a high-speed motor vehicle collision. Ultrasonography demonstrated heterogeneous changes of the tunica albuginea and decreased arterial flow to bilateral testicles. He was subsequently taken to the operating room for surgical exploration, which revealed bilateral mottled testes with questionable viability. Papaverine was injected into each testicle, which resulted in visibly increased perfusion and subsequent preservation of the testicles. Conclusion: Current evidence on the use of papaverine is isolated to testicular torsion. Additional research should be conducted on the use of papaverine in blunt testicular trauma. Papaverine injection may be a valuable treatment option when inadequate perfusion is observed intra-operatively.
Purpose: We describe a simple technique to deliver local anaesthetic for percutaneous testis biopsies.
Materials and methods: With the testis held firmly, a 25 gage needle is used to inject lidocaine, without epinephrine, into the skin and dartos superficial to the testis, then the needle is advanced through the tunica albuginea and 0.5 mL to 1.0 mL of lidocaine is injected directly into the testis. The testis becomes slightly more turgid with the injection. A percutaneous biopsy is then immediately performed.
Results: Intra-testicular lidocaine, (without the need of a cord block or any sedation) was used on a total of 45 consecutive patients having percutaneous testicular biopsies. Procedure time was short (averages less than 5 minutes) and anaesthesia was profound. There was no change in the number of seminiferous tubules for evaluation compared to biopsies on men using a cord block. Only 1/45 men had a post-procedure testicular hematoma (this resolved in 4 weeks).
Conclusions: Intra-testicular lidocaine appears to be a simple, rapid and safe method to provide anaesthesia for a percutaneous testis biopsy.
All the other papers on intra-testicular injections were about animal experiments, mostly for exploring means of castration. This renders the above case even more unusual. The Heilpraktiker’s defense might stress that the patient wanted the treatment. That may be so but is it a valid excuse? No, of course not. In my view – and I am just a medic, not a lawyer – the Heilpraktiker is responsible for the treatment regardless of how much the patient insisted on it.
The current secondary analysis based on the WHO database (VigiBase) of individual case safety reports (ICSRs) focuses on the suspected cutaneous adverse drug reactions (ADRs) linked to traditional medicines (TMs).
All the ICSRs reported between 1st January 2016 and 30th June 2021 from the UN Asia region in VigiBase where at least one TM was suspected to cause cutaneous ADRs were included in the study. Data regarding demographic details, suspected drug, adverse reaction as per MedDRA term, the seriousness of the reaction, de-challenge, re-challenge, and clinical outcome for suspected cutaneous ADRs associated with TM were obtained from VigiBase and analyzed for frequency of reported events and suspected medicines.
The most common ADRs were:
- pruritus (29.6%),
- rash (20.3%),
- urticaria (18.9%),
- hyperhidrosis (3.3%).
Artemisia argyi H.Lév. and Vaniot. (14.9%), Ginkgo biloba L. (5.1%), Vitis vinifera L. (4%), Vitex agnus-castus L. (3.8%), Silybum marianum (L.), Gaertn (3.5%), and Viscus album L. (2.7%) were some commonly suspected TMs for cutaneous ADRs. There were 46 cases of Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis reported with TMs during the study period. Death was reported in 5 ICSRs.
The authors concluded that TMs are linked with various cutaneous ADRS ranging from pruritus to toxic epidermal necrolysis which may have serious consequences. TMs listed as suspected offending agents in this analysis, should be kept in mind while dealing with suspected cutaneous ADRs. Clinicians should be more vigilant in detecting and reporting events associated with TMs.
Herbal remedies have a reputation for being time-tested, gentle, harmless, and benign. Reports such as this one might make us doubt this cliche. More importantly, they should force us to ask whether the remedy we are tempted to try truly does generate more good than harm. In most instances, I fear, the answer is not positive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge to global health. Classical homeopathy may, according to homeopaths, have a role to play in alleviating this burden. The objective of this study was to curate data on the treatment effect of classical homeopathy for COVID-19 in a real-world scenario to guide future scientific investigations.
Classical homeopaths from the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy (IACH) were asked to provide details on cases they treated by filling out a standardized questionnaire. COVID-19 cases were defined according to World Health Organization (WHO) criteria as suspected/probable/confirmed cases, with intervention provided being either stand-alone classical homeopathy or combined with conventional therapy for COVID-19. Cases were followed up with main outcomes being ‘improved’, ‘not improved’, or ‘progressed’ post-treatment. Details of the homeopathic remedies used and the main symptoms at the presentation were gathered. Factors associated with main outcomes were investigated with correlational and regression analyses.
367 patients (male 166, female 201) met eligibility criteria (mean age 42.75 years). The mean follow-up period was 6.5 (standard deviation, SD=5.3) days. 255 were confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 61 probable and 51 suspected cases, respectively. The most used remedy was Arsenicum album. Over 73% of COVID-19 patients (and about 79% of severe cases) improved under classical homeopathic treatment. The number of remedies required per individual was negatively correlated to improvement (P< 0.01). Fever, the most common symptom at presentation (74.4%), was associated with an increased likelihood of improvement (P<0.01). Improvement was negatively associated with advanced age, but not associated with sex (P<0.01).
The authors conclude that this study suggests that classical homeopathy was associated with improvement in COVID-19, including severe cases. Despite limitations from study design and data sources, our findings should prompt further studies on the role of classical homeopathy in the management of COVID-19.
I BEG TO DIFFER!
These cases suggest nothing of the sort. If anything, these highly selected cases suggest that about 27% of the exemplary patients did not improve, perhaps they even died. This implies to me that classical homeopathy worsens the prognosis of patients infected with COVID-19.
The ‘International Academy of Classical Homeopathy‘ is led by the ‘Ueber-Homeopath’, George Vithoulkas. His vision is that this Academy will become a center of real knowledge which will provide an education that will far exceed the technical and strictly “medical” aspect of one’s learning. One might ask what fanatics like he truly want to achieve – is it perhaps the promotion of ‘euthanasia homoeopathica’?
Numerous qualitative studies and a few quantitative studies have linked vaccine hesitancy or refusal with the belief in the efficacy of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). Yet, large-scale data on this topic are scarce. In this study, the French researchers investigated the factors associated with the coverage rates of seven childhood vaccines or vaccine groups in the ninety-six metropolitan French departments. One of the factors investigated was the local interest in SCAM. In order to assess this interest, they built an Alternative Medicine Index based on departmental internet searches regarding SCAM—internet searches being a reliable indicator of the public’s actual interest in a given topic. They then conducted multiple regression analyses, which showed that this Index is a significant explanatory factor for the departmental variance in vaccination coverage rates, exceeding in importance the effect of other relevant local sociodemographic factors.
A further recent study from France adds to the picture. It presents the results of a survey conducted in July 2021 among a representative sample of the French mainland adult population (n = 3087). Using cluster analysis, the researchers identified five profiles of SCAM attitudes and found that even among the most pro-SCAM group, very few respondents disagreed with the idea that SCAM should only be used as a complement to conventional medicine. They then compared these SCAM attitudes to vaccine attitudes. Attitudes to SCAM had a distinct impact as well as a combined effect on attitudes to different vaccines and vaccines in general. They found that:
- attitudes to SCAM provide a very limited explanation of vaccine hesitancy;
- among the hesitant, pro-SCAM attitudes are often combined with other traits associated with vaccine hesitancy such as distrust of health agencies, radical political preferences, and low income.
Both SCAM endorsement and vaccine hesitancy are more prevalent among the socially disadvantaged. Drawing on these results, the researchers argue that, to better understand the relationship between SCAM and vaccine hesitancy, it is necessary to look at how both can reflect a lack of access and recourse to mainstream medicine and distrust of public institutions.
- Preference of so-called alternative medicine predicts negative attitudes to vaccination
- What are the reasons for opposing COVID vaccinations?
- Intelligence, Religiosity, SCAM, Vaccination Hesitancy – are there links?
- More information on homeopaths’ and anthroposophic doctors’ attitude towards vaccinations
- The anti-vaccination movement is financed by the dietary supplement industry
- Sorry, I was wrong about homeopathy and vaccination
- The UK Society of Homeopaths, a hub of anti-vaccination activists?
- HOMEOPATHY = “the complete alternative to vaccination” ?!?!
- Are anthroposophy-enthusiasts for or against vaccinations?
- Far too many chiropractors believe that vaccinations do not have a positive effect on public health
- Naturopaths’ counselling against vaccinations could be criminally negligent
- HOMEOPATHS AGAINST VACCINATION: “The decision to vaccinate and how you implement that decision is yours and yours alone”
- Use of alternative medicine is associated with low vaccination rates
- Integrative medicine physicians tend to harbour anti-vaccination views
- Vaccination: chiropractors “espouse views which aren’t evidence based”
What seems fairly clear to me is that a cross-correlation exists: an attitude against modern medicine and the ‘scientific establishment’ determines both the enthusiasm for SCAM and the aversion to vaccination. What is, however, far from clear to me is what we could do about it.
Yes, better education seems important – and that’s precisely what I aim at achieving with this blog. Sadly, judging from some of the comments we receive, it does not seem crowned with much success.
Any other ideas?
“The decline of homeopathy, the ‘medicine’ that doesn’t cure anything” is the title of a remarkable article in EL PAIS of which I take the liberty of showing you a few key passages:
In the more than 200 years that have passed since its invention, no one has been able to prove that homeopathy is actually capable of curing anything with its alleged medicines that have no active ingredients…
…EL PAÍS reached out to some of its main promoters, such as the pharmaceutical company Boiron, leader in the sector; the Spanish Association of Homeopathy Pharmacists and the Spanish Society of Homeopathic Doctors. In the absence of a response from all three, the explanations are given by experts who are more critical of the discipline.
Many people who used to consume homeopathy were not even aware that this was the case. Fernando Frías, one of the activists who worked to undermine the discipline’s remaining prestige, recalls that people did not believe them when they were told that compounds with diluted Berlin Wall were sold to overcome the feelings of oppression and anxiety. This was actually commercialized under the premise that “like cures like”: if the Berlin Wall oppressed, a piece of it diluted in water should remedy it. “Many were under the impression that it was just a natural therapy and that we were making things up to attack it,” says Frías…
… There has been a lot of debate about how to regulate an alleged drug whose only effect is, in truth, the placebo effect. In 2001, the European Parliament issued a directive that covered its use in countries with a homeopathic tradition; sources explain that this happened due to the pressure exerted by both the industries and the governments of countries where pseudoscience is deep-rooted, such as France (where Boiron is headquartered) or Germany, where its consumption is much higher than in others, such as Spain.
“Having regard to the particular characteristics of these homeopathic medicinal products, such as the very low level of active principles they contain and the difficulty of applying to them the conventional statistical methods relating to clinical trials, it is desirable to provide a special, simplified registration procedure for those homeopathic medicinal products which are placed on the market without therapeutic indications in a pharmaceutical form and dosage which do not present a risk for the patient,” states the directive.
In its more than two centuries of history, this is not the first time that homeopathy loses ground. Still, Frías warns, it cannot be ruled out that at some point something will come up that will make it fashionable again. “Look at the example of chemtrails [the condensation trails left by airplanes that some conspiracy theorists believe are a way of poisoning the population from the air]. It seemed that no one remembered them anymore, but now they’re back,” he says. Frías cites the astrophysicist and disseminator Javier Armentia, who states that beliefs are like a rubber duck: no matter how much they sink, they always resurface. “Especially if there is money behind,” he adds.
As reported previously, homeopathy and other forms of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) have come under fire in Spain. In 2017, ‘HOMEOPATHY PLUS‘ reported that “in a reversal of the 2015 Royal Legislative Decree, the Minister of Health has withdrawn homeopathic remedies and outlawed the practice in Spain’s national health services.” In 2018, more than 400 people signed an open letter triggered by the case of a cancer patient who died after preferring homeopathy to regular treatment. “Let’s be clear: pseudoscience kills,” begins the letter. Since then, the struggle of Spanish rational thinkers to stop misleading information about SCAM in general and homeopathy, in particular, has only intensified.
Spain is thus joining other European countries in opposing misinformation about homeopathy. Contrary to what some have claimed (for instance, in the comments section of this blog), most of the opponents do not want to restrict the public’s choice. People who wish to use homeopathy should be able to do so (but should pay for it themselves). However, the choice must be based on evidence-based information.