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

neglect

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Millions of US adults use so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). In 2012, 55 million adults spent $28.3 billion on SCAMs, comparable to 9% of total out-of-pocket health care expenditures. A recent analysis conducted by the US National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) suggests a substantial increase in the overall use of SCAM by American adults from 2002 to 2022. The paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, highlights a surge in the use of SCAM particularly for pain management.

Data from the 2002, 2012, and 2022 National Health Interview Surveys (NHISs) were employed to evaluate changes in the use of 7 SCAMs:

  1. yoga,
  2. meditation,
  3. massage therapy,
  4. chiropractic,
  5. acupuncture,
  6. naturopathy,
  7. guided imagery/progressive muscle relaxation.

The key findings include:

  • The percentage of individuals who reported using at least one of the SCAMs increased from 19.2% in 2002 to 36.7% in 2022.
  • The use of yoga, meditation, and massage therapy experienced the most significant growth.
  • Use of yoga increased from 5% in 2002 to 16% in 2022.
  • Meditation became the most popular SCAM in 2022, with an increase from 7.5% in 2002 to 17.3% in 2022.
  • Acupuncture saw an increase from 1% in 2002 to 2.2% in 2022.
  • The smallest rise was noted for chiropractic, from 79 to 86%

The analyses also suggested a rise in the proportion of US adults using SCAMs specifically for pain management. Among participants using any SCAM, the percentage reporting use for pain management increased from 42% in 2002 to 49% in 2022.

Limitations of the survey include:

  • decreasing NHIS response rates over time,
  • possible recall bias,
  • cross-sectional data,
  • differences in the wording of the surveys.

The NCCIH researchers like such surveys and tend to put a positive spin on them, i.e. SCAM is becoming more and more popular because it is supported by better and better evidence. Therefore, SCAM should be available to everyone who wants is.

But, of course, the spin could also turn in the opposite direction, i.e. the risk/benefit balance for most SCAMs is either negative or uncertain, and their cost-benefit remains unclear – as seen regularly on this blog. Therefore, the fact that SCAM seems to be getting more popular is of increasing concern. In particular, more consideration ought to be given to the indirect risks of SCAM (think, for instance, only of the influence SCAM practitioners have on the vaccination rates) that we often discuss here but that the NCCIH conveniently tends to ignore.

This review aimed to investigate and categorize the causes and consequences of ‘quack medicine’ in the healthcare.

A scoping review, using the 5 stages of Arksey and O’Malley’s framework, was conducted to retrieve and analyze the literature. International databases including the PubMed, Scopus, Embase and Web of Science and also national Iranian databases were searched to find peer reviewed published literature in English and Persian languages. Grey literature was also included. Meta-Synthesis was applied to analyze the findings through an inductive approach.

Out of 3794 initially identified studies, 30 were selected for this review. Based on the findings of this research, the causes of quackery in the health were divided into six categories:

  • political,
  • economic,
  • socio-cultural,
  • technical-organizational,
  • legal,
  • and psychological.

Additionally, the consequences of this issue were classified into three categories:

  • health,
  • economic,
  • and social.

Economic and social factors were found to have the most significant impact on the prevalence of quackery in the health sector. Legal and technical-organizational factors played a crucial role in facilitating fraudulent practices, resulting in severe health consequences.

The authors concluded that it is evident that governing bodies and health systems must prioritize addressing economic and social factors in combating quackery in the health sector. Special attention should be paid to the issue of cultural development and community education to strengthen the mechanisms that lead to the society access to standard affordable services. Efforts should be made also to improve the efficiency of legislation, implementation and evaluation systems to effectively tackle this issue.

The authors point out that, in the health systems, particularly those of developing countries, a phenomenon known as “Quack Medicine” has been a persistent problem, causing harm in various branches of health care services. They define quackery as unproven or fraudulent medical practices that have no scientifically plausible rationale behind them. Someone who does not have professional qualification, formal registration from a legitimated institution, or required knowledge of a particular branch of medicine but practices in the field of medicine, is a quack, according to the authors’ definition. Finally, they define quack medicine as a fraudulent practice of quacks claiming to possess the ability and experience to diagnose and treat diseases, and pretending that the medicine or treatment they provide are effective, generally for personal and financial gain.

The authors rightly point out that, in some countries, there may be a lack of willpower, determination and effort among political leaders to deal with and prevent fraud and charlatanism in various fields, especially in the health system. This can be due to conflict of interests, corruption network, or insufficient infrastructure and resources, such as financial capacity and human resources. In some cases, they stress, policy makers may choose to tolerate small levels of unproven medical practices if the cost of prosecuting and correcting the situation outweigh the financial benefits. This can lead to a cycle of continued fraud and a lack of effective interventions to address the issue. In many countries laws against quack medicine do exist. However, their effectiveness depends on proper and strict implementation. More efforts and measures must be taken to implement the existing laws. Inadequate enforcement of laws and approval of pseudo-medicine can result in people receiving improper care.

The authors recommend that the healthcare systems, prioritize addressing economic and sociocultural factors in order to effectively combat this issue. In developing solutions, attention must be given to cultural development and community education, and efforts should be made to strengthen mechanisms that provide access to affordable, standard healthcare services for all. Lastly, it is crucial to enhance the performance of systems responsible for legislation, implementation and evaluation of laws and regulations related to quack medicine.

It has been reported that the New York State Department of Health has issued a $300,000 penalty as part of a Stipulation and Order signed by a Nassau County midwife who created false immunization records. Roughly 1,500 school-aged children from throughout the State are affected by the vaccine scheme, which has resulted in their immunization records being voided. All affected children must be fully up to date with all age-appropriate immunizations, or be in the process of receiving their missing vaccinations, before they can return to school.

“Misrepresenting or falsifying vaccine records puts lives in jeopardy and undermines the system that exists to protect public health,” State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. “Let it be clear, the New York State Department of Health takes this issue seriously and will investigate and use all enforcement tools at its disposal against those who have been found to have committed such violations.” State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said: “By intentionally falsifying immunization records for students, this licensed health care professional not only endangered the health and safety of our school communities but also undermined public trust. We are pleased to have worked with our partners in government to bring this wrongdoer to justice. We remain committed to upholding the highest standards of health and well-being within our educational institutions.”

The vaccination scheme began at the start of the 2019-2020 school year, just three months after the June 2019 elimination of non-medical exemptions for required school immunizations. Breen supplied patients with the “Real Immunity Homeoprophylaxis Program,” a series of oral pellets marketed by an out-of-state homeopath as an alternative to vaccination. The homeopathic pellets are not authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Department as an immunizing agent against any disease.

Breen was found to have administered 12,449 fake ‘homeopathic’ immunizations to roughly 1,500 school-aged patients as pretext for submitting false information to the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS). The agreed-upon settlement reached between the Department and Breen is the first of its kind addressing a scheme to create false immunization records. It includes a $300,000 monetary penalty and requires that Breen never again administer a vaccination that must be reported to NYSIIS. In addition, Breen is permanently excluded from accessing NYSIIS under any circumstances.

____________________________

We have discussed the absurd and dangerous idea of homeoparophylaxis several times before, e.g.:

Suffice to stress just this:

Homeoprophylaxis is a criminally stupid way to endanger lives!

Proponents of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) are often – as we had many opportunities to observe here on this blog – not impressed with the safety and efficacy of COVID vaccinations. This is despite the fact that several studies have demonstrated the huge number of lives saved by them, both at national and multi-country level in the earlier stages of the pandemic. I wonder whether the doubters will be convinced by new evidence.

This analysis estimates how many lives were directly saved by vaccinating adults against COVID in the Region, from December 2020 through March 2023.

The researchers estimated the number of lives directly saved by age-group, vaccine dose and circulating Variant of Concern (VOC) period, both regionally and nationally, using weekly data on COVID-19 mortality and COVID-19 vaccine uptake reported by 34 European areas and territories (CAT), and vaccine effectiveness (VE) data from the literature. They calculated the percentage reduction in the number of expected and reported deaths.

The authors found that vaccines reduced deaths by 57% overall (CAT range: 15% to 75%), representing ∼1.4 million lives saved in those aged ≥25 years (range: 0.7 million to 2.6 million): 96% of lives saved were aged ≥60 years and 52% were aged ≥80 years; first boosters saved 51%, and 67% were saved during the Omicron period.

The authors concluded that over nearly 2.5 years, most lives saved by COVID-19 vaccination were in older adults by first booster dose and during the Omicron period, reinforcing the importance of up-to-date vaccination among these most at-risk individuals. Further modelling work should evaluate indirect effects of vaccination and public health and social measures.

The authors feel that their results reinforce the importance of up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination, particularly among older age-groups. Communication campaigns supporting COVID-19 vaccination should stress the value of COVID-19 vaccination in saving lives to ensure vulnerable groups are up-to-date with vaccination ahead of periods of potential increased transmission.

Those SCAM proponents who are not convinced of the merits of COVID and other vaccinations will undoubtedly claim that this new analysis was biased and thus unreliable. Therefore, it seems worth stating that this work was supported by a US Centers for Disease Control cooperative agreement, who had no role in data analysis or interpretation. The authors affiliated with the World Health Organization (WHO) are alone responsible for the views expressed in this publication and they do not necessarily represent the decisions or policies of the WHO.

Representatives of six Australian professional organizations of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) developed a survey for e-mail distribution to members. The anonymous online Qualtrics survey was based on previous surveys to identify workforce trends over time. Survey data were analyzed descriptively using Qualtrics and STATA statistical software.

Responses were recorded from 1921 participants. Respondents were predominantly female (79.7%); 71.8% were aged over 45 years. Remedial massage therapists represented 32.1% and naturopaths represented 23.7% of respondents. Highest qualifications were diplomas (37.7%), bachelor’s degrees (28.9%), and advanced diplomas (21.8%). Metropolitan locations accounted for 68.1% of practices. Solo private practice was the main practice setting (59.8%); 13.8% practiced in group private practice with SCAM practitioners; and 10.6% practiced with allied health practitioners. Approximately three quarters of respondents (73.9%) saw 0–5 new clients per week; 42.2% had 0–5 follow-up consultations per week. Collaboration rates with SCAM practitioners, other non-SCAM practitioners, and general medical practitioners (GPs) were 68.7%, 24.4%, and 9.2%, respectively. A total of 93% did not suspect an adverse event from their treatment in the past year. Businesses of 75.9% of respondents were reportedly affected by the pandemic.

The authors concluded that comparisons with previous surveys show ongoing predominance of female practitioners, an aging workforce, a high proportion of remedial massage and naturopathy practitioners, and an increasingly qualified SCAM workforce. There was little change in the very low number of adverse events suspected by practitioners, number of consultations per week, and low levels of income of most SCAM practitioners compared with the average income in Australia. Respondents collaborated at similar rates as in the past; however, more with SCAM practitioners than with GPs.

Yet another fairly useless SCAM survey to add to the endless list of similarly wasteful investigations!

If I had to extract anything potentially relevant from it, it would be just three points:

  • The authors speak of an ‘increasingly qualified workforce’. The basis for this claim is that the highest qualifications were diplomas (37.7%), bachelor’s degrees (28.9%), and advanced diplomas (21.8%). Oh dear, oh dear! Anyone can issue ‘diplomas’ which are not recognised qualifications. In other words, the SCAM workforce is woefully underqualified to take charge of patients.
  • Only 9% of SCAM practitioners ‘collaborated’ with GPs. By collaboration, the authors mean the very minimum of informing the GPs what type of SCAM they might be getting. Such information can be essential for avoiding harm (e.g. interactions with prescribed drugs). In other words, even the minimum of ethical and safe practice is not met in 91% of the cases.
  • The fact that a total of 93% SCAM practitioners did not suspect a single adverse event from their treatment in the past year is extraordinary. It does, I fear, not demonstrate thaat SCAM id safe but that SCAM practitioners are totally oblivious to the possibility of adverse effects. In other words, they don’t inquire about adverse effects and thus don’t notice any.

Yes, these are data from Australia, and one could argue that elsewhere the situation is different. But different does not necessarily mean better. Until I see convincing evidence, I am not optimistic about the clinical practice of SCAM. Altogether, these findings do not convince me that SCAM practitioners should be let anywhere near a person who needs medical attention.

On this blog, I have often been highly critical of integrative (or integrated) medicine (IM) – see, for instance:

Recently, I began to realize that my previously critical stance has been largely due to the fact that 1) a plethora of definitions of IM exist causing endless confusion, 2) most, if not all, of the definitions of IM are vague and insufficient. At the same time, IM is making more and more inroads which makes it imprudent to ignore it.

I therefore decided it is time to change my view on IM and think more constructively. The first step on this new journey is to define IM in such a way that all interested parties can come on board. So, please allow me to present to you a definition of IM that is constructive and in the interest of progress:

IM is defined as the form of healthcare that employs the best available research to clinical care integrating evidence on all types of interventions with clinical expertise and patient values. By best available research, I mean clinically relevant (i.e., patient oriented) research that:

  • establishes the efficacy and safety of all types of therapeutic, rehabilitative, or preventive healthcare strategies and
  • seeks to understand the patient experience.

Healthcare practitioners who are dedicated to IM use their clinical skills and prior experience to identify each patient’s unique clinical situation, applying the evidence tailored to the individual’s risks versus benefits of potential interventions. Ultimately, the goal of IM is to support the patient by contextualising the evidence with their preferences, concerns, and expectations. This results in a process of shared decision making, in which the patient’s values, circumstances, and setting dictate the best care.

If applied appropriately, IM has the potential to be a great equaliser – striving for equitable care for patients in disparate parts of the world. Furthermore, IM can play a role in policy making; politicians are increasingly speaking to their use of research evidence to inform their decision making as a declaration of legitimacy. IM reflects the work of countless people who have improved the process of generating clinical evidence over several decades, and that it continues to evolve.

Developing the skills to practise IM requires access to evidence, opportunities to practise, and time. IM proponents strive to find novel ways to integrate evidence into personal holistic health in the best interest of our patients.

_________________________

I feel confident that this could create a basis for a fresh start in the dabate about the merits of IM. I for one am all for it!

In case some of my readers thought that the wording of my definition sounded somewhat familiar, I should perhaps tell you that it is my adaptation of the definition of evidence-based medicine (EBM) as published in ‘BMJ Best Practice‘.

What does that mean?

The points I am trying to make are the ones that I have tried to get across many times before:

  1. IM is a flawed, unethical, superflous and counter-productive concept.
  2. It is flawed because it is aimed at smuggling unproven or disproven treatments into routine care which can only render healthcare less safe and less effective.
  3. It is unethical because it cannot provide the best possible healthcare and thus is not in the best interest of patients.
  4. It is superflous because the aspects of IM that might seem valuable to proponents of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) are already part of EBM.
  5. It is counter-productive because it distracts from the laudable efforts of EBM.

 

As regulars on this blog know, I am very sceptical about the plethora of nonsensical surveys published in the realm of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) and thus rarely refer to them here. Today, however, I will make an exception. This international online-survey assessed the demographical data, clinical practice, and sources of information used by SCAM practitioners in Austria, Germany, United States of America, Australia, and New Zealand.

In total, 404 respondents completed the survey, of which 254 (62.9%) treated cancer patients. Most practitioners were acupuncturists and herbalists (57.1%), had (16.8 ± 9.9) years of clinical experience and see a median of 2 (1, 4) cancer patients per week. Breast cancer (61.8%) is the most common cancer type seen in SCAM clinics. Adjunctive SCAM treatments are frequently concurrent with the patient’s cancer specific treatment (39.9%), which is also reflected by the main goal of a SCAM treatment to alleviate side effects (52.4%). However, only 28.0% of the respondents are in contact with the treating oncologist. According to the respondents, pain is most effectively treated using acupuncture, while herbal medicine is best for cancer-related fatigue. SCAM practitioners mostly use certified courses (33.1%) or online databases (28.3%) but often believe that experts are more reliable to inform their practice (37.0%) than research publications (32.7%).

The authors concluded that acupuncturists and herbalists commonly treat cancer patients. Most practitioners use SCAM as an adjunct to biomedicine as supportive care and use it largely in accordance with current oncological guidelines.

You would think that the combined expertise of these institutions are capable of producing a decent survey:

  • Palliative Care Unit, Division of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz, 8036 Graz, Austria
  • Northern College of Acupuncture, York YO1 6LJ, United Kingdom
  • School of Health and Society, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton WV1 1LY, United Kingdom
  • National Institute of Complementary Medicine Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Penrith NSW 2751, Australia
  • Translational Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Penrith NSW 2751, Australia
  • Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Wellington 6021, New Zealand
  • Translational Oncology, University Hospital of Augsburg, 86156 Augsburg, Germany

Well, you would have been mistaken! This surely is one of the worst investigations I have seen for a while. Here are just three reasons why:

  • The researchers designed an anonymous self-completion questionnaire collecting data about the participating practitioners’ demographics and clinical practice of integrative oncology. Someone should tell them that one ought to validate questionnairs before using them and that validated questionnairs exist. Unvalidated questionnairs cannot tell us much of value.
  • The researchers  invited SCAM practitioners in Austria, Germany, USA, Australia, and New Zealand to participate in this study. Invitations were distributed through social media and emails between October 2022 and December 2022 by professional organizations. Someone should tell them that research needs to be reproducible and surveys need to cover a representative population – both criteria that are not met here.
  • The survey participants had to hold a valid license to perform acupuncture, herbal medicine, or both. That excludes all other SCAM practitioners.

Despite these serious flaws, the survey shows two findings that might be worth mentioning:

  • only 28.0% of the SCAM practitioners were in contact with the treating oncologist;
  • SCAM practitioners believe that “experts” are more reliable to inform their practice than research publications.

For me, these two points alone would be sufficient reason to run a mile!

The risks of chiropractic spinal manipulations (CSMs) feature regularly on my blog, not least because most chiropractors are in denial of this important issue and insist that chiropractic spinal manipulations are safe!!!. I therefore thought it might be a good idea to try and summarize the arguments they often put forward in promoting their dangerously fallacious and quasi-religious belief that CSMs are safe:

  1. There is not evidence to suggest that CSMs do harm. Such a statement is based on wishful thinking and ignorance motivated by the need of making a living. The evidence shows a different picture.
  2. There are hundreds of clinical trials that demonstrate the safety of CSMs. This argument is utterly unconvincing for at least two reasons: firstly clinical trials are far too small for identifying rare (but serious) complications; secondly, we know that clinical trials of CSM very often fail to report adverse events.
  3. Case reports of adverse effects are mere anecdotes and thus not reliable evidence. As there is no post-marketing surveillance system of adverse events after CSMs, case reports are, in fact, the most important and informative source of information we currently have on this subject.
  4. Case reports of harm by CSMs are invariably incomplete and of poor quality. Case reports are usually published by doctors who often have to rely on incomplete information. It would be up to chiropractors to publish case reports with the full details; yet chiropractors hardly ever do this.
  5. Case reports cannot establish cause and effect. True, but they do provide important signals which then should be investigated further. It would be up to chiropractors to do this; sadly, this is not what is happening.
  6. Adverse effects such as arterial dissections or strokes occur spontaneaously. True, but many have an identifiable cause, and it is our duty to find it.
  7. The forces applied during CSM are small and cannot cause an injury. This might be true under ideal conditions, but in clinical practice the conditions are often not ideal.
  8. If an arterial dissection occurs nevertheless, it is because there was a pre-existing injury. This argument is largely based on wishful thinking. Even if it were true, it would be foolish to aggravate a pre-existing injury by CSMs.
  9. Injuries happen only if the contra-indications of CSMs are ignored. This obviously begs the question: what are the contra-indications and how well established are they? The answer is that they are largely based on guess-work and not on systematic research. Thus chiropractors are able to claim that, once an adverse effects has occurred, the incident was due to a disregard of contra-indication and not due to the inherent risks of CSM.
  10. Only poorly trained chiropractors cause harm. This is evidently untrue, yet the argument provides yet another welcome escape route for those defending CSMs: if something went wrong, it must have been due to the practitioner and not the intervention!
  11. Chiropractors are an easy target. In my fairly extensive experience in this field, the opposite is true. Chiropractors tend to have multiple excuses and escape routes. As a consequence, they are difficult to pin down.
  12. Other causes, e.g. car accidents, are much more common causes of vascular injuries. Even if this were true, it does certainly not mean that CSM can be ruled out as the cause of serious harm.
  13. Patients who experience harm had pre-existing issues. Again, this notion is mostly based on wishful thinking and not based on sound evidence. Yet, it clearly is another popular escape route for chiropractors. And again, it is irresponsible to administer CSM if there is the possibility that pre-existing issues are present.
  14. The alleged harms of CSMs are merely an obsession for people who don’t really understand chiropractic. That is an old trick of someone trying to defend the indefensible. Chiropractors like to pompously claim that opponents are ignorant and only chiropractors understand the subject area. They use arrogance in an attempt to intimidate or scilence experts who disagree with them.
  15. Chiropractors do so much more than just CSN. True. They have ‘borrowed’ many modalities from physiotherapy and, by pointing that out, they aim at distracting from the dangers of CSMs. Yet, it is also true that practically every patient who consults a chiropractor will receive a CSM.
  16. Doctors are just jealous of the success of chiropractors. This fallacy is used when chiropractors run out of proper arguments. Rather than addressing the problem, they try to distract from it by claiming the opponent has ulterior motives.
  17. Medical treatments cause much more harm than CSM. Chiropractors are keen to mislead us into believing that NSAIDs, for instance, are much more dangerous than CSMs. The notion is largely based on one lousy article and thus not convincing. Even if it were true, it would obviously be no reason to ignore the risks of CSNs.

I am sure my list is far from complete. If you can think of further (pseudo-) arguments, please use the comments section below to let us know.

He came to my attention via the sad story recently featured here about patients allegedly being harmed or killed in a Swiss hospital for so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). What I then learned about the doctor in charge of this place fascinated me:

Rau states about himself (my translation):

Early on, Dr Rau focused on natural therapies, in particular homeopathy and dietary changes. The healing success of his patients proved him right, so he studied alternative healing methods with leading practitioners. These included orthomolecular medicine, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine and European holistic medicine. With his wealth of knowledge and over 30 years of experience, Dr Rau formed his own holistic theory of healing: Swiss Biological Medicine – Dr Rau’s Biological Medicine. It is based on the principles of detoxification, nutrition, digestion and sustainable strengthening of the immune system.

Career & studies:

  • Medical studies at the University of Bern
  • Final medical examinations in Switzerland and the USA
  • Subsequent work in rheumatology, internal and general medicine
  • Member of the Swiss Medical Association FMH since 1981
  • 1981 to 1992 conventional physician & medical director of a Swiss spa centre for rheumatology and rehabilitation medicine
  • 1983 to 1992 Doctor at a drug rehabilitation centre
  • 1992 to 2019 Establishment of the Paracelsus Clinic Lustmühle as medical director and partner
  • until 2020 Head of the academic network and training organisation “Paracelsus Academy”

Rau also states this:

  • 2019 mit dem Honorarprofessoren-Titel von der Europäischen Universität in Wien ausgezeichnet (2019, he was awarded the title of homorary professor at the European University in Vienna)

This puzzles me because there is no such institution as the ‘Europäische Universität in Wien’. There is a Central European University but this can hadly be it?!

Now, I am intrigued and see what the ‘honorary professor’ might have published. Sadly, there seems to be nothing on Medline except 2 interviews. In one interview, Rau explains (amongst other things) ‘live blood analysis’, a method that we have repeatedly discussed before (for instance, here and here):

Darkfield microscopy shows a lot. We take 1 drop of blood and look at it under a very large-scale magnification. The blood is life under the glass. Once it’s on the glass, there isn’t oxygen or light or heat. This is a giant stress for the blood. So we see how, over a time, the blood reacts to this stress, and how the blood cells tolerate the stress. You can see the changes. So we take a drop of blood that represents the organism and put it under stress and look at how the cells react to the stress, and then we can see the tolerance and the resistiveness of these cells. Do they have a good cell-membrane face? Do they have good energetic behavior? Do they clot together? Is there a chance for degenerative diseases? Is there a cancerous tendency in this blood? We see tendencies. And that’s what we are interested in, tendencies.

Question: If you saw a cancerous tendency, what would that look like?

Rau: Cancerous tendency is a change in the cells. They get rigid, so to say. They don’t react very well.

Question: And how long does blood live outside the body?

Rau: It can live for several days. But after 1 hour, the blood is already seriously changed. For example, a leukemia patient came to my clinic for another disease. But when we did darkfield, I found the leukemia. We saw that his white blood cells were atypical. Look at this slide—the fact that there are so many white blood cells together is absolutely unusual, and the fact that there are atypical white blood cells. This shows me that the patient has myeloid leukemia. The patient had been diagnosed as having rheumatoid lung pain, but it was absolutely not true. The real cause of his pain was an infiltration of the spinal bone by these lymphocytes.

This is, of course, complete nonsense. As I explained in my blog post, live blood analysis (LBA) is not plausible and there is no evidence to support the claims made for it. It also is by no means new; using his lately developed microscope, Antony van Leeuwenhoek observed in 1686 that living blood cells changed shape during circulation. Ever since, doctors, scientists and others have studied blood samples in this and many other ways.

New, however, is what today’s SCAM practitioners claim to be able to do with LBA. Proponents believe that the method provides information about the state of the immune system, possible vitamin deficiencies, amount of toxicity, pH and mineral imbalance, areas of concern and weaknesses, fungus and yeast infections, as well as just about everything else you can imagine.

LBA is likely to produce false-positive and false-negative diagnoses. A false-positive diagnosis is a condition which the patient does not truly have. This means she will receive treatments that are not necessary, potentially harmful and financially wasteful. A false-negative diagnosis would mean that the patient is told she is healthy, while in fact she is not. This can cost valuable time to start an effective therapy and, in extreme cases, it would hasten the death of that patient. The conclusion is thus clear: LBA is an ineffective, potentially dangerous diagnostic method for exploiting gullible consumers. My advice is to avoid practitioners who employ this technique.

And what does that say about ‘honorary professor’ Rau?

I think I let you answer that question yourself.

 

Some articles are just too remarkable for me to alter them in any way. This one impresses already by its title: “Ameliorative effects of homeopathic medicines in the management of different cancers“. By way of a ‘Christmas treat’, here its summary:

Homeopathy is a commonly used complementary and alternative system of medicine for the treatment of various sorts of ailments throughout the world. Homeopathic medicines are made up of potential therapeutic natural products that are primarily acknowledged for their low doses as well as extended patient survival results. Homeopathic medicines are derived from plants such as arnica (mountain herb), red onion, poison ivy, stinging nettle, and belladonna (deadly nightshade); minerals including white arsenic as well as from animals such as crushed whole bees. Homeopathic medicines are synthesized as sugar pellets to be placed under the tongue and may also be used in the form of gels, ointments, drops, tablets, and creams. Homeopathic medicines can be used to treat various disorders including migraine, depression, gastrointestinal diseases, joint pain, inflammation, different sorts of injuries, flu, arthritis as well as sciatica.

Cancer is the 2nd major reason behind global mortalities. It is revealed that developing countries around the world shoulder most of the cancer burden. According to a survey conducted in 2020, low- and middle-income countries face 70% of the total mortalities worldwide which accounts for approximately 10 million people of these countries. Homeopathic medicines ensure low-cost cancer treatment with little or no side effects on the bodies of humans and animals. Besides, it is applied as a supportive and palliative therapy in a broad range of cancer patients to enhance the body’s fight against cancer, alleviate discomfort resulting from disease or conventional treatments as well as improve the general well-being of the patients. In this chapter, our primary focus will be on the anti-cancerous effects of homeopathic medicines against different cancerous conditions in the body along with their mechanism of action.

Let me just mention a few fairly obvious points:

My conclusion:

Those who advocate homeopathy don’t know what it is, while those who know what it is, don’t advocate it.

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