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

prevention

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Whooping cough is on the rise in many parts of the world; and it’s far from harmless. It has been reported that 9 infants died from whooping cough in England between November last year and the end of May 2024. Altogether a total of 7599 cases of whooping cough have been confirmed in England this year, with cases continuing to rise from 555 in January to 920 in February.

In France too, cases of whooping cough are rising among all ages, the French health authority has warned, saying vulnerable groups should check their vaccinations are up to date. Cases of the illness – called coqueluche in French – have been rising since the start of 2024, states Santé publique France (SPF). It has called for people to be vigilant.

I have recently argued that this might be not least due to the irresponsible advice of homeopaths. But homeopaths are by no means alone in this.

According to advice from MOTHER EARTH LIVING several natural home remedies help alleviate whooping cough symptoms (as well as cold and flu symptoms) and clear the pertussis infection. A teaspoon of fresh garlic juice taken 2 to 3 times a day is a potent, effective treatment.

A pinch of the Indian curry spice turmeric, taken at least twice a day, relieves whooping cough symptoms and helps clear the bacterial infection. (Odorless garlic and turmeric capsules may not be as effective as fresh ingredients, whose odors can be minimized by chewing fresh mint).

Ginger has antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties. It boosts the immune system, warms and induces sweating (which helps push fever and toxins out of the body), and calms coughs and sore throats quickly. It also stimulates appetite, which is important to sick individuals weakened by infection.

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There are numerous further SCAM-sites that give advice to use this or that SCAM. The recommended treatments all have one thing in common: they do not work to prevent or treat whooping cough.

If one member of your family has caught the infection, please do me a favour:

avoid SCAM and see a real doctor.

 

Recently, I heard JD Vance (the would-be Vicepresident of the US) proclaim: THE ENEMY ARE THE PROFESSORS! Unsurprisingly, this remark alarmed me; I had not been previously aware of being an enemy of the people.

Vance stressed that this was a quote by Richard Nixon made some 40/50 years ago. I looked up Nixon’s quote and found that the original is apparently a little different:

Never forget, the press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy. The professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard a hundred times and never forget it.

So, why does Vance quote Nixon (arguably not one of the most honest men in the history of US politics) and insist on THE PROFESSORS ARE THE ENEMY? Why was this puzzling quote followed by plenty of applause from his audience?

The answer must be that it is a populist theme that touches a nerve with right-wing voters. But what does the sentence actually mean?

On Vance’s campaign website, he explains that “hundreds of billions of American tax dollars” get sent to universities that “teach that America is an evil, racist nation.” These universities “then train teachers who bring that indoctrination into our elementary and high schools.” Vance doesn’t want public funds to go to institutions that teach “critical race theory or radical gender ideology.” He rather wants them to deliver “an honest, patriotic account of American history.”

Vance and Nixon are not the first politicians to recently claimed that the enemies are the professors. In 2016, the UK conservative Michael Gove refused to name any economist backing Britain’s exit from the European Union, saying that “people in this country have had enough of experts”.

According to Wikipedia, anti-intellectualism is hostility to and mistrust of intellectintellectuals,  and intellectualism, commonly expressed as deprecation of education and philosophy and the dismissal of artliteraturehistory, and science as impractical, politically motivated, and even contemptible human pursuits. Anti-intellectuals may present themselves and be perceived as champions of common folk—populists against political and academic elitism—and tend to see educated people as a status class that dominates political discourse and higher education while being detached from the concerns of ordinary people. Totalitarian governments have, in the past, manipulated and applied anti-intellectualism to repress political dissent. During the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) and the following dictatorship (1939–1975) of General Francisco Franco,  the reactionary repression of the White Terror (1936–1945) was notably anti-intellectual, with most of the 200,000 civilians killed being the Spanish intelligentsia, the politically active teachers and academics, artists and writers of the deposed Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939). During the Cambodian Genocide (1975–1979), the totalitarian regime of Cambodia led by Pol Pot nearly destroyed its entire educated population.

Fascist movements are notoriously anti-intellectual and anti-science. Adolf Hitler said he regretted that his regime still had some need for its “intellectual classes,” otherwise, “one day we could, I don’t know, exterminate them or something.” And Joseph Goebbels said this: “There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be the man in the street. Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology.” And the ‘bon mot’, “when I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun”, is attributed even to several of the top Nazis of the Third Reich.

And here we might have a reason why a certain type of politician dislikes intellectuals and feels that the enemy are the professors. Professors do science, science is about truth, and the truth is something that politiciance like Vance must fear like the pest. It would disclose their agenda as being fascist.

In conclusion, the claim, “THE PROFESSORS ARE THE ENEMY”, is an argument of polititians who have good reason to fear the truth, and it appeals to voters who are too dim to understand the danger posed by those they wish to elect.

 

 

 

 

A new market report predicts that the worldwide market for so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) will grow from $100 billion in 2022 to $438 billion by 2032.

According to the report, the SCAM market is expected to see innovation and expansion through mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships among large companies. Companies that are capitalizing on these trends include health supplement companies, companies that specialize in Ayurvedic health, those that offer TCM solutions, and those that offer more general holistic solutions to health. Major supplement brands include Herb Pharm LLC, Gaia Herbs, NOW Foods, Life Extension, Pure Encapsulations, Douglas Laboratories, Nordic Naturals, Nordic Nutraceuticals, Quality of Life Labs, Nature’s Bounty Co., Valensa International, Herbo Nutra, and Emerson Ecologics.

Other major players mentioned in the report are:

  • AYUSH Ayurvedic Pte Ltd, Dabur India Ltd., Himalaya Global Holdings Ltd., Banyan Botanicals, and Arya Vaidya Pharmacy offer Ayurvedic health and wellness products while aiming to advance the science behind Ayurveda.
  • Sheng Chang Pharmaceutical Company produces traditional Chinese medicines and herbal products that is one of the largest TCM pharma companies.
  • All and One Medical provides healthcare solutions that combine conventional medicine with complementary and alternative therapies to promote overall wellness and preventive care.
  • The John Schumacher Unity Woods Yoga Center is another that focuses on enhancing physical and mental well-being through the practice of Iyengar Yoga and offers classes and workshops.
  • New Life Chiropractic aims to improve overall health and well-being by providing comprehensive chiropractic care that focuses on spinal health and preventive wellness.
  • The Chicago Body Works offers a range of therapies and treatments designed to enhance physical and mental well-being, including massage and bodywork services.
  • Weleda AG aims to connect people with nature by producing natural organic products that support health, beauty, and overall wellness while practicing sustainability and social responsibility.
  • Quantum-Touch Inc. teaches energy healing techniques that promote physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
  • Spectrum Chemical Manufacturing Corporation focuses on delivering high-quality chemicals and laboratory supplies to support scientific research and innovation across various industries, including health and wellness.

I must admit, I do like these market reports. They never fail to amuse me – for two main reasons:

  1. They are as reliable as reading tea leafs.
  2. The only reliable info they do provide is that the SCAM proponents’ often-voiced argument, “we are very different from BIG PHARMA” is pure nonsense.

Project 2025 is a set of proposals from the US Heritage Foundation to reform the US according to right-wing ideology and to consolidate executive power shouldTrump win the 2024 presidential election. The project is a most frightening blueprint for fascism in the US and would have serious implications for the rest of the world. It would also profoundly impact on healthcare (my expertise) in multiple ways.

Here are some of them:

According to Project 2025, the federal government should prohibit Medicare from negotiating drug prices and promote the Medicare Advantage program, which consists of private insurance plans. Federal healthcare providers should deny gender-affirming care to transgender people and eliminate insurance coverage of the morning-after-pill Ella. Project 2025 also suggests a number of ways to cut funding for Medicaid, such as caps on federal funding, limits on lifetime benefits per capita, and letting state governments impose stricter work requirements for beneficiaries of this program. Other proposals include limiting state use of provider taxes, eliminating preexisting federal beneficiary protections and requirements, increasing eligibility determinations and asset test determinations to make it harder to enroll in, apply for and renew Medicaid, providing an option to turn Medicaid into a voucher program, and eliminating federal oversight of state medicaid programs.

Project 2025 insists that life begins at conception. The Mandate says that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should “return to being known as the Department of Life”. Project 2025 says it would reposition department policies “by explicitly rejecting the notion that abortion is health care and by restoring its mission statement under to include furthering the health and well-being of all Americans ‘from conception to natural death’.”

The project opposes any initiatives that, in its view, subsidize single parenthood. Project 2025 encourages the next administration to rescind some of the provisions of the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970, which offers reproductive healthcare services, and to require participating clinics to emphasize the importance of marriage to potential parents.

According to Project 2025, the Food and Drug Administration is “ethically and legally obliged to revisit and withdraw its initial approval” of the abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol. It recommends that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “update its public messaging about the unsurpassed effectiveness of modern fertility awareness-based methods” of contraception, such as smartphone applications that track a woman’s menstrual cycle. The project also seeks to restore Trump-era “religious and moral exemptions” to contraceptive requirements under the Affordable Care Act, including emergency contraception, which it deems an abortifacient, to defund Planned Parenthood, and to remove protection of medical records involving abortions from criminal investigations if the owners of said records cross state lines.

Project 2025 aims to prohibit sending abortion pills and medical equipment used for abortions through the mail; the plan would allow criminal prosecution for senders and receivers of abortion pills. Project 2025 does not explicitly promote the prohibition of abortion, but some legal experts and abortion rights advocates said adopting the Project’s plan would cut off access to medical equipment used in surgical abortions to create a de facto national abortion ban.

Project 2025 advises the federal government to deprecate what it considers promotion of abortion and high-risk sexual behaviors among adolescents. It also seeks to remove the role of the Department of Health and Human Services in shaping sex education in the United States, arguing that this is tantamount to creating a monopoly.

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If you think this part on healthcare (within my area of expertise) is crazy or dangerous, you should see the rest of the document (not my area of expertise)!

Donald Trump tried hard to deny that he has anything to do with the project. But this as been largely in vain. However, the Democratic National Committee is rolling out a media blitz connecting him to it. This campaign will erect splashy billboards in major cities throughout the battleground states including Atlanta, Las Vegas, Raleigh, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Green Bay, and Phoenix.

Project 2025 is being staffed with countless members of Trump’s administration as well as close advisers. “I know nothing about Project 2025. I have not seen it, have no idea who is in charge of it, and, unlike our very well received Republican Platform, had nothing to do with it,” “Trump’s Plan to be a dictator day one: Project 2025. Google it,” reads one billboard. Another explains how Project 2025 will eviscerate our checks and balances, enable a Trump revenge tour, and ban abortion nationally. It is, in the truest sense, a blueprint for a fascist America.

In a recent comment, our resident chiro, ‘Dr.’ Dale Thompson (alias ‘DC’), in an attempt to provide a rationale for the approach, provided a link to a definition of MAINTENANCE CARE:

Maintenance care is care given to people with chronic illnesses to maintain or slow a decline in their health or function. For example, exercise and physical therapy can minimize abnormal or painful positioning of the joints and may prevent or delay curvature of the spine in a person with muscular dystrophy.

Let’s for the moment ignore that this definition is not necessarily related to CHIROPRACTIC maintenance care and assume it describes the approach adequately. In this case, chiropractic maintenance care would be:

care given to people with chronic illnesses to maintain or slow a decline in their health or function.

That sounds almost reasonable and is very different from what I recently implied it is, namely sly scare mongering of greedy chiros to fleece vulnerable individuals.

So, who is closer to the truth, Dale or Edzard?

How is chiropractic maintenance care employed in ‘real life’?

One way of finding out might be to look at social media and see how chiropractic maintenance care is being promoted or written about. Here are the texts of recent Tweets that I found on 23/6 informing us on this issue:

  • Chiropractic care encompasses three main phases:  1. Acute / Intensive Care  2. Healing / Corrective Care  3. Wellness / Maintenance Care
  • Maintenance is key! Once you’ve completed your care plan, routine chiropractic visits can help keep you feeling your best. Think of it as preventative maintenance for your body; you deserve it!
  • Chiropractic maintenance care now encompasses all sorts of patients; no matter their history, symptoms or reasons for seeking a chiropractor
  • Chiropractic care goes beyond back pain relief!  It’s all about proactive health maintenance, not just reactive illness treatment. Discover the pathway to a healthier, more balanced life
  • Understanding the proper documentation and coding of maintenance care in your office will help you sleep better at night knowing you are doing this correctly.
  • Staying well with chiropractic has never been easier! Researchers have discovered that people who receive maintenance chiropractic care have better long term outcomes and may even be able to prevent future episodes of back pain. Interested in learning more? Give us a call today.
  • Researchers have discovered that people who receive maintenance chiropractic care have better long term outcomes and may even be able to prevent future episodes of back pain. Interested in learning more? Give us a call today!
  • Many patients willingly choose to keep getting regular, maintenance Chiropractic care. Just like going to the dentist periodically, spinal hygiene and chiropractic adjustments are part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Consider your body as a biological machine, just like a car needing maintenance. Chiropractic care at The Joint provides essential upkeep, not just alleviating existing pain but also preventing future discomfort.
  • We advocate regular maintenance Chiropractic care to keep your spine and posture in as great shape as possible. If you have not been to the clinic for a while, why not call our reception team
  • When you finally get that special car you always wanted; you don’t want to trust just anybody for care & maintenance. The same is true with your healthcare.
  • Around 22 million Americans turn to chiropractic care each year for pain relief, holistic healing, and preventive maintenance!  Experience natural, non-invasive solutions that keep you feeling your best. Discover the benefits today!
  • We believe in the beauty of regular maintenance care. Nurture your well-being & witness the transformative difference in your life
  • Chiropractic and Maintenance Care “Do I need to keep coming back for treatment to prevent this from happening again?” This method of chiropractic care is known as Maintenance care.
  • If you are wanting to improve your overall quality of life. Maintenance care is very important
  • Chiropractic “discharge” plans are always something else. “Patient has no pain or complaints and is released from regular chiropractic care. She is recommended to return 4x/mo for maintenance care“. I’m not sure there is a profession that I think less of.

I ought to stress that most of these Tweets were accompanied by pictures of patients receiving spinal manipulations.

Who then is correct, Dale or Edzard?

I let you decide.

An article in ‘METRO’  caught my eye – not least because it quotes me. Here are a few edited excerpts:

Peter Stott lost his first wife to cancer in 1998. Her death, he believes, was due to geopathic stress (GS) – harmful energies that originate from the Earth. ‘I found out that the house where we had lived had a serious GS problem,’ he says. The discovery prompted him to become a professional ‘dowser’, devoting his life to finding and managing geopathic stress.

But what exactly is this mysterious force erupting from the surface of the Earth – and can it really harm people?Geopathic stress is said to cause discomfort and health issues for certain individuals. These energies, also called ‘harmful Earth rays’ by believers, can be detrimental, beneficial or neutral according to those who think they are ‘in the know’.

Peter Stott
Peter Stott is a professional dowser

The word ‘geopathic’ is derived from the Greek words ‘Geo’ meaning the Earth and ‘pathos’, meaning disease or suffering – hence the term pathogens, the medical terms for bugs that make us ill.

Dowsing, practitioners say, is a method used to detect the presence of various subtle Earth energies and assess their nature and quality. They argue that some of these energies can be linked to geomagnetic anomalies caused by flowing underground water, dry faults and fissures, subterranean cavities, or mineral and crystal deposits.

Dowsing is carried out by a dowser, practitioners who try to find the source of these energies using special tools, such as pendulums, rods, and bobbers – essentially sexed-up tree branches. The person holds the tool, waiting for it to move or react, which they take as a sign that they’ve found what they’re looking for. The odd practice can allegedly also be used to identify leaks, stress fractures, environmental pollutants, electromagnetic fields, nutritional deficiencies, black spots, and, rather oddly, sexing pigeons.

Peter claims that a skilled dowser effectively advises on the optimal placement of buildings and structures to mitigate the impact of geopathic stress, and often possesses the ability to reduce or eliminate it through the use of various methods. He emphasises the fact that GS ‘does not affect everybody in the same way. Cancer has been described as “a disease of location”,’ he says. ‘And if there is a family history of cancer – as there was in my late wife’s case – a person can be more susceptible to GS being a contributing factor in succumbing to the disease.’ Peter believes that GS impacts our immune system, depleting its resources and hindering its ability to function optimally. By eliminating GS from our surroundings, we allow our immune system to operate more efficiently, he contends. Our susceptibility to GS varies, he says, with some experiencing mild symptoms like sleep disturbances and fatigue, while others may face more severe health issues such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis and cancer.

17th Century dowsing illustration
Dowsing has been around for millennia (Picture: Getty)

In 2017, rather incredibly, a report revealed that 10 out of 12 water companies in the UK were employing the practice of water dowsing to identify and locate leaks. Even more incredibly, last year, it emerged that Thames Water and Severn Trent Water were still using this form of ‘witchcraft’ for leak detection, despite scientific research indicating its lack of efficacy.

But water companies aren’t the only ones turning to dowsers for help. Peter believes that ‘it is also possible to carry a token or amulet on your person that has been imbued with the powers of protection by someone who is proficient in [dowsing]’. ‘This can protect you from GS and other detrimental energies wherever you go anywhere throughout the world,’ he claims. ‘Other protection techniques can also offer a degree of protection.’

However, Dr Edzard Ernst, a man who has dedicated years of his life to examining questionable, science-based claims, won’t be enlisting the services of a GS specialist or house healer anytime soon. ‘Geopathic stress cannot cause health problems for the simple reason that it does not exist,’ says the retired physician. ‘It is a sly invention of quacks who exploit gullible consumers. The methods to diagnose GS are as bogus as the ones that allegedly treat it. But the quacks don’t mind – as long as the consumer pays.’

Peter fully acknowledges ‘that dowsing and this work in general is not a catch-all solution for every ailment or every person’s situation’. ‘However, often we are approached by people who are “at the end of their tether” due to their exasperation of experiencing events or circumstances in their lives that are not well catered for in the mainstream wellbeing sector,’ he says. ‘I can only speak personally, I cannot speak for the possibly tens of thousands of dowsers around the world. If our work can help ease a person’s experience of life then that is a good enough reason to continue to help where I can’. He adds that ‘we are never going to change the minds of people like Dr Edzard Ernst’, someone ‘who seems to focus exclusively on debunking anything for which there is not a scientific explanation’. Moreover, science, he notes, ‘is moving on with research done into quantum physics and the theory that everything in the universe is connected and is also accessible to everyone’.

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Oh, dear Peter!

Perhaps you should learn the difference between critical evaluation and debunking (this ‘debunker’ has shown more forms of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) to be worthy of integrating into the NHS than anyone else).

Perhaps you should read up about the difference between evidence and belief?

And perhaps the chapter on dowsing in my book could help you in this endeavour:

Dowsing is a common but unproven method for divining water and other materials. In alternative medicine, it is sometimes used as a technique for diagnosing diseases or the causes of health problems.

      1. Dowsers employ a motor automatism, amplified through a pendulum, divining rod or similar device. The effect is that the device seemingly provides an independent, visible reaction, while the dowser is, in fact, its true cause.
      2. Dowsing is used by some homeopaths as an aid to prescribe the optimal remedy and as a tool for identify a miasm or toxin load.
      3. The assumptions upon which dowsing is based lack plausibility.
      4. Dowsing has not often been submitted to clinical trials.
      5. All rigorous attempts to test water dowsing have failed, and it is no longer considered a viable method for this purpose.
      6. The only randomized double-blind trial that has tested whether homeopaths are able to distinguish between a homeopathic remedy and placebo by dowsing failed to show that it is a valid method. Its authors (well-known homeopaths) drew the following conclusion: “These results, wholly negative, add to doubts whether dowsing in this context can yield objective information.”[1]
      7. If dowsing is employed for differentiating between truly effective treatments (rather than homeopathic remedies), the risk of false choices would be intolerably high, and serious harm would inevitably be the result.

[1] McCarney et al. (2002).

 

‘Chiropractic economics’ might be when chiropractors manipulate their bank accounts or tax returns, I thought. But, no, it is a publication! And a weird one at that – it even promotes the crazy idea of maintenance care:

The concept of chiropractic maintenance care has evolved significantly. Initially seen as a method for managing chronic pain, it now includes a broader range of patients and focuses on overall wellness. Modern maintenance care aims to keep patients healthy regardless of their symptoms or history, alleviating and preventing pain through regular, prolonged care. This approach is largely preventive, serving as both secondary and tertiary care.  Studies show chiropractic maintenance care often includes diverse treatments such as manual therapy, stress managementnutrition advice and more, with flexible intervals typically around three months. This evolution underscores the importance of evidence-based, individualized patient care. This article shares the evolution of chiropractic maintenance care, looks at what a modern maintenance care appointment can include and explores best practices for DC maintenance care in 2024. 

Knowledge of chiropractic maintenance care has evolved over the years. In the past, maintenance care in the chiropractic world was often viewed as a way to keep patients going; particularly those suffering from chronic conditions that needed routine care for pain management and prevention. In the last several years, chiropractic maintenance care has changed; no longer does it only involve pain prevention and management for those with chronic conditions. It now encompasses all sorts of patients; no matter their history, symptoms or reasons for seeking a DC…

An interview study of Danish chiropractic care showed maintenance care sessions included a range of treatment modalities, including manual treatment and ordinary examinations alongside multiple packages of holistic additions, like stress management, diet, weight loss, advice on ergonomics, exercise and more. In other anecdotal accounts, chiropractic maintenance care seemed to follow a more traditional guideline of lower back pain management and adjustment. The study hypothesized that maintenance care could also help patients from a knowledge perspective, stating, “DCs could obviously play an important role here as ‘back pain coaches,’ as the long-term relationship would ensure knowledge of the patient and trust towards the DC.” 

Researchers found that three-month intervals were the most common spacing of maintenance care treatments for patients. Most commonly, patients sought or scheduled chiropractic maintenance care over the course of one to three months.  

Chiropractic maintenance care has evolved past simply being a method of ongoing chronic pain management. Today’s patients want to achieve overall wellness, and regular trips to their DC can become a part of that if you work to transition patients into a wellness plan after their acute phase of care is over. 

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The author of this article seems to have forgotten two little details:

  1. Chiropractic maintenance care is not supported by sound evidence, particularly in relation to economics (even the above cited paper stated: “We found no studies of cost-effectiveness of Maintenance Care”).
  2. Chiropractic maintenance only serves one economic purpose: it boosts the chiropractors’ income.

Yes, easy to forget, particularly if your name is ‘Chiropractic Economics’.

And also easy to forget that maintenance care would, of course, require informed consent. How would that look like?

Chiro (C) to patient (P):

If you agree, we will start a program that we call maintenance care.

P: Can you explain?

C: It consists of regular sessions of spinal manipulations.

P: That’s all?

C: No, I will also give you advice on keeping fit and living healthily.

P: Why do I need that?

C: It’s a bit like servicing your car so that it works reliably when you need it.

P: Is it proven to work?

C: Yes, of course, there are tons of evidence to show that a healthy life style is good for you.

P: I know, but I don’t need a chiro for that – what I meant do the manipulations keep my body healthy even if I have no symptoms?

C: The evidence is not really great.

P: And the risks?

C: Well, yes, if I’m honest, spinal manipulations can cause harm.

P: So, to be clear: you ask me to agree to a program that has no proven benefit and might cause harm?

C: I would not put it like that.

P: And how much would it cost?

C: Not much; just a couple of hundred per year.

P: Thanks – but no thanks.

It goes without saing that an article entitled Homeopathic Cancer Therapy Research From 2018 To 2022: A Review of the Literatureinterests me. It turned out to be a revellation in BS. Let me just show you its conclusion:

There continues to be an enormous interest in homeopathic treatment for cancer around the world. This is reflected by the number or studies and the increasingly better quality of studies investigating homeopathic cancer therapy. Some studies appear to signal a concern about lacking information among conventionally trained physicians on homeopathy and their limited ability to respond adequately to the increased demand among patients for homeopathic services. While it is still primarily patients rather than physicians that drive this mounting interest, studies reflect a rise in interest and call for innovation, in provision of integrative cancer treatment by combining multiple conventional and unconventional therapies. According to the majority of available studies, homeopathy can safely be added to conventional cancer treatment, and patients can benefit significantly in countering the adverse effects from that treatment, as well as improvement of their quality of life and survival.

In one our previous reviews of scientific research on homeopathic cancer treatment we had concluded that available studies confirm, “homeopathic drugs have proven biological action in cancer; in vitro and in vivo; in animals and humans; in the lower, as well as in the higher potencies. Cancer patients are faced with a life-and-death decision when choosing their treatment. Since most conventional treatments continue to be associated with severe adverse and sometimes fatal effects, while homeopathy has been found to be free from such effects, it would seem plausible and worthwhile, even urgent, to step up the research on, and even the provision of, homeopathic treatment of cancer and other diseases.”

This conclusion continues to apply to the time period covered in this review of published research on homeopathic cancer treatment.

What a remarkable few sentences!

Please allow me put the record straight on a few points:

  1. enormous interest in homeopathic treatment for cancer around the world – NOT TRUE.
  2. increasingly better quality of studies investigating homeopathic cancer therapy – WISHFUL THINKING, NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE.
  3. concern about lacking information among conventionally trained physicians on homeopathy and their limited ability to respond adequately to the increased demand – CONCERN IS, IN FACT, DIRECTED AT CHARLATANS USING OR PROMOTING HOMEOPATHY.
  4. homeopathy can safely be added to conventional cancer treatment – YES, BECAUSE IT IS A PLACEBO.
  5. patients can benefit significantly in countering the adverse effects from that treatment, as well as improvement of their quality of life and survival – ONLY IF, LIKE PROFESSOR MICHAEL FRASS, ONE FALSIFIES DATA.
  6. homeopathic drugs have proven biological action in cancer – NO.
  7. it would seem plausible and worthwhile, even urgent, to step up the research on, and even the provision of, homeopathic treatment of cancer and other diseases – NO, ACCORDING TO A BROAD INTERNATIONAL CONSENSUS, SUCH RESEARCH WOULD BE AN UNETHICAL WASTE OF RESOURCES.

The truth of the matter is that homeopathy for cancer is a dangerous misconception that could hasten the death of many vulnerable patients.

Those who promote it are amongst the worst charlatans on the planet.

Although the vaccine has many individual and social benefits, ‘Vaccine Hesitancy’ has led to an increase in the number of vaccine-preventable diseases.

The aim of this study is to determine the effect of ideas that cause vaccine hesitancy to comply with traditional medicine practices and drugs and to determine the ratio of parents’ preference for so-called alternative medicine (SCAM).

This study was performed on the parents who refused vaccination in their children under the age of 8 between the years 2017-2022. Parents of the vaccinated children who were matched for age and gender were determined as the control group. Demographic characteristics of families, education levels, compliance ratios for well-child follow-up and pregnancy follow-up, preference ratios for traditional medicine and/or SCAM applications were compared.

A total of 123 families, 61 of whom were vaccine refusal and 62 of the control group, were included in the study. It was determined that the ratio of parents who refuse vaccination have increased in the last five years. The education level was found to be higher in the SCAM group (p=0.019). The most common reasons for vaccine refusal were distrust of the vaccine content (72.1%) and noncompliance with religious beliefs (49.1%). It was also found that the ratios of prophylactic vitamin use and tetanus vaccination of mothers during pregnancy were lower in the SCAM group. While the rate of compliance with vitamin D and iron prophylaxis for infants was lower in the vaccine refusal group, the ratio of preference for SCAM was higher.

The authors conclused that vaccine hesitancy is a complex issue that affects public health, in which many individual, religious, political and sociological factors play a role. As with recent studies, this research shows that the most important reason for vaccine rejection is “lack of trust”. The higher education level in the vaccine refusal group may also be a sign of this distrust. Not only the rejection of the vaccine, but also the lack of use of vitamin drugs seems to be related to lack of trust. This may also cause SCAM methods to be preferred more. These results show that providing trust in vaccination is the biggest step in the fight against vaccine hesitancy.

We have discussed the link between SCAM and vaccination hesitancy many times before, e.g.:

This new study seems to imply that the common denominator of both SCAM use and vaccination hesitancy is distrust, distrust in vaccinations and distrust in conventional medicine. That makes sense at first glance but not when you think about it for only a minute.

I can see why people distrust conventional medicine (to some extend, I do it myself). But why should distrust motivate some people to put their trust into SCAM which is even less trustworthy than conventional medicine. The rational thing for a distrusting person would be to critically assess the evidence and go where the evidence leads him/her. This path cannot possibly lead to SCAM but would lead to the best available evidence-based therapies.

If we consider this carefully, we arrive at the conclusion that not distrust but a degree of irrationality is more likely be the common denominator between SCAM use and vaccination hesitancy.

What do you think?

This prospective cohort study examined the effects of fish oil supplements on the clinical course of cardiovascular disease, from a healthy state to atrial fibrillation, major adverse cardiovascular events, and subsequently death.

The analysis is based on the UK Biobank study (1 January 2006 to 31 December 2010, with follow-up to 31 March 2021 (median follow-up 11.9 years)) including 415 737 participants, aged 40-69 years. Incident cases of atrial fibrillation, major adverse cardiovascular events, and death, identified by linkage to hospital inpatient records and death registries. Role of fish oil supplements in different progressive stages of cardiovascular diseases, from healthy status (primary stage), to atrial fibrillation (secondary stage), major adverse cardiovascular events (tertiary stage), and death (end stage).

Among 415 737 participants free of cardiovascular diseases, 18 367 patients with incident atrial fibrillation, 22 636 with major adverse cardiovascular events, and 22 140 deaths during follow-up were identified. Regular use of fish oil supplements had different roles in the transitions from healthy status to atrial fibrillation, to major adverse cardiovascular events, and then to death:

  • For people without cardiovascular disease, hazard ratios were 1.13 (95% confidence interval 1.10 to 1.17) for the transition from healthy status to atrial fibrillation and 1.05 (1.00 to 1.11) from healthy status to stroke.
  • For participants with a diagnosis of a known cardiovascular disease, regular use of fish oil supplements was beneficial for transitions from atrial fibrillation to major adverse cardiovascular events (hazard ratio 0.92, 0.87 to 0.98), atrial fibrillation to myocardial infarction (0.85, 0.76 to 0.96), and heart failure to death (0.91, 0.84 to 0.99).

The authors concluded that regular use of fish oil supplements might be a risk factor for atrial fibrillation and stroke among the general population but could be beneficial for progression of cardiovascular disease from atrial fibrillation to major adverse cardiovascular events, and from atrial fibrillation to death. Further studies are needed to determine the precise mechanisms for the development and prognosis of cardiovascular disease events with regular use of fish oil supplements.

I must admit that I am slightly puzzled by this study and its findings. The authors clearly speak of the ‘role’ regular use of fish oil supplements has. This language implies a casual impact. Yet, what we have here are associations, and every 1st year medical student knows that

correlation is not causation.

Other things to note are that:

  • the associations are only very weak;
  • they go in opposite directions depending on the subpopulation that is examined,
  • there is no plausible mechanism of action to explain all this.

Collectively, these facts suggest to me that we are indeed more likely dealing here with a non-causal association and not a causal link. All the more surprising then that the (UK) press took up this paper in a major and occasionally alarmist fashion (the headline in THE TELEGRAPH was Revealed: How cod liver oil could be bad for your health). I learned of it by listening to the BBC headline news.

 

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